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How do I embrace change?

The way that we answer this question can be life defining. Change is a constant. It is important that we learn how to adapt to life in order to find that balance between the external and internal environment that we call health.

Change requires more than just a new, exciting tool in order to be sustainable. It requires seeing things with new eyes and letting go. Change that sticks requires personal transformation. How do we get there? Transformation requires that there be a path that works and can be followed in community, even if it is only one other person making the journey with us.

The path to transformation is rooted in safe space. This space is a confidential holding of whatever comes up without trying to fix it. Within this safe space the following explorations can help to consistently begin again. For ease, they can be remembered as PQRRS.

1. Practice. A daily focus is important, and the ground of this daily focus is the cultivation of awareness. Find a way to Stop. When we find a way to Stop, even for a single breath, we can stand beside the rollicking stream of our thoughts, roles and experiences, instead of just going along for the ride.

When we stop, we can become calm and rest. When we are at rest, we can do the often difficult work of healing-looking at those parts of our life that we have previously judged as too difficult. We can build strength in our ability to gently and persistently begin again.

2. Question. Questioning opens up our life to the potential for understanding. We can ask ourselves “Where am I?” and continue to ask that question until the answer is “in the Here and Now”. When we are present, we can ask ourselves why and how we are experiencing whatever is going on, without judgment or expectation.

3. Reframe. We can bring the new understanding and insight that arises from questioning to our past pains, future fears and present experiences, seeing them from a new perspective.

4. Respond. We can choose from an unlimited universe of options concerning how we want to move forward in our life, instead of just reacting based on past experience, old habits or future worries. We can be responsible participants in our life instead of submissive sufferers.

5. Surrender. After we have chosen how to respond, we can let go of our need to control the outcome. We show up in the present moment, be true to ourselves and let go of what happens next. This is an act that waters the seeds of trust and patience within us.

Life is not static perfection. There will always be imbalances. PQRRS can help us to begin again and allow sustainable change to flow from the inside out.

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Matt Mumber, MD is a practicing, board certified radiation oncologist with the Harbin Clinic in Rome, Georgia. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Virginia and completed his radiation oncology residency at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He graduated from the 2002 Associate Fellowship Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

Matt serves as the Medical Advisor of local and regional cancer initiatives through the Georgia Cancer Coalition, and is the immediate Past-President of the Georgia Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2002, Matt founded Cancer Navigators Inc. in, a 501(c)(3) corporation which provides nurse, education and service navigation for those touched by cancer. He continues to facilitate residential retreats for cancer patients and physicians. He edited Integrative Oncology: Principles and Practice, published by Taylor and Francis in 2006.

Matt is the co-director of the MD Ambassador Program at the Harbin Clinic and co-Director of the Harbin Integrative Oncology Program. Matt received the Hamilton Jordan Founders Award in 2007 for involvement in state wide oncology activities and was named a Health Care Hero by Georgia Trend magazine in 2008. He is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Oncology Practice, and the Integrative Oncology section editor for the journal Current Oncology. He is a past member of the Clinical Practice Committee for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. His research is focused on Integrative Oncology and is supported through grants as a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar.

His new book Sustainable Wellness: An Integrative Approach to Transform Your Mind, Body and Spirit was released in September 2012.

Matt and Laura enjoy raising their three children-- JT, Samson and Marcus.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Matt Mumber is an inspiration to his patients and all that cross his path. His writings are always insightful and inspire the best in all of us!

    1. Kathy… long time no see… hope you and yours are well..
      I still think often of your advice to me many years ago to “do what makes your heart sing”


  2. Matt has filled my day with a new perspective and inspiration to stay on the path of transformation, with his gentle and wise reminders of how it can be done. Thanks Matt for sharing your gifts of experience and insight.

  3. I have known Dr. Matt Mumber for four decades and all the accolades pale in comparison the friend that he is. His ability to befriend people is a true gift that is so very rare indeed and I think what makes him a special care giver! They don’t come any better than Matt!

    1. thanks brother John…. I hope that the content of this post makes others feel a fraction of how good I feel with all of these positive personal comments… 🙂

  4. I LOVE that question! Wow, Matt, you did a fantastic job verbalizing in such a profound yet easy to understand way how to find joy and peace in life, where there are inevitably ups and downs and most definitely changes. Thank you for your thoughts and wisdom on a topic that I have spent a lot of time reflecting on and working over the years to understand myself.

  5. GOD BLESS you Matt, thank you for sharing your practical practice… wishing you an AUSPICIOUS NEW YEAR & DECADE 2020! Elle ????

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