I came across Shulamit Lando’s book, HOPE BEYOND ILLNESS—A guide to living WELL with a chronic condition and thought that her work should be shared here. Like me, she is a coach who lives with illness and works with others to improve their well being. The following questions and answers reflect our ‘conversation’.
Rosalind: When did you receive your diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and how did you react?
Shulamit: My first attack was in the early 1980’s in Mexico when MRI’s didn’t exist. Diagnosis was done by comparing episodes. It took 5 years of turning me inside out with tests to get a diagnosis in 1987. My mother was with me when I heard, “You have MS, (in Spanish: Esclerosis Multiple!) an incurable, progressive, degenerative disease… for which we don’t know the cause and there is no cure.” The first words out of my mouth, an expression of my impotence and fear, were: “I forbid you to tell anyone, Mom!” I could imagine her letting the world know of the tragedy that had befallen her and her poor daughter (to calm herself down, for sure). Indeed it was a “tragedy”, but it was also my experience, my challenge. I knew in my gut that whatever meaning I would choose to give this (whether ‘the end of my life’ or ‘a challenge’) would determine how things were going to develop. I didn’t want the weight of everyone’s attention and worry on my already hunched shoulders. I believed then, and know for certain now, that the words we use determine our experience. So I refused to have her speaking words—like curses—that would make things worse. I describe this conversation between my mom and me in my book, Hope Beyond Illness,
Rosalind: What would you say to someone recently diagnosed with MS or another chronic illness?
Shulamit: I am sorry to hear this because I know that what is coming is a huge challenge. I would assure them that, even though it may feel like it, this is not the end of their life. When they are ready to hear it, I would guarantee that they don’t have to do this alone and encourage them to reach out to a support group, a Medical Coach or some kind of specialized therapy or counseling. I would let them know that even though their life may have changed radically, their life is far from over! The same way they learned how to find happiness and well-being before this news, they will have to learn a different way now. Some people dwell with “Why me?” I found the question that worked (and still does) for me is “what now?”
Rosalind: What are your favorite tools and resources to help you cope with the daily life of living with a chronic disease?
Shulamit: Other than healthy eating and exercising, the basis for good health no matter what, Meditating, (which implies slow deep breathing) and EFT Tapping are 2 of the most important tools I use and are 2 of the most important tips that I give in my book. We don’t think clearly when we are in shock. After trying so many things for myself, I consider that EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping is probably the most powerful, noninvasive, simple and effective tool to calm the body, the emotions and the mind from the stress created by anything. When we can think stressful thoughts in a more relaxed state they don’t have the same power over us. I find it especially useful for answering the question, “what now?”, what steps to take. And 3, of course, good massages!
Rosalind: Describe the methods you use in your work that make you unique from other life coaches and why this is particularly valuable for people living with chronic disease?
Shulamit: I call my work, TheraCoaching. Based on my own personal experience and inner journey, and through the many therapeutic techniques that I have learned in 30 years of practice, I create a tailor made approach for each person. I sense what their own inner wisdom—your own inner doctor—is asking me to bring forth. My personal journey of overcoming huge obstacles in a successful way is unique and very rich. I know what others facing illness are going through, not hypothetically or after reading about it, but from my own flesh. I know the road because I have traveled it, so I can better support someone out of their darkness and into a lighter place.
Rosalind: In Hope Beyond Illness, you explore the different ways that illness can wear a person down and offer ‘tips’. How would you like people to use the tips?
Shulamit: This book is about helping the reader go from despair to hope. Just like MS in many case, that comes and goes unexpected and without a script, the tips in my book can be used out of order, a few at the same time or not at all. Many create a new way of thinking and of experiencing. That which rings true to you, what feels right and resonates with you, try it. The tips I share work! But they do require some work on your part. But what doesn’t?
Rosalind: You’ve helped people from all over the world with a variety of issues and illnesses. What’s your hope for those of us living with chronic illness?
Shulamit: This is a huge question. I believe everything that happens to us, happens for us. My hope is that you will find the blessing in your personal challenge. After all, shit is compost and turn this shit into compost. My hope would be that more people would find the way out of their darkness, to become a sprouting seed that blooms up toward the sun.
Shulamit Lando is an internationally accomplished Body-Mind Psychotherapist, Bereavement Councilor, Trauma specialist, Medical Coach and Strategic Intervention Life coach. She has been counseling those with chronic and terminal illness for more than 30 years. Besides her international private practice, she volunteers at The Yuri Shtern Holistic Center for Cancer Patients in Jerusalem. Born and raised in Mexico, Shulamit now lives in Jerusalem, Israel.
Shulamit’s book, HOPE BEYOND ILLNESS—A guide to living WELL with a chronic condition, is available on Amazon or, in digital form at a discount.
Medical coaching: https://www.facebook.com/medcoach/
Coaching for the Soul: https://www.facebook.com/ShuliLandoCoaching/
Psychotherapy and Meaning in Life Coaching: https://www.facebook.com/shulahu1/