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We Are Here To Serve

weareheretoserve

I’ve often wondered, why me? when life gets hard.  I think it’s a normal response when we feel overwhelmed by hard life experiences.  We’ve all had them, but to different extents and different types of experiences.  Dysfunctional relationships.  Cancer.  Financial problems.  Death of a loved one.  Divorce.  Alzheimer’s.  Childhood hurts.  Depression.  Family relationships gone awry.  Illness.  Just to name a few, I am sure we share some of the same hurdles, but maybe in different ways.

Life experiences teach us what we couldn’t have learned otherwise.  We can’t help others if we haven’t endured similar issues in our own lives.  What’s that quote?  Walk a mile in my shoes?  Maybe I haven’t walked in your particular shoes, but perhaps my similar experience is enough to connect with you and to help you on this life journey.

I am grateful for all that I have endured in my lifetime.  When we can see the gratitude in the hardships, we can change how we feel about them.  We increase our faith and our love quotient.  We rise above what we could have let hold us back from living a full life.

We are all here to help each other as we connect, we bond and we share our experiences.  There’s nothing better than someone else who knows what you are going through (by similar experience) who reaches out to share the experience with you as a friend, a guiding light to help you find peace within while offering a hand to hold as you heal.

The Why Me?  was answered recently by my soul who gave the response that if I hadn’t endured these experiences, I would be unable to connect so purely with others who may be in the trenches.  Without first-hand knowledge, I would only be able to sympathize and not empathize and put myself in similar shoes.  Does that make sense to you?

What I know for sure (thanks to Oprah for the phrase) is that we are here to serve one another in this lifetime.  To share experiences, to open our hearts with compassion and love and to shine our heartlights together!

You are not alone…take my hand and let’s…

Shine On!

xo

When’s Your Last Day?

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Do you think that your last day here on Earth is pre-determined?

Or do you think it’s a matter of circumstances?

Would you want to pre-know your death date (or not) if you could?

I know I may be opening up a big discussion here, but it’s a topic that has come to my attention recently through a few conversations with friends and I thought I’d ask you too.  (To my knowledge, there are no imminent deaths coming to my family/friends, so it’s just a question.)

But honestly, I think it’s a sad, but important topic to cover, to share our thoughts and to expand our thinking from others’ experiences.  Life is fragile and as my blog states, we only have the present moment for sure.  Not that I don’t plan for the future, but nobody knows for sure what’s on the horizon.  I’m not being morbid here honestly.  I don’t want to add fear to anyone’s thoughts.  I guess my point is a reiteration of being grateful for the past and being grateful for the present moment at all times.  Plan for the future, but don’t put off holding your loved ones close, spending time with them and telling them in real life, whether in person, via email, or sending a card, how you feel.

Because frankly, who doesn’t love hearing that we are appreciated and loved?

So back to the topic at hand!  What do you think of when you envision your last day?  Or do you even think about it?  I think about mine.  I think cancer changed my views on life, so I have thought about it.  I believe that we may have a pre-determined last day, but I’m open to listening to your thoughts on the subject.  For me, a pre-determined last day means I’m free to live my life without measure, completely in the moment, sharing love easily and without fear, but with the knowing that we never know our last day or that of our loved ones for sure.  With that in mind, we need to be the best, most loving souls we can be today and everyday.  It helps me to consistently choose connections, love, kindness and understanding instead of the lower vibrations.  It allows me the freedom to shine my heartlight with sparkling enthusiasm.

What about you?  If you feel inclined, please share your thoughts!

Shine On!

xo

 

A New New Year’s Eve

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I was diagnosed with breast cancer on New Year’s Eve of 2001.  I won’t bore you with the details, but if you choose to search in my posts for those key words, you will find my story.  Much has happened since that fateful day and for many years, I felt downtrodden by the reminder of my cancerversary on New Year’s Eve.

Finally, I no longer hold that diagnosis in my heart/mind/soul as I used to in the past.  The cancer diagnosis was the beginning of my spiritual journey which has led me to this day, today, for which I am ever grateful.  My life hasn’t turned out as I’d planned.  Instead, I’ve endured a plethora of losses and yet, I remain grateful for each experience.  I see now that all of those life lessons have led me to today and the spiritual knowledge which I would have never received had my life been easy and cancer-free.  I have acquired so much depth of understanding which I would have never grown if I hadn’t had to endure so much pain in my life.  The experiences reminded me of how innately strong I am and how even though my life went through periods of darkness, my heartlight shines even more brightly now because of what I’ve endured.  Isn’t that always the way?  Do you feel the same way?

My heartlight dimmed at times of great stress, disease, fear and grief, but the innate sparkle never left me.  My faith has grown stronger.  My commitment to being me in all my quirks and glory, has only increased in strength and commitment.  My supply of self-love and love for all mankind has increased exponentially.  I love from the depths of my soul and have learned to receive healthy love as well.  I no longer worry about acceptance.  I am who I am and I am not afraid anymore.

I wish you all a lovely New Year’s Eve!  Let go of who and what doesn’t serve your spiritual growth.  Leave the past hurts behind.  Enjoy The Presents of Presence and may all unfold in 2018 with love, light and peace for you!

Shine On!

xo

Enduring Breast Cancer Survivor

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This may be a controversial post, I’m just warning you.  Maybe not, depending on how you view what I feel.  I’m a breast cancer survivor although I abhor the badge survivor.  Yes, I survived breast cancer and have for almost 16 years, but I am not one of those who go to the Pinktober or Breast Cancer Walks with pink frilly enthusiasm.  It’s just not me.

I think it’s nice that people unite for those walks to raise money for research, but in the sixteen years since I was diagnosed, there have been a few strides, but not many.  So where’s the funding going?

There are thousands of items bedazzled with the pink ribbon during Breast Cancer Awareness month that are for sale.  While I appreciate it, I also feel the superficiality of it.  For enduring breast cancer isn’t all pink ribbons.

It’s grueling surgeries, treatments and fear-induced sleepless nights.  Like all life threatening situations, it requires bravery to face our inevitable death, with the threat of it coming too soon.  I was 34 years old when I was diagnosed out of the blue, having found an M&M sized lump in my breast.  Complete shock overtook me on that New Year’s Eve in 2001 when the diagnosis was delivered.

Fast forward to 2017 after having endured countless surgeries, chemotherapy (ACT) and radiation, not to mention a double mastectomy, two implant replacements and then a radical replacement of my breasts with my own fat tissue instead of implants because my body kept rejecting them, I’ve been through the ringer like many people have in my situation.  I’ve lost my hair, been in menopause since 2003 and aged faster than my friends because of the illness.  I have lingering effects from the cancer which include chronic fatigue which I battle daily.  The funny thing about the chronic fatigue is that most people just don’t understand what I experience because I look normal (or as normal as possible).  But that’s a whole different post.

However, the word survivor when applied to my breast cancer experience sticks in my craw.  Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I merit the word survivor.  Victims of the Holocaust merit the word survivor, people who survived horrendous experiences merit the word survivor in my book.  But for me, no.

Me, I endured breast cancer.  While its aftereffects still play a role in my daily life, I am gratefully still here.  Sure, I have had more threats to my health than I can count anymore.  I am tested routinely due to other complications and I have endured countless uncomfortable tests and more sleepless nights than I want to remember.

The term survivor to me is having lived through something awful and to be able to go on afterwards.  Maybe that’s how some people feel about their diagnosis in the breast cancer world.  For me, it’s not a been there, done that, wear the pink sparkly t-shirt and smile.  It’s still enduring the illness in whatever shape and form it reemerges.

The Presents of Presence emerged from my journey with breast cancer.  In being present with my feelings, acknowledging the gifts in this moment and in taking the time to be mindful, spiritual and experiencing all that presence allows, is how I live my life now.  I am still a work in progress.  I thank you for reading my post today, for holding my hand when needed, for your kindness and connections and for showing your heartlight as a beacon of hope for others.

Shine On!

xo

 

 

The Benefits In Troubles and Challenges

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If you read the title of my post today and scoffed, I don’t blame you.  When I wrote it, I scoffed a bit too because frankly, who wants to be grateful for troubles and challenges?  Heck, those are things we shy away from, even run from as fast as possible!

Who is their right mind would say there are benefits in troubles and challenges?

Me!  And maybe even you?!

Because I’ve endured quite a few, (cancer, divorce, family with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, death of family, just to name a few), I can attest to their benefits (of course, this is AFTER they happened).  After the fact, we can see how individual challenges make us grow and strengthen us.  The challenges force us, sometimes unwillingly, to look at our lives with a different perspective.  They inspire us to deep deeper into ourselves to find the strength, the courage, and the inspiration to get through the difficult times.  We find out what we are really made of when we have challenges in life.  We are offered choices on life’s path and the beauty that we can choose again at any time makes life interesting.  Challenges and growth opportunities allow us to see how far we’ve come in our lives.

We can see troubles and challenges as building blocks on the road to life.  Our ability to endure them and to triumph over them (or to not) shapes us in different ways.  We enable our innate personality traits to be tweaked.  We learn new ways of coping.  We tune our minds into new avenues of solutions.  We can make new friends who open our eyes to finding peace in stressful situations.

The potential for growth, mentally, emotionally and psychologically during troubles and challenges can be exponential.  True, it can be maddening and frustrating as heck to have to deal with difficulties, but the benefits in the end, can outweigh the discomforts.

I know, you are probably thinking that I just don’t understand your troubles and challenges and you are right.  We all have our own path, but as I have found, they sometimes intersect and we can walk a path together with a friend (or a stranger who becomes a friend) and we can help each other, and support each other as we move through the tough times.

At least that’s been my experience throughout this lifetime.  I find that the higher power in my life, call it what you may, God, Universe, Infinite Spirit, your own higher power – helps me along the way through the hard times by planting strangers disguised as angels, friends, synchronizations, coincidences, etc. in order to help me overcome whatever is holding me back.  These in turn encourage me to grow, to learn and to accept what previously I may have deemed unacceptable.  But in the long run, I know that they were necessary growth spurts to get to me to where I am now.

It’s hard to believe for some of us that there’s a light at the end of a dark tunnel and that in the end, all the hard times were worth the changes that were hard won.  It’s mind-blowing at times that we can see in hindsight the benefits that come after enduring these life lessons.

But they are there.  Truly, they are there.

So please, if you are wondering if it’s karma or back luck or whatever you are thinking in order to blame the bad that’s going on in your life right now, just stop.  Accept it.  Keep going through it and move on.

That light at the end of the tunnel is beckoning you with sunshine!  Come on, hold my hand.  I’ll walk the path with you!

Shine On!

xo

 

 

Cancer Changed Me

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Hope ~ Strength ~ Power ~ Belief ~ Courage ~ Honor ~ Determination

I have been told that cancer changed me.  Indeed, it wasn’t said it in the nicest of ways.  In fact, it was taken as a disparaging comment and I was appalled by the off-hand comment.  My first reaction was to defend myself at the time, to show how cancer didn’t change me.  But I left well-enough alone and decided to say nothing.  However, I was hurt by the retort.

Had cancer really changed me?

The question mulled in my head for days and many sleepless nights, more than I’d like to admit, but it’s true.  I’ve written how cancer changes you enough times in this blog to know that the reality is – YES, cancer changes most of us.  It has to, or we wouldn’t still be here.  For we have seen into the yawning mouth of our own demise, endured the most feared emotions and have come out of it alive, so far.  Looking at your own potential death does change you.

It makes you more aware for the most part.  Some of us now see with finite definition that life is short and there are no guarantees how much time we have on this earth.  We become grateful for the beauty in nature, for the simple pleasures that kindness brings and for a real, loving hug which can cure many ills.  We look to connect with others more because we know what it’s like to feel alone.  We share our stories, encourage each other and find the courage to be who we authentically are!  We smile when we are tired.  We work hard to overcome obstacles and to be there for others, even when we feel depleted.  We take that extra moment to smile and to enjoy goodness when it comes into our lives.  We are grateful for the support that we have been given and we look to support others to continue the flow of goodness.  We share tips to help others and happily receive tips to make our lives easier.

We know that all the money in the world, with all the frivolities are fleeting and really don’t mean a damn when death comes knocking at our door.  It’s that silence between ourselves and our maker (or our beliefs) in the quiet of the night that counts.  It’s regarding peace within as a precious gift, time spent with loved ones and a centered calm in which to retreat when life becomes hard.  It’s the voice within the stillness which speaks of love, gratitude, peace with ourselves and others and God.

Yes, cancer changed me.  That’s for sure.  Perhaps it was the misunderstanding of me that caused this person to spout the ‘dig’ as I took it.  Sometimes it takes a loss for us to be humble and perhaps there will be people who simply never understand.  And that’s ok with me.

I am me, authentically me.  I make mistakes, I ask for forgiveness and I forgive.  I choose to live in a state of peace within when I can, but I am always evolving, ever growing and yet, trying to do all things with love.  I intend to do my best, at any given moment, but I’m human.  I’m a work in progress.  Aren’t we all?

What’s precious to me in my life is love, kindness and connections and I strive every day to live with those three precious gems in my life.  Cancer made me a better person by giving me so many lessons in my life.  I’ve learned so much from cancer, even though I never wanted to endure that disease.  Looking back on my life, I realize that I am who I am today because of cancer.  Even if others don’t understand me, it’s ok now.  I’m at peace and I’m ever grateful for the peace within me.

Shine On!

xo

Smooth Seas

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A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sometimes we wonder why hard times fall on us.  We blame karma, bad luck, ourselves or others for the sad times.  We can’t understand why or how bad things happen to good people.  Have you ever felt this way?

I love the quote above as it makes sense to me.  Sadly I agree that in good seas, we don’t have to practice what we preach.  It is only when the storms arise that we must walk our talk and talk our walk or however that quote goes.  You know what I mean, don’t you?

During stormy seas, we realize who our true friends are and who we can count on.  Unexpected friendships can arise and we may even be surprised by who reaches out in kindness…and who doesn’t.   We may even finally realize who supports us and who doesn’t, as words without actions are simply words.

Kindness goes a long way, especially when you are hurting.  Being a warm, safe haven for someone is a precious gift, especially during stormy seas.  I want to thank those who have helped me over the years, the ones whose kindness never waned and whose support I felt even in my darkest hours.

Shine On!

xo