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My Healing Journey from Early signs of cancer

Posted in Uncategorized, Yoga articles with tags , , , , on May 18, 2012 by Josan

It has been a while since I’ve written on this blog. A lot had happen since then of course. I’ve shared my adventures with peers where they have told me “You should blog about it!” or “You should share that part of your life online!”. Well, I ended up not getting around to the blogging part of those previous experiences, until an acquaintance shared an article she wrote and posted it on her facebook wall. I realized there and then that “Wow I’ve taken that journey with cancer that she talks about.” It was a big deal but I didnt know how to express it through writing. I just share bits and pieces to people here and there if it relates with the topic of our conversation. I also realized that amidst my insecurities when it comes to written word, I have an important inspiring story to share and maybe, just maybe I can make a difference through that.  Here is the link to the article that inspired me to share my story: can-we-please-stop-fighting-cancer-shivani-howe  .Here is my story:

December 2010: I went for my routine pap test with my family doctor. She said there is something wrong with my cervix, that there seems to be some sort of cancer in my body. She recommended I get a biopsy at the hospital  to double check her diagnosis.

January 2011: I went to Lions Gate hospital in North Van to get my biopsy. The doctor had a video camera so I can see what my cervix looks like. It was ugly inside there. I saw it with my very eyes, my cervix was wrinkly and swollen. She said the same thing my family doctor said. It looks like there are cancer cells in my body, but she took some samples from me so she can make sure of her diagnosis.

A month later: The doctor said that it was positive that I have early signs of cervical cancer. My reproductive system is messed up. She said that if the cancer spreads, I cannot make babies if it is in my interest in the future. The doctor prescribed all these pills to prevent cancer cells from spreading, she prescribed me 3 vaccination shots I have to take that will cost $150 each. I bought the $99 30 pieces pills every month. No shit, these medications are expensive. I took the pills, but I hated needles, so I never took the needle route. For a couple of months I swallowed these pills everyday. Whenever I did, my body felt like I was gulping in poison. It didn’t feel right for my body. I felt nauseous afterwards. The label warned that it causes nausea, head aches and other side effects after all. This cancer wasn’t the only thing on my shoulders. I was in a shitty relationship with an alcoholic, abusive oil rigger (He only beat me up when he was asleep. I think he may have been on heavy drugs that I never knew of. I have no evidence, but I  was just suspicious because there were times he told me he lost his money/somebody stole his money whenever I asked for his contribution for bills). To top it all of my relationship with my mother was an earth quake of tension, with her need to control me and her disappointment of my choices like my being a nanny instead of being in the corporate world. This cancer also agitated me because I worked without a decent medical insurance to support my healing. I was a wreck too, because ever since I’ve started the unhealthy relationship with this oil rigger boyfriend, I have neglected my yoga practice. I terribly missed it and I was miserable. My life consisted of my 10 hour shifts as a nanny on week days, then tending to the boyfriend when I got home. If he’s not around I was always desperately organizing our apartment, because I wanted it to be my refuge, not just a place to do stuff in. My oil rigger boyfriend didnt understand my need for ‘a home’. I always had to clean up after him. I felt like a mother with a teenager, instead of his partner. Things got really bad with the boyfriend. He moved out of our apartment, but he was still sending me mixed messages. I tried simmering it down, but he loved triggering me and the drama with it. While all of these were going on opportunities to explore my neglected goddess self opened up. I registered for Baljit Rayat’s 6 weeks online goddess course and  went to two burlesque schools (Screaming Chicken Theatrical Society and Burgundy Brixx).

At that time it felt like the craziest idea, most especially since I didnt even know how I was going to pay for rent and bills the next couple months on my own. I was also very insecure of my body. I hid it from sight. I was taught that it is shameful to express and celebrate it, but I was extremely desperate to get my goddess self back. The oil rigger boyfriend was not happy with these choices too. He labelled the goddess course as some motivational workshop scam that tells you things you already know and rip you off. He judged my going to burlesque school as my being slutty in a stripper sort of way. He was just consistently attacking my choices in everything ever since we started the relationship. He attacked my preference for organic produce and when he moved out, he insisted for me to move in with him in this house that he moved at in Marpole area, because it was cheaper. I resisted because his room mates were heavy metal loving drug addicts/men who played their drums out loud whenever they feel like it, without consideration of people living in the house nor the neighbors, and whose other favorite pastime was getting drunk, watching tv, fighting each other and playing video games. I was certain I didnt want to be around that kind of energy. At that time I was still very unsure of my self, and took everything he said personally. I was unsure of my choices, but pursued them anyway… When he moved out I was lost and even though it was not healthy and it was not working out, I still wanted him back. With him moving out, it opened up the freedom for me to make my own choice without the approval of ‘another half’. I ate organic food, looked forward to my dance classes and goddess course, went out on dates, went to my friend Heather Pennel’s sound healing meditations and spent more time with friends I share common values and interests. An anonymous yogi once said “Yoga does not solve chaos, it helps you cope with chaos” so I just made the effort to really uplift myself in whatever way I can, especially through good company and remembering to implement yoga in my life in whatever I do. I was also forced to move out of my apartment, because I couldnt afford it anymore and an opportunity to move into the house of my yoga teacher who lived 2 blocks away from me was an answer to my prayers. At her house, my yoga teacher had a vegetable garden she and her sister created, so it was refreshing to eat produce out of our backyard. I continued performing burlesque after I graduated burlesque school. I got advices from friends/soul family who has ayurvedic medicine wisdom, and I implemented some of the things I learned from them into my diet. My yoga teacher didn’t tell me she wasnt’ allowed to rent out the room in that house, so I got evicted with less than a month’s notice. I wasn’t sure where to go from there, but my choices led me to going on a two week hitch hiking adventure to Oregon and Northern California with my new gypsy lover. It was another healing journey. The most humbling experience I’ve ever had, because I’ve never hitch hiked before. We hiked and hanged out with gypsies and hippies, also meditated at Mt. Shasta, California. In Ashland, Oregon I met his friends, got introduced to ayurvedic medicines that tasted like raw vegan desserts (yum! They were so good I purchased a lot of it) , spent time meditating and enjoying nature, enjoyed baths at the healing hotsprings & sauna of Wellspring Hotspring, drank the healing minerals of lithia water everyday and listened to the social conscious messages of local musicians. It was an intense journey, most especially because in the middle of our journey, we broke up, but I put up with him, because I didnt know how to go home  the hitch hiking route. I went back to Vancouver homeless, broke and heart broken from the breakup. I learned about spontaneities during our hitchhiking adventure. I was weary and in a state of surrender to spontaneity at that point. Spontaneity made things worked out for me. I was grateful I had a job waiting for me when I got back and I had friends who opened up their homes to me while I was home searching. A month or two of patience and I had a place to call home with an awesome room mate in a good location, I started performing burlesque again and Im on the roll.

My mom still refuses to talk to me and hasn’t forgiven me for deciding to pursue burlesque. Like my ex, she think its slutty and made a conclusion that I just ruined our family’s reputation through this scandalous act of exhibitionism. I was sad that I didn’t get to spend Christmas 2011 with my family, but grateful I get to spend it with my gypsy lover’s relatives in Victoria which spared me from being around my family’s drama. My sisters came over to my place and we cleebrated an early Christmas gathering together too, which was nice. When me and the gypsy lover returned to Vancouver, he took cooking classes on making raw vegan dishes. I came home to lovely raw vegan meals that he spent all day preparing, for a week or so. He also learned from that class how to make kale smoothie. He made kale smoothie for us everyday. I also put spirulina in my water and drank that everyday too. On February 2012, I had to go back to the doctor for my cancer biopsy. I saw my cervix again, and before hearing what the doctor had to say, I knew things have changed in a good way. The doctor was surprised and disapproving towards me. Surprised because my cervix was healthy, that my body is clean of cancer and other negative diagnosis of my reproductive system. Disapproving because I stopped taking my pills and I didn’t get the vaccinations she prescribed for me.

Shivani was right “Everything in life is an opportunity to heal or shine, even cancer itself”. I followed what my shaman friends told me to do, every night I rested my hands on that cancer and spoke to it. I asked it what  message it wanted to express to me. I asked it what it needed, so that my soul can evolve. I was gentle and loving with it the way that I am with the babies I take care of as a nanny. I learned to nurture what it needs, through a healthier diet, through surrounding my self with healthier relationships and through erotic dance like burlesque, belly dance with Lava and sacred erotic dance classes with Devi Ward. Making that choice to connect with my dis-ease instead of trying to kill/attack/avoid it, healed me. Through yoga, I connected with my body again. Through erotic dance, I let go of the guilt conventional religion taught to me and made the choice to be comfortable with my womanity. I made my body re-learn that my sensuality is to be celebrated, not shamed. Being connected to my yoni is powerful, because it can help me express myself healthily in love and light in a collective conscious nature.

 

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Yoga and The Beatles

Posted in Dating in Vancouver, Uncategorized, Yoga articles on September 21, 2010 by Josan

I was in one of those blind dates two weeks ago (Sept 4, 2010 Sunday), where the guy & I were talking about our favorite kinda music. And I shared with him that I loved the Beatles. I told him that I can listen to the Beatles over and over again and not get sick of them. I was obsessed with the Beatles music. He told me that The Beatles music was actually inspired by Eastern culture, especially the song “Here Comes the Sun“. I found that fascinating. I didnt know that. I had the urge to share these fact with you guys, especially after I came across one of the articles in my yoga readings for the teacher training by Michael Stone. He mentioned that one of the people who inspired him to do yoga is his schizophrenic uncle who loved listening to the Beatles too, because “they  were studying with Maharishi Mahesh who was exposed to the teachings of non-duality”. For a detailed account of their yogic exploration you can read through Janel Chatraw’s article. It’s pretty fascinating how the Beatles actually contributed in bringing yoga to the Western world. There were conflicts that took place between the Beatles and their influential yoga mentors resulting to the Beatles quitting the ashram, here is an article on the controversy. If you were wondering what happened to the blind date guy.. it didnt work out. I learned a lot from him within the two times we hanged out though. Amidst me and the guy’s differences that drove us to the conclusion that it wasnt gona work, we have some similar interests that I almost forgot about that he reminded me of. He loved the 1970s movie “Harold and Maude”, which was also a movie recommended by my yoga mentor. He also shared with me this awesome trivia fact that I didnt know about the Beatles! The funny part about dating him was he was a childhood friend of one of my yoga classmates who kept me company a couple of times when I was house sitting for my yoga mentor. When he mentioned her name on our first date, I awkwardly blurted out “What… you seriously know her?! Im sleeping in the same bed with her right now!” lol. Poor guy, I got the scoop about him from not only one, but two of my yoga classmates who were his childhood friends! Oh the sense of humor of a small world.

Fraudographer alert!

Posted in Advices/Tips from Others, Photographer/Artistz Spotlighted, Uncategorized on September 16, 2010 by Josan

Beware of Groupon deals like this fraudphotographer, Dana Dawes. :S It’s really disturbing that she has the nerve to rip money off people by creating a fake website and stealing other professional photographers work and claiming it as her own.

http://www.groupon.com/deals/dana-dawes-photography-atlanta/posts#c321807

More blogs discusses her fraud: http://www.petapixel.com/2010/09/15/photographer-offers-groupon-deal-using-stolen-photographs-chaos-ensures/

Her site before deleting the stolen images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53954517@N05/sets/721576249…

More online info about her -> http://whois.domaintools.com/danadawesphotography.com

V-Tarp

Posted in Photographer/Artistz Spotlighted, Uncategorized on September 14, 2010 by Josan

June 10-16, 2010. WE newspaper. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I came across his article a couple of months ago and kept it, but didnt get the chance to read it until today. In May 2009, I got hooked up by an individual who has a network with BC Transit on their planned anti-grafitti project plan to get ready for the Olympics. As a fresh graduate, I was really excited to work on my 1st out-of school contract. As a naive graduate, I am an easy bait for cheap labor, even from the corporate world. I was really grateful that one of my teachers in Emily Carr stood up to act as my agent, because  BC Transit was working on taking advantage of my fresh graduate status by under paying us on the artist fee. She went to all the board meetings in relation to the project. She would update us on their decisions in the meeting. It sounded like a stressful ordeal in her part, and I was pretty stressed too because while this was all happening I was job-hunting and bill collectors were after me from the unpaid bills I have accumulated after graduation.  My instructor stood her ground backing me up and I got paid the artist fee I deserved, than originally planned. The project was a really good plan of preventing grafiti artists to tamper on empty transit spaces, since it was proven to work in Paris. But that didn’t stop Jerm and his V-Tarp team from expressing out their belief/opinion of advertisements and empty advertisement spaces in transit areas during the Olympics in Vancouver. I found the pretentiousness of such a display unbearable. Jerm’s voice is a point that is a MUST-BE-EXPRESSED in nature. I am glad that we have a brave soul who is willing to go out of his way to even get himself in trouble from authority, though the reaction by BC Transit was exaggerated. It’s so cool that we have a Bansky in the city, I am a fan of Bansky and Jerm’s public art. 🙂 I agree with Jerm “Things like that are some of the things that makes cities cool and vibrant”


Mexico Evening 1 (June 20): Solstice Celebration at the Mayan Riviera with locals & hippies

Posted in Accomplished Projects, Projects, Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 by Josan

I found the Solstice celebration at Sacbe, such a holistic experience. The atmosphere just had that feeling of home. I was really exhausted from lack of sleep from the trip, but I was so stoked when Les told me that  there was going to be lots of hippies, artsy peeps and yogis in the event. La vie boheme! 😀

I wasn’t really expecting much, but at the end of the evening, my jaws dropped from the amazing performances by the artists part of the show. I was fascianted by the wide range of talents and the performers ability to multi-task one talent with another.

One of the performances was a group of ladies & later on men playing the drums while dancing. The original video wasn’t as dark as it got converted in youtube so you can’t really see the other drummers in the background. It was awesome, because there was a live flute musician playing in the background, the music by the flutist was so beautiful. 🙂

Mayan drummer

These masked drummers below were the ones behind the ladies in the youtube performance. The 3 sets of drumming performances presented in the show were authentic Mayan performance, and it felt special to be introduced to the Mayan performance art through these drumming performances 🙂 since I enjoy dance meditation facilitated by spiritual native drummers in Vancouver.

Girls drumming

The drumming performance was ended by a Mayan drummer who played drums on fire, before the fire dancers  presented their stunt.

Fire drummer

I got so mesmerized by the first fire dancer that I forgot to make some photos, but I did take some photos of the 2nd fire dancer and some videos of the other fire dancers.

Fire dancer # 2

There were four fire dancers who performed during the Solstice celebration. I have a few videos of them. Here are some of them.

One World Exhibit at Science World

Posted in Accomplished Projects, Uncategorized on May 3, 2010 by Josan

Yesterday was the 1st time I’ve had an art show & my own booth in a big venue. My warm and sincere thank you to my house mate Suzanne Glick who put up my entire booth together and my printer guy Jerome  for the printing and who helped haul my stuff and put plastic sleeves on my postcards for the last minute needed setup help for the show. My booth was beautiful for a first timer boother. I’m confident to say that I could be judged as one of the top 5 artist representation in the show  🙂 I am very proud of my setup, though i would have much have love the gypsy booth fantasy me and Suzanne were suppose to go for earlier on. I received a lot of positive feedback on my underwater people photographs from onlookers, both artists and appreciators of art. Of course it cannot be avoided receiving disgusted/wrinkly looks from conventional folks, because of the provocative nature of some of my images. It was good marketing/exposure for me and other artists, but it wasn’t organized well It is okay though, because the organizer are new at setting up art shows and they are just learning the tricks of the trade. Most art/trade shows usually guarantee at least 2 free compensation tickets for the exhibiting artist’s guests. We, artists had to let all our invited guests buy tickets. I ended up buying 3 tickets to have guests over, which was a bummer especially since I wasn’t even able to earn enough to cover the artist fee that all the artists had to pay to be in the show. The security and most of the volunteers weren’t reliable. Then again their volunteers, so you really can’t expect much from them. It was just annoying because when I got into Science World, I had an idea of where my location was, but not really sure where specifically it was. I asked a volunteer where it was and she’s this chick who was wearing a skimpy mini skirt, ultra high pointy heels and plunging neckline. She looked at me clueless, then ran around without going to far like a headless chicken asking other potential volunteers what I just asked her. I was a bit annoyed, since I had people waiting for me outside. Their were a few awesome volunteers though, like this oober nice guy named Marty, who got my back, since I was literally on my own when Suzanne left. I appreciate the fact that  at the end of the show when we had to pack up and haul our stuff out of Science World before 1:30 am Marty was there to help me carry my loadful of things. There was also one of the unknown artist’s guest who kept going back and forth my booth and complimenting my work, who saw me struggling to carry all my stuff at the end of the night who helped out…happily 😛 I forgot his name, but he was wearing this fun Vegas looking polo shirt, thank you Vegas polo shirted stranger! :). I got home safe to North Van after tons of calls to different taxi companies who didn’t want to take me in. It was soOoo frustrating! It must have been because of the time of the call or the fact that taking me involves hauling 3 big heavy tables and a loadful of other stuff. Well Vancouver taxi took me in, though I had to pay $20.00 extra for the load, but it was okay, at least I got home safe and I got a really nice cab driver.. The other taxi companies like Yellow Cab was asking $15 extra, but was ultra rude to me.  Anyway, that’s about it. I sold a couple of cards and one-of-a-kind mini art collage pieces, which I was thrilled to learn has a demand in the market. My goal now is to gather the courage to go to mini-galleries & stores selling local goods in Main Street and Commercial Drive area, because I am overwhelmed by the requests on my postcards, and due to my lack of driving skills I can’t really drive around Vancouver yet to bring in individual orders around the city.

Proud of my underwater photos

My canvas prints and postcards

Zoomed out view of my booth

Ted Lederer & me


Boob Quake Day Today

Posted in Photography Events, Uncategorized on April 27, 2010 by Josan

Today is Boob Quake Day, and so I found out from The 24 Hours newspaper today. Hundreds of women gathered in Vancouver Art Gallery at 4 pm to show a lot of cleavage in response to the Iranian cleric saying that immodest women and the power of their boobs have EARTHSHATTERING effects! That’s soOo funny. I wish I was there this afternoon in suppport of the light hearted response to the issue, but I had to work. It’s awesome that instead of responding in a defensive serious way towards such an absurd opinion, Jen McCreight responded in a fun light hearted way 🙂

First blog I came across online about the event later this afternoon  😛