When was the last time you took time to dream? When was the last time you even thought about creating time to dream?
Our lives, visions, and dreams can get lost in the mechanics of life.
And being on lockdown for over a year can certainly bury those dreams even deeper.
In this show, we talk about reviving your life.
How do you give yourself permission to dream again and how does that support your healing, recovery, and living your best life?
I’ll tell you about that as well as the common pitfalls when it comes to creating a dream and how you can move past them and create the life you want.
Read Full Transcript Below:
This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life, and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.
Hello, Hello, friends. Welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. As always, I am thrilled to be here with you today.
Thank you so much for listening to the show.
And before I jump into anything, I just want to make an important announcement. You may have noticed off and on over the last couple of months as I've been dealing with some new schedules, new appointments, the podcast has come out on Fridays instead of Thursdays off and on. And actually, I've made a decision that going forward from this show forward that the official podcast day will be on Fridays. So from now on, you can look forward to a new show every Friday instead of every Thursday.
And I also want to remind you that there are still a couple of weeks left to join the revived membership experience. This is so exciting for me, it's just a dream come true. And I'd love to invite you to join me in this experience, you can find all the details at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/revived. Each month we focus on a different area of our life, of our recovery of the way that we think of our mindset, and how we create the life we want to create. The membership includes monthly lessons life coaching questions and answers and a really supportive community.
So I would love for you to check it out. And I would love for you to join me it is an amazing experience.
All right, so let's jump into this. I want to start the show by telling you a story. When I was doing my yoga teacher training, which was I think I got certified in 2006 it was 2005/2006. And then for about three years after that, I continued with a group of people doing yoga studies, with an amazing man who was a yogi who had grown up in India and in the Himalayas and studied for his entire life basically.
And as you may or may not know, part of yoga is really being present, learning to be present in the moment, to be very engaged in what you're doing in the moment.
So for instance, if you're eating, just eat, if you're driving, just drive, if you're washing a dish, just wash the dish, bringing your mind into this present moment and noticing when your mind is wandering off on all different kinds of things. And as our teacher would talk to us about this, he would use this example of how we become so mechanical in life. How we go through life, oftentimes, like machines, we have a routine, we have scheduled, and we adhere to those schedules. And then we come home exhausted and have a glass of wine and sit on the couch or whatever, whatever. But how we miss out on life when we're not really present and creating life itself, just kind of going through the motions of life.
And for me, I think that having a diagnosis of breast cancer is a big wake-up call to that. I think that oftentimes that's when we stop and we look at our life and we think, what am I doing? Do you know what part of this is working for me what part isn't? And sometimes we can change that. And sometimes we don't know how to change that. But we just start to reevaluate things.
And if we talk about it in the terms of my four pillars of breast cancer recovery, that's kind of the regrouping, right? It's looking at what is happening in your life, deciding what's working for you and what isn't, and then taking steps to create the life you want.
And then another part of those, once you see how you want your life to be is reviving it as infusing it is putting new energy into it and engaging and being really present in life. But creating it in this intentional, beautiful, dynamic way.
So I'm thinking about this because this month in my empower membership. We're working a lot on that we're working on creating your dreams, allowing yourself to dream. And I think this is such an important time. Because here we are. We've been locked down for over a year in so many places. Everyone's experiences a little different. But nowhere in Southern California and in many places throughout the United States, we're starting to open up again right life is starting to open up and this is a really important time for us to decide how do you want that life to look?
You may have been on lockdown even before the quarantine happened because of isolating and being in treatment or getting radiation or chemotherapy or any of these kinds of things. So it could be a kind of a long break we've had from being out in the world.
And so now, it's kind of an exciting time to ask yourself, what do I want this life to look like? What do I want to bring into my life invite into my life? What do I want to give back to this world?
When I think about this, I think about kind of the phases that we go through in breast cancer, we get a diagnosis. And I'm sure you probably have said this or heard someone say this, that life goes on hold, right? We hear things like I lost two years of my life or a year of my life, or however long the treatment is, or if I could only get my life back, right?
So we kind of have this thought if I put my life on hold kind of let go of dreams and forward-thinking because you're in this survival mode, oftentimes just going with the flow, asking doctors, what do I need to do, and then doing what we need to do in an effort to save our lives, right?
Then treatment ends.
And suddenly, whoa, there's a minute to think, and the trauma hits, and the realization of everything you've been through, and what you've lost and what you've sacrificed. And it's not really a moving forward place, right? It's kind of a process in place, it's kind of this however long it might be for me, I feel like it was the first three years after breast cancer treatment of just figuring shit out for myself again. And that includes figuring out how to let go of that fight to get back to normal.
You know, we come out of this, and we're trying to think, wow, how do I process everything that has happened to me? And then with all the changes physically and emotionally, how do I be the best mom, best employee, best spouse, partner, friend, you know, all this stuff, the best warrior who never makes anybody else worry about me, you know.
And where all of this can end up taking us after treatment is being pretty stuck, you know, not ending up somewhere fun, figuring out how to go back to what we think was the right way of being. But in doing so we don't look forward, we're not thinking forward, we're not creating dreams and visions for ourselves. And we're kind of fighting to go back.
So I want to start off the show, just like putting this idea out there. Do you really want to go back? You know, do we want to live mechanical lives? Do we want to live lives that are inspired and creative? And how do we do that? Because sometimes our lives can become so routine, that we don't even notice that we stopped dreaming. That we stopped thinking about the future, that we stopped thinking about what we want to create.
And then oftentimes, we don't even give ourselves space to think about that or to dream about that. And one thing that I see come up a lot, is women stopping themselves from thinking forward because of fear of cancer recurrence.
I've had many women say to me, you know, I don't know if I should invest that money or if I should invest that time, because what if I just get cancer again.
And I want to tell you firsthand, as a woman who did get cancer again, that, in my opinion, getting cancer again is even more reason to do the things you want to do in this life. You know, I mentioned a minute ago, it's a wake-up call, and that's a wake-up call number two, it's like, Okay, this is the time this is your time, girl, learn to love yourself. Learn to be yourself, learn to listen to yourself, and learn to do all the things you want to do. Get curious about it, figure it out, put some energy into it, and make your life be the life you want it to be.
I know that I for one, do not ever want to be normal. I want to be extraordinary. I want my life to be extraordinary. I want rich and awesome relationships. I want to say yes to adventures. I want to travel, I want to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. And I don't want to sit around in life feeling bored or feeling pointless or feeling like life is the same old, same old right?
Now I do feel like that sometimes it happens I'm human life is life, and it's easy to get caught up in life routines.
And so that's why putting intentional energy into creating a vision, putting intentional energy and asking yourself what is important to me in this life. And why do I want my life to look like this is really powerful and necessary because, without it, we can fall back into things that are very comfortable for us? You know, for me and I'm sure for most of you, having security after having breast cancer having the security of good medical insurance or the money to afford insurance and medical payments and things like that. They are important tires, they take a lot of energy, they take a lot of time. And they can also be limiting to other things that we do in life, they can limit us from taking other risks and moving forward.
And so I just want to offer that what we've been conditioned to think that things have to be this way may not always be true, you know, there may be more options if we're open to the possibilities and if we're willing to move out of our comfort zones.
So I just want to talk for a minute about what gets in the way of forward-thinking, and also why it's good for us to practice this.
So here are the top three things I see get in the way of survivors, allowing themselves to dream and to do all the fun things they want in life. And this is a slide from quarantines, okay, this is a slide from pandemic living.
But in a general sense, and when the world is open, one of the top things that I see in here is, what I mentioned a minute ago, is the fear of death, or the fear of recurrence.
Now, I want to add something to what I just had to say. And that is that even though this is gonna sound cliche, I'm gonna go there anyway, we all have an expiration date on our lives, right? We just don't know when that is, in a cancer diagnosis throws that right in your face, right? It's like, hey, oh, you thought you were too young for this, or use all these things didn't happen to you while you were wrong, right? But even though that happens, we still get to choose whether we let that keep us bound in fear. Or we choose to focus on creating fullness in our life.
So remember, the same energy grows, where energy flows.
And thoughts work in a very similar fashion to that, the more you train yourself to think in a certain way, the more your brain will start offering you similar thoughts that support that way of thinking. So there's an author, Jennice Vilhauer she has this awesome book, I love her book called think forward to thrive. And one of the statements she makes in that book is that thoughts grow. And she says, and this is a quote, the more you think about the past, the more thoughts of the past will keep coming up. If you redirect your thoughts to the future, and your goals, more thoughts about the future, and how to build that future will be generated.
So if we're investing a lot of energy into the fear of the experience we've had with breast cancer, the fear that that might come up again, then we start creating more and more thoughts that are similar to that. And we become more and more frightened that really, oftentimes, from what I have seen, leads to just this paralysis, this stuck place in life. So allowing yourself that giving yourself that grace and that permission to think about the things that you really want in your future. And when that fear rears its head as it will and offers you this thought of, well, if you might get a recurrence that might happen. Yeah, it might happen. But I'm gonna take these steps to do this thing anyway.
And the more you focus and put that energy into the exciting thing you want to do in your future into the way that you want to create your life, then the more those thoughts are going to come up that support the creation of the life you want to live.
It's pretty cool.
So the second roadblock to having fun and allowing yourself to dream and to live your dreams that I see is this idea that we have to have this vision of changing the world, right?
Your vision does not have to be like becoming the next Gandhi or the next CEO of Amazon. Okay, it can be creating close loving relationships, designing and constructing your perfect bathroom, creating a meditation area in your home or in your garden, creating a garden. It could be paying off your bills, living debt-free, it could be spending, uninterrupted time with your kids or your grandkids or your friends. It can be just creating a healthy lifestyle. But it can also be traveling the world, drinking a $2,000 bottle of wine with your best friend, or the love of your life. It can be doing yoga in Costa Rica, it could be anything that's meaningful to you.
So one of my own personal dreams is taking an annual family vacation, meaning all the family. Kids, grandkids, my mom, my sisters, and making that my treat to them. Because to me sharing the experience of adventure and fun is everything. Creating memories with the people I love is so special.
So when it comes to creating your dream, it's really about what brings joy and excitement to your heart. Whether that's family dinners every Sunday, followed by cuddling and watching a movie that's awesome. It could be traveling to every country in the world. Fantastic. It's your dream. But even something like having regular family dinners takes intention and planning and energy, right?
Energy grows where energy flows, you got to put energy into it.
I remember and I've shared the story on the podcast before when I was diagnosed the first time with breast cancer, my mom, and my dad, and my sisters would come every Sunday, and we'd have a taco night. And then once I was released from treatment, it kind of went from every Sunday to every other Sunday, then it became once a month. And now it's like, oh, yeah, we haven't had a taco night in forever, we need to make that happen.
So it really does take energy. So even if that is your dream, whatever the dream is, having it in front of mind, and putting energy into it, writing about it, cutting out pictures of it, you know, posting a picture of you and your family at the table, sharing a taco night, these things are important, because seeing it regularly helps to foster that creation of more thoughts that motivate you to keep taking actions to keep making that thing happen, that brings happiness into your life.
All right, number three, a roadblock to creating your dreams and living your dreams is limiting thoughts.
And I could go on, I don't know, I don't know, podcast or two was lists of limiting thoughts. But here are a few. I can't afford it. I don't have the time. I don't have the energy. No one wants to do it with me. Isn't that selfish? Shouldn't I spend the money on someone else?
As I said a minute ago, this is your time. This is the time to live your life your way, you've already been through hell, pandemics. You've been through breast cancer, you've been through breast cancer treatment, you've looked mortality in the face. And living your life your way isn't selfish. It's perfect. It's wonderful. Because if you're not living your life, your way, whose life are you living?
Think about that.
Whose thoughts are you living by? Where did you get the idea that you have to do certain things, even though the little voice in your mind is saying, Oh, I really want to do this thing over here. Right? Think about that.
When limiting thoughts pop up, it's a good exercise to write them down. And to see where they're coming from. And then to reframe them.
So for example, let's take a couple that I just listed. If you say I can't afford to do that, and that's a big limiting thought for people. What have you looked at? I can't afford to do that. And reframe that and change it into something more like you know, let me see how much that would cost? And how could I budget for it? Or what other creative ways can I think of to make something like that happened in my life?
If the limiting thought is something like I don't have the energy, you know, that can be reframed into something like You know what, I give myself permission to rest as much as I need, and still get the most out of that experience. But I just want to be there in that experience as much as I can. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.
And oftentimes, that is another limiting thought. And I will hear that from women when they say I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person. Well, that's only because you're telling yourself that, right? That's your own story. But if you looked at that story, you said, Wow, I tell myself, I'm an all or nothing kind of person. Does that serve me? Does that limit me from experiencing certain things? Because if I can't have all and what is all or nothing?
You know, really what does all or nothing mean? It means whatever story is in your head, this is my story of what all is. And if I can't do that, then I'm not going to do anything.
And then how does that serve you? Is that getting you the life that you want to live?
So just get curious, you know, when it comes to this, allowing yourself to revive your life getting curious and asking yourself like, what would be amazing? What if you did have that Genie and three wishes? What if dreaming, is just an exercise in fun for you. And in engaging your imagination and exploring possibilities, right? Just letting yourself run wild. And as those limiting thoughts come up making note of them and then going back and doing the work on them. But just really giving yourself some space and permission to dream and have fun, right?
And why, why do this at all? Like what is the point of thinking forward of dreaming of creating a vision and what in the heck does that have to do with breast cancer recovery?
Well, it has everything to do with it. There are studies that show that having a purpose, meaning something to look forward to, that's meaningful to you. Having that purpose leads to living a longer life. There was a 2014 study published in psychological science. And it found that having a purpose in life, lowered mortality risk regardless of a person's age, regardless of whether they worked or they were retired.
And another study that was in psycho-oncology in 2016. This was really interesting because they looked at, well, they first looked at over almost 200 studies and then they narrowed it down to 27 studies that were focused on cancer patients and life goals. And they found that a cancer diagnosis definitely did impact people's life goals, I probably don't have to tell you that. But that the disturbance of those life goals was related to poor psychological outcomes from cancer treatment.
And that's something we definitely don't want, right? So how do you take steps toward creating your vision or exploring your dreams in life?
My first and I think the most important tip is to just ask yourself, why? You know, figure out your why. And that's not in this sense of the great existential question, why am I here? But in the sense of like, why are these things important to you? Why do you want certain people in your life? Why do you want to learn certain things? Why do you want to have certain things?
I want to learn Italian, for instance.
I've got Rosetta Stone a few months ago, I'm studying Italian because a dream of mine is to go on a culinary vacation in Italy. And I want to be able to speak to the people there.
And why is the experience of a culinary tour in Italy important to me?
Well, that's meaningful to me, because food has always been a big part of my life. And food is a big part of the history in Italy. And I love the idea of family farms and freshly made foods and freshly picked ingredients. And I just think it's a magical experience.
So knowing those wise, maybe you can even hear it in my voice, knowing those wise, why it's important to you, helps you really connect to that desire and infuse your goals and your visions with emotion. And when you have that emotion behind it, it's so much more motivating to keep revisiting the vision to keep connecting to it and to be consistent with the things that need to be done in order to make it happen.
Like if I'm going to learn Italian, I need to keep going back and doing the lessons, right?
And when I think about how my heart glows with the idea of being in some amazing place in northern Italy, eating pasta with white truffle sauce, you know. I just think, wow, I want that so much. And I want to be able to communicate with people. So yes, it keeps me coming back to doing my Italian lessons, right.
We lose a lot when we get diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, it is not an easy road. And when we get dropped off on this other side, feeling beaten down and angry and powerless and alone, and whatever other things I don't have to tell you, you know that experience. It's so important that we put our intention into building a future back into our life. And we do that by allowing ourselves to dream, to create a vision for ourselves, let ourselves have a vision. It's a powerful step towards inviting joy and fun back into your life. And that's why revive is one of the four pillars of breast cancer recovery. We all have unique gifts and desires in this life. And when you put energy into manifesting those desires and sharing those gifts, your life gets brighter, and you impact others in a really positive way, which then gives even more energy back to you.
Here's a really simple story, an example for that. When I was a kid I still had and I was fortunate enough to have my great-grandma in my life, she lived until her early 90s. And she was an immigrant from Austria, she came to this country from Austria. And she was an amazing cook. And she would come over and she would babysit us on the rare occasions when my mom and dad would actually go out on a date night. But some of the things I remember about my great-grandma are the dumplings she would make for stew and the amazing strudel she would make.
And she would have us come into the kitchen and help her and she rolled the strudel dough out across our kitchen table. So thin it was like tissue paper, but it was perfect. It was never torn. It was always even, it was always beautiful. And she would let us help, you know, cut out the apples and mix the filling and things like that. But I just remember watching her and it was like this art form to me. And that gift that she gave to me, just by doing the thing that she loved in life, which was this baking, that gift to this day.
I lost my great-grandma when I was in fourth grade, I think you're eight or nine, so it was like 50 years ago, right? But still to this day, the experience of how meaningful that was to watch her and experience that with her it motivates me and has motivated me throughout life to spend time with my children and my grandchildren cooking and baking in the kitchen. Giving them memories that was something that was important to me.
When we ask ourselves what is important to me and why is that important in my life. And then we start putting energy into it. We do impact and change our lives and we impact the world around us.
So break out the cardboard and the magazines and think about what you want your life to look like and why that's important to you.
Build that vision board, write it out in the journal, allow yourself to dream. This is a time to recreate and revive your life.
And I would love to hear what your visions are, I would love to hear what your dreams are, I would love to see pictures of vision boards.
So come and find the breast cancer recovery group on Facebook, join it, and share those thoughts with all the other women that are there and with me.
And if you would like more support and coaching on things like reviving your life, regrouping your life, releasing things that keep you stuck from your life, come and join the revived membership experience.
Because we work together every month on getting through those things that come up in life, in life with breast cancer in life after breast cancer in life in general, and giving you the skills and the tools that you need to process and think differently about these things that happen in life so you can live your most fulfilling and exciting life after breast cancer and every day.
Alright, my friends. Thank you so much for listening. And please come and show me your dreams and give yourself the permission to dream. And I will talk to you again next week.
Until then, be good to yourself and expect other people to be good to you as well.