Awareness, awareness and more awareness. Every person has the ability to use their conscious mind to step back, assess the situation and find their path forward.

Yet we are all human and thus we can imagine much more than just our present circumstances. If I forget to bring my coat and the sun sets I am shivering with cold. I can imagine being warm and can take steps to remedy my current situation. I can find a café and have a warm drink. I can jump up and down and run in place to warm up. I can ask another person if they have a sweater or coat I could borrow.

I can do more for myself than stand in the cold, shivering.

When anyone is told difficult news, such as the diagnosis of a disease, it's easy to lose heart. But awareness is part of the mind. There is always a way to approach the circumstances without being crippled by fear. Awareness is not available while you're caught up in fear or panic. The first step in leaving the prison of fearful thinking is to step out of the box you're in and consciously expand your view of the situation.

As soon as you realize you forgot your coat and you are beginning to feel cold, after a short moment of being upset and perhaps uttering an expletive, you can open your mind to the bigger picture and use your awareness to find options, solutions and new possibilities. You ask for help and research the experiences of other people in the same boat.

Suddenly, you see you are involved in a different kind of mindset. You have moved back into the stream of life and are no longer stuck in fear.

It is as simple as finding a solution for forgetting your coat. Fear will rise over and over in life and there is only one answer: Awareness. Greater awareness or perspective will lead you to the next step no matter what you are facing.

What health challenges are you facing?

Michelle Terrill-Heath is a columnist who lives in Taos County. Her website is Email her at

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