In 51 years of being on this amazing and exhilarating ride called life, I felt it timely to put pen to paper (or more appropriately fingers to keyboard) to jot down a few things I had learnt on my extraordinary journey so far. Little did I realise at the time that the ‘jotting’ would turn into so much more than just a few pages. My desire in sharing this information is not based on a need to tell my story, as we all have unique life experiences we can call ‘our story’, nor are my reasons in expressing some of these experiences or choices meant in any way to dictate or convince anyone of a particular lifestyle or belief system.
Over the course of time, through maturity and reflection, we generally all come to realise that the sum of our lives seems to be quite a complex mish mash of stories and circumstance, for as sure as night follows day, life offers us up the full gamut of experiences . . . the agony, the ecstasy and everything in between! I believe that life is a great privilege, and although I have at many times taken that for granted, I have come to appreciate that privilege with a deeper respect over time, as my life has unfolded.
I have been blessed with so many amazing moments in my life – a plethora of adventures that illustrates a life well lived. I have felt the greatest privilege of becoming a mother, I have experienced the exhilaration of romantic love, I have fulfilled so many personal and professional goals, been fortunate to travel much of our majestic planet, and have felt the emotional nourishment of being loved and supported by beautiful family members and friendships. However, as illustrated perfectly in the symbol of yin/yang, we can only truly understand the great depth of this bliss when we too have felt the magnitude of that shadow side.
In 2004 I was 36 years of age, and to put it simply, life seemed pretty wonderful. I was in the throes of a new romance, I was in the initial stages of a new business venture, my precious son had just started primary school and I felt extremely blessed and in good health. I sensed a beautiful new chapter in my life unfolding. What I didn’t yet realise was that this ‘new chapter’ would also present one of the most challenging times of my life, underpinning a period of great introspection that would span the next nine years (and beyond). At the age of 36 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, at the age of 41 I was diagnosed with secondary cancer presenting in the axillary lymph nodes, and then again at 45 with an even more aggressive form of breast cancer. In those years I would bare witness to my body, mind and spirit being pushed to extreme limits whilst I endured a myriad of surgeries, treatments, medications and side effects.
However, as tumultuous as this time in my life may have been, it was also in this period that I began to awaken to the deepening of a philosophy I had long understood in principal, but up to this point not really in practice. What began to unfold was a more conscious understanding of the gift of choice, perhaps not necessarily a choice of what ‘this moment’ presented, but more so a choice as to how I was going to respond to ‘this moment’.
I was beginning to lean into an understanding that if I was having to bare witness to an event that was clearly uncomfortable, an experience that naturally drives us towards a state of resistance, how could I now (without denying myself the absolute necessity of emotional expression) make decisions about moving forward in a less resistant manner. In other words how could I ultimately accept this experience, minimising additional suffering being layered onto an already painful situation.
This website, and all that is expressed through the avenues connected to this site, were not born from a need to necessarily discuss the trials and tribulations associated with cancer, although there is quite detailed cancer related material if that is your focus. In sharing these insights my primary desire is to simply offer an alternative view, potentially just another option for anyone who may be experiencing any level of suffering…..be it physical, emotional or spiritual.
Additionally perhaps it is in then deciding to embrace this alternative perspective that we momentarily stop just long enough to create a space, allowing insight into what may open beyond the seemingly obvious, and perhaps it is then by meeting this unfolding with courage and compassion that a deeper level of acceptance, peace and healing may organically and beautifully occur.