October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something I had never paid much attention to until diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Needless to say, I now advocate early detection. I'm happy to share that I'm an 18-year survivor of breast cancer, although I do have multiple myeloma, a form of bone cancer for which there is no cure. Thankfully, it's smoldering, and I haven't needed any treatment.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer just before 9/11, which was extremely stressful. However, it was a time when I listened to all of the universe's messages. It was also a very stressful time of my life as I raised my three children, with my adolescent daughter dealing with a number of challenges. My cancer diagnosis was a reminder for me to slow down and smell the roses, and to spend more time nurturing myself. I viewed my disease as my body giving me a warning sign, which probably saved my life.

Luckily, I was diagnosed with an early form of breast cancer called DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). My way of healing was to write a book to help others in similar situations deal with their journeys. Healing with Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey is a self-help memoir in which I tell my story and also offer writing prompts for others to share their own stories. The book is still available and continues to help others. To supplement this book, I wrote Writing for Bliss: A Seven Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.

If you haven't read either book, I hope you treat yourself or someone you love. Both are available on Amazon.

To purchase, click the images below:

October is also Emotional Wellness Month. So much crosses my mind when it comes to emotional wellness. In general terms, it's about having self-awareness and an understanding of our own feelings and those of the people around us. To achieve emotional wellness, it's important that we're mindful of our communication and interaction with others. In his book Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection, Brian Grazer describes this beautifully. Please see my review below.
Creatively Yours,

  • Write a letter to a cancer survivor you know.
  • Write about a mental health issue you've battled.
  • Write about a healing book you've recently read.
  • Write about a powerful, memorable conversation you recently had.
"This Pastime Helped Me Navigate Through My Grief" (blog). Thrive Global. September 1, 2019.
"The Alchemy of Suicide: September Is National Suicide Prevention Month" (blog). New York Free Spirit Journal. September 4, 2019.
"Surrendering," "The Parking Lot," "Engulfed by Love." (poems). Red Wolf Journal. September 8, 2019.
"Managing Grief After Suicide" (blog). The World of Psychology Blog. September 9, 2019.
"The Seduction of Suicide" (blog). Psychology Today. September 11, 2019.
"The Demons of Suicide" (essay). Entropy Magazine . September 2019.

October 26, 2019 
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm
Keynote Speaker / Workshop Leader
Northstar Memorial Group 
Skylawn Funeral Home
San Mateo, CA

November 15, 2019
12:00 p.m - 1:00 p.m.
Learn at Lunch
Hospice of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
(details to follow)

Face to Face: The Art of Human Connection by Brian Grazer (nonfiction)

This is one of the most entertaining and informative books I've read in a long time. Brian Grazer, the producer and creator of the films A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, and others, wrote a book that we all need to read. He reminds us of the importance of human connection, and shows us how we can make this connection stronger through the simple act of looking in one another's eyes. This simple gesture sends the message that we're present. He claims that human connections, whether made in the supermarket or in a business meeting, can be transformative because everyone we meet has the opportunity to teach us something or show us a new way of looking at the world.

And, he notes that one of the most powerful connections we have as humans is through story-telling. As an exercise, try to find out a stranger's story today.

How did it go for you? What did you learn?

This is a new podcast that blends first-person stories with mindfulness prompts. It's also accompanied by music. Each week there's a new story offering. Here are a few recent ones:

Michelle Thaller: Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe
Thomas Page McBee : Fighting my fears
Krista Tippett : I let go of my plan—and found myself
I've partnered with DailyOM to offer an exclusive 8-part course:

Write. Heal. Transform:
A Magical Memoir Writing Course

Learn about the power of writing to heal and transform. Be inspired to share the story that only you can tell!

Find more from me here:
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