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Wisdom and Champagne: Grateful After Breast Cancer

The cancer demanded that I lived in the 'now.' I had always imagined the 'now' as bliss, being content, calm and happy. But my 'now' was centered on resting.
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I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2015. I share my learning that jolted me back on the track to a new life. This is my third posting.

My Pink Notes for Inner Wisdom
I have many wise friends. Kenny has helped me make sense of all things 'alternative.' You only have one choice; love or fear', he keeps reminding me. It's that simple.

We are all much wiser than we realize. Our intuition and our bodies give us signals that we often ignore. I wanted to access my inner knowledge to help my healing process. But how should I do it? I turned to Kenny for advice and being practical as always, he told me to buy a notebook. I found a pink one that I liked.

- Center yourself and then ask.
Kenny was clear in his instruction.
- Ask what?
- What you want to know?

I wanted to know what I had learned during the two weeks since my diagnosis. I will never forget the answers:

• I cannot do it all alone
• Planning is over-rated!
• I am surrounded by love
• Energy-stealing people are dangerous to me
• I have a wonderful life

I read what I had written and I knew it was my truth, but the truth was fragile. I read my new discoveries out loud to all my visitors during these weeks. By telling people about what I had written, I could integrate my internal and external truth. My 'Pink Notes' became a guide going forwards.

I laughed out load reading my insight on planning -- 'it is over-rated.' For years, I have with a full calendar and have dutifully rushed to the next appointment when my iPhone beeped to remind me. But having a good life has little to do with planning. This summer with breast cancer was the ultimate example of that.

We must be in the now to be happy. What is the point of all the beauty surrounding you if you cannot enjoy it? Being busy is no excuse. My boss who has a more demanding schedule than anyone I know, still has 'time' to publish a photo on Facebook of the beautiful Stockholm summer evening.

The cancer demanded that I lived in the 'now'. I had always imagined the 'now' as bliss, being content, calm and happy. But my 'now' was centered on resting.

Avoiding the Energy Thieves
I have always been perceptive to the energies of people around me. I was well aware that I needed to avoid contact with people who drained me. Yet, I was shocked to experience how strongly some people literally exhausted me. It was enough to have them in my thoughts. My normal defense mechanisms were completely out of function.

It is important to me to remember this learning. Regardless of health situation, energy-draining people will affect me if I do not put up my boundaries.

My Pink Notes had revealed very important truths that I carried inside. My life was indeed wonderful, despite the illness. On good days, I felt like I sailed in an ocean of love that kept pouring into my life, I enjoyed my beautiful apartment, my financial freedom, the most wonderful son in the world... I felt blessed.

But there are other moments. For those, there are tools.

Champagne as a Life Savor
There is something about this bobbly drink that brings along a bigger world. A promise of scandalous enjoyment and memories that can make you blush. You do not want to be without that during cancer.

At least, that was my decision. Being luckier than most, I have my own champagne crew: The Lanson Ladies.

Being new in Stockholm and in a new job, I was surprised and grateful for the attention and care from my new colleagues. Several times a week they came visiting, always with a bottle of champagne. These women run one of Sweden's largest companies. They have responsibilities that exceed what most people think of as 'too much'. In order to book a meeting with them, you need very good connections to their personal assistants.

Jannike, Hélène and Henriette were a constant presence during my fight and struggle to understand what had happened to me. They made me feel included, valued and cheered me on.

I had to concentrate on getting well and I could not worry about work. I had an excellent co-worker who was acting for me, and I did not want to interfere with his decisions. I kept away from e-mails and did not attend meetings.

But I love my job and wanted to be in touch with the exciting things happening. It was wonderful to discuss job related opportunities and ideas over a glass of champagne with the Lanson Ladies. This created a sense belonging that was very valuable to me.

Did we need champagne for this? Maybe not, but I recognize the unmatched lure of champagne versus other alternatives. My Lanson Ladies were part of my savior crowd and I am forever grateful to every bobble we shared and will share in the future.