Interview with Britta Aragon – Part II
Welcome back to part two of my interview with Britta Aragon, author of When Cancer Hits – Your Complete Guide to Taking Care of YOU through Treatment. Today Britta discusses how to take care of our emotional needs during cancer treatment (and beyond), why giving back is so important to her and shares some of the lessons she has learned from cancer.
JBBC: You deal a lot in your book with how to take care of the physical aspects of cancer treatment, but you don’t neglect the emotional side either. In Chapter 4, you outline your balanced living philosophy and I’d like to ask if that word “balanced” is an important one for you.
Britta: Yes, balance is a word that means different things to some people. To me, it means that I can be in the flow of life in a way that I am energized, growing, thriving and continuing to be challenged but also be able to relax, go inwards, reflect and have fun! As a business owner, sometimes having fun can be last on the list and being stressed and worried can be the norm. To live a balanced life means that I get to feed my soul, the little girl inside me that wants to skip down the street as well as do things that I am passionate about while pursuing my dreams. Self-care is another big part of what makes me feel balanced: what I eat, how I move, how I breathe and what I am thinking about all day long. There is no magic formula for me but I can measure how balanced I feel by the amount of peace of mind and serenity I feel day to day.
JBBC: Having been acquainted with your work through your website Cinco Vidas and getting to know you online over the past 2 years, I am struck by your clear commitment to giving back to the cancer community. Where does this commitment come from?
Britta:My father touched so many people with his enduring spirit and positive attitude that he forever changed many lives and most assuredly, my own. I remember while he was going through treatment, I would talk with him, sharing this experience we had in common. We felt grateful to our cancer community for all they had done to help us and we always talked about how we wanted to give back.
After he passed away in August 2007, I knew I wanted to create a deeper meaning from his experience, and help other people going through what we did. I knew how important it was to him to give back, he was just too sick to do so in the last 2 years. So filled with motivation and purpose to honor his commitment to giving back and what I knew was my purpose, I founded Cinco Vidas.
He is very much guiding me every day. He inspires me with what I write in my blog, with my work ethic, with writing my book and in making decisons. His spirit is in everything I do and he is giving back in such a grand way.
JBBC: One of my favourite lines in your book is when you write “If cancer taught me one thing, it’s that we’re strong, but we’re also fragile”. What are some of the other lessons you have learned from your personal experience of cancer?
Britta: Wow…so much and I am still learning. I have learned so many different things wearing all three shoes: cancer patient, survivor and caregiver. As a cancer patient I learned the power of my attitude and how it can impact my own healing and others, it gave me permission to be a free spirit and break out of the mold that my parents and society wanted me to be in. Most of all it taught me how to tap into the reservoir of strength we all have within us. As a survivor, I learned that life is very fragile, that I have been given a second chance and that I am still meant to be here on this earth to do something with my life that can be of service so I can leave this earth just a little bit better. As a caregiver, I learned how powerless we are at times when we can’t control the outcome. It taught me how to have compassion, how to nurture, how to show up for somebody and how to love wholeheartedly with courage and strength knowing that the outcome may not be what I wanted it to be. So as much as I hate cancer, I also love it for putting me on purpose today and for teaching me so much.
JBBC: Finally, I love how you preface many of your chapters with a quote and end with an affirmation. Would you like to share with us a favorite quote or affirmation?
Britta: I like them all but really love two of them. From chapter 3: “I am doing the best I can. Each day gets easier.” I think we tend to always blame ourselves for all the things that did not do “right” or what we could have done better. I always say that if we know better we would have done better. This gives me a “get out of jail pass” and allows me to shift into a place of being gentle with myself. I am doing the best I can and so is everyone around me.
The second one is from chapter 4: “I let go. I trust that the universe is taking care of all of my needs.” This reminds me that I am co-creating with the universe. I don’t have to carry all the weight of the world on my two little shoulders. All my experiences, good and bad, are here for a reason and I need to trust the process. I may not know today why something is happening but eventually I will see the reason to everything. When I get out of the way and trust, it is always so much easier.
JBBC: Thank you Britta for taking the time to talk with me today. Your book is a wonderful addition to the cancer book market and an invaluable resource not just for those going through treatment, but for those of us who have come out the other side. Wishing you good health and success with all your endeavors.
Britta: Thank you for all that you do Marie, you are a true inspiration and I am so glad we have crossed paths!
Britta has kindly offered one lucky reader a copy of her book, When Cancer Hits. To be in with a chance of winning it, simply leave a comment below and share with us how you find balance in your life. To double your chances of winning, pop on over to our Facebook page and leave a comment there too. Looking forward to reading your comments.