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/. Cancer :: Today was the first day I felt it in my body.

For those who don't know I was diagnosed with Stage two Triple negative Breast cancer (TNBC) around March 15th. From then to now my sporadic doctor visits have become regular visits with my oncologist. This coming Tuesday will be my third week of immunochemotheropy. See the rest of the story in far more detail in my husband's words here.

Now that you're all up to speed, I want to get into the details of my day, right from the jump I felt sad, and to be honest a little bit hostile. I tried all my normal go to's; grounded in some fresh soil as I planted my flowers. I step back to admire said flowers, and nothing seems right, the colors seemed off, too much reds? No, maybe it was that my yellow dahlias next to my red door, made me think of ketchup and mustard, and that made me frustrated that I decided to go with a red door in the first place. But I love my red door...

Whatever, I continued on storming through the house, just feeling stuck and down and like the cancer and or the Chemo rather was getting in the way of all my hopes and dreams and even making me regret painting my front door red!

UGH! Get out Phyll! Who is Phyll you ask? Phyll is who I call the cancerous tumor that resides in my body. I decided to call it Phyll to remind myself that this cancer is not mine and it will not define me. In hopes that when I get to a point, like where I was today, I could speak to it and about it, and still not claim it as my own.

I digress, I would call myself an optimist by nature. I am always excited to learn something new, I am even more excited when someone else learns something new and shares it with me. I love to encourage others and I love to teach new and alternative ways of looking at something old and repetitive. That is probably why I love spirituality, philosophy, psychology and world religions, I love how scripture across the board can be looked at during different times and seasons throughout our lives, and every time God reveals some thing new that I hadn't seen from that perspective ever before. My choice of faith is rooted in Christianity and I like to say that I am a spiritual person that attends Sunday service religiously. And, I can confidently say that I find my joy in the compassionate unconditional love that is found throughout the teaching of Jesus. "You must love the Lord God with all your heart, mind and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself." -Matthew 22:37 That being said, I didn't quite know how to love myself until I introduced and began to weave the principles of the 8 limbs of Yoga Sutras into my mind and body. That then brought me into a deeper connection to the Divinity of God.

The 8 Limbs of Yoga at a Glance:

1. Yama: The ways in which one can compassionately learn to love others.

  • Nonviolence

  • Truthfulness

  • Not stealing

  • Not wasting energy

  • Abstaining from greed

2. Niyama: The ways in which one can compassionately learn to love one's self.

  • Cleanliness, to make one clean goes beyond the showers

  • Contentment

  • Spiritual observances

  • Self-Study

  • Dedication and Devotion

3. Asana: yoga practice, matching movement with breath.

4. Pranayama: Breathing techniques.

5. Pratyahara: An awareness to the need of something extra in order to cover up the present. Once discovered, the discipline of Pratyahara is to uncover the present and lean in.

6. Dharana: Training the mind to meditate.

7. Dhyana: An ability to sit in stillness for a long period of time.

8. Samadhi: Divinity; unity.

After reviewing the 8 limbs of Yoga Pratyahara stands out to me, literal translation: "Withdraw from Senses", Which also brings to mind Romans 5:3-5.

Today was rough, because I chose to sit at home in the uncomfortable of silence. I chose to text only two people to let them know I was sad. And both had a new perspective to offer one led me to tears one led me to laughter, bother were the release I needed to let go and lean in. My go to urge was run away from the silence, I wanted to leave and go to my yoga studio to be embraced and for everyone to tell me it will be okay, but I need to feel, release and let go of the yuck on my own, first. It is important to my own healing journey prior to my diagnosis, to find in that present moment compassionate love for myself. I needed to choose to want it, before I assume others will have what I need.

I am always saying, that we can not give on an empty cup, saying is different than doing, and filling our cups can look different every day. Today, mine looked like this, and after I filled up, I went to my favorite class at Austin Peay State University, where learned about positive psychology in my social psychology class, and afterwards I went to my yoga studio and gave my mentor a hug.

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love." -Romans 5:3-5

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