Exercise: My Breast Cancer Social Web

Where Do I Belong?

The purpose of this exercise is to help you see the variety and number of relationships you have as it relates to breast cancer, to reflect on the characteristics of these relationships and consider if you are getting and giving what you want within them.

Draw a series of concentric circles or a spider web. Put your name in the middle. Now, think of the key relationships you have in your life and at work that are or may be impacted by breast cancer.

From your name, draw a line out through the circles and write “Family.” From “Family” draw lines and write the names of the key family members who you actively and frequently relate to. No need to write them all down: just indicate relationships that require your energy and demand your active participation. Mark each relationship line for your sense of whether the relationship is currently very (+) or not very (-) impacted by breast cancer.

Do the same for your key work relationships, your key neighborhood relationships, key peers, and your boss(es). Depending on where you are in life, you might include your doctor, a coach, a spiritual teacher or counselor. Again mark each relationship line for your sense of whether the relationship is currently very (+) or not very (-) impacted by breast cancer.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, take a moment to look at all the names that are on your web.  Look at all the people you have in your world that can support you!!  If you’re ever feeling down or alone look at this web and pick someone to reach out to.  Take a moment to write down your memories of the different people or how they have supported you through this time or in the past.  Similarly, are there ways you could reach out to some of the people on your web and check in with them and see how they’re doing or find ways to support them even amidst your own challenges – sometimes taking the focus off your illness is just what you need.  Or you could write a letter to those who have helped you already and thank them for everything they’ve done and let them know it’s made a difference.

To take this one step further, you can spend a few minutes jotting some notes about the people on your web.  What are their key strengths and gifts?  Their unique perspectives?  What do they care most about?  As you think of them compassionately, what comes to mind?  What do your thoughts make you want to do with them?  Who sees you as truly important in his or her life?  What emotions do you feel as you look at your web?

Are there any relationships that could use attention? Do you have unfinished business with anyone?  Who is someone you could call right now?



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