In the Garden of Your Being
Health is a beautiful thing. Never take it for granted. Today for the first time in ages I woke up as myself, cozy and comforted in my bed, instead of waking up in some form of pain. It’s been four months since my last surgery for breast cancer and two weeks since my last radiation therapy and I’m celebrating my health and my life.
Count your blessings & be grateful for all the good in your life, your gifts, talents and abilities and the opportunities afforded you to simply enjoy the day, the people you love and the beauty in your midst. Take in a breath of fresh air and let that gratitude sink in. Let that goodness wash over you and cleanse away the pain and sorrow and fill your wellspring again with hope and joy, peace and love.
That’s my daily practice and though I am an optimist by nature, it is a practice. Some days it’s harder than others, especially when I’ve felt out of sorts, or when something happens over which I have no control, but I choose to be optimistic and hopeful in spite of what is happening. Our reactions and attitudes are the only things over which we have control. Throughout my teens and 20s, various people told me that I lived in my head, which was true. I could imagine all sorts of dramatic scenarios. It's no wonder that many of those worries caused mental anguish and that dramas played out in my actual life. Eventually, I discovered that I could instead choose to have a happy, hopeful mindset. I could use my imagination to envision a better future for myself and create my own good.
It starts small and it’s surprising in it’s simplicity. Just taking a breath, pausing to notice and appreciate the little things, and being grateful for them, opens your mind to how much goodness is already in your midst. Then you can use that as a foundation for imagining even more. Change is scary, even when it’s change for the better because it takes you into the realm of the unknown. My life started changing for the better once I started to imagine the good things I wanted and then took steps to manifest them. (Those steps meant completely changing my course, moving cross-country and then turning down what was an incredible job opportunity because I had a bigger dream.) It’s about vision meeting action and having courage and faith.
Spring embodies faith perfectly. I’m a gardener and I love the magic and wonder of seeing things grow. As a kid, I loved it when my mom would set a sweet potato suspended by toothpicks in a jar of water, for me to watch it grow. Daily I’d check the potato, impatiently waiting for something to happen. I’d pull the potato from the water and examine it for signs of growth. For a small child, this was excruciatingly slow and it was hard to not become disenchanted. But slowly, almost magically, tiny roots would emerge! I’d be filled with wonder that something like a potato, which didn’t seem to be doing anything, but sitting in its jar, could so purposefully set forth roots and sprout leaves. Before long, there was a profusion of tangled roots and vines. Planting a seed in soil requires sight-unseen faith that it will transform into a plant and emerge from the darkness of the soil to seek out the light. The soil may appear dank, dark and smelly, but its this very composition that is actually nourishment for the seed’s transformation.
Right now, we’re all growing and that requires faith in things unseen. We can all recognize that it’s an unprecedented time were living through. It’s testing our mettle and our mindset. It’s drawing our attention to what surrounds us and to what’s working and what isn’t. It’s forcing us to imagine and to have faith and to make steps towards what we want our lives to be like after we emerge. It’s epic change and not everyone will come through it and none of us will be unscathed. It’s frightening and exciting and it’s already producing some of the greatest individual achievements and societal changes and innovations and creativity which the world has ever experienced. It’s requiring us to keep our heads and to use our hearts; to protect the vulnerable and to expose our own vulnerabilities.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I felt like most people couldn’t quite understand what it felt like to face mortality. There was a distance, a loneliness in that. Now I don’t feel that way and it's because of all we’ve collectively been through these past few months. We are emerging as a more compassionate and creative society.
We are a collective on this planet and we’re being asked to acknowledge the value of community. We’re dependent on each other. No one is self-reliant. No one is immune. We’re being asked to decide the future and the role each of us wants to play towards forging a different and better tomorrow, not just for ourselves, but for everyone; not just in our neighborhoods, but globally.
What are you growing in the garden of your being? What positive changes are emerging within you? What about yourself are your celebrating? What revelations have you had about your life and how you want your experience of this time and your contributions to be counted? These are questions we should all be asking ourselves.
Today I feel like a butterfly emerging from it’s cocoon. I’m celebrating my return to myself; a day where I woke up without pain, yet with scars to remind me of all the wise lessons learned. I’m looking to the future with a greater sense of wonder and gratitude and with the courage and motivation to step into myself and my purpose and to share my gifts.
I believe that’s what we’re here for, to share our lives, contribute positively and lift each other’s spirits; to bring love & light into the world. That’s my aim and that’s what I wish for you. That and good health and healing.