In this episode, Kathryn interviews Shelley Buck and Kathy Curtis about grief, healing, and how creativity helps throughout the process.
Meet Shelley Buck and Kathy Curtis
Shelley Buck was born into a creative family in the Midwest and moved to California after college to follow her dream of working for Disney. It was there she met and fell in love with
her husband, Chris, who worked in animation. After they married and had their first child, Ryder, she stayed home to be a full-time mom to him and the
two brothers who followed.
Kathy Curtis moved into Shelley’s neighborhood when they were both 12 years old and an instant, lifelong friendship took root. She has worked as a healing artist and writer since 1991. Her programs support the transformation of grief, illness, and emotional barriers through creative expression. She is the author of Invisible Ink, a memoir about her own journey through grief.
Check out their book’s website here.
In This Podcast
- How Ryder’s cancer diagnosis and journey affected Shelley
- The grieving process for Shelley and how it looked differently than her husband’s
- Healing through creativity
- How Ryder’s light lives on
How Ryder’s cancer diagnosis and journey affected Shelley
Ryder was diagnosed at 22 with cancer. The prognosis was good in that it was curable.
Shelley was attached to the hip with Ryder when he was inpatient, which was one out of every three weeks. She was at the hospital every day, and would give him breaks when he seemed like he wanted some solitude. But that was hard for her. Shelley did a lot of research while she was with Ryder. However he preferred to not know anything about it in the beginning and to follow his own path. When he was outpatient, he’d spend time relaxing, watching soccer or music videos, and then he would be off and running to the mountains and the beach.
Ryder didn’t talk a lot about his inner feelings, but he did read while in the hospital. Most were spiritual, some were about lyric writing because he was into his music by then. He’d formed a band and he even scheduled gigs in between his rounds of chemo. For Shelley, there was a lot of letting loose of the leash, extending the leash, and even dropping the leash, which was hard for her.
The grieving process for Shelley and how it looked differently than her husband’s
Tragically, Ryder had been recently cleared from cancer when he passed away of injuries from getting hit by two cars during a foggy night. Shelley couldn’t imagine life without Ryder and had given up the will to live initially. She felt furious, broken, but had an army of people who loved her and needed her.
While Shelley needed people around her and would update them through CaringBridge, her husband, Chris, needed solitude. Shelley needed to tell Ryder’s story. Chris needed to go up the coast by himself, camp, and get in touch with Ryder.
Chris listened to Ryder’s music. Though he was very private about his grief, he was willing to talk with Shelley.
Healing through creativity
Kathy worked in the capacity of writing and storytelling at the corporate level. She pursued her passion, which is to bring people through difficult experiences through creativity. Her writing program for grief and illness provides creative outlets by allowing people to move through grief and to become more conscious of what means what to them. Helping Shelley write the book was different from what she’d normally encounter in the past because it she had her own grief about losing Ryder as well.
Writing the book was a two year journey, five years after Ryder had passed away.
By the time they began writing the book, they were both much more ready. Even the writing of the book added healing to that journey itself.
Shelley trusted Kathy wholeheartedly throughout the whole process. Kathy tried to get Shelley to write letters to Ryder, but she wasn’t quite ready. Once she was, they were off and running. What Kathy realized in her work with Shelley and others is when you ready to open up to the idea of being okay, that healing can begin.
How Ryder’s light lives on
Shelley kept an online journal when Ryder was diagnosed with cancer and continued writing in it years after his passing. She received encouragement from friends who read her journal to write a book. Shelley didn’t seriously consider it until she began receiving messages from Ryder after he had passed.
She got messages from him directly and also through a friend who receives messages from the other side as an open channel. Shelley’s friend received a lot of messages from Ryder, especially in the early months after he passed. She would type them out and send them to Shelley the next day.
These messages kept Shelley going and helped with her grief tremendously.
Ryder knew who he was. He never questioned it. He never had to look outside of himself to see if that was right for him.
He had a passion that was deep within him, that drove him throughout his life. His expression was drawing and then music. He illuminated his light through his music on stage and his love poured off the stage. People were so swept up in it, he had a solid following throughout the LA area, which had everything to do with the brightness of his spirit.
Leave your light on. It’s just so easy to remember and a compelling idea. That we should all, I think about it every day, because Ryder is a part of me now having, told his story, but it has changed the way that I think about life.
Books discussed in this episode
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Welcome to the show, Shelley and Kathy. I’m so excited to have both of you with us today.
Thanks for having us.
Well like I said in the introduction, y’all co-wrote “Leave Your Light On: The Musical Mantra Left Behind by an Illuminating Spirit.” I love the book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I really loved the title.
What led both of you to want to write this book together and tell the story?
Well, I’ll start. I started keeping an online journal when my son was diagnosed with cancer and I kept it going for years after his passing. He did not die of cancer, which we’ll probably get to, but the title of the book is the title of the first song he ever wrote: Leave Your Light On.
And, I had a lot of encouragement from friends based on my journal to write a book. But I kind of put it on the back shelf until Ryder came through from the other side and said, mom, write my story. I will help you. And he did. And Kathy can talk about that if she wants.
Okay. I just got like chills over my whole entire body. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Well, that it probably means Ryder’s here with you. I got messages from him, directly and also through a friend who kind of receives messages from the other side. Not professionally. But her mother had passed and she’s been an open channel. She got a lot of messages from Ryder. Especially in the early months after he passed, and she would type them out and send them to me the next day. They usually came at night in her sleep.
That really kept me going. I mean, it helped with my grief tremendously, because every time I felt connected to him, it lifted me up and would last for days.
Oh, that is absolutely amazing. Now, Kathy, I want to bring you into the conversation. Y’all have been friends for a long time.
What led you to write this book with Shelley? Tell me a little bit about y’all’s relationship.
Sure. Well, we met when we were 12 and we are of retirement age at this point. So that was a long time ago. The minute we met, we were instantly best friends. So we’ve lived apart, really our whole adult lives, but we we’ve stayed connected at the soul level the entire time. Her life is magical in the way that she moved out to California from the Chicago area, to follow her dream that she had had since she was 10 to work at Disney. And to be involved in the magic of animation. So she went to LA.
I stayed really in the Midwest. And I worked in the capacity of writing and storytelling at the corporate level. I moved around, but I had a sideline work that I did that involved my passion, which is to bring people through really, really difficult things through creativity. I have a writing program that I offer for grief and illness and other things. People get really stuck. Creative outlets help to not only allow them to move through it, but to become more conscious of what did, what things mean to them.
How to let go and things like that. Anyway, that was my sideline gig for many, many years, couple of decades. Shelley had been given encouragement by a film producer in the LA area to take her journal and turn it into a narrative. He thought writers’ stories should be told, but he knew that in order for people to really get into the story, that it would need to be more of a story and less of a day by day journal through the journey that they took.
Shelley called me one day she’s like, “Oh my God, he told me that he thinks I should get a ghostwriter.” I have no idea where to look. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Go to New York city? How am I going to know they’re going to be…it’s just all that.
Well, I wrote a book about grief and I’ve been doing this work with people, helping them. I’m sitting on the other end of the phone thinking well, I hated to say anything because I thought, what if she already thought of me and went nah I don’t really want her to be the one to write the book.
But anyway, I asked her, well, what about me? And she just screamed into the phone. And just was like, Oh my God, I’m looking right at the answer and I can’t even see it. So it was immediately after that. We began to be on the phone together every single day for two years. Until we had the book written and edited and ready to go to markets.
It was a phenomenal journey for us as friends and very healing too.
Yes. I can tell that you are a great storyteller because I was just enthralled listening to that. I bet that really refueled the connection that the two of y’all had and had had for so long. Getting to be with each other in that way every day, even from a distance.
And so I want to talk about, I know this book, this wonderful story is about Ryder, but Shelley it’s really about you too. I mean, we get some of his perspective. We definitely get your perspective. I love the fact that y’all weaved in short snippets and perspective from different people that were influenced by Ryder.
I love how y’all did that, but it’s really a lot of that is about your family. So I’d love for you to kind of lay the foundation and tell me what it was like in your household. Having three boys growing up.
Oh my goodness. Well, they couldn’t have been more different. Sometimes you’ll have a boy and a girl and you’ll attribute the differences to their gender, but these were all boys and Ryder was born unlike any boy I expected. He was calm, he was intuitive. He was just an old soul. And, I had to really tone down my energy in order to match his or just even get along, throughout life.
Then my second son, Woody was born just a magical sparkly character. He wanted to be on stage from the time he was four when he had his first recital and said, I love my work mom. You’re four. Where is that coming from? He’s always been a performer. Studied musical theater at the University of Michigan and moved to New York city to follow his dreams. Then my third son Reed was born a wild thing. He was a storm from the get-go. Even before he was born, he was the kicking-est child I ever bore.
That was another challenge for Ryder. I met Reed’s energy with no problem, but Ryder really couldn’t handle two storms in the same household. So he had to find his calm and he often took it to the streets or the mountains or the beach in order to just, find his chill place. Then my husband of course, was working in animation.
So we had that magic going the whole time.
Was Ryder more like your husband or did he just come out completely different from both of you?
My husband is a very calm guy. I think we are well matched. And, my husband didn’t really have the musical background that Ryder picked up, but as far as temperament, they were more similar.
Yeah a nybody who says that it’s all on the parents to determine what a child is like…they come into this world, knowing what they want to be don’t they?
They really do and the challenge is to encourage them and let them follow their hearts, and really, and really support that.
As a mother of three children, two of whom are boys, I can say that it’s really difficult to do when that child is opposite of you to hold that and nurture that even sometimes when there’s friction. Tell me a more about Ryder and his music and what that was for him?
He always listened intently. Let’s put it that way. He didn’t really pick up music as something that he did on stage until he was in junior high when he joined the choir. And that was an accidental thing. He thought he was signed up for art for two semesters, but it turned out the second semester was choir. He found himself on stage and for his temperament, that was the last thing he wanted.
That was for his younger brother. About two or three years into high school, he picked up the guitar and when he was getting to the point of graduating high school, he said, “mom, I don’t know what I want to do with my life.” But he had the guitar strapped to his back and I said, “honey, look in the mirror, it’s strapped on your back.”
This is your passion. Go for it. So that was his permission to follow his dream.
Oh, that’s beautiful. I know a lot of what happens from reading the book, but those listeners who haven’t read the book yet, tell us about the day that you got the call from Ryder and the news about what was going on with his health.
He was 22 at the time and I had one away at college. Woody was away at college and Reed was still in high school. So I was painting graphics on a sports building down at the high school, something I did a lot of and Ryder called in the middle of it and said, I have good news and bad news.
What do you want first? So I took the bad news first and he said, I have cancer. And I dropped my brush and said what? And he said, but it’s kind of can be cured. So he had this great attitude from the get-go and it took me all day to get permission from Ryder to talk to his doctor because of course he was an adult at this point.
Finally I talked to the doctor. He said the prognosis was good, but we needed to find an oncologist immediately. Ryder had surgery within the week to remove the tumor. Then we got an oncologist and found out that it had spread to his lungs and he was really stage four cancer. So that sent us into a storm of activity and research.
We settled on an oncologist that Ryder really liked. My husband and I also liked very much and he led us through with flying colors. He was a wonderful human being. Tell me a little bit, and Kathy, I do, I want to get you back in this conversation very soon. I want to know a little bit though about how that changed your relationship with Ryder through that process of going through the cancer treatments and what that looked like in your family?
Well, for me, I was attached at the hip with Ryder when he was inpatient, which was one week out of every three. And I was at the hospital every day.
I gave him breaks when he seemed like he wanted some solitude, which was hard for me. I did a lot of research on my computer while I was there. Finding out the best diet and exercise programs and what he might do, but what Ryder really wanted was not to know anything about it in the beginning and to just follow his own path. Which meant when he was outpatient, he’d spend a couple of days on the couch, just watching soccer or music videos, and then he would be off and running. Like I said to the mountains, to the beach.
He even went camping once, it was supposed to be about an hour from where we lived. He came home with pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge on his phone. Now that’s six hours North of where we live and he showed me these with the twinkle in his eye. And, his tongue in his cheek and said, well, mom, I would have told you eventually. He couldn’t keep anything from me for long, again he was a quiet human being.
He didn’t talk a lot about his inner feelings. I looked at the books that he took to the hospital. They were largely spiritual, some were about, lyric writing because he was really, really into his music by then. He’d formed a band and he even scheduled gigs in between his rounds of chemo. There was a lot of letting loose of the leash, extending the leash, and even dropping the leash.
Because again, he was 22 years old. The doctor had told me right off the bat, you’re going to have to let him be a man, which meant back off mom. So that was my challenge.
Yeah, that’s hard for moms and situations in which cancer is not involved. To let our kids do what they are truly meant to do, which is leave us, find themselves.
But I would imagine that was particularly difficult for you with everything that was going on.
I tried to get him to his doctor’s appointments on time, which mostly happened. He was really compliant, but there would be a day or two where he dragged his heels, getting out of the house, he knew he was checking in for a week.
He knew what was in front of him, needles and tests, he was sometimes less than compliant. And, again, didn’t really want to talk about his condition, until the very end, when he suddenly wanted to know everything about what was going on in his body, because he wanted to write about it and create songs.
That was a challenge.
He didn’t really want to know until it served his ultimate purpose, which is being creative, writing and getting the music out there.
Yeah. What was it like with your friends, with Kathy at that time? Were you able to step away from Ryder at all and recharge and lean on your friends or be with your other two boys or was there just a sole focus?
There was pretty much a sole focus. I mean, my youngest one demanded my attention and maybe even more because my focus was so on Ryder. I did keep that journal, which kept everyone apprised of where I was emotionally, spiritually, and and intellectually. People were up to speed with where I was.
And when I sounded down, they knew to call or invite me out for coffee. Just get me out of the house and away from the cancer. Kathy can probably answer that better.
I had been through cancer in my family and I know how intense it is. I know that you just want to do everything you can to make sure they’re okay.
Like she said, I could read every single thing that was going through her mind and her heart on Caring Bridge. I felt like I was in tune with everything, but I stayed back by and large. Until I don’t know. It’s hard to remember, but I know myself well enough to know that when they’re the moment where I go, yeah I really got to reach out to her. I would do that.
And she would always be more than ready to talk and let things out.
So how long did this battle with cancer last?
Ryder was in treatment one week out of every three for nine months. He had add a little respite during the holidays when they thought his numbers were good and he might be finished.
Then we had tests and it showed that his markers were up. So he went right back into treatment in January, for another four rounds. He had seven rounds altogether. They were a week long each, as they progressed, he got sicker. Of course he lost all his hair and spent more time on the couch, in his bed, in my bed, just wherever he could find comfort.
Then in June of 2013, he was declared clear. They were very happy. They had given him an extra round, just for insurance. The doctor said, which I never told Ryder or he never would have shown up for it. And they said, you’re good to go. Come back in six months and he didn’t make that next appointment.
No, he was hit by two cars on the freeway as he was walking home from his own car that had broken down. In the middle of the night in a dense fog, there was no seeing in front of your car three feet. He was due to go back the next week for his checkup.
So y’all had been on this I would imagine grueling rollercoaster ride with all of this cancer treatment for months and months and you get great news. And then you got this call. What was that like for you? How did you handle it?
Well, it was the CHP that showed up at our door, the California Highway Patrol and said, my son was in the hospital.
I thought he was in jail, when they showed up. They quickly told me he was in the emergency room and I was home with just my third boy, just Reed my youngest. My husband was in New York, doing publicity for Frozen, and my other son was at away at college. Reed and I got dressed quickly and they took us over to the hospital.
It was a couple of hours before the surgeon came out and told us piece-by-piece how Ryder was broken. And then he finally dropped the bomb that they couldn’t do anything more for him. He had passed. I fell apart of course, I had no idea which way to turn. I knew I had to call my son and my husband.
Told my husband, you can just stay in New York, finished your publicity. And he was like, you’re out of your mind, I’m coming home. I’m on the next flight. But very quickly, everyone knew I put it on CaringBridge. I put it on Facebook and the house was full of people that day.
I can’t even fathom even after reading the book and after listening, how that would have been for you. Grief is different for everyone and it’s not a linear thing. What was your grieving process like? Can you take us what that was like through what that was like for you?
In the beginning, I didn’t want to live, I couldn’t imagine Ryder was my soulmate and I couldn’t imagine life without him. I asked God to take me. I’ve railed at God. I was furious, I was broken. I really didn’t know how I was going to put one foot in front of the other, but I had an army of people around me and I had my children and husband that still required my love and attention.
So I did put one foot in front of the other. I got out of bed, not believing it was true. Then facing the reality. I took my showers, I barely ate, I lost a lot of weight. Then we started getting signs from Ryder and that lifted me up and helped me. It sustained me.
How long into that process was it before you started getting signs from Ryder?
It was almost immediate. At the service, one of his teachers from kindergarten came up to me and said she’d seen him sitting in the the pipe organ, and just laughing with his head thrown back, just delighted. And this was a typical Ryder thing to do. It was a celebration of life, so people wore their Hawaiian clothes because Ryder was such a beach boy.
Then I started getting messages from him through my friend, about a week later. He was persistent and kept it up with me every. Every week or two, then it became every month or two. I did consult a psychic medium, who had known Ryder in life. She was very connected with him, as was her sister who was one of his best friends.
She came through with absolute Ryder-isms and things that she couldn’t have known. That sustained me for a long time. And then she stopped doing that. I had to just rely on Ryder to get through to me directly. And he did, he came through in dream states, that were more like visits than dreams.
Very vivid and the dog would act strangely. I saw an orb of light fly through the room one day and the dog was just all agitated and he was generally like a rug. There were things that kept me going and he’s still in contact. He’s been in contact, especially with Kathy throughout the process of writing the book.
That is so cool. It’s like he knew exactly what you needed, was using that intuitive part of himself that was there from the very beginning.
Right. He could read my heart. He could always read my heart.
That’s that’s beautiful. So, Kathy, I do want to bring you back into the conversation.
How long after Ryder’s passing was it before y’all started talking about writing this book?
Two years or three? Maybe four, five.
It was five years before we actually started the book. Maybe four, maybe four and a half, something like that. We probably talked about it being a book before that, because I was getting encouragement to do that, but it was still on my back burner.
Yeah, that’s true. You’re right. It would, cause we we’ve just put it out. It was a two year journey. So that would be five years. Well, and I don’t think Shelley would have been able before that. I mean, this was a brutal loss and a, highly emotional b you Ryder was her soulmate. That child was like the other side of her coin.
And it was really challenging to be her friend and to have all the background that I had in helping people move to this. And to know this is going to be different than anything that I had ever encountered. I had my own grief, about losing him too. So, yeah. By the time we began, though, I think we were both a lot more ready. Even the writing of the book added healing to that journey itself.
That’s what I was going to ask. You specialize in helping others through their grief, illness, and emotional barriers with creative expression. It seems to me like maybe this helped in your healing process, Shelley, working through to the ideas of this book, the stories for this book about Ryder with your dear friend.
Oh, absolutely. There wasn’t anybody I trusted more, not even my husband. He couldn’t step up. Kathy, she knows my heart. We speak in shorthand because she understands what I’m trying to say better than I do sometimes, which made her the perfect partner for this book. Kathy tried to get me to write letters to Ryder.
I did a couple of things, but that was earlier on and I just really wasn’t ready. So once I was ready, we were off and running.
I think the point that I might like to make about that because having worked with so many people, there are people who have come to a program a week after losing a child or they’ve come from 15 years after losing their mom.
I mean, when people are ready for that is so very different. But what I learned, and I learned it more in my time with Shelley working on the book than maybe I ever had it, is when you ready to open up to the idea of being okay, that healing can begin. I think in order for Shelley to be able to think about writing the book, she had to be there.
And though we had our moments during the writing that were painful and they were challenging, parts of the grief that had not quite healed. I think by the time we finished, I mean, it was just incredible to watch her courage and her fortitude to step up and do that day after day after day.
So yeah. Got to give her credit for that.
That’s beautiful. That’s absolutely beautiful. I want to follow that for just a second and ask you Kathy, how does it benefit those that you have helped to process their grief and emotional barriers through creative expression?
Well, the program that I do with born out of what I did for myself. I had lost my mom and it was a really devastating loss for me. I had a really hard time coming back and I was already leading people through creative programs before that happened. What I did with my grief is that I wrote letters to my mom because she had a very rapid diagnosis to death. It was like two and a half months, but also my mom and I wrote to one another in life. That was something we did. We lived apart. It was before email. So writing letters, putting them in the mailbox, getting them from each other was kind of something we did, but I felt the need to connect with her.
I felt the need to tell her what her journey through cancer had been like for me. Because we weren’t able to talk a lot during that time. And I wanted to feel that like I wanted to believe that she could hear me. So then after that, I got this very urgent prompt to allow her to write back. Which was a creative leap and I took it and it was the most healing thing that had ever happened to me to be that wide open to her spirit.
It took the grief completely away. I mean, I’m being serious. It eliminated it. So when I put that into my own book, my thought was, I wonder if this would be helpful for other people, like if that would work for them. I turned it into a program. Over and over and over what I found was helpful were things like writing about the experience of losing their loved one from a very different angle than anybody maybe normally would ask them.
It was also incredibly helpful the night that I had them allow their loved one to write back was inevitably a very big night I did about. We would do a four week program or we would do six week, whatever the organization who hired me to come in, they would dictate how long we went. But it was, it was just over and over and over again that I saw that just the act of writing alone, people would come into the first night and they would be under the dark cloud of pain and grief that they were feeling.
They would walk out of the room, a couple of feet off the ground. Like they had cleared their heart, they had cleared their soul. They felt they were in a place where I don’t believe that when we die, that that’s the end. I had many encounters with my mom after her death. I wanted people to have complete permission to recognize if they had moments like that to allow it to be the healing that it’s meant to be. That’s what Shelley did so well in the middle of her very catastrophic grief. She was open to him from the get-go and that’s really, I think what the book is about. If you get to know Ryder, a young man filled with so much light that you could not help but be affected by him. That light continued into his afterlife.
That is what brought Shelley from slowly accepting that he had died to remembering her own light.
Okay. I can’t think of a more poetic segue to my next question. Like that was beautiful right into it. And that is Shelley, what do you see as Ryder’s light?
Ryder had a passion that was deep within him, that drove him throughout his life. His expression was drawing in the beginning of his life when he was young, but then he made the leap to music. His light came through in the way he listened to people. In the way he intuited, what people needed to people needed to be heard and seen. He emanated this light through his music on stage, the love just poured off the stage and people were so swept up in it.
He had a solid following throughout the LA area, and I think it has everything to do with the brightness of his spirit.
Yeah, it sounds like he was such a giver that he was able to really take in and be present fully present to know what those needed around him and he just gave it freely is what it sounds like to me.
Yes. He listened with his heart.
That’s that’s beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. tell me a little bit about the Ryder Bucks scholarship foundation and what you want to see happen through this.
Well, what we do is, we offer it to the seniors at the high school my boys graduated from La Cañada high school. They have to have the intent of studying and sharing their music as Ryder did.
They don’t have to major in it in college, but they do have to have a plan to share their music, whether it’s through theater or choir or band. It doesn’t matter. They all have an application to fill out with some questions. They do an interview with my husband and if the boys are around, the boys are there and myself.
Then they audition. They play something for us. Which these kids are stellar. We have had such amazing talent and we’ve given out 17 scholarships since 2014, which was the first year.
Oh, wow. That’s really cool. So oftentimes when when parents, two married people suffer a loss, it can either bring you closer together or pull you farther apart.
What did you experience in your relationship with your husband after such an extreme loss?
Well, we went about our grief in completely opposite ways. We are very different. Chris needed solitude. I needed people around me. I needed to talk, to tell Ryder’s story. Chris needed to go up the coast by himself and camp and get in touch with Ryder.
He listened to his music. He was very private about it. I mean, he was willing to talk with me, which is a good thing. We weren’t pulled apart, but we were on different paths completely as were the boys.
How did it affect your boys?
Reed was with me when I got the news and he’s my youngest.
He said that, he was there to be my rock and didn’t even think about himself that day. My other son came back. He had been gone for a few years. He came back from college, just shell shocked and had to find his way into being the eldest. Even though Ryder would always be their big brother. He didn’t have that touchstone above him and his grief journey was, pretty private.
But mine was so open that I think it affected everybody. They could take from what I was experiencing and gather that to themselves, to some degree.
It really sounds like you all gave each other the space to do it the way you needed to do it.
We had to.
Yeah. When I was reading the preface of the book, this really stuck out to me.
It said, how can we find our own light in a life that constantly distracts us from ourselves. It’s so beautifully written and I’m sure that this is something that the two of you all have thought about a lot. How do we, how can we find our own light when the world is going crazy around us?
It’s a big question and the remarkable thing about Ryder Buck is that he knew it. I feel like he came into life already knowing that because he had passions all the way through his life. Whether they were dinosaurs or girls when he got into junior high. He was just alive to himself. He was alive to his heart. When he was in the hospital, going through chemo, they have very strict protocols about what you need to do to get better. And Shelley is trying to follow that to the letter.
And Ryder, meanwhile, is down in the lobby at midnight, doing pilates or taking his chemo back out into the night to play his music under the stars. None of these things are really looked at ton well by the medical staff, but throughout the whole nine month journey they had through cancer he absolutely put up, he had boundaries that he had to keep out there for people to give him the space that he needed to be well.
His wellbeing, he knew was going to be critical his ability to deal with the treatment, but also to get better. I’ll tell you what, to this day, I believe the fact that he followed his passions and he pushed the envelope and he did what he needed to do that that had a big part to play and why he did get beyond the cancer.
He didn’t become a victim. He was empowered by his own self. This is not a kid who saw himself being perfect at all. He could be aggravating and he could be a lot of things and he did it all freely.
It sounds to me like he was completely in 100% unencumbered by comparing himself to other people.
I would agree with that.
Like he knew who he was. He never questioned it. He never had to look outside of themselves to see if that was right for him. And I think that that is how we find our light. By looking and digging and peeling through the outside layers to see who we are. What that one special thing is, that combination of our DNA and our thoughts and our dreams winds up being when we don’t look outside of ourselves and compare ourselves the other people.
That’s beautifully put.
Yes. Yeah. I liked that.
Y’all told his story in such a way that is what I’m taking away from it. And it is a beautiful story. I could talk to you ladies all day long, but I know, that we have pressed our limits on time.
I like to finish up, first of all, tell me how can everyone who listens where can they go to find your book?
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your local bookstore will order it for you if you want to support them. They can go directly to leaveyourlightonbook.com and there’s a link there to order the book from several different sellers.
Yeah very simple. Leave your light on. It’s just so easy to remember and a compelling idea. That we should all, I think about it every day, because Ryder is a part of me now having, told his story, but it has changed the way that I think about life.
Absolutely. So I will put, leaveyourlightonbook.com in the show notes so that everybody knows exactly where to go to get it. I like to finish up the show with the same question to all of my guests, which is what is one imperfect action that you suggest we take today to get closer to our best lives.
It’s imperfect in that it’s a little selfish, but it turns out to be very giving. If you can listen to people with your heart as well as your ears. Pay attention to the way they behave, because actions speak louder than words, and stay in touch with yourself, which is the selfish part.
You have to be in touch with your own inner light to process the world as it comes at you.
Oh yes, absolutely.
I could answer that in a many different ways, but I’m going to make it really simple. I think a lot of people even have trouble, like, okay, what does it even feel like to have my light on?
What does that mean? What I’m going to say. If you take one hand and put it on your heart and breathe into your heart and just settle there for a moment, everything that wants to come out of you, that wants to be heard by you, that is important to you will just start to bubble up. So it’s just a little technique.
Put your hand on your heart. I put both, I put one hand on my heart and the other hand on top of my hand, breathe slowly. Have the intention of finding your light and you will be thrilled at how quickly and clearly it comes up for you.
Well, as I placed both of my hands over my heart, I want to second y’all’s motion and I would encourage all of you today to take some time, to put your hands on your heart, listen to your heart. With everything that we have going on in the world today, it is so easy to listen to the anxious thoughts that our minds give us all day long. We need to spend a little more time tuning into our hearts. So I love that. And what that ladies, thank you so much for being on the show today.
I’ve really enjoyed having you.
Likewise. It’s been wonderful.
Thank you. Thank you, Kathryn. It’s been great.
And until I’m back here with all of y’all next week, go out and take daily imperfect action to the lives that you want to have.