Take a Moment to Reflect
It is March. This month marks my 45th birthday, which means I am fast approaching my 5th Cancerversary. It is a little overwhelming. Five years. So much of this journey feels far, far away, but when I stand and assess where I was and where I currently am, I realize that I have so much journeying to do. I am still working through the physical limitations from the mastectomy, but mostly my journey is focused on the emotional trauma. Trauma. That is not a word I use often nor lightly. However, I think it warrants use. My entire life shifted – not once but twice – because of cancer. It was/is trauma.
Regardless of the trauma(s) that altered my life, I refuse to allow them to define my life. My life is defined by how I live it. I am so grateful that – five years later – I am present with an abundance of new memories and special moments residing in my heart. I have witnessed so many ‘firsts’ with my son – watching him grow, cheering him on through his achievements, and holding him close in his moments of anxiety. I know that I am blessed to be living my life. But, to live it well I have to do the work. I work through the physical limitations and the pain, and gently push beyond those boundaries to regain momentum, strength, and control. I face the multiple fears that a cancer diagnosis brings – head on – and I share space with those fears, yet I keep moving forward, keep living, and keep dreaming.
Blogging about my Life After Cancer has been an integral part of my healing process. It has given me a voice throughout this journey, and has allowed me to share my thoughts and my experiences, as well as offer helpful information to many in hopes that I may be a bit of light in their own darkness – just as so many provided me with a light through the darkness that was/is mine own. So for this reason, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and share tips from some of my more poignant posts that I have recently revisited – ones that I had either forgotten that I had written or have neglected to incorporate into my everyday life. Here they are:
From Everything Goes Too Fast
Everything goes too fast. Slow down. Even if only for a moment. Stop and breathe. Listen and hear. Life is prevalent all around you, whether it’s the serene sunrise you see, or the honk of a car that you hear. It is all amazing. Every. Single. Moment. This life that you have, it is yours to enjoy. Share it. Fight for it. Love it. Lose yourself in a daydream. Walk barefoot through the grass. Lift your face to the warmth of the sun. Count the stars in the sky. Giggle more. Hug more. Love more. Even if only for a moment. Because that is what it is all about. Moments. And you don’t have to love every single moment. You cannot possibly. But appreciate all of it. It is your journey.
From Lessons from Liam
Laugh a lot. Laugh out loud. Just laugh. It makes you feel good. It makes the person you are with feel good. You smile more. You breathe deeper. You feel lighter … With laughter and giggles, life feels easier and problems feel smaller; and that moment of laughter is far more profound than moments of worry, of stress, or of anger.
From Don’t Worry
When you take slow, deep breaths, it increases the amount of oxygen your cells receive, giving you more energy, stretching out the muscles in your chest, and massaging the organs in your abdomen. These deep, long breaths send an ‘all clear’ signal to your brain as well as to the muscles in your body, telling them everything is okay and that you can relax. So, when you or your child is feeling stressed and anxious remember to practise deep breathing to help in feeling calmer.
From Spring Mail
We all experience trauma in our lives. We all experience grief, fear, and angst. But we also experience hope, and we also experience love, kindness, and goodwill. You can find light through the dark, because there will always be someone, somewhere willing to guide you through. You just have to open your heart and let it in.
From It’s About the Remembering
Having cancer and surviving it is a deeply personal and life-altering experience. So be validated in how and what you are feeling. Share with your support, and rely on them to help you through your weakest moments. It does not mean you, yourself are weak. Know that it takes an incredible amount of courage to recognize how you are feeling and actively finding ways to help yourself through.
From Coping Through
In my little nook, in the corner of my sectional, under the warmth of my reading lamp I journal. It may only be a page, or merely a paragraph, it does not matter. I get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper where they can rest – so that I can rest. Journaling has always helped me to focus my mind and release my emotions without risk of judgement or hurting myself or someone else. They are the thoughts I often want to speak but never say.
From The Art of DeCluttering
Decluttering opens you up to a wealth of unclaimed space in both home and mind. It frees you for new beginnings, new passions, and new pursuits. In the two weeks I spent cleaning, reorganizing, and decluttering our house I rescued our home from unwanted, unneeded, and unused items. I reclaimed space, creating inviting nooks for myself, my husband, and my son so we can each enjoy inspirational writing, reading, and creative play – I was able to create a house that felt like a functional, cozy home.
Taking a moment to revisit your personal goals, your deepest thoughts, and your unique perspectives can allow you to assess where you are – currently. I know that revisiting my posts has allowed me to mull over and remember some important strategies and coping techniques that continue to aid me on my journey; and it has also given me small assurances that I am on a path I wish to be, despite the hurdles and the wild curve balls life will inevitably present to me.
So take a moment to assess or reassess. Are you happy? Are you taking care of You? Are you where you wish to be? Take a moment to reflect because this life is so precious. Your life is whatever you make of it, so make it a memorable one!
Take a Moment to Reflect. Published by Crystal Joy Hall
Featured Image by Johannes Plenio