Becks in the City

Sing with me :"From yu wake up dis marnin, you's a winner!"

Living on Purpose with my Daughter

Unless as a parent, you have faced your own mortality, you will never really know what it feels like to imagine your child outliving you. Whilst in my hospital bed last year June (having just received a mastectomy and DIEP Flap reconstruction), I made a vow to ensure that NO MATTER WHAT, I was going to fill our lives with joy and happiness. I was clear that this would come in the form of visiting new and interesting places, going to live music, dance, theatre and sports events, playing together whether in the home or out and generally just partaking in life.

My sister Tiffany brought my daughter and her cousins to see me run this year’s Race for Life. For those who do not know, the Race for Life is a charitable event where women run to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. It is so important to me that not only do we enjoy the time we have here on this earth but that my daughter also sees me actively participating, contributing, giving back. She is beginning to understand death the impact that cancer can have. She is also starting to understand what it means to give back.

This weekend was full of firsts for my daughter, beginning with the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. My daughter was so happy that someone who has a brown mother like her own, could actually become (in her mind) a princess. That’s huge! Then the following day, she witnesses her mum run with 1000s of other women to raise funds to (hopefully) stop people dying from cancer. These are the moments I dreamed of sharing and now they are coming to fruition because I made a conscious effort to make it happen.

The Race for Life ‘One Love’ team led by Tarah (first on the left)

I hope parents reading this, do not wait until they are faced with own mortality to truly live life on purpose with your children and mark the ‘wow’ moments. You do not get yesterday back but tomorrow is yours, plan it wisely.

 

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This Saturday sees me leading my first workshop based on the concept of living purposely in Birmingham UK. It’s called ‘How to Fall Fabulously in Love with You.’ If offers a rare opportunity for the you to indulge is self-reflection and discover how to become happier, more confident and more successful through valuing and honouring yourself. It is going to be fun! Book tickets here now.

Train Your Brain to Get What You Want

Master Neuroplasticity

 

 

“Among other things, neuroplasticity means that emotions such as happiness and compassion can be cultivated in much the same way that a person can learn through repetition to play golf and basketball or master a musical instrument, and that such practice changes the activity and physical aspects of specific brain areas.”

Andrew Weil

 

Neuroplasticity in its simplest form is the art of training the brain to rewire itself. You can liken it to scratching a record. If you mildly scratch a record, it will continue to play for the most part as normal. However, if you continue to scratch the record, eventually it won’t ever play the same. This is similar to how the brain works.

 

Why is this relevant to self-love? Because this proves that you can change the way that you think and your brain will help you do it on a cellular level! This is pretty remarkable. Think about it, many people say things such as ‘It’s just the way I am, I can’t change.’ The existence of neuroplasticity, instantly disproves this theory. You can rewire you brain to change right now!

 

Many people who are overweight for example, have a subconscious limiting belief that they can’t lose weight. Even though they might see other people do it or even if they have lost weight in the past, they hold onto the fact that they just simply are not the sort of person to lose weight or if they do, keep it off. However, by altering that limiting belief to ‘I can lose weight, keep it off and feel fabulous’ they start to scratch the record. For this belief to stick, a major level of reinforcement must take place and the necessary action must happen.

 

This process must be repeated and repeated often. You can’t say this new belief once and expect miracles to happen. That’s just not how it works. You must say it daily (your daily affirmation) and take the necessary actions such as research foods that encourage weight loss, buy the right foods, workout, drink lots of water etc…

 

 

Task:

  1. After having completed the previous exercise, write your new belief down and place it where you will see it regularly (a bathroom mirror is a good place).

 

  1. Whenever you see that note, repeat it three times (or once if you are in a rush but at least once a day).

 

  1. Write a list of actions you need to do on a consistent basis that will bring you closer to having what you want. Make sure they are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timebound).

 

  1. Put these actions in your diary and carry them out!

 

Change only happens if you act on a consistent basis. I am going to keep saying this until it sticks!

 

Do not fall into the trap that you will always be the way you are. This is hugely disempowering. Think about how wonderful you will feel once you have changed a limiting belief that has held you back.

 

You have the power to change it but you must take action. Acknowledge those limiting beliefs and work the power of neuroplasticity. Your biology is already designed for you to be successful but you must take charge and make it happen. This leads me nicely onto the next point. You must take responsibility for you!

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This is the kind of stuff we will be covering in my workshop ‘How to Fall Fabulously in Love with YOU’ on Saturday 26th May 2018 in Birmingham UK. Click here for more details. 

NB: This blog has been take from my free E-Book: The Pocket Guide to Self Love which can be obtain here. 

 

How I Coped After my Cancer Diagnosis

I inhaled.

“You have what is known as Ductal Carcinoma Insitu and a small amount of Invasive Ductal Carinoma which is spreading.”

On 28th April 2017, my consultant diagnosed me with breast cancer. As you can imagine for a 40-year-old, relatively healthy fitness instructor, this was quite a shock. I breathed a slight sigh of relief thought when I heard it was treatable, as in my mind, surely that must mean taking some medication and all would be well. However, my alarm bells deafened me, when I heard that my options were limited to cutting out the cancer with a mammoplasty or slicing off my entire lady lump with a unilateral mastectomy.

“Like really? There’s no tablet to take?”

That thought actually appeared in my mind, like in real life. Oh, the days of pre-cancer innocence!

One of my first courses of action, was to get as much information as I could about the treatments. I needed to know that it would be okay. That was a curse and a blessing, as Google is filled with the delightful and the most damning of outcomes. As was Youtube. I had moments where I would close my laptop sobbing as I learned the breast cancer lady whose videos I’d been watching had passed. I had seen way too many “Goodnight Angel” comments. 

But then I also viewed some great encouraging videos of women who had gone on to do some wonderful things with their lives such as: set up a holistic businesses or go travelling, years after their treatment.

 

My daughter couldn’t stop kissed me when she saw me after my surgery.

After gathering my research and weighing up my options, I decided that a mastectomy was best. Why? I felt it would offer me the best possible chance of getting rid of all the cancer cells. At the fore of my mind was: my daughter needs her mum.

 

I quickly learned that I had to put a pair of blinkers on, as I had chosen to announce my diagnosis on Facebook. At the time I thought I was purely doing it to get people to watch out for the signs of cancer but later I realised that it was also a coping mechanism. This news was huge and I needed a large amount of comfort and support. I certainly did get that with over 9000 thousand views and hundreds of comments. With that came lots of well-meaning advice via private messages but I knew I had to stay focused and do what I deemed best for me.

I spent a lot of time with my family and we kept busy in between hospital appointments. I would indulge in intricate colouring-in books for adults, cooking, plaiting hair, planning, reading and playing games with my daughter. I would keep myself busy so that I did not spend too much time with my own thoughts.

During those long nights when I was alone in bed thinking about the possibilities, I would find it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Often when I did drift off, I would wake up with my heart-pounding trying to quickly forget the night terror I’d just had. It felt as though nightly, I’d fallen asleep with a hideous demon hanging from my ceiling growling over me. I was frightened and though I knew I had support, I felt lonely. Lonely because I knew ultimately, I had to walk this journey alone and no one knew what would the outcome will be.

WhatsApp statuses and Instagram were my outlets for my pain and offered some relief. I would post usually a positive quote such as “It’s all about good vibes, big goals, amazing experiences more happiness…”. At other times it would simply be an expression of pain via a beastly image I found on Pinterest.

Of all the mediums of comfort and pain release, writing my blog has been by far the most cathartic. It was there that I could be apologetically honest without having to look in another human’s eyes where I could get caught up in their sorrow and have to pretend I was stronger than I felt.

It was there, I could let the feelings stick to my webpage like Velcro and release themselves from my soul.

It was on my blog that that I laid to rest the old version of Becky, the pre-cancer, naïve, everything will be okay in the end Becky. And that needed to happen. Sometimes things aren’t going to be okay and I become stronger once I accepted this truth.

Through my blog I grew into a wise and resilient woman.

It’s been almost a year since my diagnosis and whilst it has been tumultuous, it has helped me to focus on areas that needed attention such as: building my self-worth, removal from environments and people that drained me and asking myself what I really want to do with my life.

Part of that thinking is what has helped me to complete my training as a Life Coach and launch my life coaching service. I know what is it like to live through very dark days yet still want to live the life you know you deserve. If you are stuck in that place, let’s have a chat.

Contact me at: www.becksinthecity.co.uk/contact

 

A cancer diagnosis is difficult but it is manageable. My advice to anyone who has been recently diagnosed: take care of YOU, put YOU first and be kind to YOU. Caring for yourself, especially when you have cancer is not a treat, it is a necessity.

By the way, on 19th July 18 I was declared cancer-free.

On another note, I will be running the Race for Life for Cancer Research UK on 20th May. I would really appreciate your support by way of a donation. Every little really does help. You can donate here.

Thank you for reading. xxx

 

For the Cancer Patients of the Future

Me, my daughter and mum at The Race for Life Sutton Coldfield in 2014. Little did I know I would get breast cancer 3 years later.

Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To tell you it was a shock is an understatement. I was only 40 years old, healthy and very fit. As a result, I received a unilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I am very pleased to say that today I am cancer-free.

I am very aware that I am at risk of getting the disease again but I live in hope that it was just a blip in my life and that I will go on to live for many happy years and continue to raise my beautiful daughter.

It seems as though weekly, I am hearing about more and more cancer diagnoses. It is like the modern-day plague. Cancer has blighted human beings for centuries but through research, lives have been and are being saved and prolonged. Who knows, years from now a cure might be found? It is because of the diligent work of people that came before me, that I received life-saving surgery. It is a hard pill to swallow to acknowledge that had I not been treated early or spotted the signs early, that I might not be here to tell this story today.

I would like to know I played an active role in making progress happen for people who are diagnosed with cancer in the near and distant future and that is why I am running the Race for Life.

I would really appreciate your support (no matter how small). If you would like to do so, please visit my fundraising page.   

Thank you xxx

In loving memory of Erica Durant 22.9.81 – 12.3.18 xxx

Chasing Dreams

Can I be honest with you?

This last year has been the toughest period of my 41 years. When teaching Zumba, I met quite a few ladies who had gone through Breast Cancer (some, unfortunately are no longer with us). I thought I vaguely understood the challenges of the disease; I had no idea. With numerous surgeries, limited movement, feeling depressed but still having to take care of my little girl, it was A LOT to deal with.

Don’t worry, the story gets better. As you may know, I am usually a glass half full kind of girl. I have challenged myself back to a place of happiness with lots of ‘be kind to myself’ moments that include, Afternoon Tea in a prestigious London Hotel, weekend breaks and a recent trip to Costa Blanca.

I have taken the time to focus on aligning myself with my purpose which is to help others live happy, healthy and successful lives. That has led me to making the announcement I about to make.  Taking my experiences as: a business woman of 20 years, a motivational fitness instructor, a student of personal development and of life, I have now officially been trained as a Life Coach!

I am bubbling with excitement as I have already helped some amazing people reach their goals. Given my experiences my specialist areas are: coaching single mums who want to start businesses and working with people who are overcoming major adversity in their lives.

You can read much more about my coaching here. I really would just like to take this time to ask you a question. Currently, I have space on my Elevation Coaching programme for one more person: who do you know who is ordinarily a go-getter, perhaps a single mum or who has just come through major adversity who at this moment, is facing the challenge of transitioning to her latest goal?

Please do put her in touch with me for a FREE chat.

This is indeed a very exciting time for me as I am yielding to my life’s purpose and it feels wonderful.  I am committed to sharing these positive vibrations, so I ask you: What steps can you take today towards chasing your dreams? Go on, make a comment and name your prize. Write it into existence.

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to this blog (look up and to the right) to be stay inspired. 

 

 

 

 

She Made Me Do it!

My changing body image, post breast cancer surgery.

I met a stranger last year. She arrived not long after my breast cancer surgery. Though I didn’t know her, I felt comforted by her presence. She knew of my torment, she understood my trauma and vulnerabilities. Being the guardian she is, she immersed her being into mine to shield me, to guide me and to make me invisible when it all got too much.

You see, my body image has been a huge deal post-surgery. I’m even reluctant to type this again but ‘yes’ I am referring to the uniteral mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery. I actually have an improved body (by many people’s standards) since the operation. Many women pay for similar types of surgery to the one I had to save my life. But getting used to the new version of me has been far from plain sailing.

You would think that I would be flaunting this new edition of Becky at every opportunity. Nope, I have felt extremely uncomfortable with my new body and unwilling to be nothing but modest. Why? Because I didn’t know this body or what to do with her. Also, I have told the world about my cancer and the consequent surgery, eyes are watching, minds are intrigued and tongues have questions. Plus, my size, my shape and the types of clothes that suit me, have all changed. Just a few months ago, I waited in line at House of Fraser for a considerable amount of time with the wrong sized bra until at the till, I remembered that my cup size had changed and consequently left with nothing; bewildered by my mistake.

This has been my new normal. Not knowing what is normal.

My stranger encouraged me to cover myself in black. Black has shrouded my being to become a hidden mass of nothingness. It allowed me to surreptitiously tip-toe through crowded rooms unnoticed and unbothered. It hugged me close when I felt vulnerable and needed an anchor to hold tightly. My stranger had my back at all times. I honestly can’t imagine how I would have got through this without her.

However, sometime during the last few weeks, I woke up ready as usual to share my sadness with my BFF but she wasn’t there. I searched frantically for my partner in solemn silence but she had disappeared.

Vanished without a ‘See you later!’

But strangely, it felt okay. It was weird, but instinctively I understood that her time with me was complete. I had entered a new phase. Someone or something else had arrived.

Almost a year since my breast cancer diagnosis, my spirit has been usurped by another form of newness. Again, a foreigner has entered my space. She has no name but she is quite different to my first stranger. I am still learning about her but I know I am feeling her vibe. She is playfully provoking and enjoys challenging me. I oblige wilfully to her dares (though curious) as secretly, I like the direction in which she is nudging me. She has only been around for a few weeks but already I see her influence manifest in my intentions and actions.

I wish you could see her or feel her vibe but as I do not even know her name and my naked eye has never witnessed her presence, I cannot show you the evidence. What I can do however, is share with you a few images for which the only fitting caption is: ‘She Made Me Do it!’ These were taken on a recent much needed break to Benidorm on the Costa Blanca, Spain.

My instincts tell me that you might be hearing a lot more about what she has prompted me to do in the near future.  

 

Red Peas Stew Recipe

One of my go-to vegan dishes has been this Jamaican classic. It’s taken me a while to find the particular ingredients and quantities to make this the succulent, tasty, feel-good recipe it has become. I have posted pictures of various versions on social media and people keep asking me to share the recipe. In fact, my mum and sister asked me just last week.

Now before I tell you how I responded, you need to know that I spend a lot of time writing for my business. A good 60% of my week is filled with writing proposals, reports, blogs, plans etc… So, when someone asks me to write a recipe, it just feels like work that I don’t want to do when I am chilling out.

Last week, I replied to a request from my mum and sister with a voice note detailing the ingredients. My sister was quite aghast upon realising she still had to write the recipe down.

But in the spirit of generosity and sharing, plus it’s the end of the week and I haven’t had to do that much written work in the last 24 hours. I’m feeling generous. So guess what?

You get a recipe, you get a recipe, in fact you all get a recipe!

Happy Friday everyone!

Ingredients

 

Cooked Red kidney beans (a whole tin or equivalent)

Pimento (I prefer whole but you can use the grounded version)

A sprig of thyme

Rosemary

Black pepper

A clove of garlic

1 Scotch bonnet pepper (deseeded if you prefer less heat)

Salt

Tomato ketchup

Coconut milk

Plain wholemeal (white) flour

Water

 

Method

 

  1. Cover the kidney beans with water in a pot to boil. There should be at least 2 inches of water above the beans.

 

  1. Add the scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, rosemary, pimento, garlic, salt, coconut milk and boil for ten minutes.

 

  1. In a bowl mix water into the flour to make a dough that is sticky but pliable, if there is too much water, you will not be able to mould the dumplings.

 

  1. Create spinners (dumplings) by rolling the mixture between your two hands.

 

  1. Add the dumplings to the pot.

 

  1. Leave to cook with the lid on for 20 minutes.

 

  1. Remove the lid, add the tomatoes sauce and leave it to reduce and thicken.

 

  1. When your happy with the thickness, serve with vegetables or rice or bulgar wheat or anything else that takes your fancy!

 

Enjoy!

Strategic Objective: Stay Alive! When Positive Thinking is not Enough

Always look on the bright side of life.”

“Wake up and smell the roses.”

“See the glass as half full instead of half empty.”

These popular sayings are designed to help us to get out of our ‘funky’ states, to awaken the go-getter within us and help us live peaceful happy lives. Believing in such sayings and adopting a positive mindset can and does help people through life’s small challenges as usually, those who think positively have a problem-solving outlook on life. This is a wonderfully useful trait to possess, but positive thinking alone has its limitations.

Looking back now, it was a pretty green way of looking at things but thinking positively was my default way of dealing with life in most instances. I often chose to see the good, hardly ever focusing on the negative and took a very optimistic approach to life. This was how I wired, I believed in this even before I started reading the Anthony Robbins, Dr Phill and Jack Canfield self-development books. Being this way, served its purpose on many an occasion. I still do lean towards a more favourable outcome in most instances, but now I am wiser.

Positive thinking can do the very opposite of what you want. You see, if you always believe only good can happen, you then become blind to (or choose not to see) the not so great stuff that takes place. I am hesitant to use the word ‘bad’ because the word conjures up something that is negative and has no use. I believe that uncomfortable or painful (more useful words) situations are there to teach us something.

I am talking about problems that cause deep angst, extreme pain, worry and hurt, such as: dealing with the loss of a business, becoming bankrupt, losing a baby, coping with the end of a relationship, struggling with ill-health, facing severe self-hate, facing a cancer diagnosis etc… You know what your pain is. Whatever that pain is, it is there to tell you something, if you will just listen.

It was clear to me from very early on after my cancer diagnosis, that I needed to take control of my thoughts and go beyond believing that as long as I adopted good thoughts, everything would be okay. This was too damn important to switch off and become blind to my predicament.

My business mind clicked into place as soon as I knew what I was dealing with. I kept at the forefront, the vision: I want a future with me in it. I then had to (with the help of the surgeons) create an effective strategy that was robust and had a high chance of success. I did my due diligence in between hospital appointments and researched the hell out of DCIS and invasive ductal carcinoma, with and without metastasis, with and without chemotherapy, with and without radiation.

It was important for me to do the risk assessment, know what the possible hazards are and have plans put in place to tackle any unfortunate outcome. I created a business plan for my life and my possible untimely death.

I believe people create their own luck by great preparation and good strategy.

Jack Canfield

This was strategic thinking working its ass off! I had kicked its predecessor ‘positive thinking’ to the kerb. I needed a method that was realistic in its assessment of the moment, forward thinking and laser focused on the goal.

My leadership skills faced their ultimate challenge. Keep Rebbecca alive!

Interview with June Sarpong

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My Version of Beautiful

The Best Birthday Yet!

26th February 2018 was my 41st birthday. I’m not shy in stating my age, in fact I am proud. I would happily shout it from my roof top, if I could access it.

This time last year, even before cancer reared its ugly head, I was not in a great place. Though my business was in great shape and doing the things I had always asked for, I was stressed and overworked. Honestly speaking, I would have preferred to spend my birthday in bed rather than with my friends and family at a restaurant bringing in the big ole’ 4-0. I was just so tired!

Then came the diagnosis in April 17. Two blood spots, alerted me to the fact that something was up. Had I not seen those breast cancer signs, as my doctor at the time said, I might not be here in a year’s time. Did you get that? If I had ignored those tiny droplets of blood on my nightdress, I might be dead today!

Whilst I have shared parts of my journey publicly, I certainly did not share it all. I tried to be as uplifting as possible. Not just for others but for me too. I needed to hang onto hope. I needed to know that I had a future. But there were some seriously dark days (particularly before the results of my operation), when I just didn’t know what the future held. It was awful! I had never been in a position where I wasn’t able to plan for the future. 

As a result, I felt beat-down, unwanted, melancholy, terrified, overwhelmed and defeated by life.  

Cut to a year later, I’M ALIVE!

Life now feels: surreal, beautiful, humbling, happy, expectant, positive, peaceful and gratifying. It can be likened to a scene I saw today from the movie ‘The Shape of Water’, where two lovers (albeit one is a humanoid amphibian) embrace as they gently float underwater. In that moment, nothing exists but the love they share which is all encompassing and enchantingly beautiful.

Today, I feel nothing exists but the new version of my life which houses: my much-matured sense of self-worth and compassion, the people who matter most, the here & now and the exciting vision I have of my future.

The celebration is lasting almost a week. Yes, although the date has passed, it’s still ongoing. Much of it has involved quiet reflection and checking-in on where I am. Sunday 25th February was the highlight as I gracefully enjoyed high tea was with my soul sisters Rachel and Toni at the Café Royal Hotel in London. The photo speaks for itself about the opulence and regal decor. We even left with a gift of a Diptyque candle – oh the fragrance! I had a day I know I truly deserve. One fit for a queen!

This birthday epitomises the outlook I now have on life. No, it won’t be perfect but for every single moment that I am on this earthing taking breath, I am going to do everything in my power to ensure it is my version of beautiful.

Therefore, every day is my birthday in my mind.

 

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