Always Be Out There … Shining and Strong!
Olivia Carey made her transition from this earth Wednesday evening and it is a sadder, darker world without her.
I met Olivia when the gym opened in its current location in 1997. I had just moved to Bainbridge Island and my wife worked at the gym and often spoke about this sweet and wonderful person. The first few weeks we made eye contact and smiled but never said any more than “hi.” Our polite greetings grew into longer conversations – but I usually held back from talking too long. Why? Honestly, she scared the heck out of me and most of the guys I knew.
Olivia was one of the best personal trainers at the gym – she tolerated no nonsense and she was all about business. As much as she intimidated me, she impressed me with her toned, cut, muscular body and with her attention to her clients. I watched other trainers as they looked bored and stared off into space while their clients used bad form with the weights or a machine. Not Olivia! She paid attention to detail and she insisted on proper form. She noticed her client’s body and altered the exercise to meet her client’s needs. We guys would tease her and her clients about her cracking her whip and that she loved to torture her clients. When we referred to her as the dominatrix, Olivia’s eyes would light up and twinkle. With that Irish brogue she’d shoot back with some challenge to our manhood daring us to visit her torture chamber. We’d laugh with a hint of nervousness as we watched her push her client to do even more.
I finally got up the courage and asked Olivia if she would take me on as a client. To my delight and terror she agreed and we began our 11 year journey of learning together. Our weight lifting sessions were long discussions of the relationship of mind and body. Often we talked about hypnosis and physiology.
Olivia attended my Basic Hypnosis class so that she could improve her verbal skills to encourage her clients to push on to the next level. For years when I felt challenged I have heard her voice saying “You’ve got this, Roger.” Sure enough, I lifted the weight, finished the marathon, climbed the mountain or made it up the hill on my bike.
When Olivia was diagnosed with cancer it came as quite a shock. Here was a person who looked and lived a life of health. And besides, cancer, disease and illness are for those who eat terribly, don’t exercise and are overweight – right? WRONG! Cancer is not fair.
With her usual grace and determination, Olivia used her passion for mind body wellness. She used hypnosis to manage pain and to focus her subconscious mind to work with the chemo and radiation treatments. She surprised her physicians with her energy and with the lack of usual side effects such as nausea and hair loss. Her physicians were amazed at her tenacity and her recovery. Ultimately, she was declared cancer free.
Olivia talked openly about her cancer experience and hypnosis and made a YouTube video with me and was a guest on Hypnosis Health Radio. She used self-hypnosis every day in many areas of her life and often shared with me the strength that it gave her and how it helped her with her fight against cancer.
In her determination to be of service, Olivia attended classes on cancer recovery and exercise which became one of her passions. With her partner Jose, she created Reclaim, a cancer fitness training and wellness coaching program designed to empower people living with cancer with the ability to improve their life through active participation in exercise. She also wanted to assist me in a presentation I’m giving at Gilda’s Club in June.
Last year when Olivia was again diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she was determined to outlive cancer. She used the tools for mind body wellness and fought hard to defeat the cancer. Sadly, this time, with her body weakened from chemo and radiation, the cancer proved to be too much for her body.
In my last conversation with Olivia, she shared that she was planning a book and was preparing to begin writing. She said her message to people living with cancer was to never give up and to live life to the fullest. As we hugged and parted she looked me in the eye and said “Always be out there …. shining and strong!”
Whenever I questioned Olivia on her ability to do something, she would give me her Olivia look that was a few parts indignant, a few parts laughter and a lot of parts of tenacity. And with that twinkle in her eye, she would reply with “Why wouldn’t I?!!”
Olivia will live on in our hearts and I do know that anytime I start thinking that something is “too hard” I will hear her voice say “You’ve got this, Roger.”
My prayer is that I will always respond with “Why wouldn’t I?”
Saturday night there will be a benefit auction for Olivia Carey and others living with cancer at Island Fitness. Learn more by visiting
Arms Around Bainbridge
Your Hypnosis Health Info Hypnotic Suggestion for today:
I’ve got this and why wouldn’t I?!
If you have Olivia stories to share or wish to express your love for Olivia, please feel free to leave your comments.