We all know the saying, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb," and while this may be the case weather-wise (many of us on the East Coast still reeling from recent storm activity), let's lead off the month, at least here, with a little more of that lamb gentleness.
Confused? Meet Maggie Joralemon, who reminds us that while we usually flex our muscles wearing our "fighter-spirit" proudly, a calmer approach may not only suit some better, but may drive home just as big of a win.
"I have never been a fan of the idea that we must 'fight' and engage in 'battle' with our own bodies. We as women have enough on our plates."
And two years ago at 65, this yoga enthusiast never expected to receive a breast cancer diagnosis.
"All illusions about who gets breast cancer and why were dispelled. I am a yoga teacher, vegetarian, anti-medical establishment kind of gal who thought this could never happen to me,” she said, though recalling her sister had a similar diagnosis several years prior.
Still, Maggie used her calm mind and body to face her diagnosis and journey ahead.
"The yoga and meditation knowledge and tools I possessed before my diagnosis have helped me to soften and flow through my year of treatment, physically, mentally, psychologically and spiritually."
Her breast cancer diagnosis also came with a surge of support; something she says gave her another eye-opener.
"The outpouring of support was heartening; I was heartily embraced into 'the sisterhood', which taught me so much about our shared humanity and how to truly care for each [other],” she said. “I was usually at the other side of caregiving, attending to others in different stages of need. Now I was learning how to receive the support from others in a real and tangible way. That was a huge lesson."
She also learned to open her mind to a different side of healthcare.
"Having not had much contact with the medical establishment, I soon understood the commitment of health professionals at every level. From doctors to aides, I was heartened by the kindness and dedication of those who cared for me and continue to monitor my progress."
After benefiting from an alternative health network as well as a traditional health network, Maggie has set her sights on fusing these worlds a bit more so that others may pull support from both ends, too.
"My goal now is to expand my practice to bring yoga and meditation to survivors and their families."
As we mentioned earlier, Maggie reminds us that we can take the gloves off and step out of fight-mode at least some of the time, if not all of the time.
With that in mind, check her out above. This yoga pose is called Peaceful Warrior and one that might bring out the lamb in all of us.
"It demonstrates that one can be stable, steady, grounded and strong while still being vulnerable and exposed. With each conscious, mindful breath, the pose is expanded and refined. This is how we heal, bringing healing energy into the body."
As Maggie touts the healing powers of yoga and meditation, she explains that this lifestyle doesn't change the challenges ahead, but instead can change us.
"The hardships don't disappear because we practice. We approach them differently, from a place of healing rather than a place of struggle."
This way of thinking echoes some of our former Survivors who drew great strength from a place of mental clarity.
Susan Parés, our November 2016 survivor, integrated having a peaceful mind with a fighter-spirit. “With support of my family, friends and coworkers, I found the strength to battle, train, follow proper nutrition, practice yoga and complete an obstacle course racing,” she told us at the time of her photo shoot.
And Tami Lamy, our February 2017 survivor, chose a yoga-inspired pose for her photoshoot, sharing how she kept both her mind and body in shape during her journey.
So whether channeling a lion, a lamb, or a mix of both, we encourage finding an approach that works best for you throughout your journey.
Usually before we wrap up we shout out any birthdays for the month. While there are no March birthdays in our current Survivor dozen, we want to wish all of you (even some of our male readers) a very happy International Women's Day, which was celebrated on March 8th.
Whichever gender you identify with, we know there is a woman somewhere who helped and inspired you to be your best you. We applaud these women and are thankful to have so many within our EOTS family!
See you all next time, and as always, keep your Eye on Strength!