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Life is a series of deaths and rebirths. Death happens to our bodies every minute of every day yet; this process goes unnoticed because we are busy living life. Cells die. Skin dies. But the thought of the ultimate death stops us dead in our tracks. When the day arrives when we leave behind, what the Buddhist religion refers to as our “skin bags,” we release ourselves from the physical and go on to the next phase of our soul’s journey.

Somewhere in the 19th century the idea that death was something to be feared, that it was something wicked, and something to be looked upon as the absolute end of “who we are,” gained popularity. We are not sure why because before that time, the idea and concept of death was a time of rest, a time we all worked hard to achieve and a time of renewal.

Death is a huge and complicated subject. Death is unavoidable yet it is a subject that we, as a culture, choose to avoid. Death begins the moment they cut the umbilical cord. Each day we live we are one day closer to the day we die. I don’t say this to ruin your day; it is just the simple truth. None among us knows the date on the other side of the dash. This is why it is so important to live every day like it might be our last: to pay attention and to appreciate the ever-changing, precious moments of our lives.

The more we embrace death the greater the quality of our lives. Elizabeth Kubler Ross called death a “highly creative force.” Facing death means we are able to face the ultimate question of the meaning of life. In order to live we have to have the courage to walk through life realizing that our lives are nothing but a blip on the screen of time. When I was given 3 months to live as a result of stage IV throat and neck cancer, there was time at the beginning of my journey when I was actually relieved at the idea that I could just slip away. I have never feared death. Actually, I have always been intrigued by it. When conversing with a prior therapist of mine about my not being sure of what my choice was going to be. That I might just let myself slip away instead of going through what they told me was going to be a hellish and rigorous treatment, she said, “Sorry, you aren’t getting off that easy. There is more for you to do.” She was absolutely spot on.

I am forever grateful for my surviving because there was more for me to do. Much more. There is more for each of us to do, yet we waste a lot of time on things that don’t matter. When we get to face our own death, we begin to live very differently.

Shakespeare said, “Everyone owes God one good death.” Death does not discriminate. It does not discriminate between blacks and whites, rich and poor, women nor men, the youth or the elderly. So why not live fully expressed, wrapped in the beauty, the mystery and the power of death and let it fuel us with the thrill of living like we are dying each and every moment.

Think about it…if today were your last, what would you be doing? Better still, who would you be being? Who would you be with? Who would you be telling what to? Who would you be forgiving? And more importantly, what is left for you to do?

Because there is one thing for sure, you don’t want to die with your music still in you.

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This is my first blog submitted and published on the Huffington Post

You have cancer. You have a very serious, fast moving cancer and you need to do something about this immediately.”

Those were the first words I heard upon awakening after a “routine” biopsy of a lump that had mysteriously appeared, two months earlier, on the left side of my neck. The diagnosis was stage IV throat and neck cancer. Treatment began immediately with a prediction that if something didn’t work fast, I would not be here for Christmas. Christmas was only 90 days away. That was almost 9 years ago.

When life comes to a screeching halt it demands our attention and introspection. During the initial days of my journey I had hours and hours strung together to ponder the many questions that accompany a potential death sentence. “Why me? Why now? What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong? How long do I really have?

So many questions crawling around in my head like termites looking for the perfect place to gnaw. 

Then…the most important question of all drifted in. A gift from the angels. Why is cancer the only disease referred to as a battle? This question triggered a cascade of thoughts and subsequent questions that took center stage and demanded an answer. Have you ever thought about why this is so? I hadn’t. 

We never hear about someone losing their battle with heart disease, or losing their battle with diabetes, or losing their battle with kidney disease. No. We only hear about it in relation to cancer. We have permeated society with this mindset of “battling” cancer so much so that the very first words of support from doctors, family and friends are, “You are facing the toughest battle of your life. You have to fight! You have to battle.” Then you have to pray that you ultimately win and the cancer loses. The time has come for a paradigm shift.

The answers and soul searching that surfaced as a result of this question is why I say in my book, FROM STAGE IV TO CENTER STAGE, that the presence of cancer was the best present I have ever received. I took a deep, spiritual dive. Searching my soul for the truth about who I was. Here’s what I learned. 

I learned that war against war is war. Where there is a battle there is a war. I certainly did not want to perpetuate a war with something that was already potentially angry. Cancer has a lot of heat. It needs to be cooled. It needs to be loved. It needs to be embraced and befriended. I began to dialogue with my cancer as I would with a trusted friend. I gave it a name. I gave it a pen. I gave it permission to tell me what was going on. I asked: what are you doing in my body? Why did you decide to come into my life? What do you need in order for me to help usher youout of my body and on your way? These are just a few areas that were explored. 

The sessions felt as if I was actually in relationship with someone who was far wiser than I. This is what happens when we are willing to let our higher selves lead the way. What I gleaned from these quiet, personal and intimate moments was invaluable. I believe it was what helped save my life. I was inspired to investigate places within that needed to be healed. There are too many lessons to share in this short blog, so suffice it to say, the top three are the most important and useful to anyone facing anyone of life’s challenges. Challenges are doorways to transformation. Especially when dealing with cancer.

My top three:

  1. “Stop beating yourself up for nothing.” When I said I wasn’t beating myself up for nothing, the response was, “It doesn’t feel that way in here.”
  2. “The more light you can hold within, the less room there will be for me.” This meant it was time to locate the places where the emotional wounds had caused blockages and find ways to once and for all, clear them.
  3. “The more you love yourself, Denise, the less reason for me to stick around.” This is where the rubber meets the road. The work began and continues to this day with the woman in the mirror. Our bathroom mirrors can be our most precious therapists.

I don’t think I would be here today, sharing my journey with you, had I chosen to battle and fight against cancer. I would have depleted what little physical and emotional resources I had.

My mission is to usher in a paradigm shift. A shift in how we approach cancer. It’s time to give people who have received a cancer diagnosis the permission they need to stop fighting and start loving themselves. If they don’t have the tools, then lets equip them. It’s time to let them know they didn’t do anything wrong. And please, let us stop referring to those who died as people who lost their battle. They are in no way losers. They didn’t lose anything. They simply died.

Two days prior to being diagnosed I had ridden my bicycle 90 miles in one day with the Pan Mass Challenge, affectionately known to Bostonians as the PMC, raising money for children’s cancer research for the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. How ironic! How perfect!

 

 

A heavy travel schedule has me stopping to rest in many public bathrooms. Only to find, a high percentage of times, the seat splashed with urine from the previous visitor’s need to stand as opposed to sitting. Every stall is equipped with paper seat protectors. Seldom to be used.  I choose not to use them because they absorb the spots left behind by the previous guest. Then what? Touch it? No way!

Earlier today I had some banking business at the local bank. Before conducting my business I waited patiently for the restroom. The door opened and a very handsome, six foot something, sandy color haired, perfectly tanned, man exited the bathroom. He flashed his perfect, pearly whites at me and said, “all yours.” I switched on the light only to find, the seat up. “What?” I murmured to myself. “He might be good looking, but he surely doesn’t have any manners.” Then like a lighting bolt it hit me.  “Why put the seat up? I’m only going to stand anyway. This way nothing gets on the seat and if the next person to come in is a man, it’s all set up for him. If the next person is a woman, well…she just might have the same thought as me.” 

So I think it is time for a paradigm shift around this whole, public, toilet seat business. I think all toilet seats (except for in your own home guys) could be left in the upright position until such time for the need to sit. Male or female. 

Just say’n.

 

Traveling from Los Angeles to Nashville last week I was holding a ticket for a seat in row 23A. Not my favorite section of the plane. I love to sit above the 15th row, preferably in row 5. 

Upon my arrival I attempted to change my seat and the kind woman at the counter said, “I’m sorry, the flight is sold out and there is no chance of getting you a window seat in any row above where you are already seated.” Okay. So be it. I’ll endure the 4 hours to Nashville in seat 23A.

Just prior the door being closed a large man looked down at the middle seat between Joe and me (Yup, I make friends pretty quickly with those around me on long flights) and nods affirming he has to squeeze into the seat between us. Hmmmm…..

A few minutes later, I am feeling this man’s discomfort. I love the window seat because I don’t love to fly and it helps me remain calm to look out the window but I’m feeling selfish because I know this guy would be a whole lot more comfortable in my seat. So…I ask, “Would you like the window seat? It will probably give you a little more room.” The man’s eyes lit up and he accepted my offer.  

Not two minutes later, about the time we were to switch, a young boy, maybe the age of 12 tells me I’m in his window seat. A flight attendant isn’t far behind him asking for my boarding pass. Well…some how they double booked that seat and the attendant asked if I would like to move to a window seat in row 14?  

Voila!!! God always has a plan and is always looking out for ways to help us manifest our dreams and desires. There is always a way when we don’t get in the way and we look for ways to help another. 

In-joy your day.

Much love, Denise

 

THE ONENESS THAT I AM PUTS MY FEET TO MY SOUL’S PURPOSE. WITH EVERY STEP I TAKE I MOVE IN THE DIRECTION OF MY HIGHEST AND BEST. WITH AN OPEN AND GRATEFUL HEART I SAY…THANK YOU GOD, THANK YOU GOD, THANK YOU GOD.

I wrote this prayer a very long time ago and I say this prayer each day. Sometimes I say it several times a day. Immersed in the energy of oneness keeps me focused and on track knowing that I am walking on sacred ground and with every step I take I am moving in the direction of my highest and best.

Let’s take a closer look at this prayer.

THE ONENESS THAT I AM.

I AM THAT I AM, said God when Moses asked his name. In Hebrew it is pronounced Ehyeh asher ehyeh.  Another translation is “Supreme Being.”

The Oneness is Supreme Being…the energy that is omnipresent and omniscient, the intelligence that knows only good, only health, only passion and compassion, and perfection of patterns. It knows only divine connection and divine alignment, and joy and peace and most importantly it knows only love.

In the oneness there is no recognition of anything negative because it simply does not exist. Connecting with and melding into that place of oneness and perfection catapults us in the direction of our soul’s purpose.

PUTS MY FEET TO MY SOUL’S PURPOSE…the masters say, “you have to put your feet to it.” We can accomplish much with visualization and intention and…we have to put our feet to it. When we are in our oneness nothing can stop us from putting our feet to our soul’s purpose. It is effortless and with ease and grace we can trust that when we don’t know, and we don’t always need to know, because God knows. The oneness knows. The universal intelligence knows.

We do not have to make everything an arduous task. And yes…every step we take is an affirmation that we are moving in the direction of our highest and best because in our oneness there is no other direction.

Each of us has a soul purpose. Some may not have found it yet or maybe some have found it but they don’t believe what is showing up is actually it. It may be too challenging to accept their soul purpose or maybe, just m-a-y-b-e it is too simple so we discount it. But I believe everyone has a unique expression, our own unique imprint for the planet.

The last teleclass I participated in was Caroline Sutherland’s 7 day detox program. I actually released myself from my sugar and wheat addiction. AMAZING…(Louise Hay) Caroline said, it is important to be healthy and feel good. Not simply to be healthy and feel good. We want this for a greater reason. It is for the purpose of your soul’s purpose so you can be strong and ready to answer the call each and every time. To feel up to the task of fulfilling your purpose whatever that is. Especially now when the energies are accelerated and moving at rapid fire speed, shifts and changes are taking place and we want to be able to keep up.

Outside of the recognition of our oneness we easily fall into the traps of our ego and our personality. Those guys are always pulling at us and wanting us to think they are keeping us safe but in reality, that’s not true. My ego and my Italian personality wants me to eat cookies every night and eat pizza and ice cream but the oneness that I am aligns me with my higher purpose and strengthens me to stay the course, to be in divine alignment so I can fulfill my purpose and do what God has asked of me and encouraged me to do.

And the most important line of this prayer is the last line. With an open and grateful heart I say thank you God, thank you God, thank you God. Gratitude…Thank you is the most profound prayer we can say; Especially when we say it to one another. Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings it keeps them flowing.

God bless.

YOU are a MIRACLE…so therefore you are a MIRACLE Magnet.

 A magnetized piece of steel can attract and carry 12 times its weight. A demagnetized piece of steel will not attract so much as a feather. In order for us to be a miracle magnet we MUST magnetize ourselves to attract and carry with us the miracles that are meant for us throughout each day. It is important to access and amplify the inner magnetic power within us. The miracle of our mind is where we begin to magnetize ourselves to receive these miracles.

 Because of surviving Stage IV throat and neck cancer in 2005 some people refer to me as a miracle. In some ways they are precisely correct…I am a miracle and so are they. And so is each and every one of YOU.

      We are the miracle of life; breathing, swallowing, our bodily functions are all miracles. I’m certain you would all agree with me that the birth of a child is a HUGE miracle. Please let me remind you that however many years ago YOU were once that miracle of a child being born. Nothing has changed.

 A Course in Miracles says, “The recognition of GOD is the recognition of yourself.”

If God offers us these miracles each and every day in every way and we recognize God and ourselves as one then we too can attract the miracles that are so abundantly available. We need to be open to them and we need to realize we are deserving of these miracles.

There are several ways to magnetize ourselves. One of the simplest ways I know is to spend time in childlike awe and wonder moment by moment. This raises our consciousness, raising our consciousness raises our vibration, raising our vibration raises our magnetic force for all the good that the universe has for us.

 Expect miracles. For some we expect everything but. We are shocked when miracles happen. Lets begin to live our lives with the opposite reaction. Be shocked when miracles don’t happen. We are on guard, fearful, and waiting for something to go wrong.  Instead of thinking there is something against you follow the Gary Simmons approach from the “I” of the Storm….Nothing and no one is against me.  The universe is weighted in my favor. Miracles happen every day. Not just in remote country villages or at holy sites halfway across the globe, but here, in our own lives. To live an abundant life is our birthright. This is a little prayer I say to start my day…

Lord, you are a miracle maker and I am a miracle magnet. I know there are miracles divinely designed and aligned for me today. I am ready, willing, able and open to receive each and every one so bring ‘em on because I AM A MIRACLE MAGNET. Thank you in advance for a miraculous day.

YOU are a miracle therefore you are a miracle magnet.  Like attracts like so if you are clear you are a miracle you can’t help but attract miracles.

 God bless you.

 

 

 

An excerpt from, From Stage IV to Center Stage.

Two weeks later I was gazing out the 11th floor waiting room window of Mass Eye andEarHospital. It was just eight months ago when I looked out these windows for the first time, scared and confused.

That was last September when a team of doctors had told Deleta, Marsha and me, “If she doesn’t move into treatment quickly, she may not be here for Christmas.”

They had briefed us that day about my particular cancer. That was the first time I heard the words, “neck dissection.”

That was the day I had seriously considered dying. I begged my family and friends to support me in my decision to never allow these doctors to dissect my neck.

Now eight months later on this day in May, I waited for Dr. Deschler to remove thirty six staples from where he had masterfully removed the left side of my neck. Is my lesson never say never? Maybe a more poignant lesson was that life is precious, and preserving life is what human beings do.

Eight months ago fear reared its head as a protective mechanism, and over time bowed its head to faith. Faith expanded and infused my life and proved to me the true protector is Divine guidance and the exquisiteness of the universe. (End)

When our faith is stronger fear has no choice but to bow.  Where are you fearful? Where are you wanting to step off but fear is holding you back? Be gentle with yourself during this inquiry and trust what you know.

Many blessings on your journey.