Ingrid Langenbruch has been a member of the Joy of Ageing Esoterically team since its inception. This past year we have all watched Ingrid go from strength to strength no matter what is going on with her physical health. One day she showed up in her ‘unstoppable’ sweater. When we finished laughing, we all agreed that her story needed to be shared with our readers. Bernadette, another of our team members, interviewed Ingrid.
Ingrid: I am unstoppable to evolve, learn and grow until my very last breath. No disease or anything, nothing can stop me pursuing that. And I am unstoppable in the way I am living and how I have changed my life, how I feel about others and humanity. In my earlier life before breast cancer I was drinking a lot and using drugs, including caffeine and sugar, disregarding my delicate small body by physically doing too much hard work, was often down on myself and lacked self-worth and self-love. I started making new choices; I stopped drinking and taking drugs, looked at and healed my old hurts, started to listen to my body in regards to eating, drinking, sleeping, moving, started exercising more gently, and in general being gentle and loving with myself, and so with others too.
Living 18 years with breast cancer I am now way past my expiry date. Metastases developed and 4 years ago I was given a few months to live. Since this terminal diagnosis I have not been in hospital for breast cancer at all. Previously, the 14 years before that, I never made it 2 years without having to have surgery.
It looks like I am, for now, unstoppable. I feel more vital, fit and joyful than ever.
Q: What is your purpose and/or projects that are dear to you now?
Ingrid: Purpose for me is supporting friends where I am needed, sharing myself and my life, doing and being in a way that serves humanity and all of our evolution.
I feel my work with the ‘Joy of Ageing’ website and all around that as purposeful, to get out to the world how it is and it can be to age joyfully, with or without a chronic disease. To support the website I create a monthly newsletter and I am active on social media, posting articles and videos of inspiring elders.
I am also running a Breast Cancer Support Group, giving back to other women the support I received over the years. Sometimes I am asked to give presentations – wherever I can I share something of my experience and I make myself available.
I also started writing a book to share how you can live with a terminal illness and still have a joyful life. I am not always comfortable and pain free, but how I hold myself and surrender to whatever is happening to the body is key and allows the joy to expand. My life is full of purpose now, which I have not lived in earlier years.
Q: What do you do if confronted with roadblocks?
Ingrid: In my situation a roadblock could be a new diagnosis. I have active cancer in my body, but at present it is not progressing. Over the last years when I have been confronted with a new diagnosis, I still felt a little shock for a very short time, maybe a day or two, then I could surrender to the diagnosis and deal with whatever needed to be dealt with. I listen to my body. I chose, for example, not to have chemotherapy during these 18 years. I know my body would not cope with it and that it can be much easier to handle surgery. This is a very individual decision; you have to know your own body and consider the whole situation.
From day one I put quality over quantity.
Sometimes old patterns or habits try to sneak in and block my road/path but I recognise that quickly and don’t allow that anymore. I love and nurture myself and am often aware of my movements and my posture.
Q: Why is it important to be unstoppable?
Ingrid: I don’t know if I would use the word important here. For me it is important to live a life full of purpose and joy up until my last breath and share with others what kind of life is possible to live if you make some different choices. Loving people is important – for me hiding, protection and not liking people had to end. I have learned self-love, and with appreciation of myself and others it naturally led to love for humanity.
Connecting with people is important to me too. I reached out and connected with people, not waiting anymore for someone to connect with me. For several years now I have a large circle of friends and quite a few close friends I regularly connect with. I never feel lonely.
Ingrid L., Australia
If you enjoyed reading this article you may also like to read:
From shock to deep joy – living well with a chronic disease