#336 Creating A Life That's Better Than Before Breast Cancer With Intentional Joy

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A diagnosis of breast cancer can change things for a long time after treatment has ended.

In fact, many life situations can derail you, pile on top of each other and one day you find yourself realizing that there’s very little joy, excitement, or fun in your life anymore.

That’s not a good feeling, but fortunately, there’s a lot you can do about it.

Creating time for fun and joy must be intentional.

Just like most other things, if it isn’t on the calendar, it isn’t going to happen.

Listen to this episode and hear about tools you can use to purposefully add time for joy in your life.

The healing power of happiness can’t be overstated, and the power of intention can change your life so that it’s better than before breast cancer.

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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. Laura Lummer 0:33 Hello, friends, welcome to episode 336. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And I'm so happy to be here today because we're going to talk about something super fun today. You know, this past weekend, my husband and I, we jumped on a train, we live on the coast. And so there's what's called the Pacific Surfliner. It's a train that just kind of goes up and down the coast in from Southern California, like from San Diego, all the way up the coast. I'm not sure how far it goes, it might even go up into Washington state. But typically when I take it, I either take it down to San Diego or the San Diego area. And then or up to Santa Barbara, where my sister lives. And I love taking the train. Because it's just so fun. You can get on the train with people, you can sit there and relax. I live in Southern California. So the traffic between me and Santa Barbara has to go through Los Angeles. And that is not at all fun. So taking the train may take a little bit longer sometimes to get there. But it's a straight shot. And you can sit and enjoy and play cards and visit. I mean, it's I love it. And most of the time you get a really lovely view on this train. Because it's along the coast, you can see the ocean, which is one of my favorite things in the world. So this last weekend, my husband and I met some friends on the train. And we took the train down a little bit south of where we live and met some other friends. And we had a Sunday Funday. And we had this lovely lunch at this beautiful restaurant that's right on the train drives, you literally step off the train and walk into this restaurant. We walked around a little village, there's this cool little country music bar and they had live music and we went in and there were so many people there were so cool in the middle of a Sunday afternoon. And there were all these people line dancing and dancing and the music was fun. We had such a great time. And then we got back on the train that evening came home. It was absolutely lovely. And it makes me think about so let me back up. So I want to share with you this conversation that I had with my friends. So at the end of the day, one of my friends said the one thing she wanted to do was have a glass of wine and a dessert before we left. So we went to this really cute little Winery Restaurant. And as we were sitting there talking about how much fun we had had, everyone was saying we need to do this more, we need to get this group together more in a Mind you the group, there's four of us women, and all four of us had been friends since elementary school. And now we're six years old. So we've known each other a long time. And actually one of the friends her husband even went to school with us. So we're old friends. And we were talking about how great it was to spend time together and how it just makes your heart glow. In fact, the text message afterwards when everybody got home and was texting each other. And so we made it home safely. And someone said, My heart is just glowing. And that is what I want to talk about today. You know, those things you do in life, those connections you have when your heart is just glowing. And you love spending time in the place or with the people because it just feeds your soul. This is so important to a healthy life and to a healing life. But here's the thing, life is busy. People are busy, your kids are busy, your friends are busy. Everything gets busy. And so what happens is we have all these thoughts in our mind of I wish I could do that. I want to do that. It would really be great if I could do that. Or we talk to a friend we tech someone say hey, I haven't seen you in forever. Yeah, we should get together. Yeah, let's plan lunch. And then nobody puts a date on the calendar. And time goes by and time goes by fast. Right? Time goes by so fast if we are not intentional with it. And there have been times in my life where I think gosh, I haven't seen my friend and a couple of months and I look and it's been six months or eight months, which is just to me not okay. Not excusable. Right. I want. The most important thing in my life is the people that I love. And actually, we had this conversation just the other day with a friend. And she said Do you ever think about moving out of California because of course California politics are a big deal that gets talked about a lot in California and throughout the country. And I say yeah, you know I think about it. But I grew up here. And the most important thing to me in my life is the people that I love. And my life is full of people that I love that are easy to get to. And even though I have two sons who moved to Colorado, and when they moved to Colorado, of course, I said, Well, I'm going to come and visit, I'm going to bring you back and visit. And we do. And we're pretty intentional about spending that time together. But it's still not the same, right? It's not the same as like today, for instance, I had a doctor's appointment, and my daughter works not far from where my doctor's offices are. So I called her and said, Hey, I'm gonna grab a salad and come by and have lunch with you, okay? So when someone's local, it's so much easier to have time with them, my sister has been gone on a vacation, and she just got back, and one of our friends put in the group, let's have a welcome home dinner tonight. So a couple of those girls are getting together with my sister to hear about her vacation. So it's so spontaneous things you can do when people are close by that changes if you move. So when I think about moving, although there may be political things going on, or cultural things going on that I don't like, I have to choose where I want to focus my thoughts and my energy. And that choice is on what I love about where I am. And what is the most important thing to me in life. So let me go back to the conversation we were having when we went to the place for wine and dessert. So we're sitting there, we're kind of reminiscing about the day, because we're all getting ready to wrap it up and get back on the train. And, and I said, Okay, next trip we're going to do, we're going to take the train the other direction, we're gonna go north, we're gonna go to Santa Barbara for the day. And my friends like, yes, yes, we need to make that happen. Now, I immediately pull out my phone, and I say, Okay, what date? And one of my friends comments, and she goes, You know what, you're so good about that. Whenever we say we want to do something, you pull out the calendar, and you say, When are we going to do it? Let's all commit to a date. And that is what I mean, when I talk about being intentional. I want you to think about how intentional are you about inviting joy into your life, joy and happiness. It's therapeutic, it's healing, it's necessary, we got to have it in our life as much as we possibly can like in huge doses. And if you hear yourself on a regular basis, I'm, yeah, I want to take that trip. I know I want to see those people. But everything's so busy. Let me share with you a couple of strategies to help you switch that way of thinking into a different way of thinking that creates space for joy and connection in your life. So this month in my membership in the better than before breast cancer membership, we're looking at circumstances, the circumstances that happen to us in life every day. But we're looking at it through a very specific lens, a lens that says circumstances are neutral. Circumstances just are what they are. And then we infuse them with feelings when we decide what we're going to think about those circumstances. So let me give you an example of circumstance could be just it's just facts, right? So it circumstance could be I saw my friend three months ago. And that's it. If we put I haven't seen my friend in a long time, I really wish I could see my friend more that's already infusing emotion in it, and a little bit of limiting beliefs in it. Because I wish I could see my friend more is kind of without saying it suggesting that it's not possible to do, right, I want to do it. But there's no intention. It's just like a wish. And it's not gonna happen. When we break down a circumstance we say I saw my friend three months ago, I saw my friend three years ago, whatever it might be, or my kids or went on a date night, whatever it is, that it is important to you in your life, a walk in the park, a hike in the mountains, a swim in the lake, whatever it is that you love, that makes you feel connected, that feeds your soul that fills your heart and leaves you glowing. This is an energetic healing that is happening. This is so important for us. So whatever that is, that would be your circumstance. When is the last time you did that? And not I did it so long ago, but very specific. I have I did this on this date. Right or I did this this long ago. Not I haven't done it. Because again, there's little bit of emotion there. I haven't done this in so long. It's kind of like a reminiscing. So you just start off with the fact what is important to you. And when was the last time that you did something important to you that you feel like I really want more of this in my life. Even it's just even if it is just an hour of quiet time for yourself to have a cup of coffee in the morning and I'm serious. Whatever it is that you need to fill yourself up. We must be intense In all about this, because this life is so incredibly short. And if we do not use the tools that help us create the life we want, then it never happens. So when I renamed this podcast better than before breast cancer, I've shared a couple times on the show, it was very intentional, it was very meaningful to me, because I realized, in my own experience of having breast cancer twice, of working to heal from stage four breast cancer, I realized, you can't heal in that same life that you got sick in. And you know, when I started studying with Nisha winters, this was a big thing that she talks about, you can't heal on the same terrain, you got sick, and something has to change. And it took a while to understand, because you may feel like you had a good life, I look back at before breast cancer, and I think I have a good life. But no, I have an even better life. Because there were a lot of things that I wanted in that life, that I didn't make happen, that I allowed my thoughts to block me from them by saying, I don't have time, or it'll happen some day or after this happens in life that maybe that can happen in life. And I didn't really prioritize what was meaningful, super meaningful to me, and then make it happen. So how do we be intentional about making time for joy, about valuing and prioritizing joy? What it brings to your life? And what it does for your body and your heart and your relationships? How do we become intentional about that? You know, I started reflecting and over my own experience and evolution about being very intentional with my life and my personal time, and just how I want my life to look, I realized that when I was in the corporate world, there was a way we structured things, because you got to make things happen, right, you're serving a customer base, you've got fiscal responsibility, you make things happen. And so in that world, it the beginning of the year, or even before the beginning of the year, you look at your budget for the upcoming year. So you know how much money you have. You look at the big events that are recurring events on an annual basis, and they get on the calendar, you look at new strategies that you want to implement. And you also look at stuff that's not working, right, we did this last year, or we did this last quarter, and it's not working. And we're not going to do that anymore. And as a result of that, a business grows and a business thrives. And things happen, because they're very intentional. And in my own experience, I started to realize that when it comes to life, we don't do that. We kind of just were intentional when it comes to work. And then we just let life happen to us. And I started thinking about that. And I realized, wow, why am I not as intentional with my life as I am with my business. If I'm not intentional with my business, if I don't look at the whole year, and then break it down into quarters, and look at each quarter, it's just madness. It's chaos, I won't get stuff done, stuff won't be done on time, I'll be staying I'll it won't be fun, right? It won't be enjoyable, it won't be something productive, and it won't be something that grows. So I started thinking about that with my personal life. And Laura Lummer 13:31 this is really interesting. Why don't I approach this with the same intention to really create that life that I want to live. And I heard about this woman, Steph Crowder, and I'll link to her in the show notes for this episode. This is a while back and she had this plan called a year on the wall. And she takes these giant calendar sheets and puts them up on the wall. And in December, you're looking at your hole next year. And you're putting all your stuff or your big important stuff, you know, whatever you can handle without being overwhelmed. And I heard about this, and I thought I'm gonna do this year on the wall. Because something that's really important to me, as I just shared is time with my son's out of state. So I need to plan on those trips. There are certain conferences I want to attend during the year, those are super important. And just straight up fun vacation time and weekends with friends and nights with friends and things like that. Super important to me, my personal time is very, very precious to me. So I broke out this calendar when I looked at the whole year and I put on it, the big trips that I planned on taking and I put on it the trips that we were going to take to go and see our kids. And I had this whole year planned out and I looked at it and I said okay, I know what big events I want to have. And then I also know the big events that are happening in my business. So I put those on the calendar as well. And then for me, that was good enough then I had some kind of themes for each month and I'd put the themes on each month but my brain wasn't quite ready to go deeper than that. So it was important to me get the big important things on there to make sure that we're planning financially for them that we're planning time wise for them that it's in our mind, this is happening, and we're going to make this happen and notify the other people you go, because if I'm gonna go visit my kids, they better be home. And hey, this is throughout, let's just get this on the calendar for the year. And it felt so good to just know, I already have all these wonderful plans that I'm looking forward to, and people that I'm going to see. And I love that. I'm also in several groups, right, have a book club, I have Wine Wednesday, I have a Bunco group. And I have friends that I want to see on a regular basis. So when we're together, before we leave, just like what happened with this lunch is that we say what's the next date, let's put it on the calendar, and we put it on the calendar. Now we're so excited because we know we're going to see each other. And we honor that commitment. This is an important part. There's too many times when we think that our personal joy, our fun time, our connection time isn't valuable enough to honor. And so then we allow someone else's needs to override our joy time. And then what happens, time gets away from you. And then you didn't enjoy it. And you're sitting here in your life and you're home and you're thinking, I wish I would have done that. Or I really miss that person. Laura Lummer 16:30 And this applies whether you are in treatment or not. When we're in treatment, oftentimes, and I say we because I'm in treatment, right? I'm on chemotherapy, I'm doing all kinds of natural Pathak practices that take time and intention, investments of money and time to do to take care of myself, I have routines that are very important to support my health. If you're in IV chemotherapy, if you're in radiation, whatever kind of treatment you're in, you still I think it's even more important that you make time to invite joy into your life. And now joy, and what you're capable of doing may look different, depending on how you feel. But if Joy means I don't feel good enough to get out and do anything, so I'm going to invite this person or that person or these people over, and we're going to order food in or we're going to potluck it and we're gonna watch a movie together. That's joyful, right? We don't have to put joy on hold for any thing in life because we shouldn't because it's so critically important to us. It was this kind of message kind of resonated with me today because I was at my oncologist office. And my oncologist is an extremely in demand doctor and super busy. And when I walked in, he came in and he knows I love to travel and we talk about trips all the time. I worry him with all the places I go, but that's okay. And he comes in he says, Guess what I just got back. I've been here for two days. I was in Spain for 12 days, and he starts sharing with me what he did with his kids and his family on spring break in Spain. And you could just see he was so excited. And he just it just brings vibrancy back to your life, right, that ability to fill yourself up. So you go on a Sunday funday with people that can really carry that energy through the week, we must have time for joy, recuperation, and connection. We can't go through life just constantly trying to get through, get through treatment, get through work, get through this week, get through this project get through this drama. This is not a life that's better than before cancer. This is a life that gets you sick. This is the kind of life that chopped that chips away. And our immune system that chips away at our mental health, that chips away honestly, at all of our health because it stimulates stress responses. And that undermines our digestive system and just everything. So planning this time for joy, and really thinking about what's joyful. So let's talk about better than before breast cancer. Let's talk about things that you thought were fun before breast cancer that you might look at now and say not that it wasn't fun. Because let's say go into the country music bar. And so we were at the bar, and some of my friends were doing jello shots. I did not do a jello shot. So my friends were doing jello shots. And were they having fun? Yes. Would that be fun for me? No, because I would feel like absolute shit after that. And feeling like shit is not fun for me. So was it fun for me to just be there with my friends and enjoy their joy and happiness and just be around these people have salutely So sometimes we really do have to give some thought to what we think is fun. Because we all tell ourselves these stories that this is fun, and this is joy, but when we look, we didn't feel so great when we did that stuff in the moment. It may be fun, no question about it. But in totality, does it make your life better? Does it help you connect more to people? Does it fill your soul as much as it would if you didn't have something that maybe didn't physically serve you in your life? So I think really considering what you did and considered fun before a cancer diagnosis versus in your life after or in your future self, you know, the life we look forward to and say, This is what I want in my future. So even if you're listening to this, and you're thinking, You know what, yes, I want to travel, we have to get really specific. How often do you want to travel? Because if you just say, I want to travel, that it's never going to happen. But if you say, I want to take a trip once a year for 12 days, fantastic. What month works out for you? What's that going to look like? What's that going to cost? How long do you have to budget for it? Right? There's so many things to think about, that can give you even more motivation, excitement and things to look forward to. So I look at my planning, and my fun time, my joyful time. And to me, that's so inspiring to do things to support my health. Because as someone who has been diagnosed with stage four, cancer, there's a lot of societal mentality out there, that's like, you're gonna drop dead any day. I don't want to think like that. I choose not to think like that. So I choose to never allow my brain to limit my life, but to look at my life and say, You know what, that's where I want to go. Like, for instance, we've got a trip in the planning stages with some friends for 2025. I fully intend to be here in 2025. Taking that trip, do I have 100% control over it? No. But whatever power I do have over it, I will take charge of because I want to participate in that joy in that fun, right? I want my life to be as full and fun as possible. So being very intentional about planning joyful things from a big trip to a spaghetti night. Right. My kids came over my daughter and her fiance the other night we played rummy tiles, we made homemade spaghetti. We had a wonderful time together. So fun. You wake up the next morning with a joy hangover, right? You wake up and you just like, gosh, that was so fun. That's what I want for you and for all of us more joy in our life. So we talk about all kinds of things like being intentional about exercise, being intentional about food. But are we intentional about creating joy, about creating time for fun? So we've got any kind of tool you could use from checking out step Crowder's year on the wall, or looking at your whole year to right now this podcast comes out mid April, so we're in the second quarter of the year. What do you want these next 90 days to look like? What do you want these next 30 days to look like? What do you want next week to look like? We can take whatever chunks make sense to us in our brain, because we may not be ready to plan so far ahead. When you take those steps, and you start to look at your calendar, and I have a client who is in treatment in for IV chemotherapy. And so she looks at this five week cycle. And she looks at how do I want my life to look over these next five weeks taking into consideration how she'll feel for this cycle and knowing that she wants to enjoy herself. That's amazing. So when we can take these chunks of life, I think it gets it can get bigger, right? We start off a week at a time. Maybe we do a month at a time, maybe five weeks at a time. And then we start to see this feels really good. Like this works because I'm having so much more fun, and not running around feeling like things are just chaotic all the time or feeling like I've missed out or telling ourselves this story. I don't have the time for that. Right? Let me tell you, you have 168 hours in a week. And that time is completely yours to decide what to do it. So even that phrase, I don't have time for that I would offer switching that and saying I'm choosing not to spend my time on that. So someone invites you away for a weekend or a week or a dinner. And you say I'm choosing not to spend my time on that. Because, again, that's just a fact. You're making a decision to do or not do something whenever you make that choice. And the more honest we can be with ourselves about that. I think the more awakening it is, the more we look at ourselves and we go wow, why am I choosing not to do that? I could choose to do that. For instance, let me give you an example. I'm leaving for this conference in Texas day after tomorrow. And it's important to me to spend some time with my granddaughter before I Go because I have a lot of things happening when I get back. So the last couple of days, I've chose to spend a lot of time getting work done, so that it's done for my next future week so that I could have this day free tomorrow to just be with my granddaughter. So when we start to look at what I'm choosing to do, I could look at that. And I could have said, Oh, I don't have time to see you on that Wednesday, because I've got to get all this work done before I go. Or I could say, gosh, yeah, it's really important for me to see you. So I'm going to block off that day. And then I'm going to look backward at the calendar and say, What do I have to get done? Up until that time? And what can I take off the calendar? That isn't essential? That doesn't have to happen? Because to me that time with her is one of the most important things, right? This is how it's different. To live a life with intention. So that we're not just letting life happen to us. But we are creating life. Does that mean things won't happen in life? It does not, of course not. Life is going to happen. Sure happens in life. But the more intentional we are, the more we see the power we have to create the life we want. And the more power we take on for ourselves, the more confidence we build in our ability to have power over our lives. It is such a good feeling. Laura Lummer 26:25 When you sit there with yourself now and you ask yourself, Do I have all the joy I want to have in my life? Am I being intentional about creating joy in my life? And be really honest with yourself? And then ask yourself, How could I be more intentional? I went through this exercise, especially after my stage four diagnosis. Because you know, in the beginning, I was scared and I was unsure. And I thought, I don't know how long I'm going to live I have widespread stage four cancer. So what's important to me, and for me, it was see and talk to my mom this many times, see and spend time with my friends this many times be done with work by this time during the day because I'm on free time with my husband or for myself. So I think that was a really eye opening experience for me in living with intention and prioritizing the things that bring joy, because whether you have stage four cancer diagnosis or not, it doesn't matter. The only life you have is what you have right now. This is it and we never know how far that's going to reach. So let's get into this practice of using our time efficiently and being very intentional about how you weave joy into that 168 hours a week that you have. And if you want help working through all those mind tricks and movies and thoughts that block you you know you can find me at the breast cancer recovery coach.com You can schedule personal coaching sessions with me our join my better than before breast cancer membership where we work on all of these things that we come across in life in our minds mostly that stop us from living the lives we want and especially from loving ourselves and inviting in so much more joy that's what I want for all of us. Alright friends, take care and I'll talk to you very soon I can't wait to catch you up on all the great stuff I'm going to be learning at the changing life and destiny conference this week. I'm so excited about it. All right, I'll talk to you soon take care. 


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