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When a series of life-changing events happen in rapid succession, it can throw the toughest of us off our game. Throw in a cancer diagnosis, and we’re done! That’s what happened with Erin Angiulli, a recent guest on the Tougher Together Breakthrough Podcast. Erin sat down with host Rebeccah Silence, and they talked about how we can use these events to grow and continue on our quest towards our best selves.
When Erin met our host, Rebeccah, she was at a low point in the process of breakdown. She felt so depressed that it was difficult to get out of bed. She was not even aware of all the mindset work she had to do. Her work with Rebeccah showed her that she was on the right path towards a breakthrough.
Erin explained that a lot of her growth and breakthrough was an evolution… Moving from “Why is this happening TO me?” to “Why is this happening FOR me?” and even further to “Why is this happening THROUGH me?”
These days, Erin is a certified Integrative Life Coach and is in the process of building a Wellness Center with her sister and others. She teaches yoga and workshops in energy and vision and helps others reach for their breakthrough!
She’ll tell you that you can’t let your challenges keep you down… that is not where you’re meant to be! The world needs what you have to offer. Strive to be aware of the bigger meaning. She reminds us that life is always precious and beautiful!
If you’d like to learn more about Erin Angiulli, she gives her email on the podcast. We’re always Tougher Together! Please tune in to other episodes of our podcast and explore the human connection between us.
Rebeccah Silence, is a speaker, coach and international media personality, who survived cancer while pregnant and has impacted hundreds of thousands of listeners through her radio programs and appearances. She is the Creator of the HEALING IS POSSIBLE movement and courses and is committed to helping others heal their traumas. As a certified world-class Emotional Healing Coach, Rebeccah is uniquely qualified to facilitate breakthroughs to wellness and transformation while she inspires hope and possibility in even the most challenging times. She is best known for healing heartbreak, and her clients frequently tell her that she brought them “back to life”!
Rebeccah [00:00:00] Our next guest is a real live superhero. She’s beat cancer, reinvented herself over and over again. She’s a young mom and a wife and a trained coach that has really stepped into living her life her way. And she believes in how precious life is.
Intro [00:00:26] This episode is brought to you by the podcast services division at Life’s Tough Media. Having your own podcast and using your voice to deliver your message allows you to creatively reach all types of audiences, from clients to prospects to your most loyal, membership-based, Life’s Tough Media makes having a podcast easier than ever before. By offering robust turnkey podcast solutions with superior remote recording capabilities and with studio affiliates located around the world. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at LifesTough.com to learn more. So, what is a breakthrough? It’s finding your way out of suffering and stuck. It’s that feeling of new energy, renewed life and excitement. When I was seven months pregnant with my second baby, I received a life changing diagnosis. I had cancer. When I told my older daughter, she said “So, you’re going to die?” And the only thing that saved my life during that time was knowing how to emotionally break through. Welcome to the Tougher Together, Breakthrough podcast. I’m your host, Rebeccah Silence. I’m a speaker, coach and the creator of Healing is Possible. In each episode I prepare you for life no matter what challenges you’re facing. I’m going to invite you into the stories of real people who are living life in breakthrough and making the world a better place. If they can do it so can you. Breakthrough is your right. Get ready to break through. Get ready for the rest of your life.
Rebeccah [00:02:11] Welcome, Erin Angiulli to the Tougher Together, Breakthrough with Rebeccah Silence podcast. So honored to have you joining us.
Erin [00:02:22] Thank you. I’m so excited to be here. I can’t even begin to tell you. You know I love you.
Rebeccah [00:02:27] Oh, my goodness, I adore you. Tell the world who you are and a little bit about your journey, our journey together.
Erin [00:02:35] Well, I always identify first as a mom. I have two beautiful kids. They’re 10 and 11. They keep me up all the time. And I really am just a seeker of the best version of myself that I can be. And a continual peeling back the onion of what I believe is possible and reimagining what could be possible as I level up and just experience life.
Rebeccah [00:03:14] What is breakthrough, according to you, Erin?
Erin [00:03:21] According to me, breakthrough is really… So, the way I would define it is, it’s the lowest point that I was at and then turning back to grace, to possibility, to a higher power, that there was more and there could be more and really opening myself up to all that could be possible. All the goodness that there is in this world. Just breaking through what I came to know as limiting beliefs or this is how it is or, you know, this is the way things are structured and there is not really much you can do about it. So, breakthrough for me was really just expanding what I believed was true and challenging limiting beliefs about myself and then you know as I evolve about the world and society and whatever it might be. But it really is that expansion of… is this really the way it is, or is it just the way it is right now because this is my limited understanding? And is there room and space to maybe push out a little bit?
Rebeccah [00:04:53] I love that. There’s such a big difference between right now and what’s possible.
Erin [00:04:59] Right. Right. And that’s that feeling. A stock that we talk about a lot is when you are in a space of this is it, and even if you have the most loving people around you that are like trying to support you and be like, hey, you know, it’s going to get better or you know trying to help you navigate it until you can come to your own realization and find your own validation and meaning and really start again, like just making that little push of could there be more? Could it be that if I had a different experience or had a different viewpoint or had another conversation? What expansion? What how can my life grow a little bit?
Rebeccah [00:05:49] Yeah. And one of the big pieces of the mission of the Tougher Together, Breakthrough podcast with me, Rebeccah Silence, is we’re really wanting people to recognize that they are so much tougher than any circumstance and we’re so much tougher together. Will you paint a picture of that low low that you were describing earlier and the path to where you are now? Just get in there with us.
Erin [00:06:17] Sure. Absolutely. So, I’ll take you way back, like, you know, when I was young and you know, my formulative, my timeline, I was just a very quiet kid, very a people pleaser, wanting to have everybody copasetic, very much took responsibility for the emotions and my family and, you know, just trying to be that peacekeeper. So, like you can see that throughout my timeline. And I had a great childhood. I have a great family. So, you know, there was always this kind of feeling for me was like, why? Why am I so different? Like, I just feel like there’s something wrong with me, like everybody else gets it and I don’t. And just really wanting to take really good care of the people around me. So, like, you know, there’s definitely progression through my life. And I think that when I was going through my divorce, things got really loud for me, like the beliefs of I’m not good enough, you know, I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, I’m not skinny enough to make enough money. I don’t do enough stuff. And it just really started getting loud and the divorce was very hard for me, it was very, very hard for my family, and it created rifts where there weren’t rifts before. And as a people pleaser, you know, that’s a really hard space to be in. So, a lot of things happened in a concentrated amount of time. I got divorced. I got into a really nice new relationship. We got engaged. My mother was diagnosed with cancer. We got married. We got pregnant for our first child. You know, my mom died. We were pregnant with our second child. So, like all of these really big things were happening in a really concentrated amount of time. And I think that, you know, normal ebb and flow of ups and downs, I think when we talk about my darkest point was when… and I’d been seeking therapy throughout and talking to different counselors and really trying to navigate my life. And it was a couple of years after my mom had died and honestly, Rebeccah, I can’t even remember how your name came into my space, but I just remember feeling so depressed and being clinically diagnosed as depressed and anxious and having doctors throwing pills at you and thinking to myself, this cannot be the answer, cannot be the only answer. And just feeling every day like I cannot get out of bed and I’ve got these beautiful kids that I desperately, desperately wanted and I’m not enjoying that and I’m feeling so depleted and so… Such despair. And I just pray to my God, I know that this isn’t it. I know this isn’t it. And somehow your name came to me, I can’t remember if it was just popped up in our local area in the first conversation with you, I’m like, yes, this is it. This is this is the road and iIt took a long time, and I know that I was challenging for you some times.
Rebeccah [00:10:01] Oh, my God. I was like, bring it on Erin. Let’s go. But what was that had you really recognizing that you were at? Right? Like you’re the path. You’re the lifeline here.
Erin [00:10:15] I think, again, really, it was our conversations. And then, you know, I would pick up little… you would say something and it would stick in my mind. And maybe it was just a phrase and maybe I would google, you know, whatever it might be. Mindset is like the big thing that sticks out with you. And I was, you know, you had said something, we were talking about mindset, and I went home and I googled mindset and Carol Dweck’s book came up about mindset, Fixed and Growth Mindset. And, you know, it’s just incrementally, for me, it was just incrementally little pieces that affirmed that I was on the right path, that this is your pathway to freedom, and other people aren’t giving it to you, per se. They’re not validating you. They’re not saying, they’re not giving you their truth. You’re picking up in gleaming these little things and you are claiming your spa, you’re claiming your freedom and you’re just walking the path and… I think that from a space of, again, that people pleaser kind of goes hand-in-hand with a more what I would call a low vibe mindset or a low vibe state of victim, like why is this happening to me? I have that a lot in my life. Why is this happening to me? I’m a good person. And understanding that there are different states of being, you know, that victims face. And why is this happening to me or why is this happening for me? And you know what I’m really working towards my next phase of evolution is how is this, what wants to happen through me, you know?
Rebeccah [00:12:06] I love that because I don’t think life is happening to us or for us. I think it’s just happening. And then who were we..
Erin [00:12:12] Right.
Rebeccah [00:12:12] …going to be? And I think…
Erin [00:12:14] Right.
Rebeccah [00:12:14] One of my favorite parts, Erin, about getting the honor and privilege of working with you is we kind of never know what we’re training for. You know, in my opinion, you and I were working together and you were almost like, how come I’m not happier when I have everything that should make me happy? And I think you are a great example of not just making the most out of your life, but letting the way you want to live come to you, come through you and then come into manifestation. And where we ended up was all of our work, you know, taking you into an experience of a cancer diagnosis, at a really young age, I mean, paint that picture of breakthrough and life and possibility for us.
Erin [00:13:05] So I had just come out of our legacy training and, you know, I have my life coaching certification in my hot little hands. And I’m just desiring like have this deep, huge, loving desire to put really good things into the world and try and be supportive to as many people as I can, and I’m driving to my day job and I’m just like heart wide open and saying, God, the universe, I am ready. I’m ready for my next big game. I really want to have a huge impact on my community and the people around me and I just want to expand that and I want to just be this positive force. And I remember driving over Higbee Road and it’s all farm and the sun is coming up and it’s just this beautiful picture and I just have this sense of really wonderful well-being and two weeks later I got my cancer diagnosis, and… I’m really at that point challenging myself that everything that is coming to me is for my best interests, just for my highest growth, it’s for me to evolve and become more of the authentic best version of myself. So, you know after this drive that I’m talking about, where I’m kind of on cloud nine and I’m just feeling really, really good, and I have this lump in my left breast, and I had been ignoring it for quite some time. I had been told that, oh, it’s probably a cyst. It’s not a big deal. And, you know, I finally get to the space where like, I know I have to do something about this. And I went for the biopsy. And as soon as they took the tissue sample, something really grounded and centered and not terrifying came over me and it was like, this is going to be cancer and, you know, you’re… this is meant for you. And while everybody else around me is going, no, no, no, it won’t be anything, you know, you definitely don’t have any of the risk factors, you know, and I’m really pretty positive that this is going to be a cancer diagnosis. And we need to gear up, right? So…
Rebeccah [00:15:49] And you did.
Erin [00:15:51] And we did. Yeah. I mean, I’m not by any stretch of the imagination going to try and pretend that it was all like, you know, Zen and everything is great and everything’s beautiful. We definitely had lots of stuff to work through as a family. More things individually. Again, that limiting belief about what, how I defined myself, how I define beauty. I mean, like I had a bilateral mastectomy. So, there was lots of things with that. There was, you know, my own claiming of what I find beautiful and redefining that and reimagining that. And, you know… I’m not sure… I am sure that the person that I am today is because I had a battle with cancer and I’m not sorry for it. It made me a better person. It made me a better person, it made me a better mother, it made me a better wife, it made me a better friend. It really did so.
Rebeccah [00:16:53] Specifically, Erin. I mean, I couldn’t agree with you more. I mean, it’s a club I think neither one of us expected to join being young moms with cancer.
Rebeccah And, you know. Not very many people can speak to the possibility of cancer and using cancer as a way to grow into more of the you that you want to be like you can. So, tell us even more. What were the lessons? What were the breakdown moments? What were the breakthrough moments?
Erin [00:17:28] Well, I think one of the first very obvious, especially for women in general, is, you know, to the prospect of losing, you know, part of what you define as your femininity. You know, cultures told us that our breasts are part of what makes you feminine. And it’s… It was not a difficult choice for me, I will say that, you know, I had a great surgeon that kept talking to me in the terms that… We’re very… It resonated with me. He kept reminding me and kept asking me, what are you committed to when he kind of reminded me of you in that. So, he kept asking me, what am I committed to when he asked me before we even went into surgery? You know, what is your goal? You know, what do you want to achieve here? And my overall health was always my goal. So, when we started talking about placing spacers and putting in implants, I just… it was not a conversation I was ready to have at that point, because I’m still facing surgery and chemotherapy and radiation. So, you know, to talk about, All right, we’re going to take your breasts off and now what do you want to do? You know, do you want to start talking about implants? And it just didn’t feel good to me, so… I think that, making that decision at the time was one of the best things that could have happened to me, because it really forced me again to redefine beauty for me. You know, when you’re bald and looking at your, and I had a really nice, very nice symmetrical bald head, I will… But like you really do, so much is tied up in your hair and in your makeup and you know, so I really… won’t say enjoyed, I guess maybe looking back I can enjoy the process of looking at what would not be traditionally called beautiful and saying, oh, no, but I am you know.
Rebeccah [00:19:41] A Facebook memory popped up today with a picture of you and I at lunch with your bald head.
Erin [00:19:46] At lunch? Yeah. So, I mean, I look back at those and I feel like… I just really feel that it was a necessary part of the process for me, because that limitation of not enough, not pretty enough, I don’t know that it could have evolved to where I am right now if I hadn’t been in that space. But, you know, I remember sleeping in the Barcalounger for almost a year because, you know, right after surgery, there was obviously stitches and staples and drains and, you know, it was just more comfortable to sleep in the Barcalounger and I remember waking up on numerous occasions just crying. And my husband Mark coming out and just sitting on the arm with a chair and, you know, just saying over and over again, this has to be for something. This has to be for something, like this… it has to be, to serve in some way and become more. And I think that for, you know, one of the biggest memories that I have of the kids is right after my first chemo appointment, you know, your hair starts falling out. They usually say about 16 days and it’ll really start falling out significantly. And the kids were little, you know, they were five and six at the time, and they were very upset about the prospect of me losing my hair and the day came that it was really falling out. It started to hurt. I don’t know, if you’ve never been through it, I don’t know that I could explain it really well. But it really felt like just heavy on the hair follicle and it was painful. So, we called the family together. We went out on the back deck of my house and with my loving family all around, we shaved my head and my awesome husband got out his clippers and, you know, through the tears and the laughter, he shaved it off. And I remember partway through, my daughter got upset and she left and then my son left. And once it was all gone, I went back in the house and they had gone into my bedroom, into my closet, and they were just kind of holed up in the closet. And they were crying and they were upset, and my mother-in-law was with them. And she came out and she said, you know, they’re just upset. They’re, you know …the hair. And so, I went in and their faces were covered with their stuffed animals and I just kind of gathered them on my lap. And I don’t know that they looked at me and I just said to them. Does my hug feel different? Does my love feel different? What you see is just part of it, what you feel is really what we want to attune to. I’m still here, I’m still mom. My love is still as fierce and huge as it ever was. It’s just hair. It’ll grow back.
Rebeccah [00:23:16] And your life Erin, was just as fierce as it ever was. And watching you lead yourself and your family and those kids through your recovery and transformation and evolution, it was a miracle to witness. What do you want people to know about when it does feel the darkest? When it does feel the hardest? How do you stay committed to breakthrough and life in the moments where it just doesn’t feel worth it or like there is any possibility on the other side?
Erin [00:23:59] Yeah, I feel that so much. I, I feel that so, so much. I think and I feel that everybody has to answer the why, and the why for me is life is always precious and beautiful and I, I believe, I just believe that to the core of my being that whatever created us, whatever you call it, if it’s God, if it’s the universe, if it’s source, whatever it is, it didn’t bring you into existence to suffer, to feel like you’re being punished. I think that if there was anything that I could ever say to anybody who was feeling that crushing weight of despair and lost, there is something deeper inside of you and sink into that in search for it, because that inner voice is where the meaning is. That place inside isn’t the just buckle up, you know, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and maybe it is a little tiny bit, but more so it is you have something beautiful and impactful and necessary that this world needs to have right now in this moment. And maybe you don’t know what it is yet, and that’s OK. That’s all right. You don’t have to have it all figured out. But what I would say is just keep tuning and calibrating and turning towards. There is a bigger meaning and that the suffering doesn’t have to be a punishment. Like, the challenging moment could be because it’s preparing you for something, something bigger than maybe you could even possibly imagine at this point.
Rebeccah [00:26:47] Yeah. And that now that you referenced earlier isn’t permanent.
Erin [00:26:52] Oh, no. And, you know, I think that it’s only been really this last probably year, really, the pandemic has been a really big time for me. I lost my job and home schooling the kids and again, like still going to appointments and trying to kind of come up with this idea for a business and launching and like all of these things, like if you had said to me six weeks ago, I’d be right here right now, I’d be like, no way. But, you know, things are evolving and they’re orchestrating and they’re coming into alignment in a more beautiful way than you could ever imagine. So, allow.
Rebeccah [00:27:37] Tell us about your new business.
Erin [00:27:39] So, it is definitely still in the inception phase, we are working on a couple of different avenues, but I know for certain from my end of the business and going to be doing integrative coaching in integrative support, and I am also going to be doing this really fun, I’m super excited about, eyebrow microblading. So, this is going to be part of our beauty, holistic portion of our business, but we’re also… have space, we’re going to be doing yoga and different workshops for energy work and vision work and just creating community and creating support and, dare I say, safe space for people that really just need that connection. So, there’s a lot of different things going on and it’s really exciting.
Rebeccah [00:28:41] And you’re building a wellness center.
Erin [00:28:46] We’re building a wellness center. We are. And if we imagine wellness. Yeah, it is. And it’s going to be and I’m just really excited to be doing it with my sister and her mother-in-law and I’ve got other people that have been in on my journey, on the path, over the last few years that we’re just collaborating and it’s really exciting. So, yeah.
Rebeccah You’ve literally brought your dreams to life and kept your life.
Erin Yeah. Yeah. Beyond what I would have imagined a few short years ago. So, you know, again, just staying in that space of allowing it to evolve and allowing it to manifest and, keep committed to life is beautiful and there are challenges, and that’s OK. It’s you know, I love… I love a part in the movie, A League Their Own Way, where Tom Hanks said… it’s a perfect line. It’s the hard that makes it great. It really is. You know, you just get a new level of appreciation when you go through challenges. So don’t let your challenges keep you down. They might knock you down for a few, but you’re not meant to stay there. And there are so many people that are rooting for you and are willing to extend a hand and not save you, but like lift you back up and say you’re meant to be up here, right? Don’t stay down there. You weren’t meant to.
Rebeccah [00:30:25] That was so good. Give us homework. What homework do you have for our beautiful listeners?
Erin [00:30:34] Homework. Okay. I would say the single most transformational thing, for me, is sitting down with a notebook and writing down on one side of the paper everything you think you believe, everything you think you believe, I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not I can’t do that, whatever it might be. And give yourself, set the timer for ten minutes and don’t you dare let yourself off the hook and stop writing until the ten minutes is up because that’s it. Right? I mean, we don’t think it’s that easy. And believe me, it’s not easy, but it really is that little… it’s that small intentional practice of just getting out what’s up here and putting it on the paper and seeing it in three dimensions, right? And do that every day. Ten minutes, write down everything that you can think of, a belief, a limit. There are multiple pages. I would start with the limiting beliefs first and then on another page, look at the limiting belief and then write down three or four things that counter that or expand the possibility of that limiting belief, right?
Rebeccah Give us an example.
Erin OK, so when I thought about launching a coaching business. When I finished the legacy program, I didn’t do this work that I’m talking about now, it was like, OK, I got my certification, I’m going to go and do it. So, I think the deep work happened for me through the cancer diagnosis and then through other things that have happened in the last year or so. And I’ve just gotten super intentional within the last year of sitting down and writing what I think I can’t do. So, one of the big things was I can’t coach, I can’t launch a business. And then I started to wiggle a little bit and say, well, if I were to start a business, where would I start? And… I had written down and I wish I brought my notebook so I could read from you out of it, so I had written down: I can’t start a business. And then I started writing down, all right, well, what would I need? To have happen for me, to entertain the possibility that this could happen for me, and I’d written down like I would need people to collaborate with, I would need partners just to have a sense of community and like, you know, to bounce off ideas. And then out of nowhere my sister and her mother-in-law wanted to buy this building. And we have an idea and would you want to be involved in it? And it was like, yeah, I’ve got all of these ideas and, you know, all of this stuff just started happening as I took on, oh, I can’t start a business and then shifted into what would it take.
Rebeccah [00:33:47] Mhmm.
Erin [00:33:48] What would it take for me to entertain the possibility? And I think that it became really like, wow. That really wasn’t the fork lift that I thought it was going to be. You know what I mean? It wasn’t this huge, skies open up and, you know, the angels sing, I was just as simple as sitting down, being super intentional 10 minutes a day, writing down all the things that I found limiting and then going back and saying, all right, well, if I was going to imagine a little bit, what would it take? And it works. And then the other thing is, you are in a space of, again, that stock I can’t, that limiting belief, I’m not good enough. Ba, ba, ba, ba. Spend a few minutes every day sitting down and writing on a piece of paper. I’m good enough, I know that the universe is always conspiring in my favor. I know that good things are happening for me. I know that I don’t need to worry about this. I’m feeling really frisky about where I’m at right now. I don’t have to have everything figured out. I trust that the universe is always working for me. You know, just allowing space and allowing the expansion of your energetic space in your mindset. I think it is one hundred percent transformational.
Rebeccah [00:35:22] Yeah. Erin wants you to get frisky and “wiggle it just a little bit…” So good Erin! Oh, my god. All right. Where can people get in touch with you?
Erin [00:35:36] So right now, we don’t have our website fully launched yet. But I do have an email address. You can email me at reimaginewellnessutica.net and reach out. If you’re in a space where you’re just doing, you need a little support or you just want to say, hey, I’d love to hear from you. And then if you email me, then I’ll have your email address. The one we fully launch I can let you know what’s up.
Rebeccah [00:36:00] Excellent. Excellent. You’re listening to the Tough Together, Breakthrough podcast with me, Rebeccah Silence. And you just heard a miracle story of breakthrough and healing and transformation. And we’ve got more in store for you soon.
Outro [00:36:22] Please note that the content of this podcast is not meant to be therapeutic or to replace any personal growth work that you are already doing with a coach, therapist, or mentor. Take the content, have it inspire you, and then keep working with your support system. Breakthrough is your right. Breakthrough reminds us that we’re tougher together and that we’re connected to possibility even in the most challenging and possibly darkest times. I’m Rebeccah Silence, creator of Healing is Possible and proud host of the Tougher Together, Breakthrough podcast where we come together and we tell stories of real breakthrough that exist for you as well. Get ready to break through, get ready to live more free, and get ready to experience more breakthrough. Because that’s your right. Join us on the Life’s Tough Media website and stay tuned for more. If you want to get in touch with me visit rebeccahsilence.com. Your time is now. Your breakthrough begins now.