Easing Anxiety & Fear With Art Therapy

At the end of 2011, when my watchwords (creativity, honesty & soulful purpose) for 2012 appeared, I had no idea just how much they’d become companions for my journey through Cancerville.

Even though Fall has officially begun, I want to talk about how I spent my summer, and how creativity has shown up as part of my journey to wellness.

Most of the other people I’ve met in Cancerville have a challenging time with the notion of giving grace in the face of this difficult diagnosis; referring to cancer as a beast which conjures up ideas of noble fights and merciless warriors focused on destruction of the enemy. Destruction, enemies, fighting… do not feel or sound like Love to me, but fear.

Fear is a companion we meet on any journey in life and it isn’t going anywhere. I’ve learned, fearlessness isn’t about a state or condition where no fear exists. That’s called grace. Part of healing, for me, has been about understanding and accepting with grace, my diagnosis and the fear about it. A state of grace allows me to accept and see the gifts that come with this journey.

The wisest of warriors understand fearlessness is really about how we show up in the face of our adversity. How present we remain when fear gets up in our face. Remaining present is a condition we cultivate from within, and is not based on certain external conditions being met or the absence of them.

This summer, I completed six rounds of chemotherapy. Every two weeks for 12 weeks, I went in, got hooked up and sat and watched as Adriamycin & Cytoxin (AC for short in Cancerville) was pushed into my veins. One of the reasons I believe I was able to handle chemotherapy with mild to very little side affects was because of what I told myself about what was happening to me. I told my story about it, and refused to listen to or chime in with others who wanted to compare long lists of complaints. I couldn’t focus on those things if I expected to heal with the help of chemotherapy.

What I did do though, when fear arrived (because it did and continues to visit regularly whispering to me stories about poison, toxicity and long-term side affects) was a lot of art.

What do you think about when you create art? Do you remember art class in school? It was one of my favorite times because I knew I could relax. Turn my brain off; at least a portion of it. And since fear is so good at serving up endless scenarios as possibilities for my future, encouraging me to size up exactly what I’m up against, art has been the perfect therapy to bring me back to the present moment and help me focus and stay there.

One of my favorite art projects this summer has been transferring Instagram photos to wood (specifics about how to do it yourself can be found in this post). Transferring Instagram photos to wood requires time, which is what I got a lot of these days. Rolling wet paper—that’s been glued down onto one inch thick 6 x 6 inch pieces of wood—into little balls takes a lot of patience. And when I’m working with it, I can’t really think about anything else. Not cancer, not chemo, not my upcoming bi-lateral mastectomy. Just whether or not I’m being gentle enough with the soaked paper so I don’t remove the ink that’s been transferred to the wood.

I also purchased a coloring book made specifically for women that encourages creative expression and giving you a voice to all the parts of the healing journey. Called She Dances Between the Worlds, this 90-page journal provides illustrations by artist Shiloh Sophia McCloud as well as blank pages that will support pencils, watercolor, markers or acrylic paint. The artist also includes her own inspirational thoughts about being a creative woman like “Yes, it is her we are after here — yes, the outrageous one within you!!!” and quotes from other brave, creative feminine voices.

Yes, it is her we are after here — yes, the outrageous one within you!!! ~ Shiloh Sophia McCloud

At a recent breast cancer support group meeting where Art Therapy was the evening’s topic, we were encouraged to write a word down and use any kind of medium provided in the class to expand and express ourselves. I started to write the word “whole,” then chickened out for a second and with only the “w” drawn thought about changing it to “well.” Since surgery was on my mind, I decided to honor myself and my fear about the transformation my physical body will undergo next month. I recognize that I’m in the process of discovering greater wholeness. Even though surgery looms, for the first time in my life I’m really listening to my inner teacher, trusting her voice and what she wants me to acknowledge and understand.

And very soon, I plan on doing something with the plaster bust I created during Keep-A-Breast’s Treasured Chest event.

All summer long, I’ve focused on creativity, as a way to help myself heal and to keep my mind focused on affirming life & it’s pleasures; slowing down my endless mind chatter that is filled with anxiousness, worry & fear.

Art therapy is teaching me how to remain present with uncertainty. I’m practicing trusting myself and this journey through Cancerville, believing there are no mistakes & I can’t do any part of this wrong. Which is the same advice every good art teacher gives to her students.

When was the last time you picked up coloring pencils or magic markers? Or sat and colored with your children? It’s a wonderful way to come back to the moment and practice being gentle with your self when the tides of fear rise up and feel overwhelming.

Facing breast cancer or other chronic illness and looking for some relief from the anxiety it brings? If you’re interested in shifting some of your own personal stories about health & wellness, this optimystical way I see things—is my gift, my superpower—that I’d love to share with you. If you feel you’d benefit by it, visit my coaching page for more info.
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eyelashes

On Wednesday, I had a personal moment. while in the bathroom applying my mascara, the thought crossed my mind for the umpteenth time.

“they’re all gonna fall out.”

and i felt my chest heave up. my nostrils flare open. i was sucking it in.

eventually, you have to let it go. and i did. my breath. and a ton of other girlie thoughts about them.

At my first oncology visit, the nurse practitioner was gazing over the doctor’s shoulder as he did the standard health check on me. gently pressing his stethascope into my chest, she stood behind him looking directly into my eyes.

“deep breathe in for me” he said.

me: (in breathe count of 5. one… two… three… four…)

“wow, you have amazing eyelashes!” she blurts out.

me: (i know and i’m gonna lose everyone of them)… … “Thanks!”

maybe she can’t read my mind. i’m smiling.

but i think she’s thinking it too. or at least wondering if I’m thinking that I know they’re going to fall out.

Really God? a girl’s eyelashes? i’m not even over the boobs. yet.

I looked down at my bathroom sink and there sat a single eye lash, calling my name from the edge of the grand canyon.

i smiled and thought, “make a wish!”

and then began weeping. hard. and decided in that moment I would bless every one of my eyelashes.

each one that still serves me right now. i got them all (still). for a little while longer anyway.

and i thought about making this silly video with my droid last year, before i knew about all this.

My eyelashes have always won me quite the accolades. many women stare closely into my eyes, as she compliments me, looking for evidence of whether or not they’re real. “they are,” i say, or i let her look as long as she needs to if she doesn’t decide to ask.

i always appreciate the compliments. i do. i was blessed; at the moment i was born or by good DNA. astrologically speaking, venus is rising in my chart and she’s the goddess of beauty, art & love. i’m trusting the goddess will remain, through & through, as I watch her transform in front of my eyes in the coming days & weeks.

in my bathroom moment, where i was blessing my eyelashes before they fall, i sort of new instinctively, grace was here. and because i know the power of affirming the truth, of looking into my own eyes and sending grace, appreciation, thanks, gratitude…

i looked up into the mirror and thanked myself for being brave. straight in the eyes i told her, “i love you honey. you amaze me. you are so fucking brave. and i love you for that. I promise to take good care of you throughout this. and to love & cherish each & every eyelash. today’s & tomorrow’s.”

I‘m making a wish, that in every part of this journey, whatver falls out or i leave behind, i affirm my power & beauty, strength & bravery. anything i can think of will be offered in worship, not squandered in fear; not even a single eyelash.

a smile. sunshine. tender loving care from people I’ve never met. and more love from people who already do know & love me.

eyelash wishes.

i’ll wish one for you if you wish one for me… deal?

 

Ready to talk about how to feel empowered to survive & thrive on your cancer journey? If you’re interested in shifting some of your own personal stories around health & wellness, this optimystical way I see things is my gift—my superpower—that I’d love to share with you. If you feel you’d benefit by it, visit my coaching page for more info.

Hug My Cancer

How do you write about life-changing moments? Like… where do you start? Those biiiiigg stories. That feel like you have to reach far back in time to the beginning, instead of simply saying, this is what it is.

Stories. Our stories. The ones that happened to us. The ones that are happening now. The ones we wish & hope for which I call dreams… stories literally shape our lives. In every way.

I’ve been learning a lot about personal storytelling. And Love.

My personal story got a re-write Friday, May 4th. I have cancer. And what I know is one of the most amazing stories of my life is unfolding.

One I never thought I might be telling, not from this vantage point anyway. And here I am. Optimystical Mynde… pedallar of dreams & the magic of believing. Ironic? Mysterious? Karmic? It is what it is.

I am discovering, if I’m willing to be bravely present-moment-minded, so much of everything I’ve ever asked for, sought after or wanted

is right here.

In every tear drop. In each embrace. Words spoken and unspoken.

For today, the story about me and cancer goes like this… I’m doing everything I can to make peace with it. To Love myself. And it.

And let in the amazing outpouring of Love others are offering.

I’m certain about only a few things. I gotta share the journey.

That’s who I am.

I will continue to do what I have been doing, but in a new & different way. Because that’s what we do.

It’s how we do change.

If you’re kinda stunned right now, I understand. It is kinda like a Mack truck, huh?

If you keep reading, I’ve got an idea that I think might help us both/all.

Hug My Cancer

So, I am a believer that fairies live in the words we spell, in our language. Linda Goodman tipped me off to this language of lexigramming & I recently purchased a book called It’s All In The Name by Sharita Star who’s riffed off what Linda shared and become quite masterful with it.

I’m just starting out. And when I received this diagnosis, through snotted up tears, standing in the kitchen one night rather recently I said to whoever had ears to hear it, “I know the word GRACE is in the word CANCER somewhere!” (Even though clearly there is no G in the word CANCER, d’oh!)

But if you HUG MY CANCER, there is!

Let’s be creative.

When things get hard, it’s time to up the fun-ante (something I talk about in the first chapter of my ebook Web Presence Essentials). Sometimes, when it gets really hard and I can’t imagine what fun would look like or feel like, I think about pre-school children.

My daughter went to a pre-school called ‘Discovery Depot.’ I remember doing a lot of peeking when she was this age. In another’s care. I wanted to see her state-of-mind, her state-of-being. And get the indications “all is well in her world.”

When I close my eyes and peek in on this memory, I see children sitting in a circle, playing, interacting together, filling in the gaps of a real-time reality with imaginings & make-believe.

Be a child with me today or sometime this week. 

  • Draw, paint, write, digital photography, video… just hug my cancer. 
  • Pick up your favorite teddy bear, or your real four-legged furry friend, hug them and share the photo on Instagram or text it to me privately at 714-328-3828. And we’ll hug my cancer, together.
  • Mailvu.com is super fun and easy way to record a video and email it anywhere. My email address is mynde (@) myndemayfield (dot) com.

Why would I hug my cancer or want you to? Why not? Love is miraculous. And I’m willing to receive.

Hug my cancer? Won’t you? (Really! I’m certain about this.)

Oh, and what in your life might really begin to shift & change if you decided to love and accept it, instead of fight and conquer it?

Try kindness. Try courage. Try honesty. Try hugs & smiling. Or looking up at the sky. Try not to stop the tears when they want to come. Try. Experiment. Do something different. ♥ ~mm:)

Ready to talk about how to feel empowered to survive & thrive on your cancer journey? If you’re interested in shifting some of your own personal stories around health & wellness, this optimystical way I see things is my gift—my superpower—that I’d love to share with you. If you feel you’d benefit by it, visit my coaching page for more info.

Reverberations, part 1

December 8 – Beautifully Different

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

What’s been revealed to me this year, about my beautifully different, is a kinda of grace and ease that I bring to situations. I’ve learned, you gotta lighten up before you can light up. Learning how to be compassionate and understanding with myself, learning how to be more open (less reactive) to my own path and process. Noticing sorenesses and choosing to sooth them by acknowledging what wants to be acknowledged and allowing myself room to be where I’m at (we usually have judgments against our own feelings, a sneaky kind of self-rejection). Maybe even offer the soreness (myself) a bit of love and acceptance; otherwise there can be no lighting up.

Lighting people up, is about finding new openings into what’s possible, helping you see things differently, and getting a perspective tweak… a perspective that brings you to the edge of hope; igniting passion, creativity, and the courage to fearlessly pursue what your inner knowing is calling you toward.

December 7 – Community

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

Community, for me, is about connection. Connection, is about seeing myself in you. The more I see you & I having a similar or shared experience, the more I realize I am not alone. The things I think, the feelings I feel, are not an isolated experience. Or some strange exception.

Community, for me, is about inspiration. Where I connect with an inner motivation that helps me infuse my personal pursuit of happiness with possibility & wonder, hope & belief in my own dreams and the intrinsic value I bring to it.

Community, for me, is about helpfulness toward one another, the people of our World and Mother Earth. A place where I can choose to be in meaningful service.

In 2011, I’m continuing to connect more deeply into the awareness of my interconnectedness with all of life. When I see my own reflection in you. A Course In Miracles calls this “a holy instant,” where I am able to suspend judgment entirely… and refers to it as “the most useful learning device for teaching you love’s meaning.” This is my 2011 community.

December 6 – Make

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

That last thing I made… was a wish. I wished for today. I used some Esther Hicks, a pen and pad of paper, my imagination, and several dashes of possibility. I took each segment of my today, what I know for sure about it…. like where I’m going, what I’ll be doing, and thought up the best possible outcome for each one. I gave myself a few moments to come into emotional alignment with those outcomes. And dive deeply into exploring how it would make me feel, how I want to feel.  Gently hold that place as long as possible. Then relax into… it was mine before I desired it. Smile, know, love, trust. Let go! Eyes open… begin.

The thing I made time for this year, that I created space for, was/is my morning ritual. In 2011, more and more of my days begin intentionally.

I felt it & looked forward to it, and then it was. ~Abraham

December 5 – Let Go

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

This year, I let go of versions of me… A me with beliefs that no longer serve. A me (always a few of these each year) camping out in my past. A review of what I say to myself about it all…  And wondering who I’m trying to convince… Myself? You? That my belief is true. It’s true (cling). It’s true (clingier). Until it isn’t.  Fortunately, some things outgrow their usefulness.

Dropping Illusions was my attempt to write about a revelatory moment I had this year… where I realized how often I was letting the belief in my inferiority, direct my show. A version of me, I said goodbye to this year.

Reverb10.com. An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb10, you can do both!

Jedi Moves: Working With Sore Spots Using C.O.R.E.

[This post contains a video, so you might need to click through if you’re reading this via email or RSS.]

Last week, I shared about changes I’m personally making in me. Enormous internal ones and how those internal shifts create experiences in my external world.

I shared specifically, about how I have a sore spot, my belief in my own inferiority, and how it was activated during a mobile notary tale. I talked about how my new awareness of the inferiority is showing up, my desire to practice changing it and how that manifested for me.

What I did in the moment, to practice taking care of me. And how I avoided stepping down the slippery slope of allowing my own fear-based reaction meet up with someone else’s on the path. A constant seduction.

Today’s post is more about it. Specifically, what transpired right after it happened.

More life creating it self, for my opportunity and benefit. If you are optimystically-oriented, that is. (I talk about discovering your own personal orientation to life in this post.)

An opportunity to remind myself (and any other coaches reading this) how grateful I am to work with other people, on their own stuff. My clients. For whom I am continually amazed and feel humbled to share parts of their journey with. My journey too.

She had asked for a good place to start with a resource referral I had given her. Another one of my teachers. Those who have taught me how to take better care of me. So I can be more me with all I am. Moment by moment.

And I watched this video and recommended it to my client, realizing it was just as much for me and my situation as it was for hers. Although the details of each of our story lines are very different. As different as this service man’s issue with post traumatic stress disorder will be from yours.

But you can put your issue where his is and gain something of tremendous value here.

And essentially help yourself dissolve the very energy of your sore spot simply by choosing to be with it. Giving it your devoted & undivided attention.

A choice to act with kindness towards myself, when it would be easier to stay where I was and feel aggravated and disempowered.

The residue of how we see a past incident is strong and alive in us, until we choose to bring it fully into our being. We just need to know how…

For more about Tom Stone, visit him on the web at Great Life Technologies.

Free Coaching – The Learnings

Last week, three people asked me about what I had learned after doing the Free Coaching gig I offered at the end of April.

When three people ask, I know it’s time to write. Not that I’ve been looking for things to write about. That appears to me, in every nook & cranny of my life.

But a bigger, underlying false premise behind what stops me from writing is thinking it’s not valuable, relevant or meaningful enough to share.

And since three are asking, I figured even though it feels weird and funky and foreign… I’m willing to share it through my eyes. The things I learned from giving 30 days of free coaching away…

#1 – Just Do It

Before I did it, I had so much hesitancy. Boat loads of it.

I learned, again, that most of the time (at least 95%) I just need to do it. I just need to begin. To start. To jump. To do it.

There is no more right time than right now.

I went for it. Noticing the hesitancy, but not needing it not to be present in order for me to proceed.

I also faced some fear talking smack. It sounded like, “What if no one shows up? What if no one wants what I’ve got? Or gets what I’m doing?”

Ugh. Painful.

But at some point, I think after experiencing my perception of failing, enough times, I’ve made some kinda new peace with it. I still get totally freaked out about it. But once I get enough room to detach, I’m able to remind myself that making mistakes is a good thing.

And the only failure is in not beginning. Or starting again. As the case may be.

#2 – Getting to ‘Money is off the table’ is total freedom.

This one feels like a long time coming. Not that it has come all the way. But it’s coming nonetheless. Like birth again. I feel lots of things being born within me at this time.

Here’s a big one that clarified during this free coaching biz: the people I want to work with want to pay me.

This started out as me internally getting that when I pay someone, it gives me freedom to ask for everything I want from them. From the experience. A real investment in myself. To just go for it.

I want to work with those kinds of people. Where investments in themselves is something they just do. And have done. For a long, long time.

The people showing up to work with me now, since I did this, ask me to bill them and send them money. Are you kidding?!

Money is completely off the table. So offering anything for free is sorta silly… ?

Not that the people I met and had the pleasure of working/are working with are silly.

But to offer it for free… yeah, no. I’m pretty sure I’ve crossed more fully over into a new space about how I value my self and how that’s connected to me doing business.

What I’m Still Learning

I still think there is space in here for me to clarify how people translate value in the offer itself. We all want a good deal. Or a bargain. Maybe its part of creating a sense of urgency, I’m not sure.

I personally don’t always feel supported by urgency. I like to take at least 24 hours to make important decisions. False urgency is gross. And we’ve felt it when we’ve read it on certain sales pages. The lousy scare tactic. Blegh!

But something did happen when I said out loud, this is the offer. It’s free. It’s for a limited time (and named a few other red velvet rope criteria). Something is happening in there. I’m wondering if there is any value in me trying to understand that further.

I’ll let you know what else bubbles up. If it does. Or maybe go re-read Charlie’s posts on pricing perception and see what sticks this time.

I guess the only other remaining obvious question is Will I do it again?

I’m not sure. I’m not having the urge to do it again. Which doesn’t necessarily mean I shouldn’t or won’t.

Some of the facts… 2 of the 4 people I coached converted to paying clients. Not that that was my sole intention. I was curious. Yes! But I actually just missed coaching and wanted to turn up the coaching side of my life/biz because I missed it.

So I set an intention early on in the process of deciding to do the free coaching gig. I wanted to be coaching my ass off in the month of May. That was my bottom line. Joy is my focus these days. It’s the thing that keeps me going. Coaching is one of the things that brings me a lot of joy. Supporting people to work with fear in a brand new way in their lives inspires me.

Having that intention up front made it easier to remember along the way. And when the trash talk appeared, I found myself more prepared for it. And remembering, “I want to be coaching my ass off in May” had a potent effect on choosing to take another step.

My internal conversation shifted into “Just try it and see what happens.” And I became curious instead of fearing what hasn’t or isn’t happening yet.

Have you thought about offering your thing for free (longer than a free call or session?)

I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Or if you any other specific questions for me…

What’s Up With The “Jedi” Thing?

I think the modern day Jedi is an agent for love. For creating an impact in our world by being the change.

No, I’m not a total Star Wars geek. I was about 8 years old when the first movie came out. I fell in love with Luke and then Han Solo (because he was the “bad boy” and I’m really attracted to rule-breakers). Leah, though, I saw as a mystical warrior princess. LOVED her! Wanted to be like her.

On my own personal path, I’ve been drawn to figuring things out. Figuring myself out mostly. What made me happy? Why wasn’t I more happy more of the time? What is the source of happiness, contentedness?

And, ironically, I ended up contemplating the idea of fear itself. Mostly because I had read some stuff about fear and love and I knew for sure, I wanted more love. I mean, who doesn’t want more love? Not just romantic love. But a sorta magical love. The kind that creates an entire universe in order to show itself to you.

Focusing on fear (what it looks like and how it shows up in my life) helped me discover areas that could be transformed. Change a fear-based choice or thought into a more powerful one. The power came from using the appearance of fear to shift into a powerful line of questioning. The question themselves always anchored in the idea of love. And having access to more love meant feeling more powerful, intentional, and on purpose in my life.

Having more access to love impacted everything. The outer and then inner. It spilled over into the ideas I held about myself. I was able to accept more of myself, which created a self confidence to follow a dream of being my own boss and being in service to others. So I could do stuff everyday that made a difference.

Love is the Force. Somewhere, I made the jump. And it was natural to step into the context of being Jedi. Or at least, becoming Jedi.

Jedi is an idea that at least two generations in modern history can grab onto and get. It also appeals to both men & women.

Talking about getting my Jedi on is born out of fun & play. Essentials. In my life and coaching practices.

And everyone I work with gets it. And wants it. To be more Jedi in their own life. To be their own Source. More often. To make more of choices, direct more of their thoughts toward knowing and having what they want and taking action from that place.

I think the modern day Jedi is an agent for love. For creating an impact in our world by being the change.

I also like the idea of claiming a part of my self as my own hero. It just works for me.

Since life provides us the playground, we can exercise our free will to choose love or not. And when we practice showing up with more love, especially when it’s the most difficult time to show & be love, that is Jedi.

And it’s the best thing I can think of to do and be. So I can be the change, and help co-create and share a more meaningful life.

Interested in getting your Jedi on?

Contact me here or visit my coaching tab for more info.