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Making Peace with the Unexpected (Michele Cushatt ep. 132)

Michele Cushatt

John O’Leary is joined by Michele Cushatt to discuss making peace with the expected on today’s Live Inspired Podcast.

Michele Cushatt is a self-proclaimed expert of trauma, pain and the deep need for human connection. As a three-time cancer survivor, mother of six, author and speaker, Michele’s warmth, strength and transparency will remind you that you’re not alone.

Michele shares her story, how hope got her through her struggles and how it will help you through yours. Today, you’ll be reminded that your best days remain in front of you to live a more inspired life.

Subscribe &  listen on Apple Podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, Google Play, iHeartRadio or listen here:


  • Fear + worry give a false sense of control. Acknowledge the reality but don’t ruminate.
  • Learn to laugh + gravitate towards other who do too.
  • How do we show up for loved ones with cancer (or other big things)
    1. Show support + be willing to do it wrong.
    2. Be willing to carry a measure of pain yourself.
  • Hope gives meaning to life: We need to know there is meaning on the other side of pain and these challenges are not going to be wasted.
  • The worst thing that can happen doesn’t need to be the end of your life.
  • If we are victims to our circumstances, we don’t have a hand free to lend to anyone else. We’re too busy trying to save ourselves.
  • How to heal after trauma:
    1. Make a list and grieve.
    2. Acknowledge what you lost + what opportunities you have as a direct result of your loss.
    3. Healing is not done in isolation. Get emotional health and wholeness with help from a counselor, pastor or someone in that space. Find people who would want you to step in and do live with them.
    4. Hope is critical. Michele reminds herself daily that no matter what happens today, it can only get better from here.
  • Live with compassion rather than constant disappointment.
  • To overcome trauma, Michele suggested the book Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk and Dr.  Daniel J. Siegel work.
  • Get Michele Cushatt’s book Undone here.
  • Get Michele Cushatt’s book I Am here.

Thank you Live Inspired Podcast listener + community member Jennifer K. for recommending Michele Cushatt! Have someone you want to hear on the show? Email me at podcast@johnolearyinspires.com.

We’ve welcome other guests onto the Live Inspired Podcast that have overcome cancer diagnoses and are living inspired. Listen to author Christine Cain on ep. 82, Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton on ep. 68 and author Edie Little Sundby on ep. 51.


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller and  The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? I was very playful and full of imagination. I’ve lost some innocence and natural playfulness and I miss that. I’m trying to rediscover play, joy and laughter.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? My Bible. I used my Bible through the darkest days of my life. I wrote all the ugly, hard questions in there and have become part of my journey. It’s evidence of the grace that got me through.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? I would love to pick the  brain of Henri Nouwen and all he experienced. The other would be my dad. He died of terminal pancreatic cancer eight weeks before my third diagnosis. I would love to hear him share how all the different pieces of his hard life came together.

5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? You’re not failing, you’re learning. I was frustrated that I allowed my emotional triggers to get the best of me. It’s changed how I talk to myself and how I approach all my children and to teach them that they’re going to make mistakes.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Sister, you’re in for a long road. It’s going to be harder than you can possibly imagine. It’s going to take you to a point where you’re not sure you’re going to want to live. But I promise you, if you hang in there and keep making the choice to wake up and live you’re going to be so glad that you did.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? She never stopped believing that love would win.


If you enjoyed today’s episode: Subscribe, rate & review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. See you here next Thursday!

Live Inspired with John daily on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLinkedInPinterest, Instagram + get his Monday Motivation email.

1 reply on “Making Peace with the Unexpected (Michele Cushatt ep. 132)”

What a great witness by Michelle! I am a therapist, and I appreciate her shout out to her therapist and applaud her therapist for hanging in there with her. Thanks for having her on the podcast.

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