Navigating the Sandwich
Giving Up Control to Find Your Reinvention
FROM A CONVERSATION WITH LYDIA SLABY ON THE REINVENT YOURSELF PODCAST
“Control is a coping mechanism,” says Wait, It Gets Worse author, cancer survivor, and total life reinventor Lydia Slaby. “And like all coping mechanisms, it only works until it fails.” And it failed when Slaby was 33, a freshly minted JD/MBA with a new job in Chicago and was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that featured a tumor the size of a grapefruit on her sternum and heart. Two years of emergency care—including open-heart surgery—left her clear that her high-powered, uber-stressful life had to change. “The old path fell away; it was a gift,” she tells Lesley. Now at age 40, the “process of dismantling and dismembering” has allowed Slaby to find her true voice and her ability to share her journey and story in writing. “Disease picks and chooses,” she says. “I think it does show up when there are lessons to be learned.”
Lydia’s Top Tips for Reinvention
- Let your future inform your present.
We all live in the present, we have these lives that we lead. If we start thinking about our present informed by our future instead of informed by the past. I’m not a former lawyer, not a cancer survivor. What I am is a writer, I am a speaker, and I can speak to health because I’ve gone through something. If we let what we want to be our future inform our present, instead of sort of staying stuck in what was the past, I find that incredibly inspiring. It gives me something to reach towards.
- Believe that you are okay all the time.
I got this a lot while I was sick – people would give me a big hug and say, “Don’t worry. Everything is going to be okay.” That comes from an amazing heart space of love and kindness, but if everything is going to be okay, that means that it’s not okay right now. I think we forget that we are always okay right now. And right now. And again. And if we’re striving for this okay that’s in the future, then what does it mean our present looks like? So I remind people that even if they’re going through some health issue, or loss, or divorce, or they’ve just given birth and life seems overwhelming, that’s okay. It’s okay. You are here and that’s okay. That is the reality that you’re creating – an I’m okay right now and I’m okay in the future and it’s all happening at the same. It’s not optimism in a Pollyana-ish way, but just a confidence in I am okay.
Treating Holistic Pain: A Holistic Approach (TheCovey July 2019)
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