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Cancer blows your life to bits, Mindfulness helps you pick up the pieces - by Kathy Therber

Kathy Therber is a Yoga and Mindfulness Instructor at The After Cancer

Kathy Therber is a Yoga and Mindfulness Instructor at The After Cancer

Hello out there! My name is Kathy Therber. I have been teaching mindfulness and yoga for 21 years. I have had the profound honor of working with hundreds of cancer patients and survivors in all stages of treatment and survival. I am also a cancer survivor and have been through misdiagnosis, multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. I have practiced mindfulness before, during and after cancer. 

With my work as a mindfulness teacher, I have shared a wide variety of healing techniques and methods with hundreds of amazing survivors and patients over the years. From hospital rooms, to infusion areas to group classes to virtual one on one sessions, the insights and understandings that survivors share make me realize how much the human spirit cannot only take but also get through, and amazingly move forward. I have witnessed the grit and the grace of survival. We all have strength and love inside of us; it is the stuff we are made of to make it in this messy, crazy, confusing, and wonderful life. You can tap into your source of renewal with mindfulness to find your way home.

Begin where you are Stress Out/Healing In

You do not need me to tell you that diagnosis and treatment put many demands on the body, mind and spirit. Focus is shifted and there is an ongoing undercurrent of fear, hope, sorry, wonder, contemplation, learning and loss. Dealing with diagnosis and the downright daunting duty of treatment includes a whole new life schedule filled with doctors, nurses, tests, results, blood draws, scans, biopsies, waiting, changes in your body, and redefining your identity in your life is physically exhausting and emotionally overwhelming, no?

Let me try to give you a feel for how mindfulness is both doable and helpful. 

At any stage, mindfulness can be an extremely powerful tool to free up the mind and free up the energy that worry sucks out of you. A method that can be helpful for people who are in deep healing mode in the hospital or at home is guided imagery. Guided imagery allows people to rely on their imagination, senses,  and breathing to make a switch from rumination to healing.  The vagus nerve is stimulated and the parasympathetic nervous system gets a chance to kick in. No movement is required, and your awareness of the imagery can fade in and out and allow for a deep sense of comfort. 

Guided relaxation allows people to participate in their own healing by systematically relaxing different parts of their body. When the body lets go, the mind lets go. Reconnecting with the mind and heart to the body in a loving and nurturing manner can be a true tonic for the soul.

Breathing techniques are another tried and true method under the category of mindfulness. The breath can be a safe place for the mind to dwell. Breathing is a source of energy and cleansing as well as a method to relax the body. There are many different breathing techniques that are relevant at different times of treatment and recovery. The beauty of these techniques is that they can be practiced anywhere, any time. Your practice is truly your own.

Guided meditation is a way to witness and observe thoughts and emotions instead of being carried away by them. It is also a way to shine the light of your awareness and loving kindness on yourself, others and what matters to you. Your practice consists of a balance of guidance and quiet. This can have a restorative effect allowing for increased ease in your day and life.

Stress and different medications can lead to sleeplessness. Sleep is so essential to healing and renewal. Another amazing benefit of mindfulness is that it is a great tool to help people get to sleep. There are a number of guided imageries and relaxation techniques created and practiced for the very purpose of helping people sleep and fall back to sleep.

Survivorship looks many different ways to many people. It can be a time to pick up the pieces and reposition yourself to enjoy the depth and meaning in the days that lie ahead. It is a time of understanding and reprioritizing and a refound love for self. Mindfulness can meet you where you are and you can make your way one step at a time and one day at a time to all the good that is waiting to be found. How do I know this? I have seen survivors do it. That is what survivorship asks of us. It asks us to be present, show up, and love. Mindfulness teaches us how.


Check Kathy's profile and book a FREE intro call with her.


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