Published on April 15, 2020
- Raquel is a certified yoga therapist with a passion for helping cancer patients and others use yoga and mindfulness methods to cope with stress, anxiety and more.
- Strengthening your personal connections can help you get through difficult times.
Certified yoga therapist Raquel Jex Forsgren continues her series on building mental and emotional resilience to achieve well-being. Here, Raquel explains the value of trust and connection with your community when dealing with cancer.
Watch as she guides viewers through an at-home meditation practice to help patients and care partners process emotions and cope with times of uncertainty.
Transcript | Braving Trust With Raquel Forsgren
Hi everyone. Over the past five months we've been focused on building resilience and today is the sixth month in that series. I'm Raquel Forsgren, I'm a resilience coach and a yoga therapist, and on behalf of Patient Power, we are so excited to close our series with you today. Our topic will be the focus on connecting with our community, our tribe, our loved ones, and how important that can be for us along our journey. Human connection arguably could be one of the most important aspects that we have as human beings. It's integral to our happiness, and for some that means having a deep long list of friends and loved ones around us. And for others that could mean less than a handful of people that are really in our inner circle to help us get through what we need to. Well, why does this connection matter so much?
And especially for those of us that are living through cancer or standing by the side of someone who is, and as a yoga therapist, I work with a number of people that experience a myriad of emotions. And although each of us experience each of those emotions uniquely, I would say that most all of them are the same. They'll range from shock and denial to sadness, anger, shame, guilt and sadness all in one. And with that, even though we're each unique in how we process them, what's not unique is the power that connecting with even one person during those times of all of those emotions, and what that does for us, our spirit, our minds, our bodies. And I know each of you know where you fall on this spectrum. I know for myself, that when I'm dealt a blow of some kind, or I've heard something about someone who's dear to me, whether it's an illness or a death, I tend to retreat. I definitely go inward. I may seem extroverted when I work with you, but I am actually quite introverted in how I process my thoughts, my emotions, and my feelings.
And so what I've learned through the years is that I have a very small group of people that I try to connect with. And trusting is hard. We've talked about vulnerability before in these Facebook Lives and we can't underestimate the power that feeling vulnerability can have on us and how it can either help us open up or most often help us shut down. So the first step in connecting with another human or our tribe or our people is just allowing our walls to come down. And I know that even saying that can conjure up a whole bunch of different images and emotions for all of you. It does for me, but it's about opening our hearts and really allowing ourselves to trust someone. And even with that trusting ourselves because we know that in our journey, our bodies may have failed us. Someone may have failed us. I know people that have lost other people when they've started their journey. The list is endless, but we have to trust and we have to trust ourselves.
So today's practice is going to be about doing just that. You're welcome to grab a piece of paper or a notebook and a pen or pencil, whatever you want, or you can just mentally take note of some that that things I'll ask you to do in the practice. Okay. So to go ahead and get started, you guys know the drill. If you've been doing this with me for a while now, you know that when I have you close your eyes, I'd like you to just relax. But have a balanced posture where you're just sitting with your shoulders back and relaxed, feeling your feet grounded on the floor and just bring to mind the word trust. Visualize it in your mind. See the word written. Define what trust means to you, either in your mind or even write it down on your paper if you want to do that, but define it. Feel it. What does trusting someone or trusting yourself mean for you? What does it mean for you?
Now visualize the word connection. Connection. See that word visually in your mind, define that either mentally or on your paper and then ask yourself what does connection mean for you? What does connection mean for you? And as you begin to open your eyes, just kind of take a moment and sit with that. Maybe look at what you wrote or mentally think about what you just discovered about what trusting and connection mean to you.
And then when you're ready, close your eyes again and let's just take a moment to be completely present. Notice how we're breathing. As you inhale and exhale is it long and smooth? Does it feel short? Have you been kind of holding your breath as you were thinking about trusting and connecting? What was happening in your physical body? Notice what emotion might be present in your physical body.
Now, let's continue to open our hearts together and keep exploring this trusting and this connecting. Visualize someone you love, their face, their smile. Feel what seeing and being with that person feels like in your physical body. Maybe even place a hand on that space in your body where you feel the emotion when you visualize that person you love. And visualize them telling you something that's been weighing on them, watch their face lighten, soften from sharing and trusting in you. Feel in your physical body, how it feels to be trusted by another person, with what they're struggling with, with what they need help with. Allow yourself to feel the connection with that person, even though they might not be right there with you. That bond based on trust.
Now visualize that person again and this time visualize yourself. See your face and see that beautiful person sitting in front of you that has just trusted you and now they're holding space for you being completely present, listening, not judging, supporting. And visualize yourself saying what is weighing on your heart, on your mind. Really see it. See yourself trusting, opening. Visualize that loved one's face giving you empathy, their compassion, their heart holding yours.
Inhale as deeply as you can. Let your ribs expand, breathing clear into the back of your body. And then exhale just as long as you can and do that two more times on your own inhaling deeply and exhaling as long as you can, noticing what may have shifted in how you're breathing since we first checked in on it a bit ago. Take a moment to just find stillness. Maybe a little bit of gratitude, filling up your heart, feeling grateful for the ability to trust in someone and the gratitude for being trusted.
And whenever you're ready, you can begin to open your eyes. Awesome. One of the most important things we can do along our journey is be curious about how you're thinking, feeling, maybe what you're doing and why. We always have talked about that since we've been together and just always be curious about that. Leaning into each emotion, each thought and knowing that we have the power to really change how we experience our journey. I know there's so much that can be out of our control when we have a diagnosis of cancer. So much, but we know and I hope you really know after our series in resilience that what you can control first your breath. I hopefully have taught you that. The second is our thoughts. You can control your thoughts often by controlling your breath and just leaning into them, feeling your emotions and really owning your choices. And one of those choices is connecting or not connecting. Trusting or not trusting.
But make the choice. Maybe make the commitment today, even right after this session, reach out to somebody. Reach out to someone that need to trust or want to trust more, or that you already trust but you just need to share. Or if you're already doing that, reach out to someone that you know could use a little trust of yours and that maybe you could do the same for them. Make the commitment to rewrite your story on your journey. This is the power of resilience. Thank you so much. Have a great day.
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