Category Archives: cancer

6 Years….

I have thought long and hard today about whether to share this letter from my journal I wrote this morning. Its a very personal outpouring of my feelings on the 6th Anniversary of my husband Ande’s passing. I am sharing this in the hope that its exactly what someone else needs to read…..Take a moment today to forget how annoying your partner is and just appreciate them for who they are and who they are not….do that for me xx

Dear Ande,

When I saw how beautiful it was this morning as I walked on to the beach with my coffee I cried. I cried becuase we never took enough time to share this kind of normal every day beauty together.

My life is not empty without you. My life was emptier without me. I have consciously worked on it these last 6 years, on building my relationship with myself, because ultimately even though you are missing in my life and I miss you, you werent my missing peice. I was.

Even if you were still here, this inner journey would have had to take place, for me to survive, for us to survive.

So much of who I am is a work in progress. Parts of me always will be.

I imagine I will always have this desire to stretch and to grow past the edges of myself and in lots of ways this is your legacy. Who I am is your legacy.

6 years ago I decided that. To make my life a tribute to you. To all they days you didnt get and to all the times you didnt share yourself, let yourself be seen, or recieve the love and respect others had for you.

You were special, your life was special, my life with you was special. I hope that you know that now. I hope that you know just how much you were loved.

I dont always get it right this legacy building. I have days when I choose to stay stuck rather than take the next step or to feel my feelings, or to stretch into my growth.

I dont always do the things I know I need to do. I am learning to show myself compassion in those times, to know that there is for me a tomorrow to try again.

I am learning to let my grief rise and fall like the tide as it needs too, my grief for you and for myself. They hold hands as they walk along the beach together.

I will never not miss you in my life. I am grateful for the way you still show up, in a dream, in a feeling or in something someone said.

I now know that missing you doesnt mean I cant have love and joy and happiness. Sometimes those things come because of missing you. The human heart, my heart, has the capacity to hold love and sadness in equal measure.

Our capacity to fill our lives with joy is only limited by the capacity with which we are prepared to be who we are. Thank you for showing me that.

In your absence you have taught me many things. The belief that you had in me has become the belief I have in myself. The love, trust and understanding you showed me have become the love, trust and understanding I show myself.

Losing you has opened within me a capacity to open to myself and to help others to open to themselves too.

Your life has blessed mine in ways neither of us could ever have imagined. Every person I help, every time I have the honor of leading someone home to the truth of who they are, you have that honor too. In honoring my clients I am honoring you.

Today I sit with sadness and beauty and loss and love and gratitude and pain and delight living in my heart in equal measure.

Thank you for walking by my side. Thank you for reminding me every day to be a little more me. We were each others rocks and you are my rock still.

Today is for you and today is beautiful

Love always

Paula xx


There is a well of love inside you….

I woke up at 213am this morning to the sound of snow silence. I always know the sound of snow because its so incredibly quiet outside. I got up and sure enough my lawn was coated in white. The snow silence made me think about the silence I find inside when I meditate. Its a different kind of quiet but similar in a way. This then made me think about love. Ahh the things that go through your head in the wee hours of the morning!

Relationships are hard, this is a truth. There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to love. Love teaches you about all of your strengths and all of your weaknesses. I tend to love hard and sadly I have loved and lost and loved and lost a number of times. For me love and loss are intimately entwined. The fear of losing someone I love is very loud for me currently, having lost my last love to cancer.

This morning, in the wee hours, I started to write about this fear and how crippling it is for me. I liken it to pavlov’s dog, to fear loss when I feel love is my conditioned response. Yet having lost someone I loved very deeply has also gifted me many blessings. It has shown me my strength, my resilience and my instinct to survive. It gave me my voice, my writing, through which I can express things I feel but cannot always say out loud. It has taught me the true value of love. I have learnt that loss is a transit, a gateway, a new birth.

The lesson of my early morning wake up was a pertinent reminder that fear of loss in love can also be an indication that we are looking to another to meet our need for love. It is easy to look for love outside or yourself especially when someone comes along who makes you feel special and seen. When we externalise our experience of love we will always be disappointed. Regardless of the strength of your relationship there will always be times when your partner does not meet your needs and you feel hungry for love. This can lead us to do and say things we later regret, it can turn even the most level-headed of us a little cray cray! However there is a reliable source of love that will always be there for you to turn, to even in your most difficult and unloveable moments. There is a reservoir inside you. A place where you can turn to feel the connection you desire. There is a place in your heart where love resides.

It took  me a long time to discover this and sometimes I still forget. Its difficult to explain how this even works but this is what it means to love yourself first! Some would call this source of love, spirit, or god or divine love. All in know is, that when you give yourself time to find that connection in your heart, to the well of love inside you, all things that previously felt impossible suddenly become possible. This place will feed you and heal you and hold you.

This is the place I draw from when I feel afraid. When I fear loss I go to this place within and I know that I will always have love regardless of external circumstances. This well of  love inside will sustain you and then you will have nothing to fear in giving yourself to another, for it will not be from a place of need but from a place of being whole.

So the next time you feel there is not enough love or you feel afraid, take a moment,, put your hand on your heart and rest there. Breathe and if you quietly allow it, get curious and explore, you will find this well of love resides in you also.

When daylight arrived this morning, the rain had all but melted the snow away. My lawn was back to its winter greenness but the love inside has not melted away with the snow, it is there always for me and also for you.

Paula xx

The last sunset…or is it?

This blog post was written 10 days ago on my last night in Hawaii…it has taken me this time to feel ready to share what turned out to be a very personal reflection Enjoy!

Tonight is my last night in Hawaii. I feel I want to summarise my thoughts and feelings in my journal to share with you and what better place to do it than on the beach watching the sunset. However Mother Nature and Human Nature have conspired against me. The sunset obscured by cloud and the beach obscured by crowds!  Waikiki is an interesting beach experience and certainly no place for solitude! My retreat, the pool bar at my hotel – open air, in the warm breeze watching the madness on the street below.

Curiously I feel a little bubble of Joy and not seeing the sunset, as if the universe has taken the opportunity to remind me of the many sunsets that stretch ahead of me in my life…why finalise that experience tonight.

My thoughts turn to home and what I take forward with me. I know that I am returning a little changed, not in my essential self but in how I am prepared to show up on my return. I feel I can no longer put off what it is I want to create and in the same way, that I can no longer hide the truth of who I am.

I am aware of what I am afraid of and the things conveniently put on hold in my life when I stepped on the plane just over a week ago. There has been a lot of talk about burning desires on this holiday and I have repeatedly asked myself the question of what burns within me. This has also been a solo expedition and although I have made some wonderful new friends it has become clear to me that although I am an expert at my own company I really prefer to share my experiences. (no doubt an essential desire of any blogger!)

Before I left home I started seeing someone. A big step for me and the timing of this break if I am honest, served me. I was cautious and afraid. I am the kind of person who has embraced love in the past, diving in boots and all. This level of commitment has come at a cost, I have lost pieces of myself and my beloved husband.

My experience of losing Ande has made me afraid to risk love again. When you love someone who is terminally ill it is easy to lose yourself completely to their cause. Ande’s care and survival became my purpose. I doubt there is any other way to manage it but the all-consuming nature of it and the depth of the loss afterwards is not something I wish to repeat.

I can see now why Hawaii called me….I came here to really feel those parts of me. The parts that go missing in giving myself to another. The truth is that I am changed now. I know myself, I am clear on what is mine and what is not. I know I am enough exactly as I am. I no longer need to shape-shift myself to other people’s needs. Being utterly myself is where it is at!  Most importantly I can admit to myself that I am ready to step forward into something new. I am prepared to take a risk, to risk my heart.

I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that I am in! I am ready to live deep and live full, no matter how scary or vulnerable it feels.

Sometimes its good to put your life on pause….

For the love of an autobiography…

The stories of other people’s lives….I love to read them, to learn of others hopes and dreams and the journey’s they take to bring them to life. Through an autobiography I get to experience the feeling of triumph over circumstances, to revel in the joy of the achievement of long-held dreams, written by someone else, lived by someone else.
I have a bookcase full of such stories yet I still look for them in book stores, buy them, savour them, laugh and cry over them.

What I have realised recently is that those real people in those true stories inspire me and they also keep me safe. I can live through their experience of conquering fears and taking on great challenges to achieve their dreams without having to leave the comfort and safety of my couch to face my own. Its easier. Its satisfying in the moment but the feeling doesn’t last. I still have my fears and my dreams yet to be lived.

Fear is a necessary part of life but are the fears we live with really necessary? Are they actually keeping us safe from certain disaster or are they just keeping us from living our dreams and having the life we really want?

This week another beautiful soul was taken from my world by cancer. She was just 30 years old and she was one of the most inspirational and courageous people I have ever met. In the face of fear she lived as many of her dreams as she could.

Her loss is hard to bear but it has reminded me of a promise I made. A commitment to live my life with purpose. I have the gift of health. I have already had the privilege of 15 years more than my dear friend Angela and I am now the same age as my husband was when he passed 21 months ago.

I consider myself lucky in spite of the sadness I have experienced. I also feel called to re-assert my commitment to live my own autobiography. To live all of my dreams despite my fears. to live the life that Ande and Jo and now Angela didn’t get to live. Full, joyful, and without a moment’s hesitation or regret.

My purpose is to LIVE…..what’s yours?

In loving memory of Angela Louise Sunkel