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The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Interview with Author Anne Marie Bennett

Anne Marie Bennett, 53, is a freelance writer, SoulCollage® facilitator and for the past year, my friend.   

In December of 2001 Anne Marie's life was interrupted by the unexpected and terrifying diagnosis of breast cancer which  transformed into  the gift of an empowering spiritual journey.  Anne Marie shares her inspiring experience in her new book Bright Side of the Road - A Spiritual Journey Through Breast Cancer.

I feel privileged to be on Anne Marie's blog book tour.   I read Bright Side in one sitting finding her story both compelling and uplifting.  This isn't so much a book about cancer as an intimate journal of one's women's discovery of her own power plus a practical resource for caregivers.    Whether your life has been touched by cancer or not, you will be inspired by Anne Marie's story.   

I had so many questions for Anne Marie after reading her book, but limited them to the five below:
1) Liz:  I adore the cover of your book. What can you tell us about the artwork and meaning behind the images?

Anne Marie:  The art on the cover is by Melissa Harris and believe me, I had a hard time choosing which one of her beautiful pieces to use!  I ultimately chose this one because it shows a woman on a journey, but she has stopped for a moment and is celebrating. She is lifting her arms in gratitude.  She is enjoying the moment.  The Butterfly is an animal totem for me, representing my third chakra power center.

2) Liz:  If you were to ask your healed cancer "Who are you? and the cancer were to respond with "I am one who..." what would it say?

Anne Marie:  I kind of look at it as in the past tense. That the cancer was in my body and now it is completely gone. It is a past relationship, definitely!  But it would say:
I am the one who interrupted your life.   I am the one who took away some things you didn't want to let go of: your hair, your libido, your sense of normalcy.  But I am also the one who gave you more than I took away.  I gave you time off from your job.  I gave you time to reprioritize your life. I gave you time to remember who you really are and what is really important to you. Yes, I gave you many days in bed when you were weak and feeling ill.  But ultimately, I gave you the gift of closeness to Spirit, and a renewed relationship with yourself.

3) Liz:  How did your husband cope and support you?
(the image below is Anne Marie's SoulCollage card for her husband Jeff).

Anne Marie:The first thing my husband Jeff said when I told him I had cancer was "We'll get through this together." And that is the stance he maintained throughout my surgeries and treatments. Also, he didn't flinch about anything. He took time off from work to be with me in the hospital, he made me lunch and dinner when I couldn't get out of bed.  He held me close and let me cry. That was the biggest thing for me.  When I apologized once, at the beginning, for crying so much, he said, "Who else's shoulder are you going to cry on?"  And he maintained a sense of humor throughout.  Also, he paid close attention to my doctors at the beginning and keyed in on every positive thing they said.  In short, he kept me focused on the bright side, in many ways, and mostly just by being there for me.

4) Liz:  I know that you receive regular therapeutic massage.  Do you have any advice for massage therapists working with a cancer patient or cancer survivors?

Anne Marie:  My massage therapist, Lucy, was just wonderful with me!  She listened to me, first of all. She asked what I needed, and often.  When I was recovering from my surgeries and couldn't lie on my stomach, she gladly gave me double time on my back.  The advice I would give is to ask what your clients need.  Anything at all that confuses you, just ask.  That healing touch was such a powerful part of my journey. I feel so grateful to her for her gentle curiosity about what I was going through, and about her willingness to do whatever I needed for my own safetly and comfort.

5) Liz:  If you were to have this experience over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

Anne Marie:  This is an interesting question, Liz!  At first I didn't want to answer it because I don't like to consider, of course, that I might actually have to go through this again.  But it's a question worth looking at.  If I had to do it all over again, the only thing I'd do differently is take a few months longer before going back to work. I was lucky enough at that time that I didn't have to work, and I think I went back sooner than I needed to.  Oh, and one more thing. Now that I have SoulCollage in my life, I would use that practice towards healing by making cards about my cancer, and by doing daily readings with my deck.  I didn't discover SoulCollage until 3 years after my treatments, but the cards I made then about the cancer really made a difference in my ultimate healing.


To  learn more about Anne Marie Bennett's book and work as a SoulCollage Facilitator go to:




MagnificentDebra said...

Great interview. I was impressed by the relationship Anne Marie has with her husband. Especially the line, "Who elses's shoulder are you going to cry on?"...that express it so well!

Kitty said...

Liz, you have so many talents.You're a great journalist as well!