Sunday, October 28, 2012

Two Weeks Normal

Back to work
back to normal,
at least in most
people’s mindset.

They can breathe a
sigh of relief.

a sign that
I’m winning against the
breast cancer.

Normal means bills will be
Health insurance will be
All good signs of my continued
prosperity and well being.


When I look in the mirror
I see
      emotions staring back at me 

      coldly reminding me that
      ignoring them 
      is what took me over
      the cliff before.

Curled asleep in my bed
     dreams become messengers of
     my spirit
     weeping, whispering
     you promised
     it would be different.

I hug
emotion and spirit
to my center
reassuring them,
we are just visiting our
old haunts
for a time
until our new home is ready,
we will never be back
to leading a normal life. 

Peter Gabriel, "Lead A Normal Life":

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sometimes You Have to Testify to Truth

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

It has been a long week, both at work and of consideration of how I'm doing on this still new road I've been traveling. Work gave me a five percent increase. Some people who I've talked to about making some changes in the career front, thought it might keep me there. Oddly enough, it makes me more determined then ever to make the change, to go all the way.

The other consideration is my personal life. There are still relationships that need tending and I am not sure where to go. Since I've made some of my best decisions in the Eastern Sierra Nevada's, it's road trip time. Mama Nature is giving us a beautiful fall here in Northern California and it's supposed to continue through next weekend. I took Bella my Springer last year for an abbreviated trip and she did well, so I'm taking her with me for the longer one.

One of the jewels of the week is discovering Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea's solo CD, 'Boy on Bridge', which was released last spring. I didn't get to it until now. Lot's of rock out stuff. Especially one cut which somehow reminded me of the Alabama Hills....

Tonight I'm grateful that I'm going on my first major road trip post diagnosis. Life is resuming.

Alan Doyle, "Testify":

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Creativity of Play

Ask any child. When children are painting or building castles of sand, there is nothing but fun going on. They know what we adults have long forgotten: that they all have a right to create what they want, want whatever they make is true and good.
Jan Phillips

The hardest thing about going back to work is finding the energy to play and create.  I've gotten a couple of reminders though from the young girl I encountered above and my Springer, Bella.

I worked a late shift at work and got home late. I did all of the tasks that needed doing, practiced harp and then at 9:00 pm felt a wet nose on my leg. I looked down and there was Bella. She had a tennis ball in her mouth and her tail was wagging. It might be late at night, but to her it was a good time to chase balls. I started laughing and grabbed some of her squeaky toys for a game of tug of war.

She taught me tonight. There is always time to play. Also, that when you play you open up yourself and began to create.

Tonight I'm grateful for the animals and children of the world who teach us so much.

Bless the Beasts and the Children Medley:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Landscape of Mind

Sitting in the quiet of midnight
ideas illuminated in the midday sun
become burning stars
chasing across the landscape of mind

Sharon Van Etten, "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get":

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Lullaby to Jagged Pieces

Sometimes life breaks into 
jagged pieces.
Gently you pick them up,
then with care,
try to fit them
back together.
After enough failed attempts, 
enlightenment arrives.
The only thing you can do is
form them into a
new picture.

Nickelback, "Lullaby":

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When Clouds Are On The Horizon

It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are... than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.
Henry David Thoreau

After returning to work, I know that as soon as I can figure out how in the next 6-9 months, I will be leaving a world I have inhabitated for the last several years. It's like losing weight and going back to put your "fat pants" back on. They don't fit and you cannot wear them.

What makes the work not possible are the following factors: everything is presented as a crisis, even when its not, we encourage dependency rather then independence, and most of all the majority of the people I work with don't want to make things better, they want to stay at the status quo, i.e. maximize their disability rather then try to make improvements. So I have some ideas to make career changes, I just have to make the practical met the ideal...

I'm grateful to my employer, they have been very supportive to me and others, but I have a different idea on how I want to work with people now and it's time to put that into place.

Joni Mitchell, "Both Sides Now":

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sowing the Seeds of Awakening

Fear is a natural reaction of moving closer to the truth.
Pema Chodron

Shortly after my lumpectomy by a happy synchronicity, I found a teacher. I have never met Pema Chodron, but she has taught me much in the last four and a half months.

One of the biggest struggles I have had and have is dealing with fear/uncertainty. In the past I would run away at times from things that would scare me or I didn't want to face. I am struggling with returning to work. There were massive problems before I left in June and I'm sure they remain.....My fear isn't so much the problems, but in that I have had to learn lessons on how to deal with the life much differently if I am to stay healthy, i.e. will I be successful in applying said lessons to the work environment. Also on my mind is will people respect the person I have become?

I woke up this morning from a nightmare related to the fear of failing etc...heart pounding, palms sweating ... A few months ago I would have sought distraction. Thanks to Chodron's tutelage I have learned to go to the meditation mat and sit with what is. In her words from "Comfortable with Uncertainty":

"That is why it's so good to meditate every single day and continue to make friends with our hopes and fears again and again. This sows the seeds that enable us to be more awake in the midst of everyday chaos."

In her other books and lectures, she talks about being tender hearted with the fear and practicing gentleness and loving-kindness towards ourselves when dealing with our fears and perceived flaws. Shortly after finishing meditation, I went to help out a friend at her fruit stand at our local farmer's market.  When I saw this white pomegranate there it seemed to visually reflect Chodron's lessons....

when fear breaks you open
do not run
rather stay sit and breathe
wondering at the tender places
you find
contained there are
the sweet seeds of awakening

Today my gratitude is to fear and the lessons it is teaching me.

Sarah McLachlan, "Fear":

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vivid Colors of Life

Autumn asks that we prepare for the future —that we be wise in the ways of garnering and keeping. But it also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.
Bonaro W. Overstreet

One of the things I love most is fall (as if you couldn't tell from recent blog entries). This fall is even more awe inspiring because of the summer I've had. I'm looking at the colors with new eyes, even though I've seen them before. The colors above are what we have in the Sierra Nevada's. Not the rich maples of my birth state, but still beautiful in their spareness all the same.

I've been given the clearance to return to work next Monday. I've been asked over and over how do I feel about it.  My answer is I'm trying not to focus on it until I'm there...Changes will be happening, but I'm working on letting go of too many expectations and live each day now as if it were my last. That is the biggest lesson I've learned from the last four months.

So today I'm grateful for the vivid colors of life. They've always been there, but it's just recently that I've been able to appreciate them in every day that I'm given.

Nickelback, "If Today Was Your Last Day":

Monday, October 8, 2012

Zen of Two Flowers

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.

One thing I'm learning on this journey, is that every day is different and has its challenges. This weekend I went off some of my eating/practices and yesterday paid the cost. This a.m. I was doing a bit of beating myself up and yet trying to find some equilibrium. Not a good combination. I looked up and saw on my altar the two flowers I had placed there on Saturday. Suddenly I had my lesson:

flower is dying
open up your life's breath
flower now blooms

So in gratitude I bow to the universe for the teaching. Namaste.

MC Yogi, "Shanti (Peace Out)":

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Autumn Lessons

My autumn began in early summer.
Slowly as I learned to be quiet,
to be still,
lessons were given by that master teacher:
They were this:
Shed your life's leaves,
the ones that no longer do their job.
Give up that which needs to die.
Rest so you may renew.
Know that in solitude and tranquil silence,
new essence is being prepared 
to grow.
As I contemplate autumn's schooling,
I can see more clearly
the vibrant colors of this world.

George Winston, "Autumn Medley":

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Flood of Pink or It's October....

I have to admit, like so many women, I always knew there was a chance. But like so many women, I never thought it would be me. I never thought I'd hear those devastating words: 'You have breast cancer'.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz

It's October and I'm being flooded with pink. Some people around me now see me as a poster child for pink. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of pink as a metaphor for the waging of wellness (and I've used it) when you are trying to deal with breast cancer...what I don't like is the idea of capitalistic culture turning it into yet another money making venture. In fact if I see one more tagline on how said companies are contributing to the war against breast cancer...well you get the idea. And it is the concept of waging war that also bothers me. I received a quote in an email recently that encouraged me to wage war against breast cancer by raising money.... it's not a battle against one's self, it's trying to bring oneself to wellness so you can thrive, but I digress as I could go on at length about this and that's another blog entry...

There are many reputable foundations who are raising money for breast cancer research and services. But there are just as many opportunistic companies using pink to maximize their profit line. I cannot tell you who is whom, but research will help one decide. Google companies and look at their profiles. See how much of their charitable contributions goes to foundations and to individuals in need. Look at what the overhead is. The long and short is the vast majority of funds should go to the betterment of life for women/men who have breast cancer.

I would like to see October become an awareness for all breast cancer doesn't make me more deserving then say my sisters with ovarian cancer. It just makes me more visible. 

Today I am grateful for the efforts of people who helped break the glass ceiling of breast cancer, but now it's time for all persons who are dealing with any type of cancer to gain as much support as those of us with breast cancer have been given.

Ann Wilson, "War of Man featuring Alison Krauss":

Beauty Is...

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