Ok, Cancer Was a Gift

you dont need a plan just let go

For the longest time I refused to say “cancer was a gift.” But as time goes by and I reflect on my “new” life, I will admit, “cancer was a gift.” Not in the sense it was a nice adventure, but that it woke me up to the fact that someday I will be dead. My ride on this amazing planet will be over and when it does happen (someday) I do not want to have regrets.

Before cancer, I lived my life probably like many others; maybe even you. I did what I thought I was “supposed” to do, in order to be accepted and fit in to society, even though there was always a voice inside me that said, “this is not who you are.”

If cancer had not kicked me in the ass (pun intended) I would still be running around like a crazy woman trying to earn money, so I could buy things, I do not need. I would still be putting up with bosses who were on “ego trips.”  I would still be stressed out and not know it! It would seem normal to me because I didn’t understand there was a better way to live. Why? Because everyone I knew lived the same way as me. We were all patients in the same nuthouse, but we didn’t know it because we numbed ourselves with pills, alcohol, shopping or zoning out in front of the television.

I would still be saying “yes” to people when I really wanted to say “no.”  I would still be caught up in the petty drama that so many of us engage in on a daily basis. There is something about being told “you have a good chance of dying within a year”  that puts things in perspective. Suddenly sitting in traffic isn’t such a big deal. Hey! I’m alive and I’m sitting in traffic! I can listen to music, practice my breathing, be present in the moment or whatever else. The fact is. I am alive. I have the opportunity to turn my life around.

Meditation and Buddhist philosophy has helped me a great deal with understanding myself. If it weren’t for cancer, I might not have continued with the practice and taken it seriously, incorporating its teachings in to my daily life.

After cancer, I changed how I present myself to the world. I stopped caring what others think about me. I speak my truth. I changed my diet. I take time for myself. I disconnect from social media one day a week.  I even got rid of my cell phone (I had the old flip phone anyway because I refused to upgrade to an over priced Smartphone). I went back to a landline.

I stopped watching cable news (their energy coming over the airwaves was polluting my environment). I do check in briefly online for an update, but I don’t get sucked in to the drama and propaganda.

I finally came to the understanding, I am responsible for my behavior and I now choose to bring positive energy wherever I go.  I can’t change the behavior of others but I can do something about mine.

Lately I am looking at off the grid lifestyles.  Hubby and I talked about having an animal sanctuary years ago but haven’t done much about getting that going. We have rescued many animals the past sixteen years but we want a small farm where we can grow our own veggies and rescue more critters.

This morning I woke up thinking, “I turn 60 this year.  What am I waiting for? Let’s get this chapter started!”

From now on, I will learn everything I can how to do that. I don’t know where the money will come from to make it happen, but I can’t worry about that. I just have to get started and things will come together.

What do you dream of doing with your life? What’s holding you back from achieving it? Don’t wait. Do it now. Just go for it!

Be well and follow your desires,

Ingebird

 

 

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The Number One Lesson Cancer Taught Me

selflove2

The number one lesson cancer taught me is “self-love.” I thought I loved myself all these years but looking back at all the abuse I put my physical body through, it didn’t seem like I did. I did not smoke cigarettes or take drugs or drink alcohol, but I didn’t make the best choices when it came to taking care of “me” either. Even when I was tired, I kept going, sometimes drinking coffee to keep myself awake to get the things done, that I thought I was supposed to do. I said “yes” to people when I really wanted to say “no.” I overbooked myself. I took too much “shit” from people instead of standing my ground. I was a people pleaser/peacemaker. It’s good to be compassionate to others but we have to draw the line somewhere, and let’s be honest, some people are just assholes and there aren’t enough hugs to give them that will change their behavior. I ate too many processed foods and not enough fresh vegetables. I listened to doctors instead of listening to my inner voice. I compromised way too much.

The good news is I finally woke up before it was too late and learned that lesson — to love myself enough to put my needs first. I now rest when I need to. I eat healthy organic foods. I say “no.” I stay away from drama. I focus on everything that is good in my life.

My health is better. I am happier. And the world didn’t end because I stopped trying to “fix” everything and everyone. I can be supportive without getting myself sucked in to whatever is going on with someone else.

How about you? Is there a lesson you learned after getting your cancer diagnosis?

Be well,

Ingebird

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Beware of Assumptions

assume

There are three hundred units in the condominium complex where I live. The residents come from a variety of backgrounds, including ethnicity, a wide range of ages and sexual orientation. For the most part we get along pretty good. Many of us are dog owners and it is those persons whom I usually interact with when walking my dogs. Like dogs, we are pretty consistent with our schedules when it comes to what time we walk them. There is one dog owner, Chris whom I talk with most of the time and we usually talk about the funny things our pooches are doing. He looks to be in his early 60s and is a white male. Other than what I just told you, I don’t know anything more about him… until today. He likes to roller blade; listens to the heavy metal band ACDC (he owns several of their CDs), practices yoga, is vegetarian and meditates. Never in a million years would I have guessed that he did all that, which got me to thinking about how often (all the time) I “assume” I know who people are.

I know I’m not the only one who does this because I’ve talked with others who make assumptions about people without evidence to back it up. For example; we have a problem in the complex with trash not being thrown inside the dumpster. It ends up alongside and makes a big mess. A neighbor told me she believes it is a “renter,” even though she never sees who does it. I asked her why she believes that and she said, “Because renters don’t take care of their properties like homeowners.” I’m a renter and I care about where I live and keeping my space clean. I mentioned that to her and she didn’t respond. The other day I was talking with a guy who is a cosmetologist. He dresses pretty hip and enjoys the music “scene,” so imagine my surprise when he told me that guys who have a lot of tattoos are “low life.” My son has more tattoos than I can count (except for his neck, face and hands. Thank God! He’d really be judged if he did).  Since this person works in a hair salon, he talks with women all day but when it comes to dating, he stopped trying. In his opinion, women like “bad boys,” like those with numerous tattoos and who work in auto repair shops! At that point I am almost laughed out loud! Who wouldn’t want to date a mechanic? Cars always need something fixed, but in his mind, they are  all “low lifes.”

How many times have you judged someone by the way they look?  We are visual creatures and It’s easy to be wrong and I bet most of us most of the time. Even if we think we know someone because we work with them all week; how many of us have different personalities behind closed doors than what we show to the public?  There used to be a woman who used to live across from me, who was soft-spoken and always apologizing for something. She came across as a “victim,” but on two occasions I could hear her inside her condo screaming at someone (I’m guessing on the phone), so she wasn’t nearly as timid as she came across in person. I know we all are capable of that and are more relaxed in our home but, the point I’m making is we assume we know people but maybe we really don’t.

I know the majority of people who I talk to in my complex don’t know who I am either. They know I use a walker and have two dogs and sometimes wear weird outfits (that’s what my husband says anyway) and that’s about it. My neighbors ask me how I am and when I say, “fine, ” the next ten minutes are spent with me listening to an update about what’s new in their lives or “gossip.” I’m never asked what I do all day or what inspires me or what music I listen to, and I don’t offer that information either. I don’t know why, I just don’t. I write about it instead. Maybe meditation has changed the way I relate to people. I know I don’t enjoy listening to gossip anymore (it’s usually information based on wrong assumptions anyway) and I really don’t like negative speech.

Ever since I got well and started studying Buddhism, my perspective changed. I now believe we are all responsible for our own actions/choices.  From what I observed, most people who are negative, blame others for problems they helped create but they don’t see it that way. It’s not my job to point that out… well, to be honest the few times I did, those persons gave me the “stink eye” so I stopped. I came to the conclusion that some people like drama, that’s probably why reality shows are popular. For me, I want to live a peaceful existence. I had more than my share of drama when I had cancer…  thank you very much.

The next time you talk with someone, ask them questions (that is, if you’re interested in finding out who they are), then see if your assumptions about them are correct. You may be surprised what you find out.

Namaste!

Ingebird