Seeing The Bigger Picture

As I shared in the last blog, I’ve been carrying this injury around for many months. As a dancer, I suppose you get used to just picking yourself up and moving onto the next thing. That’s exactly what I’ve done. That’s not to say that we don’t respect our bodies and take care of them, we do. Our minds are strong and our determination and discipline is solid. It’s also in my nature to not wallow and to just get on with things.

I have a tendency to approach life from many different angles. It’s not always useful and most times, people react like I’m living on another planet, but it works for me. I love looking at my life from a deep place of introspection and reflection and then, as I come out of that space, I’m able to integrate the lessons even more so I can move into a new space. And then I usually start all over again. There’s always some hill to climb 🙂

The energy is palpable and vibrant when I come out the other side. I feel like I can take on the world! Life is pulsing through my veins and there is this super-charged electricity in the air. I am feeling this abundant energy right now as I sit here to share the next section of my blog. Life is beautiful and fascinating and all I can say is.. I feel grateful to be here and to be able to communicate something of my journey with you!!

I spoke in the previous blog of the wonderful energies that had come into my life to help me cope with this injury. I was first led to a Shiatsu practitioner who lives not too far from where I am. I’d never explored Shiatsu before. I was able to walk to her which was helpful, as I do love a good walk. Her treatments were very calming for me and her advice and gentleness was exactly what I needed. I had two sessions with her.

The second session shifted my energy so much that when I came back to the house and sat in my room, I couldn’t sit in it anymore. As I sat quietly on the edge of my bed, I was overwhelmed by a feeling that I had to escape past this confined space I found myself in. I knew I had to act on it immediately. With the help of the kind lads in the house, and my careful planning, we moved the entire room around so there was nothing familiar about the space anymore. I felt myself lifting with every change we were making. My energy had shifted hugely and my environment needed to do the same to support this change.

This room has never felt better and I am a lot more productive as a result. I can’t describe the urgency of the need to shift the room around. It felt like I couldn’t wait a minute longer. The restlessness I felt was quite overwhelming and fascinating.

A few weeks went by and still, no change. The pain was extreme and debilitating and I felt exhausted with it. Looking back, I wish I’d been a bit more proactive. Perhaps I should have moved a little quicker towards another plan to help my body along. I felt fragile with the pain. Too fragile to make big movements, but that was probably not the right approach to have. My body needed movement. “Movement is life”, as they say.

I was guided by a close friend to get in touch with a Craniosacral Therapist in Australia who does distance healing. I’ve had great experiences with Cranio in the past, so I took her advice. Into my life came this loving, gentle and extremely powerful healer who at the drop of a hat, checks in with me to make sure that I’m coping. Often times, she’ll text me to say that she did another session on me. She offers this space up so generously and her insights have really been quite liberating for me. Both these energies are so special.

She was the first person to tell me that my body is carrying enormous shock and trauma and that although my core energy is incredibly strong, I’m not coping physically with all the changes that have taken place in my life. We broke it down. A move to London, a breast cancer diagnosis involving three surgeries and chemotherapy, which breaks down the immune system, and a career shift out of musical theatre into coaching.

We spoke about how I’ve always moved and expressed myself as a dancer my whole life. Dancing brought me joy. I was devoted to being a dancer. Over the last two years with this illness, it’s been difficult for me to sometimes even do a yoga class. I’ve also shifted my focus into writing and coaching which requires me to sit still and work at my desk for hours on end. All this adds up to the fact that my world is vastly different now.

We addressed the fact that I pick up the pieces and keep going in life which sometimes doesn’t serve me, as I actually don’t realise that I need time to recover. We spoke at length about the surgeries, particularly the mastectomy and the impact it has made on my body. I will possibly elaborate in a future blog, but it’s a very tender subject.

The area where the surgery took place is in need of some attention and healing, was her feedback to me. Hands on attention would have been a good idea after surgery, just some gentle massaging into the muscles. She said that the rib cage and the intercostal muscles haven’t recovered and ideally, should have had assistance from a Physiotherapist. The muscles and nerves are in shock and my body is imploding as a result.  When you’re going through chemotherapy there are a number of ways that you can receive help here in London. I think physio is on the list, but I never thought about it after the surgeries.

I feel this information is important to share as sometimes conversations around recovery don’t really cover all the areas that perhaps they should. I had no idea that I was carrying any shock or trauma. I’m generally positive and upbeat so most days it would be hard to tell if I was carrying anything. I try not to stay too long in places where the energy is stuck, although I don’t always succeed at it. This is a great lesson for me.

This awareness really gave me the opportunity to stop what I was doing and to rest. The amount of typing and writing I was doing every day was definitely not conducive to allowing my body to heal. I’m generally quite hard on myself. I have to have accomplished something fairly big at the end of my day. Usually it’s a long list of things. I had to really listen in and absorb the message she was giving me to slow everything down completely. I had to engage my thoughts and emotions to let go of the need to achieve anything, and to just let my body heal. I was able to adjust enough to feel better.

This healing is still very much a part of my reality, despite the time I took out to rest. My body clearly has more to teach me, so I’ve surrendered to it and continue to work through the pain.  I have more incredible insights to share when I introduce the next healer to you, who I am currently working with. We are making progress and I’m encouraged and inspired by what I’m learning about myself and the support I have.

Thanks for reading and supporting Safe Spaces!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patience- My Final Phase of Healing

It takes a great deal of energy to withdraw. So says Carol K Anthony in her book, A Guide to the I Ching. I know this statement to be truer than true. I’ve tested it out on more occasions than I care to mention, for a wide range of reasons and it’s always shown me what I’ve needed to see, without fail. Withdrawal can really free something up to be what it needs to be and also expose the real truth of the situation. Thanks Carol!

The question is how much further am I being asked to withdraw? I’m not saying I find this challenging at all, I’m a natural hermit, but I also love being around people I care about and I genuinely do love people. I’m drawn to spontaneity and adventure and then I like to find my solitude, so I can process life and renew my energy and then step out into the world again. To withdraw at the precise moment that I felt myself expanding. How would this work? I felt so ready to start fresh. I’ve been in isolation for ages.

There is nothing like an illness or an injury to test your skills and resources. This walk with cancer has been the most exquisitely difficult journey. It’s not one that I’d ever want to trade-in for something else and certainly not one I’d like to repeat. So, there will be no trading-in and no repeating, only healing from here onwards. Yay!!

I have titled this blog, My Final Phase of Healing, because I have a very strong sense that I am now at the final sprint of this race, towards the finishing line. Well, the current situation doesn’t exactly allow a final sprint, perhaps a gentle jog, but let’s see how things unfold. If anyone can do “patience”, it’s me. We all need to be patient right now and rushing decisions will only work against us, so one day at a time. Easy does it!

On the subject of sprinting, I loved being an athlete when I was in junior school. I remember being a part of the relay team. I was always placed in the position of the final runner. It’s called the anchor leg. They say this position is given to the fastest or most experienced competitor on the team. I didn’t know this. I’ve just googled it right now. It says, “The person is responsible for making up ground on the race-leader or preserving the lead already secured by their teammates.” Huh, that’s cool to know.

I’m saying with some sense of certainty that there will be no repeating of this illness because, I have faith in this statement, the last couple of tests and appointments I’ve had have been positive for me, and also because there is still so much more for me to do in this life. How incredible to be given this opportunity for growth and reinvention. I feel it’s all now integrated fully into my awareness and is working its way out my body. A few bumps still here and there, but we all have those right now.

There is one final hurdle to jump over and that will happen once things ease up with COVID. I’m a patient, with patience, and I know I’m in the best hands here.

The last time I checked in to Safe Spaces and to Cool Mindz, I shared a blog I’d written about Balance. The opening line was, “Sometimes you have to withdraw so you can renew yourself.” This was published on the 6th of August. I had no idea then how long my recovery would take, but I didn’t expect it to last as long as it has. I’m still not quite there, but I’m making quite a lot of progress, I’m told. Slowly catch the monkey 🙂

So where have I been and what have I been up to? I’ve still been putting Cool Mindz at the centre of everything and have managed to carry on developing the content, creating the exercises and doing the research, but it’s happened in gradual stages, according to what I’m able to cope with. I’ve managed to keep the focus, but I have experienced a great deal of pain and frustration along the way. I’ve had some days where I’ve had to remain fairly still and force myself to watch Netflix. Haha!! Any recommendations?

Mikayla and I have continued working together. She is an absolute gift to me. I’m currently putting all of our work together to present as “evidence’’ of how I work as a transformation coach, and will begin sharing bits and pieces on social media in the coming months. It’s exciting for me right now, despite the pain and discomfort.

The beauty of pain and discomfort is the discovery of what, how, where and why it’s presenting itself to you at the time it is. I’m a huge promoter of digging deep into all the areas of your life, so you can find clues, patterns and reasons as to why your body is reacting in the way that it is. This is how I learn and uncover what’s mine and what belongs to someone else. It’s allowed me to heal and to see my relationships in a different light. The physical manifestations of our emotions can be fascinating.

This blog was initially set up for me to be open and to share, so I’m going to continue to do that. I may not reveal all the intimate details, but I will share enough so you get an idea and then hopefully, if you recognise similar patterns, you can reflect on your own life and see if anything comes up for you to look at too. Or you can just read.

I’ve been working with quite a few beautiful energies over the last few months. Some are just through research I’ve done on-line, links I’ve been sent from friends, conversations I’ve had with those who really know and understand me, and also some revelations I’ve had from my meditations. The information may end up all being muddied together, but there are distinct areas where I’ve been given information by healers about what I’m currently dealing with. I will share this in stages as I continue to write.

I shared in my last blog that I suspected that I’d developed Repetitive Strain Injury. I was experiencing a lot of pain in my arm and shoulder and was starting to have less use of it with each day. It was an incredibly active time for me, from a writing point of view especially, but I had also begun to be fairly active on social media. This brought up a few things for me which I don’t mind sharing. I know some feel the same.

I resisted conversations with friends who said I needed to get Cool Mindz “out there” and onto social media platforms. I’ve had a long career, some of which has been in the public eye, and have never taken to self-promotion. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have a beautiful flow of work and experiences, so I never really felt I needed to promote myself.

Although I am still continuing my career as an actor, I am now adding a new title on to my skill set. I’m working as a transformation coach and Cool Mindz is brand new. I understand the need to put it out there a little more and have really enjoyed receiving the lovely feedback about the website and the concept. I did however find it interesting that just as I was resisting this expectation for me to promote myself, that my body decided to shut down and I found myself unable to do that.

At exactly the same time as this happened, I made a new connection with someone who sent a “lovely to connect” message to my inbox, saying that if I had a book to publish, I should get in touch.  I found the timing to be very interesting and although the message wasn’t directed specifically at me, I had in fact written a book to help others with their journey through cancer. The book has been ready for quite some time, but I am resisting it. I’ve still not had the time to focus on why this is, as I’ve been distracted by so much lately, but I suspect the answers will surface as the rest of this all becomes clearer than it already is right now. I did get in touch and now have a lovely, like-minded “white butterfly” soul connection, so all is not lost and perhaps the timing isn’t right yet.

Resistance seems to be a theme here and not something that will be useful to me at a time when I’m ready to move out of the journey I’ve had with an illness. I didn’t resist that much when things were difficult, so why should I resist the good things that are coming my way? The answers will be incredibly obvious to you, the reader, who is reading this. We all do it. I don’t know many people who haven’t mastered the ability to self-sabotage, especially in the industry I’ve been in most of my life. This is but one thought to many different realisations that have been coming to me over time.

So, as I unpack this all very slowly, I hope my sharing helps in some way or another. It’s really been such an incredibly difficult couple of weeks trying to get my body to co-operate, but the lessons and the insights, as they have always been, are really quite magical. I’m extremely grateful.

I’m ending this blog by attaching this quote I found. It’s so appropriate for me currently and no doubt will be for you too. The changes that are taking place within us at this challenging moment in time are the gifts that we have to offer the world, to move the energy forward, and if we continue to resist, what we could have built, will only be destroyed or destroy us.

Why would I choose that for myself, is the question that needs answering.

Why would any of us?

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you”                                                                                  The Gospel of Thomas

You can find Cool Mindz on Instagram at cool_mindz, Twitter @MindzCool and get in touch on the Cool Mindz website at coolmindz.co.uk

Hopefully I would have started posting again by then 🙂

Thanks for supporting this blog!

Balance

Sometimes you have to withdraw so you can renew yourself.

This doesn’t mean that you abandon something important and that the effort you put in ceases, it just means you have to prioritize so you can find the balance again. 

Having gone through a journey with cancer, my health comes first. I would hope that anyone who is dealing with a challenge in their lives, would do the same for themselves. 

Creating cool mindz hasn’t been a simple journey, but it’s been extremely rewarding. I’m passionate about helping people. There is no-one else but me who has to put the content together, do the research, follow through with feedback, create the next lesson and so on and so on.

The way I’ve structured cool mindz puts the client at the centre of everything. Sometimes an entire day is taken up with looking at what they’re struggling with and planning the course of action, so that we can work together to get them to where they’d like to be. It’s an intimate investigation and an absolute honour for me to be able to navigate and assist them in whatever way I can.

I develop and create each exercise from scratch, so I can incorporate them into the theme and focus of the session. It’s all in my mind and can sometimes be left germinating for a few weeks before I’m able to put it down on paper. Sometimes the idea breaks through with a rush of energy an hour before I’m due to start the session. I then quickly make my adjustments and stay in the moment with what’s coming through. I listen to what’s there, pay attention, surrender and know with absolute clarity that what is meant to be created for my client will arrive on time.

It’s all about being in the moment and having absolute faith that whatever needs to be addressed will surface. There is a beautiful flow of give and take in the sessions. As I’ve mentioned in my 8 Principles for Transformation on the website, you are guided gently to dig deep and unpack the things that are no longer serving you and speak the truth of your life. Your sessions are set up with these 8 Principles in mind. 

Mikayla, who is my first cool minder, is really starting to blossom. She was brave to begin with, but I’ve seen something shift in her which has resulted in her making some very good decisions for herself. She is lucky to have quite a bit of guidance in her life, but she says cool mindz has definitely made a difference. She is faced with some challenges currently, but she is determined to push through and can see that there is light ahead. She has even experimented with putting a boundary down with something in her life, and the result was instant and very positive for her. Her level of truth is exemplary, her vision and approach is inspiring and her intuition is emerging quite strongly. We are currently looking at surrender and fear and I have no doubt that she will rise above it all and step into her power. I feel she is going to make a big difference in this world and I am incredibly proud of her.

I am really loving my time as a transformation coach for cool mindz. It’s special to wake up and have something to focus my energy on that has the capacity to make a difference. There are so many wonderful souls out there right now who are committed to helping others. It’s a huge privilege to be a part of that community.

I’ve chosen to write about balance because it’s something I teach. It’s also something I “live”. I can’t take care of anyone who is working with me, unless I am taking care of myself. I’ve had a very intense couple of months, if not years and sometimes I’m not sure where the “off” switch is. One thing I can rely on, is that the Universe will always step in and shake my world up, when it’s time for me to step back and rest.

I surrender easily, most of the time.

Cool mindz comes through me. It’s up to me to create and deliver according to what I feel the client needs. There is no text book to work from. Each idea has to be drawn, sketched or written out and embellished on. The research I do and the amount of information I gather from the client is sometimes vast and takes days to stay on top of. It’s been a difficult couple of weeks not being able to do that in the way I’ve grown accustomed to. I’ve developed what I think is Repetitive Strain Injury or something of that nature.

I’ve had great difficulty using my working arm and a general inability to be able to type and write. I rely on both for cool mindz. I have no doubt that this injury will leave my body soon. I wouldn’t have managed to write this if there wasn’t a small improvement, but I will still have to pace myself.

If you’re looking on social media for information on cool mindz, I will be truthful. It’s not my priority to post every day, although I did make an attempt and managed to keep it up till my injury. I have respect and understand its value, but my commitment is with, and for my clients first and foremost. I will be as consistent as life allows me to be. The balance between my personal life and me staying and maintaining my health, requires that I every so often put a boundary down. I’m not afraid to do that. It doesn’t mean I’m less passionate about my work, it actually means that I’m taking it more seriously and giving it my utmost attention. The energy has to ignite and start with me, be transferred to my clients with cool mindz and then perhaps shared, as and when I can on line. I admire those who post constantly and consistently and I have not doubt that they are impacting positively on their communities. I support you and salute you all. 

If you think that cool mindz is something that could help you, or someone close to you, then please get in touch through the website or any of the social media platforms. If you already follow cool mindz on any of these platforms, thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm. I hope that no matter where you are in the world, that you are making the most of this time and I wish you and your loved ones, comfort and hope for the time ahead. Stay balanced and focus on the good.

In support and friendship,

Taryn

Website: coolmindz.co.uk

Instagram: cool_mindz

Twitter: @MindzCool

Email: taryn@coolmindz.co.uk

Just Push Through

Where does time go? I had every intention of trying to keep this blog going, but sometimes life takes you in another direction.

The last post for safespaces was 8 October 2019. I can’t even attempt to fill in the missing links or to make any kind of promises to keep this commitment, but I’ll show up when I can and I am truly grateful to see that this blog still has support and interest. Thank you for supporting me in my desire to share my journey.

There is a renewing energy taking place in my life which has been building over a long period of time.  An expansion on so many levels that doesn’t always feel comfortable, but I’m surrendering to it every day and just doing my best. I know I’ve probably written these exact words in previous blogs. New beginnings…every day!! I’m so grateful.

An explosion of ideas has been taking form, which can sometimes overwhelm me to the point that I just have to step back and visit things as and when I have the energy to do so. Lockdown has taken its toll on many people I know, but for me, it’s been the most productive time.

Every day, I’m surrounded by pages and pages of notes containing ideas, instructions and lists of priorities. I make more notes on those notes and then I staple them together and add that on to the pile from the previous day. My main issue is that there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day and I wish my organisational skills weren’t as useless as they are, but I’m making it work. I have my own crazy method I suppose.

Anyone who follows me here as well as on other platforms will know that my website went live last week for cool mindz. This has been a project of mine that I’ve really taken my time with.

I won’t lie, I’m exhausted!!! Even as I sit here, trying to connect, I could just fall back to sleep and shut myself off. I’m truly not made for social media and all that is expected of you. I understand its benefits and worth in the grand scheme of things, but boy do I struggle. In the last couple of days, I’ve been lucky to have friends who have found the time to talk me through the technicalities of a few things. I’m really not keen to be spending all day on my phone, especially when I chose to keep fairly to myself while going through treatment, but I’ll give it a go.

I have promised myself to try to prioritize my health and put myself first, and that’s a promise worth keeping considering the journey I’ve been on since I was diagnosed in August 2018. It’s going to be a bit of a battle though, as there is just so much that I want to do and the acceleration of time is making that extremely challenging.

So with that being said. For anyone who is battling through this period of lockdown, with all love and respect, I can’t recommend it enough that you try to look beyond your situation. Where there is darkness there is always light and even a small flicker of light is enough to get you to see your way. There is always value that you can add and an opportunity to reach out, but you probably won’t see that opening if you are only looking at the devastating circumstances of your life and the lives of others.

In the last couple of weeks I have become aware of friends who have loved ones that are starting their walk with cancer treatment and to them I say, just push through. You will get to the other side and when you do, you will experience life with more love and gratitude than you could ever have imagined. The twists and turns of life can really push you to grow and see things in a unique and different way.

On the way back from a walk, just a few days ago, I said out loud how grateful I was to have been diagnosed with breast cancer. I think I said, “thank you cancer, for coming into my life and showing me so much beauty.” I know to most people that seems absurd, but honestly, it’s the truth of what is real for me.

So as we are entering a new month, with renewing energy and a long road ahead that is mostly uncertain, I would say to you, go within, and connect to the things in your life that DO feel certain, and while you are doing that, put all of your love and energy into growing THAT instead of being pulled into the energy of this virus and all that it means.

As human beings, we are uncomfortable with the unknown, we want answers, we want our problems resolved immediately, we are impatient and intolerant and mostly move towards the negative aspects of our lives first. Look to the positive, look to the horizon, move towards that little flicker of light.

Be patient. Persevere. Go within. Express gratitude for what you DO have. Pray for others, find the joy and be safe.

You can find cool mindz on Instagram at cool_mindz, Twitter @MindzCool and get in touch on the cool mindz website at coolmindz.co.uk

Creating

I have received some lovely feedback and support lately about my blog and want to say a huge thank you to those who are still following it. It’s incredibly special to me 🙂

I’m just communicating, in case you’re wondering where I’ve been. I am healing really well and feel strong and empowered. My body is coming back to itself which is really beautiful to experience. I am writing every day still, but my view has expanded beyond the blog, so with this in mind, I will have to keep my focus towards this new goal. I may share tiny bits of creativity here and there and if there is anything anyone would like to open up a conversation about, please feel free to comment.

Perhaps as a starter, I could ask what you may have gained from reading the blog and what I could add that would help give more insights?

Be well and happy and light 🙂

A Sky Full Of Clouds

My walk this morning wasn’t the usual. The sky was filled with low-hanging clouds that were moving and changing rather swiftly. It was alive with possibility and would be any child’s delight, if they could spend the entire day lying on their backs, discovering different shapes and magical friends in the sky. As I write this, I look out my window to see a flying dog on his way to something fun I’m sure.

I arrived in my park and was greeted by a big, open field with not a dog or friendly face in sight. I was completely alone and it was only one hour after the school bell had rung so I wondered if there was something I didn’t know.

 My meditation was interrupted this morning by the inquisitive voices of the children arriving at school after a long break. There was much to discuss. I could hear them commenting about the various changes to the playground area and they seemed delighted with the renovations. I have been watching the ‘old become the new’ over the holidays as there have been lots of busy bees who have been hard at work to make the playground special for when school term begins again. Anyway, I will have to get back into my very early morning routine with my meditation so I can find silence, but I’ve enjoyed lying in for a little longer, while everyone has been off gallivanting and having a fun holiday.

Anyway, back to my walk. I took to the field with my headphones on and found my pace and groove when all of a sudden I began to feel something that I hadn’t felt for a while. I started to feel a little uncomfortable. I reached the beginning of my second lap and noticed that a black car was now parked in the parking lot and a man was sitting next to it, on his phone. He wasn’t looking at me, but his presence felt slightly ominous, for no good reason. I decided to just carry on and not give in to the insecurity.

 I was drawn back to another time, when I was in Australia. I was looking for somewhere to go for a  run and was told that there was a nice athletics track down the road from where I was staying. I arrived at the track to find that there were only two people running around the track, two young guys, just jogging and chatting and paying no attention to me. I began my workout and found my pace was a little faster than theirs, so I caught up and passed them and this continued for a while. My body was happy to be moving and challenging itself, but my mind was sprinting me into a slightly darker dimension. It became clear to me that I was beginning to feel a little exposed and slightly insecure running along the track, alone, being the only woman there. I talked myself into all kinds of outcomes and predicaments and as a result, my ‘fun time’ was brought to an abrupt halt and I stepped off the track leaving the darkness behind.

Today was no different. As I was about to curve round into my third lap, I looked at the car and saw that the man was no longer there, but the window was down on the passenger side. I took my headphones off, continued walking and as I arrived at the far side of the field, I exited out of the gate and into the field next door. I told myself I was being ridiculous! I walked towards a tree on the edge of the field and decided it needed a hug. I BLOODY NEEDED THE HUG, NOT THE TREE…

 I hadn’t been under my tree for long when a white truck drove onto that field and began driving very slowly, straight towards the tree. I undid myself from the trunk and took a little detour onto the next field, below that field. Was I going mad here? I looked back nonchalantly to see the vehicle had stopped and the two men sitting in the front were casually chatting to one another, probably not even aware of me and my silly suspicions. I walked once around the lower field, back up to the same tree once they had driven off and then ‘escaped’ out the side fence into the road that would take me back to the house.

One thing is certain, my mother is not going to like this post as she is constantly worried about my safety. I’m often asked by friends whether I feel safe here and my reply is affirmative and clear. This wasn’t a simple issue of feeling safe or not. I think it alerted me to something that another friend had spoken of recently which relates to being in fight or flight mode a lot of the time in South Africa. It occurred to me that no matter where I am, I’m constantly checking the environment I’m in and am taking stock of the people and situations around me so I can make sure I’m in control. It’s instinctive.

The field I walk around is extremely safe and surrounded by houses. There is no reason to feel at risk and until now, I haven’t felt any inclination towards any concerns about my well-being, whether there is one dog walker or more. I immediately realized what was happening.

In the last couple of days I have heard a few stories of woman and young girls being abducted, attacked and raped. I am well aware that unfortunately this happens all over the world, but these have taken place back in South Africa and this news has devastated me. I can only think they are in my subconscious mind now and so took up some space in my head. It would have been so much nicer to be able to enjoy my walk and relish being out in nature as I always do, but this is the world we live in and I can’t help but feel the loss, confusion and concern for friends and loved ones.

My heart goes out to anyone who is affected by the devastation and harshness that is sometimes inflicted upon human beings. I wish our world could be as beautiful and light as the clouds were in my sky today.

Yams Versus Enlightenment!

I was in the kitchen this morning having my coffee with oat milk. I just cannot give up coffee I’m afraid, but I’ve been encouraged by the friends in my life that one cup of coffee a day isn’t something to feel guilty about, especially since my diet and lifestyle is so clean. So I’ve taken it on as my guilty pleasure 🙂

Anyway, I digress.  While sipping my coffee, I was reading up about menopause in this rather large health bible of a book that my friend Wayne (Dim Sum) had loaned me on the Summer Holiday tour. I have my own copy now and decided to move it downstairs, so the whole family could browse through it and get some use out of it. I’m happy to see that it’s being used quite a bit every day. So I sat at the dining room table and opened it up to read a bit more about how the author of the book views menopause. There are bits and pieces of advice throughout the book, but I was looking for some tips on how to handle the hot flushes or ‘flashes’ as he calls them, as mine have increased in intensity lately.

The book is called ‘Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation’ by Andreas Moritz and I’d recommend it for every household.

So here is some of what I read…

“Menopausal problems can be an opportunity for a woman to put her life in order on all levels. Menopause brings to the surface whatever issues a woman may not have dealt with successfully while she was busy taking care of her family or career. The midlife phase doesn’t need to be a midlife crisis. Instead, it can be a woman’s greatest opportunity to deal with any unresolved issues in her life, thereby freeing her from all kinds of limitations – physical, emotional and spiritual. The first and most important step in that direction is to know that menopause isn’t a disease and that the body isn’t doing anything wrong. Supporting it and treating it with kindness and respect during this important time in a woman’s life can make all the difference.”

Wait for it, there is more fascinating stuff here…

“Menopausal symptoms, however, can just as often have a spiritual basis. Hot flashes, for example, may be triggered by an awakening of the spiritual energy Kundalini. The heat waves can ‘strike’ like lightening during mealtimes, while resting and even during sleep. As this intense energy rushes upward from the base of the spine or uterus toward the head, it can cause tremendous heat in the body along with severe sweating. Following the hot flashes, the body may experience a cold spell.”

I shared what I had read with Jono, as he was doing the dishes. I was smiling with absolute delight and jokingly told him the book says I’m closer to enlightenment, so it can’t be all that bad. Of course, I’m saying this with no illusions that it is in fact true, I was just having fun 🙂  

I carried on reading about several oils and herbs that were being suggested to help manage symptoms and asked if he had heard of wild yam root. His reply was that he used to enjoy eating yams, but he wasn’t sure about wild yam root. I then asked him, if he were in my position, what would he choose, the yam root or enlightenment? His reply sent me into fits of laughter. He said, “Well you’re so far down the road towards enlightenment, I’d just keep going and save some money on the yam.” I’m still laughing. I live with such brilliant people!!!

I identify with quite a bit of what I’ve quoted here, especially putting my life in order and freeing myself of limitations. Being kind to myself and respecting my current state of mind. What I’m experiencing at this stage of my journey is difficult to put into words, which is why I’ve been silent and haven’t written again for a while. So many things are germinating and changing which is actually quite brilliant and wonderful and as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’m inclined towards keeping most of it to myself and to only share bits and pieces with those in my inner circle. I’m a work in progress, but I guess, we all are. How exciting!!!

It’s always interesting when I hear from someone who has noticed that I’ve deactivated my facebook account and reaches out to see if I’m alright. I appreciate the concern and can understand how it may be perceived as an indication that something may be wrong. The thing is, everything is right!

I’m merely doing whatever feels right and good for me. I’m continuing to put down gentle boundaries and follow my inner truth in situations. Quite frankly, I’ve never been keen on being a part of facebook, but I won’t go into the reasons why and be seen to be spoiling it for those who delight in it. There are many positives, but for me the negatives outweigh the positives.

I’m still processing and enjoying the moments that come in and out of my life that are showing me things and helping me move forward and there is plenty to feel inspired about these days.

“Banat banat ban jai”, which loosely translated means:

 “Striving, striving, one day behold! The Divine Goal!”

Time

The concept of time in the life of someone with a diagnosis of any kind is probably not the same for someone living in a space where health is taken for granted. There are various moments on my journey that come to mind where I’ve had to surrender to it. Time, for me now, is something extremely valuable and something I’m learning to respect more than I did before.

Last week I had the most brilliant time in the countryside with two special people who took me on the most exquisite walks, made sure I was fed (boerewors on the braai style) which I totally welcomed. They took me away from the London vibes into the perfect space that is their home away from home,to forget about the last couple of months. Thank you Tim and Tom!! You are both incredible, your home is glorious and I love that we ate cake..more than once.

I came back into London with a date with Sophie planned for the following day!! Yay! We had a chilled lunch and then caught a show. Brilliant day my Sophie Soph! She is now a West End performer people. She has made her debut in Mamma Mia and I couldn’t take my eyes off her when I saw the show. So proud!!

Today has been a good day despite my immune system struggling to normalize. I guess it’s a case of too much too soon so I’m going to take a step back and carry on at a less pressurized pace. This has happened several times since chemo ended so lets’ see how this goes…

Today was good because while I’m recovering from whatever bug I may have picked up on the tube, my time was spent catching up with people I love. I’ve been doing quite a bit of that lately which I’m finding helpful with the current state of mind that I find myself in. I’ve avoided writing for a long time. WordPress tells me it’s been two months. It feels longer.

I’ve needed time 🙂

I attempted to write on two occasions, but both were unsuccessful. When I explain myself to the people who know me, I feel understood. I’ve said things like, “How can I write and make sense of anything when nothing makes sense?” and “How do I communicate what I’m going through when it’s not clear who I am anymore?”

I’m sure you get the picture, so I won’t elaborate further and even reading that back doesn’t capture it fully.

I honestly have so much to say, but will probably need more time to put it down or maybe one day it’ll all come flooding out of me and you’ll all wish I’d remained in the corner of the Monopoly board, behind bars.

I’ll try and share a few things that I’ve experienced during this “lost” period.

I’m not sure whether I’d communicated clearly in earlier posts that one of the side effects I’ve experienced for quite some time and probably one of the strongest ones to my mind, has been menopause. The general assumption is that it’s been induced by having chemo and could change once it’s cleared out my system, but for now, it seems like it’s here to stay. Menopause is also not really something that you’ll understand fully till you’re having volcanic eruptions of your own. This description was provided perfectly by my friend Aurelie. Thanks pal..at least we both get it now 🙂

How does this affect me? In various ways would be my answer, but let’s just look at two rather important things, sleep and meditation.

Sleep is hard to come by when you’re tossing and turning, opening and closing windows, washing yourself with cold water, reaching for your homeopathic remedies hoping at least one of them will take effect, praying everything you’re currently doing will settle the hot flush down and just when you think you’re on the up…another hot flush sneaks up on you, takes you down and it’s the same pattern all over again. I don’t worship my hot flushes enough to count them, but you need more than two hands sometimes.

A big one for me is how it impacts my meditation. I’ll wake up early to make sure I have quiet time before the kids from the school opposite me arrive and begin their screaming/shouting/singing ritual, which I actually quite enjoy, but not when you’re trying to meditate. So if I’ve had a decent nights’ sleep, then my meditation is on track and timed with perfection, but if I’ve had a menopausal manic one, it’s usually a case of getting up whenever I can manage to open my eyes. That’s one challenge. Then once I’ve actually managed to find myself in the upright position and seated for a good long meditation, it’s no different to going to sleep. The windows open and shut, I cover and uncover myself and because I’m now upright, my nose runs, so I’m rushing to fetch a tissue, then back again to open the window again and try and pick up where I left off in finding the peace I’m so desperately craving. I’m making light of it, which is a probably a good thing as I thought I’d lost my sense of humour a few weeks ago, but honestly, it’s not actually humorous.

Meditation is a vital part of my life and something I don’t want to be without, but it’s become so tricky and frustrating that sometimes I just sit and allow the frustration and the flush to pass over me, while listening to the voices of little children who are definitely not working towards a silent existence, and why should they when they’ve got a big playground in front of them.

Here’s another. When you have chemo, as is commonly known, you lose hair, in various places. Some are welcomed. I’ve never had smoother legs in my life 🙂

The one thing that surprised me and will explain the runny nose I spoke of, is that you lose nose hairs as well, so there is nowhere but down when it wants to run. There isn’t time to slowly reach for a tissue. It’s a mad dash, especially when you’re in the company of others. It can be quite embarrassing if you’re not prepared for it. I now have tissues in every pocket of every item of clothing I own. The trick is to remember to take them out before you do a wash load. First world problems.

The obvious thing is losing your hair on your head, but the cold cap made all the difference for me and although most of my hair fell out, the bits that are left are evenly spread so I can tie it back while the rest is catching up, so I look much the same as before. The new hair is very sweet actually. It’s soft and some bits are straight and others have a gentle curl, but they are all growing into something that is beginning to make a new style for a new gal.

I haven’t mentioned that I lost my eyebrows and lashes about 3 weeks after chemo finished. This in itself was so interesting to experience and I’m enjoying following their growth as they push back through every day.

I had wondered what it would feel like to be without them. I’m not one for too much make-up, but one thing I always like to do is put a brush of mascara on. Well, when there’s no lash, there’s no brush needed and my reaction to this surprised me. I was due to attend a course on the weekend of the week they disappeared, so I basically rolled out of bed, showered and got my things together for the day and left. I didn’t even bother with my beanie and there was surely still a reason for that, but I didn’t care. En route to the course,  I was standing at a bus stop, a bus arrived and a young girl who was sitting on the upper deck was looking down at me. She was staring for quite a while, which gave me the opportunity to look up and smile at her. She smiled back. Who knows if she was daydreaming or taking in the splendour of who I was that morning, but I felt completely liberated. I carried on like that for many weeks and have to say I wish women could experience that same freedom, without the reason behind the hair loss of course. I think women who approach a more natural way of being in the world are often labelled as “letting themselves go,” but I have never subscribed to that school of thought. A balance between the two is more what I believe is healthy.

Well, this has surprised me as I wasn’t sure I’d get beyond 400 words so I’m encouraged. I still have plenty to say on the subject of time, but I’ll leave it there for now.

Oh, maybe one last thing. When you have lots of time on your hands and don’t know what to do with it, don’t only lie on one side, with your neck in an awkward position when binge watching your favourite series on your ipad. You may need to spend time getting that fixed too and who has time for THAT?

Here’s to a cold Icelandic sleep for me tonight. Thanks for staying with me. Sorry if you felt I’d abandoned you. If you did, I’m sorry and I understand as I have those issues too and am happy to discuss them or write about them and encourage more conversation about them..and now I’m just talking nonsense because I can’t believe I actually managed to put something down today that makes any sense at all, so now, while I am making little sense….I will slip out quietly ..

Sorry about the picture of the clock..I ran out of time and had no creativity left..

Aunty Boop ..this is for you!! Thanks for bugging me about another blog. I did it x

Shifting Towards Who Knows What…

The desire to write and share more of my story has evaded me for several weeks now. I have had messages from concerned friends asking if I’m alright. The truth is I am dealing with many challenges and changes and while I process them, I prefer to keep a sacred space around them.

There are parts of me that I can still recognize and there is another side of me that seems completely new. I am growing to like this “new person” more and more 🙂

I don’t want that to come across as being obnoxious, because that is not where I’m coming from. I am merely stating a truth. A fact that was brought to my attention by other cancer survivors who have told me that I will never be the same again. A close friend likened it to a “rebirth.” Call it what you will, but it is present and growing daily and showing me things that perhaps I may have overlooked in the past. It’s confirming intuitive thoughts and feelings on specific situations and giving me a stronger sense of self.

Who is this “self” and why the obsession? Every day I am asked how I am and how am I feeling. I openly share what is happening with my body and my hair and whether I’ve slept or not and how things went at the hospital. How are my emotions and am I coping today?

Words of comfort flow daily from those close to me which is one of the biggest gifts I could receive. Just that feeling that I’m not going through this alone, even though essentially …I am. For the most part of this entire journey I have done it alone. I am naturally a solitude seeker, so going it alone is actually what works for me. It’s simpler that way and “simple” is the way forward… for me anyway.

I have opened up my personal life in the spirit of being open and honest about this journey. Perhaps with a view to helping someone else or fulfilling a sense of it being part of my purpose, but I feel almost protective over it right now. There is too much going on for me to explain and I am beyond exhausted.  

I feel hugely empowered to be in the moment with each shift and change and am more certain of myself and my emotions than ever before, so if I feel something negative, I say it, which may be slightly jolting for someone who is perhaps used to me reacting a certain way. There may be very little left of the people pleaser in me by the time this story draws to an end.

I’m not going to launch into all the reasons why things are challenging, because to me that is becoming a rather boring story. The same can be said for my previous ramblings about losing my hair. It is hair and it will grow back.

I was recently having a catch up with my friend Adam who has a beautiful head of hair. Long, luscious, dark locks that he sometimes ties into a man bun. So while I was describing that I was beginning to look rather like the phantom of the opera underneath his mask, Adam decided to remind me how incredibly gorgeous, shiny and strong his hair is. His enthusiasm was growing and growing, as was my amusement, and just when I thought he’d finished, he found more adjectives to boast how magnificent his hair is looking. We were in fits of laughter. There’s a reason why I call him “brat.”

I maintain that humor is vital in life, not only when you’re going through the good vibes, but also when life takes you down, what would seem like a dark path. This is not a dark path I’m on. It’s one of the most challenging I’ve been on, but it may just end up being the most rewarding and liberating journey I could ever dream of taking. I’ve met people who are fighting a very “real” fight and are warriors in their own right. They spend little time in the trivial and more time in communicating the inner truth of themselves. A persons journey through cancer is extremely tough and tiring and other people are not going to know the right thing to say or appreciate what you’re dealing with, but that’s not important. We are becoming “bigger” versions of ourselves, without sounding patronizing. It’s impossible to go through this and not be changed by it. Having others around you acknowledge and support the change they see in you is quite a special thing.

I don’t know what I’m shifting towards, but I know it involves many changes of a physical, emotional and spiritual nature. I’m up for it. I welcome whatever they may be, but I have no illusions that it won’t be tough and right now..it’s pretty tough.

Don’t underestimate the capacity inside you to become comfortable with something completely new. To look at yourself in the mirror and not see the same face looking back at you, and still love what you see.

That’s my two cents worth for today…And now I’m going to put my beanie on my head, to cover the bald patches and take myself off to go and hug a tree…

Happy to share just a “little” bit of me today 🙂

“Change yourself and you have done your part in changing the world” – Paramahansa Yogananda

Chemosabe Eight – Keep Moving!

It’s been an incredibly busy week, which in many ways has been such a welcomed thing, but now that I’m at the end of it, I’m realizing how important rest is, especially when your body is going through something challenging. I’m not feeling too good after chemo on Thursday, but my symptoms are mild, so I’m incredibly grateful and am focusing past them.

The days leading up to treatment were lovely and full and I was feeling positive and strong, so I didn’t doubt that I’d have the energy to get through.

Tuesday started with a picc line dressing change and blood tests.  I sat next to a girl I often see on a Thursday. She usually sleeps through her treatment, which seems to be a long one. She mentioned that her final chemo would take place on Thursday so I asked how she was feeling about it and we chatted for a while. We ended our conversation by asking the nurse if we could sit next to one another on Thursday so we could catch up some more. Another patient, who I also see on a Thursday, was openly sharing his current state of mind with us. He compared his experience as a cancer patient to that of being a puppet on a string. It’s the perfect explanation actually. There is a feeling of limitation of movement and choice in general and everything is orchestrated to make sure you’re on track with treatment, hospital visits and medication so it can sometimes feel crippling.

I finished up at the hospital and spent the rest of the afternoon running errands which I’d decided, would all be done on foot. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I was feeling really good and strong. Midday, when I was finally on my way back home, I realized that I’d been a little too ambitious, so I took the bus home as I felt completely exhausted. I had a date planned later in the day with Susie and Caralyn who were both in ‘A Little Night Music’ with me, so I had to keep going. We had settled on meeting somewhere I hadn’t been before, which made a nice change for me. I’ve stayed away from the underground and public transport as much as I could to avoid picking up germs, but I felt I’d cope with a little exposure that day and I’m so glad I did. I had the best time with you girls. Thank you both 🙂

Wednesday was an early morning call to get to a different hospital for my follow up with Oncology and more blood tests. There is usually quite a bit of waiting around on these days. The overall feedback is that I’m coping well with treatment which is nice to hear from the specialists who see so many different patients all day long. They are always encouraging and supportive.

I had another catch up planned with my friend Marie in the afternoon and was scheduled to attend a talk later in the day with my friend Leigh. The talk only ended at 21:45 so it was going to be a long day and my instinct was that I’d make it through, which I did. I had a brilliant day and left the talk feeling really inspired with lots to think about.

Chemo day was up next and after a bit of a lie in, I ventured off to the hospital. As it turns out the nurses had moved my cold cap machine to another section of the ward to accommodate sitting with Lisa Marie, but she was asleep on the other side of the ward, so I settled in. It was busy and chatty and as lovely as the people were around me, I was feeling tired and quiet, so I have to say, it wasn’t my best day and I wished to be in the corner where I usually am. To add to that feeling of wishing I were in my quiet corner, I also didn’t feel great once the chemo cycle started. Sometimes you can sit there and not feel a thing and sometimes you know it’s going in. I had a strange sensation in my body on Thursday that I recognized from the first day of treatment. It leaves you feeling uneasy and the feeling hasn’t really left me all weekend, but I’ve taken it slow as much as I can.

Friday was the most beautiful day, with the sun beating down and a gentle breeze blowing, it was perfect. I went for a long walk in the park down the road from where I live and hugged several trees along the way. There is a special tree that I sometimes spend time sitting underneath. I call it my ‘wishing willow.’ On Friday I was feeling really quiet and a little emotional for some reason.  I entered into the shady space of the tree, surrounded by the beautiful cascading green leaves and circled around the trunk several times, speaking my thoughts out aloud. Tears streamed down my face as I walked slowly around its trunk and spontaneously began a dialogue with someone who is very special to me. Last year, just before my first surgery, my dear friend Gordon passed away. There has been little time to process his death properly, although I have felt a gaping hole since his passing. This is the month of his birth and perhaps the quietness that I have been feeling is somehow linked to him, and I am now ready to process this huge loss. He was a father-figure to me and my biggest mentor, someone who understood me fully and was always there when I needed him.  If Gordy were here now, watching me go through this, he would have had lots of wisdom to share.

Yesterday brought the most precious little soul into the house. Jono had his overseas family around for lunch and I got to meet the rest of his lovely family and little Charlie who is now 19 months. I was hooked on sight and his little laugh was actually all the healing I needed this weekend. He brought so much joy into the house and the entire day was truly special with great food, good conversation, playful moments with Charlie and wonderful sunshine 🙂

There was a magical moment when Charlie walked into the shade of a baby willow tree in the garden and stood there for a while, with such delight on his face.  Even Charlie found his ‘wishing willow’ tree.

“I am a willow of the wilderness, loving the wind that bent me – Ralph Waldo Emerson