The Road Not Taken

The first of the Seven Principles of Mindfulness in Healing is to be your own advocate for healthcare. What does it mean to be your own advocate? At its most fundamental level, it means traveling the road not taken.

Check out these words from Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken.

The Road Not Taken

Photo © by Jerome Freedman

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler,…

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

In the world of healthcare, the most common road is to completely follow your doctors’ recommendations without question. If he wants to do surgery, you schedule it right away, almost without thinking. If he want to do radiation or chemotherapy, you approach it with a grain of fear but you eventually proceed with the treatments. You completely trust your doctor and don’t allow and doubts creep into your mind.

Or do you?

However, if you take the road not taken it can make all the difference. You ask a lot of questions. You get second and third opinions. You begin to do your own research into your medical condition. You investigate alternatives. You decide on lifestyle changes. You consider taking on a meditation practice in order to calm your body and mind to help you make good decisions. You talk to your friends and family. You join support groups. You build a team of practitioners that can optimize your chances of recovery. And, when you are ready, you give back to your community.

Does any of this make sense to you? If so, you can learn more about the road not taken at

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