So you’ve made it through treatment…now what?

Breast Cancer Survivor Treatment Blog

So you’ve made it through treatment…now what the fuck are you supposed to do?

As if hearing the words “it’s cancer” isn’t scary enough. For me the first thought that came to mind when I heard those words was “holy shit, I’m gonna die! I just started my family!”

I had already been battling depression and anxiety so this new diagnosis made the battle even more arduous. I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge though.

I went through four months of chemo starting with two months of AC and two months of Taxol. The next month I underwent a double mastectomy with the beginning of reconstruction. A few months later I had seven weeks of radiation to the affected side. After all the treatment and about six surgeries I was done with “cancer treatment”. Or so I thought.

When the storm finally began to calm I was left with the ghosts of what I had just been through and all the thoughts I had been pushing down. The depression and anxiety came rushing at me. I didn’t know what to do. I made the decision to get help, and anyone who knows me knows that was no easy decision for me to make.

Being the independent, people-pleasing, take care of everyone else type of person that I was I had to learn some new skills. Through the internal work I was doing, I began to see a flicker of light at the end of the dark tunnel I was traveling. That flicker got stronger and brighter.

I started down a path to healing that not only brought me continued health from cancer, I began healing wounds that caused the depression and anxiety. Looking back I started to see why I was depressed and anxious. Then I saw how my depression and anxiety caused my breast cancer. It was no coincidence that my tumor grew directly over my heart. Then I found the one thing that I knew in my heart cured my cancer and would prevent it from ever coming back…I found the gift that cancer brought me.

Yep, you read that correctly. I said cancer brought a gift. There was a positive side to the shit I had been through. As I thought about my cancer journey I started to think about all the people who came out of the woodworks to support me, to love me, to show me I could beat this. I started seeing all the connections to love, like cords from me to them. Then in a meditation I saw myself and the cord that had been broken between me and my Higher Self. Together, with cancer personified, the three of us healed that broken cord. Then cancer waved good-bye and faded off into the distance. I knew I didn’t have to worry about it ever coming back.

When we can find the gift that situations bring we don’t have to worry about those situations anymore. They may come back to test us, but we know how to handle it. We know how to deal with the emotions that come with the thoughts. We are open enough to learn how to shift our thoughts from those dreadful Negative Nelly’s to the empowering Positive Polly’s. We can do this with any situation, “good” or “bad”, not just cancer.

Here’s my simple process for finding the gifts that any situation may be bringing to you:

  1. Find some time for yourself to just sit in silence. Maybe you light a candle, maybe you draw a warm bath. Don’t get wrapped up in doing anything perfectly, just sit by yourself without distractions.
    Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth making the “ha” sound. This will help slow down your nervous system and bring you into a calm state of mind.
  2. Start to picture yourself in a beautiful meadow. The breeze is softly blowing, the sun is gently kissing you skin. You’re surrounded by colorful flowers and cool green grass.
  3. Picture your situation as a person. What does this person look like? Envision as many details as you can. Is there a lightness about them, or a heaviness? Are they clear or dull? Bright or dim?
  4. Notice how you feel being in their presence. Do you feel peaceful or angry? Is your body tensing up or are you relaxed?
  5. Ask them what lesson or gift they have for you. Listen as they share their knowledge.
  6. Acknowledge them by thanking them for their generosity and support, and gracefully embracing them.
  7. Watch them as they walk away, waving with confidence that you’ll continue to be supported on your souls journey.

So when you start to wonder what you’re supposed to do now that you’re done with treatment and those negative anxiety ridden thoughts start crawling into your consciousness, stop yourself. Take a few deep breaths. Thank the anxiety and negative thoughts for showing you that you are alive, that you are human. Give them a big ol’ hug, then send them on their way. It takes practice but you are stronger than any of them so take back the steering wheel and go 4-wheeling. Give me a call, I’m always up for a little adventure.

Lots of love and healing vibes,
Michele

Ready to find the gift of any situation?

PS: Think this is a little too terrifying to handle by yourself (I sure did, that’s why I reached out)? Would you like to take someone with you so you’re not alone? Contact me and I’ll support you along the way.


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One easy step to end your suffering.

One easy step to end your suffering.

Boys shadow

So much in life is fleeting. Things come and go, people come and go, thoughts come and go. There is an ebb and flow to life that our humaness likes to fight with. We struggle causing ourselves a lot of suffering and emotional pain. 

I recently listened to a group call from Deepak Chopra and Eckart Tolle entitled “Beautiful Chaos”. I was drawn to participate in the call because of the word “chaos”. It’s a word that I’ve used quite a bit when describing my life.

There was one concept that struck me and has floated around my head since I listened to the call. I thought that pain and suffering were one and the same. I never differentiated the two. But seeing how they are different, yet two sides of the same coin, has opened my awareness to the idea that suffering can be a place of expansion. Both are places of learning.

Deepak says pain is physiological and biological. It is necessary for learning on a physical level for protection. I bet you were more careful around the stove after you burned yourself when you were little. 

He says that suffering is in the mind. It’s a mental experience. It occurs because we don’t understand reality, the what is. Our minds take over interpretation and perspective for us. It’s where the stories about what is are created.

What I’ve come to discover is that when we can accept what is, suffering dissipates. Acceptance is the ability to look at a situation and see the facts separate from the story we tell ourselves. It’s seeing fact versus fiction.

I believe one of the most challenging things to accept is our wholeness. The fact that we are everything you could think of is a difficult idea to grasp. We don’t want to be the bad guy, the ugly girl, the asshole, or any other negative quality. We’re conditioned to believe that it’s not ok to be these things. This is where the suffering, emotional pain and turmoil begin.

When we aren’t in acceptance of the idea of wholeness the “Beach Ball Effect” occurs. This is the idea that what keeps getting shoved under is eventually going to pop up, and it’s usually going to pop up when we least expect it, and at the most inopportune times. This pattern repeats itself until we learn to stop shoving things down, when we learn to accept our wholeness. 

Those things that we are usually shoving under the water are our disowned qualities and shadows. These are the things we don’t like about ourselves and are trying to hide from others. These shadow beliefs are born out of fear and breed insecurity. They tell us that we aren’t living up to the expectations of others. So we start to hide our true selves. We start to deny who we really are. We put up a facade so people will love and accept us. We may become needy, people pleasers or overachievers. We get so busy trying to prove that we aren’t something that we begin to suffer.

So, whether it’s a situation or a quality within yourself, acceptance is the antidote to suffering. What do you need to accept today? What’s going to set you free from the perceived suffering you’re going through? I invite you to take a few minutes to sit in stillness and ask your Higher Self what you need to accept. Your answers are already within you, you just need to learn to listen. 

With love and acceptance.

Are you ready to discover the parts of yourself that you’ve disowned?

Contact me to rediscover your wholeness so you can be the best version of yourself. 


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I found the key to enlightenment!

Funderland Icee boys

I found it you guys!!! The key to enlightenment. 

As I was waking up this morning, lying in bed, setting my intention for the day and it totally hit me! The last few days I’ve immersed myself in the fun of summer, the love and connection I have for my boys, and the love and connection I have for one of my very best friends. We went to a San Franstinktown (if you’ve seen Inside Out as many times as I have you’ll completely understand that I mean nothing by this 😉 ) Giants game on Wednesday. It was their first ever major league baseball game. We even got to go down on the infield near the dugout so they could see things up close. We got tickets from their Jr. Giants little league, which has been another great adventure for us this summer.

After the game we went back to Auntie Wendy and Uncle Eric’s house for some relief from the heat in their pool. Getting to spend time with my soul family while watching my boys is priceless. I almost didn’t get to do things like this because of my breast cancer diagnosis. But the Universe has bigger plans for me and this connection with myself and others is part of that plan, I know it.

On Thursday Wendy and I took the boys to Funderland, a local childrens amusement park. They got their unlimited ride wrist bands and ran in opposite directions, hence Auntie Wendy’s presence. The boys were in playtime heaven. I think they rode each ride 10 times each. The above picture was during our break time so they could catch their breath. Once the weather started heating up again it was back to the house for more swimming. 

Part of my role as mother is to protect my kids. Another part is to provide for them. I provide the necessities as well as the experiences and adventures for them to learn things on their own. The vision I have for my life is to provide as many adventures for them as possible while they are young. So many of my friends who’s children are grown tell me to enjoy my boys while they’re young. As much as they drive me insane, I cherish them too. 

So now you’re probably wondering what all this has to do with the key to enlightenment. Well, I realized something…I had the time of my life the last couple of days. Then I realized why…I didn’t give a fuck what anyone else thought or said about what I was doing. I lived in the sacred present moment more than I ever have in my entire life. For me, not giving a fuck about anything but what I was doing opened the door for me to find the joy in my life.

In Buddhism enlightenment is a final spiritual state marked by the absence of desire or suffering (thank you Websters dictionary). I was finally not suffering from anything nor was I wanting anything but what was right in front of me. I looked at my boys and my friends and realized that they are THE only thing in this world that matter. 

Enlightenment is different for everyone. According to Websters it is the state of having knowledge or understanding. To me that makes enlightenment subjective and personal. What’s enlightening for me may not be enlightening for you, vice versa, and that’s ok. As humans we put enlightenment just out of reach. It’s for those who sit on a mountain and meditate for 23 hours a day. That’s so far from the truth. It is within each of us. It’s a part of our wholeness. It’s getting out there and living life on your terms. It’s the little things.

I’d like to know…what’s enlightenment to you? What do you do that enlightens your life? Share with me in the comments and let’s see what we have in common. I promise it’s more than we realize.

With love and light.

Do you need help finding what enlightenment means to you?

Contact me for a consultation call to find the things that light you up. 


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Is that authenticity I smell???

With this being an election year there’s a lot more BS than authenticity going on. My BS meter has been going off a bit, but not because of all the political hype going on, because I’m wondering who’s real and who’s just trying to sell me something. I want to see the real people of the world, people not afraid to show me their dark side, people willing to let that dark side show a little. On a daily basis our darkness contributes to our existence just as much as our light.

What does a day in your life look like? Mine are typically full of energy (mine never matches that of my two boys) and is jam packed with a to-do list that doesn’t always get done. I attempt to get up early for my quiet routine of fifteen minutes of gentle yoga stretching and 15-30 minutes of meditation. I’ll usually do a quick check of Facebook and Instagram, maybe email, then I’m off and running to wake up the monsters, get their lunches packed, get them dressed, get me dressed, then we’re out the door. I get to come home to work, which most days is really nice, but lately it’s been challenging to make myself sit down and work for one reason or another.

As a single-mom/entrepreneur I have a pretty fixed time slot for productivity. Some days I’m super productive, other days are “I just don’t give a rat’s ass if anything gets done” kind of a day. It’s called harmony.

So why is it that I keep seeing how productive everyone else is? All the self-help gurus are so productive, the inspirational leaders. They get up, make their smoothies or super green healthy breakfasts, do an hour of yoga followed by a half hour or more of meditation, then they bust out all their new content and promotions, all while fitting social media posts in multiple times a day. Is it just me or is this just more BS they want us to see.

Don’t get me wrong, I follow many of the mainstream positive inspirational peeps out there because they do provide that positive inspiration. But there are days that I just want to punch them in the face. There, I said it! I wonder how many of them have kids? How many of them have spouses to help them with anything and everything? How many of them fight themselves to get out of bed some mornings? How many of them are only showing us their light? I want to see more darkness. Life is messy, its a process. Just because they have come through some pretty horrible shit, as have the rest of us, doesn’t mean life is all rainbows and butterflies (Hi Adam Levine;) ).

Pillars

I recently dove a little deeper into my values discovering not just what they actually are, but what they mean to me. Those values are as follows:

Flexible
Helpful
Integrity
Authenticity
Raw
Valuable
Integrated
Inclusion

These are the things that are most important to me and help me live a fulfilled life. I’m not being of service to anyone, especially myself, if I don’t keep these values in mind throughout the day. With that being said, I make a promise to you, my audience, my followers, my tribe, to always be flexible and helpful, to say what I mean and do what I say, to be totally unapologetically authentic and raw (which for me means the occasional profanity, just a forewarning in case the above wasn’t obvious), to know that what I have to offer you is just as valuable as what you offer me, to integrate my darkness into my light and help you figure out how to do the same, and to include you and your feedback into what I do here online and out in the world.

Do I compare myself to the self-help “experts”? Hell yes! I’m human. Do I have a choice as to whether or not I partake in such silly behavior? Of course I do. Most days I choose to live from the heart, from that place of courage that I can get through anything because I’ve already been through a lot. But it doesn’t have to be perfect routine action all the time. It has to be real and it has to feel good. I’m also still going to make up excuses because that’s something else humans do. We are meaning-making, excuse-giving machines!

I’d love to know what your values are. What do you find important? What do you keep in mind when making decisions and living life to the fullest? Leave me a message and lets have a real conversation.

With so much raw love!

Why do I keep attracting the same (insert your noun here)?

I once asked a friend of mine, “why do i keep attracting the same type of guys?” I don’t even remember what her response was at the time but the answer that I was looking for has come to me recently. It was actually there all along, I just wasn’t ready to see it. The thing is we all have all the answers to all the questions we have within ourselves. We just need to be open to receiving them. That’s where the experiences of our lives come in. The circumstances and situations we find ourselves in bring so much education into our lives. We often think that things are happening TO us. Our car breaks down when we’ve run out of money for the month, other unexpected financial burdens come up, we get in a fight with a loved one, we injure ourselves somehow…all examples of “things” that happen in life. The list is obviously a lot longer than this but you get the point.

For me losing my job sucked really bad. Being diagnosed with breast cancer sucked really bad. Unexpectedly losing my husband sucked the worst! But each of these “horrible” events, and these are just the main three from the last 10 years, have taught me a lesson. I know in my heart I’m meant to support people in a loving and nurturing way, but I wasn’t meant to do it in the back of an ambulance. I tend to put others before myself but breast cancer taught me to take care of me first and foremost, or else I can’t help take care of others (you know the whole oxygen masks on planes story). Being left a widowed, single, breast cancer patient with two young boys has taught me to embrace my strengths, my tenacity, and my fierce badassness. The events in your life are there to teach you whatever lesson you need to learn too.

I’ve struggled recently with my past coming back to me to teach me another lesson. Our past will repeat itself until we are ready to learn what we need to learn. I knew all along that what was happening wasn’t what I wanted but it was what was in my highest good. It sucks to see others in pain and not be able to help. It’s what I did with my husband. To be a loving support for them is what I’m here to do, but not at the expense of my own sanity and divinity. In the past I would have kept up with the unhealthy habits that only led to more anxiety and depression.

I’ve worked very hard the past few years to release a lot of my past and learn what I’ve needed to learn so that I may move forward in life. I worked with Tris Thorp doing Mental and Emotional Release ® (MER) work with Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) recently. Since that time I’ve noticed how my being has been changed forever. I’ve seen past behaviors creep their way back into being which sent me back into anxiety and fear. Working with Tris however, has allowed me to be able to become the observer of my life and my behaviors on a whole new level. I’ve been able to stop myself in my tracks, change my perspective, and move on much more quickly than I ever have before. Being able to release the emotions that have kept me tethered to my past has been the greatest gift I could have ever received.

The MER and NLP work I’ve done with Tris and the shadow work I’ve done over the last couple of years have given me the tools I need to break free of the emotional bonds of the past so that I can spread my wings and fly with confidence that I’ve got this thing called life, no matter what gets thrown at me. I’ve been down the traditional route of medications to treat my anxiety and depression as well as my cancer. But the feeling of liberation has eluded me until I took responsibility for my life and started looking at how I was creating the life I was living. I can now attract the “guy” or the “money” or whatever else I want in life because I’ve learned how to work with the higher power that exists within me, the higher power that exists within us all, the higher power that already has all the answers we need, the higher power that’s connected to our unconscious.

If you are ready to liberate yourself from the past, if you’re ready to take responsibility for your life and create a future that you are excited about living, and if you’re ready to work with someone who’s going to be ruthlessly compassionate and open you to new perspectives click here. It would my pleasure and honor to walk along side you on your journey. I invite you to step into your power and your future in bigger ways. Take that first step out of your past by doing something different. May you have a beautiful day.

So much love and light! xo

The scariest thing I’ve ever done, and you’re probably thinking the same thing

Over the last few years I’ve come to know myself so much better. I’ve come to dive deeper into my psyche than I ever have before. I’ve started to see the magic that is life. It’s been such a beautiful journey. But it’s also been the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Why? Because I was conditioned to not trust magic. I was conditioned to only “believe what you see”. Can I see my mom who was killed by drunk drivers when I was 18 years old? No, but I know she’s there. How? Every time I’m alone and I smell cigarette smoke I know she’s stopping by to say hi. Well, either her or my grandfather, they both smoked like chimneys. Can I see my husband who died unexpectedly after I was diagnosed with breast cancer? No, but I know he’s there. Every time I hear “Running” from No Doubt, our wedding song, I know he’s telling me he still loves me from the other side. I believe with all my heart that they are both traveling between worlds to support me while I’m still here. If I were to see either one of them I’d probably flip my lid, but that’s because I’ve been conditioned to believe only crazy people see spirits. That belief has been challenged by many of my psychic and clairvoyant friends. Part of me is jealous that they can see such things and part of me would be scared shitless to have that ability. The thing is, I believe, we all have this ability, we just have to be open to seeing something other than the Hollywood view.

My first encounter with spirituality was more religiously based. I was baptized and raised Catholic. My mom was the good little Catholic girl, until she ended up pregnant with me at 17. That didn’t stop my grandparents from influencing us while living with them for many years. I even have the pictures to prove I’d gone through Communion. Such a sweet little girl in a white dress. However, I remember sitting through Sunday Mass with my grandparents thinking that this couldn’t be the only way to think. It felt very hypocritical to me, even as a little girl. I heard the sermons then saw the churchgoers living life a little differently. Once my mom married my step-dad we no longer attended church regularly so many of the beliefs I held were quickly replaced.

In college I took a World Religions course. We learned about Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Christianity, and some others that I can’t even remember now. I felt like so much had been hidden from me throughout my life. The mind, body, spirit connection made so much sense to me. To honor and cherish that connection felt natural and organic to me, not forced like Catholicism. I felt like this is what my God was telling me was the truth. I began seeing religion as an ego-construct to separate us from each other. I began feeling the pull of my spirit toward spirituality rather than religion. Once I made that distinction magic started appearing in my life, but my eyes weren’t yet open to it.

So I graduated college and began my life. I eventually met my husband and we started our family. Despite doing everything I was supposed to do according to our society, I felt completely disconnected. Disconnected from my family, from my life, and mainly from myself. I lived with depression for so long that it became my “normal”. It’s what I had grown to know, to be comfortable with. Little did I know things were about to get shaken up and I was being hurled out of my comfort zone. In a matter of three years my entire world was flipped upside down and inside out. My husband became an addict, I lost my job as a paramedic, we lost our first home, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, then, to top it all off, a month after my diagnosis I lost my husband. I was being sent message after message and I couldn’t ignore them anymore.

That’s when I surrendered to whatever Higher Power was in place. I had no idea who or what that Higher Power was but I threw up the white flag anyway. That was the first time I knew a power greater than myself, a magical power, was in charge. That’s also when I started listening to the whispers I was hearing. Those whispers had become dull roars and I started listening to what they were telling me. I now know those whispers to be my own inner wisdom leading me along the path I was meant to walk. I’ve heard them throughout my life but ignored them, like most humans. I dismissed them as nonsense, because I was conditioned to listen to others, especially my elders.

Listening to those whispers was the first step in following my intuition. Now what I do when I hear those whispers is take a step back and become the observer. I observe what’s going on, what’s taking place in front of me. I ask myself a ton of questions. I tune in to how my physical body is feeling. If I’m feeling anxious or fearful I know I have some personal work to do. If I’m calm and peaceful, that’s my cue to take action, even if it’s imperfect action. Things still get scary, I’m human. But the more I connect with my higher self and the magic that exists in our Universe, the more I’m able to be led my my intuition and live the life I truly enjoy living. I ignored my intuition the first three and a half decades of my life and things didn’t go so well. I think it’s time to see where I can go if I actually take the time to listen and be guided by the magic that truly is.

With tons of love.