I remember the day I walked back into work after my first chemo treatment.
I still had my hair – it takes like two weeks to fall out – but even though outside everything looked the same, everything had changed.
It’s hard to explain. It wasn’t the needle the nurse poked through the port in my chest. Or the look of my now-husband as he gripped my hand while we waited for it to go in.
Or the nausea that came because the meds were pretty good and I didn’t puke once.
But everything had changed. It was an energetic violation. Maybe like soldiers feel when they see things nobody else will ever understand.
Cancer broke me in a way I’d never been broken before. It feels stupid to write about it now, 8 years later, but I’m still so tired some days. It still haunts me. Something I’m always running from. Not so much the fear that it would come back, but the indignity of losing my hair, my boobs, my ability to care for myself.
Everything stripped away beyond my control. Your body a wasteland. To save your life but kill your soul.
I lost my mind for years. Everyone thought I should be happy. I was alive. But nothing was the same. You can’t go back to being you. There’s nothing left.
So how do you come back after being whittled away to nothing?
1. You feel.
All the rage and anger and sadness and grief that nobody will ever understand. You can’t expect them to. It’s unfair and you’ll be waiting forever.
They’ll think you’re crazy and judge you for it. Feel anyway.
2. Be creative.
Make pottery. Break pottery. When I was healing one day I smashed a bunch of tiles with a hammer and created a mosaic flower pot. The creation was fun, but the destruction was funner. (Yes, I know that’s not a word. It is now.)
Feel your body move and learn to trust it again. Even if you’re not healing from physical illness, the key to trusting life is trusting your body.
Connect to the still center within that nothing can touch. It’s there. Keep digging until you find it.
Download the meditation for deep heart healing below.
5. Release the idea that you’re being punished by the universe.
You’re not. No matter how bad you have it, many people have it way worse. Be grateful for the little things. There’s always something to be grateful for.
6. Find the wisdom.
Approach all life struggles for what they are – an opportunity to learn from life. To become the warrior that you are. Finding meaning makes anything bearable.
7. Laugh when you can.
My last chemo treatment was around Halloween. I joked that I was going to be a monk, bald with an orange robe. I didn’t actually dress up, but the joke made me happy. It’s okay to have black humor. It can be fun and it shocks other people, and that’s fun too.
It heals the soul. Go someplace sunny, preferably by the beach. Do yoga and drink smoothies. Let that loving energy heal you from the inside out.
9. Take your time.
It took me about five years before I started feeling normal again. Maybe that’s a long time. I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s my life. My heart. My pain. My transformation. I know that now. I don’t hide how I feel to make others happy. That almost killed me and I will never make that mistake again.
And above all…
know that no matter how alone you feel, you’re never truly alone. This life isn’t always easy, but you will come back from this. You will heal. You will find the love and the meaning. And you will one day dazzle the world with all the love you have to give.
Love that you found in the darkest of places.
And finally, share the love. Connection turns struggle sweet. Share this article with someone who needs it.
Lots of love,Suzanne
p.s. If you’d like to take your journey a step further and learn how to meditate using my powerful techniques for deep heart healing, click here to learn more about my 30-day course, The Magic of Meditation!