One of the truths I’ve learned and continue to experience is the presence of Angels. Walking the path of my cancer journey, I have encountered beautiful Angels sent to guard and support me every step of the way. My first Angel appeared not an hour after I was told of the Colon Cancer. She called to let me know everything was going to be alright.
On that life-changing day as I sat on my sofa with pen and paper in hand trying to figure out my next move, God had already handled it. My Nurse Angel proceeded to set me up with a Second Opinion Clinic and shared the much-needed news that it was covered by insurance. As the process continued, she scheduled appointments with my Oncologist and after the devastating news of my Breast Cancer diagnosis connected me with my incredible, talented breast surgeon.
Going into the unknown of my first Chemotherapy treatment I met two more Angels who wrapped me up in their wings and supported me, made me laugh, and provided comfort and continued faith that I had this. Absolutely! I had no doubt this was the case because God held my hand and had indeed sent them as gifts from Heaven.
My surgeons, medical personnel, and fellow cancer patients have all proved to be smiling Angels that remain influences in my life and commitment to living mindfully with a positive attitude.
Today I’m moving forward with my life cancer free and celebrating the dawning of each new day. Regular massages used to be a part of healthy pre-cancer times but sadly had to be put on hold since traveling the cancer road.
Recently, I took advantage of a great Groupon deal for my first massage in over a year. My body was so tight and has been in such need of the release of tension and toxins that were pumped into my body. Entering the calming, aromatic environment I instantly felt relaxed and welcomed.
Once again, Angels abound in my incredibly blessed life as I encountered a kindred spirit who walks in the light of positive energy and sees her Purpose as reaching out with healing hands to extend a heartfelt message of love and compassion.
As she relieved the knots and massaged the bubbles of toxins from my body, this Angel also fed my spirit. We chatted about love and our collective souls. How significantly a simple smile or gesture can impact another person’s day; she believes as I do, our unified love is so much stronger than the toxicity of hate.
Maybe the world we find ourselves living in at this moment can be used as an opportunity to have a revolution of Love. To embrace one another no matter how familiar or foreign. We are more alike than different and maybe these times are a slap in the face to say WAKE UP! Don’t take this life for granted. Be a vessel of light and compassion. Believe in the power of Love.
Growth can come when we feel we’re at our lowest point. Finding myself fighting colon and breast cancer strengthened my resolve and faith, allowing me to put fear aside and trust in the power of prayer and God’s grace.
Faced with devastation and shock, a period of mourning is an inevitable conclusion. However, like my cancer journey, we must respect our feelings of sadness but ultimately get back up and go forward with the fight. This is where I find myself today, dealing with recent events, my first step of picking myself back up.
It may not always be easy, but this is where the opportunity comes for growth.
We must not give up or give in. Fight from a place you never knew existed and know that the struggle is real.
Being diagnosed with both Colon and Breast Cancer at the same time heightened my self-awareness big time! It slapped me in the face and said, “girl, you better appreciate each precious moment you’re given because this fight is fluid as is life.”
I wouldn’t wish Cancer on anyone but facing your mortality can be seen as a blessing. It affords you a second chance to treasure your life, family, and friends, like never before.
Since then, I’ve made it a priority to cherish the time spent. Heck, I even named this blog, Livinginthemoment2015, marking my year of living with cancer and its impact.
However, you don’t have to await some tragedy or moment of truth to start living a mindful and conscious life. Take advantage of this post and the current series – “Mindfulness and Meditation”byDr. Richard J. Davidsonand use itas an opportunity to learn to appreciate the silence in meditation and the awareness it brings.
Make it a practice to live in the here and now, not the past or the future. Realize that NOW is the only reality there is.
“Certain meditation exercises have been proven to lower stress, anxiety, and depression. They have also been shown to change the self-awareness, attention, and resilience dimensions of emotional style.” Dr. Richard J. Davidson
The goals of Dr. Davidson’s meditation techniques are:
° To foster a routine of daily practice for cultivating well-being.
° Establish a simple meditation process taking a few minutes a day.
° Recognition that one size does not fit all.
° Making meditation work for you.
This lesson focuses on the technique of “Mindfulness Breathing Meditation”
“If we can pay attention to our breathing, we can pay attention to almost anything.”
Sit comfortably, spine straight and strong but not rigid, body relaxed. Release any tension in your jaw, shoulders, neck or anywhere that you may have the habit of holding stress.
Breathing through your nose, take a gentle but deep inhale. And as you release the exhale, allow your eyes to drift closed, or if you prefer, just lower and soften your gaze. Begin to turn your attention inward, taking a moment to notice your inner landscape, the state of your mind.
Are there emotions present? Are you sleepy or energized? Mind buzzing or calm? Without forming an opinion or passing judgment, just notice this.
Now, with a deep inhale, imagine that you are gathering in any mental residue from your day. Any problem or unfinished business that is tugging at your attention. And with a complete exhale, release it, and see it all drop away.
Notice your breath as you set your intention to be present for this meditation.
Letting breath come to you, without attempting to change or control it. Just notice as it falls into a natural rhythm.
Breathe in, breathe out. When thoughts arise, which they will, just notice them, and let them pass away.
Gently return your attention to breathing. Calming, centering, constant. There is only this moment, this breath; connecting mind and body.
When you’re ready, take a deep, intentional inhale, and with your exhale, release your attention to the breath, and open your eyes.
“As you move through your day, it may be helpful to remember that breath is always with you, and can be used, in the moment, as a method to calm and focus your mind.”
I use this Breathing Meditation to take myself out of my surroundings and re-focus on feeling centered and present. Taking a body scan* is also an effective way to gauge your emotions. Do I feel anxious, tension, pain? Being aware of your emotions helps with empathy and compassion. Often times we lash out at others when feeling anxiety or anger. Recognizing this internal state can allow us to halt the impulse and take a breath.
Why are we feeling this way? A lot of times our anger has nothing to do with the moment or the person on the receiving end. I know I’ve been guilty of holding onto anger until finally exploding over something that has nothing to do with the current situation.
* “The Body Scan Meditation”
Next time we’ll delve into this technique to garner a further understanding and awareness of self; using the silence of meditation to practice being in the moment and your present self.
Finding our “Purpose” can feel like a daunting path to follow; intense in its undertaking. My “purpose” for tackling this course – Discover What’s Next: Living Your Life on Purpose is to reassess my life after the destiny-altering experience of being diagnosed with both colon and breast cancer simultaneously, dealing with the subsequent chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and ultimately emerging as a survivor.
As a result of my cancer challenge and to further personal growth, I’m investigating the possibilities of what my life may hold and sharing this quest of introspection and discovery with you as I take classes and reflect on ways to live my life with purpose.
I invite you to follow along with this Life Reimagined Series by regularly reading my blog. Perhaps together we can discover our passions and imagine the endless possibilities.
“Discovering Your Path to Purpose”
Once we’ve decided to find our Purpose, where do we begin? What are the next steps involved? In this lesson, the plan of action was laid out and assignment moving forward made clear.
Going through chemotherapy and radiation treatment I had a lot of time to reflect on my life and how I was living. I believe this introspection is essential to personal and spiritual growth.
My diagnosis was an incredible opportunity to step back and appreciate all the love in my life and the importance of making each moment count. I’m traveling to Florence, Italy next May as a result of my resolution to go for my dreams; a destination I’ve wanted to experience for far too many years. There’s a quote from the play, Rent that sums it up best. “No Day But Today!”
There was a time before cancer that I was reticent to discuss my thoughts, fears, dreams with others. Not even family. I didn’t realize the importance of these connections and sincere desire my friends and family had to help me in any way they could. Don’t be like I was, make sure to connect with family and friends. They know you better than you think. Discuss your reflections with your bestie or whomever you feel would be a great sounding board.
Listen to where your heart is leading you and don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities. Read, go on the internet, research, and talk to people to open yourself up to opportunities you didn’t even know existed. As you feel more confident about sharing your “Purpose”, take a chance, you might just open up some new doors to what you’ve been searching for.
Now, we’re not on an endless trip to discover our passions. That’s the old “I’ll get around to it” dodge too many of us make. Be sure to narrow down your options and pathways. But remember, you don’t have to stick to just one idea. Try on a couple to see what makes the better fit.
This step is crucial in the process. We must all decide what’s essential and what’s not for the next phase of our journey. It might be difficult but must be done. We have to let go of what’s not working and those who aren’t helping. Step into the fresh air. This is your life!
This is when the grand adventure starts. Taking that one small step forward on your path.
Where you begin is up to you.
Along my pathway of self-discovery I’ve benefited from applying “The Six Practices of Purpose.” Even before taking this course, my natural progression has led me to these principals. I’ve found it’s an excellent blueprint for revealing and strengthening my passion and “Purpose” which is:
“To share my observations on living a joyful life by writing on faith and positive energy.”
I write often about how happiness is a choice and was reminded again today when talking to a friend about her bank account being hacked. She made the conscious decision to address the issue but not get mired down in anger; recognizing that happiness is in our own hands.
We decide our reaction to circumstances or events we have to deal with in trying times. Control, in general, is an illusion. We can’t control others, only ourselves. The world spins and weaves its web, just waiting for us to play the victim in the spider’s lair.
When the urge arises to enter the trap, pause and ask yourself. Do I elect to feel self-pity, depression, anger? Or, do I decide to stay positive and turn the negative into an opportunity? How do I write this chapter of my life and does it end with a period, question or exclamation mark?!
This blog is all about Faith because of its impact and my belief that our decisions, viewpoints and life are determined by Faith or the lack thereof. My Faith led me to surrender and put my life in God’s hands as I went through treatment for colon and breast cancer. My decision was based on Faith, my viewpoint on the outcome was based on Faith, and the enrichment of my life, as a result, was achieved through Faith. I heard “Don’t You Worry Child” a couple of years ago and the message resonated. As has been a pattern of my life, I sometimes come to music, actors or movies after the fact. By the time I heard this tune by Swedish House Mafia, they had already disbanded. They broke up in 2012 and ended with a series of world concerts entitled, “The Last Tour”.
“The Last Tour” served as a farewell letter to their fans. The group was a house music superband whose songs were driven purely by emotion. Between the visuals and the adrenaline pulsating beats, fans can’t help but drop into the groove. Recently, I caught the documentary Leave the World Behind: Swedish House Mafia’s Final Tour which highlighted the fans reactions to their breakup and powerful music which had everyone in a frenzy.
What was most intriguing about the band’s breakup was the reasoning. The 3 bandmates – Atwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso revealed that they couldn’t communicate their feelings toward one another or express anger at the lack of commitment to the Swedish House Mafia project. In addition, Axwell, the leader of the band, made a comment about not wanting to be a 40-year-old DJ. Being in a band can be a lot like being in a marriage, if the couple can’t be honest with their feelings, it can lead to a lot of unnecessary pain.
Maybe if the band had greater Faith in their friendship being able to survive the truth of their feelings, they could have worked through their challenges. On the other hand, maybe it was just time to move on and start the next chapter in their lives. That realization in and of itself is an example of Faith since just as they decided to separate, the single “Don’t Worry Child” made its debut at number one in the United Kingdom. In the United States, the song became Swedish House Mafia’s biggest hit, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it their first and only top ten single.
In its’ lyrics, the message and inspiration of this tune are, as we negotiate life we experience both happiness and lost. However, God is always there and has a plan for you.