The Power of Forgiving Yourself

Exactly a year ago, I was dealing with more stress than I had ever encountered in my life. I had just found out, after my first routine mammogram, that I had early stage breast cancer at the age of 40. I’m Emily Crosby Morgan. I am a healthy, active, happy mom of two, wife, and personal trainer. I have always invested a lot of time and energy into chasing good health and staying active and fit. I run a fitness event business called Live In The Movement, where I help women find their fitness groove through retreats and day-long events to focus on themselves to help them feel strong by getting moving in lots of different ways. So, to say that I was shocked when I was diagnosed with cancer is an understatement. Soon after my diagnosis I underwent a double mastectomy, and 3 months later, reconstructive surgery. My husband, who performs for a living, happened to have just set off for a 3 month fall tour, so I felt like the rug had been pulled completely out from underneath me and I was left with a pile of stress to deal with. My journey pales in comparison to what many people dealing with cancer go through, but, up until this point in my life, I had never faced adversity on this level. Up until my diagnosis, I was cruising along life fairly smoothly. I’ve dealt with bouts of anxiety and worry from time to time, which led me to explore my meditation routine that I learned from my friend Emily Fletcher a couple years ago. After we reconnected after several years over the phone in an interview, I went through her program and was completely hooked. I am a huge advocate of Ziva, and not just because I happen to be an affiliate. When I look back to where I was at that point, I am so glad meditation practice was a part of me!

Photos by  Michael Millay

Photos by Michael Millay

I fully admit, from the time I was diagnosed until the date of my first surgery (roughly a month between these two events), I dropped the ball more often than not with regards to my meditation routine. My mind was spinning, I was on the phone, doing research, meeting with doctors, all the while juggling being a "single" mom. The stress started piling up. My days were cortisol spikes, not eating, crying, feeling anxious and depressed, trying to hold it together for my young children and crashing from exhaustion at night; then repeat. I anxiously purged my house of all plastics, spent thousands of dollars on oils, tonics, and a water filtration system. How did this happen? What did I do to myself? I can’t say that I don’t still wonder about this from time to time, but that is the funny thing about cancer. It really doesn’t discriminate.

One subject I have written about that Emily teaches through Ziva has always struck a chord with me: Forgiveness. I worked through forgiving people through my meditation, but, at this particular time in my life, the subject was myself. Emily describes a story in which some chocolate cake is flung on her white dress by a person sitting next to her at a dinner party. She is upset, and tries to gain an apology from the cake flinger. So, in a huff, she heads home and throws the white dress in the washing machine and it comes out clean and good as new. She can analyze everything from whether or not this was intentional, to what was in the chocolate cake, why and how it happened, etc, etc, or she can just put on the clean dress, once again, and just let go of the scenario playing over and over in her mind. The stress and anxiety surrounding this event that she may never get an apology for is wreaking havoc on her system.

Here I am, wondering if my cell phone, wearing a type of deodorant for years, wondering if my diet wasn’t always clean enough, or even if my genes were mutated will not make my cancer diagnosis go away or make it any easier. Once I had a moment or two to breathe a sigh of relief, after my surgery date was set, decisions were made, and I told my children what was happening, I picked up where I left off with meditating twice a day. I began to chip away at the stress that had built up. When I could barely move my arms or even walk around the block, meditation gave me an outlet to breathe, and embrace the stillness.

After I got moving again, I quickly gained even more clarity through the dynamic duo of exercise and meditation. I began to feel the effectiveness and reap the benefits of being more efficient with my time, a gift the Ziva technique helped me find. My prognosis was excellent. What I had to go though was rough, but it paved a path in my career that brings me so much depth and meaning, and which I never would have discovered otherwise. I now work as a cancer exercise specialist with people living with cancer, going through treatment, or recovering from treatment and surgery. “I’ve never felt a pain that didn’t have a blessing”- Gene Knudson Hoffman

Lastly, there is something even bigger that meditation gives us all. You can’t really touch it, but when you feel like a tiny piece in a universal puzzle, you don’t feel so isolated and alone. We collectively go through life together, and things are so much bigger than we can ever imagine.

Thank you, Ziva, for opening my eyes and my heart again to experience an even more beautiful world, and for helping me forgive myself.

If you are interested in learning from the best, check out Ziva’s online program and you’ll be on your blissful way in no time!