RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: May 2012

A good start is ‘beginner’s mind” and “is that true?”

Posted on

From my private blog.. the one where I focus on finding ‘funny’ and ‘magic’ in this healing journey.  This post isn’t very funny, though.. but perhaps thought provoking. Written April 14th 2012.

Can’t sleep…  one of those nights of research triggered by people whom I realize really do believe cancer is caused by mammograms. And I suspect, some believe the cancer I was diagnosed with was because I’ve had mammograms every couple of years for 10 or 12 years.

Someone thinking that about me feels creepy. This is a nice occasion to do a major energetic ‘brush off.’  Yes, I physically wave my hands around my body as if I were brushing off dust.

But still.. the conversation sent me into research mode.

My best resource is  Wow.. compassionate women who have been there, or are there, and who, like me, MUST know what’s true, to the best of our abilities, because we are healing from breast cancer.

We are the ones finding the answers most close to truth. We are the ones doing the research on our particular type of cancer.. and I don’t mean breast cancer in general… there are many variables and we are only going to truly learn about the one we have.

If you don’t have breast cancer, or aren’t VERY CLOSE to someone with breast cancer, you honestly know nothing as truth.  You’ve had no reason to go deeper beyond the myths, miscommunications, and yes, the purposeful inaccuracies by corporations wanting to make the massive buck off people who are suffering..  Yet, there it sits.. all that  information in people’s heads, causing fear, making them incorrectly think they are informed.  And they aren’t. Not at all.

{Guess what? A person can eat all the broccoli in the world, be as fit as can be, and even be of the most ‘peace of mind’ kind of person, and oopsy, cancer can drop on them. Do they lower your risk by doing all of these things?  Perhaps for some cancers, perhaps not for others. Who knows.

And I wonder… if their key motivation to eat well, and be fit is to avoid getting cancer, or otherwise dying of an ailment –  that’s living a rather fear motivated life. And I suppose that, as much as anything, can weaken the system’s ability to be strong in the face of whatever – a cold, a disease, a cancer. But that’s all off the topic I’ve intended for this post.}

When you are diagnosed, you realize you really know nothing.  Nothing.  And you go from there, with a beginner’s mind,  to learn what you can about what you have.

We have to quickly learn to dismiss the media reports, the endless cures online, the fear mongering. We can do this more easily because we now know that what applies to one cancer doesn’t necessarily apply to another. We can more easily recognize the ‘resources’ that come with anything from blatant “I have something to sell you!” to the ones with more complex and manipulative hidden agendas to create money out of our fear.

I absolutely love the comment below  from the forum. It relates to the latest media blitz about the hazards of overdiagnosing breast cancer.

“I hate that really complicated issues are presented in basically a cartoon format.  It really makes me wonder about the stuff I know nothing about that I read in the paper, when I see something I do know something about, presented like this.

These woman on the breast cancer site  have done the research on this media blitz.. even reporting that the book by the author quoted in the report,  IS good…  but the media report itself does not tell the whole story. Not only that.. last year same time, the media did the same report.  This wasn’t news. It was.. “what caught people’s attention last year?” when they were shy of new news.

Once again people’s minds are filled with ‘stuff’.. just ‘stuff’ that has no point being there unless you are willing to learn more and get the whole truth. And you’re not. And nor should you be. UNLESS you have breast cancer.

We really ought to be wondering about what we hear in the media about things we otherwise know nothing about.. really.

This reminds me of when I lived in Iran in the 70’s. I’d discover what people in Canada were hearing about Iran, and it was so wrong.  And when I was back living in Canada, the media reported that the town I had lived in in Iran was completely devastated by an earthquake. I was heartbroken for the wonderful people I knew there.

A few years later, an Iranian family came to my garage sale. I asked them about the earthquake.  Turns out that town had never been devastated, people had not died: there had never been an earthquake! They suggested that it may have started as propaganda because the town had been named after the Shah.. who was ousted.  No earthquake at all. It felt great to bring the milkman and breadman and all the lovely people I had gotten to know in the market  ‘back to life’ in my mind.

As a life coach, a question I often ask is, “Is that true?”  and “Do you know absolutely that its true?”  When a person really stops to think about it, they usually end up releasing a lot of limiting beliefs that are stopping them, or at the very  least, that are confusing them or overwhelming them.

Okay.. good…..  I feel better, clearer, stronger in my thinking again.

Okay, so what was funny about that?  Not much I suppose.  Oh! Picture me brushing off dusty thoughts.. that’s kind of funny.  Picture all the Iranian people rising from the dead in my imagination and waving.. that’s kind of funny, too

And it would be fun if those who get to read this, get to notice the information in their heads that may not be true and dismiss the weight of those. And get to let go choices made out of fear, and really focus and play with the choices they make that  feel good and right and passionate and darn it, fun.  Ya, that’s the direction I’d love to see us all heading.

And if, by some twist of whatever, they happen to be diagnosed with cancer or another not so fun illness.. well, at least, they’ll have a good strong base to work from.

The Call of the Cave in Santorini

Posted on

Once Upon a Dock in Santorini – No, Twice Upon a Dock…

Way down there.. the port and the cave

October 2008.I stripped off my outer clothes and jumped off the Old Port dock in bra and panties. Middle of the touristy Santorini day. My newlywed daughter shaking her head. She’d already been a good sport travelling the thousands of steps down the caldera, getting stinky and banged up, on a donkey. And now she got to watch her Mom strip and swim – in clearly a non-swimming area- over and under the anchor ropes of small fishing boats to reach the cave she had so long ago wanted to swim to.

I’ve never been able to put in words the exhilaration of that experience. I thought maybe I’d try in this post.

You see, 32 years earlierI had sat at that same dock. It was different then.. wood planks, no cafe, just donkeys if you wanted to pay for a donkey to travel those extensive steps. Earlier that day, I’d stood at the top of the caldera (cliff) and looked at those thousands of steps and a cave that called to me just a short swim from the dock. I had no money for a donkey as I was travelling on less than $5 a day. I’d have to climb those stairs down and back up again. “Crazy,” I thought on that very very hot day.. “crazy to tackle those steps.” But the cave would not stop calling me, and so I walked those steps, knowing I’d also have to climb them again, on that hot hot morning. Did I mention hot?

See that windy path? Stairs. Thousands of Stairs.

You can imagine how imagining the coolness of the water, and the magic of the cave kept me going. And now imagine me, reaching the dock, so relieved that I’d soon get to leap into this cool ancient sea. Just as I was prepared to jump, I looked closer at the water. A jelly fish. No, no, oh no… a thousand jelly fish.

I asked the donkeykeeper in my haphazard greek /english / handgesturing way, “would the jelly fish go away soon?” He answered, “about 3 days.”

I would have stayed to swim to that cave, but for the first time in my months long adventure, I had a schedule. I’d booked a flight back to Iran, where I was living. I had to book the flight because I heard the ‘magic bus’ through Turkey wasn’t safe… women were being stolen as white slaves, and I was pretty sure that would make my Dad very unhappy. I was going back to Iran because, through an american express office, I’d learned my Dad wasn’t well.. darned if he didn’t have a serious ulcer. I dunno, would you get an ulcer if your 20 year old daughter went romping around the world alone, and no internet and no phone to connect you?

Now, as it happens, I didn’t get an ulcer when my daughter did the same thing… and she went for 2 1/2 years, crazy girl… because at least we could be in touch fairly often. And when she was not in communication areas, I just kept reminding myself how happy I was that she was travelling, because her dream had been postponed so long after a car accident. That she was well enough to travel, kept me supportive and sane and ulcer free. I do recall, as my girls were growing up, hoping they wouldn’t truck off around the world alone, because now being a Mom, I could imagine what my Dad went through. Sheesh.

And so I’d booked a flight back to Iran to save my Dad more worry., although it’s true that he wouldn’t likely have gotten the letter that I was on my way until well after I’d arrived home. My poor Dad. No wonder he had an ulcer. He’d get a letter from me saying I was heading to Vienna. He’d get the letter after the earthquake that rocked that country, thinking I was there, but no.. I had changed my mind and not gone there. He’d get a letter saying I was heading to Barcelona. He’d hear about the revolution that happened while I was meant to be in Barcelona… and I was.. and be worried sick until he got the next letter from me assuring him that I survived.

And so I looked at the jellyfish and the cave that called to me and disappointed, I grieved the fact that I would never be able to swim to that cave.

Back to 2008: I’d told my daughters the story of that cave. We were back in Santorini because Courtney had chosen that ancient beautiful caldera as her place to be married. When people asked her, “Why Greece?” I was surprised to hear her answer: “When I was little we were at a restaurant with photos of Greece on the walls. My mom started telling stories of Greece, and I knew right then that one day I would go to Greece.”

Even as she and I rode our donkeys to the old port, I didn’t think I’d get to swim to the cave. It was obviously not a swimming area. But the moment I hit the dock, I remembered. I remembered the young girl alone, a future unknown, and the call of the magic of the cave. I reflected upon how I could never have guessed then, that one day I’d be back, this time with two beautiful daughters, a new son-in-law, my beautiful grandbaby, and the son-in-law’s family to celebrate a wedding. I’d never have guessed this would also be the reunion with my other daughter after her 2 1/2 year travelling journey. I’d never have guessed the ups, downs, losses, celebrations, tragedies, and joys that would become a part of my life and that would evolve to make me one of the most grateful people I know. (smile)

And so, I stripped and swam to the cave. I giggled and laughed and still can feel the salty warm water, and the coarseness of the ropes I swam over and under. I remember looking back and smiling at my daughter who both appreciated what I was doing and hoped that nobody would pay attention to her crazy mom.

I sighed out loud when I swam into the small cave and said, “And so, here we are.” Whatever magic it had to share, it did. It’s magic was the call… the call meant for 2008. The call to notice that what I once grieved evolved into a most euphoric moment. The call to feel the strength of the connection between me and my Dad, who’d passed away just an year earlier. The call to experience the hug of my 20 year old self and my gramanana self, and our choice to stay ‘hugged’. The call to notice that through no conniving of my own, the Universe and my daughter had arranged this magical experience. The call to remember we do not know fully what a moment in our lives is all about.. there’s always more at play: That 20 year old had no idea the call of the cave was for a future time.  The call to wonder if my one daughter soon returning home from her long time travel adventure, and the other now setting off backpacking with her new husband and a baby… would one day ‘randomly’ return to some faraway place and have a magical experience.   The call to celebrate the magic of my family, my life, and the Universe in all its wonder.

Yup, all that in a simple swim to a small cave from a small dock in Santorini.

Afterwards Courtney and I had a coffee at the cafe on the dock. I couldn’t put into words what I’d experienced. I’m sure she was relieved and happy that I got to do it, and perhaps even more, relieved that no one yelled at us. It was like nobody even saw me strip and swim to the cave. Perhaps there was some magic involved in that too.

About Voldemort. About the fear of cancer.

Posted on

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, I started a private blog as a place to process thoughts and to

  • acknowledge the good parts of this journey, (and there has been SO. Much. Good.  Thank you precious people in my life!!!!!!!)
  •  rant.  Because ranting is a fair and valuable part of this particular adventure.
  • acknowledge the magic around me.
  • hold an intention of attracting laughter.
  •  pay attention to taking ‘laughably do-able’ small steps, should I happen to have moments of ‘feeling stuck’ on this healing journey.

That blog will likely stay private. It’s really really messy, and full of random notes that would make no sense to anyone else!  And it has a post that is a mile long, listing all the people I’m going to create thank yous for.  I didn’t see that coming when I first started the blog, but what a glorious addition. 

Perhaps some of the blog IS  worthy of sharing, though.  I’m inspired to share the first post on that blog.

March 27th 2012

About Voldemort

Cranky ass bad guy, that Voldemort.  And so interesting that he is referred to as he-who-must-not-be-named.  That’s still a name.  Except they’ve taken the energy of fear up to a whole new level by refusing to say his name.  Kind of like cancer, don’t you think?  The ‘Big C’, people might say.  I want to post on facebook.. “screw that, I have little c.”   I also wanted to post on facebook, as I was staying up way too late researching: “Hey, any of you with breast cancer, do you know what necrosis means?”

You know, make it normal. Make it something you can easily chat about.  It’s pretty common these days. And I’ve believed for a long time that our collective consciousness of fear around cancer is what is taking it to a whole new level… so much fear energy that now it just drops randomly on whomever.

Imagine a storm cloud brewing, and when it finally starts to rain, it doesn’t care who it rains on.  It just has to do something with all that energy.

I wonder if our fears are like the steam that rises from individual kettles, kabillions of individual kettles of ‘fear’ steam rising, and way way too much steam from steam engines called media,  to create those storm clouds. Eventually those storm clouds simply have to burst.

I’ve wondered about this long before I was diagnosed with breast cancer…  and long before my daughter went through treatments for a rare  germ cell cancer that began 2 years ago.  She is doing well. She is amazing.  She is a celebration.

I am doing well right this minute.  As I’ve said to family, I’m either in denial or I’m doing good.  But full on denial would mean I wasn’t doing anything about it.  And I am.

I have surgery next week. (current update: that surgery was a lumpectomy, with not ideal results and so, 12 days ago I had a mastectomy.)

And I am inviting LAUGHTER into my life.. I’m holding a vision of me laughing, my daughters laughing, my granddaughters laughing, and all of our families laughing.

Bigger and better, laugh til tears of joy run down our faces,  or heck, I might even pee my pants, laughing.  Laughing that is more noticeable than ever!

I’m holding a vision of me being my ‘physically outgoing strong’ self.. playing (laughter included) outdoors with my family and friends.. all feeling happy, healthy and having great fun.

The blog is about magic and laughably do-able – reminders for me that those exist should I get really cranky.  It’s about a place for me to show up and write down those good moments.  And the cranky moments if needed. And there’s more to the story, because nothing I do is just that simple.. ha!!!  But that’s for the next posts….

And maybe this blog is about changing the rampant consciousness of fear – that fear that is based on so many myths and misconceptions–  to something different.  I have some discoveries that just might help lessen people’s fears…

As tears of joy roll down my face…

Posted on

♥   Megan Is Pregnant!!   

Today, May 11th, lunch with Megan and Brian at the Ploughouse Restaurant –

Megan looks over at me and says, “I’m pregnant.”

A moment to comprehend, “Did she just say she’s pregnant?”

A stunned, “Oh my gom, she did!”

She sat looking at me with that impish smile of hers.

Brian smiling.

And the tears started to flow.. the joy, the wonder, the miracles, the magic.. a new baby… and Megan is becoming a mommy.

Sharing stories, thoughts, concerns, excitement, and baby names. Meg hase even bought a baby name book.  (For tis true, the one Brian has chosen for a boy is going to need some alternatives to convince him otherwise! ha!)  So fun, so lovely.

 and wouldn’t you know, Don played Rolling Stones, Wild Horses. 

And I cried some more.

And most of the day, I keep crying, smiling, laughing….. that beautiful euphoric feeling of truly beautiful news.

I had to ‘be normal’ at Courtney’s..

until Megan and Brian got to tell her later this night.

Being normal was hard, but I did whisper the news in Lainey’s ear. She won’t tell.

Megan wants to wait to tell Evalee,

but they also got to tell John and Sue.. and I got to be there and enjoy that.  Joy joy.

And then, later, Courtney called and she is so delighted. I know she was hoping for this to happen… Little cousin for the girls. 

And such relief, too.  Megan is pregnant. That was an unknown. And now it’s a truth!

What a feeling ‘sensing’ new baby’s spirit.  Welcoming. Loving already.

Sigh. Life is good.

What an amazing Mother’s Day this is!

Once upon a time, there were three bear adventures and a lot of magic…

Posted on

Once upon a time, I was terrified of bears.  Actually as a kid, I was pretty terrified of a lot of things. Bears ransacking our campsite didn’t help. And my two older brothers, who delighted in terrifying me even more with horror stories, finally left me anxious camping and absolutely refusing to camp in obvious bear country like Jasper National Park.  Ever. Again.

And then one day, many years ago, I took my daughters (at age 4 and 7-ish) to the Shuswap Narrows camping by boat access only. Back then it was still ‘wilderness’.. only the occasional private houseboat, and the adventurous boat campers.  Yes, brave for a bear phobic woman… but it’s too amazing at the Narrows not to go.

I won’t make this first bear story a long story.. although it is long and the telling, I think, is entertaining.. but that’s just me.  This post will be long enough without all the details! Ha.  But you see, I need to feel brave right now.. and, like magic,  today a bear helped me.  First, though.. the first bear who changed my life:

Suffice to say, we arrived at the Narrows, set up tent, and went for a walk. My daughter Megan said, “Oh look, Mommy, a bear!”  and there, 20 feet away, sat a giant Grizzly.  Sitting, she was about half the size of the outhouse beside her.

I said to Megan, “Take your sister’s hand, walk down to the beach. Walk right into the houseboat that is on the beach. And wait until I get there.”  ( I knew there would be people to look after them!)  Megan and Courtney did exactly that, bless their sweet selves. Even Frosti the dog went with them, apparently unaware of a bear in her midst.

I stood still.  I was not afraid: ‘Mommy protective instinct’ was in full force. If the bear was going to attack, it could attack me, but not my children.

The Grizzly walked towards me, and still I wasn’t afraid. As she came to the path, she simply crossed it.. looking at me calmly.  Her fur swayed golden as it caught the light through the trees, and I thought she was one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever seen.  Surreal. Awe Inspiring… as I felt a bond of motherhood between us.

As it happened,  she was the first Grizzly to be spotted in that area in 10 years. I felt honoured.

A few years later I was sitting on my sundeck at home asking myself, “When did you stop being afraid?  When did you stop worrying so much? When did you get brave?”   (Having lost my Mom when I was  9, and my brother when I was 26, had simply fueled the excessive fears I seemed to have  been born with.)

And it struck me that so much fear had left me the day I encountered my Grizzly.  Besides the fact that she didn’t kill me, I had realized that all of my years of fear and worry about bears had been wasted “thought-energy”because the day I actually ran into a Grizzly turned out to be a memorable, extraordinary and sacred experience.

That day on the sundeck I realized that my shift in thinking from fear of bears to something so sacred, had unconsciously flowed over into the rest of my life.  Worry had faded. I was pretty brave in many aspects of my life, and it felt good. The Grizzly had given me a very empowering life changing experience.

The Bear became a sacred symbol of Motherhood, Strength and Magic.  (Okay, along with my other symbols… for those who know more of my wild and crazy story.. faeries, merlin, stars, the night sky, tall ships and a touch of pirates) It’s the Bear that I wear on my finger every day.

Sooo, fast forward past other bear stories to a couple of years ago.  My daughter Megan was diagnosed with a rare cancer.  She is healthy and wonderful and well now.  At the time she went through very aggressive chemo, had some life threatening events and suffered two strokes.  Let me mention again: She is sooo well now, got married last summer.. and we all danced gloriously in celebration. (Update 2016: she now has two beautiful daughters)

As you can imagine, during her treatments was a very difficult time. One day I sat at the top of a mountain and sent messages to the universe, the gods, the goddesses, the family on the other side, the faeries, the angels, the guides, “and all who are good and  listening whether I believe you exist or not” (Okay, I was desperate and not about to miss a single helping spirit)  to help my daughter.

As I walked the path down the mountain, I turned a corner and there was a Momma Black Bear and her two children.  My dog gently sat beside me and watched – which in itself signalled a magic moment. My hiking friends watched. And I started to cry because I knew the Bears were a sign that the Universe was listening and my daughter and  family were supported.

And now…

And now.. fast forward to yesterday.  On Wednesday, I will be having a second surgery for breast cancer.  In many ways, this was feeling easy. ‘Ridiculous!’ and some “WTF’s,”  yes,   yet in comparison to what Megan went through, my diagnosis seemed simple, and still does.  But results from a lumpectomy weren’t ideal and this past 10 days, as I wait for a masectomy … well, actually, I’ve kind of filled the days with beautiful things, with the help of my family and friends.. spas, hiking, paddleboarding, games, dinners, sketching, writing, even having my breasts painted by artist friends (thank you), playing with grandchildren …  I’m doing what I can to connect to energies that feed my soul, to hang onto as I heal.

A series of events evolved into my sharing what was happening on facebook, (I hadn’t intended to share.. that seemed very hard for me) and now I’m in awe .. total awe.. at the spirit lifting support from friends and family a result.  So, yes, I am feeling supported.

And it is a bit scary anyway.  But here’s one more thing for you to imagine. Imagine my awe once again, when today, a large beautiful black bear with a rich brown snout, bounced across our path.  This time, I was in my car with my 4 year old granddaughter, driving back from a hike. (That’s good because there was no houseboat to send her to.)  I gasped in delight, and she gasped in delight: ” a real bear! I’ve never seen a bear in real life!”   I stopped and watched the Bear run up the mountain side, pausing, graciously to allow a photo.  I don’t know why the photo is blue tinted.. except perhaps that the spirit of my Dad happened by.  He’s all about ‘blue.’ I do know that the Bear was ever so kind to show up and remind me that I can be brave. But I don’t always have to be. I am supported. There is magic.

                                         And they all lived happily ever after.


On this journey,
I will use creativity
I will use magic
I will use laughter
I will use adavan …
I will hang out in nature
But most of all, I will bask in the love and support
and wonder of those around me
For all of that, I feel blessed
My wish is that we all start sharing our magical stories.
Perhaps you’ll recognize that a magical connection you’ve had was truly
a magical connection and not ‘just a coincidence’ and that you can let go of ‘the scientific explanation.’
Perhaps, like me, when you share the stories, it helps to bond their truth within you.
The more stories we tell, the more normal the magic of the Universe will become.
And that simply opens us up for even more.
I wish for you a safe place to share your magical stories. And if perchance this is the place, you are most welcome.
And thank you for reading ALLLL the way to here!
%d bloggers like this: