01 Mar Worthy Women, Third Edition: Chelsea M. Casey
Who: Chelsea McLean Casey (@chelsea_rising)
Occupation: Mother, Yoga Instructor
Location: San Diego
I met Chelsea when we both had very different lives. She was the co-owner and editor of Nostika, a Latin lifestyle and fashion magazine, and I owned JEP, an upscale fashion boutique in La Jolla. I had her as a model in several of my fashion shows, because Chelsea is absolutely stunning to look at…but the more I got to know her the more I couldn’t stop staring. She is one of those people that keeps getting more beautiful the more you know her. And let’s be real: she started out as a model. So now that I have known her for about 10 years…her beauty is pretty much stellar.
We are special friends. We don’t hang out all the time, but have always kept in touch and when we do… we get right to the good stuff. The waitress hates us because we talk so much that we take forever to order. Chelsea’s outlook on life has always been right on point, no matter what happens in her life… she is going to rise above it. She is the kind of woman that handles a challenge. If something almost devastates her, she is going to see why it didn’t and concentrate on that. And build upon that. And keep it as a reminder to rise above. That actually happened. It’s a huge, absolutely stunning color tattoo of a phoenix rising on her entire back.
This is Chelsea, and I haven’t even begun to tell her story…because she is going to tell it herself here, and many many other times in the future across many pages, audios, and videos.
Please, join her fan club with me. Search her out on social media(details above), take her yoga class, follow her story of love and perseverance…you won’t be sorry but will be fork-lifted up with nothing other than inspiration and light.
Thank you Chelsea. Bless you, Chels. We are with you, C.
Thank you for all that you have done, do today, and especially what you are going to do with what you have been through. I already see you transmuting the ashes and flying high like the phoenix on your back. I just can’t wait to see how high you go!
Who are you?
I am a Wife, Mother, Sister, Daughter, Grand-Daughter, Niece, Step-Mom, Dog-Mom, Soul-Sister, Friend
I am a truth seeker, curious explorer, survivor and thriver, force of nature.
I am passionate. I am opinionated. I am interested in almost everything.
I seek and thrive on intensity. I crave raw, real experiences and relationships.
I love and revere beauty.
I feel the most connected in nature.
I think music is the language of the divine.
I treasure each of my scars. They tell the stories of my adventures.
I indulge lovingly in culinary arts.
I teach and practice yoga.
I am married to a Warrior King.
With my husband by my side, I gave birth to a prince at home on March 1st, 2014. Lachlan is his name. He is peaceful and robust. I love being his mother more than anything in the world.
I adore my life and treasure my blessings. I have purpose, connection, support, tons of love, a mission, and cancer.
I am a Queen, I just needed to discover my kingdom. I am a Warrior, I just needed a battle worth fighting. I am a Priestess, I just needed a reason to use my powers.
What is the greatest challenge you have overcome/are overcoming?
Stage IV Lung Cancer with metastases to the brain, lymphatic system, spine, kidneys, pelvis and colon – diagnosed July 2015, at age 35. Current status: my body is free and clear of cancer, although it remains in numerous small spots on the surface of my brain. But I am ready to let go of these now too. Cancer has led me home and reawakened me to myself. I am ready to take it from here. We proceed with treatment very soon, and with love and gratitude I will bid cancer a fond farewell.
From the beginning I knew that to fight this battle I could not get stuck on the weight of the words that describe it. Simple words cannot hurt me unless I allow them to make me fearful. They are just words. Instead I choose to focus on truer communications with my soul. My soul will not label itself. I am not a fixed creature, incapable of changing again. I can heal, I can shift. I can grow stronger.
This cancer experience is making me feel both more human, and more exquisitely infinite. There is an interesting satisfaction I feel from experiencing firsthand the very human struggle/hardship/fear of illness. At the same time I feel like it is so insignificant because I now know that the “me” I identify with is my soul, not my physical body, and my soul is made up of the same unexplainable infinite energy as Love and the rest of the divine cosmos. Simultaneously I’m feeling both hugely expansive and totally puny. This is such an interesting sensation! There’s so much richness and beauty in experiencing this duality firsthand. It’s helping me realize that I was allowing my mind to vastly limit me before this experience. Therefore, how can I be anything but grateful for the expansion that cancer is gifting me?
What have you learned?
Lung cancer can occur in perfectly healthy non-smokers as a result of random genetic mutations that occur during our lifetime.
Healing starts with the question: Am I willing to see this differently?
Devastating events are often blessings in disguise.
We have the power to choose where we pour our energy, and where we pour our energy is where growth occurs.
Wholehearted living promotes healing.
The biggest delusion/illusion we all live with is that tomorrow is guaranteed.
I am not sick. I am opening up. It is exciting and awe-inspiring. I am in reverence of the process. I have been awakened and handed my mission: to heal, to teach and to lead.
By connecting through meditation, devotional yoga, prayer, listening and paying attention, I have been awakened to the energetic force that is my soul and God. All I had to do to access it was ask for it sincerely. The challenging part is to fully trust this force that is of me and around me, and surrender to it. It’s one thing to get a glimpse of the divine and then to return to old patterns that shut off connection. It’s quite another to stay permanently connected. This is what I now practice. Fear seeps in at the most unlikely times and tries to pull me away from this light and clarity. It is daily work and commitment, but worth it because now I know I am deeply loved, I am supported, I am guided, and so is everyone else if they choose to be.
A relationship with God is a loving relationship with all that is around us. God is a source with which to give and receive love.
Prayer is an act of surrender.
Be kind. You never know how much someone else is struggling/suffering.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” -Brown, Brené, Daring Greatly. She defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. It’s not about eliminating fear. It’s not about eliminating darkness. It’s about breaking it apart and using the parts to assemble something different. Something useful and productive. In this way we use our fear to fuel our fire.
Humans are built for challenge. We are hard-wired for courage. We are hard-wired for purpose and meaning. We are hard-wired for community and belonging. We are never alone and we are never stuck.