This post is by Goldie, a young adult cancer survivor who recently participated in an evening of the Meditation Workshop with Lacuna Loft and Help with Hope! The Meditation Workshop happens each first Wednesday of the month. You can learn more and rsvp here!
I signed up for the Lacuna Loft monthly meditation webinar tonight, and through the “busy” schedule I created for myself for the day, forgot. Mom reminded me that it was happening at 9 and I was worried we wouldn’t be able to shower and do the nightly routine in the usual fashion. Timing aligned perfectly and I was even able to clean my line before the class started.
I logged in and was surprised I was the only one there but it made me extremely comfortable. I opened up about my story and my journey through my recent stem cell transplant and with meditation. Pre-cancer, I had done an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction class for depression and anxiety. Did I ever use those techniques again? No, despite my therapist trying to get me back into mindfulness practices. After my relapse in December, I did attend a full-day retreat with the same instructor which was excellent, and I got to update her on my cancer journey. Did I continue with the practice? No. A handful of times when I was inpatient if I couldn’t sleep, I logged into the Headspace app. But not until I got discharged on October 15th was when I started meditating daily.
In the webinar, the facilitator was so kind and engaged in my story, asking meaningful questions. Since I was the only one on the line, I had the ability to the express what my needs were: I have been struggling with my anxiety, and cope with my diagnosis/recovery by controlling everything else around me in my life – I just need to relax. Since I was alone, I also had the ability to get comfortable with the position, turn off my phone, and ask about time (timing is a huge source of anxiety for me).
The facilitator recommended we try focusing on the Chakras, which sounded amazing because of my exposure to Reiki at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. I never really knew what they were or where they were, but know that’s what the Reiki masters tap into as they hover over parts of your body. I loved learning about all of them and the fact that they have colors of the rainbow. Before learning to meditate, when I used to have trouble falling asleep, I would imagine myself breathing in and out colors, and it would help relax me. I was really excited to do more research after the session, especially on the “golden” one. What I learned later was incredible and completely a description of what was going on with me since getting discharged from the hospital. It was honestly so real it was creepy, but having had Reiki 4-5 days per week inpatient and this Lacuna experience could have been a major impact.
Since I have been trained in mindfulness meditation, I was able to guide my own breathing and slow down or speed up to work with my body. I laid flat with palms down to the ground, in the dark. I tend to struggle with not being kind when I get unfocused with racing thoughts, which is very common and covered often in training beginners. I was so proud of myself because I was so focused and engaged that I only had one or two thoughts off track and was able to be kind and patient when I noticed it. I loved that it ended with namaste too. It reminded me how much I miss yoga.
Overall, the experience was amazing and accomplished its purpose of grounding me. I even was inspired to create a mantra for myself after it. My boyfriend called me shortly after, and he was telling me a story and his storytelling tends to get me revved up. I had the ability to calmly tell him to please talk in a different tone of voice because I was so calm from the class, and he respected it immediately. I hope my story can inspire you to join in on one of the monthly sessions!