October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which might give some a start for more awareness around breast health. Hopefully for most it is a reminder and a time to re-commit to living with awareness every month.
But what does awareness really mean? Does it mean we live in constant fear of what can happen? Does it mean we feel we have to restrain and restrict ourselves from those foods that increase our risk? And does it mean we have to keep going to the doctor to check if we are ok? To start, I will say we are all different, and we need different solutions. We need to do what fits us, but if we take a moment to consider if we are caught in the mass-awareness or if maybe we are pausing to find our own awareness instead.
I started my awareness journey as a very young woman because of breast and ovarian cancer in my family, which automatically made me high-risk. I should actually really say that according to the doctors, I am not really high-risk, I am high-for certain-just-a-matter-of-when. Now that is the mass-perception of what I am facing. It is not mine!
As you might already know, this journey partly became the reason for me starting Path for Life, but what really manifested the need to start a process of healing, was the loss of both my parents to cancer only slightly more than one year apart. You can call that a great loss, but it was also a great gift, in the sense that it allowed me the opportunity to wake up and make some new choices for myself. And I honor my parents for being the catalyst, as I miss them, and wish they were here to share it with me, I also realize I might not have taken the steps I have taken without the deep grief of loosing them.
So let’s talk about what I believe in, since I don’t believe in doomsday.
I believe: in breast health, breast love, and self-awareness being the Path to staying in constant relationship to what my ancestors had to go through. As I say that I already feel like an individual, with individual choices, and with that the understanding of each our individual cause and effect. That gives me the courage to believe that I can do something for myself, other than assuming my family history will become mine as well.
I believe: that our food choices make us more or less healthy. There is no doubt in my mind that some foods are much more cancer causing than others. I avoid dairy like the plague; lucky for me I am also lactose intolerant so my body completely supports me in that choice. Dairy is in and of itself a growth hormone even when organic, and without the added growth hormones that can be found in factory-farmed cow’s milk. It is also a combination of saturated fat and sugar, which cancer cells love to feed on, and to top it off, dairy affects estrogen and raises insulin levels. All in all there is no question for me, I don’t believe dairy is healthy in general, and especially not for breast health.
I believe: that we need to avoid toxins since the breasts are very "lymph system related". I do not take anything into my body that nature does not provide naturally. It is very simple to me: if it is not found in nature my body would not know what to do with it. This basically means no processed food, no food with stuff added, no pesticides, herbicides, preservatives, food coloring, and no ingredients that I cannot recognize the name of on the label as actually being of or from food.
Coffee, wine, and chocolate. Love them but ...I love myself more. I do have a little of these delights from time to time, but I regard them as a wonderful and precious delights since I respect my body's ability to handle these substances in small quantities and of high and organic quality only. I admittedly do not have attachments to these items anymore, but it was indeed some inner work to come to a place of balance with these treats, the work of understanding what a true treat is for me, and the work of accepting what these treats represented emotionally for me.
I believe: that it is important to understand what my physical body needs and what makes it function optimally, how it feels at its best, and how I boost my immune and detoxification system. The foods I choose on a daily basis are high in fiber, high in vegetables, and especially high in cruciferous anti-cancer fighting energy, and choose mostly vegetable based protein. I drink pure water and green tea, I eat my meals in as much peace as possible. I honor when I am full as well as when I am hungry. And I cook. My mother always told me, you will learn how to cook when you need to. Well, I need to, so I do it. When it is not possible to make my own food I still choose good and healthy food, since that is what I want for me, my body, and my future health.
I also believe: that food is not the whole story when it comes to breast health and breast cancer. The emotional aspect is huge.
I hear from many women who have gone through breast cancer treatment, that they learned something about themselves in the process. What is it that most women tell me they have learned? -To take care of themselves. To love themselves. That they matter. They are learning to take care of their own needs, before taking care of others. Not that others do not matter, but we, ourselves, have to matter first. We have to find the ...and ...and... in our lives.
The "...and ....and" is what many learn from their breast cancer. We can give more love to others when we love ourselves more, we can receive move love from others, when we love ourselves more, and we can express our innermost needs more, when we can love and acknowledge ourselves for having them.
My hope is that we as women can learn this without breast cancer - that is the awareness I want to call upon this month. The Breast Love Month is just the beginning of a new way of living in awareness.
Self-love awareness month I would like to call it instead, though I really want to ask you to let every month be a self-love-awareness month.