JOY FROM A PEBBLE TO A BOULDER
Like so many things in life, it started small. It began with a small sensation, like a pebble in her right shoe which turned into intense and unremitting pain. After many years and many professionals, Liz finally got an initial diagnosis, a synovial sarcoma in her foot, between the metatarsals. Liz continued caring for her foot and the pain naturally. The situation felt pretty manageable—until it wasn’t.
In early 2017, while Liz was hiking in Australia, she hyper-flexed her foot on an acutely angled hill. There was a searing pain in her mid-foot, and what felt like a structural failure. The tumor started growing again and the only way Liz could manage the pain was through meditation and avoiding weight-bearing activity. Her gait became severely altered, and she developed lower leg atrophy on that side since she could not toe-off. The pain became so intense that Liz could only sleep a few hours per night because the weight of a bed sheet would cause unimaginable pain.
Liz held steadfast in her belief that the body is self-organizing and self-healing. However, Liz began to receive powerful messages that pointed her towards amputation. One day when Liz was meditating, she experienced a deep sense of joy, love, wholeness, and self-expression—on the other side of the choice to amputate. Liz explains, “It was a clear message to me that I am so much ‘more’ than my lower leg.”
Another self-discovery technique Liz uses is a mind-movie technique. “It dawned on me one day that the personal photos I was using to represent joy, love of life, self-expression, gratitude, and creativity—all happened to be taken where the photo angle ‘hid’ the right lower leg from view. My leg could have been there, or it might not have. But it was missing in ALL of them. That made me go hmmm.”
Finally, Liz had a friend ask her if she felt her foot pain was disconnecting her from her own life. She realized she was exhausted and felt like her world was shrinking. She was sustaining on sheer will and it was taking its toll on her quality of life.
Pushing Past pain, fear and loss
Interestingly, when Liz began to explore the option to amputate, some incredible mentors appeared.
Years prior, Liz had a conversation with a Canadian Paralympic team coach who recommended that she “just chop it off to get on with living again.” This man had coached Olympians with various amputations and he was certain Liz could simply get on with life—and that stuck in her mind.
Liz’s neighbor’s son had an amputation following a boating accident when he was sixteen. Liz watched this young man change his life and become a Paralympic athlete in snow cross. Liz also met with an amputee who lost his lower leg from an IED and was running a program called “Soldier On” and leading a full life. Both inspired her.
Another fascinating friend was Rambo, an 18-foot-tall, four-ton, elephant who had part of his trunk amputated. Liz met Rambo while in South Africa a month before her amputation. Meeting Rambo gave Liz new hope and connection to her possibility. He was pivotal as a spiritual mentor and source of inspiration.
Liz kept hearing the same message—you’ll be back up and fully functioning before you know it. But there were still two fears feeding her hesitation.
One was letting others down. Liz knew that she just had to get over that. Her husband, Barry, was on board in letting Liz make whatever decision she needed to.
The second fear was letting go. This was the hardest. To trust the process and completely surrender to it, as a person who likes to plan and control, was incredibly hard. It was at this point she decided to let go, and found that it was not hard at all.
Liz experienced a real shift and sense of ease after she let go. “Once I made the decision all I saw was temporary challenges. My focus was to be very present. Everything I saw in the long term was an upside. I made the decision, and I was fully committed.”
Building a brighter future with intention
While discussing her surgery, a friend had asked her what it was that Liz wanted—what would help. The shift was understanding the value of total surrender and a complete focus on what was possible. This idea got Liz thinking.
Liz wrote about her impending surgery and she posted it up on social media for all the world to see. Her Facebook post was direct. The post explained exactly what was going to happen. And then she asked for exactly what she needed.
“I knew what I wanted from friends: for everyone to see me as whole. To see me experiencing the joy of life, laughter, surrendering and trusting in this event. To see love, grace and feel gratitude. To see my surgical team performing with mastery. I wanted the feeling of wholeness and love—anything that would increase my coherence. If anyone was going to connect with me, I wanted to be very clear. I didn’t discuss what would not work for me.”
While in pre-op, Liz consciously opened her heart because she knew so many people were meditating and holding a space of grace, love, and wholeness. She absolutely knew she was ready to ride into the unknown.
“What I experienced was such support and love from others, it swelled my heart. The joy I felt when I opened my heart was omnipresent. I guess it is the gratitude of allowing myself to really receive.”
After surgery, Liz kept her focus on being present and finding joy in each moment. She tuned into the energy of people who supported, connected, commented and visited.
“This is going to sound quite odd, but this has been the easiest thing I have ever done. I am still trying to sort out how this is true. My current understanding is that in completely surrendering, letting go, trusting, and opening my heart to receive, I have been able to experience so many miracles.”
Taking the next steps
Liz says that she feels more whole now than she has in her life to date. She would not change one thing. She has experienced more love of life, joy, and the feeling of wholeness than she ever imagined. She has been giddy in discovering how to do many things she took for granted like standing, walking, going up and down stairs, and driving a car.
Barry, Liz’s husband, has been there every step of the way, and that has taught her about unconditional commitment and love.
Liz has been transformed by her experience: “We will all experience times of challenge and it is how we perceive it that makes all the difference.”
The process has taught this incredible coach and teacher a whole new set of lessons. Liz had to let go of frustration and control and a sense of betrayal to find her own way to heal and create a miracle. Letting go was the leap that catapulted her story from reactionary and seeking to accepting and becoming.
“When we figure out what is really important to us and stop comparing our journey to the journey of others, we get to write our own story.”
Liz recommends that every chiropractor create space in their lives, to tune in and use empowered emotions to increase their vibration. Liz says that while she knew this already, it was an intellectual understanding without embodiment. This time she embodied it fully.
Liz is now more than six months post amputation and doing great. Her social media feeds are filled with images and videos of her learning to use her prosthesis, walking up stairs, running, jumping, traveling, and playing with her grandkids. Her joy is palpable. She is whole.
We will all experience times of challenge and it is how we perceive it that makes all the difference.”
We are all faced with challenges and big decisions. Our lives are complicated. But we have so much to gain from taking the next step. Liz decided to reside in a place of joy, faith, and surrender rather than fear. Being a chiropractor and avid meditator also helped immensely. But what she did, we can all do.
Liz sums it up: “When we turn frustration into fascination and become the observer of ourselves, then we can catch ourselves running old unconscious programs. When we increase our vibration and get out of the way—surrender—then new solutions can show up for us. Open up to trust and receive. It has been life changing in unbelievable ways.”
Dr. Elizabeth Anderson-Peacock is incredibly resourceful. She has been awarded many recognitions over the years — both inside and outside the profession. She is an acclaimed speaker, teacher, author, mentor and leader in the chiropractic profession. But her latest adventure is one that can teach all of us something about ourselves.
Liz graduated CMCC cum laude in 1986. She settled in Barrie, Ontario in 1988 and started a practice focused on providing care for children and families. Liz also practices part-time on an island “up north” in the summer. People come in by boat. Both practices are small and they allow her to keep her hands, head and heart in the profession, while also affording her the flexibility to be able to teach and speak.
Liz quickly progressed from mentee to mentor as her expertise and abilities grew. She started teaching for the ICPA at the request of Larry Webster in the mid 1990’s. Initially she taught a module on the challenged child, then a pregnancy module, and then more modules which came and went.
In 1996, Liz was the co-valedictorian in the first DICCP class through the ICA. She has been published in JVSR, JCCA and JCCA. Liz wrote the book, Pearls of Wisdom: Pure and Powerful, for the chiropractic profession in 2010. Liz also became a professional coach in 2010, training in the co-active/cooperative model.
Liz has sat on many professional boards and fundraising committees. She has been an examiner to the CCEB (Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board) and on the steering committees for clinical practice guidelines in Canada and on complaint and investigation committees.
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