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By Roslyn Franken.

My name is Roslyn Franken. I was born to a mother who survived the concentration camps of Nazi Germany and a father who survived the atomic bomb in Nagasaki, Japan, as a prisoner of war. The only thing they said kept them going was their hope and courage to face each new day with a renewed determination to never give up. This attitude was their choice.

When diagnosed with cancer at age 57, my mother told the doctor, “Hitler didn’t get me, my cancer won’t get me.” Doctors gave her two years to live. She died 21 years later. Her cancer came back five times over those years and each time she’d bounce back and defy the odds. With all that she had already suffered in her lifetime, she could have easily played the victim, but once again she chose to ‘never give up’.

When I was diagnosed with cancer at age 29, I quickly learned that I inherited my parents ‘survivor’ attitude. I saw how my mother handled her cancer and realized that I had that same power of choice. We all have the power of choice. We can choose whatever we think, believe, say and do in response to any event or person crossing our paths, no matter what.

I could have thrown myself a big pity party, feeling sorry for myself and drowning in my own fears, worries and anxieties. There were so many unknowns, so many changes, so much pain and suffering. It was one of the most challenging times of my life, but I made the conscious choice to never give up. Just like my mother, I was not about to take it lying down. I couldn’t afford to let the negative fears, thoughts and emotions rob me of the positive energy I needed to fight my fight and beat my cancer. I was not about to give up hope or let my spirit be broken by my challenging circumstances. Then ten years later, at my heaviest weight and afraid for my health, I made the choice to fight back again, only this time to win my battles with food, weight and lifestyle obstacles, once and for all. It was my choice.

We all have the power of choice in every area of our lives. We don’t always realize it because we get so caught up in the rat race of trying to keep up with our endless To-Do lists and problems to solve, that we can’t see the forest through the trees. We end up neglecting what’s most important to us. We absolutely have the power of choice. We have the choice in how we spend our time and energy, what is most important to us and honoring our physical bodies and our inner selves. With every challenge, no matter what, we have the choice to be the victim or the victor, the worrier or the warrior. Your job is simply to choose wisely.

Photo Credit: Max Elman

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. BRAVO! This is a wonderful article illustrating just how powerful choice truly is within our lives. I often wonder what makes one person feel defeated and another determined to strive for healing, as you and your mom did, or survival when faced with the shadow side of humanity, like your mother and father. My uncle too survived being a prisoner in the vietnam war, he was held captive for a little over a year and was the fist American released.

    I’ve wondered if that sense of choice, determination and will to live is part of my DNA and why I too have battled health issues and the severe blues. Though I’ve felt extreme pain and despondency at times, I always had the choice to give in, to play “the victim” as you stated but no matter how difficult I never choose to give up – rather I choose to transcend the issues all together – to reach higher ground. I didn’t want to make due or survive, I was determined to THRIVE, to live the best life I can within each moment and to help (if allowed) others to do the same.

    I think we forget the power of choice. Choice is a fancy-pants way of saying intention to me, to choose the intention we choose to live our lives. If we intend to be the victim we will, if not, then not. It doesn’t make it easy at times but choosing is half the battle. It’s as if when I choose to put my energy in a specific direction the universe rises to meet me!

    In this sense I think we are all artists practicing the art of living. We are all creating our masterpiece called life. We forget that as artists we are creators. We CHOOSE/create the experiences we want. We CHOOSE/create our responses to the experiences we don’t want. We forget the hART of creating our lives.

    If we don’t create what our ideas inspire – who will? If we don’t create what we truly want in life – who will? Thank you for such an uplifting article!

    All My Best,

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