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Saying Good-bye, Saying Hello

Saying Good-bye, Saying Hello

A very wise man once told me that there is no such thing as not saying anything.  He explained that even when we don’t talk, when we don’t say a single word, we are saying a lot. So in my silence during 2018, I didn’t mean to say, “Good-bye,” but in many ways, that is exactly what I was saying.  Good-bye.

goodbye

 

I stopped talking to you here, sweet Creativity Tribe.  I pulled myself off some of my favorite social media platforms (for some, I still haven’t returned), pulled away from some of my local friends, and I dove deep into myself.  I didn’t do this out of a sense of pain or as a way of escaping.  I did it because my heart, at the end of 2018, was blown WIDE open, and I knew this was an opportunity to enter into myself to explore my HeartSpace with the lights turned on and the music of my spirit turned up high.  Who can say no to THAT?!

Into the HeartSpace

The events that led up to the opening of my heart are for another visit… it’s a really beautiful story.  What I do want to share is a peek into the journey of diving into my heart.  Haha!  Also, a really beautiful story.

Hello Heart

In the first days of 2018, I realized I had to say yes to the heart journey.  I began by tapping out of the regular rhythms of my life.  I spent extra time with myself.  I took time waking up. I played with my lingering dreams, stretched them out into daydreams later in the day.  I payed attention to the energy that pulsed through me.  I felt more alive.  I brought myself to the page… my thoughts, the images that accompanied them, and the curiosities that danced around me…. I wrote them out, drew and painted.  I EXPRESSED what was inside.  And all of this led me to know myself in new ways.

What I Discovered

I could see strength and confidence I had not known for many years.  I discovered how powerfully I was loved in this world… so much love!!!  And I could see very clearly some of my deepest wounds and the atrophy of my lifeforce those wounds had produced.  And then I decided to re-vitalize those places.

This brought me to my Body Wisdom Journey.  For as long as I could remember, I had struggled with weight.  My weight not only weighed down my body, it also weighed down my dreams.  My lifework suffered because I struggled to move.  My hip has been a source of pain for the last several years.  It has held me back from sharing myself, my art, and my ideas.  But that changed after I began my Body Wisdom Journey.

My body wisdom journey has had me saying goodbye to so much.

In July of this last year, I discovered an eating plan that really worked for me.  I began working with a coach and my body loved me for it.  That was a gamechanger.  It meant that I could do more.  And it meant I could dream bigger.

That brings me to the whole reason I am writing to you here again.  I am ready.  I am…

Saying Hello, Creativity Tribe….

I am looking forward to 2019 with the same passion I looked forward to diving into my heart at the beginning of 2018.  I am looking forward to this because it means I can share the lessons, wisdom, and beauty I found inside there.  I have more projects than ever planned for Creativity Tribe.  Some will be in-person, but many are opportunities for us to connect on-line so that Creativity Tribe is without bounds.  #CreativityTribeWorldwide!

saying good-bye saying hello

 

Dancing within the Creative Fire

dancing within the creative fire life coach

Dancing within the Creative Fire

A few months ago I started getting in touch with a feeling of something simmering within me.  It had been brewing for quite sometime.  I had been feeling like I was off my game for quite sometime, so this little something, even though buried deep inside, felt vastly promising!  I could feel the flames licking at my heels to move me into action, but I still struggled to ignite them enough to feel a push of vital energy behind them.

Tools for the Creative Fire

I dug in with my best tools for stoking the creative fire to see if I could move past simmering and into flame.

I started with inner journey work, partnered with sacred cacao from Guatemala.  I journaled, created mind maps of the many projects that came up for me.  I visited with trusted mentors, potential collaborators, and even complete strangers.

Then I could feel I had a few ideas spark up inside.  I knew enough from the personal work I was doing to understand I should be focusing on something live and face-to-face….an event of some kind.

I explored potential event spaces.  I looked for inspiration and invited the Universe to share direction and wisdom with me.  I looked for clues that I was on the right path and acted like something was going to come of all the Wish-To energy….even though I often still felt just an inkling of what might actually come of my sparks.  I moved forward, playing the part of a person who strongly believed something big was coming my way.

Then, it happened.  Several of my creative ideas started to take shape.  I leaned heavy on my intuition.  If something felt right and easy, I went with that.  If there was a struggle, a snag and hook inside, I looked for the easy button! And within a few of those key  ideas, other ideas came in and shifted the direction so that multiple interests were finding life within a few major projects.

Suddenly, I was on fire!

Rachel Glow 2

Sacred TempleKeepers was birthed, a partnership between me and Milena Worsham from Running Buffalo Journeys.

Milena and I have been friends and worked together both in business and for personal development for years.  She lives primarily in Guatemala but through the magic of the internet, we manage to share our spiritual journey in nearly weekly visits.

And so we began planning a series of PlayShops around the cacao we both love and use as part of our regular practice of self inquiry. We blended in creativity, spirituality, and a hefty dose of play.

I hunkered down and rode the wave of productivity to its pinnacle.  Our collaboration was solidified. There were meetings on Skype, back and forth emails, meditating, and brainstorming with additional partners.  Then, long nights to write copy and design promotional materials for the markets we were designing our PlayShops around. I love what we have brought to life together.

Choco Sanctuary-3

As a result, I have been absent from this site and very present in Creativity Tribe live events and collaborations.

Part of me struggled with not keeping Creativity Tribe firmly up-to-date.  But I decided to stay with the momentum.  I think that was the right direction.

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I have spent the last several weeks traveling and guiding our special gatherings, as well as offering private sacred cacao sessions. Sunday ended the bulk of this line of events, and the momentum for follow-up events is strong in the air. I am brilliantly tired and joyfully filled up!

Image by Liz Ophoven

Image by Liz Ophoven

Dancing within the Creative Fire…Next Chapter

This opens a new chapter for me.  What it will be exactly, I am eager to see.  I am allowing the sparks of possibility to express themselves as I continue to dance within the creative fire.  I can’t wait to share the evolution with you!

Walking on Sunshine: Life Beyond Cancer

I am Light India ArieLast year, I created a music playlist on my Kindle called Walking on Sunshine.  I was playing with a bit of music therapy as a creative solution for bringing light into my life during a difficult time.  I had uterine cancer, and an ongoing, nasty story running in my head had been telling me I was going to die.

Rachel Payne in shadow and light.
Dramatic, I know.  But heads do that to us sometimes.

Mine had been spinning the tale for a few decades.  My mother had died at 45, and her father before her also died at 45.  Somehow, the script got stuck playing on a loop in my head too.  I tried time and again to make it stop altogether, but as 45 drew closer, it began to manifest itself.  So when I found out at 44 that I had cancer, I began planting seeds of sunshine in my life more rigorously.

womb doodle(This image is from my Cancer Journey journal.  
Look for today’s journal prompt at the end of this blog entry.)

The stress management playlist had a great collection of sunny songs.  I would listen to it several times a day and run creative visualizations around in my imagination…..

… What life beyond cancer would look like.
… What life beyond cancer would feel like.
… What life beyond cancer would….you name it!

My imagination took me there!

Paths to healing include will, belief, forgive, love, and have faith.
What’s Today?!

Exactly a year ago today, I grabbed my playlist, cranked it up and dressed myself for the ride to MD Anderson Cancer Hospital.

MD Anderson Cancer Hospital

MD Anderson Cancer Hospital

I was due for surgery early in the day.  I felt myself walking into a shadowy path, but I felt filled with light. The songs were alive with all the stories I had layered into them with my imagination, and I relished them like a castaway imagining the succulent meals at the end of their lonely journey.  I was feasting on the sun!

eating the light

The sunshine stories told of the life of my deepest desires…..

….Told of art shows, fabulous paintings that would bless those whose walls they graced, and connections with people who wanted to work with me on making their dreams come true.

…. Told of retreats I would teach, workshops for inspiring personal growth and cultivating connections with something within that was both sacred and creative.

….Told of a deepened relationship with friends, family, community, and that something Greater than us.

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Change Your Story, Change Your Life

I walked into the hospital feeling like those new stories out-shone the old story.  So many lovely things clicked into place to make the new stories feel like they were taking form in the present moment.

post hysterectomy

The surgery went well.
The staff was excellent.
I recovered easily and quickly.
My tests came back with GLOWING results. 

 All was well…..and still is.

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Life a Year Later:  Shadow or Light?

When I sat down to write this post, none of that was in the plans.  None of the cancer stuff anyway.

I was excite (am excited) because this is my 200th post on this site.  It coincides with a stream of awesomeness that has taken shape over the last month or so.

Rachel Payne art show

Walking On Sunshine: Life Beyond Cancer

I wanted to write about everything that was going right in my life.   When I went to type the title, “Walking On Sunshine”, it made me think about the playlist….and then the cancer….and “Wait a minute!  What is today?”

A quick look at the calendar confirmed the surgery was exactly a year ago.

My subconscious mind must have been toying with it.  Love all those sychronicities.

As it happens, I realized I have created many of my “life beyond cancer” imaginings.  That is exactly what I set out to write about.  My dreams are coming true….and sometimes more quickly than I know what to do with!  Great problems to have, huh?!

Red Tent of Houston at Women's Retreat

I am celebrating!

Last week I taught at a Women’s Retreat, then came home, hung a one woman show of paintings that I am so in love with, sold over half them, have been booked for more art classes, more workshops, more art shows, …… one thing after another is going SO right.  Did I mention, 200 posts?!

I feel like I am…..Walking On Sunshine.

Walking on Sunshine

And don’t it feel good!

Celebrating….one year, all clear!

Journal Prompt:  
What would life be like for you
if you were Walking On Sunshine?

Continue the Walking on Sunshine conversation in the Creativity Tribe Facebook Group.  I would love to support your shiny, glowing life! 

Rachel Payne life creativity coach

Gratitude {The Heart of Healing}

Heart Journey

When I was little, the giving of thanks came around the dinner table and at night before we “laid us down to sleep”.  As I grew older, I found myself part of a movement to more fully embrace that for which we were thankful.  I say movement because it seemed that Gratitude came into the global conscience  just as I was becoming conscious of healing from all those wounds we pick up on the way to adulthood. The Practice of Gratitude (although I didn’t realize it in the beginning) feels like it is at the heart of healing.

It is a worthy practice that can feel a little slippery at times.  I often wonder how far I can take Gratitude into my life.  For example, I find it easy to be Grateful for easy things like the ray of sun that is playing with the crystal bead on my necklace this morning, or the two snuggle cats who found their way into my bed last night and cozied up over my cold feet.  That kind of Gratitude is a no brainer…. although still very important.

Life is Good Banner

The challenge with The Practice of Gratitude comes in being Grateful for the difficult parts of life.  I think some may argue with me about finding Gratitude in some things, but for me, that is one of the big reasons I think we are here on what some have coined the Earth School to learn.  It goes to the core of what Life all about.  Are we here just to exist?  Perhaps.  Is there something more meaningful to our journey?  I like to think so.

Going deeper into Gratitude is one way I explore the wringers that come with living.  Most recently, while talking to my friend Jon, I discovered that he had witnessed a stranger causing a life threatening self-injury to himself.  I will spare you the details.  The man, Jon found out later, had taken the life of his own daughter and was attempting to take his own.  Jon struggled with what he had seen and why, of all people, he might have been the one to witness it.

As I was talking to Jon, I got a very deep intuition that this man had been deeply disturbed.  That might have been evident to some, but for some people they may have just seen what he had done to his daughter and labeled the man as evil.  Certainly, I do not excuse his act.   That is a given. My interest was in exploring what meaning there may have been in the fact that Jon had witnesses something perhaps more horrific than he ever will in the rest of his days.  Why that?  Why Jon?  My intuition felt like there was meaning in what Jon had seen.  I shared my impression with him that this man needed someone to stand witness to his worst day….to hold a kind of sacred space for him….and his daughter.   If he was truly disturbed and acting out of that disturbance, then perhaps Jon extended the energy of compassion for him as the man reached down into the dark night of his soul.

by Eric Payne

Mixed Media Work by Eric Payne

Some may believe the man didn’t deserve compassion. Where, after all, was his compassion for his daughter?  That is not mine to say.  I felt, that Jon’s compassion for the man in his hour of despair was not in vain.  It had meaning and was valid.  Any human suffering is more suffering than is necessary.  By giving his witness of the man’s suffering meaning, Jon could move past the senselessness of the event and into the heart of  healing for himself.  He could shift away from his own pain of what he saw and into a Gratitude for how he had served another.

This Thursday is the American Thanksgiving.  Many have turned it into a Day of Gratitude.  I certainly feel that way for myself.  We need more of those.

I would like to encourage you to begin exploring how far you can carry Gratitude into your own life.  Is Gratitude your fair weather friend, or can it become the sweetness that makes Life’s bitterness more palatable.  That kind of choice is how we create our lives and move away from the idea that we are not just along for the ride.

I would love to hear how you bring meaning to the difficulties in your life. Do you have a Gratitude Practice?  Share it with us….or claim a Gratitude.  Drop a comment below and join us in the Creativity Tribe Facebook Group to keep the conversation going.

CT FB Group

My Gratitude

I am Grateful for you.  Even if we have never visited before…. whether this is your first visit, one of many, or your last…. I am Grateful for the energy you bring, for the thread that led you here, and for the opportunity to connect.

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Rachel Payne Life Coach

 

 

Running Buffalo Journeys: Spiritual Adventures

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Sometimes at night as I am drifting off to sleep, I follow my imagination to Guatemala.  The space around me becomes green with plant life, alive with the sounds of monkeys and children laughing, in my hand waits a steamy cup of pure, ancient-sourced cacao.  Somehow I feel at-home in that dream even though I have never been to Guatemala.

I know part of that comfort comes from the connections I have with friends who have made Guatemala their home and the stories they tell of their adventures, both physical and spiritual.  Someday I will join them there.  In the meantime, I am planning and dreaming.

Today I want to invite you to join me on a virtual trip to the luscious  mountain highlands of Guatemala.  Our guides will be my dear friends and Creativity Tribe wisdomkeepers Aaron El León and Milena Worsham of Running Buffalo Journeys

Wisdomkeepers are those Creatives who know something about bringing creativity to life and life to our creativity….and make it part of their life craft to hold a space for sharing that wisdom with others.

 So sit back, relax and enjoy the adventure.

Becoming Part of the Story

Aaron and Milena have been helping others connect with new life journeys through spiritual adventures in the Mayan heartland.  I had the opportunity to spend most of my Summer with them during a break they were taking in the states.  We enjoyed spinning energy about their tours and how they craft the journey to touch each person in a deeply significant way.  I love their process.  It is pure of heart and strong with loving intention.

 

Rachel Payne life creativity coach

Surprise Gift from Universe {Holding Sacred Space}

Surprise Gifts from Universe

I have decided to engage a little experiment with the Universe this month.  I am asking it to open up the field of possibility and shower me with gifts.

Surprise Gifts from the Universe: Everyday a Party!

What abundance of support there is in this life!

Last week I listed the surprise gifts I recognized from the Universe but today that didn’t feel quite right.  Maybe it is the state of mind I am in as I am sitting down to write this.  I feel so grateful for the people in my life.  I have so many rich relationships and many of them are based around personal growth and discovery.

I have had various times in my life when a circle of friends has come together to explore something meaningful.  Those times feel like eras that I am passing through.  Now is one of those times.

This era of my life is so intense…in a good way.  I meet weekly with a meditation group and we do beautiful, deep, expanding, transformative work.  Then I get to come here to Creativity Tribe Studio and spin that personal work into a tapestry of writings for you.

The Universe has placed on my heart to open Creativity Tribe as a circle in and of itself.  I don’t have the in’s and out’s yet, but I can feel it forming.  I wonder if you will be part of it.  That would be a definite surprise gift from the Universe!

NEW: Free Gift to Boost Your Creativity!

 I hope you will head over for my free gift.  I really put lots of love and energy into, wanting it to bring creativity to your life and life to your creativity!

 Sign Up for the Creativity Booster Pack

 Creativity Booster Banner 2 550

Rachel Payne life creativity coach

Lessons from Gravity the Movie {spoiler free}

sensational

This Sense-sational Life is a blogging series that came out of my realization that the more I explore life and get a sense of its nuances (including the literal senses and figurative ones) the more my life feels sensational.

A Sense of Gravity

I watched Gravity, the movie, this afternoon with my hubby.  I donned the 3D glasses, munched on some popcorn, sipped from a cup with two straws and held on tight to my man when things in the movie felt a little too close to real life.  I promise not to give anything away, except for the fact that this movie shouldn’t be missed.

It may sound odd for me as a down to Earth artist to claim a movie about an astronaut hits close to home, but Gravity’s metaphoric symbolism grabbed hold of me and took me through the same journey as the main character, played by Sandra Bullock.  One thing the trailer shows, that is enough for me to share, is that this movie is about how we sometimes have an unexpected collision with life that just might send us far enough off our course to force us scrambling for something solid to hold onto.  And sometimes when things turn our world upside down, the only thing we may have to hold onto is ourselves!

prepare for impact

The last several months have been one of those uncharted journeys for me.  Boy, don’t we learn a lot about ourselves when we get untethered from our life as we know it.   A few months ago when I was diagnosed with uterine cancer, I just wouldn’t have had any idea that the lessons that are coming up for me would be the ones to come up.  I thought the challenges would be one thing going into it, and they are totally different.

I am watching how I choose to learn my lessons.  Some lessons are joyfully challenging to wrestle with.  They validate me somehow.  I could easily spend lifetimes wrestling with what it means to be a woman who loses her reproductive organs.  I could write poetry, make art, lead women’s circles, workshops, vision quests, write novels, and create a movement, work for a cause.  Can you feel the energy behind that? It is intoxicating, somehow!

Creative Spirit

Instead, the challenge for me is about the mundane.  About paperwork, deadlines, responsibility, and one task after another that all seem overwhelming.  There is nothing intoxicating about that for me.  No energy there that might inspire something. It stings and wears me down some days.  And so I have to motivate myself.

Now, I am good about motivating myself for some things, but wouldn’t you know, this isn’t one of those things!  It is almost funny, a cosmic joke.  And to some people I know it must seem convoluted.  But those are the folks for whom the mundane is energizing.  The people who have certain ducks in a row.  And those folks probably would be overwhelmed by the idea of creating art or writing in response to a loss.   That would be their big lesson.

So luckily, when the student is ready the teacher will share its wisdom.  That is what Gravity has done for me.  It inspired me to get over myself….to get down to business and get focused.  It helped me see I could make a valiant effort to reach for life…my life.

So if you are reading this today, know I am doing just that. Reaching.  Will you sit in your seats holding onto your honey, fearful of what my journey reflects in you?  Do that if you must, but I would prefer that you join me.  Let go.  Throw your arms in the air and reach for something you think you might never get to.  Get over yourself.  And go for it!  What do you have to lose?!

Galactic Selfie

“Houston….this is Galactic Earth Traveler Rachél Payne, in the blind.  If you copy me, Houston, I am adjusting my trajectory 3 degrees and heading out of range of the blasts that have been knocking me off course. My target is to complete of this mission.  The ride may get bumpy on the way, but I hope to see you on the other side.  Rachél out.”

NEW: Free Gift to Boost Your Creativity!

 I hope you will head over for my free gift.  I really put lots of love and energy into, wanting it to bring creativity to your life and life to your creativity!

  Sign Up for the Creativity Booster Pack

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 Blogtoberfest

 Don’t forget to visit Blogtoberfest 2013‘s page!

 Rachel Payne life creativity coach

Today! Being Interviewed for Become Soulfully Connected Telesummit

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If you haven’t gotten signed up for Become Soulfully Connected Telesummit, it isn’t too late.  But I would love for you to hop over today so you are guaranteed to catch my interview about staying connected to your creative spirit.  I am so delighted to be part of this gathering of women who are sharing what helps them connect with a more beautiful, powerful, soulful self and are encouraging you to do the same.

BSCT Play Blog Banner

As part of the telesummit you will have free access to interview for 48 hours and be able to upgrade so you don’t miss any of the sharing.  One thing I love is that so many of the speakers (including myself) have put together special gifts for participants and the upgrade is super affordable.  We wanted to make sure you got what you needed.

September in Review

Well, I have to say, this September has been a rollercoaster.  Extreme highs and challenging quick turns in my journey.  This is the month I shared with everyone that I have uterine cancer (which is very treatable so don’t get too worried).  As an update to that, I am feeling pretty good physically and very strong emotionally. That post got more views than any post I have ever written….and so many lovely comments.  I am still flying with all the well wishing.  Fly Low ct

September was also the one year anniversary of Creativity Tribe’s website and marked my 500th blog post in three years.  Wowzers!  I hosted a giveaway and am excited to announce that the giveaway winners picked by random are Kelly Aubert, Ursula, and Jordan.  They each will receive a little work of art done on paper sent to me by my artist friend Deborah Weber, inspired by a giveaway that I won from Tracy Verdugo….and a copy of an art zine created by my hubby.

October Preview

October is proving to be beautifully busy when I take a peek at my schedule.  It happens to be one of my favorite months of the year so I pack lots of love into it!

One of the big deals this October is that I will be taking part in Blogtoberfest 2013.  That means a post a day every day.  Now, I am not crazy, I will be practicing lots of self-care at the same time so expect that some of those posts will be simple…but inspiring.

The end of October has a big treat for me as well.  I am headed to Austin for Paint Mojo with Tracy Verdugo.  I am pretty much in love with her painting process.  I went last year when she was in Texas and when the chance came for me to do a bit of a reunion, I jumped at it.  Tracy is a lovely woman.  I am delighted that I will get two days of hanging out with her and some paints.

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Now head on over to the Telesummit and look for that special gift from me.  You will find it next to me on the speaker page.  I had a delightful time weaving it together for you!

Rachel Payne life creativity coach

A Celebration….A Challenge

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A Celebration

Today I have been spinning with awe.  Something I wished to change in my life and set in motion last Fall rose up today to show me its resolution.  Sometimes we don’t know how our dreams will play out.  Watching them unfold can be a trip.

Last Fall, I began exploring a very ingrained story about dying at 45 like my mom and her father.  I don’t know why I got it stuck in my head, but I did!  I kept myself from truly following my dreams because I just couldn’t see life beyond that.  As 45 inched closer, I decided I would reach for wellness and longevity…..trying to avoid my fear of death wasn’t working so I might as well go through the back door!  I had tried to deny my fear for so long without making headway that I thought claiming life might give death a run for its money.

I began seeing a chiropractor who was also a naturopathic doctor.  Some of her methods were unconventional.  Some were cutting edge.  When it felt right, I followed what she prescribed.  I began listening to my body, working on the subtle issues that came up.  And a theme began to develop.  I was sick.  My cycle went crazy. You can read all about it in my previous post Boldly Saying the “C” Word where I share about recently discovering I have uterine cancer.

Yah, on my way to reaching for wellness and longevity I discovered the thing that just might have killed me just as I had been spinning in my imagination for decades.  Instead frantically wrestling with the fear, I shifted my reality.  Here I am with a very curable dis-ease, caught early, with a great outlook for the future.  I think some people might immediately see cancer as a pathway to dying.  I know for me it is a catalyst for living with more freedom than I have in decades. Cancer helped me let go of death and grab onto life.

With or without the cancer, I was on my way towards a better life thanks to the body work, emotional and spiritual work I have been doing since I started working on living longer.  Each day I would look for ways to make life better….healthier, happier, more connected to nature, people, myself, and that Something More that walks this journey with me.  Life felt like it was full of possibility!

So that is my celebration…..now an invitation for you to move towards a celebration for yourself.

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A Challenge

A Challenge:  What if there really was a field of possibility for you to pull your life’s desire out of….what would YOU set in motion?  Anyone dare state that today?   Check inside and see what might feel like it wants relief in your life.  You don’t have to know HOW you are going to do it.  You don’t want to know really because a big shift usually happens organically and synchronisticly.  Claim what you want in your life and then listen for the next right step.  For me it was moving towards a healthier, longer life by going to see that specific doctor.  I kept listening along the way.  Do it and I will hold that energy with you!  You can post here what you want or simply leave a note saying you want to make a shift and I will hold space with you.  Once you know what you want…listen and take the first move.  The Creativity Tribe is playing Possibility Tribe!

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Deep Gratitude

I want to share my deepest gratitude for the incredible reception I got in sharing my diagnosis of uterine cancer earlier in the week.  I had a LoveStorm of support, encouragement, and prayers expressed here on the website and through my personal Facebook Page.  I had more visitors in one day than I often have in a good week.  So much love!  I can still feel a circle of care gathering up around me.  I want to assure each of you that although I have a diagnosis, I am feeling strong, have no out of the ordinary discomfort and am just waiting for my surgery. I am adding in lots of self-care, and doing what I love in my personal life and business life.  Thank you again….from the bottom of my very grateful heart!

 Creatively yours,

Rachel Payne Life Coach

rachel payne coach

Click the box above for your free discovery session.

Boldly Saying the “C” Word

inwardOver thirty years ago when my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, she talked about it in a whispered code.  I remember saying the full word in front of her one day in the kitchen while we were making lunch together. She gently redirecting my speech by simply telling me she did not like the “C” word.  I respected that it was difficult for her.  She had a strong personality that felt like it steered the direction of our family and to see something knock her off her feet for awhile meant it was a force to be reckoned with.  Her breast cancer didn’t keep her down, though, Mamaw outlived it by nearly two decades.

This summer, I found myself called to the bedside of my friend Patrice.  Patrice had boldly danced through life with cancer for twenty years.  Upon my return from the big road trip I took in April, I went to visit with her.  That began a streak of visits in which I did massage and energy work with her.  She would ask for me to help her with her legs and I found as much as she wanted me close by, I wished to be part of her last glorious days.  Her days were glorious, too.  She partied in the end more than any other person I had know who was on their way out of this life.  She held life by the tail and made sure it knew it was a tiger!

At the beginning of the summer, my cycle had become rather irregular.  I was returning from my trip when my period just lingered on.  I was consulting a naturopathic doctor and would see my gynecologist when I could get an appointment.   Each week I spent time during my meditation workshop exploring some of the issues that floated around what it meant to me be a woman. I looked at creativity, mothering, body issues, power imbalances, safety and vulnerability, objectification of the body, denial of the voice, freedom of movement, sexuality, abundance…..the whole nine yards! This summer has been packed full of personal growth.

Angel Work

Those few days after Patrice passed were very uncomfortable.  I had to stay close to home and became weak with an iron deficiency.  Something had turned a flood gate on, and I knew I needed medical help quickly.  I spent a month with the doctor doing this test and that, looking into options that might help me fix what was causing the crazy, heavy, unending cycle.  Just when we thought we had a plan of action we could all agree on (my gynecologist, naturopath, and me) I got the result back from a test that showed cancerous cells in my uterus.  That was about two weeks ago.

The “C” word.

I spent several hours after the doctor’s call alone at home.  I was shaken for sure.  You hear that word and the mind goes straight to the worst.  But on the fringe of fear I heard good news too.

We caught it early…we think it is contained…. you probably won’t need treatment beyond a hysterectomy.

Gratitude! Somehow I couldn’t help but think Patrice made sure I was taken care of.

Lots of things go through your mind when they give you news like that.  I thought about all the people I personally knew who had created a life with or after the “C” word.  I thought about the strength they had shone, about the way they framed their experience and what they made it mean to them and others in their lives.  Then I made a decision that I would be brave in my vulnerability, I would feel my feelings as fully as I could, process any old wounds that needed attention, celebrate the blessings that come with the journey, and when I could, I would share my personal story so others could support me and so I could help other women understand the beauty, strength, and essence of being a woman. What if this could change my life and the lives of others who needed….who needed….I don’t know.  I just feel like there is a gift in there somewhere.

That last part means claiming the “C” word to a world wide audience.  It is a big decision because in some circles you just don’t talk about your lady parts (yep, there is another “C” word some will never say) but I am bringing that conversation to this circle.  I am going to foster an honest, spirited sharing that doesn’t throw a hand up to make sure no one hears.

Memphis Mississippi

I HAVE CANCER.  Loud and clear.

It won’t define me, but it also isn’t going to be just a blip on the map of my life.  I believe that there is Something Greater working here and the same calling that sat me next to Patrice in her last days to share my gifts…the same calling that has had me build a global community for the last three years just wouldn’t want me to keep the gifts of this journey secret.  To fully share those gifts, I think I must surely have to share the force that ushered them in.

So around here, I am beefing up the self-care, the self-love, and introspection.  I am going to continue to make my way through this life with creativity leading the way (now more than ever actually).  I open my arms to your support, encouraging you not to hurt for me but instead to hold a space of exploration and curiosity about what in the world I am going to transform this unexpected experience into. Be grateful with me, keep me in your prayers if you do that, and in your heart if you will.  For this journey I am grateful.  For this community I am grateful.  With gratitude, I am….

 Creatively yours,

Rachel Payne Life Coach

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