24 & 1/2 things I've learned since my diagnosis

I found out on February 9th, 2014...

Just the day before, I had facilitated a workshop delving into the feminine with sixteen delicious, eclectic and fierce women. It was called "Come As You Are", and during that play date, we danced, laughed, cried, fought and loved in a room full of heart, sex, desire, pain and a deep sense of sisterhood.

I've made a career of working with women in all kinds of settings and for many different reasons, mostly around helping them find their depth, deliciousness and desirability through reclaiming their sexuality.

My first experience with breast cancer was when I was 34 years old. One of my closest friends died within a six-month period from the disease. Working with women these many years, I have seen many who have fought breast cancer; so I had a better-than-average understanding of what I was facing, and I understood (or so I thought) the fallout of how this disease impacts women, on so many levels.

In facing the challenge I had helped many others through, I found that none of my work could have fully prepared me for this experience. I was overwhelmed, scared and felt lost from my center. I found that my struggle was between feeling that I should somehow know how to handle this and facing the reality that I had absolutely no clue. Trying to control something that is not even remotely controllable brought me to my knees in such an amazing way.  

I found the wisdom of all those women whom I held through their struggle, who were now in a sense holding me as I walked this path. As I stepped into the fragility of life, I discovered a wellspring of vulnerability that was incredibly sensuous. And the more I embraced the feeling of fragility, the deeper I sank into that vulnerability. This has brought a profound sense of relief--an ironic relief, actually, in not knowing. In becoming intimate with the inescapable, I've found a new doorway into  surrendering into the unknown.

In this place of surrender, I've experienced many "A-ha!" moments. I share some of these below:

  1. Fear is my friend (my life mantra).
  2. Just take the next step.
  3. Losing your hair everywhere is smokin' hot.
  4. Dance your ass off; if you can't feel your feet, shake whatever you can. Just keep moving.
  5. Music is dope; literally.
  6. People show up how and when they can; suck up the love, how and when it's available. 
  7. Trying to tan your head so it matches your face? Fun, but futile.
  8. Touch is essential; contact, nonnegotiable.
  9. Sexy is a feeling. Cancer can't take that away; only you can.
  10. Driving with all the windows open and the music blasting--without any hair drama--awesome!
  11. Even though they say "small", there is no such thing as a small anything when cancer is in the sentence.
  12. Let yourself feel crazy. Trying to hold it together hinders your ability to process all your feelings.
  13. You have time; you don't have to take the first option given to you. Breathe, and ask questions
  14. It's okay to want your mother--even if she's not available to support you.
  15. Taking in (receiving) is vulnerable, especially when it's "do or die".
  16. When you go down, let yourself stay down. Trying to push through makes it worse.
  17. Ask for help. It's good practice.
  18. THC rocks!
  19. Take inspiration from wherever you find it. Kermit the Frog comes to mind.
  20. You find peace in the most unexpected places.
  21. Loneliness is when you leave yourself.
  22. Love finds you.
  23. Sexuality and sensuality are imperative; disconnecting from them, crazy-making.
  24. You won't be miserable giving up sugar. And..

  24-1/2. Finding a deeper relationship to your fear when you hear the words, "We need to stop treatment"...

Six months after my diagnosis, and now, facing the sudden and unexpected ending of treatment in these last few weeks, I find myself in a very different space than before cancer my treatment was terminated halfway through due to many side-effects.  So the journey into the unknown continues.....

In this moment I have found a deep appreciation for being "in the day"--having space to let go of almost everything that was previously driving me in my life--especially to succeed, and especially around my business. Living life trying to be special, as an action (rather than knowing you are unique) is exhausting. For me, giving that effort up on most days has been truly liberating. Getting closer to my heart and seeing--again and again and again--that connection rules, not stuff, has been the bomb; stuff doesn't go with you when you leave. The love does.

I put a quotation on my fridge today by the Dali Lama. When asked what surprised him the most about humanity, he answered:

"Man--because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he were never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

With that in mind, as in the picture that opens this newsletter, today I am choosing to Go Live...