Having the courage to stand your ground


Stand solid, stand alone if necessary.

When you have cancer, it brings out opinions in people. “You should listen to your doctor”, “I heard this herb cures cancer, you should take it”, “How can vitamin D prevent cancer, that’s ridiculous”, etc…

When you have cancer, or any other chronic condition, you will get suggestions from all directions from friends and family. This can be simply overwhelming, to the point where you just don’t know what to believe, and who to listen to.  But, do you know what?  Through all that confusion, it simply means that these people care enough about you to try to help.

Sometimes it could be a doctor’s recommendation that you don’t agree with, or feel the need to investigate her recommendation before you make a decision. In our western society, we are raised to listen to authority, especially our doctors.

I’ve come to realize since my diagnosis in 2010, that I can be an empowered patient.  It took me awhile to not only educate myself on what options are out there in the world that are not just surgery and drugs, but to muster up the courage to question, research, form my own opinions and ultimately act on them.

This courage is not easy. Sitting face-to-face with a well-respected oncologist and not taking her advice is difficult, especially when she looks at me disapprovingly for even daring to question her recommendation. I’m not one to cause conflict, but I am one who knows what I want.  I take an integrative approach to my health – using both western and so-called ‘alternative’ or complementary methods.  I don’t dismiss either, and I think all methods should be considered and the best way chosen for a particular condition.

Do you ever question when your doctor grabs a prescription form rather than discusses what could be the root of your ailment?  If you don’t, you should, especially if you have a chronic situation.  Our bodies have the capacity to self-heal, and sometimes we should not readily accept that it’s normal to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic digestion problems, etc. Most western doctors don’t have the time, or interest, to talk to you about holistic health care. I don’t blame them, but you can take control of your own research and decisions.

If you are someone who has that little voice in your head when you have a health condition and really don’t like to take drugs or have surgery, then please listen to that little voice and take the time to explore, see different doctors, and talk to lots of people about alternatives.  If you find something that you believe is right for you, have the courage to stand your ground despite what others think.

Standing your ground applies to anything in your life, not just what you choose for your own healthcare.  Honour yourself. Honour what you believe is right for you. Listen to what others say but still do what is right for yourself.

Stand your ground, respectfully.


I recently wrote this post: ‘Can you let go of someone’s bad decision?’.  It’s about letting go of someone else’s decisions, but in the context of the above post, turn it around 180 degrees… can you help others let go of your decisions?  Help others realize they need to respect your decisions and not judge?


My first-ever painting

Since this blog is about sharing ways to cultivate joy, I thought I would get up the courage to share my first ever painting with you.  Here it is – a yin yang symbol painted with acrylics on a textured plaster wooden base. From start to finish, it took me 1.5 years to complete!

My first attempt at art

After meeting some professional artists, I mustered up the courage to just give it a try.

It is not for the faint of heart!  It is 2′ x 4′ and HEAVY.

In my busy lifestyle, tending to my career and family, I really had little time to explore if I indeed had an artsy side.  But a talented friend of mine, named Sharon, inspired me after I saw her lovely paintings.  At a dinner party she hosted, I met a friend of hers who is a professional artist. I was in awe.  He invited me to his studio and showed me his amazing work, and how he uses plaster to texturize his pieces.

So I mustered up the courage to give it a try!   Here is the unfolding of my masterpiece (ha ha).

Step 1:  After building a wooden frame, I spread a thick coat of plaster on the wood, and went a little crazy while it was still wet by texturizing it using a spatula.  The plaster was so thick it took about 4 days to fully dry.  Then I sanded it to create some flat surfaces so I could paint on it. The dust flew EVERYWHERE!

Starting with plaster for texture

Step 1 - Starting with plaster for texture

Step 2:  I was challenged with how to make the yin yang perfectly round.  I looked around my home and found the front half of the caged part of my standing electric fan to be the perfect size!  So I used that to make a circular shape as my yin yang template.  I then painted the first half of the yin yang symbol.

Making the perfect 'yin'

Step 2 - Making the perfect 'yin'

Step 3:  Then I completed the yin yang symbol.

Completing the perfect yang

Step 3 - Completing the perfect yang

Step 4:   For the background, it took numerous layers of paint. I started with an ugly yellow base, then used various browns and greens, using the ‘rubbing off’ technique with each layer. When the new layer of paint is still wet, I used a cloth to rub off much of the paint, which left a lot of the colour in the crevices of the texture, and creates depth. The photo doesn’t show the detail, but the yin yang symbol has a soft golden shimmer on it.

Background paint layers are done

Step 4 - Background paint layers are done, but I had no idea how to frame it.

At this point, the painting was basically done but it really looked lost and I had no idea what it needed to look finished.  It sat for a whole year propped up against the wall, waiting for inspiration to achieve completion.

Step 5:  While browsing in a Las Vegas art gallery, I saw a similar style painting that had a basic black base behind it, so that inspired me to make the base, paint it black, and mount it behind my painting.

Finally mounted and on the wall

Step 5 - Finally mounted on the wall

What inspired me to paint a yin yang as my first piece?  First of all, I went to bed one night, pondering what I wanted to paint.  I woke up the next morning with a very vivid picture in my mind of this painting.  Secondly, the yin yang represents complementary opposites that interact in harmony to achieve a greater whole. I’ve always loved this symbol and find meaning in it because so many things in our world need each other in order to exist.

Creating this piece was very relaxing for me, and brought me joy. So overall, it was a success for me personally.

I have a question for you – What have you been interested in trying but haven’t mustered up the courage or made it a priority yet to do so?  Or what did you explore where you had no idea of the outcome that resulted in joy for you?  It’s good for the soul to carve out time to explore, learn and create.