How to Dance in the Rain

 

Short Bio Picture 2In less than two years I experienced a divorce, a double mastectomy, 12 surgeries, 16 rounds of chemo, one year of Herceptin® infusions, six weeks of daily radiation and a blood staph infec­tion. I have no feelings of victimization in any of this because it truly led to an amazing connection with all of humanity… we all have our “dark night of the soul” experiences and how we choose to respond to them makes ALL the difference in the outcome! When you flip your circumstance into an opportunity for learning and growth you expand your ability to dance in the rain.

So what did I learn? I’m not my breasts. I’m not my hair. When I connect to my breath, I connect to the present moment and when I am present the grace I need to handle ANY situation shows up every time. At any moment I can choose to connect to inner peace. I learned how to be a fasci­nated, curious human being vs. one who is imprisoned by assumptions and attachments. Victimization keeps you in a state of emotional paralysis. Asking “how” questions vs. “why” questions leads to creative solutions. I cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time. What­ever I choose to focus on GROWS BIGGER quickly! I learned how to accept all of my emotions without judgment. I learned that when you are graced with the brush of death, you are given the gift of instant perspective of all that is truly essential in this life. Ultimately, I learned that I am a drop of life in God’s endless ocean of possibilities… ALL things are possible for me… and you.

“Nothing thrives in a state of war” is a powerful lesson that I learned in the midst of the battle for my life. Here is a little flash from my past that played a part in this life lesson:

I found myself standing in a ring at the Tae Kwon Do State Championships, facing my opponent—who happened to be 10 years younger than me. The bell went off and the punching and kicking began. All of a sud­den, everything went black as I found myself laying flat on my back listening to the drone of a count down… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… “Wait a minute” a voice within me shouted, “I didn’t train four hours a day, six days a week for an entire year to go out like this…get up Lauren! GET UP, GET UP!”

All of a sudden, a surge of strength coursed through my being, pushing me up to my feet. I stood eye to eye with my attacker who had done two illegal moves that landed her foot on the side of my head. The bell rang again and this time I had so much anger coursing through me that I lost touch with my 8th degree black belt Master. He was shouting from the sidelines in a desperate attempt to ground me enough so I could connect to my skills and techniques. Whenever there is a powerful emotion in life, positive or negative, you cannot see clearly or respond with wisdom. I ended up looking like I was lost in the forest at birth and raised by a bunch of wild monkeys… anger and frustration fueled every kick and punch. I ended up winning that round… but really? I forgot everything my Master had taught me in the heat of my emotions.

From his perspective, I didn’t win using the art I was trained in. Rather, I fought like a wild spider monkey and clawed my way to the silver medal.

In Tae Kwon Do you learn very small aspects of movement and mental focus before breaking 15 boards and stepping into a State Championship ring. The training is intense and seems endless at times. Yet when practiced with wisdom, it has the potential to save your life.

Ten years later, once again, everything went black, and I found myself flat on my back; bald and breastless. Replacing the countdown I heard in the ring were the voices of doctors and nurses calling out “Code Blue! Code Blue!” Rather than anger, I felt the most profound peace and safety—as if I was floating above all pain, worry, doubt and fear. Yet, I was very much aware of the distress in the lives of those clamoring around me as they attempted to pull me back from a heart malfunction. Rather than being fueled by anger like the first time I was knocked out, I was fueled by the choice for love and life no matter what surrounded me.

This was the first “kiss of death” I experienced in a two-year period of time. Each “brush of death” experience delivered the same profound peace, release and instant perspective; validating a curiosity that I had spent my life exploring: “Is it possible to dance in the storm and remain in a place of love and peace no matter what surrounds you?” I stand in awe of how quickly my entire perception shifts to peace and safety as soon as all the paralyzing fears get out of the way. St. Augustine spoke to this experience when he said he found great peace whenever he gave his spirit permission to guide his flesh into all things. As soon as my flesh got out of the way during my “kiss of death” experiences, my spirit took over and peace returned.

When you step into the ring and face your biggest fear face to face from the perspective of your greatest source of personal empowerment: your relationship with God, an inner strength to rise up and conquer will guide your next step. Give your spirit permission to guide your flesh today. With each storm in life we are given the opportunity to dance in the rain.

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