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The Importance of Connection

My anxiety is through the roof today and my head feels like it’s full of cotton balls.

I’ve been part of a resiliency group for the past few weeks, and each time we meet, we start out by sharing how we’re feeling emotionally and physically at that moment, without explanation. It’s hard to do because I always feel the need to explain why I’m having those feelings in order to justify having them.

But what a great practice it is to be able to say how you’re feeling and not have to explain. How you’re feeling is how you’re feeling, no explanation is required.

Vulnerability. It’s not easy, but it’s something that I had to learn and start practicing in order to get past some of the hurdles that were holding me back. It started with this blog. Writing about my experiences with cancer helped me to unload some of the weight I was carrying around with me. I didn’t want anyone to see what cancer had done to me but the weight of trying to hide everything was becoming too much to bear, and thanks to some therapy and facing some of my issues I was able to put it out there and then let it go. As soon as I did that a strange thing started to happen - people started to open up to me and tell me their stories as well.

Where was Brene Brown 30 years ago?

It’s a huge gift to be part of a group like the one I’m in. Women who are on the same road, who want to be able to talk openly and honestly about what’s going on inside with no judgement from others.

Last week we were told to practice embodied listening, to turn inward as the other group members are speaking and to listen to my feelings and emotions as they’re talking, and then share those feelings after they’ve finished. My first response is always to jump in with a story of my own to show that I understand what they’re feeling, but I realized that sharing how their words made me feel was a much better way of acknowledging the speaker and her feelings.

The fact is, I don’t walk in anyone else’s shoes but my own, so how can I say that I fully understand what they’re going through when our life experiences and circumstances are different? I found it much more empowering and encouraging to hear how my words affected the others, that they felt their heart opening up or had some tension in their stomach. Whatever the feeling was, it showed that they were right there with me even though they’ve never walked the same road as me, and I hope they felt the same from me. I do have a really hard time following directions and paying attention for long periods thanks to chemo brain, but it’s something I want to practice and get better at.

This week I thought I’d share a joke with you:

How come there are Pop-tarts but no Mom-tarts?

Because of the Pastryarchy.

(laugh now)

Also, just wanted to remind all of you that my documentary Dosed2 (is it ok to call it mine?) is coming soon. The Vancouver screening is August 3rd with a panel discussion full of interesting people afterward. Other screenings are scheduled throughout Canada, the US, UK and Australia too, so check it out and buy your tickets at .

It's going to be fun!

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