Reflections on a Year Lived with Illness

Welcome to 2014. May all beings be peaceful.∞May all beings be happy.∞May all beings be well.∞May all beings be safe.∞May all beings be free from suffering.

I had all sorts of things planned following the end of my treatment. It delivered me a burst of energy, alongside my new-found awareness that if there was anything I wanted to do, I needed to do it now. And I had so much on my heart to do, experience, and visit. And I did them all! But I think it led me to believe there might be something wrong with me, now, for not wanting to do so much. The truth–which I just realized after starting a documentary called Raw Faith–is there simply isn’t anything calling to me right now. In perfect honesty, I feel I’m being called to let go of so much, now. And maybe that is okay! If every season is beautiful, and nature is perfect, then maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and what I’m supposed to be doing right now, is just this. I’ve spent a lot of brain cells wondering if I had unintentionally turned off my intuition in the wake of so much loss from the past few months. Until today, it never occurred to me I could still be right “on track,” even in my assumed inactivity.

Last year was a whirlwind, but mindfully so. I wanted to visit close friends, revisit old friends, make new friends and visit with them, too; visit with family I’d never seen, or rarely saw; I did all of this. And I wanted to get out more because I was so tired of only ever getting out for doctors… And did I!

I spent three weekends in a row in the French Quarter, and for my birthday I stayed there for a week. I went to orchestras, ballets, aquariums, zoos, beaches, coffee houses, new restaurants, tea rooms, historic landmarks, stayed in the ritzy hotels with ocean views and two-room suites, swam in water fountain pools, saw the Dalai Lama, learned more French, took up Tai Chi, redecorated my room, sold my car for a newer one, “read” a new audiobook every month, dressed up for every holiday, spent my birthday with my best friend, fell in love, bought tons of flowers, ate tons of amazing food, took tons of amazing pictures, listened to tons of amazing music, and saw tons of amazing films, in theatre instead of at home.

I also slowly but surely upgraded my technology (even my bed) to better suit my ever-changing needs, from a bluetooth speaker that negates the need to get up and change CDs, to a television that’s now mounted on my bedroom wall with a resolution I can actually see and the colors of which I feel are a spiritual experience. These things made being in bed in between all of those excursions–with however much pain and relapse–much more easy to bear. I only went to the ER twice.

There was also heartache. When you begin to change, either your circle of friends changes along with you, or the Universe asks that you let them go. Not everyone is meant to stay in your life forever; most aren’t, actually. One friend and I parted ways early in the year, but it was safe to find closure, so we did. Another had patterns of making it unsafe to share my feelings, so it didn’t end with the closure I’d hoped, but I ultimately had to let them go, too; at least I learned self-care from it. Another simply didn’t wish to find closure, and left. Two did that, actually. I had a girlfriend for several months, but due to dishonesty it ended badly, even though I am thankful for the lessons it brought, including a profound awareness of my own commitment to authenticity, something I am entirely unwilling to sacrifice for anyone or anything. Little did I know, I had already met the woman I would fall deeply for, afterward… ;) She and my best friend for the past thirteen years, join me in 2014.

© a rainbow at night

I don’t expect this year to be like the former. I guess for a while I expected to have a similar desire for activity, but I don’t, and I’m okay with that now. My fatigue is so much more prominent, though my pain levels have stabilized for now. In March, a good friend and I shall attempt to drive to California to see the Redwood Forest and San Francisco. That’s my big plan for this year, but even if we only end up driving aimlessly, instead, it will be wonderful to adventure with someone who shares my appreciation of nature.

You may have heard the quote, it doesn’t matter what you do as much as who you’re being while you do it. 

Who do you want to be for the next 334 days?

a rainbow at night

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One thought on “Reflections on a Year Lived with Illness

  1. What a wonderful post! I’m so happy that you had such a fulfilling year, and that you got to do the things you wanted. A mindful whirlwind is a beautiful phrase and concept, and reading about and remembering some of the experiences you had within it made me smile. I can definitely identify with worrying that something might be wrong when I don’t feel called towards anything in particular, and I think for me at least it’s related to that so often being compared to a lack of interest synonymous with depression. I know that in myself this isn’t the case, but I still initially struggle on occasion with resisting the impulse to simply be, even though experience has shown me that it is often from this state that I find such powerful sources of restoration and rebirth.
    I’m sorry for the loss you experienced this year, but think it’s great that you came through it with a strengthened resolve towards authenticity. This is a necessity of which you have made me increasingly aware, and I’m thankful for that. Also…yes! ;) And you’re right–no matter where we end up in March, it truly will be wonderful to share the adventure together!
    The first month of the year has influenced my resolutions in the respect that I am floored that it has already passed, and realize that I want to be more mindful of time and the present moment. So this is a February resolution, and today is an ideal day to start! And who do I want to be for the continuing 333? I’m glad you asked, because it ties perfectly! I want to be someone that is awake, who radiates peace, joy and compassion, and who is ever aware of this incredible, fleeting yet eternal gift that we have. I want to be someone who remembers to pursue her passions, and who uses them to honor their universal source. I want to meet all of my days with reverence and wonder, and to continue spending them with the most amazing person I have ever met.
    Here’s to Now, and 2014!

    Liked by 1 person

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