Friday, October 7, 2022

How Negativity Can Dim Your Perspective

 I’ve always had strange dreams—for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I didn’t understand them. But by the time I hit middle school, I knew they were something special. “If there’s one thing I hate,” my best friend said at lunch one day, “it’s hearing about people’s dreams. Booo-ring!”

How could anyone say that? Even as a teenager, I felt dreams showed a path to the soul. I could go to sleep contemplating problems, and the answer would come in a dream. One time I stressed about what to sew for a contest and even dreamed up an incredible pattern. Our subconsciousness can be such a gift! 

Anyway, now that I have cancer, my problems have changed. Instead of wondering what to sew for a contest or how to tie up loose plot lines for a novel, I’m asking humanity’s oldest questions: What’s the point of life? What’s the point of MY life? What happens after I die? Where did it all begin? And what gives a life meaning? 

Surprisingly, I’ve gone to sleep asking these questions and actually gotten answers. Yes, it’s mostly allegorical and a bit confusing. Several of the dreams have someone who claims to be God right before they reveal an amazing truth. Now, do I really think God is coming to me in dreams? Probably not. But at least I’m feeling peace about a lot of issues as I’ve mulled mortality, sickness, and the meaning of life.

Right before my surgery last week, I thought about all of this. “What is the point—and why am I still here?” I thought. Oncologists are starting to say I actually might beat this. Yet, other patients—my friends who had much better diagnoses—have died while I’m still here. Maybe I’m having survivor’s remorse. I want to live, but I feel so badly for the people who have died. 

Anyway, I went to sleep and had one of the most powerful dreams I’ve ever had. I won’t go into full detail except to say this: In my dream every person started life with a brilliant light burning inside of them. When they were positive, the light would burn even brighter. But when they were negative, the light would lessen. 

“Many people have forgotten their God-given spark,” a woman said in the dream. “We each have it, but it’s so easy to be negative. And sometimes people’s lights go out. If you say or do something negative, you must balance it AT LEAST with the equal amount of positive. But people forget to nurture their light. Your purpose, Elisa, is quite simple. You must remind people that it’s not worth being negative because it leads to darkness. Simply share your perspective and help people keep their flames burning.”

I knew the dream would change my life. And several days after my surgery, I kept thinking about it—especially on one specific occasion. Mike brought me to a store, but the pain in my leg from muscle atrophy and severed nerves, made it nearly unbearable to walk. So—practically being a saint—Mike pushed me in a wheelchair. 

At one point, he left me to look in one aisle as he went to another, and an eccentric woman came up to me. “Why in the world are you in a wheelchair?” she asked.

I’d done my hair up, fixed my makeup, and I wore a beautiful low-cut dress that framed my bust. I’m sure I looked “the vision of health.” Despite this—and her intrusive questions that I didn’t NEED to answer—I told her about stage four cancer, previous and recent surgeries, and extreme fatigue from ongoing treatments.

“I never would’ve guessed. You don’t look like you have cancer. You’re too young. I feel so bad for you.” Then she went on and on.

Not long after, when Mike brought me to the car, tears filled my eyes. “What’s wrong?” Mike asked.

And as I told him how much I hate being pitied—and about the nosy woman in aisle seven—I felt my inner light getting dimmer and dimmer.

“What is wrong with people?” Mike asked.

“Wait,” I said. “You remember my dream about everyone having a light inside them?”

Mike nodded.

“I feel mine dimming. It’s metaphorical, but you know what I mean. All of the negative things I just felt and said, I need to counteract it.” So I started thinking of positive things. “I must seem very approachable,” I said slowly. “The woman felt at home enough that she could even ask me what’s wrong. AND she said she’ll never forget me or my story because she’d been focusing on unimportant things.” And the more Mike and I said—both agreeing to only be positive—the more I felt my inner light turning from a dim flicker to a blaze. 

Several days have passed, and I’ve remembered that flame and how I don’t want to be negative and jeopardize dimming my light over petty things. And I can say, this mindset has completely transformed how I feel inside.

A few people have thought my dreams are “odd” or “the product of stress.” But I’ve found the lessons in them to be quite profound. Whatever someone might think, I do hope this is my purpose: to help people see the best in themselves and to realize God’s put something special in all of us—a divine spark. If my dreams have taught me anything, it is that life is far too short to spend time dimming our lights with negativity. Why not dwell on the positive and let joy light the way?


  1. I've recently been writing about joy too. Those of us who are not horribly ill and in massive pain, those of us with brains that function normally, have a choice to be joyful or not. Now that I'm faced with another cancer journey, the first one was easy, this one I expect to be more difficult, but I want to be joyful while going through it. You have been so ill and in so much pain, but there's still both joy and so much love that comes through in your writings, both here and in your books. Sending much love to you.

    1. Love you, Inger. I’m thinking about you and praying for you! -Elisa

  2. As a stage 4 mama, I empathize with what you've written. I've found that when I'm positive, things feel less heavy. I mean, I'm not saying that everything needs to be positive and sunny, and that there's never anything "bad". I just think that we have to work at reframing things, so we can see the good, even when there's so much crummy in it. Thank you for sharing your experience. :)

    1. I totally agree. I’m so sorry you’re going through this too. I’ll be praying for you. -Elisa

  3. I had dreams growing up that seemed very real. As I got into my teen years I started encountering these dream scenes in real life. I felt, and feel, that each time I encounter one of these scenes it is a sign that I am on the right path, and I feel reassured. Interestingly, the scene would never be like I thought it would be...for example in one dream I was laying in a bed and a man was looking out a wall of windows. I thought he was my husband, but when the scene came it was just a boyfriend and we were breaking up! Anyway, I 100% believe that being and feeling and looking for the positive is always to he higher path. Sending you and yours so we much love + light 💞💞

    1. I love that so much. I totally think these are breadcrumbs from God – showing you that you’re on the right path (just like you wrote). What a gift you have. -Elisa