Sometimes, I really wish we could unlearn all the scary, limiting things we’ve been taught throughout our lives.
Imagine if we could stop believing that we have no power, that cancer isn’t curable, that we’ll never be able to live without fear, that we shouldn’t rock the boat, that we shouldn’t make more than our husbands etc, etc, etc…
How many things have you learned that result in you playing small, keeping your emotions, thoughts, and expectations stuffed somewhere inside your body, and feeling sick and exhausted?
What if you could decide to unlearn all of it and what if breast cancer was your entrance to the school of unlearning?
Join me in this episode and let’s explore what it means to go to the school of unlearning, and how you can decide to create a life that’s better than before breast cancer™.
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Read the full transcript below:
Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm a breast cancer thriver. In this podcast, I will give you the skills and the insights and the tools to move past the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you're looking for a way to create a life, that's even better than before breast cancer, you've come to the right place. Let's get started. Hey, friends, you're listening to Episode 315. Better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm Laura Lummer. I'm thrilled that you're here with me today. Because today we're going to talk about a little really big thing in life. You know, before I even talk about, I want to share something with you. I want to share a quote from a book that was given to me by one of my clients who I absolutely love. And it was a gift. Gosh, I think it's been a couple of years ago now. And I've referred back to this book, I don't even know countless times, because this book is filled with little nuggets of wisdom, little sayings that just make you think. But there's one in particular, that's one of my absolute favorites in the book is called the boy the mole The Fox and the horse. And the one page that I have dog eared Yes, I dog your books, I make notes on my books, my nieces always horrified by that like so you destroy your books. But to me, it's love, I love on my books. And in this book, there's one page and it says I wish there was a school of unlearning. That is such a powerful statement. And I wish there was a school of unlearning. And I'm gonna offer this to you, because it's been weighing on my mind for the last several days. But I kind of think that breast cancer is the introductory course to the school of unlearning, right? We get a life threatening diagnosis, we go through freaking, I don't even know the right word, extremely challenging, difficult, damaging treatments, to try and heal our bodies to try to free our bodies of cancer. I say free your body's cancer because really the cancer treatments we go through our targeting the destruction of cancer cells and in so they're kind of not healing the healthy parts of our body, right? There's two different aspects to going through this. One is what we're doing in standard of care to destroy cancer. And then the other is what we're doing to support ourselves and support our body's ability to heal, stay healthy, feel good, have energy, right. So we're going through this. It's challenging on every conceivable level. It's kind of, I don't know, I don't know that I resented but it's kind of like, you know, when you're pregnant for the first time, or the first time you're gonna get married, like you don't hear all the shit that goes on behind the scenes, right? You see the cuteness of pregnancies and baby showers and this and that. And you don't really understand how challenging it is to be a parent. You see, you know, first love and dating and engagement and marriage and showers and parties and weddings. And you don't really know how challenging marriage is until you're in it. And we see out in the public, pink ribbons, and multiple day long walks and fundraisers. And pictures of bald women are women with scarves are all kinds of stories. And it's it's scary. And it's it's emotional, right? I'm saying before we ever get a diagnosis, and then we get a diagnosis. And then we go Oh shit. There's way more to this than what I thought. Right? So if that experience doesn't cause us to stop, and ask ourselves, what the heck am I doing? Right? I don't know what what else will I say it's a school of unlearning, or at least introductory course. Because Are we willing to unlearn? Because when we have this diagnosis, and when we go, this is it. Like this is life threatening. I could have died or I could die. Right? And we hold on to that fear. This is a huge thing. The fear of recurrence, the fear of surviving or not surviving realistic, of course, we're afraid. But what we hold on to is what we think we know. Because it's familiar, right? We don't want life to change. We want to stay normal. We don't want people to look at us weird. We don't want to be different. But maybe it's okay if we are maybe all the things we've been conditioned to learn and believe and the rules we've been told we have to live by. Maybe that's part of what made us sick to begin with. Right If I say this, because there's part of my own self examination as I go through my own process of supporting my body's ability to heal from the stage for cancer diagnosis, and I, I look at the thoughts we have, and the feelings that come up with those thoughts, especially with limitations, I'm big into releasing limitations really big into it, because you know, what
Laura Lummer 5:23
we only have right now, that's it ever for any single human being cancer or no cancer. That's it. It's right now. So why would we limit right now, if we don't have to? Sometimes we limit it, because we don't even realize we're limiting it. We've been so conditioned to believe life has to work a certain way that we tell ourselves, it has to work a certain way. And we never allow ourselves to explore what other possibilities might be. So we take these things for kind of like, this is the way it is right? I get old, okay, the older I get, I'm supposed to be in pain. I'm supposed to get tired, I'm supposed to get weak. Are we really? Why do we believe that? Right? Why do we limit ourselves in pretty much every conceivable way in this life? Why do we believe people should only have so much money, people should only have so many good things, people should have a good job and have a good job, don't want anything more? You know, why do we limit ourselves? And how do we unlearn that? When this podcast comes out, or beyond the day that I'm doing a workshop on changing expectations, on the path to happiness, changing expectations, and it's a really important topic? Because what are the expectations you have in life, of yourself of your loving close relationships and friends of work business of money of your future? What are the expectations you have? And are those expectations open to the possibilities of more? Or have you just learned to go through life? Mechanically going? This is enough, right? This is enough in the sense that maybe your intuition is saying to you, I want a change of some kind. When I sit and I asked myself every day like what do I need today to support my ability to heal? Well, I've got to be open to the options open to being able to listen to myself, trust myself, tune into my intuition without judgment. And I think that when I refer to the school of unlearning, we've learned to judge ourselves so much, to overthink things so much, that when we even start to allow ourselves to dream of something big, we nearly immediately shut it down. Right? As a coach, my job as a coach is to show people their thoughts is to show them. These your thoughts? And these are what your thoughts are creating your life. Is that what you want? Right? Is that what you like? Are you happy with it? Does it feel good? But a lot of times when people see their thoughts, they'll immediately try to shut them down. Because they've been told that this is how life has to work. Right? Or that they should just feel a certain way. Right that we think we're supposed to feel motivated to do something we're supposed to feel ready to do something, something that the situation is supposed to be perfect. This sayings like, I wish this is how I felt right. I wish I was motivated to do something I wish I was brave enough to change. I wish I could learn about that. I hear these kinds of things all the time, not even just in my coaching, but just in life with friends with family. And I think we can't just wish things into existence. We can't just hope tomorrow, I hope I feel like thinking differently. Right? Tomorrow, I hope I feel motivated to get up and go to the gym. Right? We have to think differently. We have to unlearn that things are just going to happen to us. That life is just happening to us. And we have to learn a new way of being. And one of the key things to that way of being is making a decision. Right? Making a decision to have your own back, making a decision to allow yourself to explore opportunities and possibilities in your life and making a decision to change. So at the end of 2023 in my memberships we worked on what do you want? We worked on getting really clear on what do you want your future version of you and your life to look like? And as we do that, as we explore that, as I work on that with my clients, a lot of times we don't even allow ourselves to go there. We don't allow ourselves to say if I could have anything this is what I want. We shut ourselves down immediately. With limiting thoughts of Well, I mean, if I could add anything, that's what I would want, but I can't have anything, I have to do it this way. And I have to do it that way. I have to do it this way. And that I don't know is why we're here in this school of unlearning? Can we unlearn that? Can we take this experience that threatens to end our lives, that we're lucky enough to be on the other side of, or at least managing and living through? And saying, like, what if I didn't have to believe those rules? What if I could unlearn those rules, and give myself a chance to think something could be different from me? And then in giving myself that chance to think differently, can I make a decision to move towards it? So it sounds so simple, right? Make a decision. But making a decision is not simple. It takes a lot of processing, for someone to get to the point where they're ready to make the decision. Right? We may know for some time, we may know how we feel about a job, a relationship, anything in life, I hold program anything in life, we may know what we want, we know how we feel about it. But it takes some processing through the fears and the condition beliefs we have, before we get to a point to make a decision. They got to talked on the podcast before about the stages of change. It's called the transtheoretical theory, right that people don't just change, that they have to think about, what are the potentials there for me to change? And then what if I change? What is that going to look like? Am I ready? Can I explore it? Can I see other people who've made this change and evaluate what that looks like for them? We go through a lot of processes in our mind before we get to the point where we say, I'm done. Feeling this old way, I'm done living that way, I'm making a decision to make some change. And then we don't go from zero to 100. Right, the change doesn't happen overnight. We take small steps towards it and towards sustaining and creating change in our lives. But when it comes to making the decision, if you hear yourself saying things like I wish it was I wish I felt like I wish I could know that a problem there is that that's never going to happen until you decide. Right? So one of the things that we worked on towards the end of last year, which seems so long ago, this is only the end of January. And I don't know why I feel like it's already been several months since beginning of the year. There have been a lot going on around here. But one of the things that we work towards was using the same and I am, right, I am boom, fill in the blank. I am a person who is healed from metastatic breast cancer. Okay. Will that make me a person who's healed from metastatic breast cancer? No. But what it will do and what it has done for me, because I made that decision. I am a person who is healed from metastatic breast cancer. What does a person who's healed from metastatic breast cancer do every day? Well, I think I wake up and I say, I guess I gotta go to the gym today. I think I should exercise every day. I think I should do things I enjoy every day. I think I should talk to the people that I love. I think I should journal and explore the thoughts that are going through my mind. I think I should dream and have exciting goals and plans for things that are in the future so that I want to live longer, right? I think these things for myself, but making the decision to be a certain way
Laura Lummer 13:25
is the first step in creating that in your life. So as long as you say I wish it was like this, it will never be I was having a conversation with my daughter. We went for a walk the other day and I joined this new gym, I love, love, love my new gym. I think it's like a spa gym, and it's got all these different studios in it, I can literally do all the different workouts that I love all in one place. It's wonderful. And I was telling her about I said I want to bring you want to give you a guest pass and bring you with me. Let me know when you want to come. And she says, I wish I was motivated to get up and do that everyday like you are. And I asked her, do you really? Do you really want to be motivated to get up and go to the gym everyday to get up and go and exercise everyday in whatever capacity you want? And she goes, Yeah, I really do. I want to I want to be someone who does that. And I said, okay, then there's just one thing you need to do. Decide that's who you are. Can you do that? Are you ready to make the decision? I am someone who gets up and exercises first thing every single day. And she said, I'm not quite there yet. Right? Sometimes we're not there. So this is an important thing to know. Instead of saying I wish I was where I want to feel when you say to yourself, I am this person. So much comes up. That's important because right there the stuff that's bubbling up is what you have to deal with. Right. So maybe some of the thoughts that came up for her where I want to be that person I'm not ready to decide yet. because it means I gotta get up and get out of the house when it's cold, I have to set my alarm and get up earlier than I like to write, I have to be more planned in the morning. So it's going to take more energy, all these thoughts bubbled to the surface. Those are fantastic. That's what we want, right? We want to make a decision. And when we no question not ready to make the decision. The other thing is, okay, great. Why? What's behind that, if you really want to create that in your life, let's look at what's stopping you from making the decision, because the decision is the catalyst to change, deciding I'm done living this way, I'm going to be this. And sometimes we don't have a clear vision, right, we don't have a very clear picture of exactly what we want in our future. But we know kind of some of the steps that we want to take, right? Like it, my daughter says, I want to be a person who's really healthy and fit. What's a step you have to take? Well, person that's really healthy. And fit is someone who gets up in exercises, or someone who preps their meals or someone who does meditation, whatever her belief system is about that, right? So when you say I am this person, and then those thoughts come up, you can work towards them and take small steps. Now, what's important is this question of ask yourself, Am I ready to decide? Am I ready to make a change? So I was having a conversation with one of my clients the other day, and she said to me, you know, she was sharing with me some of her successes, which were absolutely amazing. And they were amazing, because she decided to do something. She decided that she was done with certain things in her life, she was done feeling chaotic and stressed out. And she was going to be someone who lived very intentionally, and she made this decision. She's like, I'm friggin done. I'm done with this done feeling this way. And I'm going to live this other way. And so she was sharing with me her successes. And I said, what, what happened there? How did you go from that to this? What was the thing? Because, you know, I want her to realize that was her thought was her choice? And she said, I made a decision? She doesn't, you know, you told me so many times. The reason this isn't happening for you is because you haven't made the decision to do it yet. She wasn't I thought, well, if I can make the decision, I would have made the decision. But that's not always the case. Sometimes we can't make the decision yet. And embracing that piece of it and going, Oh, I haven't. I'm not ready. Right? Why am I not ready? What have you learned, that's limiting you from being ready to make the change and invite the change and decide to live the way you want to live? Right? So if we stop, and we say, Pam, can I take this experience, and we have all different opinions of breast cancer, and especially depending on where you're at, if you're new into a diagnosis, if you're in treatment, if you're freshly out of treatment, we have to process so many things along the way. So some people will be at a certain place. And I hear all the time. This was a gift. This was a gift. Sometimes I hear someone say it's a gift and someone who's new in the process is angry when they hear that, like how can you say this the worst thing that's ever happened to me, right? So we're all in a different process. We're all in a different place. And we've got to work through that. To decide how we want to feel. You have to decide, what do I want this experience to mean to me, right? What do I want to make this be in my life? And I just want to offer to you that maybe make it an opportunity to unlearn the things that didn't support you and the way you want to be supported to unlearn the belief systems, the expectations, the thoughts that limit you from living into your full capacity as a human being in whatever that means different for everybody. But you know, inside of you what your intuition tells you. This is how I want to be living. Right? What have you learned that's stopping you from that, that moves you into overthinking, that stops you from making a decision? I think about the book radical remission, which if you've listened to this podcast with any regularity, you know, I absolutely love. And one of the radical remission healing factors are 10 healing factors, and one of them is trusting your intuition. I think about how powerful that is. Think about all the people that Dr. Kelly Turner interviewed, and all the ones that had healed themselves from various kinds of cancers, all of them learned to trust their intuition. And that's a scary thing, right? When we say trust your intuition, sometimes it's difficult for us to even get in touch with our intuition to learn to turn inside because after breast cancer diagnosis, and I deal with this with a lot of clients, we tend to focus externally on things we tend to look at what's On the outside that may be influenced my health, the hard things really are on the inside. But spending time getting to know ourselves, spending time trying to get in touch with our intuition, and then learning to trust it. And as soon as we start trying to trust it, our brain will start going, Wait, these are all the things I learned. These are all the logical, rational things, and will overthink things, and we move into overwhelm. And then we just keep moving on living life the same way we learn to live it before we got sick. But if we could just stop ourselves and say, What do I want to unlearn? Right? What do I believe that's limiting me? What do I believe that doesn't bring me joy. But I tell myself, I have to do it. Could there be a different way? Can we ask ourselves better questions? Can we say, let me just pretend I'm Drew Barrymore on 53rd states that I just woke up, and I don't remember anything I've unlearned at all. What do I want my life to look like? And then as you explore that, and you start to get a picture, little picture, it's fuzzy at first and you start to see it and you started? Well, I think I'd like it to feel like that. Sometimes we can even say what we want it to look like. But we can say, I want it to feel happier. I want it to feel lighter, I want it to feel more calm. Great. What do you have to do? What's the decision, you have to make what has to change? In order for you to feel that way? This is the first step in exploring, right. So taking everything off the table and saying it's safe for me to think about the possibilities. It's safe for me to think about not listening to what I've learned, and then deciding what I've learned that I want to take forward with me. Sometimes when we think about exploring new things, creating change in our life, and this is everything from even going to the gym, right? I'll coach people who are afraid to go to the gym, because they're afraid if they get into good shape, they become too fit, or too active, that their life partner who isn't going to the gym and isn't being active, that they're afraid I'll change so much that I won't want the other person anymore, or they won't want me or we won't have anything, anything that's compatible, we won't have anything in common. And so then they'll ditch the idea of doing something to take care of themselves, because somewhere along the line, they've learned that you can't grow that much and still have a happy relationship. We want to unlearn shit like that, right? We want to allow ourselves to explore but what if I did? What if I did start taking better care of myself? And instead of thinking, well, the person I live with doesn't like that. They're not going to want it because they like to eat Ben and Jerry's and fire roasted Cheetos. But maybe if you start to change, why can't we start to believe maybe they want to change? Maybe they want to come along with you on that journey. Right? I don't know why it is. But the human brain, we always seem to go down to that lowest common denominator, right? Instead of growing into the change, we think we want to hold ourselves back. People don't want change, stay down here stay this way. Stay the way we've learned that we tell ourselves is comfortable, which is bullshit because it's not comfortable. It creates a lot of stress and anxiety and pain. But it's familiar. We've learned that familiarity is safe. It is familiarity, everything you want in your life.
Laura Lummer 23:32
Do we grow from familiarity and comfort? The answer's no. And we were ready to make a decision to support ourselves and say I'm deciding. I am ready to unlearn the things that stop me from living the life I want. Then we're stepping into the game. So that's my thought for the day. What if breast cancer is the School of unlearning? What do you need to unlearn? What would you like to let go of what would make space for even better things to come into your life? And for you to be able to love yourself more? Treat yourself better. Give yourself more time to take care of yourself and do the things you love. I'd love to hear your thoughts. You can DM me on Facebook and Instagram as a breast cancer recovery coach Laura Lummer You can come and join me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, where we unlearn a lot of stuff, and we decide to think differently in so many ways. All right, my friends. I'll talk to you again soon. Until then, be good to yourself. Take care.