Spring Opportunities of Joy for Breast Cancer Survivors

Winter may have been especially long, cold and dark for many; but as winter turned a corner on March 20, 2017, spring caused a shift in sunlight, brightening the corners of darkness. As breast cancer survivors’ know, not all changes bring light into the darkness. Life feels permanently changed when those words resounded in your ears, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” What do you know about the word, permanently? Maybe it is that all things are truly impermanent (not permanent). Like the four seasons, we realize the idea of impermanence as one season rolls into the next, ever changing. The concept of impermanence becomes a useful tool for living our lives vibrantly. Increasingly important, using ALL of our tools to keep us moving forward and staying positive. As Bell Ruth Naparstek explained in one of her affirmations in many of her healing CDs, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.”

Spring is a time when many things begin anew again. Grass appears greener than usual, blossoms on trees dance in the sunlight and bunnies are being born. Birds even seem to border on the obnoxious side late at night and early morning hours. The birds are so happy to be alive and so happy to create what comes natural that they do not attempt to restrain their song. You too, can be like the birds. Letting the cancer be like a winter season in your life, and chose to move into spring with the light, and the birds.

It is March 20, 2017 and you are still here. What do you want to plant? What to do you want to create? All of us reading this today are still here. All of us are going to die, yes, but what are we going to do with this day to make it a song from our heart? What if we feel tired? What if we feel weak? What is it that we can do to make today a day of spring-filled blessings? The choice is ours. We are not the same person before those words, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” We are different now. Think about when Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was hit upside the head with window, her life changed. She went on an unplanned journey that had many perils. When she returned to Kansas, no one or nothing had changed. However, Dorothy was different. She had been on the journey while everyone else stayed in their own comfort zone. Cancer changes us because it throws us out of our comfort zone and into the battle with the wicked witch of the west. We begin to see the path is up to us, not the Wizard, to survive the ordeals. We must get the witches broom. The season of spring gives us many opportunities to sweep out things not working, pack up things that are no longer useful and create new and bright happy changes in our life.

Make that affirmation, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.” Regardless of your situation, stage, grade, or prognosis, create some joy in each day. Whether it is the ecstasy of the softness of ice cream in your mouth or a cool washcloth against your hot skin, push yourself to move toward joy just as a flower pushes out of the dormant cold frozen dirt toward the warmth and light of the newly arrived sunlight. Life is simple. It is what it is. You get to create joy and you can do that. Cancer did not steal that ability.

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Advertisements

A Woman to Woman NEW YEAR Resolutions: Wants vs Needs

A Woman to Woman NEW YEAR Resolutions- Wants vs Needs“Kat, what is your New Year’s Resolution?” a friend asks over lunch. “Mine is to give up cigarettes and sugar” she says, while shaking a packet of sweetener substitute into her coffee.

“Mine’s to not give up anything and to put myself first,” is my answer. “Then I’ll refocus on implementing the difference between wants and needs in life.”

My friend stops stirring her coffee, peers over her sunglasses, and asks, “What do you mean by that?”

The concept of “care-giver first” and the difference between want and need were clearly alien to her. For the longest time they were to me, too.

Crisis can re-prioritize your life.
These concepts introduced themselves during radiation therapy while battling breast cancer recurrence. The side effects of emotional emptiness were more severe than treatment burns in some women because they were unaware of the importance of soul self-care.

Unfortunately burn-out is an equal opportunity state of emotion that affects men, too.

Statistics show that women worldwide are the main care-givers in life who share unconditionally until there is nothing left. Their inner well runs dry. Lately, an alarming pattern of self-induced emptiness has emerged during these uncertain economic times.

Part of the problem is not distinguishing between wants and needs.
Families have many wants, and care-givers try to meet those wants as needs; a terrible burden to carry. Care-givers are burned-out from giving so much of themselves to those who want more than is available. The result is nothing left to give to people who truly need help, including themselves. Weak emotional boundaries crumble under the weight of want. Medication and psychotherapy fills the void and dulls feelings of frustration and failure.

When the spirit suffers the body cries out with symptoms of dis-ease. Listen to yourself.
Breast Cancer Authority Blog New Year 2016Now is the dawning of a New Year. Here are three resolutions that are antidotes to emptiness. They are written as choice-affirmations that complement and empower the people who choose to live them.

  • “I will choose to love and embrace myself.”
  • “I will choose to put myself first and give myself permission to be number one in my life.”
  • “I will choose to build strong defined boundaries using the power of “NO!” as a tool.

Saying “no” to others is difficult because care-givers love to please, and will go without so others may have more. Some of this is care-giver conditioning. It may be time for retraining.

Recondition yourself. Say “Yes!” to you, which can automatically so “No” to imbalance.
When going through chemotherapy, my psychotherapist armed me with a powerful mantra as an aid through the uncertainty of treatment. “You are number one. No one and nothing is more important than you.” She was right! As a cancer hotline phone counselor and mentor, that mantra is still important, today. How can an empty counselor give to others?

Fire up your heart with self-love. You want to be embraced but need to hug yourself first.
Intention powered by the flame of loveThe importance of the mantra was even more evident during the Stitch-n-Bitch (as we liked to call ourselves) radiation therapy group. Women who had been the sole care-givers of their family were suddenly discarded when circumstances shifted and they needed care. These women said that without the love and devotion of their lovers or significant others, they were nothing. They lacked the power to survive.

Breast Cancer Authority Blog New Years 2016Their chances for a full recovery were challenged by their depression and feelings of emotional emptiness. Our little group spent hours discussing wants versus needs. So deep were these discussions that the nurses, radiologists and counselors listened in and took notes.

We came to some profound conclusions.
We want others to love us, but we need to love ourselves. We want a big beautiful house, but we really only need a roof over our heads. We want to eat in fancy restaurants, but we just need nutritious food. The lists of wants versus needs were endless. Realizing the difference between them, however, was the first step in becoming emotionally, physically and financially fulfilled. Trying to meet the endless demands of keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ is expensive on so many levels. The reality of trying to keep up with Reality TV can be emotional and financial bankruptcy. Understanding this truth is the first step to teaching it to our family.

Putting reality into practice will help us, as care-givers, become aware of our limitations.
It has been easy to fall back into old habits and become lax in practicing what that little group preached during those difficult times, so many years ago. Now, it is time to put want-versus- need back into daily practice.

When something seems enticing, the question will be, “Is that truly needed, or just wanted?”
This New Year, focus on inner-balance. Embrace being kind and forgiving to you first, then practice good-will toward others. As you step out of your comfort zone it might feel odd, which may be validation that you are creating a new empowered habit. Seek out and join a community; a “sister-hood of women” (or men), as your support system. Their strength will keep you from feeling alone during times of despair and their resources will help you meet the needs of your family and friends.

Here is an example of an empowering statement to repeat that can help you settle into this new habit. “When my body is fatigued, I will rest. When my soul is tired, I will meditate. I will surround myself with things I love like positive friends, pets, plants, music and fragrant candles while immersed in healing waters from a bath or shower.”

Too many of us have lost a part of ourselves and are experiencing a void. Enjoying your favorite things will fill your soul with joy.
As with the Chinese yin and yang, which are seemingly opposing forces bound together, intertwined, and interdependent in the natural world, we are complex creatures comprised of body and soul. These two diabolically different parts must be in balance as a duality for complete health of body and mind. Like yin and yang, male and female, your body and soul are a dynamic equilibrium duo. If one disappears, the other must fade as well, leaving emptiness.

When one part of self is full it flows into the other.New Years 2016 on Breast Cancer AuthorityIt is time to face forward into a New Year of balance comprised of yin and yang, love and self-love, and forgive mistakes we cannot change. We can learn from our past to build a positive future. The good news is a sisterhood or brotherhood of women and men is only a phone call, post or tweet away to help you refill yourself with the love you deserve and NEED.

Balance yourself. Take care of your soul and it will take care of you . . . then help others.

Kathleen O'Keefe-Kanavos Breast Cancer Authority ContributorKathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is TV Producer/Host of Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod and Author/Lecturer of the International award winning, bestseller, Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing which promotes Dream Therapy, patient advocacy and connecting with Inner guidance for success in health, wealth and relationships. Learn more @ AccessYourInnerGuide.com
(all photos are owned by the author)

Cancer – Tool To Realign You With Your Purpose

Work, Love, CourageBy Suzanne Strisower, MA, PCC
Life Purpose Expert, Certified Life and Career Coach
http://www.AwakenToYourLifePurpose.com & http://www.YourNextStepCoach.com

Illness(cancer) is a tough situation that can happen within us often when we least expect it. It has also been perceived as a “messenger” to help bring us and our lives back into alignment. Louise Hay in her classic book, You Can Heal Your Life, offers some interesting insights into the probable cause and new thoughts as they relate to cancer. This may not be your belief system, but she offers a perspective to help give meaning and purpose to the experience when she says for the probable causes,

“Deep hurt. Longstanding resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatreds. What’s the use.”

Her new thought or affirmation for cancer is,

“I lovingly forgive and release all of the past. I choose to fill my world with joy. I love and approve of myself.”

When we experience life threatening or near death experiences we are can be left with major revelations about how different we are now and how we have a totally new world view about who we are and what is important to us now. Gone are the days of fluff…

Now, we know we are here for a reason, otherwise, we too would have died.  Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos, a three time breast cancer survivor, quipped that “obviously I hadn’t completed my purpose or I would have been gone.” She knows now that her purpose  is to empower cancer victims to be their own best advocate and she helps people know what really lies ahead during and after treatment through her work with the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation.

Illness provides the opportunity to reassess one’s life, to consider what your purpose in life really is? The answer is very close by…It is revealed in what you have seen, experienced and understand about your life during those moments when you thought you might not make it…But now, ALIVE, how do you want to implement that vision, energy or purpose that helped your survive? Have you been given that same clarity or do you need some guidance to make your life worthwhile?

In Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, when he experienced the Nazi concentration camps, deprivation and death and asked himself why people survived life threatening circumstances and he said it was one of three things:

Work – doing something significant
Love – caring for another
Courage – during difficult times

Which of these three reflects your vision or purpose for your life? The key criteria should be joy and the celebration of your life through some kind of work, love or courage in the face of adversity you triumphed over.

What brings you joy and how can you express that in a purposeful way? Your “life purpose” is simply the “aim or intention of the energy YOU put forth,” so how would you like to joyfully and purposefully expend your energy?

In this life purpose reassessment process, look clearly at how you want to spend your energy going forward, illness gives us a great opportunity to recalibrate ourselves back to our Self.

Suzanne StrisowerSuzanne Strisower for the past 35 years has helped thousands of people as a life purpose expert, certified life and career coach, spiritual guide, author, speaker, workshop facilitator and radio show host.

%d bloggers like this: