Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Celebration of Gratitude – Lessons Learned (A belated Day 30)


If I were asked to verbally sum the effort and payoff of thirty days of mindful gratitude, I could accomplish the feat in two words: invigoratingly exhausting.

Living mindfully is, in and of itself, invigorating. Waking each morning without pre-conceived notions but remaining actively receptive to the enormous amounts of people, places, events, things and situations for which I have to be grateful for was energizing.

And exhausting.

Indeed the fatigue had nothing to do with the writing. The fatigue was a mental fatigue. An over processing problem of sorts since the universe did not see fit to stop illness, death or despair for me to simply revel in the goodness. I was constantly feeling overwhelmed with appreciation but intermittently dealing with profound sadness and grief.

In those same 30 days, a friend died, an uncle received a terminal diagnosis and another friend’s cancer reawakened. 

While gratitude felt hard to come by during those days, on Day 13, I learned that sometimes all you can do is just take the next breath. I will hold this lesson in my arsenal of dealing-with-crappy-day weapons.

There were also a few moments of personal despair when I realized that I had subconsciously planned for this party to mark the end of my ‘cancer journey’.

It didn’t.

It can’t.

Cancer may not always be in the back of my mind but six months in, cancer is the first thing I think of whenever I have a pain. A headache? Brain Mets. Bad tummy? Liver mets.

Please know that I understand this is ridiculous and please know that the jump is nonetheless very real. Several others (new and old to the cancer scene) have seconded these thoughts. They are rationally irrational but they are real.

Six months after my diagnosis, I am healthy, happy and looking forward (with only minor trepidation) to reconstructive surgery. I have a loving family, generous friends and a huge supportive community.

I am grateful. Very, very grateful.



NOTE: If you're new to the Gratitude blog posts, this may give you some context.