Monthly Archives: September 2018

I Don’t Meditate

To meditate, as per Merriam-Webster dictionary is to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness

I want to be that chick who revels in having a meditation practice. I want to celebrate the silence. I want to be the chick who is a world champ at swatting away the random thoughts that float through my head like those eye thingies that suddenly appear and make you think you are seeing things. I want to find energy and joy from OM-ing. But I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, and I don’t. I’ve finally realized and accepted what type of chick I am.

Self-acceptance is good for the soul. I just wish the road that gets us there wasn’t filled with sad and painful events. That whole ‘you can only appreciate the sun if you’ve been through a storm’ is effing true. It seems those events that shake, rattle, and roll over us are the ones that bust us open so we can ask those life altering questions and make changes.

Backstory: As a kid I was the intuitive, natural worrier in the family and I attended bible study classes that filled me with fear that I would be left behind when the rapture occurred. When you add worrying and fear together you get a child who was always making sure I was grateful, which is a good thing, but not if you are doing it to hold off bad things from happening. Talk about canceling each other out.

Life has taught me that all the gratitude in the world does not inoculate you from pain and suffering so that false belief is gone because as a cancer survivor whose had three relapses, a sister that was diagnosed & died from a rare cancer; I’ve seen ‘good & grateful’ people be afflicted by depression, hopelessness, and disease. But witnessing and experiencing some gray and cloudy days has not stolen my optimism or hopefulness. And meditation was not the path I took.

Each event that has broken my heart has also crystallized what is important to me, what I will put up with (not much), and where I put my energy. So while I do not meditate I do relax and release by doing the things that make me feel good, reduce my stress, and just plain make me smile.

I am the chick who laughs out loud, travels, writes, watches Murder She Wrote (I do not lie to you – lol), speak out loud to my God, listens to music when I feel myself waning in energy, takes naps (yes I said take naps), get restorative massages, spend time with children, encourage others, and loves my tribe (bio & chosen); that’s how I get to a place of mental clarity and an emotionally calm state. I almost forgot I do OM because I love the vibration in my body.

If you meditate and love it keep doing that! But if you are forcing yourself to do what others are doing then stop that shit and figure out works for you. Being true to you is the best way to finding calmness and clarity.

Black woman meditation1

 

Oncology Visit = Silver Lining

Today I had my monthly appointment with my oncologist. I’m on a monthly medication that costs $13k a month. Yes you read that right. Oh and the pills are for 21 days only. Take pills for 21 days, off for 7 days, go to office visit to get blood tested to make sure I can start new cycle. Then start all over again.

This is not a woe is me post.

This all about me finding my silver lining. I’ve always been that way. Faith-filled but doubtful too. Disclaimer: I don’t always find it but I’m always looking, which is proof to me that silver-lining-hunting is in my DNA.

Yes I have metastatic breast cancer. And I’m lucky. I have insurance. My meds are working. My healing team is great. My family is great. I don’t have the BRCA mutation. I don’t have Triple Negative breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is a chronic disease for me. I am good.

I’d always worried about the possibility of getting breast cancer because I found my first lump at 15. I was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease, which means my boobies had non-cancerous changes that gave me lumpy breasts. I had my first lump removed at 15. Then at 19 I found a lump in each breast and had them removed.

I remember asking was this condition a precursor to breast cancer and was told no. That was the popular and scientific belief at the time. Now fibrocystic breast disease is considered a precursor to breast cancer.

So at 36 I was diagnosed with kinda sorta early stage breast cancer. I say kinda sorta because cancer was found in some of my lymph nodes as well, which dictated my treatment with chemo and radiation. The words early stage were comforting to me. I latched onto them like a tick and sucked all the comfort I could get out of them.

I did heavy duty treatment from January 1999 to June 1999 and celebrated my 37th birthday in July 1999. I have never bemoaned one Birthday since 1999. I couldn’t wait to turn 40 and then 50. I’m 56 and looking forward to 60 and as many more Borndays MotherGod sees fit to bestow upon me.

This post was the result of me reading about a 25 year who had a prophylactic   mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The young woman tested positive for the BRCA mutation which means she has a 84% chance of developing breast cancer as well as other forms of cancer. I don’t have to deal with those issues. I’m good.

Always look for the silver lining.

Silverlining

Rules for Life That Happy People Know

The author of Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives shares her wit, wisdom and research on how to feel happier, even when we’ve hit a low patch.
1. When things get tough: Treat yourself like a toddler. A cranky toddler. A toddler who shouldn’t get too hungry, too cold, too hot, too sleepy or be dressed in uncomfortable clothes.

2. Most decisions don’t require extensive research.

3. One of the worst ways to spend your time is to do something well that need not be done at all. For instance, you spend time filing—but maybe you don’t need to hang onto those papers at all.

4. Everything looks better arranged on a tray. You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.

5. Pay very special attention to anything you try to hide. The desire to hide something, from family or co-workers—to keep them from seeing what’s on the computer screen or from knowing how much time or money is spent on a habit—shows that, in some way, your actions don’t reflect your values.

6. It’s easier to prevent pain than to squelch pain. Literally and figuratively.

7. Someplace, keep an empty shelf; someplace, keep a junk drawer.

8. Ask yourself: Whom do you envy? Envy is uncomfortable, but it’s instructive. If you envy your co-worker, due to her exotic travels, that’s a clue that it’s time to plan a trip yourself. If you envy your sister, due to her ease in the kitchen, maybe you’d like to take a cooking class.

9. The things that go wrong often make the best memories. When you think back on a camping trip, or a new puppy or a long, family car trip, what do you remember best?

10. Working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination. If you need to finish the annual report, time spent cleaning your desk, answering emails or doing “research” is just an unhelpful distraction.

11. Every room should contain something purple. A flash of unexpected color never disappoints.

12. There’s always time to enjoy a beautiful scent, be it a clean towel from the dryer, or something new from the hardware store.

13. Go ahead, change that burned-out lightbulb.

14. Go outside. Research shows that being in the sunlight and being in a natural environment both lift your spirits.

15. Burn energy to create energy. Research shows that we tend to feel because of the way that we act. If you act energetically—stand instead of sit, walk faster, run down the stairs—you’ll give yourself a jolt of energy.

16. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. (Zen Proverb)

17. No one regrets having stocked up on toilet paper.

18. Be gentle with yourself. People sometimes assume that if they beat up on themselves for mistakes, they won’t make them as much. To the contrary. Research shows that people who show self-compassion, by saying things like, “Well, we’ve all done it,” or “I learned my lesson, and I’ll do better next time,” are better at trying to stick to healthy habits.

19. Fill in the blank: “_____ is a good servant but a bad master.” Ambition, technology, caffeine, productivity. What’s your answer? There’s an important difference between things that are useless and things that are unused. The clock you inherited from your grandfather might not be able to tell the time, but it can be a beloved memento.

20. Schedule time to be unscheduled.

21. What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while. For the better (a run) and for the worse (a cupcake).

22. One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make others happy.

23. One of the best ways to make others happy is to be happy yourself.

Better Than Before

Gretchen Rubin is the author of Better Than Before and The Happiness Project.