Mamie-Jean Lamley is a powerful businesswoman who knows how to maintain an inner sense of calm and joy. She runs a training and coaching business called Empowerment On Fire, and heads a spiritual business called Mandala Mystics: The Window to Your Soul. You can also find her with a big smile on her face, working at large events hosted by Success Resources, a leading global transformation and education company.
Mamie: The day I was told that I had cancer I was actually on stage teaching a course called Think Like a Leader and doing what I love: training people.My assistant took the call from my doctor, who mentioned cancer and told her, “We need to talk to Mamie right away.” My assistant asked me if I could have the class go on break because I needed to take the call. So I announced a fifteen-minute break and took the call.The doctor said, “Mamie,we need you to come to the hospital as soon as possible because we believe you have a progressive case of cervical cancer.”With my heart racing, I told him, “I have to finish my class first. I will be there at about five-thirty.”
I didn’t have time to digest the news because my students were coming back from the break, so I told them I needed a ten-minute personal break and went to the bathroom. There I broke down and said to myself, “Cancer does not equal death. There’s a reason for this.” After a good cry, I took my makeup out of my bag and put my face back on, then went to finish my four-hour class. Because my students were wondering what was going on, I told them at the end of class, “I just want you to know that this has been a great day. Now I need to go to the hospital since the doctors believe I have a form of cancer. But I’ll deal with it.” They embraced me with so much love and support it was unbelievable.
Avital: I can feel it as if you're speaking to them right now.
Marnie: I called my mom and told her I was heading to the hospital. She was in a panic, thinking that her child should never pass before she did. I told her,“Mom, I’m not passing! But I’d love to have you on my side. Can you meet me at the hospital?” There I was, thirty-five years old and asking my mom to help me.
One of the lessons I learned was when you are diagnosed with an illness that could be terminal you need to surround yourself with the people who make a difference in your life. Having my mom by my side as I went through the initial diagnosis and all the tests that came after, put me in the space of: this is temporary—we will get through it.
Once I knew exactly what I had, I did my own research. I then asked my medical doctors if I could work with my naturopathic doctor. I wanted both worlds to come together for the sake of my health and wellness.
On the medical side, they were recommending surgery, hoping to go in, freeze the cancer cells, and cut them out. The test results following that surgery made me think they got everything. But when further test results came back three days later, they told me the cancer wasn’t all gone and they needed to take out everything. That was the hardest part. I thought, Every doctor told me I couldn’t have children, but I have three children. I’m good. If they need to take everything else out, so be it.
They removed my uterus and one ovary, leaving the other ovary so that I could produce estrogen. But they said within five years that ovary would have to come out, too. The scariest part was that they weren’t sure if the cancer cells had spread to other organs.
All the while, I was in Hawaii and that meant my kids, who were in Colorado, would be without a mother for six months. At first they had the same mindset that I’d had: cancer equals death. It was hard knowing they thought they were going to lose their mother.
Before my second surgery, upon hearing the doctors say they didn’t get everything after all, I felt like I was having a mental breakdown. That’s when I turned inward to gain inner peace, realizing that if I wasn’t calm I couldn’t expect those supporting me to be calm.
Following my third surgery, the doctors confirmed that no cancer cells were found on any other internal organs and I would go through oral chemotherapy. Strangely, my biggest worry was that I would go bald. But I reacted differently to the chemotherapy than most people. I did not lose my hair; it just turned all white.
Six months later I got word that I was no longer at risk for more cancer. But I continued to get blood tests and checkups once a month, and not until the fifth year after my initial diagnosis was I finally deemed cancer-free.
During the year of recovering from cancer and being away from my children, I was able to get in touch with my soul. That is when I discovered mandalas, patterns that have a spiritual meaning. In Sanskrit, the word mandala means “window to the soul.” Its literal meaning is center, circle,and completion.
These days, outlines of mandalas are printed in coloring books for adults because coloring them is calming and healing. When I first started coloring mandalas, engaging in this activity calmed me and allowed me to reflect more deeply. It felt like a gift from the universe, from God.
When I started sharing mandalas with other people who were going through hard times,I noticed that this form of engagement also helped them become centered and cultivate a positive mindset that aided healing. So I started to play with mandalas more. I’d ask people, “How about if you attach a question to your mandala and then I’ll read the mandala for you?” That idea must have come from the universe. The next thing I knew I was offering spiritual readings using mandalas.
Eventually I found a spiritual leader who showed me how to read colors and be quiet enough to allow information to come through the mandalas.I was amazed at how accurate my readings were. They became a way to soothe my soul and share mandalas with as many people as possible in Hawaii and elsewhere. Having the ability to balance medical, natural, and spiritual aspects is, I believe, my strength and why I am doing what I do today.