How Cancer Changed Me

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Before cancer entered my life, I was a gym rat. Physical exercise was part of my daily routine and working out made me feel relaxed and healthier. Being diagnosed with cancer all that changed, as my energy plummeted, along with my physical, emotional and mental health.

🤸During treatments, I did not have the stamina to do my usual workout routine. In fact, I did nothing the first few weeks, as my days were filled with tests, appointments and surgeries. It wasn't until I found chair yoga that movements would begin again, but in a totally different, non-strenuous way. It wasn't my typical workout, however I felt calmer and my body was grateful for the simple movements. In fact, it was an opportunity to really start to listen to my body and what it needed. And that was brand new for me!


After treatment, 15 years later, a wee bit older and hopefully wiser, I have resumed a level of physical exercise that's right for me. I practice yoga several times a week and attend classes where I lift light weights that strengthen my bones, muscles and mind.

With the knowledge I have gained I share this: Do what feels right for YOU! Listen, listen, listen to your body, as It will speak to you! Find what works for you in the space you are in. Your body knows exactly what it needs and wants, so honor that!

Here are a few tips:

1. Feel free to exercise at your own pace. Easy does it.

2. Even the smallest movement can count, just make an effort to do something. It helps mentally too.

3. Don't care about what others think- if you are working out, outside of your home. If perhaps your head is bald or whatever it might be, it's okay to be YOU. In fact, people will show up and support you and love you just as you are.

4. Practice balance...Honor your body and what you are going through. What you could do pre-cancer, may not be your norm NOW.

5. Exercise has its benefits. It can boost energy, reduce fatigue, manage stress and anxiety. Improve bone and heart health and prevent weight gain.
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I am not remotely the same gal that I was before cancer. Today, I AM a strong, courageous warrior woman who loves, appeciates and listens to her body. I choose to nourish my gorgeous body temple with healthy foods, drinks, kindness and compassion. I live in the moment and love life to its fullest. Cancer gave me all of these gifts!

I wish you the same. Be healthy, be well, be kind and be happy!

Check out my full story here in my book titled Firewalk


Just Listen

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“Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is about what you learn on the way down”

Yoga has become a passion of mine for so many reasons. It teaches me to be mindful, listen to my body, be still and connect to the quietness of the breath! When I am in the flow of my postures there are no must haves or to do’s. I am merely experiencing yoga as it moves through me -a simple dance of the breath and mind intertwined. As I experience yoga, each class can be quite humbling; postures are always a work in progress, no perfecting poses, always just a practice.

The universe always gives me what I you need and this day was no different.

It was mid-way through an early morning yoga class and I couldn’t help but overhear, the woman next to me. As the teacher assisted her postures, I kept hearing the woman’s words, “I can’t, my body won’t bend, I have a bad back.” At the end of class, she stated out loud, “it’s tough to get old!”

“Holy smokes,” I thought. “It’s no wonder her body won’t move. Her words are taking form and she hasn’t said one positive thing about herself this entire class.”

Louise Hay popped into my head. She was a mentor and teacher for me back in the day! A pioneer who believed that your mental chatter has a profound impact on your physical body. Louise eloquently stated, “The thoughts we the think, the words we speak, and the beliefs we hold, shape who we are and who we become in the world.” BINGO… BINGO

Instead of speaking loving, positive words to her body, every thought and word, my classmate was saying, was about what her body couldn’t do and it was adamantly responding. I thought, “what if she treated her body with loving kindness and compassion? What if she talked to her body with respect and dignity for what it could do? What if she changed the focus to I can, versus I can’t? Perhaps her knees and back would behave differently.”

What this brought up for me was how I used to talk to my body in the same fashion. Comparing myself to others, I chastised my gorgeous self for what I couldn’t do instead of how proud I was of what she could do. I berated and belittled my gorgeous body temple and she behaved accordingly. Whether off or on the mat, my focus was on lack, limit and what my body wasn’t doing. It wasn’t until my body slammed me with illness, that I woke up and began using Louise’s works. And when I did, my life changed, my body healed and I returned to wellness!! It was one of the greatest gifts life has every given me.

Today, my yoga practice is so different than it used to be. It’s not about pushing through for me anymore. It’s about intuitively knowing what is best for me and honoring that! I have no expectations on any given day, of how my body should be. If I listen up it will tell me and if I am wise I will oblige!

My body is my barometer and if I listen to, and love it, no matter what, I am bound to have amazing results. I have deep gratitude and reverence for this vehicle of mine. She has carried me through life and I am so blessed to live inside of her! “For us to become whole and healthy, we must balance the body, mind, and spirit. We choose to take good care of our bodies. We choose to have a positive mental attitude about ourselves and about life. And we can choose to have a strong spiritual connection. When these three things are balanced, we rejoice in living. No doctor or health practitioner can give us this unless we choose to take part in our healing process.” Louise Hay

AFFIRMATIONS FOR YOUR BODY

1. I am healthy and whole

2. My body is perfect, whole and complete

3. I respect and love my body

4. My body temple is amazing

5. My body is healed, all is well

Waking Up

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I grew up in a volatile, chaotic home filled with drama and an enormous amount of fear. I often felt helpless, alone, and like a victim. I had no self-esteem, didn’t like myself; never mind love myself, and I would have preferred to exist as a wallflower and never been seen. Ever since I can remember I was scared to death of everything. I kid you not. I became the peacemaker in the family, the healer and nurse, as well as co-dependent to my parents, which was a sick, tainted relationship. They completely ruled my love and it made me crazy. I attempted to break this co-dependent cycle but the plan went drastically awry and only made life more of a living hell. This twisted relationship with my folks had escalated to an all-time high and something felt like it was going to burst! I didn’t know how or when, but I felt danger lurking in the air.

My call to adventure came shortly thereafter when my dad died followed by my mom’s passing five weeks after. Ten months later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer which catapulted me into a dark night of the soul. Depression, fear, and anxiety filled my sad and somber days. No one could save me, but me, and I didn’t have the foggiest notion of how to do that. 

Thus the journey of the deep, rich work began. Through teachers, healers, books, and complementary therapies, plus a newfound faith in a higher power, I slowly began to heal my mind, body and spirit. By practicing self-love and self-care exercises, I realigned with my authentic self which is pure love. Looking at old thoughts and beliefs and changing them was transformational too. The lens shifted and my life was no longer remotely the same. I was given a second chance at life and living with clear intent, purpose, and reverence. I was waking up and remembering who I was. I came to the realization that I am solely responsible for me. Like a Phoenix rising, I was rising up from the ashes, reborn a with wisdom and strength that create a light bright enough to encourage and inspire others on their journey. 

Today, I describe myself as a goddess, a warrior woman, a victor who seeks the nectar of life. This is indeed a journey of self-discovery and exploration and it can be extraordinary. I no longer resist life but allow life to flow to and through me. I am blessed beyond measure for all of it. Without my past I wouldn’t be who I am today and for that I am eternally grateful!

My question to you?

Are you living your best life? Are you happy, fulfilled, abundant in love, relationships and great health? Or are you dissatisfied, feeling empty and living in the limit and lack mentality? The awesome news is, is that you don’t have to stay stuck, life wants to give you exactly what you desire. Perhaps, it’s time to make some changes. Perhaps it’s time to wake up to the real YOU!

Want to dive deeper into this work with some gentle guidance?  I would love to be your guide. 

Click the link below to sign up for Awakening to the New You.

https://path2healing.us/classes/

Reflections: The beginning

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I write to angels, why YES I do! Angels are messengers of the Divine, Source, or Higher Power. They are pure, unconditional love and light, that are there to comfort, guide and support on ones journey. Why do I write? They bring comfort in times of fear and inspirational messages of hope, trust and faith, when all feels lost and hopeless. They help connect me to all that is, and that which is omnipotent and never ending. My angels are my life preserver when Ifeel like I am drowning and can’t save myself, which has been often. I question, listen, and thank them for their undivided attention and guidance always.

Serapis Bey, aka, Osiris is the ascended master I wrote to on this day, 8/30/11. My husband and I had just found out in 2011 that our 25-year-old son had an addiction to opiates. Osiris is known to assist with addiction, so that is whom I called upon.

Dear Osiris: My dear friend of yours, come to me now. Substance abuse and addiction is all around my family and myself. It is time for change. What can I do from my end to facilitate this?

Osiris gently responded with the following message: 

Clear your mind and clear your thoughts. Keep your body healthy and clean, practice yoga, meditate daily, journal, pray and seek support for yourself. GIVE, and I say GIVE your worries over to me and Creator, for it is too much for you to bear alone. You have received many divine signs already. Hold tight and watch the process unfold.

Osiris is like a spiritual fitness guru; he inspires, motivates, and provides hope for the future. If there is something weighing heavy on your heart, or you are just seeking guidance, call to him. Hold the mental intention of connecting with him, then stop a moment, close your eyes and take some deep breaths. As you breathe in, think about your desires. As you exhale, imagine that you’re releasing whatever is bothering you. At some point you may feel his presence around you by either hearing his voice or sense some thoughts that came from him. Embrace whatever it is you receive from him.

As I reflect back on this time in my life seven years ago, I am beyond grateful for my powerful angel friends. Their presence has made such a difference in my life, and I say this with the deepest of gratitude. For the lessons, blessings and gifts they have bestowed on me, I am eternally indebted to them all. I truly believe I would not be at this peace-filled space in my life today without them. May you find this grace and solace too!

Writing to Heal

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When I was initially diagnosed with CANCER, a terrifying demon entered my life and my mind. This demon monopolized my thoughts for most of the day and was more than eager to stick around into the night when all hell broke loose. Fear, worry and anxiety were her specialties, and boy, did she excel at them all. Hooked me right in!!!!!

Insomnia kept me awake until the wee hours of the morning and I would tumble out of bed in sheer exhaustion. This was not the time for such antics as I had life altering decisions to make regarding my health.

I soon developed physical ailments that I believe were triggered by stress, overwhelming fear and a multitude of tests necessary to aid in my diagnosis. My body felt tattered, torn and greatly fatigued. My mind felt like it was going crazy and I couldn’t stop the incessant thoughts. It was a scary time in my life and I felt completely alone, vulnerable and helpless.

I had pills for pain, sleep, anxiety and depression. You name it. I was like a “walking pharmacy.” Felt more like a “walking zombie.” Realized pretty quick into the game that this was not going to work for ME but what else was I to do????????

A friend suggested journaling to help me gain some feeling of control in my life. Being open to a modality without side effects was appealing, so I ventured into a bookstore and bought myself the most beautiful pink journal I could find.

I didn’t know what to write at first so I did a little research of my own and then began my cathartic process of letting go.

This is one of my initial entries:

"Take away the pain Lord. Take it away right now. Take all of my fears. My wish is to heal and be whole again. I want to trust. I want to surrender completely to you. But that fear is overwhelming at times. I need to get through this moment Lord, surround me with your love and light. Surround me with a billion ANGELS. I need all of your support. Soothe my mind.  ANGELS, I give you my worries. Send me peace. Thank you."

There I said “IT.” I was acknowledging my deepest secrets to a piece of paper, but somehow I felt better afterwards. A sense of relief took over and I felt calmer and more at peace than I had in quite some time. In a peculiar way it felt safe to write my down my worries as I was not being judged nor criticized for my thoughts. My journal and I became great confidantes and this process truly helped in my recovery.

People experiencing cancer or some other life threatening illness may have similar feelings such as anxiety, extreme worry or sleepless nights at the beginning stages of their disease. Many of us do not want to burden our family members or medical team with our concerns, so we keep the emotions bottled up inside. Not healthy to do…………. believe me I know firsthand……..

Journaling is a fantastic way to release feelings, thoughts and pent up emotions which will then have  positive effects on your body/mind/spirit. Writing can enhance your ability to cope which frees you up to make important health decisions.

Journaling did indeed alleviate my stress, sleeplessness and anxiety and helped with the pain too. Much pain we experience in our lives is related to stuck emotions that are unexpressed, at least that is my belief anyway. When I wrote my TRUTH directly from my HEART onto the paper, I came to realize how strong, resilient and powerful I truly was. I no longer felt alone and knew intuitively that one day I would be sharing my story with others, so that they too would not feel isolated, helpless or hopeless.

Journal entry four months later;

"I am alive. I am healthy. I am well. It feels so good, so great, so fantastic to feel this way. Oh, what I have conquered. Oh, what I have overcome. What a gift I have been  given. I don’t think I ever would have gotten here without my cancer. YES, my cancer. I am becoming more comfortable saying the word. It hasn’t come easy for me to say it. But you know what that’s all it is—- a word."

I still journal today and I couldn’t imagine life without my pen and notepad. Some days I express gratitude for all that is good in my life, while others days I seek solutions to life’s challenges. Quite often, I am enlightened by the wisdom and knowledge that resides within. So many of our answers are found there, if we just allow ourselves to get quiet and then take the time to get still and listen.

For novice journalists here are some tips to get you started on your journey:

  1. Pick out a journal that calls to YOU. And I mean speaks to you so much that you just have to get it. Remember your journal may become your new best friend!!!
     
  2. Find a quiet place, take the phone off the hook, and give yourself the time to do this exercise. Light a lovely candle, have a cup of your favorite tea and make this “ME” time. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, let go of expectations, and then just allow.
     
  3. For starters, don’t think with your head as to what to write about. Let your heart do the talking and the words will just flow. Let whatever comes, come, without judgement. If you get stuck, jot down one word that pops into your mind and the rest will follow. There are no rules here!!!!! If emotions arise, let them. Tears cleanse the heart and help you heal.
     
  4. Date all entries. You will be amazed at your progress and perhaps see how much you are growing as a spiritual being.
     
  5. Keep your journal in a safe place as it is your private life. If you want to share it, do so, but do not feel you have to. It is your safe haven, your sanctuary, your place of respite. It is for YOU and YOU alone. Remember that!!
     
  6. Learning to appreciate yourself and your gifts and letting go of unwanted symptoms and “stuff” is available through the process of journaling. Give it a try and let me know how you make out and what you uncover. So many gifts are inside of you. So much waiting to be discovered. Finding peace within the chaos is possible too. I hope you come to understand how powerful you truly are.

So I invite you to take out your journal and begin writing, for what you say today, may just inspire someone in your shoes tomorrow.

Blessings,
Pat