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I'm still a Girl Scout in that I always have a project (or two or three or ten) going. Add in to-do lists (actual and mental) and it can get exhausting.
This year, my big project was birthing my books, You Can Thrive After Treatment and How to Build an Amazing Life After Treatment. Like any first-time Mom, I jumped in with no idea what I was doing. Self-publish eBooks and paperbacks on Amazon? Sure, why not? I figured I would figure it out and approached gingerly. I eventually made it happen, but it sure took a lot of time.
Just yesterday, a day after the paperbacks launched and the six month process was finally complete, a thought quietly struck me.
Stop. Look at what you've accomplished. Don't just push on to something else. Take a moment to appreciate. And, you dumb bunny, take a moment to rest.
Yes, I really do talk to myself in the third person. And, yes, I really do insult myself when I feel the need.
The voice in my head forced me to remember the lesson of last week's sudden, untimely death: “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
Right now, instead of ramping up for the next project, I need to rest. Especially now, during the holiday season, subtracting makes much more sense than mindlessly adding to my list of things I convince myself have to be done.
Which brings me to my "problem." My husband keeps asking me what I want for Christmas and I cannot give him an answer. What I want to say is completely reminiscent of what my mother used to say when the same question was asked of her: "Peace and quiet."
Yes, Mom, I hear your voice in my head and I so get it now. I too want peace and quiet of mind. I want the disease of busy, to which I have lost a few friends, to cease and desist. I want to be still and ignore worrisome thoughts like so many clouds floating across the sky.
In our "Just do it" society, I want to just be.
As I watch my breath I want to know with each "I am" beat of my heart that I am enough, with no need for the "validation" that comes from busyness.
Really, all I want is a little break. I fully expect to lean back in come January, when I'm refreshed and ready to push forward on new challenges.
But January is later; now is now.
"Stop" the thought said; appreciate the now.
I am learning to listen.
Survival > Existence,
In this video, Dr. Maya Angelou shares her tribute poem for Nelson Mandela on behalf of the American people. Thank you "our great courageous man" for teaching us the true value of forgiveness and reconciliation. And thank you to Dr. Angelou for your most beautiful words.
I keep going because I believe that even if we can’t erase the difficult parts of our story, and we can’t control how or when it’s going to end, each of us has the ability, right here, right now, to dream audaciously and ask ourselves the question, “Why not?” Terri Wingham
I've written before about Terri Wingham. In a nutshell, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a mastectomy and chemotherapy, quit her job, volunteered in Africa, gave up her apartment, spent six months volunteering around the globe, and created a foundation to support other survivors starting their own "fresh chapter."
Terri freely admits that none of this came easily and she has experienced fear every day for the last two years. Yet, she keeps going because she asked "Why not?" and that "spark of possibility saved my life."
Terri's recent talk, the video of which you can watch below, got me thinking about the power of "Why not?" This seemingly simple question goes hand-in-hand with another question, Are you "going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure." Joseph Campbell
The power of saying "Yes" comes from listening to our inner voice, letting it lead us out of our comfort zone and into our adventure. Those of us who live with cancer actually have an advantage here. We've been catapulted out of our comfort zones and have the clearest of reasons to say "Yes" to our adventure:
If not now, when? From How to Build an Amazing Life After Treatment
Or, in other words, "Why not?"
There is formidable power in those two little words. They can make crazy, audacious dreams, such as foundations, books, websites and rehabilitative exercise programs, reality. But, and this is important, they can also birth "little things" with amazing significance. After cancer treatment, I started doing yoga, donating blood, writing, and practicing mindfulness. The more I started asking myself "Why not?" the easier it was to get to "Yes" in every area of my life.
If saying "Yes" still feels unnatural to you, try it the other way around: "Why can't I say "Yes" to myself?" If you can't come up with any solid, good reasons, then go for it! From How to Build an Amazing Life After Treatment
Terri dreamed an audacious dream and asked herself, "Why not?" Whatever it is you want to do after cancer treatment, ask yourself "Why not?" and start saying "Yes" to your adventure now.
Survival > Existence,
Copyright 123RF Photos
I'll be getting dressed up and going out for a lovely evening at the American Cancer Society's 34th Annual Diamond Ball. My husband and I will be there to cheer on our good friend Lockey Maisonneuve, who is this year's recipient of the Luster For Life Award. I'm absolutely thrilled for Lockey and elated to be part of her evening!
Presented to a cancer survivor who truly exemplifies someone who has not only conquered cancer but also used her experience, as difficult as it was, to help others, the Luster for Life Award could not be presented to a more inspiring recipient.
Lockey was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer and had a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Her body was ravaged and she handled it with kid gloves - afraid of every movement. As a personal trainer, it struck her that, if she was having such a difficult time, how much worse must other women feel about reclaiming their bodies after treatment? That question and her mantra ("This can’t be for nothing, there must be something for me to learn.”) led her to create the MovingOn Rehabilitative Exercise Program.
Lockey and I met in her MovingOn class. Like no other support experience I had, the MovingOn Program worked wonders for my body and my mind. As Lockey notes:
"MovingOn seminars and classes provide information about the benefits of rehabilitative exercise for cancer patients/survivors. They also provide a space of support to let women discover they can move on from diagnosis and treatment. Of all the cancer patients I’ve met, the one thing they all have in common is, at the end of the day, they want to feel comfortable in their own skin again."
One of the definitions of luster is, "radiant or luminous brightness; brilliance; radiance." Lockey isn't exactly comfortable being the center of attention, but there is no one I know who more epitomizes Luster for Life than she does. Come Saturday night, we will all be basking in the glow of her radiant light.
Survival > Existence,
You can find Lockey (that's her above in green) at LockeyMaisonneuve.com
How often have you slammed the door against what you want,
because you let fear trump desire?
How many times did you not ask,
because rejection hurts like hell?
How easily have you given in,
because making others happy is safer than finding your own happiness?
Say "Yes" to yourself because it's what you want,
and that is justification enough.
Take the risk and feel (a bit) guilty.
It won't kill you.
You and I have survived things much scarier
than saying "Yes" to our desires.
We've measured up before,
even as we were falling down.
When push came to shove,
we knew how to (wo)man up!
Which brings us to this question:
Knowing what we have been through and how truly short life is,
how can we even think about stuffing down our desires?
Pull yourself up tall like a mountain, take a deep breath, let it out slowly
and recognize the truth that lives within you:
You are enough.
And you deserve to stand up for what you want.
Survival > Existence,