Series introduction: Since my own recovery from advanced breast cancer eight years ago, I have wanted to share the love and support I received. Part of what kept me going was drawing on the radiant energy in the Nature mandalas I make with my husband, David. No matter how down I felt, my heart and my body could be uplifted by these bright, life-filled images. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I have picked out seven of our pinkest mandalas to share, along with some stories and writings about healing.
I found that one of the scariest parts of having cancer was finding that my medical choices relative to my own body were apparently limited. Suddenly, my treatment options were regulated by state and federal laws over which I had no control. At the same time that I was—and am–very grateful for the help I was receiving, I had to really step into a proactive role of advocating my needs within the options I had. In addition to working on internal and spiritual levels to self-heal, part of my healing was a process of reclamation. I had to take back ownership of my body while also welcoming the help that could come to me from the medical world.
In order to take a stand, like the activists occupying Wall Street, I had to “occupy my body” on a level that I never had before. I searched out holistic and alternative caregivers (see Part Two of this blog for more on that work), and I also deeply acknowledged the parts of me that had long felt powerless and despairing. I let myself feel and mourn and weep for these lost aspects inside me. As I cherished and reclaimed these dark and tender parts of self, I grew stronger in my being. This empowered my physical recovery.
The healing mandala I want to share in this blog is called Giving Heart. It is made from Rhodocrosite, malachite, and stilbite crystals, and is part of our “Gemstone Visions” series.
I chose this mandala because it addresses a paradox of the modern medical system. Many doctors have a genuinely giving heart. They desire to help others, but are as caught in the web of legalities and liabilities as patients are. I found that the best way to cut through the limits was to speak from my heart, acknowledging the goodness in the caregiver while also not letting myself be defined by their definitions or expectations. One day, for instance, one of my doctors casually said to me that even after my cancer went away, it would probably come back within 5 years. I was shocked. Why would a practitioner who was there to help me become cancer-free use language in this way? Did he not understand the power of expectation or the value of affirming wellness?
When I went home, I deeply pondered my response. I knew the doctor was a good person, who undoubtedly had to face a lot of loss in his work with cancer patients. But his attitude was not acceptable to me. So I wrote him a message on a beautiful card. I told him that it was critical for me to work with practitioners who saw a positive outcome for me, and that while I respected and liked him, I would not be able to work with him unless he could hold that picture of complete and lasting wellness with me.
This doctor was able to respond positively to my message, and I was able to continue to work with him. But I had to speak up and confront the status quo. I would not consent to be a statistic in the game of life. To paraphrase a pop song from the 60’s, I said, “It’s my body, and I’ll heal like I want to.”
I align the process of healing to the worldwide Occupy Movement. There is a huge machine of big Pharm and profit-driven health care that can overwhelm the multi-dimensional and always unique path to wellness that each of us walks. We need to occupy our bodies and take a stand for everyone’s right to heal as he or she can. We need to join hands in gratitude with the courageous beings that serve us as doctors and health workers and move forward together toward a new paradigm of healing.
5 Ways to Occupy Your Body
1. Claim Authority—when it comes to knowing your body, you are the 99%. No one knows more clearly what feels good and what feels right than you do. You can use that intimate knowledge to inform those who serve your wellness.
2. Live in Your Greater Self—while tenderly feeling the parts of yourself that may be ailing, you can stay in touch with the greater whole that includes your spirit and subtle bodies as well as your physical body.
3. Bless Your Body—it’s easy to feel betrayed by your body when it falls ill. If you can, from the vantage of your whole being, bless your body, it thrives. You begin to occupy it in way that empowers wellness.
4. Feel Free to Make Changes— you have the right to seek second opinions if we aren’t completely secure in what one doctor says. And if you don’t feel comfortable with one of your practitioners, you are free to find another. The healers have training, but they work for you.
5. Find the Growth Potential—healing can be a powerful gateway to personal growth, even for those who pass on. No matter what it looks like on the outside, you can use the challenge of illness to change, heal and become new.
As an outgrowth of my own experience with regaining wholeness, I offer Healing Ally consultation services and classes to women who are on the conscious path to wellness. You can read about my offering on our Healing page.
If you or someone in your family or circle of friends is grappling with breast cancer, David and I send you loving wishes for strength and recovery. And we want to give you a way to enjoy and share the Giving Heart Mandala at a special discount for October.
Click here here to go to our online store for prints and use this 6-letter discount code– PRCYZE– to receive a 15% discount on the Giving Heart Mandala during the month of October.
It is our deep desire that these pink mandalas will bring peace and healing joy to all.