Kelly’s Joy Boots Journey
I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 8 years ago, with a newborn baby, and after years of (mostly) healthy living. I felt betrayed by my body. My fantasy about the first year of my daughter’s life and what kind of mother I’d be was shattered.
After the end of active treatment, it wasn’t over. I was a psychotherapist and a yoga teacher who still found it hard to manage. I had physical pain and limitations, low energy, fear of recurrence, terrible chemobrain, difficulty sleeping, early menopause, and no clear path forward. I wasn’t “over it” and quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in adjusting to the so-called “new normal.”
It took time for me to heal. Yoga and meditation helped. A lot.
But what I needed most were places to express the feelings that I’d set aside in order to survive that first year. I needed places to feel the anger and loss and fear. The confusion. The incompetence and loss of identity. The astonishment at the connection with strangers. The vulnerability in asking for and accepting help from family and friends when I was far more comfortable being the helper. The shock and disappointment. The strong and beautiful people I met who didn’t make it.
We also need places to wonder and talk about gratitude and remember the sacred moments of inspiration or healing that may not have happened any other way.
Eventually, through feeling and expressing, I cleared out enough of the anger and anger at loss to really re-connect with the pulse of life and feel creative and engaged again in the world.
Now, I’m offering an online Yoga and Talk® Group to help other women move beyond the “new normal.”
During my recovery, I remembered a time when I was 5 years old in 1973 and received a beautiful pair of white patent leather go go boots. I put those fancy boots on and danced around my grassy back yard in Houston, Texas singing at the top of my lungs a song I knew from church: “I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay and I’m so happy, so very happy..…”
Even now, I can feel the ground beneath me and see the clear blue sky above, as I exclaimed my delight to the heavens (and all the neighbors).
As I continued my recovery, I began using this memory as a signal from my body to advise me on when to say yes and when to say no.
I asked myself, “Can I do this with my joy boots on?”
What’s a memory or deep experience you’ve had that can help you remember to choose joy? Join my Yoga and Talk® Group program, and begin to find out.