By Bhavanjot Kaur
If you cannot be a national leader, be a local leader, be a community leader, be a street leader. Somehow as a woman, be a leader of righteousness. Be a lighthouse.”
I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. I even named my favorite baby doll "Liv" when I was a small child. Then the day came that all my dreams came true and I become a mother to my beautiful baby girl, Livinia ("Liv").
Two and a half years later all of my dreams came crashing down when my daughter was diagnosed with a stage three Wilms Tumor, a rare childhood kidney cancer.
After an agonizing wait during a thirteen hour surgery, the surgeons had removed a seven inch tumor from her abdomen and her entire left kidney and adrenal gland along with the cancer that had begun to spread to her vena cava, the major artery leading to the heart. They also surgically implanted a port in her chest right near her heart for administration of chemotherapy drugs. She endured eleven consecutive cycles of radiation and nearly one year of chemotherapy.
I honestly believe I made it through this experience, as her mother, because of my Kundalini Yoga practice and the support of friends and the kindness of strangers.
“Experience will give you power, it will give you grit, it will give you confidence. It will give you to be you.”
The Connecticut Cancer Foundation (formerly known as the Connecticut Sports Foundation) supported me and my daughter, as she was the ambassador for their fundraising efforts in 2015. They were the light in the darkest days of our lives. They gave us financial support, but it was so much more than that.
The foundation gave me a home—they became like family and truly a foundation to build our new life upon. My yoga teachers always talk about rooting and rising on the yoga mat. The foundation became the place where we could re-root and rise in this new world and this new life after my daughter’s experience with cancer.
Liv and I started attending and participating in as many fundraising events as we could—volunteering and speaking on television, radio and at events all over the state, and it began to light me up. I could feel my heart waking up again. I could feel that soul-tingling stuff that I thought was lost in me. It has become my mission and Liv’s too—she even saves her quarters for making her bed to donate at each event. My daughter’s light and life has been my entire inspiration. She is such a precious gift to me. She led me to this.
Each year I am a volunteer on the committee for the Cycle Against Cancer and I am a team captain for the local fundraising event. I do my best to lead and inspire my teammates to support the cause. The yoga studio where I do seva also offers a family yoga event to inspire donations for my team. Each year the Cycle Against Cancer event reminds me that this is what life is all about. It is really one of the goosebumps-on-your-arms, butterflies-in-your-belly experiences.
As soon as I put my spin shoes on and sit on the bike and I start turning the pedals, I get chills up and down my back. It's my little contribution as a leader in this big crazy world, and it fills me with gratitude, brings tears to my eyes and ignites me every time I do it. Every single time.
I ride for my beautiful daughter who is now thankfully three years in remission. Because as painful as it can be to bring up the stories of our past, I know we can give a glitter of hope that is genuine by offering my daughter’s powerful story of strength, courage, survival and victory. And that every dollar we give and we raise is not about the money, but instead about letting each and every person that is helped by the foundation to know that we are with them as one big universal family, and that we have each other's back in compassion, peace, love and prayer.
I ride because I have two legs that work and a tireless heart and a fierce courage that I would never have known I had without the gift of my beautiful daughter, Livinia Vaune—who is also known as Rakha Kaur in our yogic Dharma, and who has taught me that we must LIVE ON and ROCK ON no matter what. This inspired our team name: "LiVaune RakhaN".
I ride for each and every brave soul that has faced, is facing and will face this horrible disease. I ride for every mother that has a child with cancer as though each turn on the pedal is fueling them with the strength they need to get through that day. I ride for every child with cancer as though they are my own child and they are not fighting this battle alone. I ride because it's the only thing that makes sense to me on the other side of this tragic experience.
“You are the master of your destiny, you are the prediction of your horoscope, you are the leader of your day, you are the light of your life.”
I recently came across a mantra chanted by the artist Ajeet called Haseya, which means to “rise up” or “she rises.” I learned that the chant comes from the Navajo tradition and when a woman is having a tough time and not remembering her strength, they will call her Haseya until she remembers her strength again.
We all have our moments as women where we feel lost in our most challenging experiences, but I believe there is always a way back to our inner strength. My prayer is that you will always find your way back to you, that you always lead yourself back to yourself and then you will in turn lead others back to themselves too. Haseya.
“Go into the world, provide comfort, live for people. If God in His mercy, has pulled you out of insanity, then is it not fair for you to serve those who are still suffering?”
Bhavanjot Kaur is the owner and founder of Hamsa Healing Arts located in Centerbrook, CT. She is a Kundalini Yoga teacher, Radiant Child Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master practitioner and Teacher, Craniosacral therapy practitioner, Raindrop therapy massage practitioner and she also offers sound therapy with a 32" Paiste Symphonic Gong. Bhavanjot is a consultant for essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and CBD oil. She is mother to a delightful six-year-old little girl who overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer, which inspires her work with Lucy's Love Bus and the Connecticut Cancer Foundation.