A blessing and curse in life is that we never really arrive.
We’re always in the process of life, but we often miss what’s happening in the process because we think we should be somewhere else.
We think we should have more time, more money, different circumstances.
We think we should be doing more, especially compared to the next person.
But the truth is, you’re exactly where you should be…in the process.
The process can be beautiful, and it can be messy.
But being present for it takes a tremendous amount of pressure off you for not being somewhere else.
You may never get the time you want in life, but you can learn so much in the time you have.
Referred to in this episode:
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Laura Lummer 00:01
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.
Laura Lummer 00:37
Hello, hello, hello, friends. Welcome to Episode 182 of The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. And I am thrilled to be here today, I've got so many things on my mind today that I cannot wait to share with you. And the first thing is I want to remind you that this month, March 25, at 10am Pacific Standard Time, I will be doing a workshop called Confusion After Breast Cancer, you can attend that workshop for free. And you can register for it at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/confused, confused, not confusion but confused. And I just want to clarify that in case you're confused about it. Anyway, what this workshop is, is I'm going to be talking a lot about this thought pattern that we get stuck in and that is this place of being an I don't know, you know, we talk about how do you want to feel about that? Or how do you feel about something I don't know, what do you want to do about something and we think I don't know. And we can get very stuck in I don't know what to do. I don't know how to feel. I don't know what to think about this. I don't know what to say about this. And I'm going to talk about that I'm going to coach I'm going to teach a little bit first, on how that happens. And how we get in these thought loops, and how to get yourself out of a thought loop. And what is called indulgent emotions, what indulgent emotions are, and how we can tend to just be in them and feel very, very good about being in them good in the sense of I don't feel good. I'm not happy about it. But I feel justified in being in the space. And then we're going to coach. So we're going to spend the last part of the call answering your questions, because you can listen to me all day long. But when you ask me questions that actually apply to your life, and we can coach on how you can implement the things I teach you, that's where the magic happens. So please join me, this is actually happening inside my membership. So inside of the Better Than Before Breast Cancer Membership, the Life Coaching Membership, I do workshops and coaching calls all month long, we do six of them a month. And so this is one that I was doing for my members. And I thought you know what, it's so powerful. It's so needed in it's a place where so many survivors get stuck and suffer that I wanted to invite you all in to join us. And it's also a really special time, I'm kind of ramping things up, because April is actually the anniversary for my life coaching membership. I opened the Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership, one year ago, April in 2021. And it was called the Revived Membership Experience, I since changed the name of it because it just made so much more sense. And it's very special to me very near and dear to my heart. And I'm gonna It's actually kind of leads into what this whole show is about. Because this week when I'm recording this podcast, I'm recording it a little later than I normally do because I've been sick for the last week and I was coughing and losing my voice and he wasn't good. So I'm actually kind of glad it worked out this way. Because I've had just so much more time to reflect on what this week means to me this week being 15 months since I was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer. And that's super powerful to me. And it's one of the things that I am one of the reasons why I started this life coaching membership. I was before my diagnosis, I was doing my 10 week coaching program which was called Revivify. And from Revivify I went into I opened another membership that was called Empower. So people who went through Revivify could join, Empower, and we would meet weekly and do coaching and we still do. Then I was diagnosed with stage four, and I really had to stop and think about what was going to work best for my life and how I was going to manage treatment. But also it was so important to me to continue doing the work that I do to continue working with other survivors, because it's just it's everything to me. And it took me a couple months to wrap my head around it. I finished my 10 week coaching program in December, I was diagnosed in October. And I completed the that 10 week coaching program that I was in the middle of, or actually just beginning when I got diagnosed, it was the first day of the program that I got diagnosed. We finished it in December. And I took from December, that next couple of months to just kind of figure out how is this going to look now how can I form something so I can still do what I love to do support the women that I want to support. And, you know, reach my life's goal of working with not just reaching because I've reached way over 10,000 survivors through the podcast and my, my workshops, and webinars and all that. But I wanted to work personally, with 10,000 survivors, and I wanted to reach through the podcast and everything else that I do a million survivors. That was my original goal. And at first I started off with like 100 that I want to reach 100,000 survivors reach through my message through anything that I do. And the coach was working on the time shows why 100,000 Why not a million? And I kind of went like, Oh, I'm gonna think about that. And I was like, yeah, why not a million. And there's a million women out there going through this, then why not a million, but I wanted to my first goal was I want to work with 10,000, like I want to touch you work with you talk to you, give you my stuff, have you, you know, do this work that I put in these challenges and programs and in my membership. And so that's how the Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership was born, I finally did figure out a way that I could continue doing the coaching and teaching and that it worked with the level of energy I had in the treatments that I am in and was in at the time. And so as I reflect back on that now, it's interesting, you know, the title of this podcast is The Process of Living right here. When we go through life, we have no idea what's coming, right? I didn't know when I got off my last webinar. And I signed up these people do a 10 week coaching program with me that I would literally log off the webinar and get a phone call from my doctor that said, Hey, you have advanced stage four cancer, right? We never know what's coming in life. And so it's an interesting thing, because there's something about before breast cancer, when something happens to someone close to us, especially close in our age or younger than us, right? Something tragic, let's say cancer happens. We feel it, we have empathy for it, right? And we say, oh, gosh, I'm so grateful for my life or we count our blessings. But when we get a diagnosis of cancer, something shifts something happens in suddenly, there's an urgency of time in our life. And I know I felt that urgency in the story I just shared with you. And I don't want to let this go and slipped through my fingers. Right? How much time do I have left in life, I want to make this dream happen. Even though before cancer, we may say, you know, we may have time oriented goals, and we may want to accomplish things by a certain date. We all know that at some point, our life will end we all know we're going to die. But we don't really wake up thinking about how much time do I have. And then when we get a diagnosis of cancer, it's shocking and horrifying and scary. And we do start to think of life in terms of time. And then when we survive treatment, and we start getting back to life, or figuring out how to get back to life. Notice that that sense of urgency, that sense of time is still there. And that's why we have a lot of fear, right? We have a lot of fear because of the trauma, that fear of recurrence. What is the fear of recurrence, that fear of recurrence is not only the dread of having to go through the awful treatments that come with treating cancer, but the fear of recurrence is the fear of loss of time. Right? It's will this be the end? Will this be it for me? You know, it's interesting, I just finished listening to this book. It's called "The Invisible Life of Addie. LaRue." Great, great, great, great story. I loved it. But in the book, there's a character and he is called like, he's a dark god. And what he does is he's in the business of, of bargaining with souls, right? So he's not the devil in the book. He's this God, but anyway, he makes deals with people and they sell their soul to him. And the interesting recurring theme in the book is that when he goes back to cash in on the deal, they always want more time.
Laura Lummer 10:04
And I thought about that it was really impactful maybe because of when I'm listening to it now. And I thought, isn't that interesting? What would be enough time. And when we have breast cancer, and when we're recovering from breast cancer, and when that impression of breast cancer is still with us, there's this sense of, what do I do at this time. Now, sometimes, we can get lost in that. And what I mean by that is, there's two very extreme ways that I have seen people go with this idea of time and urgency of time after cancer. And that is some go into a depression, they're so worried about, and focused on how much time they might have left in life that they miss out on the time they actually have. And then on the other end of that, is the fear of losing time and not getting enough done in time. And so then we have to be so uber productive, that we tell ourselves, we've got to do all these things and make all these things happen, because we're coming from a place of scarcity of time. And then what happens, as always happens when we have a feeling of overwhelm. And when we're telling ourselves, I've got to get this done, I've got to do this, I've got to make this happen. Like, for instance, the goals I've just shared with you, I've got to redo this membership and revamp it and make it work and reach these people. Because inside of me was a scarcity of time. How much time do I have? Which is so interesting, because none of us ever know the answer to that question. Not before cancer, not after cancer, we never know. But what I found in this process is that we tell ourselves, we have to be so productive, and accomplish so many things. That what happens is we don't get in touch with ourself. And we're not in the moment in the process in life being very, very present. And so then we have all these thoughts about what we should be doing. And we're not doing which creates the feeling of overwhelm. And when we are feeling overwhelmed 100% of the time, the result is we do nothing. We do nothing. Because we're overwhelmed. We don't know where to start. We don't know what to do and see how that ties in with the confusion workshop. I don't know, I don't know what to do. I don't know if I should be resting more. I don't know if I should be working more. You know what, I'll just go watch Netflix, you know. And so here's the beautiful thing that I've discovered over this last year over this last 15 months. When I was first diagnosed, I thought Okay, number one priority, my healing my treatment. But I had this burning desire, don't have too much of a gap, right in what I'm doing in my coaching business. Don't let it drop off. Like I need to keep this going, too. But I knew obviously at that time, I couldn't walk. I mean, when I went into when I don't know if I've shared this story on the podcast before I think I think I may have I don't know. But I got my diagnostics and met my new oncologist on October 15 2020. Wonderful, wonderful man. I love this doctor. After he told me everything, you know, that he saw in the tests? I asked him, could we postpone treatment for a couple of weeks because I had a trip planned. And I was heading out to Colorado to see my son. And when I explained to him how important this trip was to me it is He's so kind of he sat back and he looked at me. Like, how do I help you understand what is going on here? Right? And he actually said to me, I don't think you're grasping the seriousness of your situation. You should not be walking. If someone bumps into you at the airport with the condition that your thoracic spine is in right now. You could be paralyzed. If someone knocks into you the wrong way. Your chest is full of fluid around your lung around your heart. I don't think you understand that when you walked these doors today. He had never met me before and he said I all I had to go off of was the diagnostics and I was prepared to send you to the hospital today. But then I saw you and I saw that you look great and you're vibrant and I'm not going to put a vibrant looking person in a hospital. But we need to start treatment immediately.
Laura Lummer 14:55
And so I was very bummed I really wanted to go on my trip but I did cancel it, took it later. But the reason I'm sharing that is that started the process of figuring out what is life look like now? How do I embrace life because I firmly believe a couple of things. One, cancer is only a death sentence, if you allow it, to take your life while you're still living. If you ultimately die from cancer, if I ultimately die from cancer, I'm ultimately going to die from something right? The Death Sentence happens while I'm still alive. And I'm not going to let that happen. That's something I firmly believe. The second thing is that when we get a diagnosis, we immediately go to what did I eat? What a hair dye, deodorant, air fresheners, right? We look at all the physical toxins, environmental toxins around us, which there's nothing wrong with that. And the more you can reduce your toxic burden, the better. And the more you can eat clean and whole foods, the better. All that is wonderful. But so often we don't talk about. So so often, we don't talk about the importance of the toxic burden in our mind. And that's why I'm going to share what went on with me in this process. What is this process of life? And I want you to know that it wasn't easy. And I think it's important to share that because I don't want people to look at me and go holy cow. You know, she got diagnosed with stage four, cancer, or, you know, whatever, throughout her body. And wow, she's doing a podcast and doing coaching. And oh, my gosh, isn't that awesome? That's not the point. And I don't even want to be, I don't think I want to ever give that impression. Because there's too much of that message out there of here, this horrible thing is happening to your life and put on your pink boxing gloves and go out there and just pretend that you can handle it all. You know, it really is a process. And we have to figure everything out as we go. And I think that if there's a message saying, oh, everything's just a piece of cake, and I got this, that that doesn't serve any of us, because I don't think that's true for anybody. You know, I mean, it's just not true. It doesn't happen like that we have to work so much on our thoughts. Because we have to work on are we coming from a place of scarcity or abundance? What are our thoughts creating in our life? How much fear are we holding on to? And how can we manage that and get ourselves into a better, healthier place? And how much pressure are we putting on ourselves to make life look a certain way when it's not serving us. And by that I mean, this pressure of productivity, you know, to say, I'm here, but I shouldn't be here, I'm at point A, but I should be at point B. And looking at the thoughts of why, like, Why do I have to be at point B now?
Laura Lummer 18:10
Why can't I just be here where I'm at now, and be in the process of moving towards what I want. Because when we deny the fact that life is a process, in that, when we decide to change our diet, right, that's a process do a little bit at a time, we eliminate a little bit of sugar, we eliminate a little bit of white flour, we may come back to it now. And then we may binge on a key lime pie. I mean, who knows. But it's a process. And as we do it, if we're mindful and present, then we learn something about ourselves. And the more we learn about ourselves without judgment or shame, then the more in the process we are, and we end up where we want to be. And we look back and we say wow, look at all the change I've created. But if we tell ourselves, we're not in the right place, we should be in a different place, we should be doing more, we should be a different kind of person, then we're missing out on what we can be learning about ourselves. We're missing out on the process of life, we're overwhelming ourselves. And once again, nine times out of 10 You won't even take the steps to move towards either the other point B because you'll be so overwhelmed and bogged down in the pressure you're putting on yourself to be productive. A little bit more about that. When I decided to open the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, right I went all in here's the schedule, here's what it's supposed to look like and and you know a few months went by and I started thinking oh wow, I noticed that I was slipping from some of the practices that I was very dedicated to that were supporting my healing. And then I noticed some of my markers went up right my because my tumor markers had dropped a dramatic in the first couple of months, they went from like 86, when I was first diagnosed down to 21, amazing, the five and a half centimeter tumor that I had in my lymph nodes, my auxilary nymphe lymph nodes, gone. Right by the beginning of 2021. It was gone. And and I'm not saying it was just my practices was everything right? It was my medicine, it was radiation, it was the chemotherapy, it was all the things that I was doing my lifestyle included. But then I noticed as I started feeling better, I started getting more focused on productivity, gotta be productive, got to be productive. And then one day, I was like, Wow, I'm acting like I don't have cancer. What do I think about that? On the one hand, I thought, well, that's great, because I want to be a healthy person who's healed from cancer. So I want to live like that. But I also noticed that was I paying enough attention to the thought practices into the self care practices as I was in the beginning, right when my tumor markers dropped? So so so much, and so I looked at and said, Okay, where am I? Where do I could I use a little more balance here? I'm starting to feel so productive, like I'm booked solid, right with everything that I'm doing. And so I took a step back to rethink that. And I looked at and said, okay, in a perfect world, what would I want this to look like? How much time do I really want for myself? Do I want to live a life where I'm not ever paying attention to the fact that I have cancer, I'm allowing, you know, really deep self care practices and meditation and ceremonial things to fall by the wayside. And I didn't want that to happen. I did want to live like a person who doesn't think of cancer every moment. And I still do live like that. So it was this process, right? And I struggled with it. I struggled with how do you not be so productive? And then why do I think I need to be so productive? Why can I allow myself to just be and treasure that, just be without saying, I got to get to the next thing. Just be without thinking, I've got to make the next dollar bill. Just be and feel good about it. And not guilty about it, and not shaming myself about it, and holding something else over my head. And that was a real process. And so I shared in the beginning that I had been struggling with respiratory colds the last week or so. And even in that I thought, okay, you know what, I need to stop. I mean, I have cancer in the fluid around my lung, I need to be mindful of this, right? I don't want anything to escalate into bronchitis, wasn't COVID I got tested. But I didn't want anything to escalate. And so I had to look at what my schedule was and what was going on and say, don't push it. Take this time for yourself. And even in the Life Coaching Membership, actually called another life coach, that I know, who's an amazing breathwork practitioner and mindset coach, and I had her step in and do one of my coaching calls for me because I really needed time. And I thought about that when I took that time and I thought about how we struggled so often with allowing people to support us and help us and was allowing our brain to just turn off and allowing ourselves to just sit in bed and read a book without any pressure or guilt. Without telling ourselves we should be somewhere else we should be doing something else we should be pushing harder.
Laura Lummer 23:52
It's so beautiful. When we can look at life as a process. And we can stop and evaluate where we're at in the process without judgment. I think that there's so much to be learned there. And as I reflect back on these last 15 months of my life, the whole time has been a process, noticing where my mind was at with respect to my health and respect to my coaching, respect to my family, noticing where I felt out of balance. And I think I've said on the podcast before I like to have fun. I like my social life where I was doing too many even social things and feeling like I wasn't managing my energy correctly and needing to say no, and looking at what is balance, and how am I planning my life from a place of love and abundance? And where is it that it's scarcity is sneaking in and I'm planning life and I'm doing things that feel like I'm doing them because I met all in and living abundantly but I'm doing them because There's a little bit of scarcity underlying us, and you can get this shit done now, because God knows how much time you have, right. And so I've had to look at that very closely. And I talk about it here, because I know that so many of you struggle with this. Again, there's those two sides, right? There's the over productive side of when we are feeling a scarcity of time. And then there's the depressed and just shut off way that people often go, when they feel like, oh, gosh, something might shorten the time I have for this life. As I said before, and as that book I shared with you brought out, there's never enough time.
Laura Lummer 25:42
If I was 82 years old, what I want more time, so I could be 92 years old, I think I would. So I think of all of the lessons I've learned. That the truth, the real truth of embracing the moment, and being in the moment, and managing all of the thoughts and emotions that we are experiencing, which is so vitally important, it is equally Actually, it's more important, I think, than what we put in our mouth. Because honestly, if you don't have your thoughts, right, then whatever else you do logistically for yourself, however else, you manage your relationships, your environment, your food, it's not going to be long lasting, because you've got to get your thoughts. Right. And that keeps you from relapsing into unhealthy lifestyle habits. And I think that just one of those key thoughts, is that understanding that it's not about how much time it's all about, what do I need today? And where am I coming at today from, in my coming at today, from a place of this abundant life? And how can I enjoy my day? Or am I coming at my day from a place of fear and scarcity? And what if this is my last day? So I offer this to you. And I hope you can embrace this idea of the process of life of the process of figuring life out. And it's more than just like we say, you know, it's all about the journey, it's not about the destination. But when we're in, I call it the process, because we're constantly doing things and evaluating and re evaluating, like, it's okay to be in these places of discomfort where you're like, Oh, I'm here, and I really want to be there. Or I feel like, there's too much time, you know, time is a sieve, and it's leaking out over here. It's okay to be in these uncomfortable places. And yet we judge ourselves because we think we should be better, we think things should be better, we think things should be different. And I just don't think that that's always the case, you know, it's okay, that things are a hot mess sometimes, because that's the process of life. And we can be present in those times. And when we are, we learn so much about ourselves. So I hope that gives you a little bit of space for more understanding of yourself. For more, I don't know authenticity for yourself, just to be where you are and be who you are. And if you are feeling overwhelmed or you are feeling like you don't know what to do and you're stuck and and this processing, how does this work? Come and join me I would love to work with you. I would love to coach you. You can join me at the Confusion After Breast Cancer Workshop for free but you registered so you can get the email communications that are leading up to the workshop. You can register at thebreastcancerrecoverycoachcom/confused or join me in the Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership, it is open for enrollment until the end of April. And I have some very, very special spaces that are lifetime memberships. And they come with 12 hours of one on one personal coaching with me along with other benefits. And you get everything that's in the life coaching membership now and everything that comes in the future. It says smoking deal and I decided to do it for those one year anniversary. So take advantage of it. Check out the membership and email me if you have questions. You can find all the details for the Life Coaching Membership at thebreastcancerrecoverycoachcom/life coaching. I'm telling you it's a life changing experience like doing this work, doing self coaching and getting support through coaching. And doing this thought work is just an amazing experience. And I always love it because I always love seeing my members and just how changing the way they think changes their lives in such positive ways. So I encourage you to come and join me in that as well. And I will talk to you again next week so please be good to yourself until then and expect others to be good to you as well. Take care.