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Surviving What Life Puts in Our Path


Sometimes it feels like I’ve been surviving something all of my life, and my cumulative experiences have given me an overwhelming desire to talk to people and write about survival. First, on my breast cancer blog, and now, here on 1010ParkPlace. If you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time then you know I believe if we can harness the power of our minds, we can get through anything. 

I know this to be true because I’ve called upon that ability after I was taken at gunpoint in Guatemala, during treatment for breast cancer, and after my husband died unexpectedly on Christmas.

In my memoir, I’ve finally written about what happened to me in Guatemala, but it’s not something I’ve shared with many people so I’m still not comfortable talking about it. I start to, but then I want to stop in midsentence. I will tell you that after I escaped my captors, I relived every second again and again. It became a movie that played in my head, and I recalled even the smallest details like how one of the men who took me smelled of onions and cigarettes. 

Several months after I got home, a friend suggested I see a doctor who was a recognized expert in hypnotherapy. I saw him a lot over the next few years, and I listened to the custom hypnosis tapes he made for me. His cassette tapes gave me the tools to cope with the trauma of what I’d experienced, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve written, frequently, about hypnotherapy and guided imagery—also known as guided meditation. Both are forms of self-hypnosis that help our unconscious mind to heal while our conscious mind allows us to get through our day. 

I don’t mean to be pushy, but please hear me when I say guided imagery changed my life. Don’t just read this and say, “Oh, I’m glad it worked for Brenda” and then forget about it because it can help you as well. Big problems and little ones. 

A dear friend of mine is experiencing a lot of BIG stress in her life. As a result, her blood pressure is alarmingly high. I shared my history with guided imagery and suggested she might think about downloading one of Belleruth Naperstek’s carefully curated, science-based audios (she’s world-renowned and so well thought of) and listening to them. She said she’d think about it. This week her blood pressure escalated to “off-the-chart, stroke-scary territory,” and she wound up in the emergency room, but she still hasn’t given guided imagery a try, but I get it. When we’re afraid, it’s hard to let go of the mantle of worry and do something that sounds so “touchy-feely.” How can that possibly help me? 

It occurred to me my friend might also be afraid of it. I get that, too, but guided imagery doesn’t strip us of our free will. Yes, it’s a form of self-hypnosis, but it doesn’t put you in a trance like some Las Vegas magician. Far from it. You can turn off the audio anytime and do something else.

Perhaps I should have told her to listen to it first, without trying to relax at the same time, so she’d know what to expect. 

Belleruth Naperstek, Guided Imagery Founder

Belleruth Naperstek’s guided imagery audios have long been a proven tool to help with blood pressure, stress, panic attacks, preparing for surgery, cancer treatment, and helping soldiers and people like me get past trauma. Major medical institutions, health plans, and corporate wellness centers offer her recordings, including Johns Hopkins, the US Veterans Health Administration, the Mayo Clinic, and the US Armed Services. If you’d like to know more about her, here’s an interview I did with her a few years ago.

We’ve all been through tough times, and if we’ve learned anything from them, I hope it’s that we get through them. I also hope when we meet others who are struggling, we reach out and share our experiences and help them know it won’t always be this way. Things will get better. 

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Hi Girlfriends,

I’m proud to say that 1010ParkPlace™ has been voted one of the Top Ten Blogs for women over 50: the best-educated, wealthiest, most powerful demographic in history.

Here you will get a glimpse into the lives of other women, learn how they handled things life put in their path like divorce, the death of a spouse, serious health issues, low self-esteem, addiction and how to reinvent yourself after a major life change. You will find like-minded women and relevant conversations about finances, fashion, sex, books, music, films and food. We feature interviews with inspiring women along with straight-talk and bold conversations to reawaken your passions and make life count.

Brenda’s Blog has between a 58.4% and a 68.7% click thru rate, which is unheard of. My readers tell me it’s because I’m sassy and transparent, they trust me and no topic is off limits.

Tell your girlfriends, sisters and coworkers about 1010ParkPlace. We have lots of exciting interviews planned and stay tuned for updates about my memoir! 

#WhereStyleIsAgeless   #MakeLifeCount   #WhatAreYouWaitingFor

18 thoughts on “Surviving What Life Puts in Our Path”

  1. Brenda, my grief therapist swears by Bellaruth and I have several of her tapes.
    It sounds like we have both been through the ringer- but then hasn’t everyone in some way? Thanks for the info.

    • Gray, Belleruth’s audio on grief had a profound impact on me. While it didn’t make me grieve any less, it was the emotional breakthrough I needed to begin to center myself and cope with my husband’s unexpected death. I listened to that audio at least twice a day. Such a gift it was. I hope it helps you as well. xoxox, Brenda

  2. Your stories are Incredible!
    I look forward to your book and I will take a peek at Bellaruth!!!
    Think I can use a bit of guidance now with my LATEST DIAGNOSES♥️

    • Elizabeth, We need to touch base because I’m not sure I’m up on your latest diagnoses other than you had pneumonia. Yes, I think Belleruth Naperstek’s audios would help you immensely. Love you, Brenda

  3. Hi Brenda, I’m a new reader so I don’t know a lot about your history, but you’ve experienced some terrible things. My husband has a serious illness and I think both of us could benefit from this woman’s tapes. Thanks for the reference. I’ll check her out.

    • Hello Carly, I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. I know from my own experience when my first husband was diagnosed with cancer, that being the caregiver demands inner strength we didn’t know we had and most of the time, the caregiver is the most important, forgotten member of the team. There are a number of audios by other people on her site, but I always suggest you listen to the ones done by Belleruth. She’s amazing. Blessings to you and your husband and your family, Brenda

  4. Thanks for this post. I think about survival all the time: my own brushes with death, and injury, of course my family’s, and my patients. Throughout a busy life and a busy practice, I am constantly reminded of our amazing resilience. We are wonderfully made, and so often I find myself quoting Friedrich Nietzsche. “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” We need to constantly remind ourselves of this. Thanks for this one!

    • Thanks for your words of wisdom, Barbara. As a surgeon, I know you’ve been in the trenches with patients and their families and know first hand about resilience and the will to live and go on with our lives. I’m so glad I’m traveling to Italy with a woman who quotes Nietzsche! xoxox, B

  5. I’ve found that my problems have paralyzed my ability to do anything. To take any action to remove myself from them, and I know that’s depression, but I’m not sure what to do about it. You’ve thrown me a lifeline here, Brenda. I’ve downloaded one of Belleruth’s audios and have listened to it once already and a part of me feels lighter than I did before. I will keep listening and of course reading your blogs. You always show up with just what I need. Thank you.

    • I’m grateful to know you’re listening to Belleruth’s audios, Janet. That’s an important first step. Depression can be paralyzing and all consuming, and it can strip away your ability to do anything that will move you forward. I’ve had deep depression, so I know what it can feel like, and I hope you will see your doctor. Ultimately, my doctor and I decided I wouldn’t take antidepressants. He knew my history with self-hypnosis, so I listened to my guided imagery audios and worked hard to find goals and reached out to friends, all with the understanding that if I didn’t get better, we would revisit the antidepressant issue. Fortunately, I pulled myself out of it, but it wasn’t easy and I don’t recommend this route for everyone. FYI, I listened to Belleruth’s audios more than once a day, every day, and since I’m a woman of faith, I prayed for help. Sending you love and healing, Brenda

  6. My will to survive, recover, and keep moving forward have been tested, too. I would not have the resilience that I do without tools like yoga, yoga nidra, meditation, and therapy. Bellaruth sounds like a perfect addition to my toolbox to help me go beyond surviving… to Thriving!
    Thank you, Brenda, for your great recommendation!

    • Donna, Like me, you are a warrior! A strong determined woman with a will of steel. I miss seeing you my friend. Love you, Brenda

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this. As a long time yoga teacher/practitioner, I have also been practicing and training in areas like Yoga Nidra and guided meditation. This has been my healing and grounding practice in my life. I am also a mental health therapist and have to manage my own stress so that I can be of service to others. I intend to use this practice for my own grief and loss experiences now that I am dealing with them more every year. Your blog is so rich with information and on a wide scale of topics. Thank you again.

    • Thank you, Stacia! I’m grateful and happy you enjoy my blogs and find them helpful. I know exactly what you’re saying. When we reach a certain age, we begin to experience the loss of more friends and family, along with disappointment, and a guided meditation practice can help us lighten the weight of our grief. Truly, I don’t know where I’d be now if I hadn’t discovered it all those many decades ago. xoxox, Brenda

  8. Brenda, thank you so much for sharing this valuable info. Just what I needed to hear as I am going through a lot of pain since my beloved passed away on December 1st.So many unanswered questions. Some days are really difficult. I feel that you’re throwing me a lifeline. I will download Belleruth’s audio on grief. Answer to my prayers. Thank you again for your wonderful posts and blog and for being the wonderful person that you are. xox

    • I understand your pain, Yvonne, and I’m always glad to see you here. Belleruth’s grief audio had a profound effect on me. She talks about how our loved ones who’ve gone before us are standing around us in a circle, and they’re there for us, holding us up. I imagined ten or twelve people I’ve loved were around my bed and I could see their faces, clearly. I cried so hard. They were a release because I felt my loved ones knew what I was going through and they were there with me, giving me their love, reminding me of all that they’d taught and shared with me. Other than the loss of a child, the kind of grief you’re going through now is very difficult. There are no magic answers. No “I Dream of Jeannie” folded arms and wishing them away. We have to walk through it, but it does get better. I don’t know if I told you this in another exchange, but when I asked a woman at my church, whose husband had died, how long this profound grief lasted, she said, “A year. Then it gets easier and you learn to walk along side it.” She was right. A year, or however long it takes of intense grief sounds like a long time, but if we don’t allow ourselves to see it through, then we will never heal. If I can do anything to help you, email me anytime. xoxox, Brenda

  9. Oh, Brenda! How I needed this today. I have a big surgery coming up on April 3 and have been having some awful panic attacks. I ordered Bellaruth’s audios and have only listened to the first two and already feel so much better. I am looking forward to discussing them with my trauma therapist at tomorrow’s appointment.
    Thank you so much.

    • Yes! I’m so happy they’re making a difference. I used her audios for 10 breast cancer surgeries. I’ve used other for panic attacks and another one on grief after James died. They’re amazing! BTW, you’ve been in my prayers every single day since sometime last year whenI learned of what you’ve been going through. I will amp up the prayers for you and your surgeon and your full recovery. Love you, Brenda

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