Sunday, October 30, 2011

music, candles and all things bright and beautiful.......

I attended two church services this weekend.  Both of them reminded me what it was that turned my faith light back on a few years ago.   It was a wonderful reminder. 

Yesterday, I was searching in the archives of my blog and stumbled upon a couple of pieces I had written that I really liked.  The only reason I believed they came from me is because I posted them on here.  I could not remember writing it!  It reminded me that my faith light turned on a few years ago. The words which had flowed into me, through me and out of my finger tips came from that place.  My writing at its best comes from a place beyond my vision...... it is the gift I have been given to express the living word of God.  I am the vessel.........

This afternoon, I found stillness for a quiet period.  As I sat in silence, breathing in and breathing out, I could feel that comforting faith light warm me.  Anxieties lifted.   I could hear the music of life blend all around me.  With my eyes closed I could see the calm flicker of a candle. It never burns out. It is never snuffed.

Earlier this evening I sat down for dinner with my two children.  The dampness in the livingroom was gone .... replaced by the warmth of the blazing fire I had been feeding for a couple of hours.  The drama of the week was gone ...... replaced by gratitude and respect for the bountiful life we are so privileged to lead.  For one another.  For our home.  For the love we share. I was reminded of what it was that turned my faith light back on a few years ago.......

Tonight, I bundled up for the first time this fall to ward off the slushie winds that tell the tale of winter's pending arrival, and took the dog for her walk.   I pushed away the thoughts of what has to "get done" this week to be better prepared in order to be able to look around, to listen openly and to inhale the aromatic change of seasons.  It's easy to do when I'm with Lily because she is always so enthusiastic to go for a walk like it's the first time EVER.  She always takes a smiling run and body slide onto her back on the neighbour's lawn....... her legs flailing in the air......... her back being rubbed by terra firma.  You can't help but smile with envy that she has the capacity to live in the moment simplistically joyful!

 As we walked with the wind, the dark night, which felt so November-foreboding earlier in the evening began to transform as the storm clouds scattered and splintered into strips of cotton.   Those once slushie winds were pushing them beyond the horizon.  Those nasty north winds howling through the barren trees were revealing a twinkling gallery of light specks up above.  Off to the side, a sideways smiling moon that had its best glow on.   Looking, listening, inhaling, I gratefully and respectfully stood alone on the small street I call home.  Nestled safely within a vast universe ...... Again, I was reminded of faith. The Living Word

The light of my faith comes from believing God lives in and among us.  We are the Living Word.  And we do it best when we just let ourselves be open to being a sensory expressive and receptive human.  

We do it best when we allow ourselves embrace the basic but so important lessons as the touchstones of how we connect and interact with others and with nature....... to love, to find a way to communicate, to respond, to treat everyone equally, to be kind..... to hear, see, touch, feel, inhale daily moments with a heart of gratitude.  

It's how I want to live.  It is what I strive for everyday.  Whether its through my writing, my interactions, my actions.  I may stumble into a field of selfishness from time to time.  I may overreact and not handle things well on occasion, especially when I'm stressed out...... when my fuse is short.  My words may dry up.  My strength may succumb to fatigue.  But, it is a goal I keep in the uppermost of my mind......... that we all play a role in the Body of Christ.  Humanity makes up the Body of Christ.  

If God lives among us, as I believe He does, then we always have the ultimate Mentor to help guide us back to what really counts.  

The other night, after a day of feeling shattered and tired from not going into surgery, I went outside and sat on the back steps to catch my breath.  I looked up in the night sky and what should appear at the moment I needed reassurance?  A beautiful shooting star.......... I laughed out loud and hooked a wish upon its tail and hummed the tune.......... All things bright and beautiful...........

Saturday, October 29, 2011

we are humans becoming.......

 Singing Sands beach, Souris PEI
You can never go back to what use to be,
Returning is not part of your destiny.
Whatever happened, its all in the past,
No matter what present shadows it casts.
How much control do we have as we live out our lives?
Those choices we made unfurled with surprise.
History leaves us scratching in pain
Sometimes joyful memories to revisit again.
It was what it was, but when its all said and done.
Those moments are part of what's yet to come
You can never go back to what used to be.....
Becoming is part of your destiny.

Friday, October 28, 2011

forming, storming, norming.......reforming.

Indirectly due to my cold, the surgery that was supposed to take place on Wednesday was postponed until November 9th. At first I was stunned by the turn of events.  I only heard after I had been registered for day surgery, had blood taken, had an EEG and was sitting waiting for the next step when I was told that they had taken me off the schedule.  That was it.  Despite all of my efforts to kick the damn cold, it was all for naught.  I was so ready.  Once the medication I had taken to calm my nerves wore off, the emotional and adrenaline let down left me shattered.  

Exhausted.   Angry. Dis-integrated.  I went from deep sleep to quick step pacing to feeling like the girl who cried WOLF! I feel like I created this amazing orchestral force of Oneness that produced shooting stars of hope only to be caught raising a ruckus with Conductor's baton that lost its magic.

A friend of mine told me I would turn this into an opera.  I had no conscious intentions of doing that, but well..... he knows me better.  I just need to find the Soprano.  Gee, I wonder if Marg Delahanty is available now that her gig with Toronto Mayor Rod Ford fell flat? 

Its Friday morning now.  Perspective once again prevails over emotional reactivity. I can sit still again.  I can think straight.  Its amazing the power of the flood of emotions.....mine could've lit up a small town!  Too bad the damn burst and I couldn't find a more productive way to rein it in.  But, I can't be too hard on myself.  It took most of my resilience, strength, optimism, and direction to plan, prep and carry on without the freakish reality slamming me in the gut both at home and at work, ...... to get things cleared up at work, to get this house in order, to get myself in the right head space and to get this family ready for their Momma to be out of commision for a while.  So many details and to do lists.....  I was as prepared as I could muster.

Now I have to do it all over again.  Now, I can say I can do it all over again.   Shit happens. Shift happens.  Chalk it up to another life experience to teach me how to surrender my desire to control things over to the cosmos.  The universe will look after me.  I may not know the real reason behind the delay, but in the grand scheme of things, perspective has allowed me to see it as a blip rather than a dramatic Aria.  The universe will look after us, if we allow it to take the lead..... if, as Father John O'Donohue suggested, we choose the lens to see through life that helps us make our gaze beautiful........ Here is a little blessing from his book chalk full of them:

"I give thanks for arriving safely in a new dawn,
For the gift of eyes to see the world,
The gift of mind to feel at home
In my life, the waves of possibility
Breaking on the shore of dawn,
The harvest of the past
That awaits my hunger,
And all the furtherings
This new day will bring."

Since I posted the news on my blog last Sunday night, I have been showered by the most unbelievable support from all around the world.  I asked for help to "love bomb" the cancer rather consider it a battle and a beautiful barrage of warm, warm love along with offers to help me with food, drives, accomodation, visits, prayers, blue light blessings wrapped me and my family in a furry blanket of many colours.  Emails, facebook comments, phone calls, cards, flowers, a bottle of Baileys, and a big container of homemade chicken stew ....... visits to my office and home from caring hearts wishing me speedy recovery ..... wow, WOW, WOW!  Thank you so much.   Thank you, thank you.

I am blessed, loved, looked after, in charge sometimes, grateful, and tremendously frightened by this part of my life journey.  I hold on as I let go.  As this new morning's waves break into a new dawn, I give thanks for a new day.  Fresh with no mistakes.  So far. Open to opportunities to connect with others.  One full of humour and frustrations ..... of challenges and comfort ...... of beautiful Arias, laments as well as hip swaying rhythms ...... of shared smiles, stories and simmering learning, of giving it all I have.   May this day add a few grace notes to the opera that is my life, and the opera that is your life......  AND, may this day, a Friday, end with a glass of crisp white wine!   I hear wine goes well with drama.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Let the universe look after me please......

Walk away for too long in a non-aligned fashion and sometimes its darn difficult to retrace those memorable meanderings..... can you ever really backtrack? 

Walk on.  Walk on.

Stories....oh, the stories and experiences that have filtered and been felt by this crazy river girl! Accumulated touchstone people stories tucked together, colourful reckonings,  tender truths,  textured weavings of startle-charged news all stored inside me.  I havent spilled them on paper, or sketched them out.  It seems as though I've needed to remain aloof to my little blog........ I've needed to ramble in this noisy life...... you know those outside noises that demand attention?

Until I began to hear the inner growl.  The one that niggles and wiggles and pokes you inside the ribs?  The noises that push you off your presumed path into landscapes that draw your attention away from what you THINK matters.  You know, those noises you can't muffle, stifle or control because they are so big and boisterous you HAVE to listen.

Noises on the outside.......  Noises on the inside......

The walk becomes a jog, becomes a run. You can never really run away from the noises on the inside.

And then..... and then......."STOP!  LISTEN!"  says something deep inside your soul. Life trips you up into a tanglement of confusion.   It's then you come face to face with what matters.  This time, the face I was looking at when all things stopped?  My caring intuitive Doctor. 

Though a tunnel, I heard........ "it came back positive...."

WHAT? There were no lumps.  No bumps.  No sore spots.  Nothing.  WHAT?

Is it crazy to admit that I was not surprised?  My doctor is intuitive.  I am intuitive.  I knew I was going to hear her say those words.  I knew it.  Through a tunnel........ Oh my God. I knew.  Yet, there was no indication whatsoever.

As I looked into her big brown eyes, the same ones that I have looked into after I gave birth to my babies and she came into the hospital room broadly smiling to see them all wrapped in flannel nestled in my arms, when my son had croup, when my infant daughter had pneumonia ....... when I spilled my anxieties and stress over carrying too much of a load at home and work and needed time off, when my then husband had just been told he had suffered a stroke and she forcefully told us it was going to be alright, that he was going to recover fully (which he did), when I shuddered and stammered out the news of a marriage break up and asked her to take away that wretched sense of feeling discarded like a candy bar wrapper....... AS I looked into her trusting brown eyes, I heard the news.   The biopsy was positive.  I have breast cancer.

The noises stopped.  My voice became small.  I felt small.  Startled.  Alone. SO Alone.  The only thing I could do was will myself to stay in that tunnel with her.... to absorb the hopeful side of the news .... tiny .... non-invasive ..... not a death sentence..... going to be fine.... fine..... FINE ...... strong woman ..... early detection ..... caught very early  ......  to hear that she was going to be there with me for this part of my life's ride!  

"I will be there for you all the way!"  

In a matter of seconds, I jumped up from the chair in her office, whipped off my dress, unclipped my bra and demanded she do a double check exam.  No bumps..... no hurts.  Nothing.  I hear myself babbling like a fool.  "If its so tiny," I say, "can they just suck it out with a straw or something like you would venom???"  "Jesus,"  I hear myself say, "I've just come around to liking these droopy breasts of mine!!! I've always thought they were just a pain in the ass until I started dating again."  

She laughed.  I laughed.  But, I was telling the truth.  For the first time in my life, I was beginning to believe my breasts were beautiful.  An asset.  
"Why?" I ask, "Why did you send me in the first place?"

"I have no idea." She replies. "It was a gut feeling....."
"I had the same gut feeling."
We stand there stunned and a bit creeped out by the serendipity of the news.

I have always believed her.  She has always taken the right steps for me and my family.  It was intuition that she sent me for a diagnostic mammogram in the first place.  No other reason.  She just did it.   Thank God. She hugged me like an old friend.  We are.  Thank God she is in my life. 

STOP.  LISTEN.  Look around you.   When was the last time you reflected on your assumptions?? Those noisy mid-life assumptions?  They have been slamming me in the face, in the gut, and straight into my soul-full awareness regularly since I heard the news.  Meaningless assumptions.  They have no power now. 

 Amazing how quickly you realize that all the stuff you've been hoarding ...... everything from the grudges to the resentments, to the daily irritations slide away into an abyss called "it doesn't matter at all.........."   In a short time, which actually felt like eternity as I went through the process of "finding out...."  I've come to realize that all that burdensome shit I carry in an over-the-shoulder-satchels are heavy hitter diversions.  

Like everyone, I  use those smudgy grudges, those bitter tasting resentments and those victim inducing irritations as armour.   Protection from feeling vulnerable.  Mufflers from those tender truths that leave gouges on our hard held innocence.  

Wow.  Vulnerability never felt so raw. It arrived in a rush of prickling heat, jumbled thoughts.  Initially, the diagnosis left me ripped in two.  Disassociated.  Too numb to drive.  Sobbing until I thought I would throw up.  Then, I would remember what my doctor told me.  It was EARLY.  Non-invasive.  Treatable.   From there, those drizzled tears were tucked away.  

Responsibilities took precedence. I still had to do my job as a counsellor.  Being a Mom took top priority.  I am their lifeline.  Their leader.  Their rock solid Momma.  Always.   Other life events were happening...... celebratory ones that were more meaningful.  I was in a place of suspension going through the motions, but rarely breaking down. However, the week between hearing the original news to meeting with my surgeon was a see-saw blur of holding it together and crumpling in a heap.   

I didn't want to tell many people until I had more news....... more information.  But, the people I did share it with were so lovingly supportive.  They still are.  Now, even more.  Offering to come stay at the house, to look after us, to drive me to treatments, to help winterize the house, to make bread, scrub floors, drive kids, sit with me...... anything!  just ask, they have ALL stated.  Community of friends and family.  WOW.  

Blessings and offerings.......
Life altering lessons in a place of discomfort.  
Love, compassion, empathy, action!  This is what matters......
Joy and woe are woven fine...... hope lifts up from the dredges of woe.  Not from joy.  Woe is where hope is conceived.   
Human touch, shared tears, held and rocked....... encouragement and reminders.....
Heart to heart conversations revealed themselves in such a timely manner that it couldn't have been anything but the Grace of God. 
Mysterious ways, God reveals Grace.  Someone should talk to Him about his humour.  I mean REALLY! 


I had a dream the morning I met with the Surgeon that miraculously transformed the panic that was devouring me into lightness.  Calm, clear headed uplifting lightness.  I still quite believe it. I dreamt of a gathering.  I dreamt of a surprise encounter.  I dreamt about deep conversations with people I seemed to know well.  As I awoke from this dream,  I heard the "ME" in the dream say......... "We have no control of some things in our lives.  We have to let the universe look after us....."   

Hope had gestated.  Hope was growing like a gorgeous weed inside me, nourished by early morning light.  I felt a calm I hadn't experienced in months, much less the previous month of mammograms and a biopsy.  Solid.  Strong.  Focused.  Reconciled.  My dream left me in a place of personal reconciliation.  I was dumbfounded by the change in how I was looking at this mid-life event.  But I went with the feeling.  I let the calm feeling soothe me like a balm.  I lte it lead me.  From that moment on.  It was in that frame of mind I met with the Surgeon.  

Can you know right away that you're able to surrender your trust completely to someone you've just met?  Yes.  It happened as soon as this dynamic woman with energy and intelligence galore came bounding into the room and announced "You're the reason why we want every woman to have a diagnostic mammogram!  You're the poster girl!  Your breast cancer?  It's stage 0!  Its so tiny........... let me show you a diagram."  

 From there, the conversation went into detail.  She described the gameplan.  She told me that scar may not be pretty, but who cares, she says.  Yeah, who cares?   She told me I would need radiation.  That's the routine.  No matter how small the cancer area is.  I'm alright with that.  

It will be difficult and I have to travel to another city every day for four weeks right through the Christmas season, but my friends and family will escort me there and back.  We will sing Caroles.  We will share secrets.  We will listen to good music and sip hot tea.  We will drive through snow and maybe even stay in Saint John some nights and talk late into the night.  About stuff that matters.  We will let go of our assumptions.  Together.  On these drives.  AND we will laugh at the absurdities, and the stories we share.


Blessings and offerings........... my little universe is truly looking after me.  I am surrounded by love, near and far.  LOVE! 

Stage 0!  Who the hell has ever heard of that?  Is this a gift in disguise?  yes. 

Originally, I was sent for a diagnostic mammogram for no apparent reason?  Based on my Doctor's intuition?  The cancer would not have been detected until it had grown way beyond its minute boundaries if it hadn't been for me continually meeting with my Doctor while I was at the worst of my marriage grief.   

Stage 0 is where I'm at.  I'm the poster girl for getting the old floppy boobies squished in those damn picture machines.  I wonder if I can put that on my resume? 

My surgery is on Wednesday October 26th at 10 am AST.  9:00 am EST.  From there, I heal.  From there, the universe will be all around me......... as will caring people, spirit companions until the treatment and intervention is complete.  

Can I leave you dear bloggie reader and friend with one request?  Will you share a little of your light on me Wednesday morning? I'd really like to feel all that warmth.  No worries.  No negative thoughts.  No talk of survivor.  I'm NOT looking at this as a combat battle in the trenches.  I'm looking at it as a LOVE bombardment, and I need your help sending out that energy!  Because when it comes right down to it, nothing soothes any beast better than open hearted LOVE.  THAT's what matters.

Time for bed.............. dreams matter too.