Support First Descents and extend the healing power of adventure to young adults impacted by cancer.
The Pain Point
When a painful event occurs it is often unexpected or if anticipated, highly unwelcome. We may feel caught off guard, unprepared to handle change or the permanency of a new reality. This can lead to a myriad of emotions, often combinations of anger, sadness, fear, frustration, lack of control, hopelessness, and feelings of loss and uncertainty.
The intensity of our emotions have a way of taking over, morphing us into a darker, duller, heavier version of the Self we know. Pleasurable activities become undesirable. Sadness in the heart and preoccupation of the mind pull us away from routine and daily comforts, stripping us of what little familiarity remained. Social opportunities feel too draining and unappealing, while a loud voice of doubt starts to ask, “What do I have to give to others anyway?” Physical changes (weight gain or loss, dull complexion, breakouts, hair loss, etc.) have a tendency to occur as the body responds to stress and disease. Over time, frustration and impatience for an unrecognizable life set in and eventually serve as the motivation to propel you into the next phase.
Because this phase requires acceptance, it is often times the most difficult to reach. Many people get stuck in Hijacked mode feeling powerless and lost. But for those who forge forward, this is the turning point. Here individuals are able to acknowledge the power of pain and accept time as the greatest healer. A calm slowly washes over the situation and blankets the pained with comfort allowing constructive questioning and self reflection to begin. If the mind and heart are open, ready, and willing there will be light shed upon that which caused pain – light that offers learnings, insight, and monumental growth. Here, we begin to see.
As the fog lifts and the light burns brighter we are able to find a powerful connection to our most pure, true, authentic Self, the version that is only accessible following the completion of the cycle of healing. As awareness heightens and confidence builds we begin to explore, trying things new and old, full of curiosity and an openness to all things around us. In this phase, it’s about learning who we truly are – our values, desires, dreams, and capability. I often recommend trying on many hats to my clients during this time to discover what feels right, wrong, and worth leaning into. Once the answers become clear there is a sense of landing, feeling both feet on the ground. Solid. Strong. Whole. We move with purpose, on purpose, in purpose. Life is no longer out of your control. You are back in the driver’s seat and you are unstoppable. Time has allowed you the ability to look back and see how pain shaped you, find gratitude for the break down and triumphant climb to the top, and know whatever life has in store for you, you have the power to handle it, move through it, learn from it, to grow, to heal, to prosper. You are now awake.
10 Practices To Move You Closer To The Light
1. Freely write about the thoughts taking up space in your head and the feelings in your heart. A consistent journal practice helps release built up emotion, encourages acknowledgment and reflection, as well as declutters the mind to make room for progression and healing.
2. Move your body in ways that feels good to you. If you enjoy the sunshine, take a walk or go for a swim. If you like to dance, turn up the music in your home and let loose. Movement reconnects us to our body and brings us into the present moment.
3. Get a natural endorphin-induced high with a sweaty, cardio workout. In addition to those feel good vibes, elevating the heart rate and sweating out the toxins come with a long list of benefits for both body and mind.
4. Read books that support your journey and nourish your soul. Take in messages that aid in your healing, provide positive encouragement, and comfort you when you feel most alone.
5. Find a peer support group and connect to individuals who’ve experienced a similar pain point. Speaking to others who can empathize with what you’re going through is extremely powerful as well as resource sharing and the exchange of best practices.
6. Make a list of joyful activities and commit to doing one a day, even when you feel down and blue. Pleasurable moments help us work our way out of the fog and shift focus onto what is good.
7. Turn your frown upside down. Smiling reduces stress and makes you happier (even if you fake it)!
8. Set goals that excite you. Choose to work toward something that lights you up, maybe that thing you’ve been daydreaming about for years or the really scary thing you want but have been too afraid to try. Putting your focus and efforts toward goal creation and achievement opens the door for growth, successes, and positive energy flow.
9. Find quiet moments to simply be alone with yourself. Hear, see, and feel all of you. Although often times uncomfortable to sit in stillness and presence, trust the power in shutting out distraction and working through the chaos in your mind, heart, and soul.
10. Nurture your body with nutritional food so it has the most efficient fuel to aid in your healing. Nutrient packed foods have the ability to fight off depression, shift your mood, and give you strength for physical activity.
About the Cancer Warrior Foundation
Cancer Warrior Foundation is a 501(c)(3) created to empower young women through their cancer journey. By providing a variety of free services that positively impact mind, body, and soul CWF encourages a strong sense of hope for a future filled with possibility.
Shortly after receiving treatment for cervical cancer in 2012, CWF Founder, Sara Krish, turned to her peers within the cancer community in search of connection and support. At 30 years old she was experiencing an overwhelming loss of identity, feeling stuck and uncertain of how to move forward, and an inability to cultivate light among the darkness. She felt extremely alone in her pain and powerless to cancer.
After months spent exchanging stories with other Cancer Warriors, Sara recognized that her feelings were common. This acknowledgment of a shared experience helped soothe her sense of aloneness, and in time, Sara settled in surrendering to the life altering journey that is Cancer. No longer did she feel fearful of isolation, but rather, trusting of the process.
In 2014, Sara hosted her first Get Lit Yoga Party on the Redondo Beach Pier in an effort to bring her community closer together to celebrate life and the beautiful Cancer Warriors she’d connected with over the years. This event had such a positive impact that it found a permanent spot on the calendar, and still occurs every 3rd Saturday of the month at Shade Hotel Redondo Beach.
It was in this powerful community building that Sara got inspired to create a non-profit organization committed to cultivating hope in the lives of young women with cancer. Over the years, she had the opportunity to meet and connect with hundreds of young women diagnosed with many different types of cancer, each with a unique story but always a similar set of needs – more positivity, more light, more hope, more focus on the life ahead.
In 2015, Sara established the Cancer Warrior Foundation and set out on a mission to empower young women through their cancer journey. Today, CWF offers a variety of free services to its members that positively impact mind, body, and soul including fertility preservation resources and guidance, private coaching sessions, weekly support groups, monthly goal focused workshops, yoga studio memberships, and monthly yoga and spin parties.
For more information or to become a Cancer Warrior member visit www.cancerwarriorfoundation.org or contact Sara directly at 310-465-9154.