I wanted to devote a whole episode to the lessons I’ve learned from a year of podcasting, because I feel like I’ve had some real AHA! moments and that they were different than the highlights from the show.
The lessons learned aren’t about the process or production of podcasting, but more so about people, their values, and how cancer plays into the story. I hope that some of these lessons resonate with you. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this episode (or any other) and what you’d like to hear more of. Okay, let’s dive in!
Paying it Forward
My first lesson learned comes from Gail Nussbaum’s interview. Gail’s special project is an event for family, friends, and co-workers to come make bears at Build-a-Bear for children with cancer.
I have participated in both the event and the handing out of bears for several years now. And I love all of it! I enjoyed making the bears and handing them out to the kids. As I listened to the conversation, a question came to mind, who benefits more, you or the person you’re giving to?
They say it’s better to give than to receive and I think it’s because someone figured out a long time ago that even if you don’t realize it, you benefit so much by being kind and doing good for others.
Laughter is (good) medicine.
There is no doubt that cancer is dark, and the process is dark, and it can be a heavy time. But the lesson learned from so many conversations is that we need humor. We look for the funny moments because they help us weather the storm.
Laughter brings forth endorphins that boost your immune system and help you become more resilient. If you can’t find anything funny in your situation, put on a comedy or comedy show and laugh to your hearts content because it will do you a world of good.
And since it’s non-toxic and non-invasive, there’s no limit on its use! So laugh it up baby!
Self-care is not selfish.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of being exhausted. Think about a time when you were sleep-deprived for several days… I bet there came a moment when you were just ready to throw in the towel without a care for consequences and or outcome. When you are totally spent your physical body takes over and you absolutely just don’t care about anything. For many people that happens when they get ill – a bad cold, the flu, etc.
Well, cancer is king! You don’t have to wait until that happens to start valuing the importance of taking care of yourself. You don’t have to be a narcissist either. It’s not all (about you) or nothing (about you).
If there are more pressing things going on in your life – your child needs your attention, you have a big deadline at work, etc… give yourself permission to focus on those things, but when the need is filled or the project finished, take time to replenish your energy.
Thoughts are things.
This was a big realization for me. I really struggle with reigning in the thoughts. The preverbal cats on the loose! But listening to Nancy McKay talk about being in control of our thoughts hit home for me (again).
Your thoughts give you and your life direction. Think about a time when you’ve wanted something. You first had the thought and the fulfillment came later. Thoughts are manifestations of our desires. Use them to lead and guide you toward peace, toward health, toward joy.
Begin a positive practice before you need it.
There is an old quote attributed to Confucius, I believe, that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
You never know what skills you’re going to need. If you knew in 20 years you would need to know something in particular, I’m sure you would begin learning it today. But none of us have a crystal ball to see into the future. Rest assured, whatever you begin doing today, you will find use for it in the future.
Another one of my favorite quotes is, “success is the meeting of preparation and opportunity.” But the opportunity only comes when you have done the preparation. When you have done the preparation and apply it to an opportunity and it doesn’t result in success, there are a couple of possibilities. Maybe it wasn’t the exact right opportunity. Maybe you needed more preparation. Maybe you needed that learning lesson so that when the next opportunity came about you would be wiser, more experienced, and better prepared. Maybe you were just supposed to have a better opportunity and the one that didn’t work out was filling a space in time until the other was ready to come your way. Either way, it may not have come to you at all if you hadn’t done the work to prepare for it.
“Begin a positive practice before you need it.”Regina Topelson
You’re never too old, and it’s never too late.
If you’re 80 years old and want to become an olympic gymnast, it’s probably not going to happen. But, I remember a few years back I read about some older gentlemen in their 80’s and 90’s who put on their own “olympics”.
They get together every year (time is of the essence at that age, you can’t wait four years) and run and do other sports to see who is the strongest, fastest, etc. But if that truly was your desire, why not start small doing some stretches and floor work?
Anything is possible.
Strive to be nourished and balanced from within.
This was a great lesson learned because the past year has forced many of us to be by ourselves in isolation, to go within. As a result many parts of our lives have gone unnourished.
Being nourished is so much more than what’s on your plate.
There is the nourishment of creativity, of friendship, of adventure and exploration, there is the nourishment that comes from community.
2020 gave us the opportunity to learn new lessons about solidarity, community, inner wisdom, and how to nourish ourselves from within.
To that end one of the ways I use to nourish myself from within is practicing meditation. Whether it’s sitting on my cushion or doing a moving meditation like walking or cycling, it helps me reconnect with my inner being and refocus my energy.
But it’s definitely not the only way to recharge. Gardening and painting, sewing, crocheting, and even cooking can be therapeutic as well. Creating music, writing, making pottery, or doing Tai Chi. It can literally be anything that speaks to you.
People don’t end up where they began their journey.
This one may seem obvious, but I think we all know people who evolve incrementally and others who change a lot. Sometimes illnesses change a person tremendously and sometimes not at all. And… we all deal with life’s stressors in different ways.
Maybe the lesson learned isn’t so much that people change and evolve but the ways in which they do so. Which parts of them are different as a result?
On a final note…
I ask all my guests what a life well-lived means to them. And I have learned so much from their answers. Top-of-mind is improving life for others. Making sure that they are happy is another. And by happiness, I mean making your own happiness. Doing things that make you happy, that bring you joy, that align your strengths with what the world needs (some would call that purpose). All in all, their definitions of a life well-lived were simple, not flashy or complicated.
Write me a comment and let me know your lessons learned from this past year, from the podcasts, or just what is on your mind. And please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast. Thanks!
Highlights from this episode and a link to the whole episode are below.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
- 3:00 Who benefits more, you or the person you’re giving to?
- 6:43 The importance of finding humor in the process.
- 10:34 Balancing self-care and caring for others.
- 12:34 You can control your thoughts.
- 16:50 Begin a positive practice before you need it.
- 18:28 You’re never too old, and it’s never too late.
- 19:54 The checkbox concept.
- 21:14 Strive to be nourished and balanced from within.
- 26:32 Using meditation and moving meditations to find and foster balance within.
- 28:05 People don’t end up where they began their journey.
- 31:18 The laws and regulations of the cosmetics and health and wellness industries have not been updated since the 1930’s!
- 34:42 About endocrine disruptors.
- 39:48 The values of a life well-lived.
Links mentioned in today’s podcast:
- Nancy McKay at Amazing Outlook Coaching
- Angie DeFrancis Cox at AK Studio
- Salty Girl Beauty
- Sahaja Yoga Meditation
A new podcast will be released every second and fourth Thursday of each month.
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