Have you ever wondered why balancing life is so hard? There’s balancing work and play, balancing being a parent and fulfilling your professional dreams, balancing a checkbook (adulting…gasp!).
All this balancing can be a real challenge. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a little hard work, the constant struggle is real for most of us. At the end of the day many of us collapse in bed, hoping to shut our brains down long enough to recharge our bodies, just so we can get up and do it all again the next day.
I got caught up in the rat race so much that I eventually developed breast cancer. I took that as a sign that I needed to slow down and reset some priorities. Like so many, my cancer diagnosis was the wake up call I needed to slow down and pull my head out of my ass.
I thought I was doing well enough to get by. I had no idea the complexities of what it means to be a conscious human. Then one day I was introduced to the idea of the mind/body connection.
The part that hit me square in the chest was the idea that there are four bodies.
Of course there’s the physical body-that we all know because well, we’re here and someday when we die, our physical body goes away. Many believe we have a soul, or spiritual body-that part of us that goes to heaven or hell (or to the next life). Another body-the mental body, has gained some recognition through the idea of mental health and it’s really only looked at when something goes “wrong”. The last body-the emotional body, in my opinion isn’t explored nearly enough. In my experience it’s this body that has the most effect on the mind/body connection.
The cancerous lump I found in my breast was directly over my heart, the thing I was most disconnected from. Before I was diagnosed I had been battling depression and anxiety for many years. I also had lower back problems that sometimes kept me from doing the things I loved doing. According to Dr. John E. Sarno in his book “Healing Back Pain-The mind/body connection” the most common cause of back pain is Tension Myositis Syndrome which is linked to anger and anxiety. I was finally putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
Through my research I have found that all these connections could be made by looking at how well my four bodies were being cared for. If you think of each of the bodies I described as legs of a chair it’s easy to see how one “broken” leg can make the whole chair unstable. When another leg “breaks” the stability is decreased even more. If three legs are broken that destroys the chair and it’s no longer usable. For me three of my legs were broken and cancer was about to take out the last.
I couldn’t let that happen. I had two little boys to raise as a single mom. My husband passed away six weeks after I was diagnosed so I couldn’t let my kids go without both parents. Now it was time to pull up my boot straps and start implementing some of the things I had learned from my research (which is always ongoing and part of the process).
Fixing the broken legs of my chair has been easy when I keep it simple by looking at the four bodies. I have found that when I pay attention to each leg every day I find harmony in my life that takes very little effort, as opposed to the constant balancing act I was trying to perform before my life turned upside down.
When you give just a little bit of love to each of the four bodies, they give you tons of love back. So here is how you do that:
Leg #1: Your Spiritual Body
No matter what religion you practice there are ways to feed your spirit. Whatever that looks like for you, give yourself 15-30 minutes a day to focus solely on this body. Some days it may be sitting in meditation, other days it may be going for a walk. Whatever it looks like for you keep your spiritual body in mind as you perform whatever task you’re doing.
Leg #2: Your Mental Body
Our mental state can be improved simply by learning something new. Rather than coming home from a hard days work, where you may have lost the capacity for mental acuity, take 5 minutes to sit quietly and concentrate on your breathing. This will help perk you up so you can take 30 minutes to read a book or some other form of literature to get your mental juices flowing. Things that are learned over time, say 30 minutes a day, have been found to stick with us a little more than cramming it all in at once.
Leg #3: Your Emotional Body
Getting in touch with your emotions and allowing them to have a voice can help you become more emotionally intelligent. Feel whatever you’re feeling in any given moment. You don’t have to act on that feeling unless you choose to. I like to use the S.T.O.M.P. method when I’m starting to feel upset, flustered or overwhelmed. Yes, there are negative emotions, and it’s the negative emotions that then to lead us to make disempowering choices. The S.T.O.M.P. method is really easy. S-stop what you’re doing, T-take a few deep breaths, O-observe your body, your thoughts, your emotions, M-make a mental picture of how you want to be, P-proceed consciously. If proceeding consciously means you go beat up on some pillows for five minutes then go do it. The emotion obviously needs to be released.
Leg #4: Your Physical Body
This one we all know how to care for, we just don’t always make the healthiest choices. Eating clean and healthy, little to no packaged foods and moving your body, whatever that looks like for you, are the easiest ways to care for our physical bodies. Things like rest are important too. I like to take a nice hot bath with epsom sale, essential oils and crystals once a week to show all my bodies some love.
When you make the legs of your chair stable you can count on that chair to be there every time you sit down. It doesn’t have to be a big production to put some little things into practice. Jeff Olson explains it well in his book “The Slight Edge” when he says that little practices over time yield the biggest results.
It’s all about the baby steps.
Ready to mend the legs of your Life Chair? Click the button below to contact me for more information.
CFTC…the recipe for breast cancer soup.
Cancer of any kind is scary as hell. Our human minds think we’re invincible…until we hear the “C” word.
I was devastated. I initially thought I had just been handed a death sentence. My world came crashing down and life as I knew it changed. Looking back five years later, my heart is full of gratitude for my diagnosis. I would not be the brightly shining light I am today had it not been for cancer. I would not be the inspiration to others. I would not be the calm (most days 😉 ) loving mother I am. I would not be the conscious being on a mission to spread love, compassion and understanding that I am. It’s taken me five years to embrace these qualities in myself.
The thing is, you can-cervive too. Thank you @we.cancer.vive for the new perspective.
You can also thrive!
There are four things that not only helped me get through my cancer journey, they continue to expand who I am on a deep level. They are the four ingredients to what I call breast cancer soup. Along with lots of love these four ingredients make up the magic elixir that can help you in your fight against cancer. Those four things are Courage, Faith, Trust, and Connection.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to get through any life threatening dis-ease. Webster defines courage as the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Why “fighting cancer” isn’t in the dictionary as one of the definitions I don’t know, but it should be.
In order to do something that you know is difficult there has to be a level of faith and trust that get added to the mix. Having faith means you have a strong belief in someone or something. I found that as I strengthened my faith in myself to make the best decisions for me and in the Universe to help heal me, my courage grew. Trusting my doctors to take care of me when I was scared was pretty huge too. If you can’t trust your doctors, your treatment may not be successful, so make sure to follow any gut feelings that you may need a new team member.
The last ingredient to breast cancer soup is connection. For me this was the biggest and best gift I could have ever received-connection on so many levels. Connection to my Higher Self, connection to my family and friends, connection to other cancer patients/survivors, connection to the abundant support of strangers, connection with the Universe.
So when you’re feeling like shit because chemo, surgery or radiation has knocked you on your ass, try a nice steaming bowl of breast cancer soup. The recipe is so easy anyone can make it, caregivers and children too (my boys make the best breast cancer soup).
Lots of love and healing vibes,
Need to sou chef?
P.S. I hate cooking but I’ll make this recipe any day of the week so feel free to give me a call and I’ll help you make some.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Notice how you feel being in their presence. Do you feel peaceful or angry? Is your body tensing up or are you relaxed?
- Ask them what lesson or gift they have for you. Listen as they share their knowledge.
- Acknowledge them by thanking them for their generosity and support, and gracefully embracing them.
- 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,
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.