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What are you doing about your health?

Today I had to go to the hospital…

To have a blood test as next week I am going to see my oncologist…

When I got to hospital, it is hard for me not to remember where I have been…

As I see people showing their sickness in the way they walk, how their facial expressions are…

I see a lot of pain…

Physical and emotional….

Today I felt so deeply inside me a strong desire to continue to do whatever I can each day not to get there again…

Reality is we are all going to die of something even though we try to ignore the subject and the reality of it all….

But it is not about dying…

The choices we make each day is about how we are going to live each day….

How can we change our future but making different choices now…

How can we treat our bodies now…How can we look after our minds….

How can we look heal our souls….

The more I dig into my studies, working with clients and the fascinating world of how our bodies and minds work…

I come back to the same conclusion….

We are the only ones who can change our future…

We are the only ones who can make different choices….

We are the only ones who can start treating our bodies differently…

We are the only ones who can change our habits…We are the only ones who can change our thoughts…

Nobody else can do this work for us….

Only us….only us….

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Why suffer?

About 2 years ago I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel Cancer…

I thought I had everything under control…

I thought I could handle everything…the stress…the day to day hustle that a working mum has to do…

I also thought nothing bad was ever going to happen to me….

I chose to keep eating and drinking things like sugar, coffee, dairy and alcohol in excess because this is what I was used to doing…

I thought I could exercise a couple of days per week without really putting any effort on it…the kind of thing you do to tick the box…

I thought sleeping badly was normal after having interrupted sleep for 6 years since my first child was born…

I was suffering because I had terrible hangovers…

I was constantly exhausted…

I was in constant state of stress…

Sometimes I would spend the whole night going in an out of the toilet…

I thought all the signs my body was giving me like IBS type of symptoms, iron deficiency, headaches (which I rarely had) could be solved with a pill…

So I kept doing what I knew…

What was familiar to me…

What was easy…

Today I recognize that although my body was screaming for help, I chose to do what it was familiar to me because change is scary…

It takes trial and error…

It takes work….

It takes practice…

I chose suffering instead and got used to suffering because it seemed easier than changing…

As I was forced to reevaluate my life after my daring diagnosis, I saw “change” as the only way to survive…

To regain control of my health again….

My mission today is to get people not to get used to suffering…

Not to get used to ignore the signs of their body…

Not to get used to leave things to chance when it comes to their health…

My question to you is: are you choosing suffering over health?

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Feeling overwhelmed? I have a solution…

I woke up this morning and had a moment of clarity, a sign from the universe, a decision made for me delivered on a platter…

But before I tell you what that was….

I want to give you a little bit of a background…

In the last couple of weeks, I investigated, made a decision and started (yes already started and completed 2 modules) a Bachelor of Natural Medicine…which will be followed by a Master and Phd.

So what has been on my mind is…”how am I going to fit in ‘studies’ in my busy day to day life?”

“Do you remember you promised yourself NOT to compromise on your health?”

“Do you remember where you have been before…stressed…burned out…you can’t go there anymore…”

So when I woke up this morning, I decided that I am going to delete my Instagram page…

Now this sounds silly…simple…and something that doesn’t take a lot of work right?

But truth is…it does…like everything else…

If you want to dedicate yourself to something and get results out of it, you need to take the time to nurture it….

I was so clear on my decision that after my morning routine, breakfast and getting the kids to school…I recorded a video explaining my decision and posted on Instagram…

The old version of me would have said:

“Why are you quitting?”

“What would others think of you?”

“They will probably think you are a loser”

The new version of myself is saying to me:

“Well done for making a conscious decision on where and how you want to spend your time moving forward”

“Congratulations on being true to yourself”

“I am proud of you for rearranging things when things changed in your life instead of running yourself ragged for the sake of what others will think…if anything for the sake of what your own ego will think”

So now…

We are all busy and we all have the same 24/7 hours per day…

People that are truly successful (meaning healthy and able to find fulfillment in their wotk/home life) are constantly rearranging their lives to accomplish more on the things that truly matter to them.

They are not working more and getting more stressed….

When you look at your life right now – what is the only thing you can let go of?

What it is one thing you can stop doing so you can allow more time for you to focus on the things that truly matter to you?

By the way that includes your health too…

Think about it…act on it… and don’t let the ego convince you that you are quitting…

You are not quitting, you are allowing yourself to become a better version of yourself by focussing your time on the things that truly matter to you.

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Why showing up for yourself is the most important step to take?

The concept of showing up to ourselves can seem like an illusion…

We live such busy lives…we go from one task to another, one place to another until we collapse on the sofa exhausted each night…

How can we change that? How can we find balance?

How can we start living differently?

I have found in my journey to recover and healing after cancer that taking small steps is the key…

But the most important action is to take personal responsibility…

We can blame on not having time, we can blame on not having money, we can blame on not having the right conditions to show up to ourselves but until we do it…nobody will do it for you…

You are the only one who can do it…

I find the way I start my day is such an important part of the process…

Starting the day with a focus on me is the foundation for filling my cup, replenishing my energy, cultivating self love…

I start my day with a meditation practice then I exercise…

I feel by doing that I attend to my mind’s needs and my body’s needs before everyone’s else, being I become a mum, a wife, an entrepreneur…

I start the day in control, making my own decisions…feeling I am in control of my destiny…

Each week I focus on replacing an one old habit with a new one…these days they are mostly linked to my emotional well being…

I have let my monkey mind run the show for way too long in my life…

So I focus on things like negative self talk, judgement, the need to be right, worry, frustration and any low vibration feelings and emotions that take my energy way…

I make a plan, a rehearsal the habit change in mind…I start focusing on changing that feeling and emotion inside me by observing coming and going…and by slowly creating new feelings and emotions around the particular situation I am working on…

I go to bed early so my physical and mental body can replenish and repair itself…

There is no buts or ifs. I am in bed each day at 9 pm so I can give myself the opportunity to wind down, to get into deep sleep and to have a restful night sleep.

Showing up to myself is a priority for me…I spent too many years thinking my body, mind and soul could take the abuse, the stress, the lack of care of day to day life…

After a Stage 3 Bowel Cancer diagnosis, I asked myself – why did I do that all for?

Why didn’t I look after myself first?

Why didn’t I treat my physical, mental and emotional health as a priority?

And I am here to tell you:

Why wait? Wait until you need to look after yourself…until the health crisis…until the daring diagnosis…until it is too late?

Do it now…while you are not dependent on it…while you can practice and implement things slowly…while your life is not dependent on it…the more you do it…the more it will become second nature to you…it is all about practice.

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Why I forgave…

Yesterday as I was listening to one of my tutors (by the way he is a conventional doctor, an integrative doctor, an acunpuncturist, a homeopath) …

He was talking about how some of his patients would come in to his office with an illness, a serious illness but when he asked them if they prefered to forgive or die…they would choose to die….

It felt familiar….I remember when I was told just after my emergency surgery that a tumur had been taking our of my intestine…and that most likely it was cancer and that I would need 6 months of chemotherapy…

I could hear my thoughts reaching out to God:

“Are you serious???Did you really have to do this to make me stop?To make me forgive??”

For a moment, I saw myself having to make that choice…to forgive or die…

I knew living a long life meant forgiving….

I was so scared to acknowledge what it had happened…

I was so scared to acknowledge my pain…

I was so scared to open my heart again….

Truth be told, I didn’t know how I was going to do it either…

It was easier to be in denial….

I doubted it was possible to forgive…

But I wanted to live….I wanted to live so badly for my kids….

I must admit during treatment I made some small steps towards forgiveness but it wasn’t until the end of my treatment that I saw a physchologyst who helped me through that process as I couldn’t do it by myself…

In that process….

I cried…

I got angry…

I prayed…

I meditated…

I got frustrated…

But slowly that weight started lifting off my shoulders…

From my heart….

From my being…

And slowly I started healing my innerself…

If you had asked me 2 years ago, do you believe you need to forgive people to live a healthy life?

I would have said…

No…

It depends on what they did…

But the reality is…it is not about them…it is about you…it is about how you feel day in day out…when you are holding onto “that”.

I did for me…

I did it because I wanted to live…

I did it because I wanted to survive…

If forgiveness feels impossible to you, I am here to tell you it is not…

Nothing is impossible…everything is possible when we decide…when we make that decision…

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you”

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Why I practice yoga…

Yoga came to my life during my cancer treatment. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel Cancer and I was looking for my own healing and answers while going through chemotherapy.

I knew yoga was good for the body and mind, but I didn’t really know much about it. I knew there was a massive hype about yoga so I thought I would try.

My body was weak not only from the chemotherapy, emergency operation from removing the tumor from my bowel, but mostly from the careless way I looked after my body up to the point of my diagnosis – physically and mentally.

My body was wrecked…I was depleted physically and mentally…

I started doing yoga at home by myself, watching videos on Youtube. I could only do 10 minutes at the beginning, but I kept showing up on the mat.

Slowly I started breathing deeper, I started feeling more and more present in my body. I started feeling more relaxed in my mind when I started focusing on being present in my body.

I didn’t realize what was happening until I study the science of yoga. You are probably thinking – why would connecting to your body be beneficial for your mental state?

When I look back, I acknowledge that before cancer I was very disconnected from my body and from who I really was. It was as if I had been running on a treadmill that was not only running faster than I physically could, it was always running faster than I mentally could run too.

Yoga helped me massively with my mental and emotional being as I started walking back to myself, moving energy blockages around my physical body and moving away the black cloud that was constantly on top of my head. Mostly important yoga helped me to start building a relationship with myself.

A cancer diagnosis can throw you completely off balance mentally and emotionally, but yoga helped me to stay focussed and to find my own balance again.

During treatment, it is so easy to let you mind wonder to dark places but as I kept practicing I kept connecting my focus and attention to my body and slowly the weight of my mind started lifting.

Yoga was an important part of my journey to healing and it has become a daily practice for me. 2 years on, I am still practicing yoga and if anything I have deepen my practice even further.

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Are you taking self responsibility for your life?

When I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel Cancer, I knew I couldn’t count on anybody or anything outside of me. I needed to count on me only…

Meaning…I needed to take full responsibility for what I had done to get me to my diagnosis. There was no more stories, blaming, resentment that I could depend on if I wanted to survive chemotherapy.

I knew turning up to chemo wasn’t going to save me. Cancer recurrence is massive…and I didn’t want to live a life walking in egg shells, scared that cancer was going to come back…

Taking personal responsibility is very different than blaming myself. I never for one moment regret how I lived up to that point, I just made a decision to make different choices from that moment on…

I started reading every book I could find on health, cancer, diet, exercise, emotional healing…you name it. I couldn’t leave up to chance anymore…

I needed to take this seriously…

I felt I got another chance to live…

I wasn’t going to press repeat this time and stay stuck thinking everything I had done to that point was right…

I had to let go of the need to be right…

I had to let go everything I knew behind…

I had to let go everything I felt was contributing to my diagnosis…

Life is constantly changing…throwing us curve balls….sometimes pretty big ones…

We can choose to stay in the same place, doing the same thing and getting the same results

Or we can change to adapt, change and respond to it by accepting personal responsibility and making different choices.

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How can you create new patterns?

Think about how many times you have driven to work….do you even remember what happens when you are driving to work? I guess the answer is no you don’t. It is something you do automatically, unconsciously – a little like riding a bike.

I guess the same think happens to our habits…We tend to eat the same things, feel hungry at similar times, get angry at similar situations, use the same words when a stressful situation arises…

It is like drawing a line on a piece of paper…at the beginning the line is thin but as we keep drawing on top of it, the line keeps getting thicker and thicker.

When it gets to starting all over again and getting rid of that line, it is logical to think we need to draw a line that is as thicker somewhere else. We need to learn a different route to getting to work, so we will need new directions.

Once we started drawing the line, it takes persistence to keep drawing on top of it. When we learn a new route, it takes practice to learn the new way.

This is called neuroplasticity – our brains are capable to create new pathways, new routes. Think of our brain as lots of different highways crossing each other. They are not fixed, we can build bridges between them, we can build different roads and routes.

But how do we do it?

First we need to understand it is going to take time, it is going to feel uncomfortable, it is going to feel strange for ourselves but as we keep doing it, practicing it and trusting the process. It does get easier and it starts becoming more natural to us.

Whatever you are trying to change, you have to think you need to retrain yourself to doing that. You need to create a new pathway, a new route. With practice you won’t think about the old route anymore, you will take the new route unconsciously and this will become part of who you are.

If you have always got angry in a stressful situation, it is going to take practice to focus on the positives in each situation. it will take practice to focus on the solution.

If you have always reached out to sugar or carbohydrates when you are hungry, it is going to take practice to reach out to nuts, to hummus and veggies as your snack.

If you have always worked 24/7, it is going to take practice for you to let go your work phone, checking your emails in the weekend and allowing yourself to take time out for yourself.

It is up to you to practice and persist in whatever you want to change because we all have in us the strength to doing when we set our minds to it.

But at the end of the day, nobody can do that work for you. You are the only one who can do the work.

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Chronic stress really? No, not me…

There is so much talk about chronic stress…

How we get ourselves into feeling the consequences of chronic stress…

The definition of chronic stress says that it is the response to emotional pressure suffered for a prolonged period of time in which individual perceives they have little or no control.

We get up each morning and there is already a mountain of work waiting for us, weighing on our shoulders…an endless to do list…

at home…at work and even in our free time…

But we see it as something we have to do…we have to keep going….

I remember thinking to myself…how could I have gone to the doctor to say I was exhausted all the time before cancer?

I was a mum, a working mum and my kids were still 6 and 4 so really…I hadn’t taken any time off from sleepless night….I was on a constant threadmill to make sure everyone had what they needed for the last 6 years….

I thought it was normal to be exhausted…

Besides I would be too proud to do that….I couldn’t…I didn’t know how to…

I was too stress at work too, not because work was putting stress on me but because I wanted to perform at the highest level I could…

Again I wouldn’t have said I can’t do this anymore… I had set my mind to accomplish certain things at work and that was my focus…

I also was carrying so much emotional baggage that it wouldn’t be easy to write on one post…

When I look back, I felt under pressure in all areas of my life…the biggest pressure came from inside me by the way…

But I never allowed myself to take time out….

To doing something just for me….

To replenish myself, my body and my soul…

I thought I needed to keep going…

I think this is when many of us need to stop and recognize that stress is and will always be part of our lives.

But what we do to replenish ourselves is important to help us to deal with it, to manage it in a much better way…

It doesn’t have to cost mountains of money, it doesn’t have to take all the time in the world…

What it is important is to allow ourselves to take time out to ourselves…to acknowledge where we are at when we are dealing with everyday stress in our lives…

You are not going to be deemed weak or less than by doing that…you will be deemed to being strong by being true to yourself.

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Can you call on your motivation when you need to change something?

Most of us will say that we can’t change a particular area in our lives because we lack motivation…

I would argue with that…

I believe all of us have one area or more in our lives that we do well, we feel successful at it and regardless of what happens around us we keep that area going, moving up, towards achieving our goals around it.

But there are other areas in our lives that we struggle with…we tell ourselves that we can’t change them because of time, money, knowledge…we even blame other people…

What we try to avoid is to get to the truth behind our behaviour…

We don’t want to say out loud that work gets the best out of us…what would people think of you right? Especially when you are a parent right?

We don’t want to say our health is not a priority because who knows? You might get a curse from the skies and get sick…after all we all have been raised to say “Our health is the most important thing we have”. But do we live it?

We don’t want to say out loud: my relationship is not a priority for me because really who has got time to be intimate when we are so busy keeping the world going?

We don’t want to say out loud: I don’t feel connected to my children because I spend all my time correcting them, getting them to do their chores, disciplining them as otherwise they won’t be successful when they grow up right! It does take a lot of courage to say that too.

We also don’t want to say out loud that work is not a priority as we would worry about what our peers would think of us, how can we do well at work if we say what we really think about our jobs?

So we keep telling ourselves the same stories, doing the same things and getting the same results…after all we haven’t got time, money, the motivation or the discipline.

So I argue with that because I believe when you are willing to tell yourself the truth, you are willing to change whatever it needs to be changed in your life because you will find the motivation, the discipline, the how to do it. Remember there is one part of your life that you are already doing great and the only reason why you are doing great at it is because you invest time, money, effort and everything else you have got at it. You were not born knowing how to operate that part of life, you work at it, you change things around, you improved it, you gave and give your best at it every single day.

Now if you are honest to yourself: what is the area of your life that you know you need to change, you need to invest on, you need to look after?