Saturday, April 23, 2011


I am doing my best to adjust to being back on the job.  It is still surreal to me.  So much is the same.  I am the change.

It was difficult financially to be on disability for almost a year.  The gift though was having so much time with my family, and so much time for myself.  I felt some pangs this week missing them, as I returned to work, and would not be home at night.

I have always worked.  Throughout my life.  Throughout my marriage.  Throughout my children's lives.

This was one of the unexpected blessings of cancer treatment, I was always homeIt felt good.

When I was going through treatment, I was focused on getting through each marathon and jumping every hurdle, I didn't realize how much personal time I had.  It's not like I could go on vacation or had the money to do things, but I did have an incredible amount of time for thought and reflection.

I read a lot.  I wrote a lot.  I had many hours where all I could do was lay in my bed, or sit in a comfy chair or out on the patio in the sunshine.

Cancer really does clear your calendar, and now I realize I never really liked all the hustle and bustle of our lives.  I am quite content being at home with my family and friends, making a nice dinner, watching a movie, playing the piano, just being.

I have had a year of opportunity to do archaeology on myself, digging up and excavating and gently blowing the dust off the bones of things I buried years ago.  During this last year, I became quite familiar with my child self, and very aware of how she ran around lost and wild and still influenced my beliefs with mythology created in childhood, most of which was unhealthy.  I clearly recognize her now, when I have a huge reaction to something.  I did not understand this before and was often confused by my reaction to things.  I get it now because I get and know her.

I learned how to parent me.

I thought I would read more fiction, but most often found myself reading the Bible, and the Tao Te Ching.  I read poetry, and books about artful living and mindful loving.  I became a reader of blogs as I became a writer of a blog.

This was a year full of immense challenges for me, yet simultaneously, it was as if I was living in technicolor and amazed how the small things are the big things.  Like the feeling you get when you are quiet enough and still enough for a hummingbird to float face to face with you, the sound of his wings, the glisten on his chest.  These things I had missed before, became second nature to me.

We all take so much for granted every day.  We miss so much of the spectacular and miraculous and mysterious that is happening all around us. 

I am grateful that cancer treatment is over for me, but I don't want to lose the way it made me live.  How can I hold on to an incredibly heightened sense of awareness and presence and intention?

I don't want to go back to sleep, taking things for granted, living in 2-D.

I think the only way to keep this collateral bonus of cancer treatment is to slow down, simplify, live with less, and spend more time doing nothing.

I remember the days during chemo when I didn't feel good and was beyond fatigued.  I would sit out on our back patio for hours and watch the birds and insects and our dogs in the yard. Often I didn't even have the energy to read.  I just observed.

I got quiet and watched and listened. 

I cannot describe the peace I found in these moments, despite how sick I was.

As I return to work and resume a schedule, I am rethinking how I will structure my day and my time.  I know for sure being quiet and meditative and observing nature has to be a daily practice for me.

Being sick forced me to do this; I don't want to lose it now.  I spent more time at home, less time in a car, and more time outside.  Isn't it telling that during the time when my body was at its sickest, my brain was clearing and finding peace and wellness in those open spaces?

This was one of the hidden gifts of Cancer Camp.

Wake up.  Listen.  Get still.  Breathe deeply.  Move sparingly.  These peaceful waters are where I must keep returning to, for inspiration, restoration, and the wide open spaces of myself.

God speaks in whispers.
My heart does too.
I know now where and how to listen.


Mollye said...

So much wisdom. I think there are lessons in almost every situation we encounter and what a gift we're given to be able to listen and learn and then teach. You've been a willing student and now an eager teacher. Love and Happy Easter, Mollye

Anonymous said...

Your Fan Club is still here. Enjoying your "light-at-the-end-of--the-tunnel" insight.
I'm afraid I was suppose to learn something from my DX and that somehow I missed it and that is why I'm being asked to face another 'scare', another surgery, another ???? - Pray for strength.
Keep Looking Up! Faith&Hope

Anonymous said...

Dear Sweet Lady ~
Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I close my eyes and imagine the white light surrounding me. I then find my peace again and am energized to go on. Your words are like a cool glass of tea on a hot, hot day! I love all your inspirations. Hugs and Kisses xoxox

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