Breast Cancer to Buti: My Journey for Self-Love + Healing

Breast Cancer to Buti: My Journey for Self-Love + Healing - Buti Yoga
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Rachel Rinker holding hands with Britt Hodgen

Every October, as the cool, autumn air sets in, I am vividly reminded of my past and how the course of my life has shifted. For me, October is a month of contemplation, remembrance, honoring Breast Cancer Awareness while embracing another year around the sun of surviving Breast Cancer myself.

at the Age of 33, One Doesn’t Anticipate Hearing

At the age of 33, one doesn’t anticipate hearing, “You have Breast Cancer”. The words hit me like a ton of bricks, and I can vividly remember this day pondering "how and why did this happen"? These four mighty words which would alter my life forever. My new reality brought on so much to process. I remember searching for the answers, as if it would be laid out to me like a trail map. Breast Cancer does not discriminate and from the moment of diagnosis until my first surgery on October 24th, I remember this whirlwind of emotions while I worked to figure out what it all meant. Intense feelings of grief and struggle mixed with hope, love, and gratitude. Love for myself for listening to the way I was feeling, and gratitude for ALL things, especially with finding my disease early. Due to my age and my MRI lighting up nearly 2/3 of my left breast, I opted for a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction in hope of the best final prognosis and limiting my likelihood of reoccurrence.

Bilateral Mastectomy and Reconstruction

On October 24th, I underwent my first of two surgeries to remove the necrotic, cancer tissue and begin reconstruction. In the days that would follow, as I begin tearing up writing these words, I learned my Breast Surgeon was successful, removing all cancer cells before they attacked and invaded any lymph nodes. No radiation. No Chemo. In essence my immediate course of cancer treatment was complete. These tears of joy are a cherished reminder of where I have been and how important this gift of “Life" really is, and I am deeply reminded that our life’s journey is a gift, not a given.

Following recovery, my entire world began to shift and those negative aspects of my life I once sat quietly to or made excuses for were no longer acceptable in the world I wanted to live. There was this overwhelming feeling of disconnection, like I didn’t know who I really was. Within the coming year, as I worked to eliminate those pieces of my life which were toxic, I began searching for an organic means to heal, embarking on a new Journey into Yoga in hopes of reconnecting to my Source. My goal was not to become anything, but to un-become everything that wasn’t really me. It is sometimes in our deepest, darkest hours that we truly find the core of who we are and capable to be. Shortly into my Yoga journey I was introduced into Buti, and what I found during my second practice was one of the most imperative parts of my healing journey. The mind is the center of it all.

In Buti, it wasn’t about who we were, what we looked like, or even if we could keep up with the practice, this time and space was a deeper mind/body/spirit connection. It was in these moments I realized my true life’s passion, wanting to spread this joy and help others experience this practice. After only two months I made the commitment to embark on the next phase of my Buti 200HR Certification, and within the year received certifications across the majority of Buti formats. This newfound love and deeper connection rehabilitated all aspects of my life, filling my world with newfound love, calm, a stillness to rebuild the world I want to live in. Make space for the things that make your heart soar.

Inner growth can be painful and challenging, but as I reflect it is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. I look at the lessons learned and these experiences across the past year, how all aspects of my Journey helped me blossom into who I am at this moment. I chose this life. This spectacular, wild, and wonderful adventure. My gratitude for living, our tribe, and the incredible gifts of this practice are more breathtaking than I could have ever imagined. I am grateful for this life and the wisdom I have acquired.

My heart is full. My mind is calm. I am alive.

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