*This is a place to come for comfort and encouragement whenever life hurts.

* Its main feature is a 4-minute video that offers 12 powerful blessings. It is an adaptation of The Twelve Gifts for Healing, a book that provides readers with renewed faith in themselves to help them through difficult times – whether the challenge is an illness, divorce, or the death of a loved one. I was inspired to write this book when I faced cancer.

* This site also offers a comprehensive list of resources for cancer patients, survivors, and loved ones. Additional resources related to healing will be available in the future. So, please visit from time to time to view the healing video, see what’s new related to THE TWELVE GIFTS, and explore ways to use strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith to heal, enrich and empower every area of your life. The article below, Softening Fear, concludes with a simple yet powerful activity for you to try.

* If you would like to receive a daily uplifting message about using your TWELVE GIFTS, please sign up on the right side of this page.  You may cancel at anytime.  Your name and email address will never be shared with anyone else.

* May you always recognize your own gifts and help others to see theirs!

Wishing you all the best,

Softening Fear © 2008
Charlene Costanzo

In September of 2000, I was diagnosed with a form of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for which present-day medicine says there is no cure. When I learned that cancer cells were growing in lymph nodes in my throat and abdomen and in my bone marrow, I felt as if I had been spun around and punched in the stomach. For several days I could digest only small bits of medical information at a time. I glanced at diagrams of mutant lymph cells then quickly looked away. Like most cancer patients, I experienced many emotions. At first I felt frozen with fear. I mourned the lost health I had taken for granted. Then I became determined to heal.

The metaphor of waging war with cancer is useful for some patients, but I did not want to hold a violent attitude toward my body nor hate any part of it. I didn’t want to fight cancer, but without a doubt I was determined to release it from my system.

I sensed that my cancer diagnosis was a call to love my whole self more and to better appreciate the trillions of healthy cells that were living in harmony with one another.  Along with treatments with a biologic agent (Rituxan) and standard chemotherapy (CHOP), I used many complementary therapies, including meditation and visualization, which relaxed and empowered me. I drank large quantities of purified water; ate nutritiously; and further nourished my cells with music, aromatherapy, and therapeutic touch. I prayed, watched funny movies and read spiritual stories.  During that time, I was also inspired to write a fable. It became The Twelve Gifts for Healing, a story about an ailing woman who journeys to seek healing wisdom from a wise woman named Mater. Like those women, everyday I recited twelve specific blessings for myself and all others.  One of them was “May you allow fear to soften and melt away.” I was inspired to act out the intention by witnessing the simple, inevitable melting of an ice cube at room temperature.

So I went to my kitchen, opened the freezer and removed one ice cube. For a moment I cradled it in the palm of my hand. I let it rest there and noticed the chill on my skin. Gently, I placed it in a saucer and centered it on the table.  Later I returned to see and appreciate the ice cube’s transformation to water.

Hundreds of times since then, I have repeated this ritual, whenever fear shows up about cancer or a situation in my family or global warming or tension in the world or anything at all. You may wish to try this ritual yourself whenever you feel fear about health, relationships, finances – anything in your personal world or in the world at large.

In September 2001, after the completion of chemotherapy, CT scans and a bone marrow biopsy revealed no evidence of cancer.

I would not have consciously chosen cancer as a teacher, but I now appreciate the valuable lessons it offered. Cancer led me to look deeper and to understand that our inherent gifts of strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love and faith all have tremendous healing power. They can help us heal ourselves, one another and the world. Accessing them begins with willingness. Gratitude increased their flow. We are all on a healing journey. May you heal and help others.

 Consider this simple activity:

Upon waking or before you begin your work day, remove an ice cube from your freezer and place it in a cup, saucer, or bowl. Set the container in a place where it will remain undisturbed.

See the ice cube as representing fear, your own fear in all the ways it shows up, as well as fear in the world. You may wish to use a cube for each fear you identify.  Silently or out loud say, “This represents fear. I am willing to allow my feelings of fear to soften and melt away today.” Go about your day.

 Later in the day, bring your attention again to the container. Notice the water now in the liquid state. See it as representing fear transformed. In your own way, bless the water. Use this water to nourish a plant in your home. Or, go outdoors and pour it onto a place where, symbolizing your intention of contributing to healing on Earth, this modicum of water can nourish some living thing.