Cancer was an experience and I am not my experiences…I AM sooo much more!
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2010, it felt like a terrible cosmic joke. On one level, I was embarrassed, having spoken for years to cancer support groups on Vibrational Awareness and The Healing Power of Music how could I walk my talk about energy alignment if I had cancer? Why didn’t my vibrational tools prevent this from happening? It didn’t take long for me to see the beauty in what was unfolding.
The first email went out to friends and family, reading in part:
“Ironically, even though the ‘unknown’ factor is a bit scary, there is a deep sense of peace surrounding all of this. I know that a large part of my purpose for being on the planet is to create and share my music with people going through the cancer journey and I also know in my heart that part of me needs to personally experience this journey in order to be able to say “been there, done that.” There is so much beauty surrounding this process already and I’m very clear that one of my main lessons during all of this is to learn how to receive love for myself. So, from my perspective, this is a sacred journey back to myself so that I can more fully share my love with the world.”
With each new day came the opportunity to learn more about myself through the unique experiences a journey with cancer offers. I’d like to share a few of the Life Lessons that continue to influence me today; perhaps they will offer a fresh perspective for you or a loved one walking a journey with cancer.
I AM…STRONG – It’s okay to have my own belief system
When we hear the word CANCER, an immediate reaction is often one of fear and the need to ‘fight it.’ However, the words “fight” and “battle” felt in direct opposition to what my body was trying to tell me. I had lived from a place of fear long enough. I made a conscious choice to walk my journey from a place of love.
I AM…RESPONSIBLE – I have the choice to choose how to live my life
I could choose to be angry and upset that my body ‘did this to me’ or I could choose to listen deeply to what my body was trying to tell me. I now had the opportunity to develop a new language of communication with my body. With every test, surgery, drug, acupuncture treatment, massage, meal, meditation, my body was changing and it was up to me to listen.
I AM…WORTHY – It’s important to take time for myself
In the beginning, my diagnosis was an excuse to begin reversing my pattern of putting others first. The excuse quickly transformed into conscious loving choices of self-care. It started by my willingness to simply slow down and believe I was worthy.
I AM…COMPASSIONATE – Judgments and assumptions restrict possibilities
As we waited for my genetic test results, the choices were on the table: mastectomy, double mastectomy, lumpectomy, hysterectomy. Wow, I never imagined I could actually choose any of them! After all, my breasts are directly connected to my femininity, my ability to nurture, my beauty as a woman, or so I thought. Such a story I had created around my breasts, such judgments I carried, and in less than 15 minutes – poof – all the stories and judgments were gone, because they were simply that…stories and judgments. This experience shed light on many of the judgments I held about myself and others. My heart opened in ways I could never have imagined.
I AM…OPEN – Be open to love and allow it to flow freely
I was adopted as an infant and created such a story about “being given away” that I didn’t trust anyone, including myself. The paradox – I wanted to please everyone so they’d love me, but I wasn’t able to receive that love because of the wall of protection I’d created. Somewhere in my past I intertwined the meanings of the words:
- Vulnerable – without adequate protection
- Open –not closed or locked, allowing access to the inside.
As I explored the stories I had created to protect myself from feeling vulnerable, the less attached I felt to other people’s perceptions or judgments. There was a new confidence and inner strength growing within me. Now I could see, feel, know, and trust that it was safe to be open and receive love. My protective shield of fear began transforming.
I AM…LOVE – I am not my experiences…I Am sooo much more!
The unique experiences and life lessons learned through my journey with cancer are profound. The nine months between my first diagnosis, lumpectomy, six rounds of chemotherapy and 33 radiation treatments became a sacred re-birthing process as I walked each day, one moment at a time.
With my 2nd diagnosis two years later, I experienced even deeper insights into my feminine energy and ancestral patterns as I prepared my body for a mastectomy and full hysterectomy.
Cancer was a life experience, as was my adoption, marriage, the birth of my sons, miscarriage, college years, beauty pageants, and every other opportunity for learning.
We must each walk our own path in life and sometimes that path is filled with challenges, fears, and uncertainties. What I’ve learned is that I AM not my experiences, I AM so much more…and so are you!
For more Life Lessons, read: “Loving Life…All of It – A Walk with Cancer, Compassion, and Consciousness”
For additional resources: My Journey With Cancer
Begin a Conscious Self-Care journey and embrace the fullness of who you are
Photo Credit: All of the “I Am…” images were taken by Julie Enstall