To Cancer With Trust, Or Not

I am just thrilled to share Staci Boden of Dancing-Tree Consulting and her amazing tale of trust. If your trust has ever been tested, this is the post for you!


When I offered to take on trust this week, I didn’t think about whether it was a good idea. Instead, when TRUST started vibrating a piercing shade of red, my belly quivered yes in response and that was it. Now that I’m here, I have to be honest. Trust and I have some things to work out.

The truth is that part of my trust died the day my 15 year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago.

I was in the last month of writing my book when it happened. It felt like a lightening bolt through my heart. Like my immediate family–my daughter, my then 12 year-old son, my husband and even our parents were hit head-on by a truck and left bleeding on the side of the road, scattered into bits and pieces.

Life as we knew it was shattered. Gone. And among those bits was a shred of illusion I didn’t know I had–what you might call trust–that somehow my family, my babies, would be exempt from unimaginable pain.

My babies.

The irony is I wasn’t living in denial. I grew up with a legally blind mother. I’ve spent 15 years as a healing practitioner supporting people through painful and beautiful transition. Even as I started writing my book, two friends, both mothers with children under four, faced unimaginable life challenges. My heart ached for them all the time but as long as I was standing, my intention was to be of service. In part, my book became a love letter for those who are thrust into the unknown through surprising life circumstances.

I guess there’s just no way to prepare for a lightning bolt through your heart. The trust I didn’t know I had, that bad things won’t happen to my good people, was struck down by my daughter’s cancer diagnosis. And there it remained, a bloody piece of my heart scattered along the side of the road.

Until now.

Because a second truth is that another part of my trust is alive and well. Seeded through years of practice in following energy which ripened into a book about navigating daily unknowns, this second trust doesn’t need happy endings for personal validation. Beyond control, this trust is more about meaning than matter.

Filled with clear resilient love, it was this trust that carried me through my daughter’s healing journey. I learned that when the unimaginable happens, I can feel simultaneously brokenhearted and damn strong.

Though I’m eternally thankful that my daughter’s cancer is now in remission, the trust, hope and/or illusion that bad things won’t happen to my people remains dead. “We’ve crossed over.” My mom often says. I feel sad about this loss of innocence. Yet today, I was led to where the fragility of life broke me open so I could remember trust as capacity inside.

And that brings me to you. I can’t give a prescription for how to develop trust. Trust isn’t a technique or an insurance policy but an intimate relationship. A lifelong conversation between you and your soul. A practice that leads you through rocky roads and butterflies to facilitate your own meaning. But I’ve noticed that without developing a relationship with trust, even if we begin broken, we can’t thrive anywhere in our lives. And so I encourage you to start there. Start there.



Staci Boden is a San Francisco-based author, healing practitioner, and energy worker. Her book, Turning Dead Ends into Doorways: How to Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way (Conari Press, 2012), introduces eight teachers for navigating daily life unknowns: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. Through her company, Dancing-Tree Consulting, Staci sees private clients as well as leads personal and spiritual development workshops. She’s beginning a four-week online course about her book on October 9. To learn more, visit Staci’s website, meet on facebook or connect via twitter.

7 thoughts on “To Cancer With Trust, Or Not

  1. I went on a very similar journey with trust, Staci, when I was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. When we realize we aren’t immune to the bad stuff of life and can’t negotiate or manipulate or bargain our way around it, we do indeed experience the death of an illusion that “it” (whatever it may be) can’t happen to us. It can and does. After we cross over to the other side (love how your mother expressed it), we develop a far less innocent, more truthful relationship with trust and life. I think it’s a relationship that is not just wiser but also sweeter because of the way we came to it.

    • Thanks Carol for stopping by and sharing your experience. And I agree that a truthful relationship with trust and life itself helps us appreciate every moment for the blessing it is. I appreciate all the ways you’re embodying that commitment. Big hug to you!

  2. Wow. What a timely happy accident that I found your post. My dear friend’s son was recently diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma. She is the most upbeat dreamer I have met. I hope to honor her family – especially her son in a post soon. I will most certainly link up and share your blog with her. Profound. A lesson we all need to practice and learn. Trust. Thank you for your post.

    • Dear Lisa, Wow is right. Please know I’m sending you and your dear friend my best. Cancer is a rocky road and when it involves a precious beloved, especially a child, feeling terrified is normal. If you or your friend would like to speak with me, I’m happy to do so, you can find out my contact info by visiting my website at Godspeed to you all.

  3. So beautiful, Staci! Trust is such a challenging thing and I think many times we just choose to shove it aside instead of actively working on building that relationship…until, as you point out, life shoots you through the heart and trust becomes the only option over completely breaking down. Faith. Not an easy road but a beautiful (and necessary) journey.

    • Jenny, yes, and thank you for bringing in faith! That’s a whole other relationship to contemplate, also easy to get stuck in faith needing to look a certain way on the outside but ultimately something that can hold us from within.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *