If you plugged into any media or social media platform in the last few weeks of December 2016, you probably took note of the overwhelming number of people writing and posting about how tragic a year 2016 was, and the general consensus that it couldn’t be over fast enough! Perhaps you yourself were one of the prolific posters ready for the New Year and the new you that would come with it. To that I would place absolutely no judgement, as we are all on our own journey.
From an outsider’s perspective observing the year that 2016 brought to me, one would most definitely believe that I myself was on the “2016 blues train”. 2016 was my cancer year, my year to not only fear the word “chemo”, but to own it and to experience what it meant first hand. It was the year that saying the word “wig” began a chain reaction of emotions firing in my body, resulting in a lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes, because I feared that my long golden locks would soon no longer be a part of me and I would have to surrender to wearing someone else’s hair for the foreseeable future. It was the year for many scans, many tests and it was the year that I learned just how important it is to have a doctor with good bedside manner…or maybe those two things don’t coexist???
HOWEVER, 2016 was also the year that I fully became a dedicated student in the classroom of life. I showed up everyday, I did my research and my homework and I was rewarded with enlightenment and many incredibly valuable life lessons. In the grand scheme of life, 2016 was my teachable moment – this was a term that I learned at the very beginning of my CANcer journey, and it has held true throughout these past 365 days. Here is what it taught me:
MMXVI Lesson 1: Eat your Veggies
I know, I have written about this approximately 500 times, BUT, good things come from eating green. As I described in Plasticize to Prosperity, the first thing I did after receiving my diagnosis was cut out meat, sweets, wheat and dairy from my diet. I ate a raw food and vegan, plant-based diet and within weeks (before starting conventional treatment) I noticed the lumps in my neck begin to get soft and shrink in size. Now that’s plant power, baby! Some common side effects of eating plant-based are not feeling uncomfortably full after meals, no need for secret after-lunch-snoozing at your office desk and overall increased energy. Who said side effects were always bad? Thats May Cause Radiance for yah!
MMXVI Lesson 2: Rest your Body
I have been an athlete, I have been involved in many ladies group adventure sports like mountain biking and skiing and I have always been in general a very active person. The simple most challenging thing for me to conquer this past year has been letting my body rest when it needed to. And it needed to in a big way. Of course the average person will not require as much rest and down-time as someone going through chemotherapy will, but giving your body the time it needs to recuperate after a big work out, after a busy work season or after a common flu is so important. As I continue to be-build my body after treatment, I am slowly noticing that it is continually asking for less and less time to rest, however, I have learned how to identify and how to honour the rest that it needs. Maybe sometimes it even needs a bath with epsom salts and my favourite essential oils blend – and that’s okay! The body wants what the body wants…
MMXVI Lesson 3: Let Others Help You
I have come to realize that in most cases, people offer their aid to show their support, their love and also for them to feel as though they are valuable in any given situation. I have learned that when I am dealing with one of life’s challenges, the people that I love around me are also working through it on their own level, their own frequency. In many cases, people offer their aid as a coping mechanism for themselves in order to process what you may be going through, even if it does not directly effect them. In my situation, people offered to fill my freezer with healthy vegan ready-to-go meals so I didn’t have to worry about cooking while I was focusing on letting my body rest and heal. At the time, I was not at all concerned that I wouldn’t be able to feed myself while going through treatment. I knew I wasn’t going to starve, so my first reaction was to resist. However, I quickly learned that as much as I would appreciate all this beautiful food that was being offered, and that it would contribute to my path to health through all the good nutrients it would fill my body with and allow me to rest rather than cook, it would also contribute to my loved ones processing and healing journey of their own. Mentally, people heal when they feel they are being of service. Let others support you so you can support yourself.
MMXVI Lesson 4: Don’t Ignore Signs
It is so easy to develop expectations around any situation or event. I have learned that expectations usually just screw you up. Instead of predetermining how something should happen, instead just let it happen as it should, naturally and organically. When you surrender to higher energies and forces and allow space in your life for things to unfold without any pressure, miracles will start to happen in your life. This is not to say that you should take a back seat and rather watch Netflix from your phone (uhm, how is this even possible anyways?) then steer your life in the direction you want it to go. You still can and should continue to make educated and sound decisions based on your life goals and priorities, however when driving your car do you obey signs and travel only on established roads and infastruture? Or do you drive your car where you think a road should be, and ignore signage, intersection lights and patrol authority? No, you don’t – because this is how accidents happen. The same goes for the highway of life – there is an established road ahead of you, just drive along it. Don’t try to drive roads that aren’t there, don’t run red lights. Look for the signs – they are there. And they will guide you to where you need to be.
MMXVI Lesson 5: Let the Universe do Her Thing
The Universe has a plan, in some shape or form, and your resistance will only alter your experience, not necessarily the end result. This past year I have learned that the Universe works in very mysterious and often very cheeky ways. The Universe has a good sense of humour, and often Her best work is realized through the most challenging times of your life. You will know that She is working for you when you begin to identify synchronicities, start to notice numbers of significance to you when you look at the clock, or when you will think about getting in touch with a person, then see them at the bank the next day. However, She works on a larger scale as well – in my experience She put me through the scariest challenge of my life for me to realize my ultimate life purpose. She put me through a CANcer diagnosis and six months of treatment in order to show me that, even though my day job is a freshwater fish biologist (and I do love it!), my actual life purpose is to use my experience to connect with other Young Adults affected by cancer, to build community and to spread radiance wherever I can!
MMXVI Lesson 6: Be kind.
I know, so simple, right?! However, society is not kind. Instead of remaining conscious of the fact that every human we cross paths with everyday is also a husband, a wife, a father, a son and best friend to someone, we easily become distracted by any small annoyance they are causing us and quickly discount any opinion, recommendation or information they have to offer if it does not align with our own. We forget that everyone has “stuff” and the person they are at work, or waiting at the bus stop or ahead of you in the grocery line up, is only one aspect to who they are and what they have to offer to you and to humanity. I experienced this first hand, because, even though I was technically a “cancer patient”, my outer appearance did not in any way resemble what this is supposed to look like. My outside was “normal” and my inside was turmoil! I have learned to look past one’s front, one’s insecurities or one’s outer image and acknowledge their light. People come into our lives for a reason, and you never know what type of opportunity you may be missing out on if you choose to scowl at someone that ducks ahead of you in the coffee line up rather than offering them a smile – you may make their bad day a little brighter. Remember Lesson 5 – the Universe works in mysterious ways!