Let it Flow

For me music has the power to tap in to my emotional being.  As I sit here listening to Wiz Khalifa, I can almost feel the loss of a man I knew only from a screen.  Some music inspires me and other pieces are my melancholy friends. Music can pull me out of a mood or join me in one. If you have ever tapped your toe to a beat, shed a tear over a lyric or sang along in the car on a top down kind of day you’ve felt its power too.  For me it is a wonderful vehicle to tap in to that part of myself that I often do not have the time or energy for.  My emotions.

As time passes we have the opportunity for wisdom.  One of the pearls that I have learned is the value of allowing myself to feel my emotions; happy, sad or otherwise because they are neither right nor wrong.  They just are.  They are meant to come in, to be felt and then let go leaving behind a lesson, a heightened memory or nothing at all.  But whatever their purpose at any given time, our emotions are a reflection of our most intimate self.  They are a unique interplay of many things including our experiences, environments and our perceptions thereof.  They are what makes us human and connected.

We often work very hard keeping our emotions in check and perhaps rightly so.  But every now and again when an emotion is evoked allow Pandora’s box to open and revisit that moment, time and place.  Cry, punch a pillow or belt out a song.  And allow yourself the opportunity to feel and to be vulnerable.  Because this is a part of who you are and the story you tell every day of your life.

Don’t Know If I Could. Not Sure if I Should.

Each year as August gets long in the tooth and the back to school commercials are in full swing, I get a bit of a melancholy feeling when I think about losing the lazy, hazy, sunny days of summer. This year in particular its impending close is bittersweet. I have completed my Holistic Nutrition program and look forward to where the winds will take me. Niagara-On-The-Lake was wonderful. Summer jobs for my kids have gone well and soccer season was good. But without a doubt when I look back to its memories, the one that will forever be foremost in my mind will be of the front seat ride I took without having to even buy a ticket. Well check that, I wasn’t front seat but I was definitely premium row. No, front row was occupied by my sister, her husband and their kids. Barely in to flip flop season, a cancer diagnosis took them on the ride of their lives.

My brother-in-law was diagnosed with end stage melanoma that was so swift in its destructive path it left him with only weeks to live. According to test results and statistics. Not according to us.

My sister and brother-in-law asked me to be a part of their team and truth be told I was terrified. And I told them so. I wanted the best for them, for him, and I didn’t think that was me. I felt under prepared and too close to be objective. But they insisted and I am to this day humbled by their faith in me.

So we went to work this team of ours, lead by my sister. We were and are a team of medical and alternative practitioners, family and friends. And as I witness this miracle unfold not one aspect trumps the other. For I truly believe that as much as medicine and diet have been a huge part of his story, underlying its affect has been the unwavering faith and strength of his family and friends who pray, cook, drive, visit and offer all that is needed to allow my sister and her kids to be pillars of support as he fights his disease. And fight he has. A few weeks are now a few months and scans showing pervasive cancer now show a man with no visible signs of cancer at all.

So goodbye Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman! I have new Super Heroes now. It’s my brother-in-law who will do whatever it takes to be with his family. It’s my nephew who only wanted one more time to tell his dad he loved him. It’s my niece who graced his hospital bedside in her prom dress. It’s my youngest niece who held her father’s hand with quiet strength beyond her years. But most of all it’s my baby sister who will not shed a tear to show weakness. Who, with her strength and resolution, will not allow anyone to take their hope away and who continues to this day to be the lifeline of her husband never stopping the search for ways and means to help him win the battle of his life.

You are all inspirations to me. And I love you.

It’s All About Perspective

Reducing stress is a key component to our overall health. I don’t think many would argue this. Nor would many dispute the fact that the people we are surrounded with go a long way in determining our stress environment. Positive people are inspiring and uplifting and negative ones are draining. It certainly is good advice to surround ourselves with positive people.

Translating that good advice in to everyday life however can be a beast. Let’s face it, we can’t always choose the people we find ourselves with. And to be perfectly frank those we most often find ourselves surrounded with can swing back and forth in their effect.  Solely to support my premise and not wanting to point any fingers, I will use myself as an example. Generally I am a positive person. But there are occasions, I have been told, by my family, where my aura is somewhat uninviting. Personally, in most of these occasions that I have been made aware of, I feel that I am justified in my demeanour.  But whatever.

So back to the question at hand.  How can I ensure that I am surrounded with those who will provide me with the environment of tranquility, peace and understanding that I require to ensure that illusive, stress free environment that I so need for my optimum health?  Well short of packing up a few good books and moving to Margaritaville, I can’t.  But with a little hard work, patience and understanding I can at least find good company with the one constant I find in every environment that I am in.  Me.  If I can maintain a vice grip around my household surely I can become that person who adds a positive charge to the environment I find myself in. And in those moments, when my aura is misunderstood,  I can at least walk hand in hand with me, myself and I to that happy place that only we understand.

Lesson Learned

I just posted an article to my Facebook and Twitter called When Pain Persists After Breast Cancer Surgery written by Leslie Garisto Pfaff. I literally read the article and thought ‘By God I am not losing it!’

Without going in to detail the article is about persistent pain following breast cancer surgery. A strong causal theory is damage to the intercostobrachial nerve. The subject matter is extremely interesting and I encourage you to read it but it’s not what provoked me to post this.

After reading this article I felt rather stupid. Although I don’t suffer with pain since my surgery, I always have a tenderness running down my side. But in light of the bigger picture I felt this was a somewhat trivial thing and didn’t bring it up to any of my doctors. But here is the question: WHY NOT?! Getting that explanation 4 years ago would have greatly set my mind at ease and gone a long way to explaining other minor things that I have experienced.

Being hit between the eyes with this just brought home to me something I so easily ascribe to others. Personal advocacy is key to healing. Our health is our own responsibility.  Yes we have a team to guide us along the way but we drive the ship.

So sadly I learned today that I am victim of the old adage ‘Do as I say and not as I do’. But I am coming clean with the hope that a short article has led me to a greater lesson.

Dancing Between the Raindrops

So my family and I have had a bit of life thrown at us lately. Heaps of it actually and as I sat and talked to my daughter about things I made a comment to her that I do not remember having to deal with so much as a child. For some reason that thought went to bed with me. At first I was trying to rationalize things but in doing so my thoughts began to change in to memories and recollections of the many wonderful moments that have filled our lives so far. It then became a speedway of snapshots that led me to the understanding that we are blessed with a photo album chalk full of family and friends and great times that we have shared together.

My children have grown up within a very large circle, bigger than what I had as a child and with that comes its share of sadness. Those are just the odds we play with. But the upside is so much more. So for my daughters, my sons, my nieces and nephews here is my reflection for you. Life isn’t about dancing between the raindrops. It’s about fully experiencing the highs of our sunny days so that when the rainy ones do come they are but bittersweet reminders of the fullness of a life being well lived.