#203 Embracing the Gift of Life

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There are times when life feels like a grind. 

You hear sad things; the fridge breaks down at the same time as the washing machine. 

You get a breast cancer diagnosis when you’re planning a dream trip. 

You save some money and then get an unexpected bill for that amount. 

This is the thing, there’s good and bad every day, all the time in life. 

I remember a mentor of mine asking me one time, “Will you focus on the 5-10% of someone’s personality you don’t like or the 90-95% of the good things they have to offer?” 

The same goes for life. 

Will you see the gift in it while you process the challenges, or will you focus on the challenges and miss the beauty of the gifts? 

In this episode, we’ll dig into the gift of life with a real perspective that includes sadness and loss. 

Then I’ll leave you with an exercise in seeing the gifts in your life and the gift you are to others.

Referred to in this episode:

Olivia Newton-John Foundation



Read the full transcript below:


Unknown Speaker 0:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started.

Unknown Speaker 0:33
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast episode 203. I am your host, Laura Lummer. I have so many things. So many things on my mind. This week, I had to do a thought download and get everything on a piece of paper before I couldn't decide what podcast this was going to be because I had so many ideas. And I think some of that stems from the fact that over the last two weeks, I took vacation for about gosh, I think we were gone for eight or nine days, I went with two of my sisters, and my brother in law to Colorado, where we saw their son, my nephew, and he just bought a beautiful new home. So we were celebrating his new house. And we went to Aspen where my youngest son lives and my other son from Grand Junction, Colorado came and met us there with his girlfriend. So we just had this amazing time, I got to spend just an incredible several days with my sons and with the special people in their lives, and with my sisters and my brother in law. And we had this great road trip from Colorado Springs to Aspen, which was absolutely beautiful. And we had a great time. And I think that whenever you take that time out of life, you just take that time for yourself and you just check out, it just creates all of this space for your mind to appreciate new things. It creates all of this space to just really kind of take in life and everything that is in your life and all of the fullness of it in all of the beauty of everything that we live in. So we had an amazing trip. And I just came back with loads and loads of ideas for podcasts and ideas for programs I wanted to do and coaching ideas. And so I'm very, very excited to be home. In fact, I'll share a funny story with you, my youngest sister and I were at the Colorado Springs airport, our flight was delayed, we were sitting at the bar, and we were chatting with a young man we met there who was from Memphis and his flight was also delayed. And my sister said was telling him that we had been on vacation. And she said, Yeah, we went on vacation. We're having this great time. And now back to reality. And I stopped it for a second I said, you know, we can't really say back to reality in that tone. Because we got pretty good realities. You know, life is good. And she's you know what you're right. Life is good. We do have good realities. And I think it's important for us to recognize that, you know, vacations are awesome, time away is awesome, free time is awesome. But I think it's beautiful, when that's all incorporated into our life. And life is also awesome. So you get excited to come back and be in your beautiful life. It's all a part of the same life. And it's all good. And I think it's really important that we recognize that. And even if we do have to come back to work or obligations or the day to day things that we do in life, there's a beauty in that as well. And it's important to celebrate. So with that said, I thought a lot about this. Did I want to talk about this on the podcast? Is this something I want to acknowledge? And I feel deep in my heart that yeah, it absolutely is. And I think that it aligns with what I just shared with you. Now, I know that this is on the minds of many, many, many of you as breast cancer survivors, because I've had many people make comments to me over the last few days. So in this past week, Olivia Newton John passed from breast cancer. And I was at home I was doing some work at home on my computer and my husband came home and he told me that news. And I felt very sad in that moment. And I think that any time those of us who have or have had breast cancer here of someone else who has passed that of course there's a sadness and a come on Olivia Newton John was one hell of a personality, right? And she, I am I saw Greece in the movies. You know, when it came out, I'm from that generation. So she just had her energy and her music and everything about her life had a big impression on my generation and on the generations after me as well. She was incredibly talented person. And so when my husband told me that I thought, Ah, man, that is so sad. And he said, Yeah, made me sad too. And I thought about it a lot about it in that moment and after that, and I

Unknown Speaker 5:00
thought, you know that sadness is from the loss of someone who, even though we've never met them, or have no connection to them impacted our lives has had a special impact and brought some kind of joy, some kind of insight into our life. And she definitely did that for millions and millions of people. And then there's also fear, right? Because when you have or have had breast cancer, and you hear someone who loses their life to it, I think it's perfectly natural and perfectly normal and happens all the time that our mind goes to a god, is that going to be me? Or when is that going to be me? Or is it only a matter of time before that is me. And then it feels a little bit scary. And I thought about that. And I did what I do when I hear something I Google because I love the research. And of course, I know who Olivia Newton John is. And of course, I knew that she had had a couple of diagnosis of breast cancer throughout her life. And I didn't really know any details about it. So I looked her up. And I saw that she was 73 years old. And I said to my husband, you know,

Unknown Speaker 6:07
73, I'm 58. And I'll be super happy to live to 73. Now, that's not saying that suddenly three is a ripe old life, no worries, because it's always too soon, when we lose someone we love, or we come to end of life. It's always too soon, right? Who's ready? I think very few people, most of us like us too soon. But I thought how, you know,

Unknown Speaker 6:31
I switched from sadness to just this really deep appreciation and inspiration and motivation that I felt when I read about her life. And I feel like, I got so much hope from her story, I borrowed hope from her story. I looked at her story. And I thought, that's amazing. You know, what an awesome experience isn't this? Are we fortunate to live in a time where cancer can be managed for a number of years, you know, there was this collective consciousness for so long, and for such good reason, because cancer was a death sentence. But it just doesn't have to necessarily be a death sentence anymore. And especially with breast cancer, and especially with early diagnosis, and especially with all the treatments, and was credit again, given to live in Newton John, she created this foundation, I did not know I found out about it when I was looking into the details about her passing. And she created this foundation, the Olivia Newton John foundation fund. And that Foundation did a lot of research into plant medicine, and plant medicines and their effect on cancer. And I will post the link to that website and to the research he has posted on that website in the show notes for this episode, which you'll find at the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash 203. But in going back and looking at these studies, on you found some really great information, and I actually found some supplements that I thought okay, I'm definitely going to try this because after reading the studies and their impact on breast cancer was quite impressive. And so then I thought even more about how awesome it is. When we share our stories, you know, that I find the supplement on our website that I had no idea this substance was even being researched for breast cancer. And I read about it, and I read what the studies came up with. And I was like, oh, yeah, I'm gonna try that I'm going to incorporate that. And I just think how cool is it that one, her life just gave so much hope? You know, so many of us will look at her. And she was beautiful and graceful. And one of these amazing women who just aged with so much grace and beauty as well. And the whole time she was working on healing from breast cancer. And then she took something in that experience and created something beautiful that gave back to other people from it. And that will continue to give back. And when I looked at that, I thought you know that that's just really, really cool. And so this episode really is just in tribute to that amazing life and to the amazing lives of so many of you out there to stop and think and really look at your lives and really appreciate how many lives you touch. Whether that is because of breast cancer or something else what you do, who is around you, who you inspire, even if it's just inspiring them to be the best person they can be right? This doesn't have to be some earth changing things on greater foundation, but we all touch each other's lives. And I think that that is so important for us to stop and realize sometimes and just feel that connection that we have to other

Unknown Speaker 10:00
People, people that we know, maybe people that we've just met in passing, and maybe just people that are a part of our past that we didn't even realize that we impacted their lives. And I got to thinking about this. And what came to mind was when I went to Life Coach School, so I did my life coach certification at The Life Coach School, which was founded by Brooke Castillo, and Brooke Castillo shares all the time on her podcast, which is the Life Coach School, she shares that it's really her life's mission to be the example of what is possible. The example of what is possible for other women. She is very passionate about helping other women see that you can do what you love and create the finances that you need by doing what you love. And that's a beautiful thing. And of course, I don't want to steal somebody else's vision. I was like, oh, you know what, I'll do that, too. Yeah, my, I think that my mission will be like the example of what's possible when you have breast cancer. And I thought, you know, no, doesn't really work, right. But I did give a lot of thought to that. And when I looked at what Olivia Newton John had created, and I, I thought about, what would it be, if I could say, you know, this is the one thing I'd like to leave behind. Over the years, especially in the last two years since my diagnosis, or 18 months since my diagnosis of stage four, cancer, I think that that message has become even more clear in that changing the narrative, changing that collective consciousness of having a breast cancer diagnosis, and then having the mindset of being in the fight and battling cancer. I have a hard time even saying that anymore. Because it just doesn't resonate with me, I do not think about cancer in that way anymore. I think about cancer as a healing journey. And you know, it was so amazing, because we were having a coaching call the other day, and one of my clients was sharing a conversation that she had had with a physician. And she said to that physician, you know, she told him about the coaching program, she was in with me. And she said, you know, because I've decided I don't want to be on a cancer journey. I want to be on a healing journey.

Unknown Speaker 12:21
And that's all resonated with me, because that is how I think about things. Now, it wasn't how I thought about things in my first diagnosis, but it certainly is how I think about things now. And I think that is the message if I could reach people with that message, to help women understand that I diagnosis of breast cancer is this moment in time for you to really stop and look at life. And ask yourself is, am I living the life I want to be living? am I loving myself the way I need to be loving myself? Am I doing all the things to support myself in the best way that I can support myself? It's really this time, I think, where there's obviously going to be fear, there's going to be the unknown, there's going to be fear is a scary diagnosis. It's a serious diagnosis.

Unknown Speaker 13:16
But if we can understand that that is natural and normal, and those thoughts and those fears are going to come up. And then we can decide to make it a healing journey, or a battle. And what resonates more with you in your life. And as I work with more and more women, and I see the changes that come in their life from them adopting this mindset of gentleness, from them adopting this mindset of understanding the brain works one way, it offers all kinds of shit all day long. And then we get to observe it, and we get to decide if we're gonna go along with it. Or we're going to train our brain. We're going to train our brain to think in a way that supports the life we want to live in. It's work, right? I talk about that all the time. It's work. It takes effort, it takes attention and it takes intention. But it gives you amazing and beautiful results. And now sometimes people will hear this, and they'll say to me, you know, it's too soon. I can't think like that. I can't think like that. I hate it. I'm angry and mad. It's unfair. And that's okay. Because you're in that place where you're processing those emotions. There's nothing wrong with that. And it's totally understandable. And we go through that, I think throughout life. So when I started this podcast, it was all about recovering from breast cancer, right? It was the trauma we go through in breast cancer. And then there's space when the treatment for breast cancer is done. And it's like, okay, there you go, go out and enjoy life and be normal. And we're absolutely shell shocked in anything but normal. And then as I worked more in this space, more and more women who were in treatment

Unknown Speaker 15:00
would come to me. And we started working on the mindset of how they managed treatment, how they thought about treatment. And they were able to change their experience of being in breast cancer treatment, and make their transition back to life a little bit easier. And then some of my clients had a recurrence, and I had a recurrence. And I saw that the work we did, and the way we manage our minds, and the tools we use to manage our mind did something amazing. And it made life bigger than cancer. And it made this experience a healing journey, instead of a battle.

Unknown Speaker 15:51
And then wouldn't you know, it, cherry on top, when people come to me, and they would say, You know what, I listened to your podcast all the time, because it's really just about life. And it helps me so much, and I've never had cancer. And I think, of course, it's about life, it's life coaching, right? It's teaching ourselves how to use our brain in a way that serves us in our lights. I one of the very important things that I learned over this time is that that is where everything starts. If you want to concentrate on healing, you've got to start with the way you think. If you want to concentrate on losing weight, you've got to start with the way you think about food, the way you think about yourself, the way you love yourself, the way you see yourself. If you want to have healthier relationships, you have to start with the way you think about yourself.

Unknown Speaker 16:42
And when we take all of those together, any scenario recovering from breast cancer, dealing with breast cancer treatment, learning to live with breast cancer, learning to manage all the stuff that comes up in life, all the struggles in life, it all comes back to one thing, we stop the fight, we stop resisting life. And we allow life to be there. And we recognize life as challenges. Life brings up lots of challenges. But there's also beauty. Where will you direct your energy? Will you direct your energy into seeing the beauty into appreciating the life? Or will you direct your energy into the struggle? No matter what stage you're at? Will you see the passing of an iconic a legendary woman like Olivia Newton John, as something sad and scary and something that is imminent in your own life? Or will you see it as what a frigging gift we all had to be able to have this person in this world do the work she did impact people's lives, the way she impacted people's lives, where we see the beauty in that and be so grateful that those of us who do have breast cancer or going through breast cancer, who are recovering from things in life can look at that and say, Wow, even with this big challenge, and this managing cancer in your life for 30 years, you were an amazing, graceful person with a beautiful life. I think you know, where I stand on that. And I just think that when we can really open our minds and create this space to seeing the beautiful gift of life. And in that gift of life is the loss of life. And in that loss of life is also sadness, you know, so here we are, again, in this dichotomy of life, there's good and there's bad and all of it. And when we can learn to really appreciate that gift, then we can see the gift more in our life. And we can see the gift that our life is to others to, let's not forget how important that is. Let's not forget that you mean something to people. And that's precious. And that's something to treasure. And it's also something that we don't give enough thought to. So I will leave you with this at the end of this podcast. Here's a little exercise a little homework, if you will, but to really get out a pencil and paper, and to write down the beauty of your life, to write down the gifts in your life. And to write down what you mean to others. And if you don't know what you mean to other people, the people who are closest to you in your life as them, give them the pencil and paper. It's a beautiful time for connection. And it's a beautiful experience for connection. And I think that when we can really tap into that and tap into the beauty of our life and the beauty of others in our lives, then it just makes that whole experience so much richer. I will tell you this in parting when I went to Colorado and I saw my nephew, and he's just an amazing guy's 35 year old man. He's an Army veteran. He's just an amazing person. And he took the time to come down and see me as I was unpacking and

Unknown Speaker 20:00
just hugged me, and in tears told me how much I meant to him in his life and how special it was to be there to visit him. And I'm in tears. I'm just thinking of it. When we share things like that with each other you guys that's everything. So that's your homework, give a little love and get a little love back because life is beautiful gift. I will talk to you again next week and until then please be good to yourself

Unknown Speaker 20:25
you've heard your courage to the test laid all your doubts

Unknown Speaker 20:33
your mind is clearer than before your hardest, wanting more your futures




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