So, cancer, the first thing I think you need to know is that it sucks. Hearing the words, "You have cancer," knowing that your life is completely changing, that the direction you thought you were journeying in now is static in your peripheral vision because you enter into a tunnel that's filled with doctors, appointments, medicine, words you cannot pronounce, well-meaning family members who are trying so hard to fix it, and you yourself not knowing your place anymore. So our job, our first job is not to fix it. Our first job is to create the space and to set the intention. So I'd like to tell you a quick story about why I started Body Wise Connection and what it means to me.
I had a dear friend, Sandy Bailey, who lived in London, and she was diagnosed with melanoma. She was always just behind the curve of medicine. And it was one of those stories where she went to the doctor and said, "I have this lump. "It's really annoying me. It hurts when I, in my jeans. "Can you get rid of it?" And they would say, "Nah, it's nothing." And year after year, she would ask for it to be removed.
And finally, when they removed it, they found that it was like a little iceberg, that it had invested deeply into the soft tissue and it was in the lymph nodes. My last time, when I saw Sandy, fully wonderful, vibrant Sandy, we had come for a visit and we just got the news that the cancer had spread to her brain. We all knew what that meant and still, we were there for a holiday, and so we did what we did. We just moved on. One day, we decided we were gonna go to the sea, and it was a day just like this.
And we were this close to the ocean and we took a nice long walk along there, their shell-crusted beaches. And Sandy and I were walking arm in arm. And I could tell that she just kept looking out at the water, but she never said anything. And she actually was the kind of person that didn't want to say the word cancer. She felt cancer, she named him and that he was not invited into her space, and if she gave him that space, he would invade.
So she always kept a boundary up. And I always respected that boundary. And I just stayed present with her, listening to our feet on the beach, looking out at the horizon. So we went, we went to Whitstable. I just love saying Whitstable.
And of course, what do you do when you go to Whitstable? You look for oysters. And we all sat down, there was a big group of us, and we sat at these long farm tables. And I sat next to Sandy, and Sandy sat next to a window, again, not unlike this one, and we were doing what we do. We'd talk about our holiday and what we're gonna order and how much bread we need to sop up all that great garlic sauce.
And the conversation just went chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter. And the chatter was so normal, so warm, so family-like that, I could feel to my left, Sandy drift away. And I looked over and she was just staring out at the horizon. The sea was calm. It was a cool winter day.
And I thought to myself, what do I do in this space? And if you know me, my first inclination is to tell some goofy joke to break the tension, to try to invite everybody in. Maybe it's self-deprecating. Maybe it's a political joke. Maybe it's just a goofy something.
And I resisted my initial urge to be jovial. And instead, I reached under the table and I put my hand on her thigh. And I was so uncomfortable in that moment 'cause I wasn't sure if she was inviting me into that space. I wasn't sure how she would react. I knew how protective she was of her cancer processing, but I put my hand on her thigh and I waited.
And I feel like I waited an hour, but it was probably seconds. And she took my hand. She didn't stop looking out at the horizon, but she took my hand and she squoze it really hard, and she just pounded on my thigh. And I could feel for the first time, her anger, her fear, her rage, her love all pouring out of her in that gesture. She came back to the table.
We did what we do. We ate our oysters. We soaked our bread. We had our wine. we got in the train and we went back to London. And later that night, as I was getting ready for bed, I was downstairs getting some water.
And I was in the kitchen and she came up behind me and she hugged me from behind. Again, she couldn't, she couldn't come to me, face me with it, her cancer. And she hugged me from behind and she put her head on my back and she just said, "Thank you." So when Sandy passed, I thought, what in my world, in my power, in my sphere and little energies that we create could I do for other people like Sandy? For these guys? For Rebecca, for Tiffany, for Kristin, what can I do?
What do I have to offer? I am not a physical therapist. I can't fix it. I am not a doctor. I am not an oncologist. But what can I do? And all I came back to was I could set an intention.
I could create the space. I could acknowledge the experience so that they can feel what they need to feel in the discomfort, in the discord, in the tension that is cancer. And that's what all of this is born from. Please, if you're looking for you do this for this specific thing at this specific time, that, you might be a little disappointed because the idea is for us to create movements and energies that celebrate, that acknowledge, that understand each phase of someone's experience. We meet it and we move it.
So here, we are going to set our intentions, the intentions for the workouts that you will see and experience that come for the studios that are going to use this information and bring it to patients and clients. We are gonna set the intentions for all the women we've touched over the years, and men, by the way, and for all those we will touch. So this is for all of the stories. This is for your story because there's not one of us who's not affected by cancer, who doesn't have their own story with cancer, whether directly or indirectly. These are for all the stories we won't hear.
These are for all the stories that are still in our hearts. So we're gonna first create a rhythm. So it's one, two, please join us. (rhythmic clapping) Let your body move to the rhythm. Let it be joyous.
Feel what you feel. Eyes can be open. Eyes can be closed. My first intention goes out to all the caregivers and the family members dealing with loss and the fallout of a diagnosis. For Jane, for Ann, for Bob.
You put your intention in. For Carol. (inhaling deeply) The second, the second goes out to all of you whose story includes cancer, whose story will always have cancer woven into the fabric and the tapestry, into the DNA of who you are. So we're going to change our movement. And here, when you pull your left arm in towards your heart and you rotate your torso, is when I want you to pull in the positivity of cancer being behind you and push away any of the negative feelings that still exist.
So it's, (inhaling and exhaling deeply and rhythmically) please, do this with us. And when you're ready, insert whose ever name, your own, a family member, that you want to insert. For me, I send this to Wendy. (inhaling and exhaling deeply and rhythmically) We're gonna speed up. I send this to Tiffany.
(inhaling and exhaling rhythmically) I send this to Kristen. (inhaling and exhaling rhythmically) I send this to Rebecca. (inhaling and exhaling rhythmically) Three, two, one, and (inhaling deeply) oh, whatever you feel. (exhaling deeply) For our last and final intention, I send this out to all those whose energy has maybe left us, but who still lives in our heart, who still shape our thoughts, are present in our dreams, are there in our hopes, and who shape our future. It also goes out to all those who are in truly the active tension of fighting, I hate the word fighting, but it's true, of fighting a disease in which they feel they have very little control over.
So this, ready, we're going down through the center (inhaling deeply) is for Leda. Leda, who is a master instructor in Gyrotonic, down, come up to the center, and who has shaped a lot of my thoughts and ideas on movement, for whom I pioneered and worked on some workshops early on in my career, and for whom I miss dearly every day. Now we're gonna come through the center. We're gonna add a rotation to this. This one (inhaling deeply) is for Marcy.
Up through the center, ladies, and then down. Up. (inhaling deeply) Marcy has had a recurrence of a rare sarcoma. And may she fight, may she wake up every morning and dream, may she see a future that is bright and filled with movement. Ready, and let's come up through the center.
(inhaling deeply) Okay, and now for the last one, this is for Sandy. Hold. Let it in. Bring it down through the middle. Please put your intentions here. But this is for that moment, feeling her hand under the table, feeling her grip.
Last one and hold. And now take all of your intentions up, connect them, feel the power in your hands, and draw them in to your heart. Thank you for joining us, for setting your intention. And we look forward to having you enjoy the workouts, the information that we provide. The program that we developed is called Body Wise Connection 'cause it believes that who we are is far better connected than separate.
I thank you all.