Shannon Villalba an Unsung Hero

Shannon Villalba earned a 2018 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care. She founded HIME Wellness in Cincinnati, Ohio, to connect complementary health practitioners with those seeking care. With Heidi Bright, 2017 Unsung Hero.

Shannon Villalba was sick for six months before she heard the words, “You have cancer.” As a result of those three words, she resolved that she would hear the words, “You have no evidence of disease.” And she did. Five months later.

Shannon promised herself she would do what it took to help heal her body, so she used a variety of complementary and holistic medicine therapies in addition to traditional chemotherapy and radiation. She says she is grateful this strategy worked for her, and she realized that there are many other patients who could benefit from these strategies as well. She took a look around and noticed that many of these types of practitioners were hard to find. That’s when she decided to create HIME Wellness – Healing through Inspiration, Motivation, and Education.

HIME Wellness is a company that educates the community about holistic and integrative medicine by showcasing the expertise of its practitioner members. Shannon wholly believes it is her purpose in life to assist others with their wellness journeys and to inspire them to help others as well. Together we can make a difference in the way we approach our healthcare today.

She enjoys learning about what types of therapies are available, and connecting the practitioners with those who are seeking their services. Each month she hosts a big event with speakers such as integrative doctors, chiropractors, holistic nurses, physical therapists, and energy therapists. HIME also features demonstrations of various types of therapies.

She says it feels great to see so many people who are open to these types of therapies, and then hearing them say, “This is exactly what I am looking for to help me heal!”

Additionally, at every event, HIME Wellness gives back to various charities such as the Pink Ribbon Girls and the Women’s Health Initiatives Foundation.

HIME also offers classes and resources for those searching for answers.

Shannon clearly loves being able to pay it forward by helping others in any way she can. With the blessing of a second chance at life, she is choosing to live it by serving others. She expresses gratitude because she will never know if something she does makes a difference to someone she’s never met, because the end result is all that matters to her. If someone is inspired and motivated to take charge of his or her own life and health, that’s what she wants.

She says she fully believes that inspiration through motivation and education is the key to eliciting change. The more people know about healthcare therapies, and the more people are motivated or inspired by stories about health journeys, the better we are as a society.

Shannon’s mission is to inspire others through teaching them to take charge of their lives and change them for the betterment of the human race. She does this one step and one day at a time, whether it’s inspiring someone by telling about her own cancer journey, or by connecting someone with a class, a blog post, or a bit of knowledge.

Each day Shannon knows she can accomplish this mission through those she is meant to help, who in turn will help others, and that makes all the difference. Shannon lives the unsung hero honor each day.

Remember the Rachels on Mother’s Day

Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.

Matthew 2:16-18, New Living Translation

Rachel was an early biblical character who died giving birth to her second son. She was buried by the road to Bethlehem. Bethlehem would later become the birth location for a king, according to Matthew’s gospel. And Herod, the jealous and frightened ruler at the time, sent his soldiers to kill all the male infants and toddlers near Bethlehem to remove this new threat. One cannot imagine the kind of imperishable grief such an act would produce on a vulnerable population.

This story is part of the birth narrative of Jesus. When was the last time you heard a preacher talk about this trauma in connection with the nativity story? It seems to me that mothers who grieve their children appear easily overlooked.

The world is full of Rachels who weep disconsolately for their deceased children. My friend Joan just lost her daughter to diabetes.

With the current opioid epidemic, mothers who are cancer patients need to be wary. I was told in 2011 to “stay ahead of the pain,” and was sent home with a month’s supply of what I now realize were heroin pills. Recently I talked with a cancer survivor who also had leftover opioids and a teenaged son at home. I urged her to get a digital lockbox or return the pills to a pharmacy. Even if her son doesn’t find or use them, a friend of his might. Then the treacherous slide into heroin overdose begins.

If I ever doubt myself as a mother fighting for her children, all I have to do is look at this Mother’s Day card my deceased son made for me about ten years ago. I’m seen as firm with my words and my sword… with a kind smile on my face, all centered in a heart glowing with love.

I’m hardly alone. Even my son’s memorial garden was just visited again by Rachel’s weeping. A mother bird in the sweet gum tree had fought valiantly for her eggs, evidenced by the circle of feathers; but her efforts simply weren’t enough. The nest fell to the grass and her babies were hungrily consumed.

Mother’s Day is approaching. Ugh. For me, and for perhaps hundreds of thousands of mothers, this time on the calendar is a terrible reminder of broken hearts and empty arms. Despite all we do, sometimes we still lose our children. Some mothers lose their only children—I know two such women who lost theirs to heroin. I have heard of one woman who lost all three of her children to heroin overdoses. Losing your children is bad enough. Add on the stigma of death to drugs and you have an unfathomable nightmare.

I am most fortunate that one of my brothers will be here and we will spend the day making and eating delicious meals our mother made when we were growing up—a time of innocence. My younger son will get to indulge with us. (He loves to tell me there’s no food in my house.) Foods I typically now avoid, yet that give comfort and solace to an empty heart. Corn fritters, hamburger pie, cheesecake, springerle. I’ll still be weeping for my child, as I do nearly every day, yet with social support I also will have some consolation.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Mothers fight for their offspring, though not always successfully. Many of these mothers are single. It can be such a lonely time, especially with the isolation that can come from losing a child to drugs.

On Mother’s Day, please pray for or send positive intentions to the Rachels everywhere. Those who have suffered heavy losses need comfort and love—a kind word, a simple text, a card—something to let them know they are not entirely alone.

Message in a Cardinal

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young;

Deuteronomy 22:6, JPS Tanakh 1917

The compassionate act for a hungry person of ancient times was to take only the eggs from a bird’s nest and leave the mother. This created benefits: humans had food and birds could again reproduce, making more human food.

Fortunately I can walk to a store open 24 hours every day and get a variety of foods to eat. I don’t need the eggs in the nest by my porch to satisfy my survival needs.

The cardinal nesting by my side door probably is the one that tried to create a nest on my porch light. Hanging from this light fixture is the beautiful wind chime given to me by Kay so my deceased son could make it sing for me.

Perhaps the mother bird gave up when the door kept swinging open and shut, open and shut. So she moved to the tree next to the porch. As close as she could get without the constant disturbance.

Her nest cradles two eggs. I enjoy seeing her as I walk by.

How did those eggs get out of her little body?

How does she know to sit on her eggs? The sea turtle lays her eggs and abandons them, returning to the sea.

How does she know to leave the eggs alone? If she were human, I imagine she’d be neurotically inspecting the eggs, rolling them around, listening for any sounds.

Nope. She sits calmly, quietly, still as stone. Watching. Waiting. Being.

She makes me wonder about my way of being as a mother. I was anxious, wanting everything to work out perfectly for my two offspring. Instead, one turned to drugs, and three years ago lost his life.

Would I blame the bird if one of her eggs broke, or if a hatchling fell out of the nest, or if a creature ate one? Today I found a broken robin’s egg on my driveway, not five feet from the tree where the cardinal nestles. This is life. These things happen. We do not control outcomes, especially with terrible illnesses like cancer and addiction.

James Hillman (American psychologist, 1926 –2011), in his book The Soul’s Code, calls the inordinate self-blame of grieving parents “the parental fallacy.” It is false to think we have enough control to manage every outcome. We can try and influence, yet ultimately, it is not up to us.

Perhaps this is why the cardinal tried to build a nest right above my son’s wind chime and the robin lost her baby. Maybe it’s a message, like, “It’s not your fault, Mom. You did everything you could. Sometimes terrible things happen. And I am near you now, singing through the wind chime, watching you through the eyes of a bird nesting by your door.”

They are reminders to have compassion for myself, as I have compassion for these mother birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mandarins a-peeling against cancer

I have picked a lemon, and with it / An orange and a (fragrant) mandarin.

Gathering with care these (precious) things, / And while gathering I said with care:

“Thou who art Queen of the sun and of the moon / And of the stars–lo! here I call to thee!

And with what power I have I conjure thee / To grant to me the favour I implore!

Aradia, by Charles G. Leland

 

Fresh, fragrant mandarins are precious, full of flavor, and full of power.

The magic lies in their peels—which are quite edible and contain potent anti-cancer properties (see links below).

Also called clementines and tangerines, these citrus fruits are fresh and sitting in grocery stores now.

If you have a high-speed blender, mix two whole mandarins (peel on) with a quarter cup cranberries (at this time of year, try frozen, not the packaged sugary snacks), a little raw honey and/or stevia, a quarter cup raw/soaked-in-salt-water pecans, and coconut butter. Blend. Mmmm! Add chia seeds if desired.

Taste the fragrance, ingest the power.

Sources:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/aradia/ara07.htm

https://www.livestrong.com/article/310997-can-you-eat-clementines-with-the-peel/

http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2006/pdf/2006-v21n01-p34.pdf

https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/mandarin-tangerines.php

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19116217

Annie Appleseed video of “Subduing the Cancer Dragon” now live

Heidi Bright offering healing solutions during the 2018 Annie Appleseed conference

The video of my live talk, “Subduing the Cancer Dragon: The ABCs of Creating Conditions for Healing” during the 2018 national Annie Appleseed Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies conference, is now on youtube: “Subduing the Cancer Dragon”

Discover 3 key ingredients cancer patients need to improve their chances of survival. Important attitudes, behaviors, and major life choices that can help you thrive beyond cancer will be explored during the presentation.

In radical remission since 2011 from highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma, I share genuine hope and realistic options with listeners. I earned the 2014 Voices of Women Award for outstanding achievement in personal growth and transformation from Whole Living Journal, and the 2017 Champion in Cancer Care and 2017 Unsung Hero awards.

My third traditionally published nonfiction book, “Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey,” is physician-endorsed with 250 practical healing solutions. http://thriversoup.com/book/

Power Up Your Spiritual Vibration Tues Apr 17

Find out how to “Power Up Your Spiritual Vibration with Energized Food” at 7 p.m.  Tuesday, April 17, at 4251 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223

Discover simple ways to super-charge your spiritual life with high-vibrational foods. Learn how to select more enlightening edibles to thrive on every level. Take home easy pointers for preparing power-packed provisions to raise your consciousness.

Heidi Bright, in radical remission since 2011 from highly aggressive end-stage cancer, shares meal solutions she learned during years spent regaining her health. She earned the 2014 Voices of Women Award for outstanding achievement in personal transformation from Whole Living Journal and a 2017 Unsung Hero Award from Cancer Family Care. Her third traditionally published nonfiction book, Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey, is physician-endorsed with 250 healing solutions.

Where: Revelation Spiritual Church Bldg., 4251 Hamilton Ave. Cincinnati 45223
(Look for the BIG WHITE SIGN in front yard, directly across street from BIG GREEN & WHITE SIGN for a dentist.)

“Creating Conditions for Thriving” Saturday at Victory of Light Expo

“Creating Conditions for Thriving!” is 2 p.m. Saturday in Room 110 at the Sharonville Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH. Please join me at Victory of Light, the  Midwest’s largest metaphysical expo for the general public.
Discover 3 key ingredients for thriving in every area of your life. Learn simple new ways to update your attitudes, behaviors, and major life choices to assist with conquering dis-ease and feeling better, for anything from ALS to what to do during retirement.
This presentation includes a gentle guided visualization so you can discover your own clues for experiencing more vibrant health.
In 2011, Heidi Bright was told to get her affairs in order. Yet against all odds, she has enjoyed radical remission for 7 years. Find out what she discovered that helped her turn the corner and thrive. Heidi earned the 2017 Champion in Cancer Care Award and is the author of the best-selling book, Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey.
For the complete schedule, visit http://www.victoryoflight.com/pages_blocks_v3/images/links/APRIL_7_%26_8,_2018_VOL_SEMINAR_SCHEDULE_EXPANDED_WITH_ROOM_NUMBERS_FOR_WEBSITE_FINAL_.pdf

Sublime and Slimy: Easter on April Fool’s

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying… she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus…. Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
John 20:14-15, New International Version (NIV)

Mary Magdalene, leader of Jesus’ inner circle of women disciples, looked at this “gardener” and did not recognize him—her beloved Teacher, a man with whom she had hiked and camped and eaten for months.
It’s kind of like having April Fools’ Day on Easter Sunday.
Oh, wait. That’s this year.
Both days happen to fall on April 1, 2018.
This hasn’t occurred since 1956, and you won’t get another chance at it again until 2029.
So take advantage of this delicious opportunity to combine the sublime with the slimy. After all, Easter is about maximum joy and April Fool’s Day is about maximum fun.
One small study has indicated joy is a predictor of survival among cancer patients (Thriver Soup, pp. 211-213).
One of my boys brought the two together on Christmas Day in 2003. I had given him a box of Harry Potter™ Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. A few hours later I heard a tremendous roar coming from two floors down. My son dashed into my room, breathless with giggles. “I tricked Dad into eating a vomit-flavored jelly bean.”
Thriver Soup Ingredient:
This Easter Sunday, landing on April Fool’s Day, presents a perfect prank opportunity of innocently sharing some disgusting-flavored jelly beans for a good laugh. Bertie Bott’s bean flavors include Booger, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Grass, Rotten Egg, Sausage, Soap, and Vomit. Or maybe opt for the BeanBoozled Spinner Jelly Bean Gift Box, which contains Barf, Booger, Canned Dog Food, Dead Fish, Lawn Clippings, Moldy Cheese, Rotten Egg, Stinky Socks, and Spoiled Milk. Both are made by JellyBelly.
Source:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/58/Gimbals-Jellybeans-Pile.jpg/256px-Gimbals-Jellybeans-Pile.jpg
https://www.christiancentury.org/article/critical-essay/when-easter-sunday-falls-april-fools-day

Sacred Journeys through Cancer

Find out how to identify ineffective cancer treatment products, how to deal with emotions, which supplements to prioritize, what I put in my green smoothie every day, whether to go to nontraditional cancer centers, how to do a body-centered sitting practice, and more.

This is what Beth Ann Gilmer and I talked about during her Sacred Journeys blog talk radio show Tuesday.

Listen to the interview from the beginning to 1:01:00, and then skip to 1:22:28 to finish it out: https://d1at8ppinvdju8.cloudfront.net/1/066/show_10668921_2018_03_21_01_05_29.mp3?cId=f647eb4c-8c6d-4867-b705-9a603583e167

With the Loving Support of Friends

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.

Dalai Lama

Thanks to generous support of my friends, Thriver Soup recently made its way to North Carolina and Florida. My heart is filled with gratitude.

Cincinnati Friends Meeting sent me off with their prayers. Brecka Burton and Amy Elliott Elberfeld provided me with presentation clothing for my talks “Thriving Beyond a Dark Night of the Soul” and “Power Up Your Spiritual Vibration with Energized Food” at the Kent Cook Nook in Davidson, NC.

Marnie Poirier, one of my Sacred Sisters of the Healing Hearts, provided a bed for the first three nights. Marnie’s place truly is her home, with her favorite quotes painted on the front of her house, a life-sized mermaid swimming in front of her porch, and a femail box next to her front door. She sent me off with bloodroot for my son’s memorial garden and stinging nettle for its nutritional properties.

Then I stayed with Madeline and John Wood, board members for the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation, in their lovely condo. They had invited me to come when we met at the NLMSF National Conference where I spoke during 2015. Madeline did a lot of legwork publicizing my talk on “The ABCs of Creating Conditions for Healing” at Main Street Books in Davidson—I so appreciate her efforts, which produced some participants. We enjoyed delicious meals, a walk in a local park, and even a concert that evening at the local college.

Then I drove to West Palm Beach, Fla., to present on “Creating Conditions for Thriving” at the Annie Appleseed Conference. A generous gift from Women’s Way Ohio-Kentucky helped make this part of my journey possible.

On my way home I enjoyed a Spanish galleon treasure museum on a coastal island. I also set aside time to walk barefoot in the wet white sand along an empty beach washed by the powerful Atlantic surf.

To honor the happiest day of my life with my deceased son—21 years ago—I went to Disney Spring’s Rainforest Café in Orlando for lunch. The restaurant still features large, colorful aquariums, trumpeting life-sized animatronic elephants, and an overhead painting of a sky complete with large planet and meteoric lights. Every so often came the sounds of thunder and flashes of light, sans rain.

With focused attention, I could relive my son’s joyful two-year-old presence at the table… I am so grateful for the fulfillment he gave me as his mother and for the happy memories I carry inside. And I am so heartbroken about my terrible loss. Love never dies. It simply shifts.

The loving support of friends fulfilled their prime purpose. It also filled my trip with gratifying new memories and the fulfillment of my purpose sharing healing solutions and genuine hope with others.

I am grateful.