When change is imposed on you

lotus flower held by buddha

Find your own sense of self through difficult change

I don’t know about you, but I despise the phrase ’embrace change’. To me, it sounds like you’re supposed to give an unwanted change a big hug. While the change may eventually turn out OK or even for the better, while I’m going through it the last thing I want to do is be told to hug the change.

As an organizational change manager, I know all too well how people react and behave through change.  As a cancer survivor, I also know what it’s like to be faced with a serious disease and have your world turned upside down.

As tomorrow is my 6th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis day, I reflect on what it was like to deal with an unwanted change. Summing it up within a ‘change management model’, I offer to you my own experience. Text book explanations show transitions in at least 3 phases which can have many iterations within these phases. Every change is unique, and every person and how they react is unique.

Looking back, here is how my cancer journey went:

First phase:  When the unwanted change hits

Multiple feelings included shock, disbelief, ‘why me?’, tremendous fear, even a bit of numbness where life was happening but I didn’t feel like me. I felt almost like I was an actor in a movie and I had to my part, like the necessity of simple day-to-day things but it felt like I was given someone else’s life.

Second phase:  During the personal transition

After living with the news for awhile, I was able to center myself enough to make decisions, seek as much information as I could, and take charge.  I didn’t want to feel like a victim and became very self-aware of my thoughts, emotions and the intention I set for how I was going to move forward.  Mindfulness and meditation became a reliable friend for me, something I could meet every day and to find some peace. Healing emotionally and physically was my number one project.

Third phase:  Creating a new normal

Learning how to reintegrate into regular working life, focus on maintaining my health, regaining self-confidence and discovering my new identity was a major phase for me.  Again mindfulness and meditation were the cornerstones of my arrival for a new normal.

Yes, I am one of those people who can look back now and say that my diagnosis turned out to be one of the best things that happened in my life.  I have found and am living my purpose, have tremendous respect and gratitude for life itself, and love associating with like-minded people.  I’m grateful I was able to find my inner sense of self which made a world of difference to my experience.

If you are going through a big change right now, I hope this may help you in some little way. When you are in the transition state of a change, it absolutely can be daunting and unsettling, but such is life, and the choice is really ours as to how we show up in such times.

Wishing you love and light, and if you wish to discover meditation, I offer some free guided meditation recordings on www.TheCalmMonkey.com.

~Wendy Quan, of The Calm Monkey.


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.


InspireHealth integrated cancer care is now free

This is a big deal!  Thanks to the BC government and all the donations that made the removal of fees possible.

This is a big deal! Thanks to the BC government and all the donations that made the removal of fees possible.

Do you have cancer, or know someone with cancer?

InspireHealth is not-for-profit society providing a whole-person approach for cancer. They include healthful nutrition, appropriate exercise, and emotional, spiritual and immune support. Their services are available to any Canadian living with cancer and their support people.  They have offices in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna (British Columbia), plus an online virtual component for those not living in these three cities.

Their services used to cost $445 for membership, and now it is free!

I cannot stress the importance of getting whole-person, integrative care through the cancer journey.  Without it, you might be dealing only with oncologists and specialist appointments, surgery and cancer drugs. It’s critical to support the body’s healing ability with whole-person care.  For me, my biggest take-aways were learning what foods to eat or avoid, healthful cooking, relaxation such a meditation and yoga, and most importantly, feeling that I had some control over what was happening to me.  Using their doctors as part of my team gave me more confidence in my choices.

I'm happy to support InspireHealth and provide testimonials. They've helped me and many of my friends.

I’m happy to support InspireHealth. They’ve helped me and many of my friends.

I was fortunate to find InspireHealth through dear friends in the first week of my diagnosis.  InspireHealth introduced me to the world of whole-person care, and now I’ve been able to learn well beyond this myself.

Here is an testimonial I did for InspireHealth in 2010, unscripted and a bit shaky, I wanted to let people know the importance of InspireHealth.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know – whole-person care (whether you have cancer or not) is so important to living life fully and with intention. InspireHealth started me on this path, and now I realize that their teachings were just the start. I wish I had known this earlier in life!

Attend a free ‘fireside’ chat every Monday at 3pm at their offices to learn more.


Dr. Soon-Shiong finding new ways to consider cancer

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is finding multiple ways to attack cancer.

This 60 Minutes 13 minute video is important to watch if you know someone with cancer, or are worried that you might get cancer someday.  A multi-billionaire surgeon, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, is making the news in the cancer world by taking unique views on what cancer is, and how to treat it.

Watch the video, and you’ll see the various ways he is researching and thinking out-of-the-box about cancer.  He believes soon cancer can turn into a chronic disease rather than a killer disease, and that cancer cells aren’t necessarily growing out of control, but instead are cells that are not dying as they should be.

Dr. Soon-Shiong

A genius who is able to describe his discoveries to the average person. Amazing!

Dr. Soon-Shiong is an incredible person.  What a drive, what a genius.  Thank you for dedicating your wealth and your life to help the world, Dr. Soon-Shiong.

Watch the video here.

I can’t wait to see his journey of discovery to change the world.



My use of meditation to get through cancer

If I sum up why I made meditation and mindfulness a core part of my life, it would be because these practices built my resiliency when I went through cancer in 2010.  Meditation gave me strength.

I was recently reminded that my story was profiled in the Vancouver Sun newspaper and on a TV showed called Empowered Health almost two years ago.

I’d like to share this with you today, from the Vancouver Sun website:

Wendy Quan on Empowered Health

The story of meditation for resiliency

I hope somehow this helps people going through tough times.