Getting through tough times – Breathe & Flow

flowSomething awful happens in your life, and you are just trying to get through it. You need to continue your everyday responsibilities – work, taking care of your kids, going through with commitments you’ve made, getting your taxes done, ensuring there’s food in your fridge, etc.

The degree of ‘awfulness’ of your situation is a matter of perception.  In helping people all my life, such awfulness can range from ‘my sister-in-law did something hurtful’ to ‘my mom just passed away’.  Indeed, whatever situation someone is hurting about is very real to them, and what they are feeling is not for anyone else to judge.

I want to share with you one piece of advice that someone I treasure shared with me when I was going through one of my life’s tough times.  It is simple, and here it is:

“Breathe and flow”

During a tough time, you can feel deep fear, helplessness, despair, a numbness to everyday life …  you know what I’m talking about if you have been through it.

Here is a personal real-life example to put this into context: 

Since my cancer diagnosis almost 5 years ago, I’ve devoted a lot of my life to educating myself and taking action for healthier living to avoid cancer recurrence. The effort has been significant, costly, and time spent paying it forward in helping others who are also interested.  Through self-initiated surveillance of my health, suddenly I get a shocking blood test result that puts me and my doctors on high alert – indication that cancer may have returned.

For the next 9 days, while getting more investigative tests done, my life feels like it has been overturned. How could this be happening with all the work I’ve been doing to stay healthy?  Just dealing with everyday life was excruciating, trying to function with a cloud of uncertainty about my life hanging over my head, not to mention how it may affect those I love if cancer has returned.

My very wise and special health advisor said “Breathe and flow”. These 3 simple words are what primarily carried me through my 9 days of health scare hell, along with employing all the life tools that I’ve learned over the years.  Here is what these words meant to me:

  • Breathe – paying attention to my breath to be mindful and present
  • Flow – feel and accept the flow of life, of what is happening. Know that things will change, and this situation will continue flowing and will move on.

Every time I couldn’t focus on something I needed to, like writing a document at work, I would breathe & flow.  It carried me through the 9 days.

This story ends positively, I’m happy to say. Further medical testing revealed that the alarming test results were likely not caused by a cancer recurrence. The breathe & flow tip will stay with me forever.

If you are going through something difficult, I hope this helps you.  If this doesn’t resonate with you at all, perhaps you may need this at some time point your life, and I hope it’s something you will remember.

Sending you all the best,

~Wendy

 

 

8 thoughts on “Getting through tough times – Breathe & Flow

  1. Hi Wendy,
    So happy I recently found you blog/website. This latest entry has been especially helpful, as I have been so stressed waiting for ultra sound results. Something that always freaks me out and causes a lot of anxiety in me. Waiting for results is always so terrifying.

    • Hello, and thanks so much for writing. I’m SO happy to hear that my blog is helpful to you. I know exactly how you feel, having been through a number of scares and the actual cancer diagnosis myself, it’s overwhelming and life just seems to stand still while waiting for results. It’s hard to live & act normally during this time.

      I hope the ‘breathe & flow’ helps you through this waiting period. And, I hope you receive good news, but if you do not, I’d like you to know this — that you will manage through it. I never knew how I would be if I ever got cancer, and then when I did, it was such new territory. After the initial shock and disbelief, I felt empowered by taking control of the things I could gain control over — my emotional well-being (therefore meditation and mindfulness), my nutrition and educating myself about what options I had. It’s important that whatever you decide, that you are at peace with your decision.

      But let’s not get ahead of ourselves right now. Right now, as you wait for results, just breathe & flow.

      Don’t know if you saw some other posts I did while waiting for test results:
      http://thecalmmonkey.com/2014/05/02/when-waiting-for-scary-test-results-part-3/

      Sending you positive energy for good test results, and continued good health.
      ~Wendy

      • Thank you so much Wendy! Thank you again for the links to further posts on anxiety while waiting for medical tests to return. I do not know how people with very serious medical issues get through waiting for the tests. It is worse than the test itself. I admire your courage for all you have been through! Your posts really helped me last night to relax and get in a better place.
        I know I let my monkey mind get carried away thinking of all different horrible scenarios. Breathe….and flow 🙂

      • You are SO very welcome! I’m so happy it helped you. Bookmark these posts for when you get any future tests ;o)
        It’s even more interesting and perhaps more of a challenge, because where I live (Vancouver, BC), blood tests results are now available online directly to the patient. So I get these within 1 day online, and of course they are just the lab numbers and uninterpreted. Imagine all the alerts & alarms that go off in our heads when we see numbers out of range. Once a doctor interprets the results it usually helps greatly.

        With this last scare I had, which was severe, I learned to not fully panic until everything is said and done. More often than not, tests that produce suspicious results turn out to be nothing or near nothing.

        Thanks so much for writing! I really enjoy reading your comments 🙂
        Have a wonderful and peaceful day,
        ~Wendy

  2. Hello Wendy,
    Since discovering that I am not my body, it is easier for me relate to life or health related issues. I too use meditation and breathing exercises to keep me grounded.
    Love and best wishes, Arun

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