Changing the Narrative: Seeking Empowerment not Defeat at the Hands of Cancer.

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I would love to know what you think of this idea.

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is the last thing anyone wants to hear. I know, because it happened to me: stage 4 with very few options. No surgery. No radiation. And no hope. Because that, of course,  is a dirty word. (It’s lucky I have a filthy mind!!)

So . . .

How do you pick yourself up off the floor when all the doors are slammed in your face?

How do you continue to smile?

How do you put HOPE back on the menu?

How do you continue to see your glass half full?

And most vital of all, how do you turn a devastating, frightening situation into a journey of personal empowerment and healing?

The last year has forced me to take a good hard look at all aspects of my life BC (before cancer). Shedding what no longer serves: habits, patterns, relationships, beliefs etc and replacing them with behaviours and practices, in fact a whole new way of being in the world and inhabiting my life that fills me not with fear, anxiety or negativity,  well, not all the time anyway, and creating a life I am worthy of. A life I am proud of.  A life that says, you may kick me, but I am going to get up, again and again,  as many times as I need to, sometimes it may take a while, but I gonna keep on keepin’ on no matter what.

This last year has given me such an enormous appreciation of life and all the gifts it has given me. Cancer has challenged me to be strong when I feel weak, to get up when I fall down, to honour those difficult emotions that spew all over the life I once lived, to take up my sword and shield and endeavour to become the person I have always hoped I could be. It has demanded that I am honest with myself, even when I can’t face what I see, be honest with others even when I am clumsy, to express my love and gratitude for those who walk with me.

Since the day my world changed irrevocably, I have tried to develop a relationship with my illness to ask it what it has to teach me, what it wants me to change or face up to, in order that I don’t merely react to it with fear, loathing or avoidance. I don’t see cancer as my enemy, but a challenge, a gauntlet thrown down for me to seize with both hands. And it has repaid me: I have learned to be so damn grateful for my life, every last bit of it, to forgive myself my “mistakes”, and to try to forgive those who I believe hurt me. And each and every day I love and thank my poor scrawny body, tumours and all, because its doing its very best.

I decided that cancer was not going to be my gaoler, but my teacher. Not my darkness, but my light. I’m not going to lie. It’s a tough road. It’s a lonely road, even when you are surrounded by love. No, not every day is wreathed in smiles. But when I smile, I smile, and when I laugh I laugh, and when it rains I put my umbrella up and wait for the storm to pass.

We cannot always change the situation, but we can choose how we respond to it. One step at a time. One breath at a time. Together. It’s always better together.

Maya angel

It’s time to collectively change the narrative: to seek empowerment not defeat at the hands of cancer. We are told that only a “cure” is a win. I disagree, I don’t know if cure is on the cards for me or indeed you. But I do know that there is so much healing to be discovered along the way, and it’s right there in the palm of your hand. Yes, it is.

I’d really like the opportunity to share this with you. I draw on my experience as a yoga teacher, workshop facilitator and shamanic healer, and even my acting career, to inspire and guide me through these difficult times. I believe that our mind is our most powerful medicine when we learn how to tame it, for there are times when it feels like an unbroken stallion forced under the saddle for the first time. Granted it’s not particularly conventional: I use journeying to connect with spiritual helpers and ancestors, visualisations, meditation, breathing excercises, yoga practices, and allow my creative juices to flow. I am not saying it’s a guaranteed recipe for a radical remission, but that ain’t gonna stop me. I am still here. Still banging my drum. Still causing trouble. And this time last year, I wasn’t so sure that would be so.

I ask myself, would I turn back the clocks to a time before cancer? Genuinely, I don’t know. I can’t answer that. I am certainly in no hurry to go anywhere.  But the last twelve months have shown me not just the absolute worst of times, but some of the best times in my life. Little nuggets of gold that I would not have found otherwise. And I had to wake up to the fact that my life was in desperate need of an overhaul. Cancer was my call to action. It has taken a huge leap out of my comfort zone. And, yes, it’s work in progress. Constantly. But it is paying off. And for that I am grateful.  Every day. 365 days of gratitude. My incredible year.

So, I am thinking of putting together an experiential/interactive talk to share my experience of living with cancer and some of the methods I use. Probably in London later this year. In order to get an idea of feasibility, as these things can take some organising and I do have one or two things on my plate right now, please indicate below if you think you might genuinely be interested. Just so I can get determine if it’s a good idea or just one of my madcap brain waves.

Sending you much much love, strength and inspiration on your journey.

To healing. To empowerment. To Life.

Blessings. Om shanti. Peace.

53 Comments Add yours

  1. Karina says:

    Yes I would attend. I had breast cancer and a mastectomy in April. I have been following your story. Lots of Love. Karina

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fuona says:

    Yes.
    You wonderfully inspirational, straight talking woman, you’re a positive force .
    If you’re up for it, we’re up for it x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ann Burch says:

    Leah my beautiful and inspirational and ‘random friend’😜❤
    I was actually talking to a colleague about you couple of days ago and I came to the conclusion that i was going to ask you to speak with us!!!
    All of us community nurses that could learn… like I have from you……… Thank you for showing me, for sharing you… enabling me to help those in my care… what a gift you are, much love❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Matt says:

    Yes! If u feel empowered and strong enough to do this I support it 100% it will inspire others to grow strong, face themselves and not give up!
    Make sure it’s recorded & put on ur site as I’m in Australia… stay strong & my prayers are with u xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Julia says:

    Yes, it’s a good idea and it could help a lot of people.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane says:

    It’s a wonderful idea – you are inspiring so many. Keep on shining on, lovely Leah! X

    Like

  7. Mark Harrison says:

    Hi, Leah,
    I find your words very inspirational and touching. They make me want to cry and cheer at the same time.
    I’m sure everyone that reads your words would want to hold your hand when you needed some love and encouragement and a spiritual lift.
    I’ve never been a spiritual person and in no way religious but you are making me think about possibilities that I haven’t thought of before and would definitely come to hear you speak x

    Like

    1. sarah mystic justifiable says:

      Hi Leah , count me in , if I can physically make it I will from Ireland , going through same as well… But the doctors missed it , and now live in denial … Very weak at moment & yes it can be a lonely path… I have managed to stay alive for a few years , now it seems to be back with a wam bam… You certainly inspire me, & that the Modern day cure in Pharma house , will most likely kill ones immune system off for good…Would be great to get together on this road…I did find Kambo helped as well , but i can no longer afford to availe of it at present… Peace & great Inspiring visions to you with loving tenderness. xxx

      Like

  8. What a wonderful idea …I think many people would find this really enlightening.

    Like

  9. Maya - coco says:

    It’s a lovely and inspirational idea. I love reading your posts via facebook and would be honoured to see you talk and share your wisdom in person.
    For those that can’t attend maybe you could also share via webinar. X

    Like

  10. vernyoga says:

    Yes, I would attend definitely. I’d also like to help out with organisation if needed/wanted. x

    Like

  11. Paul says:

    I think it would be a great inspirational idea Leah . Sometimes hearing other people’s stories will help people through the really hard times

    Like

  12. kuljeetrayat says:

    The mind is the most powerful tool we have and I’ve found during my relationship with cancer, I’ve become grateful, seems the wrong word, but hell yes, grateful, blessed to be able to focus my life and learn so much about myself and my capability. I would love to go to the talk once it’s arranged and from one woman to another, love.

    Like

  13. Charlie says:

    Hi Leah,

    I would attend, I find you inspirational in your positivity. I would be very be very interested to hear more about what you have to say. X

    Like

  14. Veronica thorogood says:

    I think it’s a great idea, am sure it would help so many people xx

    Like

  15. Dominique Kennedy says:

    You are both brave and inspirational. I would certainly attend.

    Like

  16. Mary says:

    I will be there x

    Like

  17. Sally Bishop says:

    I will be there. With love. Sally from Webber D. Xxx

    Like

  18. Sheila says:

    Hi Leah,

    Yes I would try my upmost to attend. I was diagnosed with Maglinant Melanoma in June this year. You are so right hearing those words “I’m so sorry but you have Cancer” I instantly went in a bubble and couldn’t hear what my Specialist was saying. All I could think about is how am I going to tell my sons?. I’ve followed your story very closely and relate on each phase and also spiritually. You are inspirational. May love light and peace guide you. Namaste 🙏.
    whitehead2805@googlemail.com

    Like

  19. Alison says:

    I think it’s a truly fantastic idea. What you have to offer is invaluable and would help so so many people. My late husband was terminal on diagnosis and one of the hardest things over the remaining 14 months was to continue to live with hope, when being told continually that there was no hope. Al x

    Like

  20. Dean Simpson-Humphreys says:

    Yes! My husband has a tumour last year and had 80% of it removed, my mother in law has lung cancer and so many people around me have had other cancers. When will it get me? How will I deal with it?
    You’re an inspirational woman and if you’re up for this challenge then so am I.
    Dean xxx

    Like

  21. Emma whyte says:

    I think it’s a brilliant idea. Your words should be shared with everyone who has lost hope. I am lucky enough not to be dealing with cancer at the moment but I am still learning very much from you. I love to read your posts – they are so inspiring. I feel like I am arming myself with hope and inspiration should the worst happen, to me or one of my loved ones. I feel that my space at your event should be filled with someone who truly needs your words and I am sure they will find great strength in them and hope. Thank you for your wonderful blog.

    Like

  22. Susan Koch says:

    Beautiful, hopeful and inspirational words for people with or without illness. We can all take comfort and guidance from your writings. I will be there. Sue X

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Christine Benney says:

    I think you will need a big venue! Your voice is one everyone should hear; I know how powerful it is and I for one would love to hear its power again. Christine xx

    Like

  24. Jane Fordham says:

    Yes please!

    Like

  25. Mary says:

    A great idea, please do it. I will definitely be there xx

    Like

  26. Yes – what an inspiring woman you are.
    I was diagnosed at just 25, had surgery & now clear but have check-ups every 3 months & it is always at the back of my mind, I can’t seem to fully get over it. Chloe. Xx

    Like

  27. Hi Leah, I have to say I found that post extremely moving, enlightening and full of hope.
    I think your idea will help a lot of people – I went to a couple of your meditation evenings in Sussex and I learned a lot from your outlook and approach to life. Your new experiences will surely inspire others.

    I saw cancer from a different vantage point in 2012 when I lost both my parents within 5 weeks of each other to different strains of the disease. Our Journey was 9 months from beginning to end, but among some dark days, there were some bright diamonds in the rough with days of laughter and ooddles of love. Truly priceless, special days that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Cancer does indeed teach us all many things; I’ve learned to be more grateful for the little things in life as more appreciative of the great things that come my way, rather than taking them for granted as perhaps I once did. Every moment is precious.

    About 3 years afterwards I went travelling (in fact you recommended a book – “Wild” for me to read before I went, which I have, and loved it!) and while I was in Bali I was recommended another book called “Dying To Be Me”, by Anita Moorjani. This post reminded me of that book as you both have Phoenix-like qualities and similar thought patterns about your illnesses.

    Bless you, Leah. Keep on keepin’ on.
    Lots of love to you and your loved ones,
    Wendy xx

    Like

  28. Anthony says:

    What a super idea and provided I’m not back in hospital I would love to attend. I’m sending you lots of positive thoughts and huge love. Thanks to my diagnosis I can now clearly see the people who call themselves a friend but whose behaviour defines them differently. Ta’ra to them!

    Like

  29. Paula Rosson says:

    Hi Leah, most definitely I’m fighting a battle of my own, and would love to hear anything that helps this journey be a little smoother, less scary x

    Like

  30. Yes would attend but not in London. How about another one in Sussex? Blessings to you. I am in full admiration. Lots of love xxx

    Like

  31. Hazel Lucks says:

    Hi Ali , I’d love to join you for inspiration . Feeling very disconnected right now . Anything I can do to help ? Glad to be a dogsbody if I can be of use . When you get a spare moment please get in touch xxx

    Like

  32. Catherine matthews says:

    Just reading ‘this has lifted me.

    I have stage 4 breast cancer to all bones
    Spine lungs and liver.

    I would love to attend
    And thank you for sharing with
    Us.
    XX

    Like

  33. Emma Braund says:

    Oh yes please. You really are inspirational xx

    Like

  34. kaymanby says:

    I know….very powerful….xxx >

    Like

  35. Andy Wood says:

    A very good idea to continue the healing of yourself and others me deer x

    Like

  36. Aimie Jordan says:

    Hi Leah
    It’s a definate yes and I think you will need more than one . I don’t think you realise how many lives you touch just by being you even before BC . Danny Leila and I send our healing fairies you’re way every day . With love Aimie

    Like

  37. Helen says:

    Hi Leah,
    Was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. And, yes, when you get the ‘C’ diagnosis – it’s a tough journey.
    I drew up my own itinerary of what I knew I needed by way of support and emailed it to friends asking them to let me know if they could be there in the ways I’d asked for. Some did and some did not. It meant setting some very clear boundaries which was about getting my important needs met throughout and after the end of treatment.

    So, yes, would love to hear you speak in London. And, happy to provide any support needed in helping make it happen.
    Best wishes
    Helen

    Like

  38. Mr Cary Barnes says:

    Leah, if you think it’s a good idea, which you do, as per this, then….”go girl go”……..you are a hugely positive force and we love it !!!! Thank you for your inspiration !!! You are special & unique !!!!!

    Like

  39. Pip says:

    The subconscious mind creates either love or fear, which either creates positive or negative experiences in the 3D world, cancer is a 3D representation of a negative experience, which in turn brings in parasites, because they are attracted to this type of energy. There are two options. 1. Change the sub-conscious mind through meditation etc. and the environment for the parasites will be hostile and thus you will recover, however, the parasites manipulate the brain and it can be very difficult to change. 2. Kill the parasites in the 3D and then meditate, go into Alpha and change the fear to love. The best way to kill parasites, is either Miracle Mineral Supplement or a Fermented Kale Juice Detox.

    Like

  40. Jane says:

    Yes please Leah and thank you x

    Like

  41. RICHARD HORLER says:

    Yes, I would come along. It would be great.

    Like

  42. Summer Webb says:

    If I can make it then I absolutely will. Your voice is so important to so many, including me. I have nothing but awed admiration for all your strength and positivity, in the face of everything.
    You are a beautiful inspiration and your light will always shine in the hearts and minds of those who know you.
    Sending so much love and light to you, every day.
    You will always be the most incredible teacher I have ever had; your voice permeates my thoughts so often and I never stop missing you.
    xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Lisa McIntosh says:

    I think it is a wonderful idea and would definitely be interested. Your strength of character is awe inspiring

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Amanda Emerson says:

    Hi Leah brave beautiful lady. I am 46 and have been diagnosed with incurable lung disease. I am.a non smoker and im struggling to cope with my diagnosis. If i can get to.london i would love to come.

    Blessings Amanda x

    Like

  45. Charlie Cross Gurnell says:

    Beautifully written straight from the heart. I would be enthusiastic to listen to the words that come through you. With much love Charlie Cross Gurnell

    Like

  46. Gail Anscombe, Northampton says:

    Hi Leah, Yes I would like to attend. I love your approach and much of it mirrors mine. I was diagnosed with (I believe) the very same lung cancer as you, just 2 months previously to yourself. I am coping quite well but whilst the doctors say the drug (Afatinib, is that what you are on?) is now keeping the cancer at a stable level it feels as if I am going slowly downhill. I don’t know if they are being entirely honest. I would love to share more with you, and come to your talk xx

    Like

  47. Alex Golding says:

    Hey I would be really interested in hearing about your experiences. I’m currently training in providing people with cancer Yoga classes as research suggests moving our bodies helps prevent recurrences in certain cases and can enhance wellbeing throughout. But, the course was very much focussed on traditional treatment. I think people need options, so they can choose what best suits them once they are informed. Your journey sounds very inspiring if not also painful and hard work. Thank you for sharing this- would love to hear more.

    Like

  48. Elle says:

    Leah, I would be very interested in attending. I do not have cancer. Other issues are present in my life and my sister (who lives in London) has Systemic Lupus and COPD (amongst other illnesses).
    I would love to attend your interactive talk. You have so much to offer. Your words are beautiful and they truly touched me and compelled me to try to alter the direction of my own life.
    Bright Blessings
    elle

    Like

  49. leonie guest says:

    Hi Ali, so lovely to hear your strong and inspiring words, I would very much be interested in what you’re offering, what a gift that would be! Much love to you beautiful xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  50. Keith says:

    Leah, I remember reading about your diagnosis shortly after my initial consultation. Perhaps that’s why I became interested in your story. Unfortunately, I only recently came across your wonderful blog. Perhaps, it was fate, as I’ve reached a point where I need to connect more with myself, have more ‘me’ time. Difficult, as I’m a carer for my wife, but I now know that I need to make the time somehow.
    I’d love to hear you speak, but it’s unlikely that I can make it to London, at present. As others have said, please put it on the Web, if possible.
    And thank you for shining a light in my darkness. God bless you, Leah!

    Liked by 1 person

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