A new Cactus Cancer Society program developed and led by Tara O’Donoghue of LOV Yoga that will ignite your imagination, motivation, and self actualization – revealing the magic within.
Most of us can recall moments in time that clearly define a new way of being. Everything seems to flip upside down, leaving it difficult to discern the right side up. A cancer diagnosis is one of those “magical” moments. Going through cancer treatment may feel like being whisked away by the tide while hanging onto a buoy for dear life. Challenges, although crippling at the time, can also lead us to dry ground on a foreign land that reveals a bountiful new world of new possibility. Enter the shifting of tides, the rekindling of your inner “magic”…
You may be thinking that it would be nice to find your way back to your old self, with a solid position in the driver’s seat of normalcy and control. What if I said that you are still you? Nothing is broken or needs to be fixed. Perhaps it may just take a gentle reminder that you are strong, resilient and even wiser than before. You are also now decorated with a badge of courage from the fight of your life, for your life. It is time to “Get Your Groove Back” because cancer can’t steal your mojo (inner magic)!
Personally, I have the background of a primary caregiver who witnessed the toll cancer took on a loved one first hand over the course of eight years. It is different than having the illness itself, however I have an intimate understanding of the challenges we both endured. In the end, cancer took his life and also mine…the life I once knew. Losing my husband of 13 years at the tender age of 36 while we were in our prime of life was devastating and debilitating personally, professionally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We had met when we were 19 so I honestly didn’t know who I was anymore. Picking up the pieces without my partner led to years of learning how to feel, deal and then heal from trauma and grief.
Yoga therapy became my path toward rediscovering a sense of self in a land called, “The New Normal.” Here I discovered a new identity, born of the difficulties I once dreaded. Journaling, writing and publishing blogs was the method that touched the inner depths of my heart, therapeutically transforming pain into creativity. Along the way I acquired a multitude of resources through education and experience and found my true life calling. I am grateful for my past and now passionate about sharing the practices and tools that led me through this tumultuous season in life.
I was also recently inspired through reading Suleika Jaouad’s memoir, “Between Two Kingdoms,” in which she reveals that her greatest challenge in life, cancer, was also what prompted her imagination to blossom. She mentions a “porous border between the sick and the well” and how it is human nature to “travel back and forth between these realms, spending most of our lives somewhere in between.” Because of the impermanence of our health and also life itself, “the idea of striving for some beautiful, perfect state of wellness…mires us in eternal dissatisfaction, a goal forever out of reach.” Suleika profoundly concludes that, “to be well now is to learn to accept whatever body and mind [she] currently [has].” (274) Similarly I believe that the quest for a past life or the idleness in constantly hoping for more can leave us paralyzed. There is much we can do now, it’s just a matter of finding the spark in the dark.
Creativity involves connection with our soul and provides a concrete and charismatic way to convey the aliveness within. “It is always what is under pressure in us, especially under pressure of concealment – that explodes into poetry.” (Adrienne Rich) Jaouad further mentions that she “wanted in [her] own way, however small, to contribute something to the world. To leave more than [she] took.” (p115) She sought inspiration from other artists who used adversity to project their genius into the world. For example, “Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), believed his chronic pain was the creative springboard for his career as a writer,” because it “twisted [his] mind out of the normal rut.” (109) Dahl was also quoted, “There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind.” In Jaouad and Dahl’s case, being physically limited and emotionally scarred is what led them toward heightened innovation and productivity.
While in the hospital Suleika found ways to “creatively engage with illness,” with her friends. “Watercolors and words were the drugs [they] preferred for pain. [They] were learning that sometimes the only way to endure suffering is to transform it into art.” (157)
As Suleika acknowledges, the upheaval of life as it once was can be overwhelming AND it can also provide a catalyst for change and growth. As you rediscover this sense of self, the space in between may feel like roaming your way through the wilderness, breaking trail on a precarious path not yet traveled. This new normal is unique opportunity, a fresh moment in time, where you get to determine how you want to proceed. It will look different than before your cancer diagnosis and that’s okay. You may even have glimpses of hopes and dreams but not sure how to find the motivation or begin pursuing what may come next.
This 6-week group program includes a balance of igniting your creative flair and inner fire while providing the path, process and tools to support you and our collective virtual community. We will take a deep dive together and during this program you will:
- Embody a safe, sacred space as an online community to share your stories and imagination and creative expression.
- Spend a little time looking in the rearview so you realize what to leave behind and what to take into the next chapter.
- Navigate your unique inner landscape to reveal your innermost desires, hopes, dreams and goals. You will identify personal core values, get clear about what you want/don’t want and set meaningful intentions. Plus you will learn how to develop new healthy habits and routines so it is all obtainable with a little effort.
- Learn self care practices such as breath-work, meditation and mindful movement bring peace into life as it is NOW in the present through body, mind and soul.
- Use the unique challenge of a cancer diagnosis to spark imagination involving various artistic forms that become contemplative creative projects.
- Ignite your inner fire to rekindle a sense of motivation and empowerment.
- Play with your inner child because life is way too serious sometimes!
I usually teach a program called, “Grief to Gratitude” for Cactus Cancer Society which helps to process and learn from loss. This new program is designed to provide support for those who dug in deep to grief and are on the other side. This program is also for anyone who has begun or finished treatment. The practices, activities and discussion promotes community and self reflection while inspiring motivation, creativity, empowerment and growth.
Life can become bright again after spending time in darkness. You may even find that the best version of yourself emerges through your challenges. This new normal may feel foreign like a stranger at first until you grow into the big shoes that await. Then you may just find that this is the life you have been waiting and hoping for all along. Join us for “Get Your Groove Back,” to rediscover and claim your inner magic, your mojo. I truly believe that You Got This and we got your back!
“Between Two Kingdoms,” Suleika Jaouad, Random House, New York, 2021