I’m Gonna Let It Shine!

Sport success on sunset background

It’s October. I always feel nervous energy when October approaches. I gave this some thought and realized that October is a very significant month for me. It’s one of my favorite times of the year as the Central Texas summer heat begins to fade. Everyone is giddy, including squirrels, dogs and children. It feels like the month when we finally move past our summer fun hangover and pick up our tempo for school, work, and other life commitments. It’s the month of my lovely Mother’s birthday. It’s become the month for my favorite Austin festival, Austin City Limits. But it was also in October that two of our dogs, in separate years, passed away.

This month also happens to Breast Cancer Awareness month. And, as fate would have it, in October of 2009, I first discovered a lump under my arm. That November a biopsy confirmed my deepest fear, just before my 43rd birthday. Breast cancer, Stage III. This diagnosis led me to an intense medical regimen complete with chemotherapy and antibody infusions, a radical single-mastectomy, and extensive radiation therapy for the better part of a year. It also led me on a miraculous, personal journey—a journey that I’m still on.

October was the month of my final radiation treatment. That was two years ago. Now, October signifies a new beginning in my life. It signifies the month when I knew I was going to live to tell this story.

When I was undergoing treatment for my breast cancer, I kept a journal on CaringBridge.com. Initially, this was a convenient way to keep my family, friends and other members of my (very caring) community informed about my progress. What I did not know was how important this journal—and the process of journaling—would be in my recovery. Though I was writing about a deeply difficult, personal challenge, the process of writing was cathartic for many reasons.

First, I discovered that writing, even about something so painful, gave me a great deal of peace and joy. In finding the words, crafting the sentences, and telling the story, I found a creative outlet that my soul longed for. Secondly, the joy of writing became a lifeline that helped guide me back to wellness. Finally, through the process of writing I became acquainted with a source of powerful strength that I never knew was in me. It was my own inner light.

When I was finally cancer-free, I thought Now what? I stopped writing. Though the experience will always be a part of me, breast cancer was physically behind me. I wanted to write, but I needed to move on. The desire to write about cancer had faded. But I knew there was something more to write. I struggled, though, with how to share that story.

Slowly, I realized that I wanted to turn the CaringBridge journal into a book. My intent was to create a whimsical and loving memoir as a gift to myself and to my children. So, I started working on that book. It has been a slow—but rewarding—process over the past two years. Still, I continue to work.

However, I feel like there’s more. Since my cancer went into remission, I have experienced a personal calling in my heart. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve shelved it. I’ve avoided it. I’ve cried about it. I’ve laughed about it. Finally, I found peace with it.

Today I realized that I want to be an inner light advocate and muse. Sounds great, right? But…what does that even mean? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure—but I’m willing to find out. What I do know is that, ever since I tapped in to my inner light, I’ve experienced better health, joy, beauty, love, kindness, abundance, wisdom and peace. I feel amazing! I want to continue to feel this way. And I hope that my personal experiences might inspire others to feel amazing, too.

Tapping in to my inner light has been both one of the simplest and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. While working on my book, I realized that a blog about my experiences would a natural extension of my personal growth journey. My objective is to share my experience in a fun, relatable way. As you read about me, you’ll discover that I love design. My first passion was fashion. I thought that was my calling. These days I know that I was right about design, but not in the way I used to think. I started a DBA: AYR Design as an organic fashion label. Now it seems natural for AYR Design to morph in to a more macro-design perspective—the design of one’s life. I believe that God, Universe, Spirit—whatever you prefer to label it—wants us to be the best possible co-creators of our own lives. (Wow, it was scary for me to write that out loud!)

So, I’m launching my blog: In Her Light. It’s a about using inner light to make the most of life’s journey. I hope you’ll visit and feel inspired. I hope you’ll send others to visit. And feel free to share your observations.

“Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m gonna let it shine…”

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