I am often asked how I can work with people who are coping with trauma such as cancer. People find it difficult to understand how you can enjoy being around what is often deemed as such a negative energy.
Last week I was reading an article in the Nightingale Cancer Support Centre. I deliver regular Mindfulness courses to cancer patients and their families at the centre, so to be featured in their magazine was a privilege.
What moved me the most was that Liz, one of my group participants, explained how Mindfulness had changed her life.
"I attended their six week Mindfulness course. The whole experience changed my outlook on life and taught me a mindful way to remain positive on a daily basis" - Liz
She reflects on her state of mind before attending the course
"Mentally, I was in a bad place. I found I was overthinking and felt I had to find a way of accepting what was coming up"
Mindfulness and Cancer
Cancer can hit any of us at any given time, just as can any other life threatening disease. In reality, what cancer does is shake our reality. It wakes us up to the fact that life is not infinite nor guaranteed.
Even people who survive and go on to live normal healthy lives are affected emotionally from the whole experience. Many cancer survivors say they feel they have changed, they can not go back to being who they were before the cancer.
And this is often the case for anyone who has been through an traumatic life event. When we stare our vulnerability in the face, our reality is rocked at it's core.
Mindfulness is used to help people going through cancer deal with what is, to be able to focus on the now and to calm the constant chatter in the mind. We do this through beginning to pay attention to what is going on in our mind and practice how to let our thoughts flow.
The Hidden Rewards of Mindfulness
And so I come back to my opening paragraph, why do I work with people who are dealing with such difficult times in their life?
Because the reward is all mine - when you see people overcoming and coping with life even when it is so challenging, it makes you appreciate how lucky you really are.
When you see how vulnerable we all are, you learn to love every moment of your own life.
This is my reward.