Cancer Free Woman

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Diving into the roots of the cancer tree

Diving into the roots of the cancer tree

Have you ever felt you were living inside your own Groundhog Day movie? Where life repeats the same series of events until one day you wake up, smell the roses, see your life through new eyes and create a different ending? My wake-up call was when diagnosed with bowel cancer.  As it turned out, the cancer was a gift not a curse. A beginning, not an ending. A catalyst to rewrite my life, give it new meaning and become cancer free.

I started by improving my health on every level but as I went deeper I discovered hidden family patterns that helped me to understand why I had cancer and how I could change my life. By diving into the roots of the cancer tree I could see who I was and why and who I could become and how. It enabled me to make peace with the past, find a new sense of purpose and expand who I am capable of being.  Three years on I remain cancer free and about to embark on a new career.

Making a difference in your own journey

The aim of this blog is to inspire people to make a difference in their own healing journey. I am not advocating replacing sensible medical care but encouraging a broader perspective and dialogue around cancer. If you have cancer or are close to someone who has, here are some questions I recommend you investigate:

  • Why is this happening to me?  Being curious rather than fearful stimulates a higher level of awareness.  It encourages the person to participate in their healing process and be open to valuable insights.

researchMy healing journey was inspired by many cutting edge thinkers including Dr Donny Epstein, author of 12 Stages of Healing. Epstein talks about illness never being an isolated incident but connected to other life circumstances. Asking why stimulates a higher level of thought and further investigation behind the reason and purpose of the illness.

Epstein also speaks about choosing between two healing paths – to restore or re-organise your life? The restorative practitioner eliminates the symptom and restores the client to the life they had before. Although this creates certainty and comfort, there is a high risk the symptom or illness will return because nothing has changed. If the patient is seeking lasting wellness he recommends reorganising their life. To question why their pain or illness is happening, review their life and look at what needs to be done differently. Investigating my life like a detective led to profound insights which helped me to understand why I had cancer and what I needed to change in order to become cancer free. These insights surfaced when I least expected them – during dance workshops, as I worked with practitioners, in my dreams, even at a writer’s workshop. So keep an open mind.  I’m currently writing a series of articles and a book which capture these insights in detail.

  • What was happening in my life prior to the diagnosis?   Reflect and connect the dots between the past and the present, then consider what needs changing.

building blocksInitially I looked to my immediate past to find the answers. When the gastroenterologist explained the cancerous polyp in my lower bowel had been growing for about a year I immediately saw the connection to a fateful decision I’d made the previous year – to move interstate to start a new contract – which turned into the job from hell.  This compounded my stress levels which had been soaring through the roof in recent years.   So I needed to change how I worked, what else? An insight received during a dance workshop led me to discover I was preconditioned to hold stress in my bowels, which in turn had caused me to suffer from chronic constipation throughout my childhood and teenage years. In the three years prior to my diagnosis, chronic constipation had plagued me once more. I began to understand these symptoms were an indication of high stress levels. If high levels of stress reduced my immunity and made me more susceptible to the proliferation of cancer cells, then my bowels were clearly my weak spot. This insight forced me to recognise the need to reduce my stress levels, increase my immunity, improve my overall health (especially my bowel health), and reinvent or restructure my working life.

  • What’s right with me rather than what’s wrong? What dreams have I given up on?   Then act and do something you love, no matter how small.

dreams 2In his book Cancer as a Turning Point, psychologist Dr Larry LeShan noted a decrease in the functioning of the immune system is not only a precursor to illness but may well be linked to the emotional history of the person, since feelings affect body chemistry. In the years leading up to their diagnosis many of his cancer patients had silently lost faith in ever living a meaningful life, and nearly every one secretly admitted to having unfulfilled dreams. Dreams that said – this is who I really am. He understood humans inherently need personal goals. A reason to get up in the morning and have something worthwhile to do. So he stopped asking what was wrong with them, and asked what was right? What had they always wanted to do but given up on? Once they found their sense of purpose they began to fight back with a vengeance and the mortality rate of his cancer patients dropped by a staggering 50%!

At the Cancer as a Turning Point USA retreat in 2014 I explored what had I given up on? My love of teaching dance was the answer. In 1986 I discovered sacred circle dance while living in England. These eastern European village dances instilled a deep sense of community spirit and I loved them so much I trained as a teacher and brought the dance back to Australia. Although I returned to the corporate world after five years of teaching dance full time, I never completely gave up on the dance, it just took a back seat. Instead I became a student of ecstatic dance and learned how to move and include every part of myself. I explored, expressed and embraced my inner world without fear or favour and expanded my sense of self from the inside out. In return I felt refreshed and invigorated, blessed with energy, conscious awareness and inner peace. Returning from the retreat in 2014 I reflected. Was I ready to give up my corporate life or at least restructure it so I could teach once more and support others awaken their hidden dreams? This month I begin a two year training with Open Floor International, a wonderful dance movement meditation practice that builds muscular and emotional intelligence, mindfulness and soulfulness.

  • Am I partnering with my practitioners or abdicating my authority to them? It’s important to be empowered and feisty.

According to LeShan feisty patients survive much longer. It stimulates the immune system and says “I care about you, am committed and mean it.”   He also recommends not abdicating your authority to others and becoming a complacent child as that is for the practitioners’ and hospital’s convenience, not yours. His advice to people who feel helpless and fearful in the face of cancer? Act and do something that makes your heart sing, no matter how small. If you need inspiration, read his book.

  • Do I understand how cancer cells form? Do your research and make well informed choices.

insights 1Until I did my research I had no idea we all have cancer cells occurring in the body, all the time! What triggers them to proliferate is another matter. The medical profession agree that prolonged levels of stress can trigger a significant drop in immunity and the proliferation of cancer cells, but there are other triggers too. My sense is we are more vulnerable to cancer when those triggers accumulate and the body loses its natural ability to fight back. That’s why I continue to look after my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and take Salvestrols a remarkable anti-cancer breakthrough and supplement developed by British medical researchers Prof Dan Burke and Prof Gerry Potter and their team. I consider them my internal security system, continually on the lookout for any abnormal or cancerous cells, ready to go on a search and destroy mission before the situation ever becomes critical again.

  • Am I willing to adjust my approach and choose practitioners, tools and techniques I resonate with? If not, be willing to change them and learn what works for you.

As a Change Manager in the corporate world I fully understand that to successfully reach your destination you need to be prepared to learn from what works and what doesn’t because every organisation and culture is different.  That means there is no one size fits all approach to managing change (or cancer).  Usually there is a roadmap to follow, but along the way there’s always a need for constant re-evaluation and re-adjustments. I love the story about the spaceflight that took Armstrong to the moon. It was only on course three per cent of the time and landed successfully because its position was constantly monitored and corrected to keep it on course.

Remember cancer isn’t just about where it is physically located or your physical health, it’s about who you are as a person and what was happening in your life prior to your diagnosis. So create a program that is fit for you and choose practitioners, tools and techniques you resonate with and be prepared to change your approach if it doesn’t work. Since everything is connected, don’t just focus on healing the physical, but include tools and techniques that address the mental, emotional and spiritual too.  As well as my surgeon, at different stages of my journey I worked with an integrated medical practitioner/naturopath/homeopath, a flower essence practitioner (Healing Orchids and Australian Bush Flowers), a Chiron healer and Network Care practitioner.  I am now exploring Reconnective Healing and will have more to say about that in a future post.

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What are you hungry for?

Are you hungry for connection, intimacy, a sense of belonging, inspiration?

According to Kathy Altman of Open Floor International we are all hungry for something in our lives – the peace and quiet of solitude; the feeling of intimacy with another, experiencing that deeper connection; enjoying a sense of belonging where we are part of something bigger than ourselves, creating our own contribution. Then there’s the hunger for what we often call God or Goddess. Of surrendering and merging with that expansive oneness that is beyond the ego of self. An invitation to experience awe, grace, gratitude, insight, inspiration and new possibilities.

My hunger lead me to the Open Floor Lab

My hunger for connection and a sense of belonging drew me to Auckland in March to experience the Open Floor embodied dance and mindfulness practices with a faculty of teachers including Kathy Altman and Lori Saltzman. Seventy sweaty bodies of all shapes and sizes, spent a week dancing our hearts out, learning to experience the art of moving and including without amputating any part of ourselves. Thankfully under the careful guidance of an extensive faculty of teachers I discovered and explored new depths. Along the way I unexpectedly discovered parts of me that were stuck, chained to the past, holding me back from moving forward in my life in a new way. Yet by mindfully connecting with these parts of me I allowed myself to create new options. Such is the nature of Open Floor. To transform old hard-wired patterns and create new neural pathways, opening up new possibilities and life options.

Living a meaningful, zestful life

After the Cancer as a Turning Point retreat in the States last year, I yearned to live a zestful life, one which had purpose and meaning. Dr Donny Epstein explains this as living an energy rich life, where you no longer choose to return to the way it was, but become an enhanced version of yourself.  This was the dream I was intent on manifesting.

Now standing on the precipice of change, my fears had gotten the better of me. Three weeks out from the Open Lab in Auckland I had received a call from the States saying my teacher training application for Open Floor hadn’t yet been accepted but would be reconsidered in the second round after I’d attended their Auckland Lab. My old fear of rejection raised its ugly head. I had always felt this training was my calling. What if I didn’t get in, what else would I do? Of late, it had all felt too hard and I didn’t know why?

Fears are like small backpacks

I carried this fear with me to Auckland. It felt like a small black backpack that fitted snuggly against the back of my heart. It travelled with me wherever I went. On the dance floor, at breakfast, on the beach, and my conversations. After a couple of days a voice in my head said stop trying to prove yourself, that’s an old pattern. Just be yourself. I took its advice.

On day four I experienced a much needed breakthrough from all that tension. After days of constant movement I’d finally softened at the edges, opening a gateway to insight and gratitude.

We were asked to team up with two others and discover our own personal comfort movement. A movement that felt nurturing, grounding and safe. A place to go to whenever we felt vulnerable on the dance floor. Mine was a slow figure 8, swaying left to right from my knees to the hips. My palms facing upwards, elbows nestling on the edge of my hips, tracing the shape of the figure eight with the rest of my body. Moving left, I softly breathed in . When I changed direction, I gently breathed out. I felt like a cradled baby who had found her safety zone. There was peace and contentment.

Then we were asked to form a trio of roles. As one person danced, another silently witnessed them from the edge of the room. If the dancer became vulnerable and needed support, the third person was to mirror the dancer’s comfort move and invite them to dance it together.

As soon as I started dancing I began to feel as if my right ankle was stuck to the floor.  As if chained to the spot. My first reaction was confusion and the need to free it. But it seemed impossible. My right ankle was truly stuck. The more I tried to free it, the more it hit me – perhaps something was coming up to the surface. Instead of fighting it, perhaps I needed to accept it? Allow the rest of my body to dance with the restriction and be mindful of the experience. To use the restriction as a counter point.

As I partnered with the stuck sensation I found myself entering it more fully. Suddenly I sensed myself becoming a heavy set, muscular black man in his sixties with an extremely large iron ball chained to his right ankle, which severely restricted his motion. I realised he was not a criminal but a black slave. Gradually his thoughts became my thoughts. His feelings, my feelings. I sensed his frustration at being so restricted and heard him saying over and over in my head, ‘it’s just too hard”. A phrase I had been saying to myself for weeks without understanding why.

Yet beyond his anguish lay a remarkable resilience and wisdom of spirit. Before being a slave he would once have been an elder of his tribe. Sadly his physical strength made him excellent slave material. “They don’t take the weak ones. They are left for dead”, he says.

Years of personal cruelty seemed to have numbed him from the inside out. Perhaps I’d also numbed a part of my own existence too? Perhaps I had restricted my own potential?  The more I learned of his life the more I wanted to free him. So I started to fight against the restriction once more but found it all too difficult, too hard. Suddenly I’m sobbing my heart out uncontrollably while dancing to the music.

When I finally opened my eyes I see my comfort person close by, giving me the support I needed. As I joined her I thankfully returned to the much needed safety of my comfort zone. As the music ended, I quietly sat down and allowed the tears to subside.

As the day progressed I still felt him close to my heart, so dedicated my dance as a gift of healing. By the end of the day I sensed he was free from the chains of the past, able to return to spirit and join his ancestors. In this moment gratitude and joy filled my heart.

Living my dream is feeding my soul

Whether this was a past life recall or not didn’t seem to be the point. It was what this memory symbolised. As a teenager I was never allowed to follow my dreams. I felt under duress to go back into my box and do whatever was expected of me by an oppressive father. Despite a sense of being a natural born leader I unconsciously allowed severe limits to be placed on my self-expression and potential. Instead of working in the arts exploring my love of writing, theatre and dance, I became a good little secretary. Thankfully I had enough chutzpah to progress my corporate existence and climb the proverbial ladder, but it never fed my soul. It wasn’t until cancer came along two years ago that I realised that I had given up on my dreams and my soul. Leaving me numb and empty inside.

As the Auckland week came to an end I felt a surge of energy enter my second chakra, accompanied by a profound sense of new beginnings. Three months later, I have been through a washing machine and come out the other side, renewed and re-invigorated. I am now feeding my hunger for creativity and leadership and just loving how it is all coming together.

butterfly

 

 


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Break the patterns of the past and make way for the new

breaking patterns

 

 

 

 

 

Break the patterns of the past and make way for the new

Family patterns are proudly worn like invisible cloaks. Patterns inherited from the past, our upbringing, family culture and heritage. Sometimes they unwittingly lock us into what to believe, think, and feel. How to behave and respond to everyday life.   Patterns so ingrained they have us living on automatic. Ensuring the present and future are inextricably linked, where nothing changes and the future becomes – predictable.

Being aware of those patterns can open up new options, the freedom to break free of past limitations, rekindle lost hopes and dreams, and create a different future.

Are you living in your own Groundhog Day?

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? Remember the Bill Murray character? How he finds himself reliving the same day, over and over again, as if stuck in a never ending story? Now that’s a pattern. His is a powerful journey of awakening, redemption and transformation.

His circumstances only start to transform when he finds the motivation to change. His ultimate aim is to win the girl, but he discovers he can’t force it because she can see through him. His journey is around being true to himself. Something that is almost alien to him. As he consciously makes new choices, he learns from each one. The more he learns the more he adjusts his behaviour. Initially the learning curve is very steep, but gradually the outcome within each repetitive day begins to improve in leaps and bounds.   Eventually the momentum builds and by the end of the movie he achieves breakthrough by reinventing himself and creating a new future while organically improving the lives of many along the way.

In some ways Groundhog Day reflects parts of my own life story. That doesn’t mean I behave like the Bill Murray character, but my life has been a series of challenging patterns, especially in the workplace. So what does it take to smell the roses, come off on automatic and decide to create a new ending? It took a radical wake-up call before I was willing to turn around my life around. That call was bowel cancer, but in truth it can come in many guises.

Links between stress and cancer

The cancerous polyp in my bowel took 12 months twelve months to grow and coincided with two consecutive jobs from hell. I’ve since learned there are clear links between prolonged high levels of stress and the onset of cancer. Apparently stress erodes the immune system and leaves the person vulnerable to disease.

Since coming through bowel cancer almost two years ago I’ve had to be far more discerning about what jobs I am willing to accept. Stressful high powered roles are now out of the question. Remaining sustainably cancer free means downsizing my work choices and focusing on what makes my heart sing which includes writing and dance.

Living a meaningful life

I’ve also discovered the significance of living a meaningful life from Dr Lawrence Le Shan author of Cancer as a Turning Point. Larry cites a significant drop in the immune system is not only a precursor to illness but connected to the emotional history of the person, since feelings affect body chemistry.

The single thing that merged from working with cancer patients was that a large majority of them (but not all) had felt prior to the first sign of cancer, a loss of hope in ever achieving a way of life that would give them real and deep satisfaction the kind of meaning that makes us look forward to each day and the future.  Dr L LeShan

That’s why last October I flew twenty two hours in a cramped sardine can, enduring jet lag and parting with thousands of dollars to attend the Cancer as a Turning Point retreat in Virginia, USA. Was it worth it? Hell yes. It prompted me to look at myself through a different lens. To discover what was right rather than what was wrong with me.

I also got to meet a group of like-minded people who saw their cancer as a wake-up call rather than a huge obstacle to be removed at the earliest convenience so that life could resume to normal. We didn’t want to turn back the clock because it wouldn’t necessarily reduce the risk of the cancer returning. According to Larry it probably would increase our chances. No our focus was on creating a new future. A meaningful life. A life that would bring enthusiasm and purpose. Over five days we connected with our subconscious through meditation, drawing and writing to discover what was waiting in the wings and give it birth.

The only thing missing in this process was something very close to my heart. Dance, movement, music and rhythm (and fun)! That’s why I have since been exploring ways to integrate embodied movement into this model so I can expand the approach and offer it on a broader basis, but that’s down the track.

Cancer as a gift not a curse

Meanwhile, when cancer put up a bloody huge wall in front of me it forced me to re-evaluate my life. The cancer had a purpose and for that I will be eternally grateful. Although I am now on the other side of the wall, reinventing myself continues to be a gradual process, and a steep learning curve. Remaining cancer free is my motivation.

Do you want to reinvent yourself?

Do I sound passionate? I bloody hope so. It is my desire to connect with other people who want to reinvent themselves so we can support each other and share our learnings along the way, especially around what tools and techniques we have used that have made a real difference. Reinventing myself has meant working with tools on every level of my being including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Inspired by the work of Dr Donny Epstein, I now undertake taking an integrated approach means I can stimulate energy richness on every level of my being, which in turn increases my ability to move forward in a new direction with greater ease. To find out more about Dr Epstein visit his Facebook page which has lots of interesting videos.

In my next post I’ll write about my amazing experiences of embodied movement at a week’s workshop in Auckland run by Open Floor International.


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Cake with benefits

black forest cake

Cake with benefits

When all else fails, eat cake.  That’s my motto. Today was one of those days. A day punctuated by creativity, sadness, tears, utter frustration and heartfelt smiles.

Having run out of milk I headed out first thing to Mr Hendricks café on Whitehorse Road, Balwyn for a welcome silky cream latte, topped off with fruit toast. Then I pulled out my Surface tablet and began  firming up the latest chapters of my book. After three months of horrendous writers’ block I was now powering away, getting down my experiences of wintering in New York and attending the Cancer as a Turning Point retreat in Virginia. The writers’ block was a conundrum until one morning I woke up clear as day with the realisation my book needed to be restructured, and how. When I followed these insights it changed the book’s whole feel and direction. The story finally came to life. Now there’s an engine within me pouring out words. It’s shaping up real fine. If only it paid the bills!

Since coming through bowel cancer nearly two years ago I’ve become far more discerning about what roles I am willing to accept. Stressful senior change management roles are now out of the question. It’s all about remaining cancer free, downsizing my choice of roles, work / life balance and focusing on what I love – change communications. Usually this time of year offers a smorgasbord of contracts, but currently I’m swimming through mud. Just when I think I’ve hooked something new, it dies a quick death. Four new jobs have fallen through my fingers in as many weeks. It’s so frustrating. Today, more bad news. Despite having jumped through a series of hoops and receiving excellent pre interview reference checks, I was told the client didn’t want to interview me after all. With no explanation, I felt utterly powerless. Something that never happened when I went through cancer!

Feeling truly miserable I decided to check out Hill Top Cakes in Mont Albert North in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. This European cake shop had recently been highly recommended by The Age newspaper. As I entered the small and rather non-descript shopfront I was welcomed by a counter stacked with glorious calorie ridden cakes and biscuits, shining with homemade love. After much deliberation I choose the fruit cake, with the intention of sampling the black forest cake another day. Walking out the door the owner called out and offered me two extra brown paper parcels containing a hot meat pie and a loaf of freshly made rye bread. Now that’s what I call cake with benefits.

Sitting in my sunroom with Yorkshire Tea and fruit cake in hand, my spirits soared. My final reward, two calls from prospective employers. The cake had done its magic!

 


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Turning adversity into opportunity

Turning adversity into opportunity
Whether we like it or not our formative years instill a deep seated unconscious imprint for our future. Once we understand how the events of our past are inextricably linked to our present circumstances we can consciously transform the patterns that keep us silently chained to the past, thus allowing ourselves to be free to reinvent our future. But it’s a gradual process. Sometimes it takes a radical wake-up call to fast track that process. In my case it was cancer, but in truth the turning point can come in many disguises.

I was a child of the fifties, born to please others but never to satisfy myself. The youngest of five girls in a dysfunctional and occasionally toxic family constellation. Where past imprints may wound us and press our buttons it equally charges us with the very traits to counteract them. By rebelling against the iron clad fist of my father’s domination, I ultimately developed characteristics that would sustain and fortify me. Qualities best expressed by the flower essence of my favorite tree – the magnificent English Oak.

The healing qualities of flower essences
In the dictionary of Bach Flower Remedies published by CW Daniel in 1976, Oak people are described as brave, who fight adversity, difficulties and illness without loss of hope. They persevere and are ceaseless in their effort to find a cure when unwell. They are reliable, full of common sense and can stand great strain. Oak trees never give up, and will struggle into leaf even when facing old age!

When cancer called, it was my Oak nature that impelled me to develop an energy rich program designed to save my life and inspire others. It also offered me an important learning… Oak persons are capable of enormous achievement. They are able to truly serve and help others because of their tremendous wellspring of willpower. However this very strength can become too rigid and the unrelenting demands and expectations of life will eventually take a toll on the physical health and inner happiness of the soul. Flower Essence Society 1986.

Breakdown is often a precursor to breakthrough. The key is having the right tools and practitioners to attain and sustain that breakthrough. Flower essences became an important tool in my healing program. With so many to choose from, my essences of choice are Ian White’s potent Australian Bush Flower Essences and Don Dennis’s glorious Living Tree Orchid Essences.

The essences I used to support my healing journey varied enormously and are very different to what I take now. One I took constantly last year was Narnia made from a vibrant, superbly energy rich patch of unique Sphagnum Moss discovered hidden in an untouched corner of English woodland, still full of nature spirits. Narnia was just the ticket to improve my energy levels and immunity system. It apparently works on many levels including the physical, emotional and spiritual. It benefits the body at a cellular level, cheers you up and heightens your perception. It should be noted that Narnia was not taken alone, but in conjunction with other supplements, prescribed by my naturopath / homeopath.

Following your passion
Sometimes a flower essence calls to you when you least expect it. Today for instance, while walking through Camberwell market in Melbourne I noticed the flower stall selling some stands of huge Gymea Lilies.
gymea lily
I’ve noticed these magnificent flowers growing beside the freeway on the way to Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, but never seen them for sale. Growing up to 4 metres tall, they have a thick stem topped by a huge rosette of red trumpet shaped flowers. They look like a red lighthouse, and this instantly reminded me of a dream I’d had a couple of days ago – of watching a thick stone lighthouse being battered by huge waves coming at it from all angles, yet I noticed it bore the challenge with consummate ease. On returning home I pulled out Ian White’s book Bush Flower Healing (Bantam Books) and looked the essence up, and immediately understood my dream.

Gymea Lily allows a person to draw from its powerful energy and attain the strength to be who they are, and do what they have to do. It enables them to achieve and fulfill their highest destiny, to find what gives them passion in their life and follow that passion, to do what really makes their heart sing. It is a remedy for those who are willing to fly like an eagle, as opposed to living trapped in the numbing mediocrity and mindlessness of consensus reality.

Months of being constantly battered by the storms taking place around me at work had left me hating my job, and feeling like I was quickly going under. Inner strength and conviction came the moment I decided to leave my job and follow my passion – my writing. I do not regret this decision and am loving being true to myself once more. Meanwhile a bottle of Gymea Lily essence sits on my bedside table – ready for the daily partaking.


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What a difference four days make!

I need sanity, friendship and fun
I’d forgotten what it was like to feel really happy on in the inside, but the next four days will change all that!

As I make my way down the steps into the warm embrace of the Gold Coast sunshine I can feel the tension of my crazy job melting from my shoulders and pouring through the soles of my feet into the airport tarmac. The spur of the moment decision to walk away from my job for four days unannounced has been prompted by the dire need for sanity, friendship and fun. I also need to celebrate the results of my annual colonoscopy, which has confirmed my Cancer Free status, plus no new polyps – the result I am sure, of taking Jane Lindsay’s homeopathic remedies. I pinch myself knowing my energy rich program and inner work has paid off in dividends.

What clinched this flying visit was an enticing invite to attend my Gold Coast Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) practitioner’s monthly meditation circle. Before moving south, these special events had been gloriously healing, highly insightful and balm for the soul, plus right on my doorstep. Now it involved flying two hours north and taking unpaid time off. Yet my intuition said blow the expense – just go for it.

As a special treat I have booked into a compact fifth floor apartment overlooking Palm Beach and hired a car. Once unpacked I’m off to the Palm Beach Healing Centre where I’m scheduled for a one hour pre meditation Network entrainment with my good friend and practitioner, Coby.

Opening a sacred gateway to my once iron clad heart
Waiting in reception are two other women. As we enter the main entrainment room Coby gently pulls me to one side and whispers she has set up the side room especially for me as my experience will be different to the other women. I am deeply intrigued.

In hushed reverence I am asked to lie face down on the chiropractic table. Using her innate professional talent and intuition Coby lightly touches my spine with her fingers and I respond by moving gracefully as if dancing in horizontal motion. My hips and pelvis gently rise and fall, then stretch outwards. I feel energy gathering in my muscles and limbs. Her touch directs this energy through my spine to my neck and shoulders and the back of my heart.

Over the next forty five minutes my body naturally unblocks old tension and converts it into new energy and light flows freely through my muscles, nervous system and bones, from head to toe. Although energised in body, mind and spirit, I am also profoundly relaxed. When I carefully turn over onto my back time seems to disappear and I gradually enter a space of grace and inner peace. This is when the magic happens – and every time it is different.

Today I sense her smooth touch opening a sacred gateway in my once iron clad heart. Her movements prompt my body to arch the chest and extend my outstretched arms into the space high above my heart.

Seeing life from a different perspective
From this place I see the world from a different perspective. Dr Donny Epstein, the father of Network, describes this source as Global Soul, a place of knowingness and oneness with the Divine.

I become aware that a gift is to be placed into my outstretched hands – the energetic presence of my beloved divine child and feminine wisdom. I sense she is ready to return to her true home – my heart. What happens next is beyond words, but my tears of joy say it all.

As the Network entrainment ends I hear voices in reception as the rest of the meditation group arrive. The challenge now is to return to the mundane world of others while retaining the beauty of what I’ve experienced!

To merge with a sacred part of your being, is a truly extraordinary experience, as it verges on bliss. Thankfully Network is the one tool I know that can successfully facilitate this process in a both a grounded and embodied way.

Network is an esssential tool in my anti-cancer program
Network has enabled me to heal and transform many old painful memories and shadow parts of myself and integrate them back into a light-hearted wholeness on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level. Over the past ten years I have learned to expand my repertoire of self, increase my energy levels and access untapped inner resources. It has been one of the essential tools in my anti-cancer program where energy richness has been the key to achieving ongoing and sustainable wellness.

Over the next three days I have two more remarkable entrainments with this amazing healer. In between I enjoy walking around the headland from my apartment to the bustling cafes of Burleigh where I catch up on the latest news with friends over exotic breakfasts and luscious lunches, often finishing with a creamy latte at either Canteen or Barefoot Barista. In the evenings I write or explore the culinary treats of the Miami night market with more friends before being lulled to sleep by the gentle rhythm of the ocean.

Good friendship and hearty laughter nourish my once withered soul, and she is happy.

Listening to my intuition pays off
On Sunday, as I drive the forty five minutes south to the monthly Byron Bay community market, the weather suddenly closes in. Sunshine turns to low cloud and drizzle, and the temperature drops. The normally busy monthly market is boggy and unusually empty. I decide to catch a feel good movie on my ‘to do’ list – The Lunchbox. Back in the light of day I am confronted with cold pouring rain. Thankfully I listen to my intuition which urges me to return to the Gold Coast which is still bathed in glorious sunshine. Talk about micro climates!

It’s now late afternoon and the Gold Coast is notorious for closing early. To my surprise I discover a newly opened tapas bar in Burleigh where I draft this post. Finally it’s time to return to the airport for my flight home. Apparently while I have been basking in warm sunshine Melbourne has been shivering with freezing temperatures accompanied by snow, ice and high winds. Talk about excellent timing!

One week on the gift of my time away has unexpectedly opened up further doorways to healing and I am so excited by what this will mean in my life going forward.


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Oil and water do not mix

Oil and water do not mix

Standing in a large circle, we find ourselves at the start of the three day Returning to Joy dance workshop answering the following question in turn – what does your heart truly desire? I speak up, loud and clear with my back straight and eyes focused on the participants, many of whom I know from other workshops.

The ability to live a congruent life!

There’s a reflective pause. That’s big. That takes courage says the dance leader.

My heart is pounding as if I’ve taken a truth serum, exposing the very core of my inner being.

I know and it frightens me, but the part of me that originally created the cancer has demanded it so there is no turning back. On the other hand I feel such gratitude that someone finally recognizes how challenging this journey to authenticity is and how much support it requires.

Despite it having been a lonely journey so far, I know my gift will be to support others who choose this path to freedom.

As we dance our first wave of flowing, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness the music flows through my arms and legs, hips, spine and head, loosening the places in me that have been tightly restricted by the boundaries of my corporate life. An hour later I have bypassed my mind and can feel the remarkable intelligent expansiveness of my internal world again.

Over the next three days we dance our hearts out, draw, write, reflect and energetically express what is emerging from the depths of our being.

The answers lie within us
By the end of day two I’m able to dive deep enough to retrieve the insights I am seeking. The answers lie within us – right?

Here it is – the awareness that I am trying to live two parallel yet separate lives – a mind focused corporate life and a sensory lead creative life, and they are like oil and water, they do not mix and never will. My corporate life takes up most of my time, while the call of my creativity becomes stronger every day, urging me on, while other parts of me resist.

Cancer was the wall that forced me to take time out yet here I am a year later back at work again trying to be two different people – the one I’ve learned to be in order to survive, and the spiritually creative one that is truly me. Although I am desperately trying to contain them in silos, I’m somehow hoping they will successfully merge and blend. My epiphany says this is not possible and I am wasting my time.

Navigating the dysfunctional corporate world
Over the years I’ve learned to successfully navigate the rapidly increasing dysfunctional and disconnected corporate world and the behaviours people unconsciously display, but now it has become exhausting. Yes the work is financially rewarding, but is the price I’m paying worth it?

Some nights I flop onto my couch drained and frustrated. I can feel the energy richness I’ve worked so hard to achieve, at risk of being depleted.

Is it time to take a leap of faith? Is that the message my dream is conveying on the second night of the workshop?

The pilot of a light aircraft suddenly collapses and loses consciousness, unable to fly the plane. The passengers prepare for a crash landing. As we open the doors we step out into a crowded plaza full of people and cars, but miraculously we have landed in the one free space available. We emerge from the plane surprised to discover no-one is hurt and the plane isn’t damaged.

Is the pilot the part of me taking my life in a particular direction, but unable to go on? Certainly the dream indicates the direction I am going in will come to a sudden stop, yet it will happen without pain or difficulty. Thank goodness for that!

The Chalice of Creativity
As the third day comes to a close, one final drawing emerges from the roots of my being. It speaks to me thus:

I am the chalice of your creativity. There is strength in this creativity, it holds no bars, and there is no limit. Allow this creativity to flow through you. Give it direction and purpose. You are like a strong tree able to seed many other trees by touching and igniting them with your impulse, creatively helping them to blossom, express their true nature and find their way home.

I share these insights with Francesca, who turns out to be someone who has turned her back on corporate life and successfully changed direction. As a professional facilitator she now coaches others to become free of their past and create the future they truly desire.

I’m seeing her next week.

In the meantime I’m madly working on updating my synopsis so I can send it through to the publisher who has expressed interest in my book.