This morning I ventured out for my usual walk. Not exercise, but a brief 10 minute walk, unencumbered, which I was taught will deliver left/right brain integration, calmness and generally start the day off on the right foot. Along the way I spotted a young neighbor that I did not know by name, but who always smiled and waved. I called him over to talk.
I apologized for an "episode" we had last week on the river. I just now realized how heavily it was weighing on me. Essentially, they had borrowed our dock for a quick run back to their house to inflate a tube. Honestly, this is no big deal, except others take this as a sign we are open to all, and the give an inch take a mile responders show up. Although we did not know this family, another neighbor told them we would not mind. In truth we do mind, and let them know. He said we were very nice about it and they were not offended and fully understood. Still it felt so un-neighborly at the time.
Putting aside the liability issues, we enjoy having our privacy - and sharing our haven when we invite others over. McGyver built the dock and much of the house, so perhaps we are more protective than others. Yet, it is such beautiful access to the river I believe it should be open to all. Then I recall how hard we worked and how much we paid and yes it is ok to own a piece of this God given space. It has taken years for my adjustment from a fenced in suburbia life, to understand that others will wander on to our open land no matter what the signs say. As with all the small annoyances of life, a tiny shift of perspective and a deep breath will get me through. We were not all raised with the same boundaries, so tolerance is essential.
Back then, to the conversation on the street. We got to know each other and then exchanged phone numbers. I said do not hesitate to use the dock - for emergencies. Call with a heads up, so that watching neighbors do not beckon us home to investigate. Then I finished the 10 minute walk feeling significantly lighter than when I started, and knowing much more about this gentleman.
Is there anything weighing on you like this? Of course, for most. Start with these small issues and resolve what you can. Occasionally scan your body and listen from your heart. The larger burdens such as recovery or loss, are best turned over to your higher power. If you are seeking an actual 7 minute weight loss program, consider turning that over as well. Emotional eating and the rebound of strict diets are challenging. Working out inner burdens and improving self-love first, will allow the food we take in, to actually nourish our bodies. With every bite, every thought, every task or action, stay ever aware of the question: Is this nurturing or depleting to me? Do not leave things unresolved. Give yourself the level of care you offer loved ones. - Pam 7/18/2014
There is that memory. In the canoe with safety drifting past consideration. 20 years ago, when balance and ease of movement were a given, a gift taken for granted. It was a crisp day in Florida filled with more light than you would think possible. Not the usual steamy soft air of this region.
When did that mobility and spontaneity slip away into this blissfully comfortable existence within un-comfortable bodies? The irony of retirement is that it delivers the most free and flexible phase of life - just as our bodies and minds have denied both.
And where is the canoe? Gathering moss beside the house, unused since that luscious afternoon on the lake. The thought: "oh, that's why he won't sell it". It only came to mind this morning, as we plan a rare date to go fishing. I've labeled the mini excursion "romantic" to assure it is the two of us without our fab friends. These days it seems only under duress that we leave the comfort of our kindles and anti-gravity chairs to venture out socially. I don't recall the last date night out alone. Those seem to be reserved for our friends with children and grand plans in their life.
Before this comes across as too pitiful, I must mention that we just returned from an adventurous vacation in the Baja - scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, hiking. We are not fully into our sunset days - and don't intend to go there. Neither of us is actually retired, but our idealistic lifestyle on the river gives that impression. We are incredibly grateful for all that has come our way after 40 - leaving the angst of our earlier lives behind.
Why, after 24 years together, are there still interactions that don't meet our mutual expectations? That's easy - and true of nearly every one of you. Our inner actions ie. responses, are dominated by expectations, often conditioned by our lives. Whether your expectations are high or low, they are nearly always accompanied by "niggles". Niggles of uncertainty - not the best fertilizer to the thoughts that attract goodness into our lives. The most daunting of niggles, is fed by the desire to have our partner's mind, and thus behavior, respond just as ours would. That would truly make for a life of ease - anticipating each other's every thought and move. And possibly not be very interesting as an end result. When you no longer have the energy to live fully, then that predictability may be a logical path.
We, however, continue to choose the wild ride that our Love holds together in our safe zone, knowing the extremity of our differing minds. It is often challenging - but never personal. It is fun, passionate and productive - except when it is not. We have been greatly rewarded for our efforts and faith, once we allowed the reality of who we are, and understood that we are, genuinely, fully responsible for everything in our lives. And now, it's time to take action for those areas where our attention has dwindled.
Alone is so much safer than together, right? Together we ventured out in that canoe, covered the bases for an amazing day dancing with mutual expectations. Alone would also be amazing, with more ease - with egrets and herons, fish jumping, water sparkling. But when the alligator arrived, sounding like the pull of a motorboat engine starting, my vote is entirely on togetherness. I'll never know if we were truly safe, but the natural talents of my husband included quietly maneuvering away, while assuring me all is well. My trust knew no limits. Until, a few years later, there was a shark encounter. But then, that is another story.
(post article update - no bites, but a sweet day on the water, greeted by Manatee.)
Waking in dis-comfort, throughout this long night, I have added a layer of self judgment. Since my teens, episodes have been triggered by food, chemical, stress and sound sensitivities. Great wellness teachings, yoga, nutrition have controlled the responses, but occasionally an un-stable day presents itself.
This is not setting a good example, having committed to using my own transformed life as the bedrock of the ATAP offerings. First and foremost, I believe in the power of language. I will now sling hyphenated words at an unusual pace, in the erasure of our dis-empowering terms. (Fade out: Pain-Fear-Hate-Angry, Replace with dis-comfort-no faith, really really dis-like, very very un-happy) Negative affirmations are OK in my book - so long as attached to empowering words. It is my experience that the universe/God/Force Field (you choose) ignores the have nots. "I'm not as well as I would like" attracts wellness. I'm not sick, attracts sick.Call me un-stable if you don't see the logic. Do it and see. Who said it? Do, or don't do. There is no try.
Even in the best of lives, we experience the hurdle of moments. News that uproots our grounding, as occurred yesterday from a friend. How we deal with those challenges will improve - and regress throughout our lives. Take note of what does, and does not work, specifically for you. Expand your mind to allow new possibilities for a better outcome, when it seems no doors remain open. For those who live in deep faith, turning challenges to higher powers of God is a response that supports good health. Even then, when a loss is too great to bear or a dis-comfort too intense to ignore, we dance with demons of un-certainty in our mind.
As I write these words, the morning cries of disappointment by a neighbor's toddler are piercing the calm sunrise. I am envious. A loud sobbing wail about now (by me) would really clear the air. Tears would be cathartic. But they don't come easily after a lifetime of "chin up" and "be strong". Yeah, orgasms are a great wellness prescription. But it is a different clearing to reach into the depths of un-happiness, sorrow, and accept that we do not have the wherewithal to fix every in-justice.
Advances in science make it possible to test and predict with pinpoint accuracy the type, location and source (in the body) of cancers. Yet there is little advance in cancer prevention since my Mother's diagnosis in the 60's. New tests even predict probability of recurrence and metastasis (spreading to other organs). Some Doctors, with all good intent - and often pressure from the family, still offer a prognosis timeline for survival. Our minds are powerful, and the majority of patients will comply and pass away on schedule - some precisely to the day. Is this serving us well?
My dilemma today is this certainty in my heart, that our friend has the ability to beat the prognosis delivered to her yesterday. I know this. I am sending healing prayers. Yet I feel power-less to ease this new layer of trauma for her.
Our Western medicine approach is rarely faith based. "If you don't do this, you may not live". "When you follow these treatments, there is the possibility of these side effects". The placebo effect is validated - wellness follows our belief in a pill or therapy, even when the healing agents are absent. The nocebo effect is just as real, but rarely discussed. That is, the patient's info flyer full of possibilities...un-healthy side effects, actually has the power to influence a patients reactions and anxiety at un-safe levels. Does this mean ignore the warnings? Well, no, but do take on the belief that these are suggestions for someone else, not you. You are perfect. You are well. -Pam
Pinktober is upon us in full glory. We packed up our beach attire and headed to the uber-pink hotel, the Don Cesar on St Pete Beach in Florida. At the crack of dawn we assembled, nearly 200 survivors and families, to meet the camera crew of GMA (Good Morning America). Our mission? Inspire the couch potatoes of America to be as committed to life as all of these beautiful ladies and a gentleman. Yes, men do get breast cancer. But most of the men here experienced an even greater disruption to their life - feeling helpless to fix their loved ones.
So many lessons and observations compacted into the early hours of PINK sunrise, beach balls, GMA T-shirts, heartfelt signs for the world. What stood out for me is the age old inequality. These ladies found their way to be seen and heard, yet all that was aired is the cheering to prompt signs dictated by the Directors calling in from New York. They were permitted onto the beach property, but not welcomed to celebrate the day there without being a guest of the fine establishment. At $7/bottle for fancy Fiji water, all enjoyed the experience but some went home dehydrated by noon. Many have put every last dime into their treatments. Those who did not have the money put everything in the hands of God, and Praise The Lord they were here smiling and thriving. They went home with more new friends, having made yet another amazing memory. Pictures and social media now carry their words that would never be heard on TV the day the greatest nation in the world closed the doors of their Government offices.
As a lifelong camera-phobic, I took up amateur photography to assure that I remain behind the lens and not in the public eye. Pinktober on GMA was no different. I stood behind the camera crew on the beach, in the dark shooting with only my iPhone, to capture my 93 year Young Survivor Mom in Law. The silhouette of the crew against the luminescent pink ladies flashed another cliche. Cancer has put them in the spotlight. Like it or not, there is no hiding from the reality of the diagnosis. Only this small group opted to show up for big publicity. The majority of us living with the awareness of cancer as a possibility want it to go away. Normalcy is a dream now. Many ladies who grew up loving Princess Pink now resent that it symbolizes a dis-ease and serves as a constant reminder of what they want to forget.
Cancer's positive impact
In my work with Kolbe Instinctive assessments, I had a remarkably low ratio of Cancer Thrivers showing up as "In Transition". I had expected the opposite. Conative transition is a normal state we all experience at some time, losing touch with who we are instinctively, often during stressful life events. Cancer diagnosis is a wake up call that shakes lives up. There is no longer room for tolerance of the toxic situations you may have been living in. You become clear and strong on who you are and now live a very deliberate life. Poor relationships are corrected or dissolved, at work and home. Past indiscretions and unjust events are forgiven in yourself and others. It is the only way to assure recovery. Release something BIG that is not serving you. Shift. Do we dare consider our Cancer as a gift? OK, that is too much, but let it be released and never seen again. Re-use the pink bow on your holiday gifts, for many years to come. And when our end time comes, allow it to arrive with grace and not regrets.
Life is a tapestry we weave over time, with love and trials of life. We look back at our stories with both pride and regret. This is such a beautiful analogy. But it is SO wrong for your forward momentum. Stop dragging that heavy tapestry along, re-write the past to a lighter and less drama filled story, then trade up for your magic carpet ride. You did watch Aladdin, right? All of your power and expansiveness is packed into this itsy bitsy living space of your body.
In reality, Life is a Kaleidoscope. The view may be ever changing with each thought, every breath. Are you standing tall or slouching? Smiling or grimacing? Judging or allowing? Caught in self-pity? We each have the capacity, with practice, to brighten and enhance our view of life. Our God given nature sets the foundation. Our lessons of life, beliefs, and experiences - whether empowering or traumatic, add elements of distortion. Be keenly aware of your responses in each moment. Your response is truly the only thing you DO have control over.
Do you know what you want? Are your goals clear? Are they clearly YOUR goals? Or strongly influenced by those you strive to please, to make yourself good enough? Know this. YOU are perfect. Perhaps not by the current standards another has set - limiting them, not you. But when you live authentically, others will be drawn to you. If you are among the many who do not know what they want in Life, then celebrate the opportunity ahead for your exploration. Listen to your body signals, and follow the paths that give you a sense of ease, a sparkle in your eyes. Then hire or barter out those tasks that better fit the talents of others. (oh - do I hear excuses bubbling to the surface? No money. No time. No respect. You don't trust them?) What else is possible?
When you move past material desires, find a path to pay off debt and grow kind to yourself, you will discover that giving/receiving are inseparably connected. If you have a great depth to climb out of, emotionally-financially-spiritually, allow others to give while you receive gratefully - and give whatever you do have in return. You will find the most satisfying life of play and contribution to follow. Be patient. I'll meet you there.
Balance...a funny aspiration: we are always doing too much or too little. Nobody is ever really in balance. Just love yourself wherever you are.
And eat a healthy breakfast early, to kick start your metabolism. Today my message reflects a do very little day. Recover from a strain and be kind to myself.
Writing to you, knowing how unique our viewpoints may be. When resisting, ask yourself "What Else is Possible?". My experience and personal truth in any moment is just that - mine for you to consider. All Things are Possible - ATAP