How meditation helps me through cancer

Only the people who have cancer can truly understand what it’s like to live through it. It’s got to be one of the scariest things in human life to deal with.  But it doesn’t have to be.

Once I learned how to deal with my journey through mindfulness and meditation, my experience with cancer changed dramatically.

One of the lovely people who has taken my workplace Mindfulness Meditation Facilitator Training course and is now becoming certified, named Debby from Kentucky, asked me to create this video for a cancer support group.  I thought I would put this out there in the hope that it may help other people going through this.

How meditation helps me:

  • Calms my mind and body, so my body can heal.
  • Gives me the strength to deal with this, and helps me feel connected to something bigger than myself.
  • Gives me perspective in life.
  • Helps me deal with stress so much better these days.
  • Allows me to be at peace with the decisions I make to heal and stay healthy.  Cuts out all the ‘noise’.
  • Cultivates inner joy.  It’s not a constant woo-woo joy, it’s more like a contentment that is with me most of the time.  On bad days, I am able to pull myself out of a funk in a reasonable timeframe.
  • …and much, much more.

I hope this helps someone out there.  Please know that meditation and mindfulness can change your experience through cancer, or any other rough things you go through in life.


~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey.


Don’t wait for a death


Create moments to pause

Did this heading catch your attention?  I hope so.  I say this because in the past while I’ve had conversations with a few people who said they finally ‘get it’.  They get that having someone important in their lives die finally made them realize that they need to pay attention to their lives.

Our lives are so busy.  Our lives are overwhelming. There is too much to do. We have to make more money.  We need more time.  If only…

I invite you to take control of your life, and make one change.  That change is to take intentional pauses in your life, every single day.

A pause can be:

  • Stopping and taking a moment to just ‘be’.  Take a few deep, slow breaths. You really can fit this into your life, no excuses.  You can do this before you leave your house in the morning, before you start the engine in your car, as you wait for a bus, right after you wash your hands. The possible moments are endless.
  • Meditating for 5 minutes each morning when you get out of bed.  You can get wonderful benefits from just 5 minutes of meditation per day, such as decreased anxiety and depression, and creating more joy in your life. Get started with easy guided meditations.

The busier you feel, the more you need this practice.

I am just delighted to talk to people who have discovered this important life practice.  They all tell me that they wish they had realized this sooner.

So don’t let a serious illness or death be the catalyst for change.  Let the desire to have a better life be the catalyst for you to change.

Wishing you peace and calm,

~Wendy Quan, The Calm Monkey

Keep boosting Gratitude as a way of life

Greater Good in Action

Greater Good in Action (new website) to boost happiness.
Photo credit: Greater Good in Action.

On the eve of American Thanksgiving (we Canadians celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last month), it is a perfect time to pause, reflect, and be grateful for the good things in life.

I am extremely grateful and proud to have been a speaker at the Greater Good Science Center’s (of UC Berkeley in California) conference last week called ‘Mindfulness and Well-Being at Work’, and will write a post of my experience very soon.

The Greater Good Science Center is proud to be the “epicenter for research on happiness and gratitude” (according to The New York Times).  They take research that comes out of UC Berkeley and translate it into ways to make lives more meaningful for people and the world, and have superb knowledge about gratitude and happiness, in particular.

They have just launched a new site called Greater Good in Action – please check this out – it is an amazing collection of wonderful, short and practical things you can fit into your busy day to increase happiness in your life.  Get ideas, learn why and how to do these wonderfully little actions that will keep your life happy.

Greater Good in Action

Superb new website with practical ways to make your life better

My gratitude to everyone who reads my blog.  I wish you a glorious day.

~Wendy Quan of The Calm Monkey


How the brain changes when you meditate

brain exercising

Meditation and mindfulness is exercise for the mind. Source:

Through growing research on brain neuroplasticity, researchers can tell us practical ways to positively affect our brains, which means affecting our experience of life.

I pay attention to such articles because it validates what I personally have experienced in the last 5 years – when I intentionally changed the way I think using meditation as a tool, it became easier to think more positively and take challenges in life with more ease.

Practicing meditation and mindfulness are tools that help you be more self-aware, and then you can set your focus and attention on more positive thinking.  These are skills that anyone can learn, but you have to do the practice to get the benefit.

Here is an excellent article from ‘How the brain changes when you meditate’.  World-renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson is in the speaker line-up with me at UC Berkeley’s ‘Mindfulness and Well-Being at Work’ conference in November.  He reports this about the brain:

  1. You can train your brain to change
  2. That the change is measurable, and
  3. New ways of thinking can change it for the better.

We can intentionally shape the direction of plasticity changes in our brain. By focusing on wholesome thoughts, for example, and directing our intentions in those ways, we can potentially influence the plasticity of our brains and shape them in ways that can be beneficial. That leads us to the inevitable conclusion that qualities like warm-heartedness and well-being should best be regarded as skills.

Meditation is not just about stress reduction, which most people assume.  There are countless benefits ranging from stress reduction, increased health, spiritual growth and changing your brain. There are too many to list, but the benefits are well worth the investment of your time and effort to cultivate the practice!

The Calm Monkey new wesbsite

See The Calm Monkey’s new website, focusing on meditation in the workplace.

Have a wonderful day, and please visit the new site.



Chia seed pudding – super easy!

chia seed pudding

Add toppings of your choice for this refreshing and simple dessert!

Once I discovered how delicious, nutritious and easy chia seed pudding was, it became an all-time favourite in my personal cookbook.  All you do is mix the ingredients together and chill it in the fridge for a few hours, and you’re done!

Chia seeds are fast becoming more popular as a superfood, known for being high in nutrients, antioxidants, protein and fiber, and even weight loss.

I personally enjoy the dark chia seeds more than the white ones due to the flavour.  This pudding recipe is refreshing and has a tapioca-like texture. Everyone I serve it to loves it!  This recipe could not be any easier.

Chia Seed Pudding – Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups almond milk (or alternatively cashew, hazelnut, hemp or coconut milk). I use unsweetened almond milk.
  • 2 to 3 tbsp agave, or raw honey
  • 1/2 cup dark chia seeds


  1. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, then stir.  I find if I wait a few minutes then stir again, it helps to remove any lumps.
  2. Chill for about 2 to 4 hours in the fridge.  Stir again and you’ll notice a nice tapioca-like consistency.
  3. Top with your favourite things such as:  berries, sliced almonds, pistachios, cinnamon, etc.

This makes 4 servings.

Enjoy!  You’ll love it!