Originally posted on The Huffington Post.
As October rolls around, so does the pink frenzy of Breast Cancer Awareness month. This will be my third year experiencing Breast Cancer Awareness month through the lens of being a survivor. The first year I was raw. I was in the thick of it with chemo, and everything was very personal. I was that “person” that was benefitting from all of this raised awareness. And I was grateful — so very grateful.
Last year I was confused and annoyed. I had just completed my last surgery. The journey that I thought ended with treatment, lasted an additional nine months of reconstruction which I simply had not anticipated. So with that exhausted mindset I couldn’t process what was happening around me. Why was I being invited to all these different parties where everyone was wearing pink? What did a designer hand bag have to do with breast cancer? Why were people dying their hair pink?
This year, I feel prepared. I’ve anticipated this. I’ve prepped my various thoughts in the form of soon to be published articles and I’ve come to terms that while it feels very personal, this isn’t about me — but something larger. It was time for me to step up, support and advocate.
Now one would think, with all the lessons learned from the last three years I should know better — you can never fully prepare. So when a bout of allergies quickly transitioned into a knock down cold over the weekend, I found myself a blubbering, phleghmy, and emotional mess. I was reminded of my chemo Saturdays when being bed bound all weekend and binge watching Friday Night Lights was just typical. But different from my chemo days, my body was recovering, I was bouncing back.
On Tuesday morning, just as I was turning the corner and enjoying my morning coffee watching GMA, I saw anchorwoman Amy Robach, a fellow survivor, sharing her story through her new book, Better. I started crying hysterically. There it all was, just as raw as that first year. I related so much to her journey, and was reminded of the importance that kindness and gratitude play in any journey — not just cancer.
Earlier this week, I shared a lovingkindness meditation as my tip of the week. Practicing loving kindness can be a powerful practice that not only makes us feel good, but can also help us see the bigger picture and increase our social connectedness. The truth is, this practice has played a pivotal role in my life over these last three years. Whenever I was starting to feel sorry for myself, I would turn to this practice. Whenever I felt like I was burdening someone, I would turn to this practice. Whenever I was feeling frustrated with the treatment or doctors orders, I would turn to this practice. And most importantly, whenever I was feeling overwhelmed by the love, support and kindness from others I would turn to this practice. It was a way to connect to something bigger than me, bigger than my cancer.
So as the pink frenzy of October makes it mark, I invite you to join me in this daily practice.
We’ve all been touched by cancer in some capacity — whether ourselves, a loved one, an acquaintance, or the loved one of an acquaintance. But by joining together in the spirit of lovingkindness, I am confident we will create the energetic ripples of healing, love, compassion, that will create a new level of awareness that expands beyond a monthly pink hue.
Check out the step by step practice here or download a more expanded complimentary practice below.