In today's guest post from YBCer Heather, she shares the unique way in which she dealt with breast cancer, and how it completely transformed her life. I hope you love this post as much as I do. Feel free to leave her some love down in the comments section below. xoCandace
In May 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 46 years old, married with two young boys, and I had just launched my company, the Gurugrid. And, apparently, the universe has signed me up for an advanced class in Time to Wake Up 101.
For as far back as I can remember, I was usually in some state of conflict. The time had finally come to discover why. I began to see that I didn’t, and never did, like myself. (Ouch! Not an easy realization.) I was holding onto a lot of anger and I was constantly disappointed with myself for my “shortcomings”, which fueled a cycle of chronicself-loathing. AHA! All that external conflict must be reflecting my own inner conflict! (Hmmm…could this be? Yes, I think I feel a lesson coming on!)
Throughout the whole cancer episode, I did everything I could to create conditions so the cancer could do its job, run its course, and kindly leave my body. I cleaned up my diet, cut way back on caffeine and alcohol, meditated, and did a ton on yoga. (Note: this was all in addition to modern medicine.) I took a positive rather than a negative approach and saw the cancer as something that was here to teach me and not kill me. I accepted the cancer (as a temporary condition) and I allowed myself to fully experience every benefit it was offering me. Soon, I started feeling thankful toward the cancer.
Daily yoga gave me the opportunity make a connection between how I experienced certain poses, how I was experiencing cancer, and how I saw myself. I noticed that in many poses I felt discomfort and fear. As I began to perceive the sensations in my body in a non-judgmental way, I stopped trying to avoid or rush through the “negative” sensations and started to give them as much value as the “positive” sensations.
Hmmm…I am sensing another part of the lesson. Yes! Moving on to the big picture… If I could see yoga and cancer without judgement…I could see myself that way. This idea created a ripple effect - and in those ripples, magic started to happen. I had spent so many years denying, avoiding and attempting to eliminate my “faults”. I was going about it all wrong. All this time it was about accepting them. As I began to judge myself less, I began to see my “good” qualities. It felt like I’d discovered a treasure chest that had always been hidden in my basement. Suddenly, having sufficient “good” qualities made it OK to have “bad” qualities. Seriously? It’s that simple?
A year has passed since my diagnosis and I am far from perfect. (Wait….I think I hear my husband laughing, somewhere…) There is still conflict in my life but much, much less. What changed is that I am finally living my authentic self, I accept my “flaws”, and for the first time in my life, I feel self-love - the key to being who we truly are.
Heather McLeod is the inventor and founder of The Gurugrid alignment yoga mat and a life-long yoga lover. She lives in the Laurentians in Québec, Canada with her family and is back to living a normal life after the wild ride of breast cancer treatments (double mastectomy, reconstruction, chemo, and radiation). Life has never been better!
You can follow Heather and the Gurugrid on https://www.instagram.com/gurugrid/