In treating patients who have cancer, oncology nurse Audrey Stoppel, BSN, BA, RN, OCN, RTCN, believes that you must focus on more than the body — you must also focus on the mind and spirit. And meditation is a way to bridge the mind-body-spirit gap that can occur, she says.
Stoppel, who leads monthly meditations at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center and works part-time in radiation oncology at Rush Copley’s Cancer Care Center, says meditation is a practice that can be done no matter your age or religious background.
“You can learn meditation and mindfulness, and the more you do it, the more you will grow,” she says. Meditation can open your mind and spirit and help you move past the present situation, she says. And, it can be paired with prayer or other spiritual practices.
“Meditation is something that will always support you,” she says.
At Waterford Place, she leads guided meditation sessions that include cleansing breathwork and relaxation techniques to help balance emotions, decrease physical and psychological distress and promote the practice of living in the moment. On September 23, she will introduce participants to HeartMath meditation, a heart-focused breathing technique that helps increase clarity and balance.
In addition to her job as a nurse and her programs at Waterford Place, Stoppel is finishing up her board certification as a holistic nurse and is a certified HeartMath clinical meditation practitioner. She is also the mother of three children, ages 3, 7 and 9.
“Needless to say, I am busy, but I have learned the balance of self-care and self-love through it all,” she says. Stoppel is passionate about oncology and total care for patients and the community. She loves to learn new ways to provide the best possible care and survivorship journey for patients and looks at all aspects of the individual to bring them to a place of wholeness. She finds that opportunity at Waterford Place.
“Taking care of all aspects of who you are, not just the physical body, is so important for overall health,” she says. When you provide self-care and find self-love, she believes true healing can occur. “We cannot control what happens in our lives, but we can control our response to it,” she says. “That is where meditation can help.”