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Transforming Through the Mud: How I Created My Life Through Cancer

By: Dawn Gaden / Self-Image Expert & CEO of Mind Body Counseling & Coaching


In yoga practice we talk about the lotus flower & all its beauty, & how it grows from nourishing mud. In life we tend to overlook the beauty of the mud. When unexpected things happen, we become crippled by resentments & fear, or we choose to transform & grow through self-awareness, self-love, & spiritual expansion. During a tumultuous time in my life, I experienced all of the above. & it became clear to me that resentments & fear were not an option, & that self-love was the only option. The only way forward was a shift from fear to love. I had four children to raise with my husband, a wonderful home, & a lot to live for! 


It was a dark, rainy morning that forever changed me. I wanted to escape my life.  Gripping the steering wheel, struggling to see the road ahead through the tears & rain as I commuted to a job that was killing me. A voice spoke, “just keep driving, disappear into the world. You’re no good to anyone anymore.” I felt depleted, empty & exhausted with nothing left to give, not even to my kids. I was knee deep in the mud. Then, a miracle occurred. As A Course In Miracles describes, a shift occurred from fear to love.


I caught my breath & the voice of love spoke “WAKE UP Dawn! There’s got to be another way!” So I prayed, “God, you have to give me something else- this I cannot handle”. 


Leading up to that rainy day when I felt as if the beauty of my life was swept away, was my husband's job loss. So I took action- “came to the rescue” as my old superhero self would do & took a job as a licensed counselor at the county jail. Surrounded by hopelessness & despair, fueled by coffee & self-loathing, I had replaced my “job” of caring for our home, being mom to our four beautiful boys, & pursuing my career desires. No more running through the sprinkler on hot summer days & getting lost in the adventures of bedtime stories. I was depleted, exhausted, & empty. My mind, body & spirit was broken. Deep in the mud, I was transforming.


& then I was diagnosed with cancer. 


Overwhelmed with anxiety, self-doubt, & now cancer - yet still I had a deep knowing that a shift was coming. My roots were strong. Transformation was near. Self-love was about to blossom. Without the pain of unworthiness & fear, I would not have taken the risk to become my authentic self. The decision to stay & pray for guidance, to see another way, allowed my heart to open to love, & I found courage. Cancer was my opportunity to WAKE UP! To show up as my best self, to choose to live this life moment by moment was a commitment I had to make. 


Seeds contain the essence of flowers. When properly nourished, a tiny seed grows & blossoms into its magnificence! Within us is the essence of our human spirit, & like a seed in the mud it requires nourishment, love, & care. 


I had to shift my self-image, to stop being the superhero for others & be the superhero for myself! Only then could I live a life of happiness, joy & abundance.


I was transforming.


The mud of navigating cancer was terrifying. We decided, despite the risk of giving up the paycheck that was putting food on the table & paying bills, that I would leave my job. Further, I had a true knowing & faith that my husband would find a job so that I could rest, heal & renew.  It was time for a big shift - to clear the path. So we made a choice to pack up our young boys & head out west to the Rockies, Utah, & the Grand Canyon to play & have fun! I had to know what it felt like to live again, to be alive, vibrant & loving my life. 



I was transforming!


After a couple years of healing- being me again & being a mom to our boys, I started my own practice- Mind Body Counseling & Coaching, PLLC. I also trained in New York City to be a Leader in a spiritual fitness practice of movement, mantras, meditation & mindfulness called intenSati. Through self-awareness & self-love I was able to love my life again!


As the lotus flower transforms from mud, I too grew from the mud of life & circumstance. I now consciously create a life I love. I use & teach four simple keys to amplify your joy & transform your life:


  • Intuition is my guide & I listen with love to its call

  • Visualize my desires & create a clear image

  • Emotions fuel my vision & amplify its energy

  • Action is required. Inspired action fuels your soul


I now feel the vibrancy in my life. Like the lotus, I transformed from the mud by nourishing my mind, body & soul. 


The human spirit is capable of transforming in the ways we choose. Self-awareness, self-love, & a mindset that embraces change, allows for healing & positive growth, & ultimately, a life of joy!


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 More about the author:

Dawn Gaden is the CEO of Mind Body Counseling & Coaching PLLC, Licensed Professional Counselor, yoga teacher, mindset expert & self-image coach, international speaker & 3x best-selling author. Dawn is a powerhouse in the field of personal empowerment. She is internationally known for igniting positive change. Through her global coaching program - The Image Shift, Dawn helps professional women energetically align their emotions, thoughts & movement to create more love, joy & success.


Dawn has a unique expertise in changing the brain with movement to activate your energy in a practice called intenSati. Using the intenSati Method, Dawn teaches her clients how to elevate their state to create lasting positive change.


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