A Dying Woman’s Wish for Everyone

Sometimes we get caught up in or allow what’s going on around us to dominate our lives, then I read this message shared on Facebook reminding me of how sacred life is. Kerri, whom I do not know, crossed over in 2021 from brain cancer, her words touched my soul. I believe that the most soulful and authentic words come from the humbleness that comes with leaving our earthly life. Kerri spoke her truth and in turn inspires us to live whole heartedly and bravely. This is a very worthy read.

“If you’re reading this, this fu$king brain cancer probably got me.

But let me be crystal clear while I’m able: I did not ”lose a battle” against cancer. This is a ridiculous, steamy pile of horse shit that society has dumped on cancer patients. Western medicine, and Western culture, especially, is so uncomfortable talking about death that instead it created this “battle” analogy that basically shames people who die from cancer.

News flash: None of us gets out alive from this rodeo called life.

There is no shame in dying from cancer – or any serious illness. And it doesn’t need to be a battle. It’s a transition that each of us will go through. I was asked by a shaman, whom I spoke to after my second brain surgery, “Are you running towards life or running away from death?”

Whoa! That got my attention.

There’s a BIG difference. I got it wrong more often than not.

Don’t let fear fuel your choices. Live fearlessly. Run TOWARDS life. Don’t worry about what people will think. Trust me, it doesn’t matter.

Focus on you. Be true to yourself. Be your own best friend. People who tell you you’re selfish are not your people. If the voice in your head says these unkind things, get a new voice. Honor your mental health and seek out a good therapist with the same vigor you’d search for a romantic partner.

Speaking of, be intentional about cultivating friendships that lift you up. As those friendships grow and change, don’t overlook them while you search for that “great love of your life.” (No, I’m not suggesting you sleep with your bestie. But you do you!)

Another unhelpful message that we get from society is that we need a “love of our life,” as a romantic partner.

Single and childless when I was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, I looked around my life and came up sputtering and sobbing from the wave of grief washed over me. I thought I’d be doing this alone… no husband, no kids, no “great love.”

How wrong I was. At the first appointment with my neuro oncologists, one of the nurses diligently hauled in chair after chair for the great loves of my life who came with me that horrible day and many days after that.

I sat and listened while the doctor explained the 12-month treatment plan, focusing on my breathing, then looked around the room…. filled with great loves of my life: incredible women friends whom I had met at various stages of my life.

Surround yourself with people who contradict that unkind voice, people who see your light, and remind you who you are: an amazing soul.

Learn how to receive these reflections from your people. Because they are speaking the Truth.

Love yourself, no matter how weird and silly it might feel. Every morning, give yourself a hug before your feet hit the floor. Look deeply into your eyes in a mirror. Say to yourself, out loud, “I trust you.” That voice in your head might say you’re a dork. Ignore it.

As I prepare to leave this body and embark on this mysterious journey of my soul, I hope these observations from my deathbed are somehow useful.

What I know, deep in my bones, is that learning to love myself has led me to be able to say this: I’m so proud of how I lived.

May you, dear reader, feel the same when you head out on your soul journey, too. Until then, enjoy the ride. And always eat dessert first, especially if there’s pie!” Kerri Grote

Becoming Vulnerable – to Have Healthier Friendships/Relationships

Relationships are complex, challenging and a source for growth. Going into any relationship in a state of unawareness, guarded and carrying baggage comes from making the same choices over and over again which only leads to heartbreak and turmoil. Stripping away habitual behaviors to become open and vulnerable is the only way to experience healthier, happier relationships.

Without vulnerability, relationships struggle. Vulnerability is, ‘Here I am – my frayed edges, my secrets, my fears, my affection. Be careful – they’re precious.’ In return, it invites, ‘Oh, I see you there. It’s okay, you’re safe. And here – here’s me.’ It builds trust, closeness and a sense of belonging. Relationships won’t thrive without it. Karen Young

Being vulnerable isn’t easy, exposing our most vulnerable self is a lot of work and doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process that happens as we build confidence and certainty that it’s okay to be ourselves and genuine around others.

If you view relationships as a way to become a better person instead of a way to fill a void or to make you happy, they will function better and differently and all of the relationship stumbling blocks most people experience will eventually fall away. This is effective for all relationships, not just those of a romantic nature, love and vulnerability aren’t limited to romance, in fact, they are the true nature of humanity.

Healthy relationships are always growing and changing allowing for introspection, personal growth and the ability to shift our way of being. The key to healthy relationships is that they be backed with consciously chosen meaningful intentions where everyone is always seen and heard and feels secure knowing that no matter what is said or discussed, there are no judgments, conditions or opinions that will diminish the heart of the connection between you.

First, we should be in a strong and wholesome relationship with ourselves, that will open the door for healthier relations. As we become vulnerable we will learn that our happiness and accountability in a relationship is our responsibility. then we will lift the burden of expecting anyone else to care for our happiness and feelings. Unfortunately, a majority of relationships are unconscious, revolving around feeling safe and relying on the other person to make us happy, that is what we’ve come to expect and what strains most relationships. Healthy relationships of any kind are grounded in consciousness, unquestioning trust, giving space to each person to be authentic and feeling completely accepted.

Vulnerable relationships are different asking that we be conscious, aware of our emotions, actions and words and that we are able to be ourselves. I recently read a quote that helped me put into words the way I approach relationships now, it was something like we must understand that relationships are not to make us happy but a part of our lives for us to learn and grow from.

Redefining a relationship isn’t easy, no matter how mindful we are. For me, the best way I’ve found not to conditionalize a relationship based on past experiences is to work on myself towards well-being and self-confidence and always remind myself this is a different person and situation. Because I live in awareness, I make sure to treat people as I want to be treated. Being aware and conscious is a great part of vulnerability and a constant effort meaning we can never slip into unconscious oblivion again. I can suggest trying what I’ve discovered, ask yourself questions like what will happen if say this or how would I feel if someone treated me this way before I say or do anything.

A major factor that changed the dynamics and the type of relationship I have with myself was when I chose to create boundaries such as not letting what others thought of me or my choices interfere with what I decided or how I thought of myself. I also took another big step toward being true to myself by reducing the number of people I was surrounded by. For me, that was a fairly significant move that led to a smaller circle of trusted friends. Becoming conscious and vulnerable is going to bring an obstacle course with everyone in your life, this is where you will experience the most change and weed out those people who aren’t on the same page with you.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”― Brene Brown

Being vulnerable is tricky, we can’t configure or manipulate our authenticity in any way to be accepted by another. We have to be happy with ourselves and then do the work at remaining genuine to attract the healthy relationships we deserve. Another major step is to not allow the years of self-protection from pain and toxic behavior that caused us to shut down and close people out prevent our progress to being a happier person.

Finally, I’d like to close with a video I watched and another part of the process of developing healthy friendships/relationships, Frientimacy: The 3 Requirements of All Healthy Friendships by Shasta Nelson

Thank you for reading my post, always live your life with your mind and heart connection in the forefront.