Today marks my 58th year of life and ten years of managing breast cancer.
I've learned a lot in my time here on earth, and as I look forward to my 59th year, there are three things that I will be intentional about reducing in my life.
In this show, I'll share those three things with you and how they can subtly take away from living life to its full potential.
Read the full transcript here:
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.
Welcome to another episode of The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. I am thrilled to be here. I'm always happy to be here doing the show. But the day this show comes out is even an extra special day. This show will air on Friday, November 26th. And that will be the day after Thanksgiving here in the United States. So if you are a listener in the US, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you got to share it with all the people you love that you could get access to. And that you just had a wonderful day filled with love and laughter. We celebrated our Thanksgiving and my husband's 65th birthday at the same time. And it was absolutely amazing. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I love to eat, I love to cook, I love to share food with people, and I just love that Thanksgiving is a day we all come together and just share love and conversation and good food. And it is just absolutely, I think, some of my fondest memories are those of Thanksgivings. So I hope you had a great time. And I think that Thanksgiving is also one of my favorite holidays because sometimes it falls on my birthday. And this year, it just happens that November 26th, the day after Thanksgiving, is my birthday. So November 26th is the last day, and it's kind of a cool thing that it falls my birthday, the last day of the five-day giveaway. I've been giving away prizes all week long to those of you who've been kind enough to take the time to leave a review for the podcast. And I just want to express a huge thank you. Thank you. Thank you, thank you for taking the time to do that; all of you who have done so, some of you emailed me that you had a hard time figuring out how to leave a review. And yet you still gave me amazing, kind, thoughtful emails. And so thank you so much for that. And you went in the drawings too. So we have another drawing that will come out on November 26th. The final drawing and that will be for a private personal coaching session with me. So good luck to you; you still have till 9 pm on November 26th To get your review in and get in that final drawing. And I hope that you do it; you can find all of the details for the five-day giveaway at thebreastcancerrecovreycoach.com/giveaway. Okay. So because the show comes out on my birthday, that's pretty much the inspiration for what I'm going to talk about. I will have been on this planet for 58 years. And for 10 of those years, I have been managing breast cancer. For one of those years, I've been living with breast cancer. And I just want to share a few thoughts with you every year when my birthday comes up. I really do consider what happened over the past year. And so much happens in a year. So many things change in a year like a year is a lot of time. I would like to say this year is no different. But this year is a little bit different. It's no different in the sense that I do look back and I reflect on everything that happened with the year. But I also think that I have an even more a deeper sense of gratitude than perhaps ever before. Because living with cancer, I think, gives me more of an appreciation for each and every day. You know, one of my friends joined me for a walk on the beach the other morning. And we were just talking about life and events and things that are going on. And somehow, we came around to the subject of people saying life is short. And I said to her, you know, it's an interesting thing because people say life is short and THEY GIGGLE and they walk away. But once you've had cancer, or you're living with cancer, you say no, for real. For real. Life is short. No joke here. Not a cliche for real life is short. And I really feel that's true. So each day is just genuinely a gift. And I think what's changed is now that when I look forward to what I would like to do in my life between this birthday and my next birthday. I think I view it a little differently. I do view it with more of a sense of urgency, and I don't mean like get everything done before you drop dead that is not at all what I mean. What I mean is for real life is short, and if there are things I want to do, I'm not going to let anything stand in the way. And I work very hard to be sure that I don't hesitate on that. And when I catch myself hesitating on doing things I want to do or creating things, I want to create a mixture and address that really quickly. Because there's a lot, I want to accomplish. And the only thing that stops me from doing the things I want to do is whatever is in my brain, is my own self doubt my own fears, my own hesitations. And so, for me, looking back on the year is a year full of gifts and full of gratitude. And looking forward to next year is very exciting. And I want to share with you a few things that I'm going to focus on being sure that I let go of, during the next year, that for my intentional living living my life by design, and deliberately over the next year, I want to be sure that I let go of a few things that I make sure that they have the smallest possible role in my life. I am going to tell you about those. But first, I want to share a story with you. So I said my husband had just turned 65. And we did a birthday party with some friends and family. And a week prior to that, I hosted a party for him and some of his clients. He's a business coach. And I was sitting having a conversation with one of his clients. And he said to me, you know, whenever Vaughn my husband's name is Vaughn, he says, Whenever we're with Vaughn, he's always talking about you. He's so proud of you; He loves you so much. He loves telling us all the things that you do and all the work that you do. He says, and when I heard about your disease and your diagnosis, he said, every time he talks about, you know, I feel sad. Because I think man, he just loves her so much. And now look what's going to happen. And I said, Okay, so let me give you permission, first of all, to receive whatever he says with joy. And thank you for sharing that because it was a beautiful thing he shared with me. But I also said, please don't ever feel sad for me, please don't ever let my husband sharing his love bring up sadness because life is short. And it's no different for me than it is for you for that gentleman or for anyone else at that party. But more importantly, what I said to him was, I've just met a couple dozen people at this party. And there are at least three of them that I'm not going to name names, but you may know, and you may have already picked up on that are so much less alive than I am. And they don't have cancer, but they're not living their lives. And in my first 30 seconds of meeting and speaking with those peoples, they went right into how unhappy they are. So yes, I may have cancer in my body that I'm working on healing, but my life is full and vibrant. And I am happy. And that's all any of us can ask for one day at a time in this life, one minute at a time in this life. He said to me, you know, thank you so much for saying that. He says I, I have a different outlook now. And I'm inspired by that you're right. He said, So many people are alive, but they're not living their lives. And I agree with that. And so I think that's such an important thing. As I look forward into this next year of my life. I have every intention of fully living my life. And in my 58 years of walking on this planet, making many many, many, many mistakes, and also making many good choices and having some amazing experiences like having my children, my grandchildren, marrying my husband, I have an amazing family. So I want to share with you three things that I've come to realize, over the years, take away from the fullness of life, hold us back from being able to heal from breast cancer. And I mean that on every level on an emotional level, on a physical level on a spiritual level, things that just hold us back in life. And for me, when I think it's the right time to let something go, is when I see that this thing, whether it is a job or relationship, a thought, a belief, whatever it is in life when we realize that that thing is keeping us from living fully. Then in in my mind, it's time to let it go. And so I want to share with you three of those things. And now, these are things I'm going to share with you. You let them go. But it's a work in progress. Right, you become a Were of these things, and you say, Wow, I am not going to do that anymore. And then you might catch yourself doing it. And then you let it go again. And it's a process. You may repeat that process many, many, many times. I know I do. And that's why I said, going forward in this year, I am going to intentionally be sure that I limit the impact that these things have on my life by doing everything I can to get them out of my life. The very first thing is self-judgment. And this
Wow, it's so powerful. Self-judgment is so crippling, paralyzing. It doesn't serve anything or anyone. And I'm going to give you some examples. When we get stuck in self-judgment, we not only hold ourselves back from moving forward. But we almost take ourselves back a notch. When we knock ourselves down, we beat ourselves up, even judging ourselves, in the sense of looking back at our lives and saying, I should have done this sooner, I should have, I should have taken better care of myself and started eating healthier sooner, I should have known to treat myself with more compassion earlier, I should have done all of these things. And we judge ourselves, and we beat ourselves up for not knowing all being all and being completely evolved from the time we emerged from the womb. And that mindset, that self-judgment, and I get caught in it too, and it can be our past. And it can be two hours ago, and it could be 10 minutes ago; it can be anything you do. And you look back yourself, oh my gosh, I'm so stupid. That was so dumb. Why did I do that? Or even into things we eat it in the choices we make? Oftentimes that comes up with food; why did I eat that? I'm so lazy, I have no willpower judge, Judge judge in my life experience, and especially in the ten years, the these past ten years, I would say that self-judgment is something that I've worked on a lot, that I continue to increase awareness on. And that I've really come to understand that if you could have done something differently, you would have when we look back at our lives when I look back at my life, and I would judge myself for not being the best parent I could have been, for not managing money the best way I could have managed money, and all these things that I see in my past. I'm judging them from a different mindset. The mindset I have now is one that allows me to handle these things differently. And if I had that mindset, that knowledge, that skill, those abilities, then then I would have done it then too. So when it comes to self-judgment, especially beating ourselves up over the past, and I see this a lot with after a breast cancer diagnosis, looking for a way to blame ourselves for having this diagnosis. And when I look forward to the next year of my life, and I hope that I can offer this to you to that as you look forward to 2022, to give yourself the grace, to forgive yourself, and to look at judging every move every decision, everything you did everything you didn't do, or everything you did or didn't do it the right moment and the right time. And look at all of it and say you know what, it was exactly perfect. It was exactly what your life journey needed. And it happened when it needed to happen. Or it didn't happen when it didn't need to happen that if you could have changed things, then they would have been changed. And I say that because I think that letting go of self-judgment is just a huge part of being able to really fully love ourselves to step into self-compassion and to practice self-compassion. Because we're humans having a human experience, and I have yet to meet a perfect human being. I have yet to see a perfect family or a perfect relationship. I see great ones. I see really good ones. I see people having aspirations to make things better, but none of them are perfect. So when we can let go of that self-judgment, and we can give ourselves that grace to say, hey, you know what, I learned something valuable from making that choice or not making that choice from acting or not acting in that moment. And now I can go forward, not only promising to myself that I won't judge myself but actually opening myself to the ability to embrace screwing things up. So as I go into 2022, and I have a lot of things that I want to do and accomplish and create, there's no question that sometimes I'll do them in a way that doesn't work out as I intended. And so before I even go there, before I even take the step, I will give myself permission not to judge myself and to say, I don't know if this is going to work, but I'm going to give it a shot because it's something I want to do. And if it doesn't work, and I fall flat on my face, I'm going to give myself kudos for having tried.
So it sounds like a weird thing. Because when we can let go of self-judgment, we can embrace the potential or the opportunity for failure without being ourselves up for what we perceive as failure, right? Because to me, failing means I've tried, and I've learned in as I go forward into this next year of life, that's what I want to do. I want to try as many things as I can. I want to create the life I want to live and allow that life to evolve with me without ever beating myself up for making the wrong choice or the worst decision. Another thing that I don't want to see in my future and that I've seen over the years of my life create a lot of havoc for me and for so many people that I work with and know for everybody that I work with and know is comparison. And I don't want comparison to be a part of my mentality to be a part of my thought process, not comparison to where I think I should be in life. Because if I could go back to being, let's say, 15 years old, and someone would say to me, Hey, Laura, what's your life gonna look like when you're 58, it probably wouldn't look like what it is now. But that being said, it's still an amazing life now. And so I don't want comparison to be a part of my mentality in my life because it robs me of the joy of the evolution of my life and living in the moment, comparison to myself, to what my body was what my life was, five years ago, ten years ago, and what it might be five years from now, comparison to someone else, someone else who maybe has a better health than I do, who maybe has a more popular podcast than I do, I just want to be very focused on what's in my heart, in staying with what is in my heart, staying with what I do from my life, in staying away from comparing that to anybody else's life. Something that I see very often in cancer and in cancer recovery is comparing the disease you have to someone else's, the treatments that someone had to go through to the treatments you had to go through. And I've seen and heard many women tell themselves that they don't deserve to maybe have more compassion, more understanding because they didn't have it as bad as someone else. And the guilt that that brings up and the shame that that brings up, and then the actions that result from thinking and feeling guilty. It just doesn't serve anybody. It doesn't serve the person who you perceive to have had it worse than you. And it certainly doesn't serve you. So even in my day-to-day life, I don't compare myself to someone else who may have stage four cancer in fewer parts of their body than I do. I don't look at someone who may have been in more parts of their body and say, oh, gosh, I I don't deserve to think or feel or desire the things I want because someone else has it worse off than I do. Right? We don't know each other's stories. And that's something that I think has been a very valuable lesson in life. We just don't know each other's stories. And so we can't hold everyone on the planet to this same standard and compare ourselves and say that shouldn't happen in their life. This shouldn't happen in my life; this should be different. And when we stop trying to compare what our life is to someone else, then we can sit and just see what our life is. And we can sit we can see it, and we can understand it and get curious about it and examine what parts of that life to really like right now. And what would I like maybe to be different. And then you have the opportunity to choose to think and act differently about it. So comparison is something I don't want because it distracts me from being in this moment and connecting to myself in my heart in being of service the way that I want to be in my life and in this world.
And the final thing that I will intentionally be sure it plays a smaller role in my life as possible is emotional dependence. Is the idea or the thought that my happiness is dependent on anyone else's actions or behaviors or any external circumstances. Now, this one is probably going to take the most mind management out of all of them. Because this is something we're conditioned to do throughout our lives. Right, we are conditioned to react or blame our emotions, our happiness, our sadness, our frustration our anger on what someone else has done, or a set of circumstances that has happened that we had no control over. And for me, that is so much tied to believing life is short and to be in the moment, living life in the moment. Because when we give away our emotional power, when we say something outside of me has the power over how I feel, inevitably, our mind gets caught up in thinking about that. And so, a week, week and a half ago, I had a particularly rough day. And I just remember sitting at dinner with my husband and realizing that I was missing out on this moment of being at dinner with him and being together because my mind was going back over the things that didn't work out the way I wanted them to be. And I was telling myself that I was feeling bad and feeling crappy because those things didn't work out. When the truth was, I was feeling bad, and I was feeling crappy because I was telling myself, I was judging myself for the way things didn't work out, I was judging my ability to work things out. And I was creating this powerlessness, I was allowing my happiness to be dependent on things that were happening around me, even when we talk about not allowing other people's actions and behaviors or external events to impact our emotions, that in itself, we say, is really hard. So just using that language and saying, Ooh, this is a really hard thing to do. That in itself makes it even more difficult. So I think that being very intentional about embracing my emotional independence, consistently, and especially as I move forward trying to create new things in my life, and knowing failing at some of them will be a part of that learning from some of them will be a part of that. Keeping myself out of blaming my feelings or giving my power over my feelings to the external circumstances, I see that as a exciting challenge. Because if I can manage to do that, even if I could reduce half the time that my feelings fluctuate or vary depending on external circumstances, that will be quite an accomplishment. So this is a powerful thing. And I think that taking on these three areas of the way that I think and doing what I can to make sure that they don't play a big part in my life is more than enough to manage for the next year. So finally, I will wrap up this podcast by just saying that one of the greatest birthday gifts I could ever have, is being a part of this amazing community of each of you who come to listen to this podcast who joined me in The Breast Cancer Recovery Group, and who are my members and Empower and in Revived and who have gone through my coaching program. Revivify. All of you are a huge part of my life and a part that I am extremely grateful for. And I look forward to welcoming even more women into this safe space into this encouraging, inspirational space and serving them to help them in creating a life that's even better than before breast cancer all the way through next year. Have a wonderful day. I will talk to you again next week. And until then, Please be good to yourself and expect other people to be good to you as well. Take care