WHY CANCER IS GOOD FOR MY FAMILY

You know, seeing the word GOOD and CANCER in the same sentence is a bizarre thing.  Remember on Sesame Street? “Which of these things is not like the other?”.

But, since my mom’s cancer has returned, there have been some pretty amazing things going on around here.

First off, my kids have been struck with what I call the “Titanic” syndrome.  They are as close to their grandmother, and sometimes more, than to me and so her sickness is the first dose of real-life they have ahd to face. I am SO proud of them and that their reactions were to love each other more…not less. To close up ranks and hold hands and help each other.  Any parent understands this is the ultimate litmus test of who our children are. Where is their compassion, their empathy and their ability to love when the love is so important.  They are a team and are supporting each other gently and with love.  It’s a miracle. They have spent the better part of ten years trying to off one another.  Because I grew up in a very strange situation where my “siblings” were much older than me, I had really wanted that my kids be close in age and be able to rely upon each other when the really big challenges that life spearheads at you come around.  Up until very recently, I thought that this dream was one for the trash – it would never happen. Shows you what I know.

My daughter turned 16 two days ago. The same daughter I have had ENORMOUS struggles with over the past two years.  For those of you with teens who advised me that “this too shall pass”…thank you. It passed. For those of you I swore at, I apologize…I really didn’t think it WOULD pass.  This year, I was surprised when she said the only thing she really wanted to do on her birthday was spend a few hours at her nana’s and family and her boyfriend. All of us together.  So that’s what we did. I made a delicious red velvet cake (wow…our first one…that was DELICIOUS!) and we headed off, cake toothpicks, boyfriend and happy smiles all the way to grandmas house 🙂 well actually, grandmas twin sister’s apartment.

I see  humility in this kind of love.  We hug, we cry we laugh and we hold hands. We tell each other we love each other, and we do things for each other just because we love.  We are very open with this kind of love and it feels wonderful.   It’s such a warm safe feeling all around us.

I hate that I am loving the effects of cancer..but I am.

My mom and her sister (who I also call my sister because of how I was raised, but in my family, titles like mother aunt sister brother are used VERY loosely), sang happy birthday about twenty times, sang it in french, english and then move don to christmas songs before Sara was allowed to blow out her candles.  It’s the kind of silliness she would have loved when she was little, but would have become vociferously annoyed at since entering the dreaded teens.  But this year…she was back to joyfully accepting. Her boyfriend came to meet the family for the first time. He sat smiling through all the songs and revelry and silliness. he didn’t have a big family, being raised by a single mom a quieter life…I could see he was really enjoying this.  It was a HUGE step for Sara. She has been mostly living her life apart from us and without any introductions for the better part of two years. now here we are, in the living with the very loud funny family, and this poor kid…handled it like a prince. he was gentle and sweet. gave Sara a beautiful crystal bracelet, they style of which showed us all the he both knew her and loved her well. We were so happy.

I love this LOVE we are sending each other.  and I am not sitting here thinking…ohhhh…why didn’t we do this all the time. It wouldn’t have felt the same if we would have, and it’s normal for the intensity of relationships to change when the chips are down.

The thing is, since all this loving, I can’t seem, to be able to make it stop at my family…I am in love with EVERYONE!  I had a client leave yesterday, very angry and upset.  She was yelling at me and crying and loosing her mind. I could see that there were things inside that had nothing to do with her life here, but that she had transferred it all into one big lump and was going to take it all out on me.  But it didn’t faze me, not for a second.  All I could see was that she was in pain.

So half way through this woman yelling at me, all I could do was put my arms around her, give her a hug and tell her it was all going to be ok.  I was sure she was going to punch me in the face haha!!  I felt like one of those hippies who would put the flowers in the guns of the army guys when they did the protests in the 60’s 🙂 But I was really just not affected by anger…I only felt this real compassion, because I have TOTALLY done what she did – take out everything in my life on one situation that I morph in my head to fit whatever I need to be angry about.  Been there, done that…got the prozac.

No more of that for me today.

I was stunned. This was a very strange reaction for me.  usually, I try but always unsuccessfully to manage my emotions. Especially if someone is showing “disfavour” towards me..>I was so self-centered it was always ALL about me.  But, yesterday it wasn’t all about me…acutally, the whole event felt more like an opportunity to practice what I am learning about my own consciousness.  And because I was focusing on my own reaction, and also on NOT reacting towards her, i was both calm and happy in the exchange. Wild wild wild.

So, I face today with a smile…

I realize I have been TRYING to be spiritual in my life, but without JOY – where’s the spirit?

Spiritual living is about love and joy and feeling the fullness of life, but I’ve been going around depressed and  for three years. It’s enough of that. Today and because of an act of Spirit…I am so grateful for the challenges in our lives so that we can experience this incredible higher level of love that I thank God for every single second.

Hope you can find the roses in your thorns today…

Love

Time Apart is Good For the Heart…

My husband is going away on a “boys weekend” – says he needs some time.  I’m excited. Not that there is anything wrong on the home front (please don’t send me any weird marital counseling emails or replies- everything is fine).  No it is a normal human need to be alone with yourself sometimes and there is a very great possibility that i will have some actual alone time this weekend. Maybe that sounds a bit harsh to you but let’s be realistic; it doesn’t matter how much we love our spouses, after spending years and years living with anyone, it is always nice to reconnect with yourself.  I have already passed out notice to the kids to make themselves scarce; mom’s having a weekend.

I plan on eating in the living room and whenever and whatever I want.  I can have peanut butter sandwiches for dinner for three days if I feel like it.  Although I know that whenever I get these rare times alone, I always like to spoiled myself with a delicious meal that would be too much trouble to make for a large crowd.  Maybe eggs Benedict for breakfast?  I dunno…but I’m going to spoil myself.

I am going to clean things. My drawers, maybe go through my writing and sort through the chaos. The kitchen drawers.  I like doing quiet things that cause my mind to sleep when I am alone.  I am doing a real clean up in my life, and it frankly feels wonderful.  It began with a spring clean up of physical garbage accumulated through many years of hanging onto the wrong stuff.  Then went to psychological clean up of old stuff, resentments, guilt – really UN useful stuff.

My relationships are under investigation by me right now.  I am really looking at who I have invited into my intimate circle of friends, and who has just shown up and I haven’t bothered to see where they fit. I am in observation mode.  Not that i am sitting around with a giant gavel waiting to proclaim if they get to keeps their heads or not.  But I am looking at which relationships give me energy and which ones take it.  Then I have to decide of the ones that take the energy, what purpose do they serve in my life.  It’s called being conscious of where I am putting my energy.  Maybe it’s middle age, but I realize that my energy is not an interminable font, and every day I have to pay attention as to where i am spreading myself or I become useless for everyone including myself.

I will take a weekend to refill and so will my husband. We enjoy missing each other 🙂  I still get a kick out of the fact that after a couple of days I feel a great gap when he isnt around.  This is a good sign after so many years and experiences together. So, this weekend is dedicated to peace and quiet except for Saturday night which is a work night for me and SoulFusion.  I am looking forward to playing with my old friend Roger who will replace my husband on rhythm guitar as he is going to play poker with his friends in the woods for the weekend.  I am all for this male bonding thing – but I’ll be happy when he’s home.

Green Tea face mask – Check

Chocolate (various) – Check

Bottle of exotic alcohol – Check

Movies – check

Good Book – Check (reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck – extraordinary book!)

Pen and Paper for writing – Check

Paints and sketching materials – check

guitar – check

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend!

~Peace~

WHAT IF?…

What if?

I spend allot of time creating stuff. I write music, paint, draw, poems, songs, even gardening is creative for me.  But every once in a while my muses go on vacation, and I am left facing a blank page.  Lately has been such a time…and I feel crazy.  Creatively constipated. My ego is busy with me in my head… I tell myself to go get a real job and stop wasting my time singing, writing, drawing. What’s the point??

Because I am a chronic “over-thinker”, I started thinking about the “point” of all that creative stuff.  Lord knows in 100 years nothing I have done, said or thought will matter one bit, will it?  I mean, I have no delusions that I am going down in history nor has that ever really been something important to me.  My father had this  obsession about how people would remember you after you died.

Who cares? You’re dead.

This obsessive concern for what the Jones’s think -even past the grave –  is an insane perception and it is how I and a lot of people were raised.  If you make choices according to how you think you can please  your family and friends…then your life becomes full of choices that were made because you wanted to fulfill what you thought were the expectations of the people in your life.  This will always result in disappointment.  But from a young age we are taught it is our job to imitate and do like others because this is how humanity has survived for so long.  Something that has served us in the past…no longer serves us.  This is the whole point of change.  In the past we would follow and imitate the ones that are surviving well, as Darwin would have postulated, which promotes growth of stronger smarter species.  The ones who follow the “weak”, will eventually not survive and disappear. But we are in a state of change now…and there is a real need to come to terms with what you believer as opposed to what you were taught to believe.  It is part of the process of the Growing up of humanity.

Charles Darwin was awoken with an intuitive inspiration one morning, and 6 months later he was traveling on a commissioned boat called The Beagle to the Galapagos Islands.  He left his family and conventional life behind and followed his guidance. Similarly Einstein felt he was guided by a higher power and believed that this power put ideas into his mind.  He could have had an easy and affluent career as a University professor, but instead he chose to follow his muses and create the theories that would forever change the way humans understand life.

Now, I am not saying I am some Darwin, or Einstein, but what if these guys would put down their pen and paintbrushes like I have and simply say

“what’s the point?”

What if Darwin and Einstein had chosen not to follow their intuition and creative passions and had decided to stay home, get a regular job and earn as much money as they could?  What if their greed had been greater than their curiosity?    How would the world be different today?  Would it have mattered? How many other “Darwin’s and Einsteins” have not followed their creativity because they are listening to expectation and not the call of their soul?

Maybe in eternity what we do has little or no meaning – who knows?   But I do know that if more people would follow that still small voice that asks them to be brave and honour their creative spirit, this world would be a very different place.

~Peace~

What if old Abe had said:
“Bah screw the slaves. Let them deal with their own problems – sticking my nose in that is going to make me very unpopular!”
What if Mother Theresa would have said “This work is too hard and unforgiving. I’m going o do something easier” ?

What Clings to You?

A very smart person once told me that in order to live a happy and balanced life, I have to be aware of and rid myself of anything that “clings” to me: Addiction.

The world is full of addicts. we are ALL addicted to something. In general people who are addicted live in either denial of their addiction or acceptance.  You can’t do a thing about something that you haven’t even acknowledged as being a part of you, so acceptance, as they say, is a very good beginning to recovering from addiction.

But what’s wrong with addiction?  I mean, there are as many addictions as there are people.  People can become addicted to anything these days; drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, food, movies, video games, carbs, mayonnaise…seriously.  The reason we become addicted to suff is because we don’t like the way we are without it.  That’s the bottom line. It feeds a need in us that we just haven’t found a different way to feed.

The way out of addiction is to identify exactly what lie it is telling you. For example, cigarettes told me a lie about how I presented myself to the world.  They told me a lie about who I thought I was in the world. I had been smoking for so long, my ego identified myself as “a smoker”, and so I continued the behaviours which confirmed this unconscious agreement I had made with myself about this lie.

Our natural state is not to be a smoker, and the more attuned I become to the world around me, the more satisfaction I get from returning to my natural state.

Every addiction has a fear attached to it. Fear of letting something go because you think it will compromise something important about yourself.

It’s like this with cigarettes.  I let them go, one craving at a time. But each craving allows me to see another reason I used them. Sometimes it was to put distance between me and someone I didn’t really want to be interacting with.  Mostly it was because I was bored and needed to always multitask.  I became starkly aware of my inability to sit still while I was quitting because I would still try to go sit outside or just sit still, as you would on a “smoke break”, but found it really hard because I wasn’t “doing” anything.  What ever happened to just sitting?  It has taken a few times for me to discipline myself enough to sit still, even for the same amount fo time it would have taken me to have a “smoke break” – now a “breath break”.

 

The trick in relieving yourself of the burden of an addiction begins when you realize that the addiction itself is your burden and relieves you of nothing.

No matter what the addiction, if it is something you feel you cannot be yourself without, or that you can’t survive without…it is lowering your ability to move forward.

Cigarettes are an obvious example, but what about our more insidious addictions? Relationships – looking for someone to fill the spaces in us that we aren’t  identifying and filling for ourselves causes us to bounce from one unsatisfying relationship to another.  Food;  filling the dark spaces with basic comfort, self-hatred eating guilt etc… Video games; giving you a sense of false achievement – entering non-relationships.

There are as many addictions as there are people.  But remember…All addictions are good – they are supremely useful, if you let them be.  Addictions can be used as a very powerful tool in giving you a deeper understanding of yourself – of who you really  are at your very core.  The pursuit of understanding what fuels your addictions will elevate your ability to live life on a higher level.  But understanding the reason behind your illusory need for addictive things, means that you use the addictions to bring you one step closer to greater self understanding. In that way, the addiction has served it’s purpose for you, and then you will be able to let it go.  This opens a whole new space of opportunity and experience for you.

Most of all  – Enjoy the journey!

~ Peace~

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Grow a Little Wild

I was mowing my enormous lawn the other day, a task which usually takes about 6 hours over two days, when I decided to start with the back yard, which I had neglected for about three weeks.  ALthough we hadn’t much rain earlier in the summer, we have been getting some pretty good rain storms lately, and as I drove my husband’s cherry red lawn tractor around the back yard I noticed that certain areas where trees had fallen or large branches, nature had taken over in no small form.  There were suddenly in front me of myriads of small monarch-like butterflies and freaky grasshoppers whose wings turned into black and white striped butterflies when they popped into the air.  I slowed the tractor to a stop and the original thought of how much WORK I had to do back there to clean up all those weeds dissolved into all of the beautiful things happening within the landscape of that small piece land simply because no one had interfered with it and it had been allowed to re-establish itself as nature would have it.  What an amazing simple thing!

We are very lucky, and have a few acres to spare for his kind of endeavor. but I think even someone living in the city can invest in a small pot and throw some old seeds in and leave it alone when you think there are weeds growing.  I was thinking of all the thorn bushes and milkweed…if I start plucking these out, where will all those butterflies get what they need? So, there is one area of my land which is amazingly butterfly friendly but no human would dare to enter 🙂 Then I started thinking about what a great idea it was, for anyone who can, to spare a small piece of land to allow it to grow back to nature.  Let something, some part of your environment go completely wild.  Then…tkae it a step further and let a part of yourself grow wild. Of course, I can;t help ut think of that lesson in terms of how to live life too.

Do you paint, draw, sing, write, carve?  Everyone has a penchant for something that can help them to express beyond the limitations of language and conventional thought.  The experiences you have can be very difficult to express through standard conversation, so using any creative mean to express yourself is so important to develop a greater “wild space” within. Most importantly is that you take the time to allow yourself to be a little wild, create, be unique, contribute to understanding yourself.  I have decided to let a part of myself grow wild too.  Just like my back yard. A part of me that is usually subdued, or hidden behind the grown up life we led.   Maybe it’s not such a bad idea for us all to look at what we really love and let it grow wild…see where it leads you. Maybe the garden path will bring you something you could never have imagined…

~Peace~

Wasted Time

Over the past three days we have been nursing our slightly senior beautiful little Halflinger mare who fell suddenly with a terrible Colic.  As far as I can see and up to this writing, she is on the mend, and clearly to anyone who was a witness to how sick she was, her survival can be called nothing short of a Miracle.  Note the capital “M”.  Over her days of trying to heal, I saw such an incredible strength and determination in her.  It really was inspiring.  But it was also terrifying. She kept falling to the ground, threatening to die on me.  I would pray and feel helpless and sometimes even hopeless.  I had no clue how it would work out and I decided quickly that i did not like the unknown.  I fumbled for my faith – if God’s will was always good and there was a great balance that i was unaware of and incapable of understanding obviously, then I had to go with praying not that god heal her, but that he give me and everyone the strength to do whatever it was we were supposed to do for her.  That was a bit of a struggle for me.  I would like to be the one to tell God how things should work out, but I am continuously reminded that this is not my job.

When things are bad enough the only thing you can do is surrender. Do everything you can, within your control, and let it go. There are just some  things you have to surrender to right away.  This level of distress in my horse caused me to immediately put my head down and pray.  I don’t pray well by the way…I fumble around for a while trying to figure out what exactly is the “right” thought for a desperate moment. In those moments though…you can find the miracles.  I think there is this amazing place in you, maybe I would call that place Love (yes…with a capital “L”) that just stands front and center when you know that something is suddenly beyond your “human” (little “h”) capacity to control.

I knew I was well surrounded and could only do what I could do.   I also had to give up my compulsive observance of her. I was making her crazy and I soon realized that the more I stayed away and gave her some space where a bunch of people weren’t standing around nervous that she was dying (wow…good energy lol) so we decided to all act as if. We would check her periodically., but if she wanted to lie down (she was exhausted) we let her. She wasn’t agitated or trying to roll, which is very dangerous for a colicking horse. But she was really just exhausted. Then I surrendered again.  I checked her before bed and I gave her up to God, cause I can’t do it all.  My inner self really knew it was going to be ok.  I simply knew that if my instinct was off, it would wake me; I’m a light sleeper and my soul has a big mouth.

So many changes and events happening at once.  I am in one of “those times” where there is abundant change and activity and stuff happening.   And I am never satisfied. When my life is on the run I want it to be still and when it is still, I’m bored.  Sigh.

But time is never wasted.   The quiet times, like right now, are times of absorption.  Sometimes you have allot to absorb, so take the time to be still and allow every new layer to rest softly on your shoulders.

This too shall pass…

~Peace~