Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thoughts On This 3-Year Anniversary

"Wave of Exhilaration," Summer 2014, origami & tissue paper collage
Feeling such a wave today for life...
We emerge changed after encountering moments in life when we feel like the ground has opened up underneath us, and we’re falling without knowing how we will land...a break-up, a layoff, a death, a diagnosis.  Today marks the 3-year anniversary of facing one of my own life-altering moments, receiving my lymphoma diagnosis.  That moment will remain deeply etched in my memory, but as time passes, and as I continue to find my way and journey forward as a survivor, October 1st will hopefully seem less ominous.  Today as I reflect back on the past three years, I feel gratitude not only for being alive in the physical sense, but also for becoming truly alive within my heart and soul.  I’m still fine tuning my navigation skills which will undoubtedly be an ongoing process, and I am learning how to focus less on the “what if” of my disease and more on the “what if” of opportunities to live with passion, creativity and purpose.  Although this is not the path I envisioned myself traveling, I’ve discovered that despite its unavoidable twists and turns and inevitable ups and downs, there is much to explore, enjoy and embrace along this journey.

As I stand at this 3-year mark and contemplate what’s fueled my spirit to move forward, the greatest motivators have been love, inspiration and gratitude.  The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” frequently plays on the soundtrack in my head, so simple, yet so profound and true.  Regardless of the course we’re on, when we focus on giving and receiving love, love is indeed just about all we need to steer us in the best direction.  As I practice immersing myself in the moment, observing and listening more closely and carefully, inspiration pops up everywhere and enhances my daily life.  Meanwhile, the practice of gratitude offers an energizing, uplifting perspective on life and uncovers bright spots where there are shadows.  Of course, my inner demons still lurk under the surface - the fear monster, the self-critic and the recovering perfectionist - but I’ve gained strength and courage to push them aside, pursue dreams and believe in being able to make a (small, hopefully mighty!) difference.

There are many moments, today being one of them, when I am overcome with such intensity of emotion for being alive, for loved and dear ones, for the beauty and wonder surrounding us.  My heart feels as though it is so full it will burst, and I cry tears of release.  While life may seem more complicated, disorganized and unpredictable at times, it is in these moments that what matters most shines through.  It's also in these moments that I shrug off nagging concerns for coming across as overly sentimental or idealistic and remind myself that this type of dialogue heals and sustains me.  I'd rather risk being sappy than stifle heartfelt expression (which I was sometimes apt to do in the past.)  My intent in sharing my experiences and insights is to create resonance in some way that may be helpful and encouraging to others. 

May each of us love and be loved, inspire and be inspired, be blessed with much gratitude, believe we can make a difference (because we can!), share our stories and live life fully...and whenever the ground opens up, may we land solidly on our feet. 

As I pause and appreciate all the goodness in life today, I wish you the same.