Tag Archive 'cancer remission'

May 04 2015

The Big Show, 6 Years After the Big C – Issue #112

I’m back in show business!…the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show that is (a Sunday show at Chase Palm Park along the oceanfront). It’s where I made my living selling my crafts for 27 years, until I was diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago. I left the show to focus on saving my life and regaining my health. Now, gratefully, my health seems stable; however, my finances aren’t, and it’s time to generate some income.

This is my second Sunday back, and every day since last weeks show I’ve felt tense and depleted. I know the show didn’t make me tense – I made me tense, I tensed my body. My Trouper Soul (AKA my Big Soul Self) says: “Today, let’s tune into our body and notice when and where tension begins. That will be a great challenge to stay present, tuned in, and make micro shifts when we notice tension.” As I’m driving to the show and start getting closer I feel anxious and notice tightness in my throat and shoulders. I breathe deep and slow and remind myself, “I’m all right right now,” and I relax.

Okay, now find a parking space – there’s one! Wish it was closer. It’s several blocks away from the show. I have the ingenious plan to fit my entire seashore store together like a puzzle on my little 2’x3’ pushcart and make one trip. Great idea, except it’s heavy! like pushing a baby elephant! I’m huffing and puffing after a few steps. Trouper Soul says, “Okay sweetie, let’s just stop every thirty seconds and take a rest, and then push again.” Like giving birth: push, pause, breathe, push again, get this baby rolling.

I notice passersby looking at me askance, and I realize I must look like one of the homeless people in the area with their little carts loaded with all their worldly goods. I smile at the passersby, trying to let them know I’m one of them. I notice I’m slumped over as I slog along, and Trouper Soul says, “How would a queen walk? Remember your queen self.” I pause, summon my queen, straighten my spine, and proceed pushing the royal pachyderm. And on it goes, push, slump, pause, breathe, remember my queen, straighten, push with dignity.

I’m getting closer to the show, and since I’m new and don’t have an assigned space, my Worrywart begins nervously rushing to find a spot. I take a slow breath and remind her, “There’s plenty of space, plenty of time,” and sure enough I find a space. I plop down on my chair, panting. It’s only been a half hour and I’m exhausted already! I realize now that my exhaustion isn’t just from being here all day, it’s from the physical labor of getting here!

It’s a breezy day and the day before had been gusty. This oceanfront park is lined with long tall skinny palm trees, and I notice something shocking, something I’ve never seen in all my years in California: about 40 feet away one of those tall skinny palm trees is lying prone, stretched out flat on the ground! That gentle giant had swayed in these Santa Barbara winds for years, but in yesterday’s super gusts it snapped and bit the dust!

As the persistent breeze batters me, I realize, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be winded all day and wind up feeling like that flattened palm tree. I’m leaving! I’d promised myself in coming back to the show I’d only do nice weather days. Keeping my promise, I push my pachyderm slowly, alternately slumping and queenly, on the long trek back to my car. I heave and heft my weighty load back into the car and drive my weary self to the beautiful, peaceful, less windy Botanic Garden to soulfully contemplate WTF I’m doing!

When I was diagnosed with cancer six years ago and it recurred a year later with a poor prognosis, it was a dramatic wake up call. If I only had a limited time left, what would I do with that time? I’d been in the Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show for 27 years and had become bored and stagnant, and I’ve wondered if that might have contributed to my cancer. I realized back then that it was time to do the writing my soul had longed to do, and I’ve been happily writing for the last six years.

So then why am I back at the Show? Am I making a mistake? Eliminating stress as much as possible was one of my healing strategies (you can read about more of them at my website EnlightenInk.com).  One of my fears is that the stress of the show will awaken the sleeping cancer (since stress suppresses the immune system). At the Botanic Garden I walk past the field of bright orange poppies and purple lupines, down the winding path into the redwood forest to my favorite wooden bench where I lie flat on my back and look up at the branch laced sky, and surrender to the silence and stillness, awaiting insights.

This comes to me: I don’t want my life to be stressful, but I DO want it to be stretchful. My soul loves to be challenged, to learn and grow and stretch and strengthen. To stay strong, muscles need something to push against. My body and soul muscles have gotten a bit flabby, in need of a good workout. The muscle I’m most passionate about strengthening is a belief in a friendly and enjoyable universe. I think that’s one of the important things I’ve come here to do and I’ve come a long way since a childhood of feeling the universe was anything but friendly. And I’ve a ways to go. Being back in the show is a great probe for those beliefs, which is exciting for my soul (though my ego can be like that elephant I’m pushing along).

Also, I’m enjoying revising and revitalizing my crafts and my display and seeing the smiles on people’s faces. I love being creative! It’s fun, it generates income, and gets me out into the world, facing my fears and transforming them. “We can do this sweetie. It’s okay for it to be easy and fun and stretchful,” says my Trouper Soul, my One who’s come here to learn and grow and heal and transform.

Okay. Let’s do it. I will find ways to make it easier, more body friendly, and more enjoyable. I can do this! I will do this! Yes! It’s on with the show!

How about you? Are you being challenged right now? What muscles of yours are being strengthened?

In Love,

Janet Jacobsen

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Oct 10 2010

The Healing Power of Ikigai – Issue #61

My conscious cancer coach has asked me some very profound questions like: what is keeping you here, what is your passion, what engages you and gives your life purpose? In other words, what is my ikigai?

Ikigai (sounds like icky guy) is a Japanese word that basically means ‘why I wake up in the morning’. It’s what brings meaning and joy to our lives. The reason those questions are so important is because the answers could make a difference between healing or not healing, life or death. Studies have found that people who have discovered their ikigai live longer, happier, healthier lives. Our ikigai could be our children, work, plants or pets — anything that we care for and care about. It’s healing power comes from taking our focus off our problems and instead focusing us on what we love. This turns off destructive stress hormones and activates healing energy.

A good friend recently sent me this sweet letter:

“My cat Merlin, my little furry man, had a cancer tumor taken off last year…the vet didn’t seem optimistic. He lost lots of weight and I was giving up on him. He still had an appetite so I fed him as often as he wanted, tuna, salmon, shrimp…but he still didn’t gain a pound. In the last few months instead of fretting, I just started to enjoy him, take his fleas off twice a day and tell him how beautiful and wonderful he is…he gets on the sink 3 or 4 times a day waiting to be told how wonderful he is and I groom him a little. Its 8 months later and his coat and weight are getting back to normal.”

My friend stopped worrying and just focused on loving and nurturing his cat and it was healing for both of them.

Here are some additional examples of the miraculous healing effects of focusing on what we love:

When Phoebe Snetsinger was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decided to follow her bliss and travel the world sighting birds. Her cancer went into remission and she lived twenty more years, and set the world’s record for sighting the most bird species ever.

Ten years ago my brother Norm was diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm. He eventually stopped thinking about the time bomb in his head and focused on fulfilling his dream of sailing his boat to the Caribbean Islands and beyond. He was recently told by doctors that the aneurysm had calcified and was no longer a problem.

My acupuncturist told me about a woman he was treating with stage 4 cancer whose doctors could do no more for her and told her to check into hospice. When he asked her if there was something she loved to do, she remembered her love of painting that she’d given up years ago due to a busy life. She took up painting again and her cancer disappeared.

They all focused on what they loved doing and their illness subsided. Our ikigai can heal what ails us, and what ails us can awaken us to our ikigai.

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?”

When I was a depressed, suicidal teenager I was faced with these questions. My depression led me to reading metaphysical books like “The Power of Positive Thinking”, “Your Thoughts Can Change Your Life” and “Psycho-Cybernetics”. I became very excited and deeply resonated with what these books were saying – I knew my thoughts and feelings created my reality and I wanted to take on the challenge of transforming my life. This gave me a reason to live – it became my ikigai and fueled amazing transformation and healing over the years.

When I was approaching my 50th birthday I was feeling bored with life and uninspired. I became aware that it was a possible exit point…or step up point. Someone I knew had just died of an illness at age 50 — it seemed that she had given up and was choosing to check out. I thought that maybe my stagnation could lead to something like that happening. I checked in with myself and realized I wasn’t ready to leave this life. I wanted to stick around and face one of my biggest life challenges — creating a conscious, loving relationship. That was my new ikigai. I passionately immersed myself in that pursuit, AND an anything but icky guy showed up…the wondrous Tom!

Now, some ten years later, I am faced with another possible exit point/step up point — within the past two years my appendix ruptured and then cancer came a callin’.  I am seriously addressing the questions my cancer coach posed to me: Do I still want to be here? Is there something I feel passionate about doing? Are there exciting challenges that are engaging me?

The answer is yes. My relationship with my husband Tom continues to be a great joy and something I dearly love. Cancer has refocused me on additional passions and reasons for living, like writing and deeply connecting with my spirit. It has renewed my enthusiasm for metaphysics, exploring how our thoughts and feelings affect our reality, our bodies, and our lives. As I’m working on healing myself I’m highly engaged in reading stimulating books such as Spontaneous Healing of Belief (Gregg Braden) and The Intention Experiment (Lynne McTaggert). Science has now caught up with metaphysics and it’s a very exciting time to be alive.

Gardening is an ikigai for many people and in a sense it is for me as well…I am now passionately focused on gardening my energy field, gardening a higher vibration, gardening the healing energy of love. Like my friend who stopped worrying and simply showered love on his cat, I am loving myself, I am lovingly talking to my body and my ailing parts like they’re my children, telling them how wonderful and beautiful they are. I am loving delicious food and delicious connections with the people in my life. I look forward to waking up in the morning, fully tasting and enjoying life. These are all exciting, worthwhile reasons to be here.

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?” “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.

I believe our Ikigai is a key element in whether we stay or go, whether we kick the bucket or keep filling the bucket. I want to stay — I want to keep filling the bucket!

What’s your ikigai? What are you excited about and motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning? It could be something as simple as breakfast (like Pooh) or something as profound as loving and nurturing yourself as if you were the most precious thing in the world. I wish you buckets full of ikigai!

In love,

Jan Jacobsen

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