Tag Archives: cancer

The Choice is Ours

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I don’t believe we ever compartmentalize our emotions or life experiences. I understand why so many make this attempt, believing in a successful outcome. But each and every life experience, and the subsequent emotions that live within that moment, become a part of who we are – like it or not. So I say, sit with the experience. Work through the emotion. Allow it time to heal, then release it. Even then, those emotions do not dissipate as the words might lead us to believe.

Emotions are energy. Energy never disappears, nor remains stagnant; regardless of how strong our compartmentalizing abilities may be. Instead, over time they permeate every cell in our body. Even when we believe they are completely stuffed away and hidden from view, their impact on us is life changing. They reshape our view of each and every thing that comes before us. And yes, those who are perceptive enough see the very thing we hope is kept from view.

But when we allow the emotion its due, when we refrain from reacting, and instead sit with the emotion, processing it, learning from it, allowing it air – it heals. Then what is left is something that adds to our being instead of takes. The emotion, that when compartmentalized skewed our view, now becomes an emotion that deepens our take of the world.

I must warn you, the mind does not like to sit with an emotion other than those that are pleasant and bright. Our logical mind will approve to us having surgery to heal physical damage. Doing so is logical, it says. It makes sense. Your emotional being requires the same. Painful, negative emotions metastasize if not treated, much in the same way as a cancer cell does within the physical body. We would never dream of ignoring a cancer cell; concluding we’ll be just fine. Yet, we do, when it comes to our emotions.

As you move through your life, take the time to tend to your emotional health. Close your eyes, then look within. How many boxes of unfinished business do you have blocking your way. Hurts from others. Hurts from your youth. Events that ended in failure.

These boxes carry a two-fold problem: they block those that love you from getting in, and they block you from every getting out.

You may ask then, how these events could possibly add to your experience. That’s easy. Within every experience carries the potential to expand your soul; to broaden and deepen or restrict and constrict. It’s up to you. It’s always been up to you. I know many people who have been through the worst of the worst. Moments in time that altered everything; moments so crushing it could have shut them down completely, causing them to live a constricted life of fear and resentment and hurt. Instead, they chose to allow it to expand their compassion and deepen their understanding. They sat with this complex, evolving, evolving emotion, sometimes for years, and learned, and saw, and grew.

I’ve had quite a few hurts and events that have brought me to my knees. But after a time of recovery, I expanded and opened – letting the energy flow. Those moments have strengthened me, and softened me; strengthened my faith, softened my compassion for others. That choice was mine. We’ve got one shot at this life. Dig in, live it. The choice is yours.

Sane

For those who are curious, this blog was written while listening to: Into the Mystic by Van Morrison, Drift Away by Dobie Gray, Home by Phillip Phillips, Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men and Seasons by Future Islands.

Getting Them There

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My son suffers from what is called, atypical migraines. This being a side effect he endures from a year and half of chemotherapy. Even early on, after having his first bout, we both agreed that he is blessed. The list of possible side effects given to me prior to his surgery and treatment was so lengthy, even with something as debilitating as migraines are, he is blessed to have so few residuals from his time spent with cancer.

Life provides us the tools we need to grow in various ways. They do not always come by way of religious text or even spiritual text. Some of our most important catalysts for expansion come by way of every day things. My son’s atypical migraines are no exception. They have been a pivotal learning point for him as well as me.

Many of you already know I used to speak publicly on the subject of raising confident children. It is what sits at the heart of my children’s chapter book series and it sits at the core of how I parent. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a pivotal point in my life that caused me to change how I view everything, both inward and outward. Whereas I used to believe I was on this earth solely to bring my children into this world and tend to them while here, certain spiritual events occurred that revealed the error of my perception. The souls housed within my children had chosen me as their guide. Their souls were not concerned with the level of wealth I could drape upon them. Nor were their souls concerned with the ease of living I could provide. The soul never cares about such things. There is a line in my favorite poem by Kahlil Gibran that reads: You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. And that is what their souls wanted from me.

I’m not afraid to admit dear reader, that prior to this vital time in my life I was blind to my own ways. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t empowered. Both due to my own choices. And that unfulfilled bow was the launching point from which the arrows that are my children flew. Everything changed for me once my awareness shifted. Everything. I began empowering myself, thereby empowering them. One moment in particular displays this shift in clarity. My son was driving back from college with his sister in tow. He called home. An atypical migraine was descending upon him. He didn’t know what to do. And everything in me wanted to scoop him under my wing and drive him home. For those who don’t know, atypical migraines involve having a temporary, pixelated impairment to one eye, among other things. What I did next would either disable him or enable him. Instead of dropping the bow, I held it steady and guided him on how to do it on his own. The plan: Don’t panic. Compensate for the visual disturbance. Go slow. And if it becomes dangerous, I’ll come get you.

I sat for the next hour with tears in my eyes and breath suspended in my chest. I knew he was being given the chance to experience for himself his own strength. I could not make the moment about me and mine. The moment was about him and his. So I did as I knew I was suppose to do, I steadily launched the arrow, and waited.

He made it home safe, and I exhaled. But now, so many years later he knows his own power. A truth he would not own if I had taken it from him. When the effects of a migraine descend upon him he knows he’ll be alright. Like a small child who falls for the first time then looks at their parent for the appropriate response my son looked to me. What my response was then, is his response now. Don’t panic. You can do this. You’ll be alright. And yesterday, my very typical college son who works a meager paying job for summer employment did not call in to work when he awoke with an atypical migraine, he texted me instead and said: I can do this. I’ll be alright.

I don’t believe parenting is so difficult. But parenting well is. Often it has required a level of strength within me I wasn’t sure I had. That’s how I know these catalysts were meant for me, as well. I’m blessed to be launching these two souls. I make many mistakes along the way, but I know they bring to the world their joy, strength and depth. And I hope my bow is what gets them there.

Sane

Life

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I’ve seen great beauty in life. I’ve seen great ugliness. On that note, I’ve also experienced profound harmony. So much so it makes it difficult for me when things fall out of synch. Life truly is like the ocean. How to ensure calm seas is beyond me. I say this because I don’t believe they exist; at least not for most of us. And it is to most of us that I write.

The best any of us can do is to learn how to navigate, learn how to swim, and consult our compass routinely. Because the seas will rise. The waves will buffet. And at times we will capsize. But if we go numb, we will fail to sense danger. If we weight ourselves down with thick walls, we will drown. And if we bury our head we will miss the sunset as it reflects against glassy waters. What this means is this: Life demands we engage in all waters.

When the winds crash hard against you do not hide. More often than not, that storm is taking you somewhere. If we constantly reroute to avoid the worst of life, we spend our days sailing aimlessly, without direction. The target may hold firm to its position, whereas we travel in circles.

Life, if it is to be lived, requires of us to go through the storm. There’s simply no other way. Do not look at the storm as your destination. Do not look at the storm as punishment. It simply is. Let go of why. And sail hard. Roll into the waves. Let them lift you, and fall with them as they plunge deep into the earth. Don’t panic. Don’t turn back. Never be caught retreating when the worst is upon you. No; go with the waves, they will lead you to the other side. They always do. Maybe. Just maybe. Those hard waves are washing away something you fail to see. Or maybe, the thrust is necessary to lift an anchor you won’t remove.

You can sail no other vessel but that of your own. So know your vessel; know you. Maybe you aren’t graceful during the worst of it. Who cares. Surely not me. I think you are amazing because you are standing behind the wheel even though you can no longer see. And there will be times in life when we are made blind.

In one quick instant I would take away all the hurt that has ever befallen you. Similarly, I would do the same for me. I never write what I do not know. I have capsized. I have felt my body hit the ocean’s floor. I have felt water fill my lungs. But I have also seen what life looks like through the filter of deep water. Don’t fear being there. These storms stir up that which calm waters tend to bury. So stay there. Look around. Then look up. There is a light, and you will buoy up. Swim, my friend. You’re boat will be waiting. Climb back on. Sit for a while. Don’t damn God for the way things are. Because each time you do, you are damning you. Your higher self sent that storm. So with that, spin the wheel, and head back out. Go in the direction of your desire. Life will get you there. You will get you there.

My love to all. My love to those that needed to hear this.

Sane

Listening to, THISKIDSNOTALRIGHT by AWOLNATION and Hurricane by  MS MR

Speaking Volumes

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What matters to me, the points in time, the moments that remain with me and have changed me, are rarely those that others would think. Perhaps this is why I hold myself distant; removed from many.

When looking back, seven years ago this summer; one of my most poignant memories, during the time in which my son was in the hospital, was the look in people’s eyes. Whether standing in the hallway of the Critical Care Unit, or pacing outside his door on the Pediatric Oncology floor; it was the look in the eyes of those passing by that lives as a tangible memory within my mind. I watched other parents, some with vacuous expressions, others with pain so visible in their eyes, that of my own watered instantly upon meeting theirs. Then there were those that looked unfazed. They were the ones that troubled me the most. I felt no resonance with them, as all I know how to do, is – feel.

Once home, away from the kindred gathering of those struggling for life, I noticed the look others gave me; the one’s that knew my son had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. The fear in their eyes was more than I could absorb. In fact, I chose not to take in their pain; my own was almost more than I could bear. Within their eyes I could readily see that I was living their nightmare. For many parents, a child with a diagnosis of cancer, is a nightmare they pray will never come their way. And to them, they were witnessing a parent who’s every day now embodied all their fears brought to life.

Knowing what they were thinking, I chose to look away. I did not want to stop and share with them that mine was not the nightmare. A call informing the mother of a soldier that her son or daughter has died – is a nightmare. Accidents that snuff the youthful breath from a child are the nightmares from which we never awaken. I was allowed to awaken. My eyes opened; my son was given a new day. And I pray many more to come. These are the moments that forever reshape our lives. I’ve had many such moments. I don’t know why. Perhaps I was so misshapen upon the start of my life that Fate felt I needed massive re-sculpturing to become that which I needed to be. I don’t know. But I’m here now – reshaped.

The look in someone’s eyes, reveals more truth than their words can ever hope to say. When a seasoned nurse looks up; your eyes meet, and within hers you see that she is scared, well…no words need be spoken. When the eyes of a lover, filled with insecurity and doubt, looks deep into that of your own; they needn’t open their mouth to express their love and longing. Of course the same is true in reverse. I’ve looked into the eyes of someone professing love, when all the while there eyes revealed only hatred. I remember the look in my father’s eyes when he no longer wanted to live. As if it were yesterday I remember the look in his eyes after his stroke; eyes held open while his frustrated soul was gone; moved on to freer places.

Guilt is seen in an instant, within the eyes of one that’s failed to keep their promise. And love can be seen and felt across a crowded room, with one paused glance from the one who holds our heart. As children, we would play the ‘if you had to lose one of your senses game.’ A dreadful game when it’s really considered. Yet as children we jump happily into this early form of psychological analysis with both feet. If asked now, my reply would be: just let me keep my sight, because through it I am allowed to not only see, but to hear that which can’t be said and to express what words cannot.

Sane