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 loving kindness 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.
To practice lovingkindness, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Take a few natural breaths as you breath in and out through your nose. Continue to slow the pace and deepen with each breath.
Step 2: Imagine someone you love unconditionally -- a significant other, child, parent, pet, etc.
Step 3: Imagine this person as you breathe into your heart center as you silently repeat the phrases: May your body be at ease. May your heart be open. May your mind be boundless. Repeat 1-3 times.
Step 4: Now, repeat these phrases for yourself (may my body be at ease, may by heart be open, may my mind be boundless). And then repeat for all beings in the world (may all bodies be at ease, may all hearts be open, may all minds be boundless). You can also repeat for someone who is suffering or in need.
Paige Davis is an entrepreneur, wellness enthusiast, and certified meditation teacher with the McLean Meditation Institute. She created Soul Sparks as a destination to inspire and empower anyone looking to live a more meaningful life through meditation and mindfulness programs.