Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Don't let fear of success hold you back

I decided to speak about my cancer journey at an upcoming Expo this fall.  I'll be there with my art, but this will be the first time I will be speaking publicly about my journey. Other than theater work in HS, and a couple presentations in front of employers when I was in advertising, I have never done this type of thing.  Theater and advertising were easy, because it wasn't personal, and with theater, I was someone else.  While I have blogged about my journey, and spent hours on FB logging thoughts, this will be 45 minutes of raw me in front of strangers.  

In May, my friend Dory, who runs the expo proposed the idea to me.  I was initially surprised and grateful, but told her I would need to give it some thought.  I've been thinking about it for weeks, but wasn't convinced to do anything until this past Monday, after sitting down with the Social Worker from the cancer center where I receive treatment. 

I stopped in her office, per her request, as she wanted to know how I was doing and if there was anything I needed.  This was our first meeting and I felt an immediate comfort level with her.  I suppose it is her job to put people at ease.  So, we got to talking about me, what I do, how I was feeling, and how I got from A to B in this journey.  Through the process, I realized, I had a lot to say and overall, I wanted to say these things to others. 

Prior to my diagnosis, I had many "fears”. The list is quite long, but one of them is the fear of success and the fear of failure.  Everyone fears failure in some way, but how many of us are afraid to succeed?  Actually, I've come to realize that these fears go hand in hand. As an artist, I've been putting myself "out there" for years, but I'll admit that subconsciously, I believe I have created a block to success, because I fear failure.  If I'm not successful, I can't possibly fail.  Sure, I've had my share of successes and they have been wonderful, but the BIG stuff, the stuff I truly want always seems to encounter a roadblock.  I believe it has to do with convincing myself that I am not good enough. Perhaps, it is comparing myself to someone else. Perhaps, it is the feeling that I do not deserve success. I think it is all these things and more.  I have pages and pages of would be novels I've written, but have not put "out there".  I have art in the back of my mind that I want to create, but fear I'm not good enough as an artist to bring it alive.  I want to start my own art gatherings to teach others, but linger in self-doubt, because I am not classically trained.  Who am I to teach others when no one taught me?  Doubt, fear, etc. I've come to realize that this is all an illusion that I have created in my mind from past imprinting and perceptions I have put upon myself.  We all do it, and it is time it needs to stop.  How can you possibly be your best and highest self if you are constantly afraid of facing that person? We face people every day, but we never truly face ourselves.  It's time for everyone to look in the mirror and say you can do anything you set your mind to.  You are worthy of happiness.  You are worthy of abundance.  You are skilled and talented. You have all the tools you need.  Take flight, my friends.  It's time.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dragonflies and feathers

Today was a good day.  So much accomplished and to see.

New Photography

Adrift (c) 2015 Trisha Leigh Shufelt 

Tiny Turtle 1
(c) 2015 Trisha Leigh Shufelt 

Tiny Turtle 2
(c) 2015 Trisha Leigh Shufelt 

New Art
Dragonflies in three styles

"If you want to sing out.  Sing out.  
And, if you want to be free. Be free. 
 There's million things to be.  
You know that there are." 
Cat Stevens

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Just Listen

The Path We Walk Is Our Own Creation (c) Trisha Leigh Shufelt 

Over a year ago, I took a group class taught by my Reiki Instructor that focused on listening.  Our little group met once a month for a year and we read from a book called, A Hidden Wholeness by Parker J. Palmer.  Each week, we would review a chapter, break off in solitude to answer questions in our journals, and then return to the group to give out thoughts.  We were then asked questions.  The questions could not be leading in nature, and as the person answered our questions, we had to simply listen to their response.  We were not allowed to offer advice, a tissue should there be tears (which there often were), or fix, save and rescue.  Eventually, we learned the art of true listening.

Since then, I've tried to apply the techniques I learned when having conversations with others. It is fairly easy with strangers, as the natural boundaries often apply.  When it comes to loved ones and friends, well, that is a different story.  I've gotten better at it, but don't know if I will ever master the the true art of listing.  I think each sex has their own tough time with it.  It is hard for women, as it is in our nature to nurture and heal.  Men always want to fix, save and rescue.  However, I think it important to realize that the most important thing we can do for another person is to simply listen, and remove ourselves from the desire to fix, save and rescue.  It is important to realize that this person you are listening to is walking their own path.  It is their journey, not your own.  Once you begin trying to fix, save and rescue, you take on the burden of their karma.  It now becomes your own and this is something you do not want or need.  As an empath, I am unlearning this habit.  It is not easy.  If we are to grow as individuals and learn our Soul lessons, we must allow others to make mistakes, have triumphs of their own, and walk their own journey.  Of course, if you see someone in a dangerous situation, it is wise to offer guidance, but remember that even if you do, they may not always heed your advice. Sometimes they will fall regardless of your help, but hopefully in the falling they will have learned a very valuable lesson.  Sometimes, you will see those you love get stuck in self-destructive patterns.  This could be on the work front, in personal relationships, or within themselves.  It is difficult to watch someone go though these things, especially when it affects you directly.  Our instinct is to try and help, perhaps get angry and project our own fears, or become passive aggressive.  I've been there, and the only thing I could do was realize this person had to work it out for themselves.  I asked questions that would allow them to think about the situation, but not offer advice on how to fix it. When I did this, I found that the person eventually began to see these patterns themselves and work to fix them on their own.  Eventually, they realized their hand in it all. Situations are not simply happening to you.  We all have a part to play in what is going on around us, and patterns will continue to repeat until we realize the lessons we need to learn.  Once we learn, the patterns stop.

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you want to fix, save and rescue, try to just listen.  Ask non leading questions (questions that do not project your emotions of how you want the person to respond).  It takes practice, but over time, it will allow the person you love to evolve into their best and highest self.  After all, this is what we all want and need.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A walk along the path

What is this trying to teach me?

This may be a long blog.  I've been thinking about my reading for this past week and I've had some time to retreat into my thoughts.  One of the things that I have been thinking about is why things happen when they do.  Anyone who knows me or follows my blog has heard me say repeatedly that everything happens for a reason, or it is what it is. I used to hate the "is what it is" saying, because for the longest time, I felt it denoted a lack of control. Yes, sometimes things happen that seem to be beyond our control, but in truth, we are the ones who are in control at all times.  How is that possible if bad things happen?  I didn't bring this upon myself? I didn't ask for this disease, to be treated unfairly, or to get into this accident, etc.  No, you may not have asked for a particular thing to happen to you, but you do have the power to control your response to any given situation.  Sometimes, things happen to move us and shake us out of situations that no longer serve our highest good.  They can be slow coming or they can be huge, jarring wake-up calls.  It just depends on what we need at that time. These things happen to us personally and they happen on a global scale.  They will continue happening until we make the necessary changes to remove ourselves from the situation.  If we don't, the Universe often does it for us.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, although it may feel like it at the time. If you are constantly unhappy where you are in life.  If you are filled with negative emotions about your current situation, then this emotion is setting in motion a change.  We are not meant to be unhappy and miserable.  For example, I had a job that I loved for many years.  I sort of fell into it and it became a very rewarding experience for me.  I changed the lives of many children that I worked with and felt that it was my calling in life.  One day, my boss informed me that the grant for my position was ending within a year and that my services would no longer be needed.  They wanted to keep me on during that year, but would remove me from my position, and put me into another, as those in higher authority deemed that my position should be filled with someone who had a degree. It was beyond their control.  I was devastated.  I couldn't understand why this was being taken away from me. It cut me to my core. Well, you could say, this is not a good example of being in a miserable situation and emotions in motion creating change. However, it was. While I loved what I did, I felt unchallenged at times, sometimes unappreciated and in the end, I wanted more. The Universe answered.  I tried the new position, but ended up leaving, because, it began to take a toll on my health. After leaving, I tried everything I could to get back into the field, but found it impossible.  Over time, I soon began to realize I would never return to this line of work.  I was meant to move on to other things, and I stopped resisting the change that needed to occur.  Everything happens for a reason.  I allowed myself to realize that I had been blessed to learn what I did from that experience, but in order to learn more, I had to stop allowing the fear of what if control me.  I was afraid the income loss would be difficult for our family.  I felt like I wasn't contributing enough.  I felt I lacked skills to move forward.  I feared.  I feared. I feared.  I also realize that it was fear that kept me in my job for many years.  Eventually, I decided to throw myself completely into my art and healing.  I allowed the Universe to guide me and I openly accepted where I would go.  I relinquished my need to control. Today, I am following my passion.  No, it is not as lucrative as my old job, but we are doing fine and I am happy. Another example is the breast cancer diagnosis I received this past year.  No, I did not ask for breast cancer, but I learned a great deal from it.  It changed my life forever and I will say, for the better.  I look at life very differently now.  It has made me fear less and love more.  I have learned to trust that everything happens in Divine timing and for the highest and best good.  I have learned that it is my response to life that makes a difference on where it leads me. So, while things may seem grim, ask what is this situation trying to teach me? What do I need to learn?  What do I need to overcome?  What have I always wanted to do, but have been afraid of trying?  Am I truly happy? If I resist this change, will I be able to stop the outcome?

Whatever happens, may it be for the highest and best good.  May you be in perfect trust that you are being provided for at all times by a very loving Universe.  Allow yourself to be happy.

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Real Life photos

These are shots from local ponds and lakes in our area.  Now that my car has a GPS, I am the mad explorer.  I don't worry so much about getting lost and love stumbling upon hidden gems.




Less Traveled



Turtle Pond 1

Turtle Pond 2

Turtle Pond 3

Underwater 1

Underwater 2


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Real Life

I purchased a new camera around the time of Mother's Day, because of the need to photograph larger canvases.  My scanner only works up to 11x14 and I wasn't fond of the way my acrylic paintings looked.  Little did I know that my camera would turn into another creative outlet for me.  I began taking shots while out and about.  These are some recent pictures from around my local pond.

Leaving Messages

Flowers in the Muck


Sacred Spiral

Falling Down

Lines & Broken Wings

Take Flight (Do you see the bird on the branch about to fly)

Which Way?

Latest selfie of me...aka Wonder Woman

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A call to Trust

A dwarf galaxy by NASA via Hubblesite 
This Small Magellic Cloud is considered as a dwarf irregular galaxy. It has a diameter of about 7,000 light-years and contains several hundred million stars. This cloud is very small compared to the Milky Way, our 100,000 light years galaxy.

Many believe that if you wake in the middle of the night, it is the time to converse with the Divine.  Lately, I wake-up a lot.  This is mostly due to hot flashes and night sweats, but every now and then, I do have what I would consider Divine conversation.  I don’t know if it is really “The Divine” or perhaps guides and angels coming though, but it as though they tell me to shut up and listen.  So, I do.  

Oftentimes, when I wake, I can’t remember what I was told, but last night was different.  Last night, I had the overwhelming urge to get up and type out everything, but I was assured that I would remember in the morning.  

As I sit with my coffee (yes, I’m drinking coffee again), everything is coming back to me in a flood of words. 

The first thing I heard was the word, trust.  Actually, I think it began more like a question. 

Do you trust? 

Immediately, I found myself answering.  I think most of us try to trust, but when life seems to be an uphill battle, it is hard to muster the courage of trust.  We want to feel like we have control.  After all, how can things change or get resolved if we are not controlling the outcome.  

Stop trying to control what cannot be controlled and trust that all is evolving and happening for your highest good, for everyone’s highest and best good.

What about those who are sick, suffering or experiencing a loss of some kind, be it a loved one or financial? 

All happens for your highest and best good.

Elaborate please…

Everything happens for a reason.  You believe this?

Yes.  I answered.  I’ve said this many times.  I’ve written those words in my blog.  I do believe that is true.

And, it is true.  You are learning lessons from everything that occurs.  Some of these lessons are difficult and challenging, but they are meant to grow and expand you.  Breakdowns usher breakthroughs.  Sometimes, a loss is meant to push you forward into something new.  Sometimes, your world needs to shake up and break apart, so that you make decisions and get out of situations that are no longer beneficial or have become stagnant.  Situations where you have taken something for granted, where you are no longer learning, or where it is time to move on to the next teacher and lesson.  Even when it seems negative, but not all is negative.  There are lessons in everything.   The most important relationship you have is with self.  You are learning about yourself in all that you do.

But, some people feel they have nowhere to turn, no way out of a situation.

It is because they do not trust.  They do not believe that all will be taken care of in perfection for what is needed.  They lack the faith that in surrendering to trust, there is power.  Letting go of control allows the flow of energy to move and therefore, you become receptive to what is of the best and highest good.  Sometimes, these things require action on our part.  You cannot expect things to change if you remain in the same situation, with the same people; with the same energies,…you allow these circumstances to be your security, because you believe that it is too late to start anew.  You do not trust.  You trust in fear, but there is no fear.  Fear is an illusion. Then, something difficult occurs to get your attention and you must make a decision.   You must surrender to the possibilities of trust and move forward, or you will continue in the same patterns repeatedly until you die a little more each day.  You cannot possibly grow if you remain stuck. 

But, what about those who feel they are too old to change?

There is no such thing as age.  Age is an illusion that you have put upon yourself.  Trust that others will not see this in you and all will be well.

But, what about those who are sick and dying?

Everything is meant to expand you.  You are not this body.  You are not this illness.  You are not this disease.  You are a part of me.  You are more than what you see. 

Everything went silent in that moment and I found myself drifting back to sleep.  However, before I did, I heard these words once more…

Be In Trust.

Now, some may say this is just my mind, perhaps self-talk, or that I was dreaming.  I can assure you that I was very much awake.  I’ve learned the sound of the voice in my head and this was not it.  So, whether you believe this or not, I find that what was heard was very wise.  I hope you find wisdom in it as well.  I only wish I had asked more questions.

Love and light!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

New Coupon Code

Okay, I'm feeling particularly generous today.  I've added coupon code SCHOOLSOUT to my etsy store.  Use it and receive an extra 10% off anything in my store until 6/22!  And, if you purchase something, you will automatically receive another coupon code worth 10% on your next purchase.  I've got lots of jewelry, prints, originals and hand crafted items.  Your purchase will help me fund my dream of starting up painting groups to teach art.  Thanks so much!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Goblin Market and New Jewelry

I'm adding some jewelry from my private collection and stock to my store.  Be sure to check out these unique and one of a kind pieces.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wooden Medallion

And now for something new and different.  Here is a hand painted ammonite on a wooden medallion. It is accented with an amethyst crystal, a bead and colorful hemp rope.  The word believe is written on the back and it is initialed by me.  A small work of art for your neck.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The New Normal

Before I began this journey, I posted a blog back in October that 
featured a bridge over water and light at the end.  I had a prolific dream 
and was not yet aware how profound that dream would turn out to be.

Please bear with me, this will be a long post.  I've been meaning to sit down for a while now and bring many thoughts and emotions into words, but each time I try, I either walk away too overwhelmed or simply cannot find the words.  On May 18th, I had my surgery.  It was a difficult day, filled with emotion and excitement.  My chemo ended on 4/28 and was a surprise, as I was set to receive 12 weeks of  Taxotere treatment, but only received four.  My ultrasound a week prior to chemo ending was clean, with no signs of cancer, but it was the severe side effects from treatment that prompted my Oncologist to end treatment.  I was filled with joy and fear at the same time. Happy to be done, but fearful that it wasn't enough. Then, surgery came.  As I said, it was a day filled with mixed emotions.  We knew going in that the cancer was not visible on the Mammogram or Ultrasound. Therefore, the course of action was to remove a tiny titanium clip where the lump was, some surrounding tissue, and a couple of sentinel lymph nodes.  For those who have not followed my journey, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in January 2015.  We chose an aggressive course of chemotherapy prior to surgery, with the hope that the tumor would shrink.  The thought process was to conserve the breast, but also be certain that the chemo was doing it's job.  Triple negative BC is rare.  Only 10 to 15% of the case of diagnosed BC turn out to be triple negative.  It is aggressive and often quick spreading.   Treatment options are not as widely available as those that are hormone receptive.  I was fearful of the cancer spreading, but I was more fearful of removing the tumor and breasts, and then beginning chemo.  For me, I would never know if the chemo was actually working, and I needed that validation.  I knew that if I started chemo first and could see that it was actually doing what it was designed to do, that I was healing.  Needless to say, we made the right choice; the tumor disappeared and surgery was successful.  We were told we would receive results within a week.  The next day, May 19th, I took to healing and resting.  My doctor called me on the phone and asked me how I was doing?   Sore, but happy, I replied.  "Well, I have some good news for you, Trisha," she said.  "Your tests came back and you are clean and clear of cancer."  Silence. I had to ask her to repeat what she said.  It had only been a day.  I thought I had to wait a week. She repeated and I began to cry.  I thanked her and told her I loved her.  She laughed, and told me to go rest.  I hung up the phone and went into the kitchen where my husband was cleaning up some dishes. I could barely get the words out through the tears.  "Honey, I'm cancer free!"  We hugged and cried. I then ran upstairs to tell my son.  Yes, I ran.  It is amazing the kind of energy one receives from this kind of news.  I felt I could go into the ring with Mike Tyson.  I told my son and we cried.  I then called my parents and we cried.  I cried a lot that day.  My new birthday.

It is now June 7th and beginning next week, I will start radiation treatment for the next 6 weeks. After that, it is follow-up visits with my doctors for the next five years to make sure the cancer does not return.  Five years is the benchmark for cancer patients.  Many see returns of the cancer and many do not.  If the cancer returns, it often does so in other parts of the body.  Obviously, this is a frightening concept for me.  I never expected cancer in the first place.  BC does not run in my family and it hit me out of the blue.  I have other health issues, which I feel may have brought about the cancer, but I've had doctor's poo poo my theories.  I still believe the connection regardless of what they say.  I'm doing my best to remain positive, eat healthy and exercise.  I know this is no guarantee. While I have a wonderful support system, I have found that having had cancer has changed the way I look at cancer in general.  I take cancer very personally now.  Yes, it has changed my life, and in many ways for the good.  I am a much more positive and centered person.  I do not take life for granted.  I appreciate all life and the beauty of each day.  I don't sweat the small stuff.  I have a much deeper connection to the Divine and my Soul purpose on this planet.  However, I do take cancer personally and I shall explain.  It seems that I'm surrounded by cancer everyday.  I have friends who are going through treatment, those who are recently diagnosed, those who are cured and those who who lost the battle.  I have found that I despise the terms fighting and loosing.  It seems to denote weakness on the part of someone who does not beat cancer, as if they gave up somehow.  To me, I never approached the cancer as a fighting situation.  I had many people say, I kicked cancer's ass, or I fought like a warrior.  I even have a shirt that says, fight like a girl, win like a warrior.  But, from day one, I looked at this invader in my body as a teacher.  It was there to teach me something.  I never hated it and I never looked at it with anger.  I did not see myself going to battle.  This may sound odd, but I remember laying in bed last January, with my fingers over the lump in my breast, and having a conversation with the cancer.  It went something like this....

You and I are going to be with each other for awhile.  I don't know you.  You are a stranger to me. I'm not angry that you are here, but I am confused.  I wasn't expecting you.  I know you have something to teach me, so I am hoping that we can get along.  Just understand, that you are not allowed to stay and that after I learn what I need to learn, I want you to go and never come back. While you are here, I will surround you with love, light and healing energy.  I will think of you with this light around you so that you will not go visit any other places in my body.  Are we clear?  

And, this is what I did each night for 5 months.  I also told myself each day that I was strong, in perfect health and cancer free. I asked for help from the Divine and angels. I knew I could not do it alone.  I had two things occur during this time that were very odd.  One evening, early into treatment, I opened my eyes to see a dark object hovering  a few inches to the left of me.  It had spiky arms that extended all around it.  At first, I thought it was a giant spider.  I reached up, moved my hand through it and watched it disappear.  A few weeks later, it happened again, but this time the spiky, black object was all the way on the other side of the room.  It was small and hovered in the corner.  I brushed my hand back and forth and it disappeared once again.  I have never seen it again.  I believe this was the cancer.  This is how I saw it and I was watching it drift away from me.

Recurrence is a very real concern.  Every ache and pain gives me a twinge of nervousness.  It can't be helped.  I'm living with the new normal, as a friend of mine told me.  I just discovered an online friend is now facing cancer for the third time.  I discovered her early into my treatment after she had been a year cancer free from the second go around.  Her strength gave me strength and hope.  She still gives me strength and hope.  If anyone can get through this, she can.  She has my heart.

People say that time heals all wounds.  I don't believe it ever makes anything go away, it just changes our perspective over time.  To me, cancer will always be a part of me.  It's like an addiction that you overcome, but is still with you.  I don't know if that makes sense, but I've learned to live life one day at a time.  I've learned to place my feet on the floor each morning and say, thank you.  I am grateful for this life.  I am grateful for the blessings of each day. What matters is what we hold close to our hearts, everything else is just illusion.    Be well, my dear friends.  Be good to each other.  Life is very short.  Don't fill it up with illusions of what you should be, what has to get done,  or what you have no control over.  Just be present, breathe and love yourself and those around you.

The light at the end is our creation. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Don't forget that I am running a coupon in my etsy store for an additional 20% off anything in my store by using code CANCERFREE.  Offer is good until June 8th only!  I've added a lot of new items including wands and original art. Below is a new wand just added.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Key

I just finished up a new painting called, The Key.  Not the first person to paint a raven with a key and I won't be the last, I'm certain.  This one photographed so cool.  I did not use a flash and yet, something unusual occurred over his eye.  I decided to keep it.

He's available in my etsy store as an open edition print.