Sunday, 20 October 2019

Leah Bracknell's CancerRebel’s Manifesto for Life

Leah at Trew Fields 2019
Last week I was shocked and saddened by the loss of the very wonderful Leah Bracknell. I had met and talked with her at this year's Trew Fields Festival - she also gave a very powerful talk about her own healing journey which included cannabis, shamanism and more - and indeed she also shared her positive thoughts about the Festival in my film (see here).

Leah and I talked about the wonderful Extinction Rebellion protests in London in April and she shared that Extinction Rebellion had inspired her to think about a #cancerrebel movement; rebelling against negative and limiting stereotypes around cancer and looking to transform the experience into one that might empower and enrich us. See here an article in Entertainment Daily in July with more about this here. Leah wrote in her blog, 'Something beginning with C':
"Being a cancer rebel was inspired by participating in the April climate emergency protests in London. It really sparked something very deep inside, after several difficult months. I saw my own life reflected as a microcosm of the bigger picture: there we were in our thousands, from all walks of life: pensioners, students, mothers, fathers, teenagers, families – “rebels” committing acts of non- violent civil disobedience in order to save the fragile balance of life on earth. Before time runs out. Life on earth faces extinction and the hour glass is almost empty. It’s almost midnight. For me too. Time is running out. I reject the expected notion of being passive or a patient or of being a victim, and  I am prepared to try almost anything to “save” my life, even if, like the XR rebels it means breaking the law, just a little. Besides, I ain’t got nothing to lose.

"When the Spring rebellion finished I wrote “The Cancer Rebel’s Manifesto for Life” as a reminder to myself what it takes to keep your head above water, to thrive, and to keep on keepin’ on while living with cancer and defying expectation every single day".

Leah's CancerRebel’s Manifesto for Life:

I REBEL
Against the fear of cancer
Against my prognosis
Against negative expectations
Against being told what to do
Against pity from others and myself
Against being diminished by cancer
Against being defined by cancer
Against restricted by cancer
Against being bullied by cancer
Against death


I EMBRACE the strength of my spirit
I embrace every opportunity that cancer gives me to learn, to grow, to expand
I embrace my own instincts
I embrace the path on which I find myself
I embrace the glass half full
I embrace healing
I embrace laughter
I embrace joy
I embrace hope
I embrace gratitude
I embrace spirit
I embrace the strength of my ancestors
I embrace magic and miracles
I embrace doing it my way
I embrace love of myself and of all beings

Above all else I embrace LIFE 

I've met so many amazing CancerRebels - indeed I'll feature another in a blog tomorrow. Sophie Trew of Trew Fields Festival suggested that we can perhaps have a day of rebelling in Leah's honour? A day of rebelling, in whatever way that means to you. Writing your own manifesto, a day of fun, gratitude or a mini adventure. I've had a busy few days with family but just rereading the manifesto has fired me up - that plus the amazing Extinction Rebellion actions over the last two weeks. More soon! Thank you Leah. Thoughts with Leah's family.

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