Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Brain New Beginning : A Short Film

Thank you to Lauren Peterson, who gave me the gift of creating this video.  She filmed, edited and put together this wonderful short film.  More to come! Anyone who is interested in putting together their own movie and want Lauren to help feel free to check her out at http://laurenpeterson.com/

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Dear Brittany Maynard

Hello My Loved Ones, I am grateful and blessed to have you here today, taking the time to read what is written.  If you are new here, feel free to check out My Journey: The Beginning or feel free to just read what you see right here.  Before I entail upon telling you all about the outcome of my wonderful hospital appointment, I would like to post a copy of what came out of my fingers a couple weeks ago the day I found out about the woman named Brittany Maynard who also has been on an astounding brain tumor journey, she recently has been on the news because she has decided to end her life. Reading my own words below has unraveled even more healing for myself!

"The more you value and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to value and celebrate!"

Dear Brittany,

How can anyone decide when he or she will die? I too have been diagnosed with a tumor in my brain, that the doctors at the hospital have told me is inoperable.  After the biopsy they suggested I undergo radiation/chemo treatment, for they believed the tumor could grow quickly.  I have chosen not to partake in either and to live my life fully.  Having to think about death everyday, as you and I do, makes us appreciate our lives here on earth every second, and that is a beautiful gift to us both.

So, why not stay here in this physical vessel of a human body until meant to leave this Earth? And what is the beauty that is brought to us by suffering?  I have no idea how long the tumor has been in my brain, but I do know that I do not own it, it is not mine. It has come to me perhaps for a purpose.  It is in a location that the doctors have determined makes it unsafe to remove.  But are the doctors God?  Ultimately even we do not decide on our life, but God or (the law of the universal response) does.  Today as I sat in the hospital, instead of having the doctor be the one that dictated my choices to me and told me what my destiny would be, I said to him, "Hello, I am grateful to have you in my life.  Welcome to my healing team!" I have determined that I am my own healer.  I have chosen a team of healers to help me on my journey, but ultimately the journey is my own, just like your journey is your own. My choices are my own, your choices are your own.

I am grateful for the neuro-oncologist, the neurosurgeon, the neurology doctor, all the nurses, the acupuncturist, the herbalist, the CBD doctor, the energy healer. the nutritionist, the chanting/sound healer, and many other members that have been included in my team. Though each of them brings a different attribute and healing energy to my life, none of what they bring can ultimately determine what I should and should not do.  No one can determine my destiny, my life, or my death.  I cannot even determine that.  The famous saying, "I'll believe it when I see it!" reformatted/reborn goes more like this: "I'll see it when I believe it!"

Even if you only have a short time left in this physical embodiment before you head on into the next realm, why not help others on their voyage?!  You are an inspiration to the entire world Brittany!  Your voice has been heard!  You are not alone in being told and you are not the only one that has been told by doctors that you only have a certain amount of time left on this Earth.  You are not alone in feeling physical and emotional pain. Lets stand together and help those out there also on healing quests.  I truly believe life is a journey, there is no destination.  Death brings us life!  One thing I am immensely grateful for in this moment is being confronted by death has actually AWAKENED me to life and has turned me from who I thought I was into who I truly am.  The beauty of death has brought me life! For the first time in my life all the gossip/regrets/embarrassment/judgement/ and blah blah blah has been able to fall away and has left me feeling truly awakened.  Death is a constant reminder to appreciate life!

It's amazing that, at such a young age, you and I and many others are given this gift.  A couple months ago, I wrote a blog post about a low moment I experienced.  I saw myself as the woman on the beach with cancer who felt death sitting heavily on her shoulders.  As I sat there feeling this weight, lightening came out of what seemed like nowhere--no more than 200 feet away from me--and killed two people on the beach! Just a reminder to me that death exists, and because it comes when it comes, it is time to live! Even if it's for one more day, one more month, one more year, 100 more years.  We are on this Earth for as long as we are meant to be here!

Having this unexpected journey with death coming into my life has brought me a BRAIN new beginning! Thank you for your inspiration.  I recognize that your life is your choice; all I ask is that you share your passion with yourself and love yourself and your life!  Let the universe take you onto the next path when the universe wants to take you onto the next path and for now in your last days, years, decades here on this Earth, REJOICE!!  I would love to meet you!

Love Always,


Writing this letter, and now reading it as I type it into this post brings tears to my eyes.  Tears of passion,  love, sadness, joy, and much GRATITUDE.  Re-reading and writing this letter and thinking about how quickly and passionately it came out of my fingers without me even fully "thinking" about what I was writing truly has faith that the universe and unconscious are sending myself a healing through my own words.  This letter has been what is resonating with me since my last post but just to let you all know my experience at Cedar Sinai has been positive.  I am grateful to add them to my team!  The tumor has showed no growth.  They intend to have the biopsy sample shipped from UCLA Harbor over to their lab to re-check what they see.  The one thing I love thus far is the treatment they have suggested has been radiation as well as chemotherapy but they have not been pushy about it and told me that they respect whatever I chose.  The neuro-oncologist even noted that he thinks CBD therapy can be helpful. Here I am right now feeling LOVE LOVE LOVE.  This moment is wonderful.

I give myself permission!

One link to Brittany's Story:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Learning to Ride the Wave of Courage

Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet
 voice at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

The above quote shines through to me and gives me strength at the end of the day, that exactly where I am is okay; right now is okay!  I had my summer break from school about a month ago, in which I usually fly home or take a vacation.  This time I took a stay-cation and studied for school a bit as well as studied myself.  I have prescribed myself to not fly on an airplane for a while.  In Europe after patients get any kind of brain surgery they are restricted from flying on an airplane for at least a year.  The elevation of flying puts much pressure on the brain which is tough and after having undergone a biopsy less than a year ago, I have decided to give my brain a break. A stay-cation has been a beautiful challenge! But despite how much I LOVE to travel, getaway and explore, to have an adventure and leave where I am for a bit; I have also come to embrace that I have everything I need right here with me at all times.

Since my last post I have had about ten seizure like experiences, the last two of which were grand mal seizures (also known as a generalized tonic-clonic seizures), which features a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions.  These seizures occur when the electrical activity over the whole surface of the brain becomes abnormally synchronized.  The brain's nerve cells normally communicate with each other by sending electrical and chemical signals across the synapses that connect the cells.

In people who have seizures, the brain's usual electrical activity is altered.  Exactly what causes the changes to occur remains unknown in about half the cases.  At the time it is unsure exactly where mine is coming from:  the good news is, it does not seem to be from the tumor growing any larger!  Perhaps the scar tissue is building up upon my scalp, as well as possible nerve damage during the biopsy, and last also, the one image I try to keep my mind on is that the nerves are regenerating within my head and practicing their generation moves right now, so they can grow to be strong and healthy!

I have gotten to experience a great deal in a short amount of time and I thank the universe  that I was in the right place at the right time when each of these occurred.  Every moment I am in I am exactly where I am meant to be.  During last weeks seizure I even fell and hit my face on the floor.  I woke up from my unconscious state, lying on my back with a neck brace on in the back of an ambulance, heading to Cedar Sinai Hospital. Apparently I had shaken so severely that it caused me to fall and obtain a black eye.  They ran a CT scan on me and set up an appointment for me to come in later in the week, to do more scans and look over everything to see what was up with the tumor, but other than that they told me I seemed healthy enough to go.

On Monday my mother arrived from Virginia.  She came to help me and I am ever so grateful! I know financially it was a hard decision for her and my dad to make,  but they knew I  needed help. Mom, bless her heart, is currently investing time and money into her own schooling to get an advanced degree in nursing but she and my father love me immensely and will do whatever it takes to be here for me as I would do the same for them.  What  amazing, wonderful, loving, inspirational, and healing kickass parents I have!

Considering all  the obstacles that have arisen, my mom came exactly at the right time to help me through this. Last night, almost a week later I had another grand mal seizure.  This time we drove back to Cedar Sinai, where I stayed the night and underwent some testing as well as an MRI.  They seemed to think the MRI scan showed everything was alright, that nothing was growing and putting pressure on my brain. They will be going through all of my previous hospital records this week in order to compare MRI scans from last fall to the recent ones taken last night.  The energy, attitude, patient relationships, and the compassion I have felt at this hospital are a lot different than the hospital I was at before where I underwent my biopsy.  It feels good this time to actually have a place where I feel recognized and known by name and face.  I feel that I can tell them where I am at and to not be criticized for the choices I make, whether I agree with their advice or not.  So if anything comes out of experiencing these seizures amongst other things, it is my gratitude for having come to find a caring relationship with this new hospital.

Tomorrow I will be bringing all of my hospital records and they will review my case and my MRIs I will keep all of you posted as the weekend unfolds.  This has been a pure challenge of my life.  I never in my life could have forseen this coming or that my life would be this way in a year last fall this time.   I am so grateful for all of my friends and family and anyone who has been reaching out, what a difference it has made!

My fathers album "Wait and Wonder" is now out.  Below is the main song on the record, Wait and Wonder.  The words say it best to the unfolding of our lives.  I made a video of me surfing in Mexico to go along with the words.  ENjoy!  Much LOVE, Keep you guys posted this week as the scans unfold.  And please please don't hesitate to send healing my way as well as everywhere else.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Feel The Earth Move Under My Feet

Hello friends,

My last two posts were about others in my life that have had an incredible influence on my journey. The first being the words of my brother and the second being the passing of an astounding friend.  Now, I am writing to unfold where I have been and what I have been up to the past few months.  My last post about my journey was two and a half months ago in May.  I am now ready to share what I have been up to the past few months.  Let me just start by saying thank you to all of you for sending immense amounts of love, healing and vibration my way.  I send it right back to each of you.  Today I am feeling immensely alive and awake, breathing in and out  and feeling my heart beat peacefully and my mind calm and at ease.

I believe that we pass by instances everyday that have the "potential" to kill us; cars, shootings, waves,  storms, and much more...  Nature is truly powerful!  Less than a week ago, my friend and I decided to go down to the beach, right by the Venice Pier, a spot I rarely go to.   As we were making our way down towards the water, walking barefoot under the pier...BOOOOOOOOM... 200 feet behind us, lightening seemed to come out of nowhere and touch the earth.  At least seven people were physically effected and brought to the hospital, one of which was in critical condition.  The beach which was minutes ago crowded became instantly empty.  About 30 minutes later, several lifeguards started jumping into the water next to the pier and began searching for a missing body, which much later after we left was reported found.  A strike of lightening had hit the beach and another one, the water. There were so many people including myself that could've been struck or hurt by the lightening, but were not.  This past week the concept of death has approached my mind even further. What a way for the man that died in the water to go into the next part of his soul journey, electrified with the oceans love! WOW.  When I was standing on the beach when the thunder crashed, I actually felt the earth shaking under my feet.  Carol King's lyrics describe exactly what I felt, "I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky tumbling down."

This experience brought back to me the time when I was in the hospital back in November as a newly checked in patient.  I remember I was lying in my hospital room in sheer self-pity, shaking within, thinking "WHY ME?"Within a couple days of being there, I was informed about the Tsunami that had hit the Philippenes, killing close to 10,000 people, and I suddenly was shaken to the thought, "WHY AM I ALIVE?"  This led me to acceptance, gratitude and an awakening of letting go of self pity, letting go of fighting and trying to control nature, and to just being there in the moment focusing on breathing and faith.  Faith that why I am here is exactly why I am here right now.

Some of you may know that I have experienced having multiple seizures as well as outer body experiences over the past few months, which is part of why I have not yet posted.  I have been unfolding and learning to fully accept those wondrous experiences as they arose within me.  When I was in the hospital this past fall, they had me on 2000 mg of Keppra (levetiracetam), which specifically treats seizures, which I had never in my life experienced.  The side effects while taking this medication can be MANY, some  of which can be severe.  Keppra, because it is specifically used to treat seizures, which are due to changes in the brains electrical activity, I feel, can be immensely altering to the brain.  I remember shortly after I got out of the hospital back in December, I forgot to take Keppra for a little over 24 hours and experienced my first small conscious seizure.  When asking the neurology department, who had prescribed me the medication, what was going on they informed me of the importance of not forgetting to take this medication because if stopped abruptly it could cause seizures.  At this moment I thought to myself about the absurdity of being on a medication that actually had the ability to cause what it is meant to prevent.  With the assistance of my integrative doctor I began to ween off, which was instructed to be done very very slowly.  When I was home over Christmas, I was weening off but still taking on the medication.  I forgot to take the Keppra again one morning and by the late afternoon experienced a seizure-like outer body experience coming on.  As soon as I took the Keppra it went away.  I began my ween off in December and was completely off of the Keppra in February.  That does not mean it was not still in my system.

On April 25th I flew back from Florida, where I visited with an amazing neurology doctor who I spoke about in my last post Faith and Fear.  The night I arrived back I spent the night with a close friend who has been by my side throughout the past five months.  After we had fallen asleep, close to midnight, he awoke to my entire body shaking, which ended with me being in an unconscious state.  I do not remember experiencing any of it. I awoke riding in the ambulance on the way to the hospital in Marina Del Rey.  My body did feel like it had taken a shaking.  I was informed that what had I experienced was equivalent to a Grand Mal seizure.  My parents called our neurosurgeon in Virginia to ask for his input about the seizure.  He explained to us that after having a biopsy the brain takes a while to heal and altitude pressure while flying as well as a shift in oxygen is known to cause the brain to alter.  As I wrote in my previous blog, the next day I ended up at Dr. Hua Bing Wen's office, who has been my main doctor ever since.  He is a doctor of traditional chinese medicine who practices acupuncture as well as specializes in oncology.  He is incredible and has been with me every step of the way since I showed up at his office.  End of May I flew back to Virginia for my younger brother's graduation. Within 48 hours of landing, I experienced the exact same after flight experience of an unconscious seizure while sleeping.  My mother happened to be at my side for this one and we did not feel the need to run to the hospital this time.

However, 4 days later I felt the need to go to the hospital because of a fluid-like sac which had slowly been growing and was hurting on the spot on my biopsy scar that has been the most intense since the staples were removed.  I ended up telling them about my seizure which caused them to immediately insert Keppra into my veins.  They also performed an MRI to take a look at my tumor as well as check out the infection on the scar.  They informed me the tumor was not putting any pressure on my brain and hadn't seemed to grow although they didn't carry records of all my previous MRI's and couldn't give me an exact answer about growth.  They also informed me that there was nothing cancerous in terms of the infection on my staples and has probably been a small infection slowly arising and was ready to be released.  The good news was there seemed to be no growth, and absolutely no spread; the challenge was being back on Keppra.  We decided that this was alright and would help me throughout my flight home and I would ween off again when I got back to California.  Two days after my flight back to California I did not have any Absence seizures but instead experienced the intense side effects of Keppra as well as altitude effects from the plane, which included nausea, dizziness, neck pain, body ache, headache, irritability, flu like symptoms, sacral pain, and much much more.  I decided I wanted to get off of Keppra ASAP.  The obstacle with that decision was the ASAP part.  I thought that since I had not been on it that long that I could ween off of it within three weeks instead of three months.

Saturday, June 21st was the last day I took the Keppra, and the evening of June 22nd, I felt an aura surround me similar to the Keppra related seizure I had had in December.  I stood there conscious but unable to move my body or speak.  It felt like it lasted for 5 minutes, but my friends that were there said it only lasted under 30 seconds.  The next day I experienced this sensation 3-4 times, including outer body experiences and hearing voices talking to me within my brain.  When my mother heard what I was experiencing she booked the next possible flight out here.  I spoke about faith and fear throughout my last blog post and this has definitely been a marvelous challenge of myself with these concepts. Throughout the next 5 days I experienced these conscious seizures every 3-4 hours.  I am immensely grateful that my mother arrived and stood by my side throughout the entire process.  She assisted me with the reminder of being in the moment and letting go of any fear that tried to arise.  She asked me if I felt myself breathing, as well as if I felt aware and alive.  And I did.  I truly did. And I still do. Its amazing how fear tries to succumb and take over if I allow it to, and it can effect me physically and mentally if I welcome it.

While my mother was there I had been scheduled to take part in a healing workshop led by Kyle Cease called Evolving: Out Loud.  I called them to cancel because of what I had been going through and I didn't feel that I could take part without my mother there.  My call led to an incredible woman offering to give my mother one of her tickets.  Talk about a healing experience with my mother!  The morning the workshop began on Friday was my first day with no seizures.  I had an immense headache, phlegm in my throat, body aches and other symptoms, but no seizures!!! The workshop (aka playshop) was incredible!  My greatest gift from the workshop has been learning more in depth about the power of the mind and how everything we do is based on our thoughts and beliefs. By the end of the weekend my mind felt awake and uplifted and I wrote on my bathroom mirror which is still there now, "This gift has been given to me to reset my brain and give me a brain new beginning.  Any obstacles that arise are actually gifts to uplift my brain, body and soul to an even higher awakening.  I am a successful, strong, happy and healthy woman!" I have awoken to the fact that my body is much stronger than I give it credit for, and so is my mind.  The human mind and body is incredibly powerful and strong, it is important to give them credit, respect and FAITH.

I have truly accepted that undergoing a biopsy is a process that could take me up to two years to fully recover from and that is okay! I am blessed that the entire procedure went beautifully and that I am breathing and alive today.  Weening off, getting back on, and weening off of Keppra has been an outstanding yet wonderful obstacle that has awakened me to the vast effect that medication can have on the body and that it also can take time to clear from the system.  I have chosen to be Keppra free, and with that I have made other choices as well which include not flying on a plane for a while, continuing to eat healthy healing food,  taking my herbal medication, continuing to get acupuncture, and unfolding and learning more about myself and my body each day, but most importantly remembering to rest and give myself a break!

On July 11th I turned 31 years old.  This year feels like the first year of my life.  Following my birthday I had my last session with Sacha at the Benjamin Cancer Center, where I have occasionally gone to different cancer discussions and groups there.  Sacha was the counselor that was assigned to me, by no coincidence.  He helped me unfold an even greater aspect within myself that I am receiving with vast wonder.  He has assisted me to open new doors and to reach out to others and ask for help and allow them to assist in opening even more windows and doors.  He has allowed me discover what the doctors call a tumor in my brain to be given a different name, something that is not my own and has the freedom to fly away.  What has seemed to be an obstacle has now turned into a bridge with many wonderful awakenings about life along the way.  I have truly felt a shift in my energy and accept what is right here in this moment.  Myself and other cancer patients have had a tendency to think, "I will be happy when I am cancer free!" or "I will be happy when this tumor begins shrinking."  What I feel is, I am happy with where I am right now.

Its amazing to go from having seizures to being awakened by the immensity of uplifting positivity and letting go of negativity in life and how much of an effect that has on my mind and body and in doing so the effect it has on those around me.  I am discovering the truth in the idea of the energy of those around me effecting my energy and the energy of myself effecting the energy of others.  Since I am not driving, I have been taking Uber taxi's around town.  Uber drivers are so friendly and amazing.  A couple days ago I received an email from one of the drivers who I had shared a happy story with, although when the email first came it took me a moment to remember, for one because I have been spilling my happiness with everyone whenever I can, and secondly because it was a bit ago.  After reading his email tears streamed down my face and I remembered exactly who the Uber driver was.  His words are below:

Hey Gabrielle,

I drove you around Venice a couple of weeks ago, the night before my bday, and you challenged me to try and be positive for one day.  I apologize for the delay, as I was out of town for work all last week, but I wanted to relay my experience. 

I found that it is a choice. At the start of every interaction we have we form an opinion about the people we meet.  I found that when I was mindful and in the moment, the person I was speaking to fed off my energy and in most cases this tactic garnered a positive response. Even the ones who weren't necessarily the most responsive came around after a bit and I found they too responded to this simple act of kindness.

Needless to say, Iv'e carried this over into my life and into every new interaction I am a part of.  Its so easy to disengage, retreat and be uninterested, but I think what people really crave is the opposite. To be seen and heard. That is the one thing we share as human beings. 

Thank you for challenging me to step outside my bubble, look up from the screen, and engage in the world. 



Thank you Ben for responding!  His response is an uplifting act of kindness that has created a buzzing of beauty and love within my heart and soul for myself and for others, as well as an astounding reminder to engage with and be mindful of others.  All of you that are taking the time out to read my posts thank you!  It moves me to have each and every one of you in my life.  Everyone around me has been an incredible vibration to my healing and I extend you the same vibration back, the more we can vibrate together the stronger the vibration is.  For those of you that are new, thank you for visiting.  Feel free to visit my beginning blog My Journey: The Beginning, or just stay wrapped up in this one because perhaps exactly where you are is exactly where you're meant to be.

Last week I had my appointment with the neurology department at the hospital for them to compare my MRI's from Virginia as well as the ones I took here in February.  They said that there has been zero growth and they also seemed a bit setback by the fact that it is considered a grade 3 malignant glioma and has not grown at all.  The neurology doctor even recommended that I take the MRI's as well as biospy sample to a neuro-oncologist to see what they would recommend.  I have not decided if that is something that will be on my agenda or not.  But from the sound and feel of all of it, I feel uplifted to know that no one, NO ONE can guarantee where my life will go.  And it is good information for me to take in all outlooks of what is said, but to NOT take any the outlooks fully to heart and to know that my heart is my heart and my body is my body and my mind is my mind.  I believe that my mind and body have a strength stronger than perhaps I can even fathom and in this moment right now my body is healing itself fully!  All is well, nothing is wrong! Everything I am feeling is my body healing! All good is flowing to me and within me.  I am strong! I am whole! I am healthy!

This past week I have gone surfing in the ocean twice, enjoyed the sun on my skin and the ocean water on my body.  One of the times a large whale-shark about 20+ feet in length made an appearance to say hello.  Right now I am so happy to be here and I am happy and in love with myself and with all of you!

LOVE ~ Gabrielle

Self portrait prayer shot and mother daughter photo, taken by an amazing photographer, 
Joy Santos:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brian Jennings

This post is dedicated to my friend Brian Jennings! This past month he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent several immense obstacles!  Brian also started a wonderful blog that has inspired me with my own journey, pouring out his magnificent courage and strength. To our surprise Brian passed away, what seemed out of nowhere, about two weeks ago.  And as sad as his passing may feel, it is a reminder, as Brian would have liked, for us to embrace life and rejoice his time here on earth and know that he is on to the next marvelous part of his journey.

I met Brian about eight years ago when I started working as a ski & snowboard instructor at Massanutten Resort in Virginia.  I haven't really stayed in constant contact with him, but he has always been an inspiration to me throughout his life journey.  One beauty of working on that mountain is that even if I go years without talking to the folks I worked with there, our bond will always remain, and when we do talk its like we have never parted.  Its amazing the strength that nature has on us.Brian also worked as a guide on the river.  I know Brian touched so many lives with this concept, positive attitude and brilliance, on the mountain as well as paddling on the river, where he helped others understand the strength and marvelous beauty that nature has on our souls.  One of his friends posted a quote he wrote about the river which was, "Once you learn how to read the water, you'll never look at it the same again."

Just a few days before his passing, I sent him a message that went a little somethin' like this:


Seriously... I know we weren't close close at THE NUT (aka Massanutten Resort) when we worked there, but I feel what you are going through, I really do!  I wrote on your facebook wall but I wanted to send you this message.  I HAVE CANCER ALSO!!  However, cancer needs a new name.  I believe the word cancer is vague and over-rated!  Who knows how long the thing them doctors call a "tumor" has been in my brain, but it has been a journey.  I have known it has been there for almost nine months now.  Eight months ago I had a biopsy to evaluate what type it was.  People look at cancer as a terrible thing, and yes there have been challenges, but its like you mentioned earlier, those challenges are like the river, when they arise they only make you stronger and appreciate life more.  I have felt like I have been on a roller-coaster ride of challenging beauty!! I admire your courage, you are a strong man! The universe has chosen this for you because you can handle this and it will create a large influence on yourself as well as others and uplift your life to an even higher level!! I don't feel sorry for you! HAHAHAHA I admire you.  Welcome to the journey of getting to appreciate and see a new meaning of life at such a young age. You are lucky!  How beautiful that you have this thing they call CANCER!  Not everyone gets to have this gift.  I am here for you! If you want to talk do not hesitate to reach out. 

 Much love , Gabby

P.S. Brian your blog is outstanding, I have enjoyed reading your words.  They bring to me inspiration and strength throughout my own journey!

Brian has been and still is, an amazing influence in my life with his strength, passion and outlook on life and the universe. Thank you Brian for making the world a better place and for bonding together our Massanutten, "The Nut" crew!  Much love to Brian's family and friends in his time of passing into the next realm out there! Death is a miracle as well :)

"In paddling terms, it seems like it's kind of the unportageable and unscoutable.  Guess you can only run it blind once...time to charge!" ~Brian Jennings

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Time to Kill: by Cazzie Olko

Hey friends, I wanted to post a paper written by my younger brother, Cazzie Olko this spring, right before graduating his senior year of high school.  He has always been thought of as my "baby" brother.  He was born when I was twelve years old.  He is and has been not such a baby anymore.  Not only is he much taller than me but I look up to him in so many ways.  The paper he wrote below brought tears to my eyes and has inspired me in so many ways to the importance of taking time each day to just breathe, and to be in the moment, and to focus on this moment only and not the past or the future.  All we have is right now.  Thank you brother for your wisdom, strength and courage.  I am grateful to have you in my life.  ** If you are new here, welcome! If you want to start at the beginning feel free : The Journey: The Beginning, if you don't thats cool too, no worries. Read if you like, close if you don't like! I love you all!

Time to Kill
written by Cazzie Olko
On the first night of the Environmental Stats trip to West Virginia we had the opportunity to do a solo in the woods. It wasn’t so much an opportunity but more of “your getting thrown into the woods at dusk with a journal, so sit and write.” On the bus ride up I was very hesitant.  I have a large imagination that gets frightened very easily, and I greatly dislike being alone. It was dusk when we left the parking lot and began to hike the trail. Mr. Johnson and Mr. O’Donnell dispersed us throughout the woods to sit by ourselves for an hour.  I sat down onto a bed of moss, but that was uncomfortable so I got up and moved to a new spot that gave me a tree to lean up against.  My first thoughts were filled with marshmallows and escape plans.  My second thoughts were about the crazy West Virginian moonshiners that were going to kidnap, maim, and leave me for the bears. Eventually I realized that this probably wasn’t going to happen, and I began to settle into the night.
As the daylight dwindled, the environment flooded my senses. The moss felt like a soft bed, the air smelled like an ancient wooded forest, and the quiet rustle of night animals quickly came alive. The woods contained a mystical air, and I suddenly became aware of the timelessness of the area. I stopped writing and began to think deeply about all aspects of my existence. Why am I living? What is my future?, How will I die?  All those deep, unanswerable questions. The solo turned from a dreaded experience into a cherished moment.
When I look back onto my senior year, there have been a couple of similar meditative interludes. This past February I had a gig in Richmond and ended up driving there all alone.  As I drove I began to enjoy this downtime for myself. I was able to listen to an entire Sly and Family Stone album and think about college, career, getting married, friends, and family. This drive led me to think about questions that I for so long had put off.  Another interlude was when I attempted to do my AP Euro homework on a beautiful Saturday. I started to become so fed-up and frustrated; the French revolution seemed so pointless and was holding me back from exploring something that really interested me. So I put it down, grabbed my guitar, and went out on my porch and played, “Just Another Day the Lord Has Sent Me” by Sam Cooke. It quickly morphed into a long -winded jam with the music and outside energy leading the way.  These three interludes brought me to the realization that if we make time for quiet meditation filled with openness, we would realize that it wasn’t wasted time but a time to delve deep into our personal being and help enrich ourselves.
Spending time by oneself is common throughout many different religions. In Judaism there are instances of the prophets like Moses going off to be alone in the presence of God.  The Buddha was awakened through meditation under a tree. Daoist hermits live to very old ages because of meditation and the search for the “way." These three religions, Judaism, Buddhism and Taoism are fundamentally different, but they all advocate the importance of meditative prayer. In the gospels Jesus was driven alone into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit for 40 days and nights and was tempted by the Devil. He took a retreat, a retreat away from his disciples, away from food, and away from any worldly connection. Jesus could have spent these days preaching the good news, but he knew he needed to face the Devil because it strengthened his teachings and finalized his mission on the earth. But obviously none of us are Jesus or Buddha so how exactly are we supposed to find time to meditate?
I know in my life I am very busy.  On one regular day I go to school, have some after-school activity, then have to go home and do my homework. In this schedule there is not a lot of time to try and be Jesus or Buddha. Over the last year, however, I found ways to integrate meditative time into my life. One way is a weekly yoga class that forced me to meditate because that’s what Yoga is. As the Bhagavad Gita says “abiding joy comes to those who still the mind.” Secondly, I found that sometimes it does me better to not overload on the homework night after night. Instead I use my time practicing an instrument, doing yoga, or just sitting in my woods watching the sun go down. Now I am not encouraging you to not do homework because obviously it is a crucial part of getting an education. I am more telling you to realize that it will do you more good, when getting overwhelmed with work, to put it away for awhile and refresh yourself spending time meditating. The work will get done eventually. The last piece of advice I have to offer is that there are a countless number of weekends and not everyone has to be spent going out with friends.  It gets tiring. This year, some Friday or Saturday nights, I would just chill out and have a night for myself. I found time to waste and grasped onto the opportunity and I deeply encourage everyone to do the same.
Now maybe you are seeing this sermon as a defense of senioritis, but I see it more as showing that wasted time can actually be time well spent. Yes, maybe I didn’t excel at homework this year, but I did manage to become more confident in myself. I took time to clear my mind of stress and figure out whom I am.  To the 8th graders entering high school: don’t enter high school already stressed about college and homework.  Instead think of high school as a way find out who you really are. To the seniors: College is going to be full of struggles and stress but don’t let that rule our lives. Instead take time for yourself to meditate in anyway that fits you. If that means hiking, running, sitting still, or working out, so be it. Just take these meditative interludes and cherish them. Let your mind be free of any worries. Delve deep into your being and ask the unanswerable questions, and I promise that you will come out refreshed and ready to live out the rest of your life.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Faith and Fear

Hello my dear friends, I know it has been a while since I posted an update in this blog. The past couple months have been an intense part of my voyage.  However I am truly starting to notice that intensity and challenge in my life are bringing me into the beauty of true self-reflection and light. If you are new to reading my blog, welcome!!  I recommend you start by clicking on my 2013 November post (My Journey: The Beginning) and go from there.  If you have already been following my posts thank you for waiting, even though I have not posted in a while and have been exploring, unfolding, and peeling away challenging aspects of myself that have arisen, I have felt your love energy and support throughout the journey, and for that I am grateful.

It has now been about six months since my scooter accident which led me to my brain discovery, and five months since I underwent the biopsy.  I have been seeing many healing doctors who have been helping me immensely on my path.  At the end of February I underwent a follow-up MRI to take a look at what was going on, at which point it had been exactly three months since the biopsy.  A huge weight of fear and anxiety was lifted off my chest when the result showed that there has been ZERO growth!!

ZERO growth is amazing and the fact that fear and anxiety were lifted is amazing! What else is amazing is how the human brain likes to resort directly back into the way things were sometimes, however I believe that is not a capability as we cannot ever fully go back to the way exactly anything was. At the time I looked at no growth as a "phew" maybe this is nothing and never was anything and I can go back to being who I was before and not worry anymore.  Taking that outlook caused me to find fear and pain and more worry. The outlook that I feel now, which has developed throughout my challenges faced over the couple months since this, is that yes its okay to not worry anymore and to release emotion and feel happiness, but to look at this as an awakening to a new beginning and a new path. Rather than trying to escape and resort back to my old "easy" path that I should fully embrace the new one that has presented itself and allow the opening of the windows and doors to my voyage of healing and exploring my body in more ways than just focusing on the brain tumor. However perhaps I was meant to explore my old self in exactly that way in order to see this outlook.

A little while ago one of Swami Satchidananda's cards fell into my fingers which read, "Let total love, universal love, emanate from within."Meaning,"The more you think of your problems the deeper you'll go into them.  Its as if you are meditating on them, which is like pouring gasoline onto a fire.  If you pour love on hate, thats like pouring water onto fire.  Put in new, constructive ideas, and let those ideas take the place of mental fixations.  That's the spiritual way, the yogic approach.  If you hate somebody, instead of trying to find ways to get out of that hatred, just ignore it and try to love.  Think of love, love, love and the hatred will go away, automatically.  With regular practice of both physical and mental Yoga, you can easily overcome challenges in life, instead of worrying about them and constantly thinking about them." 
~ Swami Satchidananda 

Reading this card and feeling its presence helped me suddenly take a step back away from myself to realize the massive amounts of gasoline I had been pouring onto my fire.  It was time to start pouring water and love onto my fire and letting it melt away instead of creating bigger flames within my life.  Below I have included a bit from my journal that is one of the aspects that has made me consciously aware of the power that our mind has over our body.  And since our mind will always remain, instead of letting it pour gasoline onto our fires, how about learning how to create water of love to help guide our soul and wash away our troubles.

April 25, 2014 (Journal)

In the past couple months there has been a darkness looming over my soul. I am ready to let the light shine in; right now I am working on learning how to reach within to understand how to open that door. I was feeling strong, happy, healthy and well, when suddenly one day I awoke and started feeling numbness in my left arm and hand. Immediately my "monkey brain" began to take over and began to dump thought after thought into my mind of what this numbness could possibly mean, my greatest fear being my tumor taking over my body!  From the numbness I began to feel other pains including 3rd eye pain, shortness of breath, a tight chest and so forth and so on... It's amazing to me to think that before the scooter accident and before being in and out of the hospital for two months on medication and having my skull and brain cut into, that I felt healthy without a symptom at all that related to the experience I am in right now.  So how has this physical and emotional struggle implanted itself into my body and how do I release it and let it go? 

Not too long after experiencing the left arm numbness, which turned into shoulder pain, did I discover with the help of Dr. Benny Lin that this was solely related to my broken shoulder which still had some healing left to do. However, just the thought of the idea of death arising within my mind caused me to begin my intense thoughts about mortality. Where do we come from? What happens when we die? Where do we go? How is time passing so quickly? Why are my parents and family growing older? Thought after thought began to arise and scramble around in my mind causing a rave of emotion and tiredness which began to consume my brain, heart and soul.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine we talk about the "running piglet syndrome "which in western medicine is known as a panic attack.  It can be felt in the stomach area and runs up to the chest, interfering with the heart and chest causing palpitations, anxiety, fear and/or dizziness. I suddenly realized exactly what this term meant, as what felt like a piglet ran in circles around my belly and chest upsetting everything in sight. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Fear, anxiety, worry, anger, palpitations, sadness and depression started to kick in.  I was lying on the floor in pain having the first MAJOR panic attack of my life, crying so hard my body was shaking and in pain, my chest felt knotted and my lungs felt closed.  I was awakened to the effect that emotion has on our body physically and how it effects every part of our being.  The emotion caused my my entire physical body to begin feeling pain.  I began feeling pain in my neck, my shoulders, my legs, my chest, my eyes, and so forth and so on.  I then started dumping more oil on my fire by allowing my "monkey brain" to take over by trying to tell my real brain that all the pain I was experiencing from emotion was actually not emotion at all but that I was dying. 

But, like everything and like Swami's words above, I am realizing now that I was creating even more pain within my body by feeding my pain with more pain, created by emotion.  So I now look upon going through this emotional experience as a form of releasing my emotion and hatred and learning to recognize myself (THE SELF) so that I can know how to create love and flowing energy within my body, like water, so that I can create for my soul true healing, openness, and growth.  

A couple weeks ago, my friend Lana opened the doorway a second time for me to checking out the Benjamin Center: Cancer Support Community.  The first time she opened this door I was not keen to the idea at the time and this time I was, and what an amazing support community that came into my life exactly at the right time!!  Its incredible how when we are ready to open the door, it will open. There are many classes and lectures being offered there; also I have been assigned to a once a week support group as well as individual counseling.  One word and visualization that I created during my one on one counseling was SELF-REFLECTION as well as fear.  I have found that part of this journey I am on is a continuous concept of having to look at myself in the mirror, which I have done in the past, but the difference I feel this time is, I cannot put the mirror down, I must face the fear that I see before me and release it.  

By no mistake right around this time of facing FEAR and what it truly is, I picked another Swami Satchidananda card which read to me:  "Faith and fear do not go together."Meaning,"Fear isn't going to help you in any way. Fear makes the mind lose all its strength. Remember, even to have fear, you must have faith in your fear. You have faith in your fear, and thats why you are afraid.  But you should know that fear isn't going to bring you any benefit. Faith and fear don't go together. Either you have faith, or you have fear. You know that you're alive now. Why don't you enjoy the now, rather than worry about the future?  Enjoy both getting and losing. So, if you know the ultimate truth, theres no reason to fear. Don't let that fear come near you at any time. Lean to live in the golden present." ~ Swami Satchidananda 

Everything in this card is resonating with me especially his words about "You know that you're alive now!" WOW.  Seems so simple, but sometimes it takes the simplicity of just seeing that or saying that everyday for me to release the fear of death, or any other fear that is weighing upon me.  Having Swami's card in my hand presented to me more than just something to read, but I felt a new light of courage entire my soul.  There was another occurrence that came to me and enlightened and shifted my path;  one of the days I felt flooded by my tears, laying on the floor, I sensed my body shift and roll onto my hands and knees as I faced the window and cried.  I became conscious of being in a prayer position, reaching out towards the universe the best way I knew how.  I prayed to Swami Satchidananda, the Universe, Buddha, God, whatever higher power was out there.  And the next day, on Sunday I found myself at a church called St. Marks, up the street.

 I have not been to a church like this in a long long time.  The sermon that day at church was specifically about fear.  I felt in this moment that there was something out there, that was listening to me and perhaps I have spent a lot of time not wanting to or knowing how to ask for help.  The bible verse Matthew 7:7 suddenly became clear to me "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." I had been feeling stuck in a stage of "I can't and don't know what to do." I kept saying this to my mother, and I will never forget her response one day which is similar to the bible verse; she said to me, "instead of saying 'I can't' I want you to ask 'How?'"  From this moment forward thanks to my mother and the universe for helping, I am learning to to ask for help as well as shifting my I cant's to How? 

End of April I was called down to Florida to have an appointment with a well known neurology doctor, Dr. David Perlmutter. He is a western doctor who appreciates and integrates eastern medicine into his practice.  He has written many books, including The Grain Brain, which is the one I have been reading and following the nutritional outlook from within.  I had been on Perlmutter's wait list for a while, so when I was called to come see him at the end of April it was a joy to make the trip down.  An "expensive" joy!  

My father met me down there on Easter Sunday and the appointment with Perlmutter was the next day.  I decided to stay an extra few days to visit a dear friend, Kate, who lived nearby in Fort Myers as well as end my trip with Danielle DiVittorio, the amazing friend and woman who went above and beyond to start the GoFundMe website, which raised an incredible amount of money without me even knowing, which has truly helped me on the beginning of this journey.  Dr. Perlmutter's visit was a very expensive yet an extensive and helpful session which gave me beautiful insight onto my path and assistance with my healing direction and decisions.  Perlmutter's visit was incredible, but what has resinated within my soul the most from this trip to Florida was spending Easter with my father, as we explored the beauty of Florida as well as enjoyed fully the beauty of each other.  I am gifted and grateful to have an incredible man in my life, who is my father, an amazing healer, and a true friend! Its amazing how LOVE, respect and our family can be the most incredible medicine our body takes in, and the extra spoonful of medicine on top was the beauty of nature that florida offered!

After saying goodbye to my father, it was another burst of happiness in my soul to be able to wrap my arms around Kate Mohr as well as Danielle DiVittorio and physically feel the love I have for both of these amazing women.  Kate is an incredible friend that even though I only met her in California, three months before she moved back to Florida, she is a lifelong friend.  And spending my last three days in florida with Danielle was incredible! It has been a long time since I have seen her face in person, and it was lovely to bond together and spend time side by side like no time had even passed!!  She goes above and beyond for others and works for an organization which raises money and helps others and foundations around the world.

Since getting back to California, some of the self-reflection emotions have unfolded even more greatly.  I was faced with the idea of FAITH and FEAR full on the day I arrived back, as if a high power was asking me directly, "Do you have complete faith in healing yourself?"  The next day I ended up at Dr. Hua-Bing Wen's office in Beverly Hills.  He is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist who has a specialty in oncology.  He also teaches herbal formulas at my university.  Although I never had him as a teacher at my school, I am paying for his full on teaching now.  He has put me at ease immensely with his treatment as well as formula.  One of his words of wisdom to me is, to have full faith in what I am doing, no matter what it is. To take that a step further, his words, combined with words from the Cancer Center, St. Marks Church, as well as other self-reflections along the way, have left me with this mantra of: Whatever you pick to have faith in is up to you, but whatever it is, have it be full on faith in what you chose. Sometimes along the way our faith may change and that is okay but we must have full faith in the new direction we chose to take. I have started working with Dr. Wen and I have full faith that his medicinal treatments are the best choice for my body to be healed and this experience working with him is an incredible awakening to the capacity that herbs and acupuncture have on our bodies.  

Master Zhou

I have also started getting treatments from Master Zhou again! And wow!  I will write a blog shortly solely  discussing my treatments with this man, as they are incredible!  I have full faith in the power of the hot healing energy coming out of his hands and into my body to create a newfound healing experience!  And another treatment which I have not yet mentioned that I have recently started on is CBD Oil therapy!  I am working with an incredible healer from Washington State with his cannabinoid treatment plan.  I am currently on day ten of taking the oils.  If anyone is more interested fully in knowing more about this treatment, below are links to a few article, and feel free to email me to get the information for the man I am working with.  The CBD oil treatment helps heal more than just cancer!!

Life is incredible! I am learning to embrace where I am right now, because this is where I am for a reason and I am alive!  Who knows how long this healing journey I have embarked on will take but I am learning to enjoy the ride.  When we reach our destination it is time for the next journey.  Thats how life seems to work. Michael Allen's words say it best, "Many are so focused on a destination they fail to see and appreciate what lies in between.  They drive to their destination and see nothing on the way.  Imagine all they are missing.  Even when they arrive, they fail to appreciate where they are, being too caught up in wanting to be somewhere else again."  Here I am on my healing journey of life, working each day towards fully appreciating what I am taking part in each day and seeing along the way!  I am here to enjoy the ride!!

Lastly, I am overcoming my fear to ask for help and would love as much financial support as well as healing energy sent my way as you all can! Below is a link to my updated GoFundMe page.  This journey in my life has been an incredibly challenging, life changing journey that I know is being sent to me by the universe for a reason, and will help me become an amazing healer, who can give back as well as pay forward.  The financial help that was given to me through the help of Danielle DiVittorio and all of you helped launch and support the beginning of my healing path.  With the sincere hope that my journey can continue to be as smooth as possible and that I can continue to seek out the appropriate help that I need, anything else that you can send my way would be greatly appreciated.

Here is a link to my updated GoFundMe page: 

Dr. Wen:

Dr. Perlmutter:

Dr. Zhou:

Dr. Paul Olko
Green Lake Healing Center

CBD (Cannabinoid):

Friday, April 4, 2014

Article for Yo San University

Article for Yo San 
University (Learning Point Newsletter)

Written by: Gabrielle Olko
The following covers some of what you all have already read, but written in an enhanced light, as well as entailing new aspects of my journey.  I was asked by Yo San University (my college) to write an article for their online newsletter.  Thank you Yo San! What an honor. 

My journey that I am currently on has guided me to look inward to discover how my path in life has led me to where I am.  Sometimes we do not understand why certain challenges approach us along the way; but I believe they happen to us for a reason to lead us to where we are meant to be.  It has taken me a while to understand the importance of being in the moment. I have found the importance is to not wish my life away or into the future and to remind myself each and everyday to embrace the journey I am in and on right in this very moment.

Four years ago, in February I broke my wrist and was cooped up at my home in Virginia, in snowstorm after snowstorm, waiting for interviews to come my way after I had applied to be a teacher at several elementary schools.  I had just received my teaching certificate as well as a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education from James Madison University.  I had been working in a long-term substitute position in a second grade classroom; but after my wrist was broken, I started filling the position of lying on my couch. Several weeks passed by and suddenly one day I woke up and felt as though it was time to lift myself up and search inward and outward to continue to unfold my life journey.  I found out about a Life Coaching Certification Workshop being held in Los Angeles at Yo San University, which was being led by Dr. Maoshing Ni (one of the brothers who founded Yo San) as well as Phillip Christman. I felt as though this would be an amazing opportunity to find my life guidance as well as help guide others as well as be able to explore the coast of California before I came back and committed fully to becoming a teacher. This experience served as a catalyst to the journey I am now on. Three months later I filled out my application to attend Yo San University and began looking for a new place to live.  It's amazing how an injury can lead us in a new direction for a reason.

That fall, I was a brand new student at Yo San University beginning to pursue what, at the time, I believed was just a masters degree and license in acupuncture.  What I have learned four years later is that the journey at this school is much more than just receiving a new profession, but that it is a voyage inward and outward to discovering our own self, body, mind and soul.  I have created relationships with fellow students, teachers, supervisors, masters, and employees that I will treasure throughout my lifetime. There have been challenges that have arisen along the way, and times that I have wanted to fight against what I have been working hard towards, as well as moments where school has seemed to be on the bottom of my list in life.  But what I have noticed is that along the way I am always drawn back in to the energetic and beautiful safe haven I like to call school.

On my first day of school at orientation, Dr. Maoshing Ni told us a story about a patient of his that was diagnosed with a stage 4 melanoma brain cancer.  The doctors at the hospital gave her three months left to live.  She came to Dr. Mao's office in tears and in fright of her approaching death.  His advice to her was to do all the treatments that she could, but to look within and do what fit her soul the most. She exclaimed to Dr. Mao that her soul wanted to go swim with the dolphins in Hawaii.  So off she went, and three months later after swimming in the beautiful ocean with the dolphins at her side, the sun shining on her body, and connecting with the medicine of nature, she had forgotten she even had a tumor in her brain at all.  When she got back her MRI results showed, to everyone's surprise, that the tumor was almost gone! Its amazing how impactful the healing of nature can be on our body when we connect with it as well as allow our body to relax, and to let go of over-thinking and over-emotion and just live.  This story has resonated with me throughout the past four years, but was immediately awakened within me in a new light over the past six months and has helped me throughout my own recent health journey of my own brain, and given me courage and a deeper insight about life.  I look back to the first day of school and this story in amazement and how it deeply connects to where I am now. Throughout the past four years of school I have compared myself to other fellow students, felt rushed to to finish and get into clinic at the same time as those I started with as well as wanting to hurry to get a professional job and start making money in what I thought of as the "real world," wishing away my time at school.  One thing I have been awakened to in the past six months has been that each of our experiences in life are our own personal journey and we are exactly where we are meant  to be right now for a reason.

This past October, I was involved in a scooter accident, where I was immediately taken to the ER.  My main injury was located in my left shoulder, but they performed multiple tests on me to make sure that no other body parts had been affected in the accident.  Because of the location of the broken shoulder being located near the spine, they decided to run a CAT scan to make sure my head had not been injured at all.  To their surprise as well as mine, there was fogginess presented on the CAT scan, which led them to performing a full MRI scan. Thirteen hours later, at the end of the day when they found that I did not have health insurance, I was released out on my own and told by them that I had a broken humerus bone in my shoulder and a cancerous tumor in my brain.  Two days later, I was accepted into the public hospital where I embarked on a new chapter in my education of viewing and becoming fully immersed into aspects of how the western medical system works.  During my first eight days there, I underwent extensive pain killers, two more MRI scans, a spinal tap, as well as an EEG scan. These extra tests were performed to rule out any other possibility of what was seen on the scan before deciding where to go next.  I lay in the hospital hoping that what was there was a glitch in the system or a silly mistake.  The evening the doctors came into my office to sit down with me and tell me their diagnosis of the results, was one of the greatest challenges I have experienced.  They explained to me that the tumor presented was in my left temporal and frontal lobe area in my brain and seemed to be a grade 2 glioma.  They also let me know that this type of tumor was a form of malignant cancer and the best thing to do next would be to undergo a biopsy to determine the exact type, location, and size of the tumor.  I barely heard anything else that they said afterwards because my physical body seemed to collapse into a pile of emotion. Shortly after I was released from the hospital for the next ten days before returning to undergo my scheduled biopsy.

During the ten days before returning to the hospital, I made acupuncture appointments at my school with Dr. Wing as well as appointments at the Tao of Wellness with Dr. Maoshing Ni.  Dr. Wing was one of my teachers at Yo San as well as an incredible practitioner there, whom I had never actually scheduled an appointment with yet until then.  When I went in for a treatment with him, I felt a spiritual bond to him and his healing, which I have realized served and is still serving a purpose, and was brought to me exactly at that time for a reason.  Before my first treatment with him that day, as soon as I walked into the University, I felt a new love and safety there, like I had never felt before. I had no idea that students at school had started a fundraiser for me in the bookstore to assist me on my journey.  I stopped in my tracks, in tears, when I saw what they had done; not because of the money but because of all the support, love and healing energy that was being sent my way from my Yo San family.  Even new students at the school and patients whom I had never met were reaching out to me.  I suddenly realized, as I mentioned earlier, that sometimes the greatest love is directly in front of us and around us all along, and we tend to be avidly searching ahead and in the future, that we forget to embrace the moment and where we are.  I realized the feelings along the way of comparing myself to other students or wishing away my time at Yo San, so that I could graduate and work already, is what was causing me to lose the shining beauty of the greatest lesson in life of accepting and loving exactly where I am.

The accident happened midway through the fall semester of my fourth year, so I ended up having to drop out of the "official" classes I was taking that semester in school and drop into learning about my own body and health. This experience has opened my mind to healing and acupuncture as well as the human body, in an even greater sense than I have ever known.  This has been the most challenging yet most meaningful "elective" course I have taken in my life.  Suddenly what I had been learning at school all along, was now unfolding in a new light.  Right before this occurrence happened I was extremely busy cramming and studying to take the pre-clinical exam, so that this spring I could have began my internship in the clinic at Yo San University.  I did not end up taking the exam, but what I have realized is, that the universe has brought to me something else first, which is the importance of looking inward and healing, loving and protecting myself before reaching out to and healing others.

On November 13th, I re-entered back into the public hospital to begin my biopsy process.  I kept going back and forth as to if it was even necessary for me to go through this process at all.  I realize now that although perhaps it was not necessary, as no decision is set in stone and everyone has a different aspect of why they are drawn to undergoing certain things for a reason, I feel as though choosing to undergo this challenge for myself has given me many meaningful lessons about life, one of which is appreciating the small things in life that we tend to take for granted each day and feeling grateful for the time we have here on earth and how precious each moment is for us.  I awoke from the biopsy with half of my head bald, and 43 metal staples holding my scalp together.  What I truly woke up to had nothing to do with the baldness or staples at all, but was the joy I felt of being alive.  I felt awakened by the presence of my breath coming in and flowing out and felt a smile spread over my face and into my body filling me with gratitude, vibration, energy and love connecting to the universe, myself and the people in my life.

After coming home from the hospital the second time, I succumbed my body completely into acupuncture and chinese medicine to help speed up and assist my recovery from the biopsy, the immense amount of medication still in my system, as well my broken shoulder (which they had told me it would take me at least six months to be able to reach my hand up to the sky).  I started undergoing treatments with another amazing acupuncturist and tuina specialist who is also a teacher at Yo San University, Dr. Benny Lin.  Dr. Lin has been giving me incredible treatments. Within one month I was able to reach my arm up to the stars.  I also continued my treatments with Dr. Wing and Dr. Mao.  The energy at Benny Lin's office, as well as at Yo San University Clinic and the Tao of Wellness put me at complete ease and created within me a feeling of being calm, relaxed and nurtured.  As the New Year rolled in, so did my healing and I began to feel inspired to open new doorways of light into my life.  One of my New Years resolutions was to begin to take singing lessons.  The vocal vibration led to an even greater healing arising within my being.  I started to become grateful for the little friend within my brain.  One morning I awoke with the song "Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World" in my mind, and I felt drawn to sing this at Yo San University's Chinese New Years celebration as a surprise, in front of my father the student body, teachers, Mao and Dao Shing Ni, as well guests from the outside to thank and give back some of the immense amount of love and healing that has been sent my way.

Dr. Dao & Mao Shing Ni (in the background)

I could already feel and still feel the power of this Chinese New Years 2014 Year of the Horse.  Dr. Mao explained at the celebration that starting on January 31st the year of the horse began which this year also has presented the elements of wood and fire.  He spoke of the year of the Horse is 2014 symbolizing momentum and movement.  He explained the importance of having a clear purpose and well-defined direction in our endeavor because then the momentum of the year will carry us the distance.  We can accomplish much this year.  He also explained how containing our impulsiveness is important otherwise many confrontations and challenges will stand in the way. It is important for us to learn to ride and steer our horse so that we do not end up out of control and lose too much as a result.  The fact that it is already April and the momentum and movement of this year has already begun leads me to understand more deeply how present the horse is this year.
 I have also been focusing on learning to ride the horse in the best way I can, as challenges and confrontations at times have started to present themselves.  I think recognizing this has made it more helpful to when challenges seem to arise to step back and be able to understand how to ride the horse.  One clear purpose and defined direction which arose for myself was being able to face my fears, one of them being to sing in front of everyone at the Chinese New Years celebration.  It has began this year for myself with a greater courage in being able to breath in courage and breath out fear as it comes my way.

Since the New Years Celebration I have underwent one follow up MRI to check on my tumor.  A fear that began to arise for me when undergoing this MRI was the idea "It must be gone!" or the fear "what if it has grown?" After viewing the results which showed that it was exactly the same and there has been nothing different.  I have begun to look inward and realize that the most important thing is to continue what I have been working on of, accepting myself exactly where I am and embracing and loving who I am in this current moment.  I felt that it was important to continue to be healthy, heal myself and explore my body in a beautiful way, but to remember to accept and love myself and that where I am and what I am doing in this moment are extraordinary and important. I smile and feel at peace when I remember the story of the woman who swam with the dolphins and connected with nature and the moment and forgot and let go of what was creating her negative emotions and dis-ease.  Today I feel healthy, and happy and excited to continue on my path of healing myself and healing others, as well as embracing the little friend that has been given to me in my brain.  I am consistently learning and practicing how to relax and quiet my mind and open my heart. My journey throughout my life, at Yo San as well as throughout this experience has lead me on the true path of healing.

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Welcome. This is my 30th post of this journey. The beginning of this blog was November 26th, 2013  My Journey: The Beginning .  One month pr...