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Learning to let go and other lessons from Ellen...

Soooo. I was on Ellen. All that transpired was yet another reminder that when I let go, stop trying to control the details of my life, miraculous experiences unfold. 

I was considering a short trip to visit my friend Natalie in LA last week. I felt bold and emailed the producer from the Ellen show who had originally invited me right after my surgery. I had been inundated by media requests while I was recovering immediately post-op and just couldn't deal at the time. I later kicked myself for not agreeing to go on Ellen (what was I thinking?!?!?!)... The producer had mentioned that she could help get me tickets if I ever wanted to come in the future. That was in November, so I thought it was a long-shot, but I decided it was worth contacting her. She didn't respond to my request for a few days, so I put the matter out of my head, packed my bag and flew to LA. Then as I was driving to a hike in Topanga Canyon, she called saying that she got 2 tickets for me for that day's show. Great! We drove to Burbank, got in line with the hundreds of other lively people with tickets to Ellen and knew we would have some fun. 

The Adventure:
The producer spots me in the crowd, gives me a hug and says she will tell Ellen that I am there (but that I should expect nothing)... We get seated in the middle of a row, pretty close to the front... The show starts. Ellen comes out. Lots of great energy from her and the audience. She dances up and down the aisles, interacting with several audience members. She is at my row, looks at me directly in the eyes and gives an adorable little wave. I wave back and wink. OK -- I just had a sweet connection with Ellen. That is going to be my special moment. Various guests come on. Lots of cheering and dancing and laughing... good clean fun.

The show is almost over and then Ellen starts talking about someone dancing before her mastectomy... Wait! Holy shit! She's talking about me! Natalie puts her hand on my leg and says, "Ok, here you go." And then Ellen invites me down. I am shocked. I take a deep breath, allow the gratitude to sink into my bones (try not to think about the exceptionally casual yoga pants I'm wearing), and reach out to give Ellen a hug. She responds with a fabulously warm embrace. We take a breath together. Okay, this is going to be real. She is an amazingly warm and soulful woman. We connect... I feel seen by her. The direct eye contact, the very warm embrace. She tells me that she loves my soul while I'm dancing. This woman is authentic. She just sits back and listens with ease.

When they go to commercial, we sit and talk for a bit more -- about people (some of you out there in Facebook-land!) making videos for me, about how I have connected with amazing people (all of you!!) all over the world. The producers of the show then bring me backstage and interview me for their website. This is an exceptional group of 20/30-somethings. There is no Hollywood glitz. These people are genuine. We all hug a lot and get tearful at different moments.

It was just so perfectly impromptu. If I had known, I would have prepared my words, my likely would have lost its special authenticity. I am learning how to not plan, how to embrace "unscheduliness"  (which I just submitted as a new word on Urban Dictionary, by the way) -- it's a dramatic departure from a several decades-long habit of strategic planning, keeping busy, hyper-scheduling... I'm learning how to use just enough forethought while still living firmly in the moment. I'm learning how to say "YES" with discernment. I'm learning how to let go and trust that, if I act out of love, compassion, generosity and kindness, my life will unfold in unexpectedly amazing ways...

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Megan Martello
By Meg
I found your video and posts tonight at exactly the right moment. I laughed and cried, while moving along to Beyonce at the same time. Going through the ups and downs of all this, sometimes has its moments- and tonight was one of the tougher ones, but I know tomorrow could be one of the greater ones. Isn't it amazing how a complete stranger going through similar yet different challenges can be just what is needed sometimes? Thank you for sharing your story, your joy, and your strength. I know that the next treatment, scan, hour, whatever it might be may not be easy, but people like you remind me that we can do it. <3
Suzan McClarey
By Suzan "Irish" McClarey
We all as humble humans have much to learn from you. Thank you for sharing and for just being who you are. I hope your recovery is as miraculous as you...God Speed...
Dorene Allison
By Dorene Allison, Ottawa IL
You are truly amazing, Deb!!! May God Bless You :)
Tammy Bowers
By Tammy McIntire Bowers (
Saw you on Ellen! That's SO cool! Every time I see your OR dance video, it just overwhelms me. Wish I had thought of something like that before my BLM surgery in 2010. It sure would have lightened up the bleak atmosphere! Anyway, sending positive thoughts and Prayers for you in your recovery. And Thanks so much for sharing your infectious energy and love of dancing! :)
Adele Black
By Adele Black
LOVED this video- sorry I missed seeing you on Ellen live! Deb, you are such an inspiration to soooo many people. May you be blessed with much health, happiness and loved ones to share it all with! <3
susan shea
By Love, Susan Shea
Deb I am so happy to hear you are doing so amazingly well. It is Ellen who met the real star!!!! I think of you daily as i feed my chickens first thing in the morning.
Darlene Dibble
You can't even imagine how much I admire your strength. I use your strength and courage to reinforce mine during my mastectomy. I can so appreciate being in the moment and 'unscheduliness' love Darlene
Deborah Knowles
By Deborah Knowles
Wow!!! Can't help but follow your journey......It is all so true.....We need to be prepared for the impromptu as they really bring more and take anything away.....Will always dance with you while am on plant earth all the way from the Bahamas. I remain a Deborah too!!
Barbara Berkowitz
By Barbara Lewis
You are so amazing!! I feel blessed each time I read one of your post. God Bless You!!
Mariane Rowland
By Mariane in Burke, VA — last edited
Great adventure! So happy for you. God bless!!!