Many of my clients come to me following a life shifting event that has left them in a
painful and weakened state. Using my personal experience with cancer and the stories
gathered over my years as a Life Coach and Cancer Mentor, I decided to write about
the commonalities and patterns to serve as a resource for those moving through
By segmenting the process of healing into four phases, I hope to allow
individuals the ability to recognize where they are in the natural flow and find faith in the progression that comes with time, desire, commitment, and work.
The Pain Point
When a painful event occurs, it is often unexpected or if anticipated, highly unwelcome.
We may feel caught off-guard, unprepared to handle change or the permanency of a
new reality. This can lead to a myriad of emotions, often combinations of anger,
sadness, fear, frustration, lack of control, hopelessness, and feelings of loss and
The intensity of our emotions has a way of taking over, morphing us into a darker,
duller, heavier version of the self we know. Pleasurable activities become undesirable.
Sadness in the heart and preoccupation of the mind pull us away from routine and daily comforts, stripping us of what little familiarity remained. Social opportunities feel too draining and unappealing, while a loud voice of doubt starts to ask, “What do I have to give to others anyway?” Physical changes (weight gain or loss, dull complexion,
breakouts, hair loss, etc.) tend to occur as the body responds to stress and
dis-ease. Over time, frustration and impatience for an unrecognizable life set in and
eventually serve as the motivation to propel you into the next phase.
Because this phase requires acceptance, it is often the most difficult to reach.
Many people get stuck in hijacked mode feeling powerless and lost. But for those who
forge forward, this is the turning point. Here individuals can acknowledge the
power of pain and accept time as the greatest healer. A calm slowly washes over the
situation and blankets the pained with comfort allowing constructive questioning and
self-reflection to begin. If the mind and heart are open, ready, and willing there will be
light shed upon that which caused pain – light that offers learnings, insight, and
monumental growth. Here, we begin to see.
As the fog lifts and the light burns brighter we can find a powerful connection to
our most pure, true, authentic self, the version that is only accessible following the
completion of the cycle of healing. As awareness heightens and confidence builds we
begin to explore, trying things new and old, full of curiosity and an openness to all
things around us. In this phase, it’s about learning who we truly are – our values,
desires, dreams, and capability. I often recommend trying on many hats to my clients
during this time to discover what feels right, wrong, and worth leaning into. Once the
answers become clear there is a sense of landing, feeling both feet on the ground.
Solid. Strong. Whole. We move with purpose, on purpose, in purpose. Life is no longer
out of your control. You are back in the driver’s seat and you are unstoppable. Time has
allowed you the ability to look back and see how pain shaped you, find gratitude for
the break down and triumphant climb to the top, and know whatever life has in store
for you, you have the power to handle it, move through it, learn from it, to grow, to heal, to prosper. You are now awake.
10 Practices to Move You Closer to The Light
- Freely write about the thoughts taking up space in your head and the feelings in
your heart. A consistent journal practice helps release built up emotion, encourages acknowledgment and reflection, as well as declutters the mind to make room for progression and healing.
- Move your body in ways that feel good to you. If you enjoy the sunshine, take a walk or go for a swim. If you like to dance, turn up the music in your home and let loose. Movement reconnects us to our body and brings us into the present moment.
- Get a natural endorphin-induced high with a sweaty, cardio workout. In addition to those feel good vibes, elevating the heart rate and sweating out the toxins come with a long list of benefits for both body and mind.
- Read books that support your journey and nourish your soul. Take in messages that aid in your healing, provide positive encouragement, and comfort you when you feel most alone.
- Find a peer support group and connect to individuals who’ve experienced a similar pain point. Speaking to others who can empathize with what you’re going through is extremely powerful as well as resource sharing and the exchange of best practices.
- Make a list of joyful activities and commit to doing one a day, even when you feel down and blue. Pleasurable moments help us work our way out of the fog and shift focus onto what is good.
- Turn your frown upside down. Smiling reduces stress and makes you happier (even if you fake it)!
- Set goals that excite you. Choose to work toward something that lights you up, maybe that thing you’ve been daydreaming about for years or the really scary thing you want but have been too afraid to try. Putting your focus and efforts toward goal creation and achievement opens the door for growth, successes, and positive energy flow.
- Find quiet moments to simply be alone with yourself. Hear, see, and feel all of you. Although often uncomfortable to sit in stillness and presence, trust the power in shutting out distraction and working through the chaos in your mind, heart, and soul.
- Nurture your body with nutritional food so it has the most efficient fuel to aid in your healing. Nutrient packed foods have the ability to fight off depression, shift your mood, and give you strength for physical activity.
Shortly after receiving treatment for cervical cancer in 2012, Sara Krish turned to her peers within the cancer community in search of connection and support. At 30 years old she was experiencing an overwhelming loss of identity, feeling stuck and uncertain of how to move forward, and an inability to cultivate light among the darkness. In 2015 Sara established the Cancer Warrior Foundation and set out on a mission to empower young women through their cancer journey. Today, CWF offers a variety of free services that positively impact mind, body, and soul.
Sara has also created Get Lit Coaching, a powerful goal-focused counseling technique for moving individuals through transition, heal from hardship, and create a life filled with purpose. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-465-9154.