Jan

Words have the power to enhance & uplift our lives. We hope the words you find here will have that effect on you.

FREE ESSAYS – Click on “Blog” (upper left)  to read uplifting, informative and entertaining essays about healing and personal growth.


emai

WATCH Janet’s video “5 Ways to Consciously Cope Well with Cancer (& Other Calamities)”
LISTEN to an interview with Janet at Pamala Oslie radio show: July 7, 2010, Janet Jacobsen “I am Willing”

WELCOME!

My name is Janet Jacobsen and I’ve been on a life-long path of personal growth. I’m trained in Hakomi, a mind/body approach, which advocates that healing happens when we bring curiosity and loving presence to what is. This has helped make my 3-year journey with uterine cancer a rich one, filled with learning, humor, insights, and a renewed sense of aliveness. I always said I’d write some day…cancer kicked my someday into ‘write’ now!  Since this journey began I’ve been writing uplifting, informative, and entertaining newsletter/essays about how to cope with cancer and other calamities (archived under “Blog”).

I’ve compiled 60 of the best essays into a book called Oh No, Not Another ‘Growth’ Opportunity! An Inspirational Cancer Journey with Humor, Heart, and Healing. The book reveals my holistic healing approach, which includes calming emotional and spiritual practices (helpful for anyone who has life challenges), as well as the diet and alternative treatments I’m using. It is a compelling journey of physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. My greatest hope is to be of service to others who are coping with cancer and other life challenges by sharing what I’m learning along the way.

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PEEK INSIDE Kindle version on Amazon

OH NO, Not Another Growth Opportunity book

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“What a wonderful essay! So clear and deep, an inner ocean of knowing — beautiful!”               Mary Margaret Moore, Author of I Come As A Brother (by Bartholomew)

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“You are facing into this challenge with such audacity, courage, and humor. Your writing so eloquently of your experience is a tremendous gift. What a fabulous set of insights and learnings expressed in a right-now way.” Katie Hendricks,  Co-Author of Conscious Loving

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“Wow – you are an incredible writer! I love and am deeply touched by your insights. The gifts that you’re giving me are amazing.  I have often wondered how people feel when they go through the ‘cancer experience.’ Now I know how a very aware person feels, and how they handle it.” Pamala Oslie, Author of Life Colors

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“In my whole life I have never known anyone who so completely embraced cancer as a way to climb to such an incredible level of consciousness. I feel so touched and enlightened by the way you live your life – and inspire all of us to live too!” Kate Ludeman, Co-Author of The Corporate Mystic

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“I am delighted each time I read another one of your essays – so rich – so inspiring – so reminding!” Dale Figtree, Author of Beyond Cancer Treatment

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“You write so beautifully. Each essay captivates me with its rawness, honesty, insight and inspiration. I gain so much from each one of them and apply it to my own journey with cancer. Your writing touches so many places in me.”  Martha McVay

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“I can’t begin to express how moving and inspirational your essays have been. Your voice is beautiful and clear, and I find myself crying, and at the same time feeling joyful when I read your amazing essence expression. Thank you for the awakening that your writing is inspiring in me.” Dru Zuretti, Intuitive Coach

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INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK

By the time I turned 60 I had gotten to a place in my life where I was the happiest I’d ever been. I was with my long-awaited soul mate and we were enjoying a deep, rich, fun relationship of ten years. I had wonderful friends, ate healthy food, processed my emotions, and connected with my spirit on a regular basis. I’d conquered my life-long issues of low self-esteem and fear of intimacy and was finally living a life filled with joy and love. I felt at peace with myself. I thought I was home free. That’s why I was shocked when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer! What the…?!

As someone on a personal growth path, I believe that life is all about learning and growing and evolving our souls. After I recovered from the shock of the diagnosis, I could appreciate that this cancer growth was a growth opportunity and I was determined to get the most growth I could from it! It was also an opportunity to share with others a treasure trove of learning I’ve gathered along the way that could be helpful with any kind of life challenge.

I’d always wanted to do inspirational writing and often told myself that someday I would write. Cancer kicked my ’someday’ into ‘write now!’ I started writing essays chronicling my journey and e-mailing them out in a newsletter. I was thrilled that people told me they were inspired and learning from my journey. I was finally fulfilling my dream of being of service to others with my writing.

I felt that this was the missing piece. I had been doing the same work as an artist and craftsperson for 25 years and felt stagnant and bored with it. Now I was doing the inspirational writing that my soul longed to do. Once again, I thought I was home free…and once again, cancer came a calling! A year after my hysterectomy to remove the cancer, a year in which I was eating raw food, drinking wheat grass juice, confronting my fears, fulfilling my life purpose, and learning to value each moment, a tumor the size of a lemon had grown in my pelvic area! “Oh no! Not another ‘growth’ opportunity!”

Life had given me a lemon—a really sour, potentially lethal lemon! My oncologist recommended chemo and radiation treatment, and even with that grueling regimen, he gave me low odds of survival. Yikes! Why was this happening?! I was facing death, a painful death at that, and I was stunned.

After I recovered from this new shock, I plunged even deeper into this ‘growth’ opportunity, determined to turn this sour lemon into sweet lemonade. If my time was short, I wanted to get as much juice as I could out of it—to live, learn, grow, and share fully. This book contains the inspirational essays I wrote on my journey, presented in the sequence they were written. With humor, heart, and raw honesty, it reveals the gold I’ve mined along the way, as well as the emotional and spiritual practices, and the diet, supplements, and alternative treatments I’m doing that I believe have extended my life, and maybe even cured my cancer. It is a journey of healing on many levels.

This has been and continues to be a soul-stirring, heart-opening, mind-blowing growth experience! Thank you for coming along with me on this adventure! As you read my story, may you be inspired, touched, informed, and, at times, even amused! Yes, it’s true…we can find humor in ANYTHING!



CONTACT JANET JACOBSEN AT EnlightenInk@gmail.com


QUOTES FROM THE BOOK

Today is my 60th birthday! It’s more like my rebirth day. My recent diagnosis of uterine cancer has grabbed me by the ankles, turned me upside down, and spanked me vividly alive! (Chapter 2)

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The mind is like a crazed acrobat, tumbling from thought to thought, leaping to conclusions. I’ve been witnessing my mind tumbling about trying to figure things out and find answers. (Chapter 4)

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Cancer has composted a rich and fertile soil for me, from which is sprouting creativity, inspiration, and learning.  (It’s a fertile time or it’s a shitty time; same substance, different attitude). (Chapter 4)

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A friend said to me recently, “You are on Mr. Toads wild ride, and you’re managing to enjoy the scenery.” That made me smile. It has been a wild ride, but I’m experiencing it more like a wild elevator ride that goes up and down and every floor has a different view. The first floor is a limited ego’s eye view; the top floor is an expansive eagle’s eye view. (Chapter 5)

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I know from experience that if I try to rise above my feelings, that just positions me better for them to bite me in the butt! (Chapter 5)

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These feelings deserve to be heard and honored. If they are not, then they take up permanent residence on the bottom floor, spinning round and round in ain’t it awful stories, like a dog chasing its tale of woe.” (Chapter 5)

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I am seeing how it is perfect that this is bringing up my pain bodies; on the lower floors they are a torment, but elevated in awareness they become pain buddies, here to help me heal deeply imprinted fear and trust issues. (Chapter 5)

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A friend told me about someone she knew who had taken great care of his body, mind, and spirit; yet still he had a heart attack. He was sure it was a mistake and said, “Somewhere, there’s a guy sitting in front of a TV watching wrestling, clutching a beer, with Cheetos dust floating down onto his big belly….and I HAD HIS HEART ATTACK!” (Chapter 7)

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I’ve heard two acronyms for FEAR: one is Feel Everything And Recover. The other is F…k Everything And Run! These are the different agendas of our ego and our spirit. Ego wants to run for the hills and be safe. Spirit wants to fly like an eagle as high as it can go, fully experiencing life, including fear. (Chapter 7)

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When challenges befall me, my ego wails in a Mr. Bill whine, “Oh Noooooo. Not another learning opportunity!” My spirit says, “Oh Yeah! Another opportunity to grow! Bring it on!” My ego moans, “We are in deep doodoo!” My spirit exalts, “Rich soil, yay!” Ego scolds, “Now we’ve gone and done it…our fear has drawn the cancer to us!” Spirit exclaims, “Cool, cancer! It will help us come face to face with fear, feel it fully, and make friends with it!” (Chapter 7)

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My mind has been telling me that I’m “the biggest scaredy cat in the world.” What I’m actually discovering is that I am someone who has the courage to be present with my worst fears, one breath at a time, one trembling foot in front of the other. (Chapter 7)

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We have more courage and spirit than we know. When we are tested, we somehow find the strength to soar with the eagles; no longer circling the drain, we are circling the sky! (Chapter 7)

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I am aware that words and images shape and color our world, they mold it like play doh. “Words cast spells, that’s why they call it spelling.” How we think of things and picture them creates a cellular response in our bodies. (Chapter 9)

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Our thoughts can create heaven or hell, depending on where we’re choosing to dwell. Thoughts create feelings of wellbeing, or of being stuck in a well. (Chapter 9)

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My cancer experience has opened my eyes big time in so many ways; therefore, I have decided to call it The Big See! I See the world with new eyes, big bright baby eyes. I See that I have more courage than I thought. I See the love of friends and family. I See that my life is purposeful and things happen for a reason. I See that our earth life is finite and our spirit is infinite. I See that it’s all about love. (Chapter 9)

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Gay Hendricks says, “We are so busy trying to prove we’re okay, we forget that we’re magnificent.” I believe that, like the Ugly Duckling, we are all on a hero’s journey to discover our inherent magnificence. One of the challenges on our journey is that we misidentify ourselves as the Ugly Duckling and get lost in that image and stuck in that story. When we try to break free and be more than that, a critical inner voice berates us, saying, “Who do you think you are?” Yet there is a higher voice within urging us to remember, “Who do you KNOW you are?” (Chapter 10)

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When first confronted with adversity, it can seem that life has turned on us; but we eventually find instead that it has turned us ON! It has turned on the big, bright, luminous light of our soul, igniting our courage, strength, and special abilities. (Chapter 10)

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We know how to come fully into the moment, into the here and now, and be in that state of grace where everything works out. That is our “Trust” fund, which we have access to at any time. (Chapter 13)

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It is freeing to learn how much we can let go of — whether it’s a lost home, relationship, or uterus — we manage to rise from the ashes and recover our passion to recreate our lives. The human spirit has wings, like the phoenix, that carry us to new heights and new life. (Chapter 13)

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From this vantage point I can see that the events of my life this year have created an ‘emerge and see’ situation; I am emerging to a higher perspective and seeing clearly what I want to do in my life: to align with my souls purpose, to be fully present here and now, and to reinforce the awareness that love is the answer—loving what is, loving all my feelings about what is, loving myself for not loving what is. It’s all about love. (Chapter 15)

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Sometimes when our world is blown apart, we are freed from the safety and inertia of the familiar, and are challenged to make changes, take risks, and follow our hearts desire. (Chapter 16)

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When I change my position and move my body, I get unstuck and can then hear the voice of my higher self, reminding me, “You are safe. You are so much more than a body, so much vaster than your fear.” (Chapter 17)

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Fear is a great motivator; it is designed to be compelling in order to get us to take survival action in the form of fight or flight or freeze…OR, to take ‘thrival’ action by facing into the fear, feeling it fully, and therefore freeing ourselves from it. (Chapter 17)

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The seed of intention that is well tended and nourished can flower into coincidences, synchronicities and miracles that heal the body, boggle the mind, and lift the spirit. I’ve created an acronym for the word miracle:

My Intention Radiates Apparently Coincidental Luminous Events (Chapter 18)

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I am accepting that fear is a recurring visitor to my life, a teacher that is helping me strengthen my faith muscles, build my ‘trust’ fund, and create a belief in a friendly universe. It is also teaching me to feel compassion for myself and for others who suffer with fear and anxiety. I want to hug us all in love and strength and say, “Yes, I know what that feels like. I understand. Just know that we are so much bigger than our fear. We are so much vaster than a body. We are so loved and watched over.” (Chapter 21)

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Are you a worrier? The good news is, if you are someone who tends to worry, you possess two very special powers: the power of VIVID IMAGINATION, and the power of PERSISTENT FOCUS. (Chapter 23)

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I discovered how to mine gold from my anger by seeing what is MINE, seeing my part in things, seeing how I was contributing to my own misery, seeing that I can choose to hang on to anger or let it go. I can choose to be a bitter person, or a better person because of my experiences. I can choose to dwell in the hell of The Heartbreak Hotel, or dwell in love. I can choose captivity or freedom. And I can choose to mine gold from any situation…even cancer! (Chapter 24)

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My experience with cancer this year was a dynamic ‘This Is It’ reminder. It catapulted me into the here and now, helping me to appreciate and value this moment, cherish this life, and transform my “someday” dreams into “today is the day, now is the time.” (Chapter 24)

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I’ve heard that the experience of death feels like a genie being released from the bottle. Life can feel like that too, when we free ourselves from the tight confines of our fears and programming. I am opting for the life version of releasing my genie, uncorking the big energy of my bottled-up life force. (Chapter 28)

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I’ve been anal retentively trying to maneuver my ducks in a row and keep them there. But all my efforts to get my ducks in a row just quacks them up! (Chapter 28)

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We are now willing to completely let go of our money — opening our hands and our hearts like parachutes, we leap, trusting we will land securely in our ‘trust’ fund. Geronimo! (Chapter 30)

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I am counting my many blessings. I am Here and Now. I am happy to be alive. There’s always someone who has it worse off than us. My heart fills with compassion for them, and gratitude that I’m not them! It’s all relative. (Chapter 34)

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Being in a state of grace is being in the flow where synchronicity occurs, coincidences happen, just the right people, books, and events present themselves, and things work out better than I can imagine. It is the realm of unlimited possibilities. I also call it the Miracle-Prone Zone. (Chapter 36)

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The Buddha talks about the two arrows of suffering. The first arrow is called primary suffering — it’s when we have a physical pain or an emotional pain, such as the loss of a loved one. The second arrow is called secondary suffering and it is self-inflicted when we react to the primary pain with resentment, resistance, distraction, or wallowing in victim energy. (Chapter 37)

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A ‘good cry’ is when I feel the energy fully and allow it to pass through, without putting spin or story on it. This allows it to move through quickly, like a rain shower, and I feel clear and cleansed afterward. A “bad” cry is when I’m circling the drain in a sad story, round and round I go, and ‘poor me’ down the drain. A bad cry is very draining! (Chapter 37)

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Whenever I think about death, I’m reminded that I am alive now. I am here now. Here and now is all there is. (Chapter 38)

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Ultimately, I know that the most important healing for me in this lifetime is not healing cancer…it is healing the feeling of being wronged, melting my frozen negative images of others, seeing it all as part of the plan to grow myself to wholeness, and learning to see myself and others the way God would. (Chapter 41)

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I have learned that when I build a case against others, I become imprisoned in that case. I am the one who is freed when I forgive — it is so much more fun and spacious living in an open heart than a closed mind. (Chapter 41)

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I believe there are possible exit points OR step up points in our lives, times when we decide to renew or not renew our contract with life, times we ask ourselves, “Am I having fun? Do I still want to be here? Is there something I’d love to do and am I willing to do it?” (Chapter 42)

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In times of crisis our frightened ego may feel like the sky is falling, yet our awakened spirit remembers, “I am the sky.” (Chapter 50)

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Life can seem like a terrible trial, but if you move the ‘I’ forward in the word trial it becomes ‘trail’, a trail that leads us Home, to spirit, light, love and more aliveness—all part of the divine plan of a friendly universe that wants only to awaken us. (Chapter 50)

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It is heartening to see ourselves as not broken, but instead broken open — all the better to receive the abundant light and love that surrounds us. (Chapter 52)

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We are all gods with amnesia, waking up to who we truly are. When I think about the challenges we souls take on here on planet earth, I am in awe of our courage and spirit. I agree with Rumi who said, “When you see your beauty, you will become your own idol.” (Chapter 54)

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I want to be higher-vigilant instead of hyper-vigilant — to see life from the higher perspective of my soul, where I remember that I am an eternal being, where I know that cancer is my great teacher, life enhancer, and burr under my saddle that woke me up and keeps me awake! (Chapter 55)

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Being in a state of higher vigilance helps me put the ‘can’ in cancer, as in I can do this, I can learn and grow from this, I can remember that I am watched over, loved and guided, I can be present with whatever happens, fully, deeply present. I’m feeling all fired up now! (Chapter 55)

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What I’m finding as I’ve been focusing on deep breathing is that it energizes and enlivens me. When I’m fully breathing, I’m fully alive. When I’m shallow breathing, I’m shallowly alive. “He lives most life whoever breathes most air.”-(Elizabeth Barrett Browning) (Chapter 56)

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“You are the boss of your own reality.” Those are the words in a handwritten letter sent to me years ago by Jane Roberts, who channeled the Seth books. I treasure that letter; but even more, I treasure that message. I am the boss of my own reality. I am creating and shaping the colorful play doh of my life with my feelings, beliefs, desires, expectations and actions. Some people call this “The Secret”…I call it “The Magic”. It is the great love of my life that has thrilled, excited and motivated me for many years. It is the quantum paradigm shift from feeling like a hapless victim of circumstances to being an empowered creator of my life. (Chapter 58)

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Here is Seth’s magic manifestation formula that I faithfully followed: “For five minutes only, direct all of your attention toward what you want. Use visualization or verbal thought—whatever comes most naturally to you; but for that period do not concentrate upon any lacks, just upon your desire. In one way or another make one physical gesture or act that is in line with your belief or desire. Then forget about it.” Doing this every day builds the vibrational energy of what you’re wanting and magnetizes it to you. (Chapter 58)

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I’m deeply aware of my souls passionate agenda to learn and grow and evolve my consciousness. My ego’s agenda is to have fun and avoid suffering. I believe that ultimately soul’s agenda trumps ego’s agenda. In my case, that’s the result anyway; and in accordance with the law of attraction, the result will ALWAYS show you your strongest intention. (Chapter 58)

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Strengthening the energy of presence was building a mighty muscle that would carry me through tough times. (Chapter 59)

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I flex that muscle now whenever I’m haunted by horror thoughts of possible cancer carnage—I take deep breaths and become very present. This invites in my Compassionate Witness, who says, “I know that you feel scared right now honey. Let yourself feel it.” I reassure myself that when and if that time comes, I will be present with what’s present, breathing into it, fully feeling and facing it, putting on my Big Soul panties and dealing with it. (Chapter 59)

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When I bring my Compassionate Witness to everything I think, do and feel, something astonishing happens…I gradually BECOME more the witness than the thing that I’m witnessing! (Chapter 59)

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I know that healing happens in the light of awareness. The glue that binds our painful patterns together is soluble in awareness, which is much like water: “Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water; yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.”-(Lao Tzu)  Awareness is very potent stuff! (Chapter 59)

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I want to be in that peace beyond birth and death; therefore, I’m intent on facing my fear of death, and death itself, and making friends with it. That way I am embracing it, rather than bracing against it. Leonard Cohen wrote, “If you don’t become the ocean you’ll be seasick every day.” When I come into harmony with all that floats and flounders about in my ocean, I am at peace. (Chapter 59)

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Since what I resist persists, I’m hoping that now that I’m no longer resisting, maybe death won’t be persisting! Not any time soon anyway. (Chapter 59)

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I’m seeing that illness can be a rousing call to wholeness and more vibrancy. What seems like chaos and disaster is actually all part of an innate intelligence and drive towards greater creativity and a higher order of being. (Chapter 60)

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Once I see that chaos is just an ‘obstacle illusion’, I stop kicking and screaming and resisting, and I come into harmony with this process of rebirth. (Chapter 60)

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To determine our physical health, a doctor checks our vital signs. What I’ve learned is to determine my emotional and spiritual health by checking my vitality signs: am I fully engaged and living a creative life, facing and integrating shadows, fulfilling my life purpose?  (Chapter 60)

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With time possibly limited, I was motivated this year to deeply immerse myself in the present moment, savoring it like delicious candy, and to my great delight, time has stretched like taffy into a sweet eternal Nooow! (Epilogue)

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I have learned to not sweat the small stuff, but instead to celebrate the big stuff, like the present moment, love, and living a purposeful life. (Epilogue)

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The word ‘heal’ literally means ‘to be whole’, and because of this journey, I am whole — I am in harmony with my emotions, my body, and my spirit. I am wholly, vibrantly alive. (Epilogue)

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CONTACT Janet Jacobsen at EnlightenInk@gmail.com

“Your writing is so beautiful, so powerful, so astonishing, so helpful, so inspiring, so moving, so adorable, so resonant! Thank you, thank you!” Christopher Pilafian, Choreographer

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“I enjoy every one of your essays and I’m thoroughly inspired by your messages. You’re a remarkable person, with depth and pluck – a fabulously clever writer.” J’Nelle Holland

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“I love reading amazing stories of people who overcome health challenges, like cancer, with positive energy! Your positive energy and thoughts continue to be an inspiration.” Carol Sauceda

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“What an inspirational message. I enjoyed it and smiled often while reading it, and actually said ‘wow’ out loud twice.” Walter Witkowski, Teacher

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“What a gift to share this journey with you, but more than that, to see the transformative opportunities that you experience and share as a result of the diagnosis.” BarbaraMonett, Psychotherapist

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“Beautiful words!!! I just wish the whole world could be reading these writings…they are so healing and speak to me on many levels.” Diana Chapman, Advisor to Exceptional Leaders

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“I loved this! I have uterine cancer too. I don’t know what the future will be for me, but your words help me to look forward with hope and optimism!”       Jackie McQueeney

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“Beautiful…stunningly beautiful! Feeling a huge wave of gratitude for the journey you’re on, and your choice to share it all with such transparency and heart.”  Corinna Bloom, Life Coach

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“I receive healing from you each time I read what you have to say.” Grace Caitlyn, Life Coach

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“Somehow, miraculously through this emotional roller coaster you’ve been on, you are able to share yourself on such an incredibly deep level.” Amanda Mardon

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“I love, love, LOVE your play on words! And your writings bring me peace at times when I am most in need of it.” Sandy Gosselin

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“Your writing is so crystal clear. Thank you for enlightening me on so many subjects, written in such an eloquently deep, yet humorous pen.” David Biesanz, Teacher

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“As always, I love the insightfulness and consciousness you bring to your journey and then share with others.” Melanie Brown, Conscious Cancer Coach

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FIRST 4 CHAPTERS

1

WHAT WANTS TO BE BORN?

(February 25, 2009)

I’ve been thinking about birth lately. My 60th birthday is about a week away and I’m choosing to see it as a time of rebirth. I’ve been wondering, what wants to be born into my next decade on planet earth? When I turned 50 I began a new life with Tom, my life partner. I had been single most of my life so it was a major shift for me. I deeply desired it and that is the beginning of any birth process.  First there was desire, then being able to conceive that it is possible, then labor (taking action), and finally the Universe delivered to me a beautiful, bouncing babe of a man named Tom and a healthy, happy, thriving relationship that is now ten years old!  As the big 6-0 approaches, I’m wondering, what wants to be born next?

Another reason I’ve been thinking about birth is because something has been growing in my uterus. Ultrasounds have shown that it has doubled in size in this past year filling the uterine cavity. I appreciated the symbolism of something growing in my uterus and something new wanting to be born into my life. I was hoping it was just a benign polyp, as it appeared to be when I had it checked out a year ago. On Friday my doctor did a procedure called a hysteroscopy where he went into my uterus with a tiny camera to determine what was growing. He took out a piece to biopsy. He said it appeared fluffy, like a cotton ball, and was 99% certain that it was cancerous. I was stunned! Yesterday he confirmed that it is cancer. That was not what I wanted to hear. This seemed like something to be borne, instead of a new life being born.

When I was first told that I should have this hysteroscopic procedure, I wanted to put it off because it was expensive and invasive. I wanted to try alternative methods instead. But persistent thoughts about my mother (who is deceased) kept hovering in my mind, nudging me to take medical action. That’s something I know she would want me to do. I finally decided to make an appointment with the doctor and the date for the consult just happened to land on my mother’s birthday!

Since hearing that it was cancer I’ve been feeling contractions of fear, and urges to curl up into the fetal position. Yet awareness tells me that contractions precede birth—contractions lead to expansions. I know from experience that any feeling that is fully felt and experienced always leads to expansion. So, just like in childbirth, I’ve been breathing into these fear contractions, feeling them fully, allowing them to be here. Eventually that has brought me to a more expanded place.

In that expanded place a strong awareness and desire came to me—I know what wants to be born into my life, I want to write! I want to put my writing into a form and send it out into the world. I want to be of service by sharing my living, loving, laughing, and learning about life’s luminous (and sometimes lousy) lessons. That’s the reason for this birth announcement; I have birthed my first newsletter and am sending it out into the world!

I didn’t think I’d ever get cancer. I have always been terrified of the thought of cancer. I still can’t quite believe it. I didn’t think I’d be giving birth to my entire uterus (via hysterectomy)! Some babies really suck, and this is one big, sucky turn of events. But even though I am sometimes a big baby full of fears and tears, I also have a big brave, nurturing soul that embraces all that shows up. I know that whatever happens in my life is ALL about my soul growth. I intend to cultivate the most growth I can from this experience, and all the other life lessons that come my way.

I’d like to leave you with this question: What contractions are you feeling in your life? What gestating dream of yours is ready to be born? I’m wishing you a joyful “birth” and that your contractions shift easefully into expansion!

2

WAKING UP WITH FEAR

(March 5, 2009)

Today is my 60th birthday! It’s more like my rebirth day. My recent diagnosis of uterine cancer has grabbed me by the ankles, turned me upside down, and spanked me vividly alive! The familiar day-to-day sameness that lulled me to sleep is upended as life sings me awake with a rousing lull-goodbye song. I open my birthday Present, fully here and now, brand spanking new…and scared.

I have been waking up with fear. There’s a lot of that going around right now. The country has been turned upside down, swatted on its bottom, and startled awake as the economy quakes on shaky ground. Maybe some of you are feeling fear right now in your lives about an illness, or the loss of a relationship, loved one, job, or home?

I’m experiencing that fear has a life of its own. It is primal, survival-oriented and hardwired. It will not release its grip easily. Like a tightly wound rosebud that cannot be forced open, it must be allowed to gently unfold. Fear is a compelling force we can use to help us unfold fully into this Present Moment and transform scared energy into sacred energy. I’d like to share this process of ‘face, embrace, and replace’ that is helping me use fear to Wake Up and smell the roses.

AWARENESS

I awake in the grip of fear and say, “I feel scared.” Acknowledging and naming the feeling is the first step. I generate curiosity about the fear. Where do I feel it? It is a clenching tension that feels like a boa constrictor wrapped around my entire body, squeezing most tightly around my throat, chest, solar plexus, and stomach. I notice my breathing is barely there. This act of witnessing has invited in another level of consciousness. Now there is fear and there is awareness. I spontaneously begin to breathe more fully.

SELF-COMPASSION

I notice that this fear is like a child who is suffering. I cradle the fear. I place my hands on my throat and my heart, and comfort the fear. “Hello fear. You are welcome here. It’s okay to feel scared. I’m sorry you are suffering. I know this is difficult. I understand.” I place my hands over my uterus. “I love you. I’m sorry you are sick. I am so sorry to be losing you.” I cry. It is a good cry, good grief, releasing stress; the tears carry out the stress hormone cortisol. Now there is sadness, fear, awareness, compassion and slow gentle breaths.

COMPASSION FOR OTHERS

Tonglen is a Buddhist meditation practice in which I breathe in my fear and sadness and feel it fully and I breathe out sending love and compassion to everyone who is feeling that same pain. Breathing in, I feel sad and scared—breathing out, I send love to others who are feeling sad and scared. I repeat this for several minutes. This creates a feeling of love and connection to others. It’s also a comfort to know that I’m not alone in this fear, others are feeling it too. Now, in this expanding field, there is sadness, fear, awareness, and compassion for myself and for others. My painful feelings are subsiding. I still feel them, but I am feeling serenity as well; I rest in a nurturing loving energy that embraces the pain. “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace within it.”(unknown)

TRUST, ACCEPTANCE, GRATITUDE—(TAG).

My feelings have calmed enough that I am now open to a higher awareness. I generate the energy of trust, acceptance and gratitude by affirming:

I Trust that I am loved, guided and watched over. I trust that things happen for a reason. I trust that my life is purposeful. I trust that everything will work out.

I Accept that this is what’s happening. It is what is. I breathe and allow it to be. This moment is perfect just as it is. I surrender to it. I become one with it.

I feel Gratitude for the many blessings in my life: my loving friends and family, my fellow journeyers and learning buddies, my wonderful husband Tom. I am grateful for this opportunity to cultivate more awareness, love, trust, and acceptance in my life. I am grateful that I remember that this is what is most important to me. I am grateful that I am awake. I am grateful to fear for waking me up.

What challenges are waking you up? What feelings of yours want to be faced, embraced, and replaced? Taking time to stop and smell the roses and feel the feelings allows them to unfold into the full bloom of Present Moment consciousness. Makes sweet sense to me.  I love getting roses on my birthday!

3

BRIGHT LIGHT, DARK SHADOWS

(March 11, 2009)

Seven months ago my appendix burst and was removed. Now my cancerous uterus is about to be removed. What’s up down there? My internal organs are jumping ship! I can’t help but wonder, have I done something wrong? I’d always thought that this couldn’t happen to me. I take good care of myself, I eat healthy, don’t drink alcohol or smoke, I exercise, ingest a fistful of vitamins every day, express my thoughts and feelings, connect with my spirit, and have loving relationships. I thought I was safe. Now a part of me feels like I have failed in some way.

Cancer is such a violent thing to have inside me. It is something shadowy, dark and dangerous that will kill me unless I kill it first. This has stirred up my painful old core belief which says, “I didn’t just do something wrong, I am something wrong; I am fundamentally damaged; and bad things happen to me because I’m bad.” The pain of that core belief set me on a spiritual path for the last 40 years. I have read a great multitude of spiritual and personal growth books and attended more workshops that you can shake a talking stick at. I have grown and healed tremendously. Yet still…cancer.

Feeling sad and disappointed, I lay in my husband Tom’s arms, crying, “I am flawed. After all these years and all the work I’ve done on myself, I am still deeply flawed.” Tom smiled and said, “Me too.” We both laugh. I have done something right to have this blessing of a man in my life! He has helped me put the fun into fundamentally flawed. Just looking at him reminds me that there is much light in my life now. And, there are still shadows. Tom says, “The brighter the light is the more clearly defined the shadows are.” Yes. The light is shining brightly in my life and I’m seeing my shadows very clearly. That is a good thing.

One way the Universe very clearly reveals my shadows to me is through the people in my life. They are wonderful mirrors—I can clearly see in them how they are defensive, judgmental, victimy, and oblivious to it (as much as I try to point it out to them!) These people can be irritating to be around. When I try to remove them from my life, they just keep showing up in different bodies with new names!

My shadows are clearly defined and they are clearly following me! Wherever I go, there I am. I’m learning that if it’s in my life, it’s in me. More importantly, I’m seeing that it’s all about Love. These shadows keep showing up to be faced, accepted and loved in me, and in those who are mirroring me.

I am facing and accepting that I will never be perfect. I lose my temper, I stress out, and I like to indulge in a fine whine now and then. I’m learning to shine the light on all that I am, to love myself As Is, warts and all…and now, cancer and all.

Life is not about being perfect—it’s about being whole. As Carl Jung said, “I’d rather be whole than good.” Loving ALL of me is loving myself whole (minus a few body parts).  I feel compassion for that part of us that gets lost in the shadows. I feel such love and appreciation for how we keep striving for the light, sometimes floundering towards the light. How brave we all are to be here on this journey on planet earth, fallible, flawed and perfectly imperfect.

We are right where we need to be. This moment is perfect just as it is. This cancer is perfect just as it is. Healing and learning are happening. My dearly departing body parts are leaving me with this wonderful parting gift—the reminder to welcome every part and parcel of me to the party. I welcome cancer as my teacher.

Are there people and circumstances that keep showing up in your life, shadowing you? You haven’t done anything wrong. Life is simply reflecting back to you what wants to be faced and embraced.

4

THE WONDERFUL WISDOM OF ‘IS’

(March 18, 2009)

The mind is like a crazed acrobat, tumbling from thought to thought, leaping to conclusions. I’ve been witnessing my mind tumbling about trying to figure things out and find answers. It wants to know, how did I end up with uterine cancer? Could it be the occasional sugar? The dairy? The aspartame? Or is it because I’m uptight; or more accurately, downtight? (as in anal retentive.) Did I block the flow of chi down there? Or could it be that my laptop sitting on my lap is frying my innards, doing the lap dance of death!?

Who knows why things happen. The only thing I can know for certain is this…it happened. It is what it is. I am open to learning and seeing my part in things, but I am becoming more interested right now in learning the fine art of acceptance. Now is all there is, and this is what’s Now. There is no right or wrong—just Isness. Buddha called this state Tatata. I want to live in this state. I am packing up my baggage and moving to Tatata, the golden state of harmony with what IS.

I’m leaving behind self-blame, trying to figure things out, and regret. They are not useful. Much suffering is caused by resisting what is happening. It’s like trying to resist a tornado—it’s only going to mess you up! When I accept what is happening and say, “Oh, this is interesting. I wonder what I can learn from it?” I come into harmony with it and it delivers me to the wonderful land of IS. When I’m focused on learning and growing, then every experience is perfect.

This morning I had my long-awaited appointment with the oncologist to consult and set the date for the hysterectomy. When I got there they told me that they didn’t have my name down! At first I cried; it felt good to release the tension. Then, I could feel the downward vortex, the circling the drain energy, wanting to poor me down the drain, wanting to blame and complain. Noticing this, I took a breath and said to myself, “It’s okay to feel scared and angry. Let yourself feel it.” I began to breathe more easily. Allowing these feelings to be present helped return me to the state of IS. It is what it IS. Breathe. Accept. This moment is perfect just as it is. (Fortunately, they rescheduled me for later in the day.)

The mind always wants to know, “Is this a good thing? Is this a bad thing?” Byron Katie has written that when people used to say “Namaste” to her, she thought they were saying “No mistake”. My appendix burst seven months ago. That could have killed me…or it could have saved my life. The CT scan they did for my appendix showed that my uterus was abnormal. That led to the discovery of the uterine cancer.

My brother found out he had an inoperable brain aneurysm.  He thought his life was over. It had just begun! He quit his job, bought a sailboat and now, 8 years later, is enjoying life on his boat sailing the Caribbean Islands, thriving and living his dream.

“Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly.”

My husband Tom is cultivating rich soil in his garden plot. It contains compost from rotted produce and horse manure. He treats these ingredients like precious gold. He knows they will help his garden grow the most nutritious, delicious food. Cancer has composted a rich and fertile soil for me, from which is sprouting creativity, inspiration, and learning.  (It’s a fertile time or it’s a shitty time; same substance, different attitude).

The best part about being in harmony with what is, it hooks me up with the Universal flow. Once I am in the energy of acceptance, I am in a state of grace where things I need flow to me easily, and everything works out better than I could imagine. Rich gifts are coming my way: the love of family and friends, the best doctors and nurses, financial assistance, and powerful learning and healing on a deep level.  Open is open. When I let go of resistance and open to what is, I am open to receive love, guidance and miracles.

Brick by golden brick I am building my home base in Tatata. I sometimes take little side trips to Self-Pity City (my old home town), and occasionally I am swept up in little cyclones of anger, sadness and fear. Accepting what is happening includes accepting all the feelings that come up about it. These feelings are like bulls in a pen, snorting and pawing the ground; when they are accepted as part of what Is and allowed to be, then the gate opens, freeing them to enter the big spacious field of awareness, where eventually they calm down and become One with the field. “Out beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field; I’ll meet you there.” (Rumi)  Right Here and Now there is a field of awareness where everything is welcome; there’s plenty of room for All that shows up.

Are you living in the golden state of Tatata? It is a beautiful spacious place to live. (And it’s so much fun saying Tatata!)  To get there, just click your heels together, take deep slow breaths of acceptance and say, “There’s no place like Here. There’s no place like Now.” That will always bring you back Home again.

~~~~~~~~~~~

MY HOLISTIC HEALING REGIMEN

BODY

Alkalize – reduce acidity in diet, eliminate sugar, dairy, processed foods, eat organic, omega 3, low hypoglycemic foods, greens, lemons. Stress creates acidity so reduce stress

Exercise- stimulates lymphatic system (which eliminates toxins), boosts immune system, reduces stress

Immune system boosters – dance, laughter, love, oxytocin, hugs, Vit. C, D, E, antioxidants, astragalus, ginger, garlic

Stress suppresses the immune system so reduce stress

Oxygenate – deep breaths stimulate immune system, lymphatic system, relaxation response

UV Sunlight – enhances mood, immune system, increases white blood cells, improves digestion

Yucky Toxin Elimination – reduce air pollution, food pesticides, chlorine filter, chemicals, electromagnetic

SUPPLEMENTS

Green Tea, Paw Paw, Garlic, Vitamin D3, Curcumin/Turmeric, Ellagic acid (Meeker Red Raspberry Seed—good source is raspberrygold.com)

Low-Dose Naltrexone (prescribed by a doctor—can reduce tumors)

MIND

Generate Positive attitude

Read uplifting books

Visualize healing

Verbal affirmations

Scripting (start the day writing or speaking how I want it to be as if it were already so, such as “Today I feel healthy, strong, and vibrantly alive.”)

Cancer Coach Melanie Brown at consciouscancerjourney.com

EMOTIONS

Emotional release

Identify emotional blockage

Forgiveness

Fully feel, face and embrace feelings

Be compassionate towards our emotions

EFT (tapping on meridian points to help release fears, emotional pain, stress)

SPIRIT

Become present in the moment

Meditate/Mindfulness

Compassionate witness

Dwell in the energy of love

TAG (generate Trust, Acceptance, Gratitude)

State of grace place

Fully receive the learning and lessons from the experience

Affirm life purpose – Recommit to life and do what you love

Creative expression

You are so much more than a body – You are a beautiful, eternal soul


ANTI-CANCER BOOKS

Outsmart Your Cancer – Alternative Non-Toxic Treatments that Work by Tanya Harter Pierce

Cancer-Free – Your Guide to Gentle, Non-Toxic Healing by Bill Henderson

Anti Cancer – A New Way of Life by David Servan-Shreiber

Embrace, Release, Heal by Leigh Fortson

Knockout by Suzanne Somers


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