After a diagnosis, it’s easy to feel “trapped” by its clutches and defined by the label of a disease. It may feel as though you have been totally stripped of your pre-cancer identity. In fact, you may find that you think only in terms of “before” cancer and “after” cancer---& you would do anything to go back to “before”.
We all know that we should live in the present, totally immersed in the here & now. But sometimes that’s easier said, then done. After a diagnosis, you may find yourself thinking about what it was like to endure treatment, how it felt the day you were diagnosed, or somehow reliving the emotional/physical pain you endured. It is also common to sit in fear of what the future has in store. These types of thoughts can lead to depression, can be signs of PTSD, and can prevent you from enjoying your one brilliant life!
HOW DO YOU CLOSE THE BOOK?
There are many ways to deal with the stress that can be associated with a traumatic event, which includes seeking out a qualified therapist if need be. But there are also smaller measures that can help us to “close the book” on a past event, regain our identity, and move forward with a bright future.
BURNING CEREMONY &
DREAM MANIFESTING EVENT
The 1st summer after our treatment was finished, we had a Burning Ceremony and Dream Manifesting Event, which we repeat every summer.
Gather family for a meal, games, swimming & bonfire! (or any "fun" stuff).
The 1st year you have this event, have everyone write down on a note card the 5 things they most hated about the past year (or however long you spent dealing with a diagnosis, in treatment, etc.).
Take turns reading your note cards (the things you hated most) & then throw them in the fire, illustrating that these are gone for good!
Next, have everyone write down 3 things they would like to manifest in the coming year & place the note cards in a “dream” jar.
Get still & say a prayer.
Pop a cork (champagne, Italian soda, etc.) & have a toast to manifesting dreams, health, & happiness. (FYI: Corks make good keepsakes).
Place the dream jar on the mantle (or another special place) until next year’s Dream Manifesting Event.
At Next year’s event, begin by reading through the note cards from the previous year(s) and marveling at how many dreams have been successfully manifested! Never throw away a note card, just paperclip them together (labeled with the year constructed for future reflection) & leave in the jar. We have not repeated the actual burning ceremony (#2 & #3)-but you can if need be.
There are many versions of this type of event—get creative & have fun. You will leave feeling utter gratitude for the opportunity to be popping another cork!