Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be still.

An object in motion tends to remain in motion. Momentum.

Being still has always been very difficult for me.

Being 'at rest' could only mean
I wasn't doing enough. 
Wasn't working hard enough. 
Wasn't learning enough.
Wasn't dedicating enough time
for volunteering and
[single] parenting through military deployments. 
Hunger, world peace, global warming
and the local PTA. 
My god, who had time to be still?

Like a jet landing on an aircraft carrier,
cancer tailhooked my momentum.
My physical strength and life force
came to a screeching  s l o w d o w n. 
And life, as I knew it, changed, forever. 
Thank heavens!

I wanted the hours, days, months
to fly by ...
The weekly chemo,
and then the daily radiation treatments
took nine months.

My mind still wanted to move at warp speed,
my physical body just couldn't comply. 
For the first time in my life,
I was forced to, be still. 

Who knew there was so much
to discover in being still?
The sweet sound of my daughter's giggle.
Feeling electricity when my son hits that
high note on his trumpet.

Close your eyes. 
Even if just for a few minutes a day.
Listen to your breath.
Feel your belly rise and fall.
In this Stillness,
give yourself permission
to just, be.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving, Outside of the Box.

Thanksgiving Day. 
Not far away.
It didn't surprise me when friends suggested
I write about 'being thankful' -- 'giving thanks'.

Seemed simple enough. 
But everytime I tried to write ...
no matter how I tried to put a different 'spin on it' --
well, it all sounded just way too cliche. 

Pretty sure we're all thankful for the
same big ticket items:
family & friends who love us, good health,
jobs, roof over our heads, food on the table. 
Being thankful for what is so obviously 'good stuff'
is really just way too easy. 

So, how about being thankful for all of the
little things we take for granted? 
Hot showers, peanut M&Ms, music,
watercolor paints, apples,
honey bees, laptops, the ocean,
a good hot cup of coffee.
(Insert your list here). 

Let's step outside the box for a minute.
What about being thankful for the darkness in life?

Without some rain, how does one appreciate the warmth of the sun?
Am I thankful for cancer? 
Yes.  I mean, no!  Well, kinda?
I know that sounds crazy.  Unbelievable really.
Please don't misunderstand,
not a ride I want to take again
and I am certainly not thankful
for cancer that has taken friends and family.

The late Gildna Radner
(who died of ovarian cancer
at age 42) said it best:
'If it wasn't for the downside, having cancer would
be the best thing and everyone would want it.'

I am grateful for the glory of life on the other side of my darkness.
Every day is thanksgiving. 
Every day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Heart of the Matter

A beating heart.
The center of love. 
The center of life.

Our hearts beat about 100,000 times each day.   
How many of these beats can you account for? 
How many heartbeats did you really feel?
No, I don't mean laying your finger against
your wrist or neck; not 'checking' your pulse. 

I mean, how many of those beats did you make count today? 

Passion.  Our hearts are the 'heart' of our life power.
Hearts pumping and supplying
every cell with oxygen.
It's up to us to bring life to our moments,
as many moments each day as possible.  Passion.

When my body was aching and healing,
I had lots of time to think about what
I was going to do with this second chance
I had been gifted.

It was time to start living from my heart. 
Seeing the passion of the day:  A maple tree
with scarlet leaves. 
Tasting the passion of the day: A glass of merlot. 
Rejoicing in the passion of the day: An hour
at the gym. Helping a patient at work.
Running in the rain. 

It may all sound cliche, but before we know it,
a whole lotta 100,000 beats are going to fly by.

This week brought a new passion and
challenge - bootcamp. 
There was a time, just a few years ago, when I could
barely walk up the stairs in my home. 
Chemotherapy was zapping the nasty cancer cells and my good cells.
Now I'm mastering the army-crawl, pushing a football tackle dummy and running laps.
What a difference a few 100,000 beats makes.

This week I had the pleasure of meeting a hospice volunteer from a nearby city. 
She just happened to be eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria, at the table right next to me.
Hmmm, fate or coincidence? 
Or maybe a new passion?

Close your eyes.  Be still.
Listen to your heart beat.
That's passion.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Black and White and Rose-Colored, All Over.

Half full?  Half empty?
Aaahh, that proverbial glass.

How are your 'Optimist Junkie' skills?
Some folks are born hard-wired
with the optimism gene. 
Others, like me, are 'born again' optimists.
And we are probably the most obnoxious. 
We have found optimism.

Illness was my body's way of telling me, 'hey you, yeah you, something needs to change.'
When first diagnosed, I'll admit I faked a whole lotta optimism.  Convincing others I was okay.  Convincing me I was okay.  If I wasn't positive, I didn't stand a chance?  I was too afraid not to. 

Family and friends chanting "Stay positive.
You gotta stay positive. 
Being positive is how to beat cancer."  Holy crap.  That kind of pressure was exhausting. 

Shortly after my chemo-port was installed, I developed two large blood clots.  One in my subclavian vein (shoulder-collar bone area) and the other in my upper arm.  This landed me in the hospital for an evening.  Injections of blood thinners were necessary. 

Later that night, afraid to move and dislodging Clarence (the ugly name I gave the ugly clot), with my 'good' arm, I ran my fingers through my hair ... about 20 strands fell on the white pillowcase.

Really?  Seriously?  Now?  Laying here with Clarence wasn't enough stress? 

Thus began, Laugh Instead of Cry 101.  One of my first courses in becoming an Optimist Junkie.

There's more to becoming an optimist than just trying to be Miss Suzy Sunshine. 
Being an optimist also means carving the negative out of your life.
Negative relationships, places,
and situations breed toxicity.

Though it may be impossible to remove all negativity from our lives ...
it is possible to have many,
many more glasses full of joy. 

EnJOY today!