Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I was listening to a writing prompt call by Andrea Hylen of Heal My Voice. She has calls to support contributing authors to the books that she pulls together, and is planning to share some of these calls with those on her mailing list.

Today's prompt is on the word, "More." As she spoke of it, she suggested writing about what the listeners wanted "more" of.

It got me thinking about a few things. One of those things had to do with how we think we can say what we want now, and it will somehow influence our future. In some ways we have been trained to live for the future.

So many things that are done are to figure out the past, or plan for the future. Where does the idea of the current moment - the now - fit?

I have often questioned things that many call the "norm," but have done it even more since being diagnosed. When you don't know whether there will be a tomorrow, or not, it doesn't make much sense to be thinking about it.

Some might say it would be what would keep one alive - the idea that there is something to shoot for. But what about when it doesn't happen?

Just about a year ago I purchased the book, "Dying to be Me," by Anita Moorjani. I bought it, but then forgot I had it. 

During the year the book was mentioned more than once, but I wasn't so sure I wanted to read it. Recently I felt I should get it. When I went to Amazon, it told me that I had already purchased it.

I really hate the part of my brain that so easily forgets stuff. Even after being off chemo a year, I am still feeling its effects. However, in this case, it seems there was a reason for me to forget.

Had I read the book when I bought it, it would not have resonated for me as much as it does now. Much of what I have gone through in the last few months alone has given me the kind of perspective Anita received when she was in a cancer induced coma, and nearly died.

Had I read what she had written without my own experience, it might have sounded "good" or like it "made sense," but like with so many things before, I would have probably wondered how to get to the place she described. 

As I think about it, it is easier to go from LA to San Francisco than LA to NY by driving because one destination is a lot closer than the other one. There are many reasons - beside mileage - it would also be more difficult. For some, there would be a greater sense of fear of the unknown.

I think with all that I have been through I arrived at "her" destination in the process of living my life. A year ago, I was on my way, but I was still miles away. 

One important point in my mind is that a year ago I did not say, "I want to live my life more in the moment." At least not consciously and purposefully, as in this exercise. It was not something contrived from what another might suggest good for me.

While it might sound like I am judging Andrea's exercise when it comes to "more," or these types of things, I want to say I am not. But it may very well be that I am. But even if I am, let me say this: it is in regard to me, and my experience of life. 

I can see for me how little exercises like this have done for me. And I have done a lot of them, in a lot of different contexts. The lack of "results" have had me feeling like I had failed, or have done them wrong. They left me feeling pretty awful more times than not.

Occasionally it would seem to fit what happened in my life, but I would have to say the ratio was more in the failure direction than one in which I would deem my efforts and my life a "success."

I have come to the conclusion that those who believe that what you ask for you receive are just creating parameters that seem to say we can control the uncontrollable aspects of our life (which really is pretty much most everything).

Human beings hate being out of control. They dislike uncertainty, and they will go to great lengths to try to make things work the way they want them to. They will institute "fixes," and they will judge themselves and others by the degree they hit the mark they think is supposed to be hit.

Perhaps there is meaning in the moment that translates for the future. Perhaps there are times are nows need to incorporate plans for future nows. Making a significant physical move might be very difficult without planning, after all (but maybe in some cases, not?)

But maybe there are times we artificially try to stimulate something or plan something, because it somehow seems to be the right thing to do. After all, that is what someone told you would be a good thing, right?

I suspect the difference lies within us. Are we doing what is in our best interest? Or are we doing just what someone else thinks is? Are we doing something out of fear, or are we acting in spite of fear? Fear can freeze us in our tracks, or have us doing things we would never otherwise do - and may not be in our best interest - because we are scared.

When I have lived in the moment fully and completely, there is peace - even when I have had to make the kinds of choices that no one else agrees with, or that defy logic.

When I have lived in the moment fully and completely, there is a sense that things have a way of making sense, but not necessarily in a logical, predictable or known way.

When I have lived in the moment fully and completely, I am not agonizing over the choices I have made or will make. If choices present themselves, I just listen to what feels right or best, and I do "that" one.

When I have lived in the moment fully and completely, it has allowed me to be ok with abrupt changes and cancellations. I have found myself wondering, "what's next?" or "when's a better time?" or realizing that what didn't happen was best not to.

That is...WHEN I have lived in the moment fully and completely. I don't do it all of the time. There are times I get caught up, just like everyone else. When my agonizer self shows up, she is exceptionally good at what she does!

But there has been a shift. I am doing it less and less, and just rolling with life more and more. Logically, there is no time to be upset, but more importantly I have seen how much better I feel when I am not trying to control the uncontrollable.

Had you told me 10 years ago that I would be like this, I probably would have   laughed. It might have sounded good enough for me to try to figure out how the heck it was going to happen. I wouldn't have been able to see how I could have gotten here. There was no obvious path to consciously take.

There would be books, classes, seminars, gurus, all kinds of things that would have professed to be the way, many of which I probably read or did or became aware of. But most of it was "just" words for me. Many of the words did not even fit what I felt deep inside.

I have struggled because I don't believe a lot of what people say and tell you to do. The struggle isn't inherent in the opposition; it is what comes along with it.

If I am so "right," then why am I not "successful?" Why am I without income, money, prestige, and all of the so-called earmarks of success? There are plenty of people and things that would gladly tell me what I have done, or am currently doing, wrong and how to do things "right," giving me examples to validate the perspective.

What if things are exactly how they are supposed to be? After all, so much of what I have shared that has been of value in some way to others could never have been shared if I wasn't standing where I am. It would be impossible to give the voice and passion to something the way I have to something I have no immediate familiarity with. I could try, but the fact that I have the experience I do has inherent meaning that is lacking for someone who has never stood where I stand.

I, too, have been forever affected and altered by what has happened. I am grateful for the perspective and understanding that has come as a result of having taken this trip.

Don't get me wrong, though. Much of this journey has sucked. There is zero doubt about that. But the thing is, I am not sure how else I could have gotten here. I bet there were other ways, perhaps some less painful, but I would guess those paths had their own surprises lurking.

As a child/teen/young adult I used to wonder why I could not have a "normal" life. I used to look at the lives of others, and feel left wanting over and over and over.

I can't say I fully understand the life I have lived, but what I can say is that I understand that there is so much more that happens than what I may even remotely think I understand. And the beauty and amazingness of it all is quite profound and touches me in a way that nothing predictable likely ever could.

And with that I will say...
Welcome to 2014. 
Thank you for being here.

That was for me.

But the same holds true as a message from me to you...
Welcome to 2014.
Thank you for being here.

1 comment:

  1. This is great that you are sharing your experiences with your readers. I think people who are going through the same thing will resonate with you. I went through this with my brother this past year, and he experienced a lot that you are going through. Keep posting and helping others. Anita