Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Practice Happiness

The last two weeks brought devastating news in my breast cancer community. Two of my friends are being tested for possible metastatic breast cancer. Another friend found out her cancer has advanced further in her body and another, Paula, was being kept comfortable at home. I found out on Facebook yesterday, that Paula died on April 6th.

This kind of news is not uncommon in my community. Gaining members and losing members can sometimes feel like the same emotion. Grief. It's the nature of the group. Nothing can be done about it except maybe distancing myself. Another friend...a non survivor often asks when I will do just that? When will I have enough? When is it enough? My answer: when my work is done or when I completely burn out. Whichever comes first. The thing is, I don't want to burn out. I don't want to get to the point where I just can't do it anymore. I can't show up in an email, the phone or in person. I've been working on allowing myself to feel as happy as I've allowed myself to feel as sad as I've had. I'm hoping the balance will enable me to stay in the game and not run from the stadium. This practice, this happiness practice works very effectively for the most part. I practice controlling my thoughts. I practice being in the moment. Everyday, I program my iPhone to ask me if I am allowing room for Happiness. I am allowing room now. I am making room now.

Then the news comes. Advanced cancer. Death. Am I making room for Happiness now? It seems more difficult. It is more difficult. I can easily go to that dark cancer place and start thinking about all those who have gone before me. Or, I can chose not to. I can acknowledge the sadness, the fear, the anger and then let it go. I can be in those emotions and come out of those emotions. Is it easy? No, it is a practice, and today, I am practicing really hard.

In memory of Paula Zoromski

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