Although you never have control over what life throws your way, when something like breast cancer or a global pandemic happens, it’s shocking to look that uncertainty in the eye.
It feels uncomfortable, unreal and you want it to get back to normal as fast as possible.
However, even in the midst of chaos you do have control over your own actions and you do have a choice over how you will engage in your life.
In this episode you’ll hear about the Four Ps to keep you focused and engaged in supporting your mind/body health, and creating the life you want without waiting for anything else to change.
Read Full Transcript Below:
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.
Well, hello and welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host Laura Lummer. And I'm so happy that you're here today.
Today, Wow! We are coming here in Southern California to the end of week four of our shelter in place. And you know, it's very strange, but very fascinating place to be here in a pandemic, navigating life and business, family and health, just trying to figure everything out.
And one of the things that I'm happy for that I love seeing is the funny and creative stuff that people keep coming up with. The videos that family and friends keep sending back and forth on a daily basis that just the things that people come up with to keep everybody laughing.
And you know, I want to of course, be very sensitive to the situation we're in because a lot of people are struggling. And I'm very sensitive to those challenges, because they include my family, me and my own household members of my family, and my children and good friends of mine. I mean, I see it all over the place. But at the same time, we can still make a daily choice to find joy and the creativity of others is really a gift in times like this, because there is a lot of suffering going on a lot more than we've ever seen in my lifetime. So, we have to find ways to work through the suffering work through the struggle but continue to enjoy each day of life that we have.
So, over the past couple weeks, I have talked about all the parallels that I see between what the world is going through now, and what we as cancer survivors go through during our treatment and recovery. And it may be different where you live, but here in California, our governor was on the news earlier this week, and he was letting everybody know that the powers that be are discussing plans to reopen the state. And he gave some insights as to what that might look like.
Now, of course, that is so encouraging. It's such great news because even though we don't have a definite date, know nothing firm was said. It just helps people feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel. And so, since that press conference, I've been hearing a lot of conversations about how people can can't wait to go back to normal, and what it's going to be like to get back to normal, or what will our new normal be? Because of the tremendous financial impact and the fear and the social distancing?
How familiar does that sound ladies? Does that sound like something you've been through already? Or you're going through now? Yeah, I'm sure it does. That's so wild. And here's another interesting parallel, just as we survivors struggle with the idea of getting back to normal after breast cancer, the world is now saying, we want to be done and get back to normal.
It's human nature, right?
It's just a human nature of the parallel I can remember going through treatment and my, my last chemo is scheduled for December 30th. And I just remember that how much that date meant that date that this will be done, and then things can change. It's human nature.
Our own bodies are based on staying the same, right? It's fundamental to who we are the function of homeostasis. We keep things status quo. It's how our bodies work. And it's how we like our lives to work. But now, so much has changed.
And just like you couldn't imagine breast cancer being a part of your life before it was, no one could imagine a pandemic being a part of their lives until it was. But now like cancer, it's in your consciousness. It's something you and everyone around you thinks about and will think about for a long time coming, because we know there's potential that it could happen again, right? Another parallel, a recurrence.
So, what does this mean for you, for us as survivors of cancer as survivors of a pandemic? How do you process these experiences, go through things you don't want to go through, and still rise above the fear and the feelings of victimization, so you can emerge as the person you choose to be and living the life that you decide to create. That's what today's show is about.
So, let me start off with a little story. Since my gym has closed, which is probably the thing I'm most excited about reopening. I don't know maybe it's between the gym getting my hair done and getting my nails done. But since the gym is closed, I've started going for morning bike rides, which I love doing. But yesterday when I went to get on my bike, the tire was flat. So, I walked it over to a tire pump station that's right here by my house. And for some reason my tire would not hold air.
So, it was taking a lot of time and I was a little frustrated because I didn't have a lot of time. I wanted to get in an hour-long bike ride. I had to get back to home because I had a lot of work waiting for me. And this meant now I would have to walk my bike back to our garage, and then get my husband's bike whose tires I had already checked in the morning and they were flat.
I would then have to go back and pump those up. So, long story short, my morning ride along the coast that I was looking so forward to was now becoming a big pain in the butt. And as I walked back to my garage with my flat tire bike, I thought, you know what, just forget it. I don't have time for this. I'll just go back and get to work.
And then I caught myself thinking this and I thought, you know what, no, you need to get in an hour of exercise. It's beautiful outside, just walk instead of riding the bike, just go for a walk. So that's what I decided to do to just go for a walk. And you know what, I had a beautiful, a wonderful walk. I walked along the coast; the ocean was gorgeous. There were a lot of surfers out. There were tons of shells and see treasures on the shore. And I thought if I had thrown in the towel, just because getting started was more challenging than I wanted it to be. I would have missed out on all of this today.
And now all of that, that I saw put me in so much of a better place to deal with and goes through the rest of my day. And the point of that story, like the point of everything that I teach is that your experience in life always comes back to your mindset. Always.
So, will you emerge from breast cancer and from a global crisis with a mindset of creating the life you want, or a mindset of fear, withdrawal, and anger towards life. Now, of course, I want you to emerge the mindset of creating the life you want.
So, let's talk about that for a minute. I have a four-step plan of action to help you work through a few things, so that you can create the space to move forward. So, here are my four P's for you to consider.
When we're in a crisis, like cancer or recovering from cancer or living through a pandemic, we tend to feel out of sorts. Frazzled, ungrounded and that completely makes sense because you've been thrown a curveball and you want to dodge it, you want to get out of the way, I get that.
So, the first P is to pause, because we want to slow down all that action, all that frazzled energy. When you take the time to pause, to just slow down, and rather than trying to figure out how to get everything back to normal, you just let everything settle for a bit, just kind of sit with what's happening.
And as you sit there and you take that time for yourself, you can take the P of pause to a more tangible level, meaning take a look at everything from subscriptions and memberships. Take a look at them and see can some of these things be paused? Can you give yourself a financial break? And you can look at everything from these memberships to even foods that you've been thinking about eliminating from your diet, or TV and cable shows that are taking time away from you doing something that's more productive or more beneficial for your healing, or for feeling fulfilled in your life. Can you pause those things?
And when you pause those things, try not to do that from the mindset of, I'm going to deprive myself of this temporarily. Or I'm forced to do this because of cancer or because of a pandemic. Instead, approach or pause from the mindset of, let me see how I feel without this in my life, or by changing the way I'm doing this in my life, just for a few weeks. Give your inner voice a moment to speak to you and see what comes up and what you're open to entertaining the idea of changing of pausing.
The second P is purge. Now I know Everyone, including me has been telling you to clean out your drawers clean out your closets. But I'm asking you to take purge a little bit deeper, just dig a little deeper here. What expenses do you have that you could purge?
So, we talked about pause to give yourself a break and give yourself some relief. But now that you're stuck at home, and it's easy to see where your money isn't going. Is that something you can make a permanent change to bring more relief to your life? And if you're thinking what in the world does that have to do with living a healthy lifestyle or recovering from cancer?
Everything. Because finances are a huge source of security, or, and or a huge source of stress in your life. And anything that creates stress impacts your health. So, what about relationships? Do you have relationships in your life that weren't serving you? And you feel a little relief now because you either don't have to deal with them or you get to deal with them at a distance because of quarantine. Or maybe on the flip side of that you're being forced to deal with and be around relationships that need some major overhauling or even purging. As difficult as that might be.
What about a mental purge? What are you thinking about yourself? What words do you use towards yourself that you would never use towards someone else? And can you take steps now to begin purging those false beliefs about yourself in the unkind way you treat yourself from your life.
What about a job or a career that isn't or hasn't been fulfilling your heart? Maybe you've been laid off or maybe you're still working right now, but you're realizing that you really aren't satisfied, and you want something else in your life. But you've been afraid to make that move. Even if you're not ready to purge a job yet, but you know you want to be doing something else. Can you purge other things?
Like even pause things that are taking away from you taking steps towards creating change and getting yourself ready so you can eventually purge that job or career that doesn't serve you. I want you to just really take a look at everything. Food, clothes, finances, relationships, thought, the space that you're living in, and the work that you do. And really ask yourself, are these things serving me? Am I willing to let them go? Am I willing to pause them for a little while to check out how I feel if I'm secure enough with letting them go?
Because remember, we're all going to emerge into a very different world. And there's ups and downs to that. But one of the upsides to that is that there's opportunity for a lot of newness. And it may be a great time for change if change is something that you need.
So, this leads us to the third P. Ponder. I know ponder is like, kind of an archaic word, but I could say journal and not through the whole four Ps formula off. So, our third P is ponder. It's important to think about what you're pausing, what you're purging, and why those are the things that you want to, or considering, or willing to let go of.
When you let go of something, you create space for something else. You open your heart and your mind and your life to the possibility of something new and something more fulfilling. So, take some time and write things down.
The process of journaling about what you're experiencing, about how you're thinking about yourself. Actually, writing the words you tell yourself about your situation is a very powerful exercise.
Now I'll share something with you over the past couple weeks, I've had several coaching calls with people in very tough spots. And one of the things that stands out to me, not just in these conversations, but in many conversations that I had, is that women tend to talk about what the other person is thinking, feeling or needing. They worry about how others are going to respond, or how others are going to think about them.
I also hear about what they don't want to do, as far as hurting someone else's feelings or looking like the bad guy or maybe even losing someone. Now it takes effort and attention to get to a place where you can speak confidently about what you need, and what you want and what you deserve in order to live a fulfilling life.
So, when you're pondering how you want to emerge from cancer treatment, how you want to emerge from this pandemic, and what you want your life to include and not include. I want you to think and write in terms of I statements. Yeah, like the things they teach kids in grade school. Now, I statements. I feel like this when this is happening, or I feel like this when you do XYZ. I want to feel like fill in the blank. I deserve to have someone in my life who does fill in the blank. I deserve to have a career that fill in the blank.
Think about what you really want in this life. And don't limit yourself with the yeah buts. or the that there's no ways... There's always a way. The question isn't is there a way, the question is always are you willing to put up with the consequences to create this change, if changes what's needed. But what have changed isn't needed?
What if you write it all out and the answers to all your I's statements, and what you could pause or what you could purge, it looks like everything it was before you had cancer, or before you were in a pandemic. That's cool. That's awesome. Keep going down that path. And regardless if the case is that change is not needed, or if big changes are needed, you're still going to need the fourth p, because that is planning. There's no time better than right now, to plan for what you want within the parameters you have control over.
For instance, do you want to be more fit? What does that look like? And can you start now? Don't look at the limitations, look at where and how you can start now. How will you plan a system now? So that when you're no longer locked down are feeling like crap, you can be successful at what you want to change. Do you want to improve your relationships? How are you going to do that, write about how.
Do you want to be more present with the people you love? Have you learned that from your cancer experience? And from everything that's going on in the world around us that you just want to be more present? How are you going to make that time? Do you want to be more connected to friends and family even if you can't be with them in person? How will you make that happen? What needs to change, and what is the very first step you can take towards creating that change, just one step. Do you want a different way to earn income, write about what that looks like and how you will get there?
I like Step four, the planning step because I like to talk about moving forward rather than going back. Even if your forward vision is business and life as usual, I bet you have some ideas that can make it even better. Right?
So, if we say, go back to normal or go back to the way that it was, let's go forward. And we can go forward, creating that life in the way you want it similar to the way it was, but make it even better. So, you may be quarantine or locked down. You might feel alone and crappy. But you do get to choose if you wait until someone gives you permission to participate in life again, or if you'll start working your way through the four Ps, to stay engaged in your life wherever you're at physically, and to create a plan for getting back to life.
We always have a choice, my friends, always and if you need more support, or you want to be with a community of like-minded women to bounce ideas off, come over to Facebook and find The Breast Cancer Recovery group. It's free and it's a great place to be with women who get what you are going through. You can also go to my website where you can join my email list or download my free guide care four steps to healing after cancer. This is a free guide. And it's very simply laid out. It's four simple foundational steps to get you to start rebuilding your life the way you want it to be after cancer.
Now, as always, I love to hear your questions and get your feedback. So, find me on Facebook as Laura Lummer or on Instagram as the breastcancerrecoverycoach, and I hope to hear from you very soon, or see you in the breast cancer recovery group. And until then, I'll talk to you next week.