Welcome to a new category in my blog called Strong Women Redefining Life.
Today, I’d like to introduce you to Alison, otherwise affectionately known as Ali. When I met her in 2010, the first thing I noticed was her big, beautiful smile; it immediately draws you in and opens your heart. Ali’s heart is genuine, sweet and sincere and embraces all who enter her space. She has a positive spirit with a fighting edge. I’ll never forget how one student so accurately described her: “She is a bright light.” Yes, Ali’s light shines brightly for all to experience!
Just over a year ago, at the age of 35, Alison was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her treatment included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Alison writes some powerful words on her Relay For Life (Canadian Cancer Society) page:
“As horrible as it was, I feel as though I got through with flying colours. The biggest challenge I’ve had didn’t begin until after treatment…fear. The fear of reoccurence, the fear of my daughter having to go through what I’ve experienced, the fear of my husband, parents, brother, friends or other family members having to face this demon, the fear that cancer is just too strong. But recently, I came to a realization. I don’t need to fear cancer. It’s cancer that needs to fear us! Together we are so much stronger than it.”
Wow! What life affirming words! Ali’s realization is much more powerful than a passing thought or positive affirmation. It exemplifies the power of redefinition. She is actually in the process of redefining (or psychologically reframing) the trauma of her illness. Let me show you how:
Redefinition #15 (dedicated to Alison):
- Firstly, she courageously identifies her fears. Did you notice how she looks fear straight in the eyes and specifically names what she is afraid of? There is no denial. Instead, there is tremendous strength arising from within as she shines awareness on her deepest, darkest fears. I have learned that there is phenomenal strength in your own truth and personal authenticity.
- Secondly, she declares, “I don’t need to fear cancer. It’s cancer that needs to fear us.” This is the core of her reframe because it is cultivating a new way of interpreting life’s challenges. This redefinition creates a new reality, a new empowered reality.
- Lastly, did you notice that her “I” transforms to “us…together“???? Strong community support is at the core of a strong woman redefining life. As human beings on Planet Earth, we all require magnificent people, whether in the form of family, friends, professional support, spiritual community, secular institutions/organizations, visionaries, etc, etc, to keep encouraging, educating, inspiring and loving us, until we are strong enough to pay it forward.
Love you Alison.