When I found my purpose by being repurposed…
I have spent a bulk of time trying to promote myself – as a long time entrepreneur and a Type A (reformed) personality, there was a lot of promotion in my life. “Call me, I am really good at X.” “Hi, I am Lisa and I am experienced at ….” And more. There was also the constant pivot to figure out how to monetize my skills to help keep my life afloat with a high cost of living, a higher mortgage and a fixed income.
Recently, I got enlightened in my heart – and my heart and soul have become united in the front to be a servant to others, to help others, instead of trying to figure out how to become a successful <insert whatever here>.
During my recent trip to Italy and before that meeting the leader of Compassion That Compels, Kristianne Stewart, helped me slowly chip away at my veneer of the “humble brag” or the “vanity” of being seen as a wonder and instead to help others without looking for anything in return.
We are ALL wonders, we are all wonderfully and beautifully made and the first time Kristianne prayed over me, via cell phone and during the end of my radiation, was a small seed, a beginning that has sprouted into the most amazing of things.
Kristianne is a leader and a giver and it is ALL ABOUT HELPING OTHERS. Her nonprofit, Compassion That Compels, started with a letter and an idea to provide support to women facing life changing diagnoses around cancer. Since launching, her group has given out over 7000 Compassion Bags and have built communities of women, relationships and breadcrumbs from God to us to them and back again. Things that just CANNOT be coincidences happen all of the time with this group and by extension to me.
When I first got my notification that my nonprofit was approved, I sat in my backyard and looked around at the wonderful trees and started to talk to my Saint, Padre Pio. I prayed and said, “So I am ready to help others but I do not know how to let anyone KNOW that I am here, that this nonprofit even exists…” When my phone rang and it was Kristianne calling to ask me to partner with her organization to help with the On Your Feet program.
And from that call, we began to create a program that could help women get back their confidence and their PLAN B after cancer. This weekend, I was lucky enough to be a part of the life changing Repurpose Conference in Tennessee with the giving, selfless and loving team from Compassion from Kristianne to the Board to the volunteers and beyond. Each one of them are a powerhouse of relationship building, prayer and openness to embrace and help others.
My life is forever changed by being a part of the Compassion That Compels family – but you can also be a part of their family – you can sign up on their website to be a volunteer, to ask for a prayer or to be involved with the On Your Feet program.
The crux of my trip to Europe showed me, through my faith, that I could let go and move and also that my purpose in this life is to help others. With my upcoming move, I can focus on my nonprofit and continue to provide free survivorship resources and tools for life after cancer. The relationship I have with Compassion That Compels just proves to me how blessed and lucky I am to know the team and to help them help women.
I repurposed my pain and my cancer diagnosis to go from helping myself, promoting myself to helping others and promoting THEM – they are amazing and just a few of them spoke at this weekend’s event and their words about how my nonprofit was able to help them brought me to happiest of tears and made my soul so so happy.
I was honored to have the chance to speak and to me, it was the best time of my life – all fun and laughter and I hope the true explanation that I want to serve – who is next to have my help?
Thank you Kristianne, team and the fellow speakers and volunteers – I am honored to know you.
Just some of the amazing women Repurposed together through Compassion That Compels...
Just a little of the talk...
So as a December girl, my birthday has always been a great way to celebrate the holidays in overdrive. I used to (before kids) decorate my house and tree right after my birthday (or the day of it) - now of course, we decorate after thanksgiving.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before my birthday last year - actually almost 2 weeks before my birthday to the day. This year, on my actual birthday, I have to admit, I had tons of mixed emotions. I was of course happy and thinking myself blessed and lucky and all that jazz but I also experienced a lot of fear. A lot of dark thoughts about what could happen and if the worse would happen and I would die before seeing my kids grow up or not have the chance to do my renaissance my new me my unveiling of whatever it is my goals in my new life will be to give back, to do more and all that jazz.
I know I have some PTSD and some other lovely issues to work through but I know it takes time. I do all I can to stay focused and positive but sometimes, of course, I falter - hey, I am only human.
Today is the day I can truly celebrate, though, and stay focused on the prize, which is this moment, today, this exact moment of knowing that one year ago today, I had my surgery. My surgeon took out everything - my mastectomy is quite radical I mean hey my tumor was almost 6cm after all. Also, I lost 25 lymph nodes a year ago today of which 5 were positive for cancer.
When the surgeon spoke to my husband he told him emphatically, "I removed all of the cancer. It is all gone." I posted about that on Instagram today (@thetimebetweenis); from that point on my husband has been convinced that I am cured, that I am cancer free. I live my life to try to believe the same, every moment of every day because if I did not, I would not have any peace. I know that this might not be true as it is not true for 1/3 of breast cancer patients who wind up having cancer spread to other parts of their body and become "terminal" at some point...
I also know that some people have local recurrences and all that jazz. I try instead to be positive and not think about those possibilities, but sometimes like the night of my birthday, those thoughts were taking over and winning which sucked.
I did have an awesome night and was able to not cry - because at one point, at dinner, surrounded by my loved ones, I did want to cry. I think the tears were a mix of self pity and fear and I do not like those feelings not one bit. I am thinking about making a post about how pity is one of the worst emotions and why I think so but for now, I will just say that it was a moment of weakness - which everyone can experience at any time though in the old days, I felt this weak all of the time -- now ,though, I truly do (try to) live in the moment.
I am going to share something now that might make you think I am insane - and if that is the case, it is ok, sometimes, I think I am insane, too (lol).
On the night of my birthday, when my peace was rocked, as I was sleeping one of my children called out to me and said, "Mommy, I am scared!" (This happens sometimes as they were impacted by my cancer plot twist and it is the reason why I worked on the children's book told from "their" perspective - see it here - working-through-the-pain-or-what-your-kids-feel-when-mama-gets-sick.html.
Anyway, when they called out, I wanted to say, "I am scared, too." but I did not of course - I told them, "Everything is ok, there is nothing to be scared of..." then, I quickly fell back to sleep but I was not asleep. Instead, I was bathed in a white light that was so strong and so bright and yet I could look at it without having to shield my eyes. I was in a white bright room and in that room were 2 other people - Mary, the Blessed Virgin and Padre Pio. I have written before about my experiences with Padre Pio here padre-pio-me.html.
This experience was more deep, more profound and even if I created it in my head alone (which I do not believe) it was still something that brought me great peace and made me feel that no matter how much I worry, it does not help and that I should just follow my original gut instincts to "pray, hope and don't worry". There was more that happened during this "vision" or "dream" but I cannot put words to it...
I woke up suddenly because I felt something in my hands. When I opened my eyes, I was holding my green scapular in my hands, tight. I will write more about what a "scapular" is at another time because this post already is turning into a book and I have some living to do today! On this day, the day of my "rebirth" there is no bad feeling or fear - there is just this moment, this moment when last year, we heard the magic words, "All of the cancer is gone." I am going to hold on to that and keep it with me so that I can continue to have my peace, no matter what.
What do you do in the time between to help you cope with the fears, the bad stuff, the PTSD? I would love to know! Thanks!
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