Rest and Resources


Rest can be so under valued in our culture, but it’s crucial for both emotional and physical healing.

Look for opportunities to seek a place of rest in your everyday life, a concept from The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach us about Living Fully.

and Krista Tippett’s On Being Podcast where she interviews Katherine May about wintering.


1. Cutting edge research on survivorship if you have been treated for breast cancer in the past 5 years, are over 21 years of age, live in the U.S., and use a smartphone (you may be eligible to participate).
Contact my colleague, Ashley Hennegan, PhD, RN, FAAN, here.

2. Rakefet Laviolette, LPC Associate, is offering a new Group for Caregivers. Details can be found here.

3. Moving Beyond Cancer Coalition Classes : 

Classes on healthy survivorship, movement and more,

When Cancer Dominates Your Life

For the second time over the last 16 years, I recently had the sensation as I was going about my daily life: “I feel like I have my life back.”

The first time was a few years after finishing active treatment for stage 3 breast cancer.  It had taken me several years to feel that I could return to what felt like normalcy, where I had choices on how to focus my attention and could trust in the future.

Again, things have shifted a lot for me personally and it feels like all of a sudden!

Many of you know that my husband of almost 30 years was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer 5 years ago.  After grueling treatments which included months in the hospital during the pandemic (for cancer reasons, not covid), he has reached a place of relative stability.

By stability, I mean we are still living between 3 month scans but he’s on a break from treatment for 9 months now. Gotta love these breaks from treatment where you start to feel your energy come back! And then he surprised me by going back to work after being retired for almost 2 years.

It happened after I had spent a month away over the summer.

My daughter Alima, who is 16 now, and I spent a month in Spain this summer visiting relatives. She attended a 10 day camp and I spent 7 blissful days by myself on the island off Menorca.  Read about how free I felt in Menorca:

This fall, my daughter is in 10th grade at Westlake High School and works part time, while my husband was recruited back to his field and is enjoying himself.

And here I am asking myself a question I have asked before: “How do you connect with your identity after cancer has dominated your life for years?”

I feel a bit distracted as I turn back towards the work I love, with people who seek to make meaning of their lives, increase their vitality, and heal emotional wounds.

I’m grateful to the JoyBoots Inner Circle Group for keeping me devoted to our work together. They have continued meeting for 4 years through hell and high water, since initially meeting in yoga classes and my online course, Healing Well: Reconnect with Your Life after Cancer.

Together we have celebrated the life milestone of one member selling her house and building her dream cottage out in the country with her best friends. We have celebrated times of stability in treatment and good family news.

We have supported each other through recurrences and even through the heartbreaking passing of a beloved member, Jane.  In group, we ask each other: “What do you think Jane would say to that?” And the answer is always something irreverent, brutally honest, and empowering. Her spirit and wisdom live on in us.

In the past few months, I have grieved the losses of a dear friend and a of a dear client, both age 41, both irreplaceable and  leaving behind 2 children and heartbroken families.

I continue to grieve the losses of all these friends.

Sometimes people wonder how I work with people who are facing cancer. I admit, I have to pay attention to my own self care and make sure I’m exercising, and socializing and now…traveling!

But for me, it’s not a burden to meet with JoyBooters, it’s an honor and it’s often super fun.  Being with people who recognize the fragility of life, who love deeply and care so much for their loved ones, makes my life more vivid. I am reminded that time is shorter than we think, and each moment more beautiful.  For me, it’s an honor to have this deep level of connection.  It helps me make meaning of my own life.

Quite frankly, JoyBooters always end up inspiring me.

So, this fall, I have turned much more determinedly towards revamping my signature program which shares my 6 Steps for Emotional Recovery from the Trauma of Cancer. You can listen to this podcast interview I gave about my ideas.

In early 2024, the course will open for people who are newly diagnosed and for cancer survivors who have finished active treatment.  A version for people living with metastatic cancer and a caregiver version will come soon after.

As I work on the course, this question continues to guide me: “How do I connect to my identity after cancer has dominated my life?”  Does this resonate for you?



Can Yoga and Meditation help Chemobrain?

Did you know one of our favorite JoyBoots Yoga meditations, Kirtan Kriya, improves memory and cognition as well as decreases inflammation?  There’s research to show it! Click here to find out more and try it yourself.

Hundreds of people have learned to meditate in JoyBoots Yoga over the past 12 years.  This photo of my dear friend Joy, who helped me create my online course, Healing Well: Re-Connect with Your Life after Cancer, shows us practicing the meditation together.  Like many JoyBooters, she went on to practice it daily for months. 

But sometimes it’s hard to get motivated. Circumstances are always less than perfect, aren’t they? It can be easy to neglect healthy habits.

There have been times over the past 4 years since my husband’s diagnosis, my daughter’s entry to middle school, and oh yes – the pandemic that I’ve neglected my own practice.

But taking time both for relaxation, meditation, and feeling part of the larger group of healing humans lifts your mood, gives you energy so you can move forward with more joy.

That’s why JoyBoots Yoga Classes are back for the next 3 Wednesdays in June. June 7-21. Noon-1:15pm. ONLINE. $20 per class (or pay what you can).  More info on the class here.

Email to put your name on my most recent list for the ZOOM LINK and Wednesday reminders about the class.

It’s easier to practice together!

From Anxious to Grounded

We’re living from one day to the next with additional layers of stress, worry and anxiety. Things may feel overwhelming, out of control and uncertain. Learning to be okay in the present moment, a witness to your life experience, is one of the benefits of practicing yoga and meditation.

When you bring your awareness to the present moment, you activate the part of your brain (the frontal lobe) that regulates and soothes emotions. You also increase the possibility of feeling compassion for yourself and others.

Cutting edge psychotherapy recognizes these 3 elements from yoga and meditation that help you come into the present moment, lower anxiety, and tolerate acute stress and post traumatic stress:

Feeling grounded
Feel connected to your body, your breath, and to the physical space around you including the floor and the earth.

Being the Observer
Be the witness to what you are thinking and feeling, instead of being captured by every thought or feeling, pulled into reliving the past, or worrying about the future.

Allowing Everything
Once you notice the thought, feeling or sensation, give it permission to be present.  Imagine it has the right be here. Don’t try to push it away. Allow everything to simply BE, just as it is, in this moment.

Healing occurs more readily when you are able to feel grounded, recognize the relative safety of the present moment, feel your feelings, and speak your truth. We can all benefit from taking time to be present and from giving ourselves the gift of time and space— to breathe, to feel, to be.

Join me in this yoga video to practice together:


Exploring the Effectiveness of Meditation on Post-Treatment Chemobrain

Last year, I collaborated with Ashley Henneghan, NP, PhD, to test the impact of Kirtan Kriya )mantra meditation) on chemobrain and I shared this article detailing the research with you last week.

Daily meditation is a challenge for almost everyone! As soon as you sit quietly, your mind is flooded with unresolved issues and unprocessed feelings.  Sometimes it can even be overwhelming to contend with them.  Meditation is not always a peaceful experience, especially as you are still coming to terms with a traumatic experience.

There’s a recently published study that highlights how women’s brains “age” as they go through chemotherapy – which is just about the best description that I can relate to.  I felt like my body and brain were aged 20-25 years post treatment.

I remember searching the library at MD Anderson in 2008 for studies or data on ”chemobrain” so I could understand what I was facing.  My doctors didn’t seem to understand that my cognitive impairment was real and couldn’t solely be attributed to depression or anxiety.

At that time, they were just beginning to discover that chemotherapy does indeed cross the “blood/brain” barrier.  Intuitively, I knew that my brain was part of my body so why wouldn’t it be impacted?

“…A handful of animal studies in the mid-2000s showed that chemotherapy drugs could get through the blood-brain barrier. Shortly after, a surge of neuroimaging studies provided biological evidence: Brains of chemotherapy patients had to work harder during memory recall than those of cancer patients who did not receive the drugs (Clinical Cancer Research, Vol. 15, No. 21, 2009). ‘The interpretation was that their neural networks had been altered, making the brain work much harder to do the same tasks, Kesler says.” (Cognition and Cancer Treatment)

To learn more, check out this great article written by Ashley Henneghan, RN, MPH, Associate Professor at the University of Texas School of Nursing.

If you’re affected by chemobrain and want to experience the benefits of Kirtan Kriya meditation, you can read more about how to do it here. I’m also happy to share a video meditation with you here.

Befriending Discomfort and Each Other

The cancer experience almost invariably brings discomfort. From initial diagnosis through treatment and after, physical and emotional discomfort can be a side effect.

I’ve been invited to present on my work at the International Yoga Therapy Conference and plan to share 3 healing elements from trauma psychology (which derived them from eastern mindfulness practices) to address working with discomfort. I teach these in every class and group to address side effects, anxiety and depression, and PTSD.

These Elements of Befriending Discomfort are:

Getting “Grounded”

Becoming the Observer.

Allowing Everything to Be (just as it is in this moment).

All of this is easier said than done. That’s why we need places to practice!

How can you learn these practices with me?

  1. Join the JoyBoots Community List and receive a free weekly Monday newsletter with meditations and inspiration for emotional recovery after cancer.
  2. Try the Tuesday online LIVE JoyBoots Sanctuary Community from the comfort of your own home.
  3. Attend the Wellness Warrior Yoga class on Wednesdays at noon at YogaYoga Westgate (open to women and men)
  4. Schedule an individual session with me at Cancer Rehab and Integrative Medicines. Office hours are Thursdays or
  5. Get on the preregistration list for my 6 week online course, Healing Well: Reconnect with Your Life After Cancer which begins again in

My groups and classes are lively and full of smart women who have made strong friendships and support one another as well as welcome newcomers. All programs are open to women who have experienced any type of cancer.

Befriending discomfort is an ongoing practice of bringing light and compassion to yourself and your human experience.  It’s also allowing others to connect with you, even through the pain.  Sharing the burden can mitigate the pain.


The Benefits of Interrupting

Is interrupting always rude? Raised in Texas to have good manners, I learned never to interrupt, to be a good listener and to make a lot of space for others.

But having survived cancer and hit the half century mark, I’m starting to think differently about interrupting.

Particularly when it’s in the service of my mental, physical and emotional health.

If you are like me, it’s easy to operate on automatic pilot, attending to the same tasks, driving to the same places, cooking the same meals, distracting yourself in the same ways, listening to the same people, even thinking the same thoughts.

Do you have any thoughts that are repeated over and over? How are they serving you?

Cancer and other difficult situations can shock you right out of your everyday illusions, waking you to appreciate what you have taken for granted, challenging you to deepen your awareness of the present moment.

Difficulties and tragedies awaken your ability to more clearly see the patterns in your life and make different choices.

What are the patterns to interrupt?  For example, our pattern of shallow breathing which reinforces anxiety, ruminating negative thoughts about the past or future, restricted range of movement, repressing emotions, making others comfortable at your own expense, isolating yourself,  and ignoring your own intuition.

I love to teach yoga and meditation, breathwork and mantra as tools that disrupt the status quo inside of you.

These practices create a space outside your normal pattern, even if for just a moment. It is in these moments that you begin to observe your patterns. By becoming the observer, over time, you are able to choose different habits of movement, thinking and breathing. And meanwhile you are experiencing moments of greater calm and openness.

These moments have a cumulative effect and over time can strengthen and stabilize your mind and energy.

You don’t have to only behave according to the cultural customs you learned. As long as you are alive, you can try new things if you can momentarily disrupt how things have always been.

What is Sanctuary?

I think of a safe place, where I am welcome exactly as I am. No need for performance. I can set down my burdens and extend my legs and catch my breath.

I notice what’s happening around me because for just a moment, I can let down my guard. No need to scan for danger.

I think of entering an ancient space, with cool walls and floor and with a cozy place to lie down. I think of a community sanctioned spot, a chapel, a temple, a park, or a safe house, a friend who is always home and has something cooking.

I know the people in the sanctuary are holding a space for me and devoted to a higher consciousness than we what I live in during much of life. I know the space is one that was created for safety and for aligning with a Higher purpose that includes compassion for the human experience and reverence for the sacredness in each of us.

I have the image of grandmothers taking me in, washing my brow and comforting me, caring for my wounds. Protecting me. A place to go when no one else understands. Here, they hold space for me to love myself again. Here, I surrender the need to know what the future holds and the notion that I must be in control.

Instead, I rest in a space of openness- to learn, rest, heal, care, and be.


Permission Granted: Take the Time You Need to Heal

Jessica had barely finished treatment for a second bout with lung cancer when her medical leave was over and her supervisor was calling to see when she would return. Her team needed her and the supervisor was subtly probing to see if they could count on her or should look for a replacement. In truth, Jessica does not feel ready to return. She is fatigued, unable to sleep, and her memory feels unreliable. The thought of the high pressure environment with lots of deadlines and expectations feels overwhelming. She thinks she can negotiate another few months away, but feels “guilty” for not being ready to return. She tells herself to be grateful she has a job and worries others will think she’s a “complainer.”

Angelica has 2 children under 12. She’s 6 months post treatment for breast cancer. A lot of people helped her when she was “sick” but now that she’s “cured” her family and friends expect her to be fully recovered. They only want her to think “positive.” She feels pulled to volunteer for every school and church activity, to be emotionally present for her children at all times since they were fearful about losing her, and she wants to show her gratitude for life by saying yes to everything. But she’s exhausted. And she finds herself angry and resentful that no one understands she still has pain, side effects, and fatigue.

Dori is a single mom to her 17 year old son and works as a waitress. Her son wants to get a part time job to help with bills but Dori has ben reluctant to agree, fearing it will keep him from his studies. Dori ‘s cancer has spread and she worries about losing her health insurance because of pre-existing condition. She hasn’t let family of friends know how hard it is to make ends meet because she hates “bothering people” by asking for help.


Permission #1

Give yourself permission to take the time you need to heal.

Ask for what you need.

Don’t rush. You don’t have to immediately be back to full “productiveness.” Your body and your mind have been surviving a shock and trauma. Don’t underestimate the impact it’s had. Don’t over schedule or push yourself.

Try this Affirmation: 

I am gentle with myself. I am still healing. I am taking the time I need.