Moving on with love…

Note: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I share my personal story to help shift the focus this October from fear to love. I also hope to offer all those touched by any type of life curveball—whether it be a scary diagnosis, job loss, death of a loved one, or major lifestyle change—real tools for healing and transformation.  At the end of this post, you will learn about one of the tools.

Six-plus years ago when I got diagnosed with breast cancer, I initially vowed to keep my healing journey private.

God had another plan for me: Three weeks after my lumpectomy, I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night with the title of my book, Cancer as a Love Story. I wrote non-stop for three days, barely taking a break to eat or shower.

In essence, I got “a calling” (one I NEVER wanted) to teach the power of love and worthiness in healing as my book’s platform. I knew I was always meant to teach, but I did not want cancer to be my lift-off to expanding that career!

To be in integrity with that platform, I had to integrate those concepts of well-being in a deeply personal way so I could “walk my talk,” as they say.

The journey has been arduous, as is often the case with following a spiritual path to find who we are and how we are best meant to serve. I have relocated twice—once from Boston to the expansive desert of Arizona to do “my ashes work” as my friend Wayne Benenson would say, and now to the vibrancy of city living in Raleigh, North Carolina, to come alive and serve in new ways. (Future blog posts will share the divine ways in which I was redirected to move.)

Cancer as a wake-up call

There was a whole lot of unraveling to let go of who I was before cancer, to embracing the empowered woman I have become since choosing to live from a greater sense of love and worthiness. Some people grew with me; others released me or were released by me. As with all growth, there are missteps, mistakes, misperceptions and miscommunications along the way.

As I’ve shared in my coaching practice for decades: We do not move successfully from the old to the new ways of being without first wobbling through a period of uncertainly and unknowns. Sometimes, it felt chaotic as I began experimenting with connecting to the types of jobs and people aligned with the “new me,” or when I voiced concerns when my needs were not heard or honored. Integrating new behaviors required self-compassion, and plenty of gentleness.  Rarely does one change a lifetime of patterns based on early conditioning on the first try.  Meaningful work and authentic, reciprocal relationships also took precedence.

That inner journey will be detailed in my next book, Bottoms Up: A Journey of Faith, Love and Conviction. 

Yet, what truly releases us to new beginnings, and opens our hearts (and even our pocketbooks to more abundance) is forgiveness. If there was only one message I could give to someone newly diagnosed with cancer today, it would be this: Make a list of everyone who has ever hurt, betrayed, or used you, and begin the forgiveness process (and it is a process usually; rarely a one-day event). And remember, please do not forget to forgive yourselves. Holding anger or resentment in our bodies impacts our health.

Today, I am thrilled about the rave reviews my book has received on Amazon and by a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, the former director of The Mind Body Program for Cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital, a brain science expert, bestselling authors, doctors, alternative healers, patients and a diversity of readers. The biggest surprise has been how many men have loved the book.

I feel more compelled than ever to share the tools that helped me heal. One of those tools is sound healing. Here is an excerpt from my book:

The science behind sound healing

From the book’s PART TWO SECTION: “Embracing a new mindset for living: Five other healing tools that release emotional stress and build your immune system.”

CHAPTER: Sound Healing-Crystal bowls and gongs…seriously?

One Tuesday night, I had a most blissful evening. I can only liken the contentment to the satisfaction of an orgasm, with my whole body relaxed into a state of surrender and joy.

Traumas, dramas, and anxieties of the past and present—including my cancer scare and financial challenges—all felt released from my body. And I didn’t take one drug or mood-altering substance.

Instead, I immersed in what my energy healer friend, Keith Varnum, called “a gong bath.” This experience entailed an evening gathering of myself and seven other women harmonizing the body, mind, and spirit with Keith using Tibetan singing bowls, custom-made Native American flutes, the gong, and several other sound healing tools.

Years ago, I would have cringed, dismissing this idea as more of that “new age stuff.” Listening to sounds from crystal bowls seemed even more frivolous to me for treating medical conditions, particularly more serious ones like cancer.

Yet, after confronting my own scary cancer diagnosis, I was willing to try anything that intuitively aligned with my body’s innate ability to heal. Participating in repeated sound healing sessions has allowed me to release a lifetime of pent-up emotions. Sometimes I would cry from the release; other times I felt flu-like symptoms the next day with every bone in my body aching from all the tension I had been holding onto for years. The more often I went, the calmer and happier I became.

Sound healing is not just for physical health. I gained a greater sense of clarity, awareness, and personal power, and connected more deeply to my essence.

Medical oncologist Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor, author of The Healing Power of Sound: Recovering from Life-Threatening Illness Using Sound, Voice and Music, elaborated on the emotional component of using sound:

“If we accept that sound is vibration, and we know that vibration touches every part of our physical being, then we understand that sound is ‘heard’ not all through our ears but through every cell in our body. The sound of our voices, entrained with the sound of the singing bowl, permeates our entire being. Our pulse rate slows and our breath is restored to its natural rhythm. We enter a state of consciousness that allows us to witness our lives from a calmer, more meditative perspective.”

Gaynor was highly trained in mainstream medicine and chose to use the medium of sound as an integral part of his approach to healing and wellness. He has seen patients’ tumors disappear after using the vibrations from crystal bowls to heal.

“Releasing the past internal blocks is key, for cancer is a wake-up call to our purpose and life calling,” he suggested. “It’s as if the negative messages received and the traumas experienced since childhood have caused them to become tone-deaf to the true unencumbered voice of their own souls. Odd as it may seem, many of us unconsciously prefer to ignore the summons of our innermost essence. We refuse to emotionally acknowledge our illness and find it difficult to accept healing.”

The solution, he maintained, is to stretch out of our comfort zones of the familiar to discover our true, unencumbered selves. For me, I have been focused on moving beyond “surviving” to thriving for five intentional years. Gaynor’s wisdom supports that track.

Even now, after experiencing many miraculous shifts in my state of wellness from attending a variety of sound healing circles using both gongs and crystal bowls, I am met with disbelief and questions of my credibility as a healing agent.

“Don’t include that sound healing in your book or you won’t be taken seriously,” one marketing friend advised. Another colleague distanced from me after I shared that I attend crystal bowl healings regularly. Yet, scientifically the evidence keeps building that sound therapies are at the cutting edge of healing modalities.

In Dr. Gaynor’s book, he shares a story of using sound healing for a cancer patient who was dealing with anger and powerlessness over work. He suggested she listen to the vibrations of the crystal bowl, and visualize the source and shape of her fears. She had seen fear as a ball stuck in her throat. “I advised her to play with her own crystal bowl at home daily and she was cancer-free two years later,” Dr. Gaynor claimed.

In addition to attending sound healing circles regularly, I also experienced blissful states of relaxation through having tuning forks placed directly on specific points on my meridians through a technique known as “Acutonics®” offered by Sunanda Harrell-Stokes, a gifted acupuncturist in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Sound takes acupuncture to another level,” she explained. “When you add sound frequencies directly to the meridians, it is very nurturing and takes only a few minutes to stimulate those points versus 15 to 20 minutes with acupuncture needles.”

Harrell-Stokes also customizes the treatments selecting from 50 tuning forks, and using them in combinations to create harmonic intervals based on each client’s needs.

Another one of her clients shared: “When Sunanda puts the forks on my body I feel the vibration deep in my bones and I can feel it travel. I feel like I dropped a big burden that I was carrying and I feel much lighter, less worried, and happier.”

Most of her acupuncture clients now request the sound healing therapies, using the tuning forks, versus needles, as part of their treatments.

Harrell-Stokes explained the healing power of sound this way:

“We have all at one time or another experienced a physical trauma from stubbing our toe to some devastating unforeseen accident and everything in between. The one, immediate and automatic response that comes from our corporeal body as a natural and innate response to any type of trauma that impacts the body, mind, or emotions is sound! Whether that sound is a scream of terror or uncontrollable laughter, the expression of sound is the natural response of our humanity.”

Sound is a vibration that is actually a measurable frequency. In 1900, German theoretical physicist Max Planck revolutionized the field of physics by discovering that energy does not flow evenly but is instead released in discrete packets, which he called “quanta.”

The nature and behavior of matter and energy at the atomic and subatomic level is referred to as quantum physics and quantum mechanics. With this new perspective on the behavior of energy and matter, research in physics demonstrated that all matter vibrates and has a resonant frequency.

In his book, The Seven Secrets of Sound Healing, Jonathan Goldman says, “We are all unique vibratory beings,” and he goes as far to say, “Sound can change the world.”

The awareness of infinite possibilities revealed through the continued study of quantum physics and its application to healing through the use of sound, has revealed many discoveries regarding the infinite range of frequencies available to us in nature and particularly through the human voice.

The experiments by Masaru Emoto ( show the effects of music and words on water and have demonstrated the interaction of sound on cells.

“There’s a consensus of agreement that human beings are made up of 70 percent-plus water,” Harrell-Stokes said. “Therefore, it makes sense that we would be dramatically affected as well by the sound effects on water. This explains some of those deep down reactions one has to environmental sounds (hum of the refrigerator, buzz of the computer or a light bulb) including the words one listens to.”

For more information on using sound with acupuncture in Arizona, contact Harrell-Stokes at:


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To personally experience the benefits of sound healing in Raleigh, along with a powerful meditation based on neuroscience for elevating the body to greater health, come join us, a heart-centered group of Collaborative Visionaries, SUNDAYS, at:


302 Jefferson St., Suite 160

Raleigh, 27605


TIME: 3:00 to 5:30 p.m.,

Email to register, or learn more.




Collaborating with Vicki Hauth (pictured to the right of me in the photo), owner of Raleigh-Massage, and a gifted sound healer, has been a true joy.



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  • Vicki says:

    Way to go Gail ! Well-written!!!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Vicki: Appreciate that, given it’s not so easy sometimes to explain the science behind sound healing. Plus, 2,000-word posts take time to digest, but it was important to me to share this valuable information during Breast Cancer Awareness Month–to offer hope, possibilities for healing, and love to someone who may have been recently diagnosed. I feel so grateful you offer sound healing in Raleigh–and share your gifts with my tribe as well:) Blessings, Gail

  • dijana winter says:

    You continue to share your enthusiasm and knowledge with countless others in a most heartwarming way.
    We are blessed to be part of your world.
    Love to you, dear friend,

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Dijana: I am most touched by your kind words, and feel equally blessed to know you. Love, Gail

  • Lyndra Hearn Antonson says:

    Gail, you are an inspiration! The way you so willingly follow your inner guidance, experience the miraculous ways Life unfolds for you, AND share it with the rest of us through your beautiful writing! Thank you!
    Love, Lyndra

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Lyndra: One of the best things about posting a blog for the first time in six months (due to my move again cross country and giving myself permission to get acclimated and grounded here), is hearing from dear friends like you. I thank you for taking the time to write such kind words…and am glad I have inspired you in some way. Love, Gail

  • Lisa M Langaker says:

    Wow Gail – you stopped me in my track on this web page as a read and I understood the power of sound in a way I never did before. I have always known the power of music, which of course is sound, but I have never experimented with tuning forks or bowls. Thank you for describing this healing modality in a way that everyone can understand and hopefully open up to.

    I love how you started off by saying, ” I got ‘a calling’ (one I NEVER wanted) to teach the power of love and worthiness in healing as my book’s platform. I knew I was always meant to teach, but I did not want cancer to be my lift-off to expanding that career!” This is what makes you so authentic – your ability to be raw and real and tell it like it is when you write. I know a teeny snippet of your journey and it astounds me how strong of a survivor you are! Thank you for taking the time to share all the valuable things you’ve learned with the rest of the world!!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Lisa: Thanks for appreciating the vulnerable ways I share…being real is what connects us to one another. Glad you are open to learning more about sound as a healing tool–it’s such a magnificent way to release blockages and feel nurtured at the same time. I am also grateful you took the time to write, and share your own thoughts. Blessings, Gail

  • Sharon Spector says:

    Gail has written a powerhouse book of her own intimate cancer experience and possibility of spiritual expansion and healing; grace and sacred grit. She is sharing her gift in important ways.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thank you, Sharon, for appreciating the intimacy of my sharing as my model of “teaching,” and using my adversities to guide others in empowering ways. Bless you, Gail

  • Gail,
    You continue to be a pioneering woman at the frontier of healing and alternative medicine bringing your personal story and cutting-edge healing modalities to our attention. Like a true frontier woman you bushwhacked your way where others fear to tread, fighting for your life, going beyond conventional medicine and plumbing the depths of your own psychological wounds. Then again in a continuous acts of courage, you wrote and revealed your struggle to the world In your book and in the workshops and coaching you continue to do. Bravo to you. The life force is truly with you!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Whew, Flo–your powerful words of being aligned with “life force” touched me deeply. Yes, sometimes it felt like “me and God,” and only a few from my intimate circle of friends who “held me” as I pushed forth with tenacity honoring this calling. Often, the pioneering journey can feel lonely, and is met with much criticism. There is slight relief–now six years later with evidenced-base research in neuroscience and a corresponding NY Times’ article–supporting my early choices. Still, in the end, what this journey has taught me is we must pause, go within, and access our own inner wisdom. There is no one right choice that fits all. I hope all the healing tools I came across through honoring my choice provide great resources for others, no matter what path they choose. Bless you, Gail

  • Gail,

    You are truly an inspiration to so many men as well as women. We are fortunate to have you in our life encouraging us to be true and kind to our spirit and to each on their personal journey. Thank you !!! For answering your calling. You are an amazing “wordsmith”.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thank you, Ann Marie, for your generous support of my calling and my wordsmithing. Glad my blogs inspire you. Blessings, Gail

  • Lynn M Marn says:


    Thank you for sharing your personal, courageous journey to new beginnings! You are truly an inspiration to me. I love being part of Collaborative Visionaries Sundays here in Raleigh…”AMAZING”….In love and gratitude, Lynn

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Lynn: I appreciate your kind words, and I am grateful that I get to use what I learned from my healing journey to help others. Your joyful and wise presence has added much to our Collaborative Visionaries on Sundays. Looking forward to this week’s session on expanding the mindset for receiving. See you soon. Love and blessings, Gail

  • Demi Stevens says:

    It’s so refreshing to hear words of hope and encouragement, along with options to enhance (or perhaps replace) traditional chemo or radiation that were so devastating when my own mother dealt with cancer. I thank you for your brave voice in our community!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Demi: I am so very sorry you lost your mom to cancer. Thank you for appreciating the ways I am educating others about a plethora of possibilities. I am grateful also you honor my “brave voice.” It means a lot to me. Blessings, Gail

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