Monthly Archives: September 2011

Squeezing Life

Liz from Mill Valley Life asked me to define what I meant by “squeeze life.”

I put it in my video, for heaven’s sake, as the essence of my life.  So I talked about saying yes to opportunities that might make your innards squirm.   To approach life with a bit of bold enthusiasm.  Add a little “yee ha” to your battle cry.

That’s all fine and good, but there are other ways to squeeze life that don’t require a gut check or loud outburst.

Take the fellow in the sedan this afternoon.  He was approaching me on a road that is not quite wide enough for two cars.  I hugged the edge and stopped my car to allow him to pass.  And when he passed, he flicked his lights, two times.

Flash.  Flash.  As if his car was acting all flirty.

This put me in a very good mood.  (Granted, it doesn’t take much.)  I mean, with those two zips of non-verbal light, he told me that he was thankful.  We connected.  And you know what, I couldn’t wait to do the same thing to someone else.  Like I was looking for a way to pass it on.

So let’s hear it for letting someone go first.  And then letting them know you appreciate it.  Let’s try out a friendly wave, a high beam shout out, or just the common ordinary big ‘ol smile.   It’s just being neighborly, really.

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Filed under Just something ...

The Road to “Yes!”

The train tracks from Alaska into Canada.

I am lucky enough to now be blogging for Facing Cancer Canada, which gives me an outlet to talk very much to the cancer community.  “It won’t always be about cancer,” I told Chantal, my contact there.  “My life is not all about cancer.”  She understood, and actually encouraged me to simply write what moves me, as they want to show all sides of the cancer experience.   In it, after it, through it.

This is my second blog post.

We’re a posse that understands the meaningfulness of firsts.   First time in the infusion lab.  First tug and eerie release of your here-to-fore sturdy hair.  First time hearing the solid “thunk” of the door closing as everyone flees the radiation room, yet you are left behind.

So many firsts.  So many difficult firsts.

But life has a way of evening things out.  The pendulum swings back.  The trick, it seems, is to catch it and go for a new ride.  Take a chance.  Try something new.

I am now on the side of more pleasant firsts, thankfully.  Like this past weekend, I was part of a gala event called Truth Be Told for the Premiere Oncology Foundation in Santa Monica, California.   I was invited as a storyteller, along with 10 other cancer survivors, to put a face on this disease.

I grabbed, and I swung.  I mean, I’m not a professional speaker.  I like speaking.  Do it a lot, actually, every day.  But not on stage.  And certainly not alone, without notes or a podium.  Terrifying?  You bet.   But so amazingly juicy to force myself to push through my comfort zone.

Not only did I get to simmer for 2 days with some soulful people, but I got to share my work with the audience, and ask them to consider the importance of including our kids in our cancer treatment.  In other words, saying yes to opening myself up to strangers allowed me to further a discussion that I am passionate about.

Life is just a series of firsts, punctuated by long stretches of the same old, same old.  For cancer patients, saying yes is part of the treatment.   We have to agree to some protocol and move forward.  But having an enthusiastic “Sure!” to what comes after we’re all finished with our doctor visits, that is part of the wisdom borne of a cancer diagnosis.

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Filed under Beautiful things

Patience

Some might call it neglect.

But I learned from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that the spice cardamom is the seed pod from cilantro.  Huh!  So as my cilantro plants bolted towards the heavens, I resisted the urge to clean up the garden and rip them out.   I let them simmer, and slowly the little hard green seeds adorning the umbrella-like tips of the plant turned golden brown.

They taste like a far-off cousin of some citrus.  I’ll use them in my next roast chicken.

So here’s to letting things go … really go.  It’s been a theme of mine lately.  I took the summer off from “being creative” and just decided to be.  I needed to recharge my batteries and decide on a new direction (or perhaps re-commit myself to the direction I was on.)  Many of the seeds that I’ve planted along the way, both physically in the case of my carrots and beets, and metaphorically in the case of magazines pitched and cancer contacts made, are bearing fruit now.

There’s a lesson in there, I think.

 

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Filed under Dead things