Shift of Temperature

The heat has been oppressive and sometimes it feels like it’s all you can do just to make it through the day. And if you or your loved one is in treatment for cancer, the stress and fatigue can magnify.

Recently, I listened to a podcast about the comparison trap and how we often measure our success, happiness, or status by seeing how we compare to others. 

Is she still working through treatment and I’m not? Should I be on a vegan diet like certain influencers? Am I living my best life and enjoying every moment like the people I follow on social media who also have cancer?

Comparison isn’t always bad. It can be a tool for growth where you get new ideas, learn new skills, or access resources.


But  it can also create misery, depending on whether you can hold onto your own worthiness no matter what it looks like others are doing and enjoying.

One takeaway for me was how as humans we have always needed one another to survive, but also how painful it can be when you don’t feel like you belong somewhere.  

The amygdala, the primitive brain of fight/flight/freeze in response to perceived threat, gets so activated that you can end up in a state of constant anxiety and stress, even during the phases or moments in life where there is a break from difficulty.

A cancer diagnosis creates a fight/flight/freeze response in everyone it affects, from the patient to loved ones, doctors, or acquaintances.

The fight/flight/freeze response is automatic but you don’t want to get stuck there.

Last weekend, my JoyBoots Inner Circle Group, that has been meeting for years, got together for our first in person retreat.  Talk about having so many activities that helped us relax out of fight/flight, stress, and anxiety!

We enjoyed the first bit of beautiful weather for practicing yoga and meditation outside, swimming, and looking at the stars.  Our view was bucolic country farms and we breathed in the peaceful natural beauty and sounds. Our delicious, healthy meals were beautifully prepared and served.

We shared our feelings and goals, tears and memories. We acknowledged our weariness. We left with greater tenderness for one another and for ourselves.

We felt safe and nurtured and, I believe, a sense of belonging and understanding.

These are the rare antidotes to chronic stress, especially among cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.

What are the ways you are showing tenderness this week, especially towards yourself? Can you reach out for more support if needed?

How DO You Heal Emotionally after the Trauma of Cancer? The 6 Principles

Over the years, I’ve received many messages from people who heard an interview I did with Dr. Ann Kelly (shared below) at Therapist Uncensored about how hard it is to heal after the trauma of having cancer.  And I explain the six keys to unlocking the healing process.

In September, 2023, new classes, therapy groups, and an online course will begin to help you learn and practice skills based on these principles.

Be sure you are on the JoyBoots community mailing list so you know when they open up!


Cancer sucks, no way around it. If you have it, had it or are supporting someone who does, this episode will be nourishment for you by bringing your mind and body into the healing and recovery process for cancer and trauma is so important.

Fighting cancer is often traumatic physically, emotionally and relationally. Podcast host Dr. Ann Kelley joins therapist and Yoga Instructor Kelly Inselmann (LCSW, C-IAYT,CGP) as she shares her personal journey through cancer recovery and describes her passion and process in supporting others to find hope and healing while in this compromised state.

They discuss how modifying the six principles of emotional recovery into the basic principles of yoga can have an immense impact on well-being and recovery.

What Makes You Feel Free?

Each of us in the room resonates with a desire to feel free, spacious, and connected to a deeper pulse of life through our breathing and dancing. More than most, we know how fast time goes.


Check out “Melinda’s” update 8 years after her diagnosis for stage 3 breast cancer.

There is so much post traumatic growth in her life.

My first blog, Liberation Dance, describes how Melinda began trying new activities and moving her body in new, less inhibited ways to experience moments of joy.

In honor of Independence Day, read the whole story here:


After treatment, “Melinda” had the life goal of retiring and building a cottage on her good friend’s beautiful property out in the country.

She spent a year preparing her house for sale.  To free herself up to live in a new world of her own making, she had to go through generations worth of memories, keepsakes and clutter. It was not easy.

But she did it!

A few years later, she lives in a custom built little casita. She shares that her mind is free to prioritize her own physical health, and connection to nature and gardens. The design of her home is all clean lines and consciously chosen pops of color and art.

What makes you feel free?

On my trip, I have felt free walking along the shore in Menorca, stopping where my intuition leads me to swim in the clear Mediterranean, even though I have to walk past people not feeling great about how I look in my bathing suit.

I am not deterred! The blue waters beckon.

My strength to walk alone in an unfamiliar place makes me feel free. My confidence of not worrying what other people think of me makes me feel free (and yes, I agree they aren’t paying attention anyway)

Being willing to take up space and share my experience makes me feel free.

How about you?

What makes you feel free?


8 Week Online JoyBoots Therapy Group starts soon!









The cancer experience is a challenge that continues to unfold as you integrate the painful moments as well as the heart opening ones.  Whether you are still in treatment or finished, in my experience, the emotional work is not over and, in fact, is a rich part of your life’s journey. You don’t just “get over” your deeper awareness of the fragility of life and the desire to find greater meaning from your life and relationships.

That’s why I’m writing to invite you to join a special 8 week therapy group for cancer survivors that will meet (online ZOOM) beginning February 16th.  Because we are online, you can join from anywhere!

This group touches on a new theme specific to the cancer experience each week with the goal of moving you forward on your emotional healing journey.

Themes include:


This therapeutic group integrates simple movement and yoga for strength and energy and provides a unique space to begin to share, integrate, and heal.

I’m looking for people who know the value of acknowledging and sharing feelings and have an openness to begin with yoga and meditation. This is a group for working on and uplifting YOU!

$50 per 1 hr 30 minute group or $375 for the 8 week series. Compare at $150 for a 50 minute individual therapy session.

Move beyond the “new normal” to a place of greater support and healing. For additional details, questions and to register for the required individual session (at a reduced rate), please email 

The individual session is for me to understand your experience with cancer and to be sure the group is a good fit for you at this time. I’m also happy to answer questions by email prior to scheduling your session.


Challenging Times call for MORE Support

COVID-19 is affecting everyone and no one is immune. But for those of us who have undergone cancer treatment, are currently under the care of cancer specialists or are caring for someone with cancer, there are even more precautions to take to protect ourselves and those we care for. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I’ve compiled cancer-specific information you should know so you can reduce your exposure risk, stay healthy and be prepared in these uncertain times.

What do cancer patients need to know about the coronavirus?
According to Miriam Falco, Managing Director at the American Cancer Society, the COVID-19 outbreak is still new, and there’s not a lot of specific information on how it impacts cancer patients. But doctors do have a lot of information regarding the risk of infections in general for cancer patients and they agree the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus, which is especially important for cancer patients because they are  at higher risk for serious illness. Patients who are in active chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant patients are at an even higher risk because their immune systems are suppressed or eliminated by treatment. [READ MORE] The peer-reviewed medical journal, The Lancet, published a study in mid-February which concluded both current and former cancer patients are at greater risk from COVID-19. The study looked at 2,007 cases of hospitalized COVID-19 patients from 575 hospitals in China. Out of that group, they found 18 patients with a history of cancer they could track — some currently in treatment, some years out. Nearly half of those patients had a higher risk of “severe events” (defined as admission to the ICU, the need for ventilation or death). “We found that patients with cancer might have a higher risk of COVID-19 than individuals without cancer,” the study authors wrote. “Additionally, we showed that patients with cancer had poorer outcomes from COVID-19, providing a timely reminder to physicians that more intensive attention should be paid to patients with cancer, in case of rapid deterioration.” [READ MORE]

How can you protect yourself from getting COVID-19?
Keep these points in mind and make protecting your health a priority. Liz Highleyman, Science Editor for Cancer Health shares common-sense precautions to take.

  • Avoid close contact—meaning within about six feet—with people who have a cough or other respiratory symptoms.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Healthy people do not need to routinely wear face masks to prevent infection, but use a mask if you are caring for someone who is ill.
  • Get the flu vaccine. Older people should also consider getting vaccinated against pneumonia.
  • If you think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, contact a health care provider promptly if you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Before you go to a clinic or hospital, call ahead so the staff can take appropriate precautions.


What extra precautions should you take?
As shared by Cancer Care, there are several everyday measures you should take to protect yourself that the general population may not be as proactive about.

  • Try to obtain extra necessary medications in case your community experiences an outbreak of COVID-19 and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time. Consider using mail-order medications, if possible.
  • Be stocked with over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies, such as tissues and medication good for fighting upper respiratory ailments. Stock enough household products and groceries to reduce the need to leave your home.
  • Work remotely from home, if possible, or make other plans for work.
  • If you can, use the help of others to fetch or deliver anything you might need, including food and medical supplies. This reduces your exposure to others as much as possible. Even when using this help, ask for them to disinfect themselves and then clean any deliveries you might receive. Caregivers should use the same precautions in public that those with a cancer diagnosis do.

How long after chemo has ended, does a patient’s immune system return to that of a non-cancer patient?
Cancer and cancer treatments can weaken the immune system. The immune system is a complex system the body uses to resists infection by germs, such as bacteria or viruses. When the immune system is weakened, there is a higher risk for infection. Because of this, infection is a common complication of cancer and cancer treatment and certain types can be life-threatening if not found and treated early. If you’re getting treatment for cancer, your cancer care team will talk to you about any increased risk for infection you may have, and what can be done to help prevent infection. Usually the risk is temporary because the immune system recovers after a period of time, but each person is different. For cancer patients who finished treatment a few years ago or longer, their immune systems have most likely recovered. But this depends a lot on the type of cancer you had, the type of treatment you received, and other medical problems you might have that can affect your immune system. [READ MORE] Dr. Gary Lyman, an oncologist and health policy expert at The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, states that those who have finished cancer treatment should also be mindful of their increased risk. “The risk extends beyond the period of active treatment,” said Dr. Lyman. The after-effects of treatment don’t end when people finish their last course of therapy or leave the hospital after surgery. The after-effects of cancer and the immunosuppressive effects of treatment can be long-term.” [READ MORE]

How does COVID affect oncology and patient treatment?
Call your health care provider and follow their guidance on whether or not you should continue with your current cancer treatments if you’re receiving them. Some hospitals are pre-screening patients for Coronavirus symptoms over the phone prior to their appointment, then screening again upon their arrival to limit any potential spread of the disease to other patients. Jo Cavallo of The ASCO Post, wrote that in the oncology community, the response has been swift to protect health-care providers and patients with cancer, who may be especially vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus because of their systemic immunosuppressive state caused by their malignancy and anticancer treatments, including chemotherapy and surgery. To reduce the risk of infection to patients and staff members, several cancer institutions, including The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, have canceled all international and domestic work-related travel for meetings or conferences. [READ MORE]
Distress related to fear and depression is familiar to most people who face cancer.  What happens when you add the additional uncertainty of unfolding current events? I’m hearing from many JoyBooters who find themselves trying to prioritize self care, but feeling alone with fears, worries, and sadness.

These times call for more emotional support, even in this time of unprecedented physical distancing.

I’m offering some antidotes to the isolation.  Please join me in choosing an online group opportunity to share more personally and deeply and to stay buoyant in these challenging waters:

Weekly Support Group – Weekly on Thursdays 7pm -must have previously attended taken Kelly’s programs. Email me for invite. Begins April 3.
Healing Well Course – Intro Course Beginning May 3rd for people who completed active treatment or are at a stabilized point in ongoing treatment.

If you are a member of Capital of Texas Team Survivor and attend Kelly’s Wednesday Wellness Warrior yoga class (or wish to be) please send me an email at to be on the list for weekly reminders AND THE ZOOM LINK to my free online JoyBooter Yoga classes for the duration of our physical distancing.

This online class is open to JoyBooters from anywhere (not just Austin). Once you are on the online class list, you will receive the reminder and link each week.

More information on how I teach yoga can be found in previous VLOG posts that share meditations and kundalini yoga practices.

Stay home and stay safe and reach out!

Don’t minimize your own feelings and needs.

New Yoga and Talk Series Featuring Joybooters!

with Linda Griesel

The Yoga & Talk series features Joybooter stories and words of encouragement to nurture, heal and inspire— and in doing so, helps us to get to know one another, stay connected and to remind us that we are never alone in our healing journeys.

Share a little bit about yourself.
I am an Air Force brat who settled in Austin in 1988.  31 years! My husband and I share Austin with our daughter, son, and a semi-obedient Airedale Terrier named Beau.  I’ve worked as an attorney – mainly as an advocate for abused women and children.  I’ve also worked as a special-ed and substitute teacher, caterer, and volunteered throughout my children’s educations – as well as caretaking my parents.

Yoga and meditation are centering parts of my day.  I also belong to 2 book groups, binge-watch lots of Netflix, and like spending time with my friends doing all of these things.

Share a little bit about your cancer experience.
Before I was diagnosed, I learned about cancer from my mother who was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in the bad-old-days of treatment, 1973.  I learned how to LIVE with cancer by watching her as a survivor for 35 years.

In July 2014, I was told I had II-B Invasive Breast Cancer. After treatment (slash/poison/burn), I was left with familiar side effects including Lymphedema, Chemo-Brain, and the inability to continue with the prescribed Aromatase Inhibitors.

How has it benefited you to be part of the Joyboots community?
The Joyboots Community are my TRIBE.  I didn’t know I was looking for (or needed) a support group the first time I tried out the Weekly Wellness Warrior Group (you know, Cancer Yoga).  When Kelly explained to a group of cancer survivors the concept of Sat Nam – that we could make room for our own true selves – I was hooked.  She built a group that accepts each other as we are right now.  In the five years since my diagnosis, the group’s kind and generous spirit and Kelly’s wise and graceful teachings have seen me through.

I saw my mother be a true leader and builder of her cancer support community.  She connected people together with acceptance of where they were in their experience.  Even without the benefit of yoga in 1970’s Wichita Falls, she helped a  huge number of survivors find the room for their true selves.  I’m fiercely proud of the Tribe she built and hope I can be a connector, too.

What is your meditation practice like?
Some days, I simply repeat Sat Nam on a repeating loop. Other days I use Kelly’s Joyboots website for a variety of great meditation ideas. Add self-guided meditation Apps, and of course, yoga practice.

How has yoga and meditation benefited you?
I learned how to breathe.  It allows me to realize that moments of joy and contentment can erupt and it has given me the tools to recognize and appreciate them.

What practices have benefitted you the most?
The Weekly Warrior Practice with my Tribe.  At the start of each class, Kelly has us listen for and identify 3 sounds. When I hear the breath of my Tribe, focused in our work, settling into practice – that to me is the most joyful sound.

What are you still struggling to cope with?
Like everyone, life! I think that’s what surviving means.  How are we going to live our lives faced with the uncertain and burdened by the past?  I feel that Kundalini has given me tools to use everyday to move forward.

What brings you moments of joy?
Being able to choose to live in the moment, being able to practice gratitude, and putting both those concepts into practice with my loved ones.  And a good glass of wine.

What is something you’d like to share with the community to help them along their healing journey?
I have a friend who said “we’ve all been broken at times and we will be again.  It helps us reach out to hold onto each other.”

To be a supportive member of my Tribe, it helps me to look for inspiration, not obligation, to find my true self and to find moments of joy.

Sat Nam.

If you wish to connect with Linda, you may send her an email at

Survey on Emotional Impact of Cancer


As I shared last week, I learn so much from you and your experiences.  Whether you are also a cancer survivor, a loved one, or an oncology professional, could you do me a quick favor?

I’m about to offer my Healing Well: Reconnect with Your Life After Cancer course again and could use some feedback before I finish it up.

Would you be able to help me by answering a few quick questions based on your own hard earned experience? It should take 1-2 minutes):


Why Do I Do It?

“You have given me the strength to carry on and find happiness and light.” Suzanne Cowper


Sometimes people ask me why I want to work with cancer survivors. They wonder why it doesn’t bring me down. It may seem strange, but I usually have the opposite feeling from my work with people faced with cancer or those who have been through treatment.

I generally feel so uplifted and encouraged by the strength of the human spirit, the poignancy, the depth and the humanness we all share. I also like being with people who can deeply understand what it’s like to consciously face their own mortality and carry on, even while living a day to day existence. I get to see people experience the whole range of normal human emotions– the
shock, the fear, the anger, the ecstatic experience of the present moment, the appreciation and gratitude for the gift of life and their blessings. I get to see immense courage which always includes such touching vulnerability.

All these experiences that people have, they bring with them to the yoga mat and to counseling sessions and I get to be inspired by their courage and touched by their vulnerability. I’m deeply moved by the common humanity we share and the different stages of emotional shock, anger, fear, gratitude and wonder we all experience. I get to witness and share in people’s moments of awareness and healing no matter what is happening with the cancer in their bodies.

I had a friend who came with me often to chemo. Her prayer with me as we would begin the treatments was “Thank you for this breath. Thank you for this moment.” I hold this with me today as the highest prayer, simply to be present and aware and show gratitude for this moment, right here, right now.  True healing is not the same as cure. Cure is something else. To me, healing is about coming in to reality and accepting it while maintaining appreciation of the gift of this present moment.

When faced with a life-threatening illness which draws you into a confrontation with your own physical vulnerability and mortality, your system is awakened. First, you are in shock, but then you remain very alert. You are alert to your fear, the side effects, ideas of the future, the urgency to take action, your desire to protect loved ones. More than ever, you have the opportunity to be very alert and sensitive to what is most important.

I want to be around people who have been awakened. I want to surround myself with those who, even though they would not have chosen this path, are using this path to connect to their own hearts and pulse of life. The people I’m drawn to are those who have the undeniable strength to carry on, seek happiness and light even when rummaging around in the darkness of difficult moments.

So many people have reached out to me during my husband’s illness with love, encouragement and deep understanding. They have shared their own experiences of surgery and treatment with great advice and deep empathy for my husband and me. I learn so much from the Joybooters who come to my classes and groups. I get as much energy as I give and learn at least as much as I teach from the brilliant minds and warm hearts I am connected to.

Let’s All Take a Deep Breath

“I feel that since my diagnosis of cancer, I’ve had an accelerated learning curve about myself and the rest of the universe.

I miss my ‘old self’ but I know that I am living life to it’s fullest and enjoying every breath.

Breath. It really is everything.” 

Nancy Kirby, Austin, TX

Stopping to take a breath, focusing on long, deep breathing can support you as you move forward with your healing. You likely already know that deep breathing is the foundation of most meditation practices, but it benefits your mind and body in many ways you may not have considered.

By breathing deeply, you allow your diaphragm to relax, your rib cage to expand and create more space for the lungs to fill with life. This increases oxygen in your blood, eventually helping your heart rate to slow down, creating feelings of calmness, peace and relaxation.

Deep breathing also detoxifies your body and releases toxins. Roughly 70% of toxins in our bodies are released through our breath. Carbon dioxide, as an example, is a natural waste product of your body’s metabolic process.

So what other benefits can you experience from practicing deep breathing?

  • Strengthening the lymphatic system
  • Calming the nervous system
  • Lowering and stabilizing blood pressure
  • Reducing feelings of anxiety and stress
Now that you know how deep breathing can benefit your mind and body, let’s practice.
  1. Sit in a comfortable position, lie flat on the floor, your bed or yoga mat- somewhere you’re comfortable.
  2. Relax your shoulders and your back. Really tune into every part of your body to make sure you’re not feeling tension anywhere.
  3. Breathe in through your nose until your lungs feel full. Experience the air moving through your nostrils into your abdomen, making your stomach expand.
  4. Exhale slowly until your lungs feel deflated.
  5. Repeat this process several times.
If you’d like to practice with me, click here.

Are You Easily Shocked?

Learning that you or a loved one has cancer is a shock. Most survivors measure their lives as before and after cancer, often commemorating the day of diagnosis as their “cancerversary,” the day their lives changed forever.

The word cancer itself, until very recently, was whispered and avoided for the fear it could inspire.

People who were very ill were sometimes not even told their diagnosis for fear that

the truth would create unbearable emotional distress.

What does emotional shock look like? It can vary:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory lapses
  • Confusion
  • Feeling shut down or numb
  • Inability to function
  • Fear, anger, difficulty controlling emotions
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Feeling outside of your body
  • Difficulty remaining in the present moment
  • Laughing, crying, screaming
  • Being in denial and moving along as though nothing has happened.
  • At a moment when you most need to be clearminded in order to make complicated decisions on treatment, you may feel foggy, overwhelmed or emotionally disregulated.

It’s a challenge, but this is the time to get grounded.

Getting grounded means taking measures to feel connected to your body, your breath and the present moment.

In a moment of overwhelm, here’s what I recommend for getting grounded:

  1. Rely on your community – start talking and sharing what you feel with safe people. Do not try to go it alone if you can connect with others. Get and give hugs and healthy touch (try a massage!).
  2. If you don’t have much social support at diagnosis, reach out immediately for support groups in person and online. Find spaces that are encouraging and uplifting at this point in the process.
  3. Do practices for connecting to your body and breath , and through your body to the earth and nature. Walking, running, swimming, meditation, yoga, connecting to pets or children.
  4. Check out this video for one guided practice: