Just back from a wonderful and very successful Life Force Retreat for cancer survivors that we held in Dubbo, Western NSW Local Health District. Twelve women attended the one-day program on May 30 at a lovely venue on the Macquarie River. Participants were referred by the Oncology treatment team at Dubbo Hospital.
The women benefited from the day’s activities, discussions and sharing with others treading a similar path.
Some had not had the opportunity to talk to other people living with cancer prior to coming to the Life Force retreat. What they found was a new “family” with whom they could share the experience and find support, friendship and encouragement going forward, for optimal health and wellbeing.
Always lovely and inspiring for us to witness.
Thank you to our great Life Force team of therapists and to the fabulous group of women who attended and who continue to inspire us.
Here are some of their comments:
“A beautiful relaxing day to gently challenge us to reflect and look inwardly at our strengths, to develop an awareness and encourage ourselves to hang in there.” Trish
“Most enjoyable, beautiful presenters. Lots of skills to help us in everyday life on good and bad days!! We are all survivors who struggle but the topics introduced us to techniques to help us cope. Wonderful.” Anne“Thank you for your time and teachings. I feel grateful to accept these great ideas.” Mandy
“A very enlightening experience, and I’m so very grateful to share this wonderful warm- hearted day. I was amazed at the ease with which I gathered courage to be open and vulnerable. I felt trust shared by all. Beautiful female souls. I needed this. THANK YOU.” Jane
“Thank you for a relaxing day, connecting with amazing ladies and myself. It was much needed and appreciated.” Carolyn
“A lovely day to stop, relax and think of me and reconnect with who I am. Thank you xx” Ruth
“I felt confident to share experiences and talk openly without judgement!” Jenni
Come along to a fundraising event for Life Force on Sunday 1st August, 2021. The beautiful Anastasia from Genesis of Health will be playing her crystal singing bowls in a “Sound Bath” – or sound healing at the Annandale Community Centre. All the proceeds of the Sound Bath will go to Life Force Cancer Foundation.
I sincerely hope this newsletter finds you well, as it’s certainly been a challenging time for all of us. Many will have fears for
health, work and/or security and especially when the world in general seems at unrest. In addition, in Australia this is all following on from the bushfires, drought and floods.
Today we are facing challenging times trying to cope with uncertainty while making choices as to how we want to live. People all over the world are experiencing this right now with the advent of COVID-19 but this has always been the reality for people living with cancer. We want to be able to solve problems and fix things and feel that we are in control. We want to believe that everything will turn out OK. But we have no guarantees as to what the outcome is going to be. So, when everything seems out of control, it may be more helpful to look for a sense of hope and supportive influences. In a video I saw recently by Kelly McConigal PhD, she talked about three steps we can take.They went something like this: (I have added my own words)
Bring a wise compassionate perspective to the situation. It’s important to acknowledge that we do not need to manage the situation alone. We may need to have a sense of surrender that we can do our best, but we can’t do it all. “This is bigger than me.” “How can I live my best life now, given the cards I have been dealt?” Being part of a group can be a powerful source of healing. There are lots of things we can do to support ourselves through trying and scary times by coming together and sharing it all. Many people living with cancer struggle with depression, distress and anxiety related to living with uncertainty. People may tell us that we should just be happy we survived and not worry about the unknown. Despite this, it is okay to talk about our uncertainty and how it makes us feel. Talking with another person about our feelings and what is causing them, can help us understand more clearly what we are feeling and assist us in finding ways to manage those emotions. If we are uncomfortable talking about certain subjects with our family or friends it might be helpful to talk with others who have, or have had, cancer. Support groups provide a safe environment to share experiences with others in a similar situation, learn new ways to handle difficult situations and to talk about our emotions. We will get to see different styles of coping with stress and adjusting to life after a cancer diagnosis, during the treatment stage and beyond. Coping with the challenges of living with cancer during this COVID-19 crisis can bring extra stress. To allay the extra sense of isolation, you might like to join our Life Force online support groups.
Contact Jane on 0412 643 751 or Caro on 0425 296 698.
For regional NSW people, contact Jilly on 0408 610 362 or Sharon on 0413 003 379. Resources:Now we are facing a whole new world, how can we be flexible and creative in the current circumstances? We have an opportunity to change the way we live, to find that another way of living is possible.Ancient and simple forms of healing can help us to support our own wellbeing.Finding ways to self soothe, such as gentle exercise in the form of yoga or qigong, art making, meditating and learning relaxation techniques can be helpful and even joyful. For example, you might discover that you enjoy writing poetry. Give it a try.
Meanwhile as we reach out to each other with loving kindness, we send caring thoughts and wishes for your health and safety during this difficult time. Jilly Pascoe
Life Force Founder/Director
Excerpt from an article by Joan Halifax
Wise hope is not seeing things unrealistically but rather seeing things as they are, including the truth of suffering - both its existence and our capacity to transform it. It’s when we realize we don’t know what will happen that this kind of hope comes alive; in that spaciousness of uncertainty is the very space we need to act.
Too often we become paralyzed by the belief that there is nothing to hope for—that our cancer diagnosis is a one-way street with no exit. It becomes easy to think that nothing makes sense anymore, or that we have no power and there’s no reason to act.
But wise hope doesn’t mean denying these realities. It means facing them, addressing them, and remembering what else is present.
The Czech statesman Václav Havel said, “Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” We can’t know, but we can trust that there will be movement, there will be change.
Dostoyevsky said, “To live without hope is to cease to live.” We are called to live with possibility, knowing full well that impermanence prevails.
* * * *
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and grew gardens full of fresh food, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
"And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in
ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
"And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
~ Kitty O'Meara
Life Force is a not-for-profit foundation so we can only survive on the generosity of the community. You can help. The constant plea for “less than the price of a cup of coffee a week” is a truth.
If we have 300 people contributing $10, $20 or $30 a month to our "Friends for Life" club, we can run the three support groups we have been providing for many years. Then when our Corporate Friends contribute a quarterly or annual lump sum we can offer day or weekend retreats and seminars.
We cannot organise very important fundraising events, seminars or retreats without our Life Force Angels, our wonderful volunteers. Consider becoming part of the Life Force Family by joining our Band of Angels.
Your financial donation of $2 and over is tax deductible, and every contribution will mean the world to someone, maybe someone whom you have never met or never will, but someone who is terrified they may not make it. Someone who has just been diagnosed, who’s praying before every meeting with their oncologist that their markers have decreased. Someone who goes home to young children hoping they will see them grow up. Someone just scared. Your donation will give us the means to give them support in a warm, safe place.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give!
Life Force Foundation President
Hello again to all our dear Life Force members, friends and supporters.
As we forge ahead into 2022, we must give a huge vote of thanks to our wonderful donors who have kept us going for another year despite the many struggles, financial and otherwise, experienced by all. Without your continuing support we would not be able to deliver our valuable supportive care services here in Sydney, via Zoom, and across regional New South Wales. Thank you for caring!
Also, thanks to all of you who have sponsored the Life Force team in the upcoming Beach2Beach FunRun – promise we are in training!
It’s nearly the end of the year, time to send warmest wishes for the festive season to everyone and best wishes for health and happiness in the year ahead.
It’s also time to say thank you to all our wonderful supporters and friends who have kept Life Force going strongly for over 25 years now. It is your generous donations and contributions that have made it possible to continue our vitally important support programs and services.
With your support we have been able to bring comfort hope and healing to the many people living with cancer who have come to us for help when their world has been turned upside down.
It is also time to say thank you to our wonderful patrons, Gabi Hollows and Prof. Michael Friedlander and our Life Force Board members, who share and support our vision and mission, and to our marvellous willing and enthusiastic volunteers. Our thanks also to our dedicated, caring and compassionate team of counsellors and therapists who haven’t missed a beat right through 2021.
As the year draws to a close, we reflect on what we have achieved in 2021, and look ahead at our plans for 2022.
Dear friends and supporters
Greetings from all of us at Life Force. As Spring brings renewal to the land, we are experiencing a time of change and renewal in our own lives as we navigate this time of difficulty and uncertainty with Covid as well as the cancer journey.
Let us together explore ways of moving forward so that we live according to our true values and act in a spirit of loving kindness towards ourselves and others. What’s more, let us extend that to include all living things in our world as we are all interconnected at a deep level. Let us strive to care for the health and wellbeing of each other and our beautiful planet.
We hope you enjoy reading the stories in this newsletter, and take away some inspiration from them.
With love from all the Life Force Team.
Reading Ann’s story distills the importance of having somewhere to turn to when the world turns dark.
Life Force Foundation has become a symbol of life and hope for people living with cancer.
We have received wonderful responses from the cancer community we serve, expressing their gratitude for the generosity of strangers. Many have spoken of how much it means to them, that they do not feel so alone, and that the support groups and programs Life Force offers have been so helpful in deepening their healing.
It is this ‘generosity of strangers’, that lifts them up, helps them to regain their confidence and re-engage with life because it tells them that people out there, care about their wellbeing.
Our Life Force programs help people living with cancer build resilience and enhance their wellbeing. These programs can only happen with generous donations from our benefactors. Thanks to all our regular donors for their wonderful contributions.
Your ongoing support will help us to help them.
Greetings to all our Life Force friends, patients, survivors, carers and all those working with and supporting people living with cancer in the community. We are moving into 2021 with hope, courage and enthusiasm, and a strong resolve to continue advancing our valuable supportive care programs here in Sydney and across regional NSW. We’ll keep you posted through the year on all events and programs.
Life Force Foundation supports people dealing with the whole experience of cancer, encouraging the expression of all feelings in a safe and caring environment.
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