Not so long ago, I was asked to speak about my journey and what ensued was a funny and serious presentation entitled, Spirituality through Wellness: How to Turn a Hot Mess into Happyness. Since then, and throughout my life I’ve continued to teach, train, and inspire others. I am drawn to educational scholarships, incredible groups of women on a mission and paying attention to the world around me – that is also a teacher.
My personal back story includes breast cancer, an international divorce that took four years to complete, learning how to say No and Yes from my heart instead of my head and finding balance along the way. I must remain neutral. I am the bridge that sees both sides and makes a nice connection in which thoughts and ideas can flow easily. I resonate with those resisting change. I am drawn to those that can’t ask for help. I pray daily to just be of service and in the flow I am found.
One of my favorite clients found me in a yoga class that I never taught again. She was a retired pathologist and in the middle of a cancer diagnosis resisting treatment. She had met Yogi Bhajan, PhD in her youth and couldn’t believe that I had also found Kundalini yoga at the Stanford University Community Center. She became my favorite client. We met once or twice a week during the time she was in radiation. We met all over the city from the Japanese Garden to the Path of Tea for 90-minute sessions rebuilding her faith in her journey and herself. She was a rare bird because she knew that she needed me. She knew what she was missing and together we forged a path towards healing that she never knew could exist in her life. From discussions about her past, to identifying the clues along her life that eventually led to her dis-ease with life, she was forever changed. She joined the doctors in healing herself, forever. She let me in and all I did was shine a light. Just like a therapist, her story will forever be kept private and safe in my heart.
Another favorite friend invited me out to visit her during chemotherapy. She was frustrated at what and how to eat since she had never really paid attention over the years, as she gave me all her reading material about nutrition. She was also frantic to schedule a caregiver to spend the night with her at the apartment just a few miles from the hospital to help her through the treatment. In a sundress nursing a sunburn, she asked me to spend the night with her and I said I would do what I could. We stopped by Walgreens so she could purchase a case for my contacts before I remembered that I already had one in the car. She was half way through her treatment and the doctors assured her that it was working. While she slept, I organized her kitchen cabinets so that breakfast items were together and easy to get to, organized her refrigerator so that she could see what she had and how abundant she was, and continued to edit her grocery list before she sent it to her friend to purchase items she needed. Although I wanted to cook something for her, her freezer was full of items to reheat and there wasn’t anything left to cook. Knowing that I wasn’t prepared to stay, we went for a walk and before I was about to leave, having spent four hours or so with her, I pointed out that she couldn’t pay someone to care about her healing as much as she needed to care about her own healing.
She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t find someone to pay to follow a spreadsheet of medication and feeding until I told her about my experience tracking myself throughout my own chemo journey, because I knew that I wasn’t going to be surprised by my fourth, fifth or sixth round. I kept track of the major things during my day including, sleep, breakfast, bowel movements, water intake, exercise, prayer, nature, sun, fun, friends, lunch, medication, dinner, snacks, and anything else that had to be done on a daily basis so that I could stay on schedule and avoid trips to the emergency room. Granted, she has friends upon friends to help with her journey, and she was delegating like the best of them, but the biggest role for her she could not pay someone else to fill because it was her job and hers only.
It took three rounds of chemo and another advocate to point my attention to her, and as I shared, the final three are now a countdown to freedom. A count down to her own life of independence. A new life she probably didn’t think was possible just months ago. And by the time I got home and fell asleep, I dreamed that I was there with her during the chaos of diagnosis with so many people seemingly intruding her life in darkness and then the dream ended with her holding up three fingers and smiling in the sun as if I was there the whole time knowing that she only had three more treatments to go. I couldn’t wait to tell her about my dream and that she was never alone the entire time.
You are cordially invited to attend an Open House on Wednesday, June 10th from 6:30 – 8:00pm at The Mystic Path in the heights located at 4001 N. Shepherd Suite 208 as I share the upcoming series of workshops focused on you and your health. Maybe you care for others, or maybe you are totally great! This series will uncover the Seven Pathways to Wellness starting June 22nd for seven weeks. Workshops include educational materials, instruction and experiential journies including yoga, meditation, journaling and two classes will be outside of this space at Central Market and The Path of Tea. You don’t know what you don’t know until you know it. This class is exciting to think about the boundless adventures that await. Register online or contact Sandy Castillo at 713-232-9796. Thank you.