“Maybe all one can do is hope to end with the right regrets” – Arthur Miller
I am writing this blog the day before my birthday, the day before I turn 57. I confess to not being that good about birthdays and I would prefer to lay low and ignore them. All the clichés and well meaning sayings such as -“ its just a number”, and” its how young you feel inside that counts” are very true. I am counting my blessings and I am very grateful and aware of all the wonderful things in my life. First and foremost I have my health and I have more opportunities and freedom than I have ever had in my life. After all I’m now living in a place that is very like paradise.
Despite all this, however, I could feel the familiar heaviness of this time of year descending on me.
Then something happened that snapped me out of my melancholy state. I received the sad news that one my former clients had lost her battle with cancer and had passed away during the week. Although she doesn’t know it, Corrina played a part in my being brave enough to make the big changes that I have recently made in my life.
In this blog I would like to pay tribute to this amazing, beautiful woman by sharing a small part of her story.
Corrina became a client of mine when she participated in my Mindful Munchers healthy eating program. She liked the idea that it was mindfulness based as she wanted to try something different in her bid to lose weight and become healthier. She already knew that diets don’t work and that we need to change inside before anything on the outside can change.
I remember being stopped in my tracks at that first session when she told me she had stage 4 breast cancer. She didn’t make a big deal about it, just stated the facts, it was in her bones but stabilised. Becoming healthier and losing weight was about giving herself the best chance to be here as long as possible.
Mindful Munchers is my baby and is still evolving but working with Corrina convinced me I was on the right track. She really ‘got’ what Munchers was all about. She began to change before my eyes. Each week became a celebration of this change.
One session in particular stands out for me. After completing the exercise ‘mindfulness of eating a raisin’ she had tears in her eyes. It had suddenly hit her how disconnected she’d become from the simple pleasure we can get from simply slowing down and really tasting our food. It was a beautiful reminder to me of how powerful all this mindfulness ‘stuff’ can be.
I loved working with Corrina, there was no place for the cancer or self pity in the room. I’m sure she never forgot about the cancer but I used to. It was just never in the forefront of what was going on in the session.
Corrina taught Spanish at a local primary school and she had been selected with some other language teachers to go to Spain in the school holidays. She was very excited about this trip, as she had missed out the year before because she had been having treatment.
She came to see me when she came back. She’d had a great trip but it was while she was away that the cancer had flared up again. She shared all this matter of factly and expressed the same determination to just get on with it and do what needed to be done. By this stage she’d lost over 16 kgs and she hated the thought that anybody might think she’d lost weight due to cancer. I can still see her sitting in front of me now, so proud of all the changes she’d made.
Her sessions came to an end as she now had other therapy to attend.
In the time that has passed I have often thought of Corrina. We spoke on the phone and emailed a couple of times but I had had no news from her until I received that sad text from her sister. Corrina might have lost her battle last week but I feel so blessed to have known her. To me she will always be my most successful Mindful Muncher. I was privileged to be her witness and to share in her pride.
She changed her relationship with food, she changed her relationship with herself and her spirit inspired me to let go of my fears and step into the unknown.
Thank you Corrina
Thank you for letting me share Corrina with you.
(June 14- Boy George, Steffi Graf, Che Guevara, Donald Trump, Jiselle Saraghi)