Thursday, November 28, 2013

life is so good yo!

There are just so many things, places and people to be thankful for. I am so very thankful everyday and it's nice to watch the rest of America unite in harmony giving thanks for their many blessings. All media, social and otherwise, is saturated with kind words, wishes and table settings fit for royalty with feasts more than worthy. The many family photo's of time spent with loved ones is really what it's all about. It's beautiful to observe and I pray that this Spirit of gratitude permeates every molecule in existence and extends to the ends of the earth. The world needs this. I am so very grateful for my life. I am so very grateful for all those that are in it. My heart overflows with appreciation for all the blessings God has bestowed upon me. My only hope is that I use the rest of my life to help humanity in whatever way God has preordained. There is more work to be done. I am also grateful for the work and I pray I rise to the occassion. I am saluting the me that I will be a year from now. I am manifesting some serious change and as I am doing that doors are opening and opportunities are presenting themselves. I know that God has a future for me -- it's the one I'm currently creating and getting in line with and it's vastly different than the ones I've created in the past. As this human evolves so do circumstances. As this human changes the ways in which I navigate the world evolve. It's intrinsic and fascinating to be a part of. I am so very grateful for this mysterious, wonderous, magical, love-filled, miraculous, unbelievable thing we call l i f e . And if I haven't told you lately, I love you and I l o v e life ;) it's good yo!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Batter Up!!

It occurs to me that I am always exactly where I am supposed to be, even if the path I chose was not exactly on the chartered course.  I pray and God listens.  God speaks and I listen, hopefully.  I haven't always been the best listener because in the past, I was in too much pain to hear anything besides the futile complaints in my head.  Pain demands attention, pity demands attention, brokenness demands attention, and I gave it all the attention I had.  It was either that or continue manifesting pain and I really did not want that intentionally.  Some people like pain and expect it and look for it.  I'm very content with the absence of pain to the degree that joy shows up and makes it all better.  I'm kind of in that place at this point.  I'm not allowing yet another disappointment to get under my skin.  I'm not allowing anything, or anyone, to get under my skin, not like I used to.

It's an amazing thing to be able to witness my journey from an objective standpoint.  Most of us are too critical and too emotional to look at our own behavior, thoughts and actions with wonder.  We usually operate from an impulsiveness rather than consciousness.  We typically operate from a 'I recognise this and it's always been this in the past, so this must be what it is now that the future has arrived' mentality when in actuality, nothing ever stays the same, so why should I?   I was an expert at that in the past.  Today, however, is a much brighter day.  I am able to observe that which I could not before.  I am able to refrain from a typical, knee-jerk response and contemplate a different outcome, or at least react a lot less negatively and a lot more positively.  I do have a breaking point though and just like anyone who is trying to be more mindful will tell you, it's not always easy.  The minute you say 'I've got it all under control' the tests begin, or at least your awareness becomes much more keen to the things that would have normally sent you reeling but now don't seem to sting at all.  It's like being in a batting cage.  You see the machine setting up, loading with soft balls to the brim and BAM!!, a brand new soft ball comes barrelling toward you.  You either take a swing and hit it, miss entirely or in some cases get hit hard. 

In my past batting cage experience, I was always still thinking about stepping into the cage, the placement of my hands, or stance, or the helmet or the hair in my eyes.  Back then, I was completely distracted, confused and occupied and could barely even recognize that I was in a batting cage at all.  I knew I was in one, but I was not fully prepared for the first pitch.  Or the second, or third.  It's like finding yourself in the ocean at the shore's edge without even realizing you had waded out and now the waves are hitting you one after the other.  In no way are you 'going with the flow', you're actually resisting and getting pounded by the inevitable constant that are the waves of life.

Now?  Now, before I even step into the batting cage the reel is already played out in my head and I enter with fierce determination accepting nothing but success.  Success is completely different for everyone and for me is not hitting every ball out of the park.  Every ball is not meant to go out of the park.  Some are meant to advance a different player.  Some are meant to run aground.  Some are destined to be a foul ball.  No, success for me is being present throughout the entire process so as to be able to assess my progress and participation to make the very next moment even better than the last.  Success is being prepared.  Success for me is taking complete responsibility for stepping into the cage to begin with, bringing all of my equipment to be successful and then carrying out the task at hand with the passion and drive that only excellence can bring. That's what I strive for anyway. But there are so many obstacles that one could lose heart. One could, and I have, at times. I've come close to quitting the game. I'm an all together different player now, however, and my game is better than ever. I'm way less competitive toward others and mainly compete against myself and my own standings, as it were.

Do I miss?  But, of course.  Life can be very much like a batting cage and the lessons therein are immeasurable. You miss, but you learn why. You miss, but you apply what you've learned so as not to miss next time. You miss but you keep on trying.

I have recovered from many an injury sustained in the batting cage of life.  I am blessed to say that I still have the strength and desire to get in it every day and do the very best that I can do.  My journey in the last ten years has radically changed everything about me and my life except my passion.  God has allowed many obstacles and many balls to hit me, teach me, break me, and yet, He has also allowed me to hit several of them.  I think the most important thing that I've learned about life is that the ball park analogy is a good one depending on where you are in the stages of enlightenment.  I don't want to be attached to any balls lobbed at me one way or the other.  I don't want to be defined by any single moment of defeat or success. I don't want to be attached to any notion that life is a challenge or a thing to be overcome.  The analogy of the batting cage is only applicable for a time or a season in our journey.  The process of evolution or enlightenment gifts us with the knowledge and wisdom that love is all there is and love is never a competition with ourselves or anyone else.  Love is all there is.

I'm through with the status quo.  I'm through with pasty white, glue-like thinking that doesn't get beyond self-imposed boundaries, primitive self-loathing, petty competitiveness, envy and jealousy that does nothing but block the flow of the very energy that sustains us.  I am not allowing anyone to block my Qi anymore.  Perhaps I should say that I'm through with people that perpetuate that behavior.  I am an empath.  I feel everything.  I have worked hard to learn how to ground myself, forgive myself, heal myself, free up stagnant energy from past hurts and disappointments and with the help of the Holy Spirit, teach myself some very important 'ground rules to life' lessons.  You don't get to play hard ball with me anymore unless I know you're present and grounded.  If you're not, I must treat you that way.  I have to protect the pearls that I have attained because trust me, they were not easy to get.  Given half a chance, some people will gladly crush your pearls and not only watch you cry, but hang on your tears like an athlete hangs onto achievement awards.  I've met too many people in my lifetime that have only their own hearts to please and what I've learned from them is paramount to my success.  What I've learned from them is never to be taken for granted.  What I've learned from them God has allowed.  What I have learned from them is priceless.  What I have learned from them helps me to recognize when the circle that is life comes full and before me stands a soul that pleases only himself, I am most likely going to be challenged.  What I have learned is to avoid this type of challenge.

In the past, I would rise to the occasion.  I am a Leo after all, and a lion in pain is a fool's challenge.  I would inflict as much pain as my adversary, if not more.  I was unaware of the fact that I was inflicting pain, I was in too much pain to notice.  That's the truth and the pain I speak of inflicting was self defense at best, and aggressive taunting at worst.  I could get muddy with the best of them.  But that was never my calling.  I've learned that the status quo I no longer engage in was trivial, ignorant, heartless, selfish and  self-serving.  Those days are over.  The hurt is gone.  The light is shining and all that's left is love.  I have come full circle and I'm so very grateful.  I am not who I used to be.  I can label the softballs that have changed me.  I know each one affectionately.  I am so very grateful for having been given the chance, by Spirit, to change for the better.

I often reflect at critical stages in my life and this one is no different.  I turned 50 this past summer, I am a cancer survivor - as well as cancer treatment survivor.  I finally have enough energy to feel like a normal person since having been so ill only just a few months ago.  Sickness, emotional, physical or mental lessons play a serious role in our development.  I've used every one to my advantage.  I've squeezed as much out of all of these lessons, pain, struggle, sweat, blood and tears as any woman possibly could, and yet, I'm still so very optimistic.  I'm optimistic for so many reasons but mainly because of the God I serve.  I wish I could say that I trust humans, but I don't.  One human after the other has taught me that they are all learning, as am I.  Learning curves can be dangerous.  Learning curves can also be a lot of fun IF, and this is a big IF, IF you align yourself with that which is aligned with God.  If you're aligned with God and of the light, we can learn from and teach each other and move forward.  If you're not, then you're not and I will keep that in mind.   Humans, especially non-evolved humans, are quite the undertaking.  I'm too far along in my empathic journey to yoke up to anyone who is so stuck that they, or their problems could potentially stick to me.  I have learned to be very careful about this.  I pray and ask God, and the Angels, to intercede on that persons behalf, then, that's that.  Not my problem.  That may sound cold, but it is actually quite rational.  God is the instrument in your evolution, not me.  We can help each other, but I will not be any one's fall-out anymore.  You've been warned. Batter up!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I Believe, Therefore I See

Last night was a restful, non eventful Saturday evening where I was spending my time still recovering from this awful lung infection by watching Gatsby on bootleg DVD, it belonged to my roommate, I did not buy it and I must say, it was a pretty good copy.  As my sweet, quiet evening was winding down, I decided to go upstairs, get a refill on my cool drink and lock up for the night.  I went up a flight to the main floor, the kitchen, living room, dining room area, and went to the front door.  I live in an extremely quiet neighborhood and the through traffic that exists is mostly people in cars, unless there is a function at the middle school behind my house, then there are lots of people around.   I looked out the small window of my front door and noticed a man across the street taking what looked like pictures, or a video of my house, or above it.  I thought it odd, but was home alone and didn't really want to make a big deal about it.  I turned on the outside lights, closed some windows and went up to the third level where my bedrooms are.

This is where it gets ridiculous.

I went to my two bedroom windows whose blinds were still all the way up from inviting in the days sunlight.  My plan was to bring down the blinds, put on my bedroom light and go get my drink.  As I approached the windows, I had a sense of vulnerability which I typically do not have.  I grabbed the string on the window blind and began to release the string to lower the blind.  I looked out the window, up toward the sky, and that's when I saw them.

I saw two unidentified flying objects behind and above my house!  I could not believe what I was seeing and I was mesmerized.  They were a beautiful color of gold, illuminating themselves from the inside out, and they had a textured surface like a dogs toy, or Christmas star ornament, in that there were spikes or spokes leading outward.  They were not just gold, round balls of light.  They made no sound and they seemed to hover and turn with ease.  It's hard to describe how big they were suffice to say they were not small.  They were rather medium sized, like the size of  a compact car.  They floated around and then proceeded north. 

As I was staring at the first one I saw, I noticed the second one on the other side of the pine trees.  I had head to toe chills and was a little freaked out as I continued to shut my blinds.  At this point, I went back downstairs to my front door.  The man across the street was still there, so I went out and addressed him with arms folded closely over my chest. 

I asked "What is that'? 
He said "You see them'"?
I responded "I see two of them". 
At that point, another neighbor whom I hadn't noticed piped in and said "There are eight"!

I had been looking up over my house and still saw the two as they floated toward the north.  And then they were gone. 

My two neighbors bravely headed in that direction and I noticed behind them were a group of teenagers, also in pursuit.  Brave souls.  I just retreated back into the safety of my home (LOL) and felt so completely confused, and again there was that vulnerable feeling.  I ran back upstairs and looked for the floating, golden, compact car sized balls, but they were gone.

What had I just witnessed?  I watched the local news last night but nothing.  I googled UFO sightings for my town and to my surprise there had been local, recent UFO sightings, dissimilar to my experience, but surprising nonetheless.

Well, my interpretation of this experience is that I have always believed in the unbelievable.  I have also had a sense of unworldliness and while it frightened me and caught me completely off guard, I am not, at my core, surprised.  Angels, by their very nature could be described as a UFOs and I've also believed in them, while I've never seen one.  Ghosts, by their very nature could be described as UFOs, and I've also believed in them, especially after seeing a couple.  There is so much more that is unexplained than explained, and until you've experienced these things yourself, you may or may not believe. 

I can tell you that I am a believer.  I'm not sure what they were, what they wanted, why I was lucky enough to witness this but I can tell you that I'm happy I got to see, with my own eyes, that which people have discussed and debated for my entire life.  I'm not too concerned with whether or not people believe my testimony, I have better things to do than to try to convince someone of something that I am.  Either you know me to be credible, or you don't.  I'm pretty sure I'm a sure bet, but you'd have to ask my friends what they think of me.

I can also tell you they were not planes, balloons, birds, stars, or anything familiar that flies that I've ever seen.  I have never seen anything like this in my life.  It was exhilarating, confusing, and curious.  The more I think about it, the more curious I get.  I wished I had gone outside sooner to ask my neighbor what he was looking at and in a way I'm glad I didn't.  I merely looked out the window on my own and saw, witnessed, experienced two UFOs, very innocently.  I mean, I watched The Great Gatsby for Gods' sake, not Aliens 3.  There was no explanation or mindful manifestation or drug or alcohol induced imagination.  This was all them in front of all of me, and my neighbors.

Would I follow them?  Probably not unless it was from a safe distance.  I have to laugh though.  After witnessing this unexplained mystery, the 'safety of my home' and 'a safe distance' seems an immature concept.  I think the technology and ability of these beings far exceeds our own.  While they were ominously quiet, I believe they are capable of making quite a bit of noise.  It scares me a little because it made me feel vulnerable, as I mentioned, but also a beat behind.  They obviously are observing us while we humans are practically oblivious to them going so far as to close a blind eye and still debate their existence.  That's just my opinion about the general population.  I believe, strongly, that world wide governments are quite well aware.

It really is up to the individual to cipher through information, beliefs, philosophies, explanations, etc., with an open mind, and allow the infinite realm of possibilities to exist.  I believe, therefore I see.  However, I'm still shaking my head. 

I did eventually get my cool drink and as I sipped it slowly, I had that familiar and strong sense of vulnerability.  I kept looking out the window in anticipation of a repeat performance, but while I was expectant, I was honestly not disappointed and eager to have a peaceful, non eventful evening once again.  I was home alone after all and was not prepared for a road trip.  I can tell you that I will have camera in hand probably every night for a while because this was as exciting as it gets.  Bring it on Universe!  I am excited to be here and am always looking to get to the next level, whatever that may be.  Pictures would only be a plus and oh, what a wonderful world.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

If I'm Smart

Spiritually speaking, I am in the desert, so just now when I heard the rain, I ran to the door.  I stepped outside and stood under the awning listening as the rain became heavier and heavier.  I thought of the many people that instinctively avoid the rain by dashing in between drops, grabbing umbrellas and running for cover.  I felt the mist on my bare legs as I stood there in my t-shirt and shorts.  That's when it occurred to me.

When was the last time I deliberately stood in the pouring rain without any concern for getting soaking wet?

I could remember a time, years ago, when an old acquaintance and I went jogging in the rain.  It was his preference.  He loved it and wanted me to share in that love, so I joined him.  It was fun and exciting and pretty romantic.  I realized today that that was way too long ago, so I did the only natural thing.  I took two steps forward and left the shelter of my awning.  I stood in the pouring rain, facing the sky, hands held high.  The rain got heavier and heavier and as I began to get soaked, I asked God to do a few things for me.

I felt the warmth of the ground underneath my bare feet.  I felt the back of my Rejoice t-shirt becoming soaked with water and as it touched my back, the coolness was refreshing and shocking all at once.  We've had a bit of a heat wave here in NJ for the past several days, and I felt as parched as the atmosphere, the grass, the trees, and my potted plants that I've been so desperately trying to keep hydrated.  Without water, of course, they would perish, as their water source either comes from the sky, a human, or it just doesn't come at all.  The grass goes into hibernation, the trees, somehow, withstand the cold, the heat, droughts.  Trees amaze me with their fortitude and strength.  Potted plants, however, need the potters attention, love, nourishment and care.  I am that potter and I care for what is mine very much.  Maybe when it comes to me though, I lose touch.  After all, I am not the potter of myself.  Someone, something, has potted me, has allowed me this life, this breath, this moment, and if in this moment I am withering, it is the Master Potter who needs to tend to me.

I asked God to take away my pain and sadness.  I asked God to wash me clean and let all the impurities pour into the ground, into Mother Earth, and be reborn as something better.  I stood in the rain and asked God to notice me, to not forsake me, to renew my spirit, mind, body and soul.  I got soaked.

The rain has since stopped and I've come inside.  I took off my soaking wet Rejoice t-shirt and shorts and wrapped myself in the comfort of one of my long, white, cotton robes.  I took my hair out of its pony tail and brushed it as lovingly as I could.  I could feel the prana running through my body and trust me, after all the illness and drugs I've had to endure, this was an altogether much better feeling to be aware of.  I feel less sad.  I made myself a cup of tea and sat down at the computer.  As I sipped the hot tea I just made for myself, I thought of this blog and the fact that I've been posting so much about the physical and hardly anything about the spiritual.  I realize that it's partly because I've been so sick and partly because I haven't felt very spiritual.  I do feel somewhat like a worm that a bird dropped in the desert on its way back to feed its young.  The bird trying desperately to hang on to its catch, namely me, inadvertently dropped me and I landed in the worst possible of places. 

Lying in the arid desert is no place for spirit.  Or is it?

While standing in the pouring rain, I looked at all that was alive around me.  Everything was getting soaked, every leaf, every tree, every blade of grass, every delicate flower.  I could feel the somewhat localized yet universal sigh of relief after not having anything to drink for so long and then this abundance of grace.  I felt as if I belonged to all of it and I felt like it appreciated my 'free to experience the moment' presence all the while taking in what it had been waiting for for so long, and that's when I realized the desert is as appropriate a place as the side of the raging river.  Both offer an abundance of wisdom, knowledge and experience.  Both are spiritual places. 

Yes, I've been in the raging river and have enjoyed the laziness along side of it, but to be so far away from it, this I really have not enjoyed.  The dark night of soul is not an enjoyable experience.  The worm, when it realizes it will never make it back to source, gives itself over to the inevitable but the human knows better.  The human knows that one day it will return to source, one way or the other. 

For me, I am still walking out of the desert after just experiencing the best water mirage of my life.  It was so real.  It was so wet and it was so natural and unexpected.  So what am I worried about?  God would never leave me completely although the desert mirage is just as real.  One way or the other I will find my God and my God will find me, wanting. 

The world could never possibly fill my heart the way that rainfall did.  The world could never satisfy my thirst the way I know God can.  Even when my cup is empty, there is a cloud off in the distance with my name on it.  God has fashioned it this way.  He has made the high places, as well as the low.  He has allowed happiness and fullness of spirit, and he also allows sadness and emptiness.  He created the sand as well as the ocean.

If I'm smart, I will not avoid a single drop of rain but allow my soul to be submerged with an open heart, a clear conscience, and a desire to live another day, despite my circumstances.  If I'm smart, I will try to remember the raging river while in the desert.  If I'm smart, I will remember the laziness along side of the river as I battle and try to swim upstream.  If I'm smart, I will remember how wet it once felt while being as dry as I've ever been. 

"If" I'm smart.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Entities All Around

On May 13, 2013, I went to the Relay for Life to take my survivor lap with my dear friend and inspiration Mary-Lou Guisto.  We were both diagnosed with DCIS - ductal carcinoma insi tu, Mary-Lou diagnosed only 5 years ago.  Her cancer was Stage 2 at the time, and progressed to Stage 4.  Mine - Stage 0.  I am cancer free currently and if you've read my blog you know that I suffered complications from the Radiation Treatment.  Today is my last day of prednisone and I am almost fully recovered.

On July 3rd, we laid Mary-Lou to rest.  She was given only 6 months to live after her recent bone biopsy which showed that the cancer had progressed despite the treatment.  She had mastectomies, chemo, radiation, you name it.  She died within 5 years of diagnosis. 

Five years.

What would you do with 5 years if you that's all you had left?

I can tell you that Mary-Lou did not waste a single moment living strongly for her 3 surviving children, who were completely brokenhearted at her memorial, as you can imagine.  Her youngest is still in grade school, her oldest just sweet sixteen.

Words cannot express the love that was in the room at her memorial.  It was palpable.  She had so many people rooting for her to survive, and thrive.  One after the other, people gave their testimonies as to how Mary-Lou had affected their lives all in very positive, loving and funny ways. 

Mary-Lou and I have so much in common.  Both born in August.  Both Leo's.  Both strong heads with big hearts.  She was truly an inspiration to me especially when I was in complete denial that I actually even had cancer.  She was willing and able to help me at a moments notice if that's what I needed.  She told me that she knew all there was to know and if I needed anything, I could count on her despite the fact that she was still going through chemotherapy and the like, all the while taking care of her children and still working a full time teaching job.  That obviously changed this past school season as the cancer had been progressing and she just didn't feel that she could continue with all of her responsibilities.  Very intuitive.

The last few months of her life were spent taking care of herself and her family.  She was as devoted a mother as I've ever seen, as well as a devoted sister.  I can't imagine watching my sister suffer the way Mary-Lou's sister watched her, and eventually having to say goodbye to her.  Mary-Lou was given 6 months at her last doctor's visit.  She only lived less than 20 days after those words were spoken to her despite her best efforts.

A few weeks ago, we spent our last few hours together not knowing that this was the case.  I brought her to a healer - the same healer that I had visited recently.  She jumped at the chance to go and see him.  Even though I have been so under the weather, I wanted to be there and take her there, so I drove her.  I realized pretty quickly that she wouldn't have been able to drive herself as it was a ways away.  She was willing but her flesh was weak. 

We went for a late lunch afterward and then said our last goodbyes.  I never thought in a million years that would be the last time I would see her.  She looked great except for the fact that her belly was swelling (liver).  She was pretty cheerful despite her being uncomfortable.  She said "I feel the entities around me".  I couldn't feel them but I certainly believed her. 

If I had a second chance to speak with Mary-Lou, I would thank her for her courage and support.  I would hug her so tight and pray so very hard for her.  Harder than I did.  I would have asked her a million questions about the 'entities' and I would try so very hard to mend her broken heart.  She lived for her children and the past 5 years fighting were all about them.  She pushed harder than anyone I know, not for herself, but for her babies.  At our last lunch together I asked her point blank how she does it.  She reached in her purse and pulled out 3 school pictures;  one for each child.  She said "this is how".  Yeah.  She was a strong warrior never warring for herself, but selflessly warring for her family.  She would have given anything to stay here to raise her family and I would give anything to have her back.

I wonder why God would take Mary-Lou and leave me here for a little longer, I mean, I have no children, just 3 devoted cats.  My marriage is broken.  My family is all together not together and I really don't have the kind of roots that she had.  It makes me crazy.  She should've survived.  Damn cancer.  I hate it.  

I have a few more friends that are fighting this nasty disease and I am horrified by the prospect.  I understand that physical, human life is temporal and fleeting but when you're in the thick of illness, it seems so very real and long suffering.  I pray for the cure.  I pray that this country would be less driven by money and more driven by compassion.  BTW, hemp oil has been proven to cure cancer without any side effects.  Why the hell isn't America getting behind these studies and making this plant based drug available to everyone?  Well, we all know the answer and that's the real cancer in this world.  Greed.  Money.  Profit.  It's pretty disgusting.  That being said, I will continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight.  I will never surrender.  I will never give up on myself, or any of my friends who are fighting.  I will always believe that this is beatable.  Mary-Lou did not die in vain and while I love having Angels in heaven, I would have much rather done the Relay for Life with her in 2014 then to walk my lap alone.  It's just not fair. 

To Mary-Lou:  I love you dear one.  I will pray for you and your family for the rest of my life.  I am looking forward to seeing you in my dreams, in my inspiration, in my hopes and thoughts.  I know that you are all Spirit now, fully and completely.  You paved the way for me with your life and now you are paving the way for me with your human passing.  I look forward to seeing you again my friend.  Thank you for your last words to me:  "Thank you so much my friend.  Immense love xoxo".  I say the same right back to you.  Sleep with many Angels Mary-Lou and please, visit often, stay late, and impart your heavenly wisdom to me.  Trust me, I need it. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Fresh News from the Force

Today, my beautiful niece Tori graduates High School and I'm missing it.  I have shed a few tears but there is really nothing I can do about it, so I accept.  I couldn't fly now physically so I can only go by remote viewing.  If you don't know what that is, it's kind of like prayer but way more in depth.  Our military uses it.  It can be quite useful at times like these, but nothing beats the real deal of hugging and kissing your loved ones.  Tori is my God daughter and I was there for every major event in her life and this one is just too far out of reach for me.  I will not soon forget that the path I am on has prevented my participation, not my choice.  Choices are very different and I stand behind every other choice I've made.  I have to.  I support me and my decisions, right or wrong, because I am still learning, growing, willing and alive.

I wish my niece a lifetime of successes just like the one she's going to achieve today.  I will envision her College graduation, her wedding, her babies.  I am truly there one way or the other.

As I've blogged about in the recent past, I have been under Doctor's care - for way too long now - but trying still to recover from the side effects of radiation treatment.  Of course I'm speaking of radiation pneumonitis and a 'burned' lung.  The course of treatment has been an excruciating round of Prednisone.

The old roller coaster "Jet Star" at Seaside, NJ after Superstorm Sandy.  An amazing image of how life can twist and turn, in a heartbeat.  It's finally been removed from the water and they're rebuilding a new one perhaps naming it 'Superstorm".  Somethings need to be removed, reconstructed, recycled.  It's all good.

For those of you who are not familiar with Prednisone, here are the basics:  it is a very strong steroid used mostly to treat inflammation and cancer.  I'm taking it to minimize the inflammation in my lungs.  It has terrible side effects and you need to be monitored closely if taking it more than a week.  In my case, at least a minimum of 10 weeks, but who knows?  I am closely being monitored.  Currently my dosage is still at 30 mgs daily, down 10 from 40 mgs.  Thank God for that.  At 40 mgs of predinisone I thought I would just about lose my mind.  It's a very hyper active, roller coaster, one minute you're up and the next your crashing drug and for someone who is very sensitive to caffeine (coffee - never, tea - yes, coca-cola - if after 3pm, up all night) I felt as if I could just about fly around the room.  All of this is a false sense of energy mind you.  The down side is a crashing effect.  Finally sleep arrives at the most inopportune times - like in the afternoon.

The side effects are ridiculous.  Insomnia, increased appetite, water retention (or lovingly referred to as 'moon face';  not lovingly by me, I might add), anxiety, increased heart rate, shaking hands, confusion and the list continues.  As the dosage diminishes, I am hopeful that I will return to a normal state of being but I am working so very hard at countering these side effects with sleep, when I can get it, rest, Xanax (up from .25 mgs to .50 mgs - supposed to take 3 x's a day - but I only take it when necessary.  Yes, still taking it every day but not 3 x's and mostly to sleep at night).  Regardless, sleep is elusive.  I wake up around 2ish every morning if I was lucky enough to fall asleep in the first place, around 11ish.  It's a tough battle especially since I seemed to get through radiation treatment with much more ease.  I hadn't realized that this was even a possibility - the side effects to radiation treatment, that is.

During this time, I have however, begun to do some much needed energy work on myself.  After the first two weeks of trying to recover from 'pneumonia' with antibiotics to no avail and loosing almost 15 + pounds, and then after the next two weeks of trying to recover from radiation pneumonitis with Prednisone, Ive gained all the weight back and I am now 2 more weeks further along and can finally say I think I am starting to think straight again.  What a long, strange trip it's been.

If you need more information on Prednisone, please look it up.  There is way too much information about it and most of it is scary.  I chose the path of Western medicine for the most part to treat Stage 0 Breast Cancer knowing all I knew about energy healing, being a Reiki Master myself, and hearing all the guru's in the world I've listened to.  The results are in, I am in remission and overcoming the side effects.


If I had known then what I know now I may have done things differently.  Let me rephrase that - I am doing things differently.  While I need to stay the course and finish the prescribed treatment 'lest I wind up in a mental institution (yeah, you can't just stop taking prednisone - it's crazy dangerous and I've been on it for too long) I have to finish and ween off of it.  In the meantime, I am taking a good, long hard look at my life, the way I've lived, my belief systems, my habits, my thoughts, my religion, my practices, my rituals, my spirit, my past, my present and the future I am planning.  I realize that I have been playing it too small and living a life that was insecure, suppressed and foolish. 

Sometimes, you need a jolt.  Sometimes, you need more than a jolt, like maybe a bolt of lightning to strike you.  It's not enough that it sometimes strikes your neighbor, burns their whole life to the ground if only an ash lands on your front porch.  It may not be enough.  For me, it was my house.  It was me that was being struck by lightning and what I chose to do with my scorched everything is paramount to my existence, my healing, my future, and yours if I'm a healer, shaman, helper.

Through meditation, journaling, prayer, eating organic, just starting to try and stretch again practicing yoga, reading and doing my own healing work, I realize that the necessary changes are already happening.

I've never really enjoyed tread mills or stationary bikes.  They literally take you no where.  You go through the motions and while they get your heart rate up and increase your strength physically, you're still going no where.  If you wake up in the morning and have the 'same old, same old', well, there it is.  Can't today we do something different?  Perhaps there is a new way of doing the 'same old' that will bring about an even better result than what you've convinced yourself is the tried and true method.

My whole life has been about trying to be open minded.  I have failed miserably as I look back on this.  I remember certain individuals trying to bring different information to me but because I was steeped in Catholicism and Christianity, and a lot of it had to do with fear, I resisted even looking at it.  Fear is weird like that.  What's even weirder is that we really don't even realize we're doing it, it's just what we've always done.  Well, I'm blasting down the doors with dynamite today my friends.  There is so much wonderful information 'out there' that we need not be afraid of.  First, let go of the fear.  Then pray about it.  Then read everything you can get your hands on, and pray some more.  Meditate.  What you need will stay with you.  What you don't will fall by the way side or come back even stronger and louder than even the tiniest seed that you may have thought the loving sun wouldn't find important.  What seed doesn't grow in fertile dirt, water, mud and sunlight?

It's all in me, it always has been.  I have the power to change my mind, change my health, not grow old, not grow weary, not give in to what I had believed was written in stone, or what others told me was.  Is there anything truly written in stone?

The only thing that I believe is written in all consuming truth is the emotion of LOVE.  I believe that it is the driving force of all life, nature, all humanity, all the earth, moon, stars and sky.  Love makes us or breaks us.  From love in the womb, to love in the decay of the grave for the precious body of a human and everything in between - it's all about love.  Love of self.  Love of others.  You can also add service to this.  If you aren't out there giving love....then what exactly are you doing with your life?  What are you doing with your love?

This journey has lifted my heart, my mind, my empathy and compassion.  It has brought so many wonderful people to me and I in return, with open heart and hands, strive to give everything I have to whomever is in my presence and subsequently, learn from them.  I have a lot to give and I have a lot to learn.  I am so not done yet.  With my dying breath, I will say 'thank you' to the person that I'm with - or just to God if there is no one else around - or, I hope that I can relay some last, little message of hope like "see you later".  I don't want to take one second for granted.  I don't want to take one person for granted.  I have learned something from every one.

By the way, my Grandmother Mary's last words to me were "I Love You" and my Grandmother Violet?  Her last word to me was "beautiful".  Think I'll ever forget that love?  Never in a million years.  I am so very grateful for their nurturing, giving hearts of love.  I love you too, beautiful.

About myself, I've learned that "I'm still a good kid".  I've been told that by one person or another my whole life.  And recently, at 86 years young, Sidney Poitier was quoted as saying about himself and the life he's lived "I am a good person".  I am hopeful that by that time, I too will still be saying the same.  I'll be a lot younger by then lol. 

"A consistent positive and optimistic attitude is the cheapest fountain of youth"
- author unknown

I strive for excellence in everything I do.  Perhaps even trying too hard sometimes so being reminded that I am a good kid is key.  I don't hold passion against myself though, God has made me with a fire unlike alot of others.  I don't compare, I just know I can scorch better than anyone - unless you're a Leo - then it's on.  I don't just scorch though, I warm, I help grow, I nourish, I shed light, yeah, I do all of that and whole lot more adding to my list daily.

In times of illness though, or sadness, or anger, or bitterness, life seems to take on a vortex of pain and magnetism.  You attract the same kind of sadness, bitterness, etc. and the opposite of that is also true.  Perhaps the people all around you are depressed for some reason or another.  You really only need to ask a few questions of your besties to find out most people are struggling with one issue or another.  It's their energy and how they cope that you could become more aware of and should become more aware of because it effects you and you effect them.  I want to be a light shining not a flood drowning.  I am choosing to use this time of illness to diminish the sadness associated with it.  I am choosing to use this time to re energize my system, to recharge it, to heal it, to release all that had me in chains, all that I thought was true about myself.  I can only know this moment and I'm getting ready to meditate :)  I go within, not to escape, to increase my awareness, my capacity to know, my energy field so energy and information and come and go freely.  I am using this time to fully engage where I may have gone wrong.  No blame.  No frustration.  No guilt.  That's not the way.  Blame?  Forget about it.  I love me.  I am going to be 50 years young in August and I couldn't be happier.  Healthier?  No.  I couldn't even be healthier because the healthy me I am imagining I am now becoming.  Getting grounded, centered and open is how you start.

The future?  I see a lot of wonderful things in my future.  I hold my dreams close in my heart, pray to God and the Angels about it, ask my ancestors for help with it, invoke healers and teachers, people that are much smarter than I am.  As they say in gambling "I'm all in".  I am not taking a single breath with me, or heart beat, or living cell.  I am Spirit, ever evolving and what I am to be I am still becoming, as are you no matter how old you are.  It's never to late to start.  If I told you some of my dreams, you might laugh.  That's probably why I will only share them with the divine and very close friends and family, that I trust.  Most people will crush your dreams because of their own fears.  Guard them then.  I will offer bits and pieces and this blog is one of them.  I know that I know there will be more teaching.

The unified field of all that is supreme will not offend your trust or crush your dreams.  Go there and spend some time.  You get there through silence and meditation and prayer.  I'm going there now and, of course, I will say many prayers for you and I.  My prayer list is every growing.  Once the prayers have been prayed and sent out into the unified field, then I will dissolve. 

We have access to everything; healing, wisdom, love, enlightenment, knowledge, future happenings (just remember, you're creating your future so if you have a premonition and you don't like it, make sure you create something better for yourself). 

In the unified field we are all one.  Winks. 

We are always, only, one. 

Try to stand alone.  You know you can't.  Better break it down.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

An Issue of Blood

I wrote this a couple of years ago (August 2011) when things were very different.  I wanted to post it because it was such a remarkable journey for this human.  My thoughts and feelings were of a different time, and I'm feeling like they were from a different person.  So much has changed.  It is very personal and raw and some of it may make you uncomfortable, but trust me, not as uncomfortable as it made me.  This is nothing to be embarrassed about.  It is one woman's journey and it contains conditions that a typical female may endure.  Hope you can get through it.  I did.

Here you go.

And then there’s my story. When I moved to the suburbs after meeting my wonderful husband Jimmy twelve years ago, I needed to get new doctors for the various upkeep of my human body. I had had some ear problems over the years so the Ear, Nose and Throat specialist came first, then the Dentist and lastly, with very little time left and with no urgency whatsoever, the ob-gyn.

The ob-gyn. Does anyone really fully understand what goes on at the other end of the table when one visit’s the ob-gyn? We are at our most vulnerable, completely helpless staring at the ceiling, literally half-naked, barely breathing and then, nine times out of ten, the Dr. is making some small talk about shoveling her driveway that morning and some new instrument that just arrived that she’s trying and then you see something introduced above the paper sheet like a mad scientists puppet show, her elbows move and you feel a sharp pinch, someplace deep within. The top of her head moving is all you see. But you can feel it. To say the least, the physical sensations are invasive, wet and cold. How come they don’t offer the patients a mirror like at the Dentist? Is there something going on down there that we shouldn’t be seeing or knowing? It isn’t surgery, but it sure feels like it when the dignity-less paper covers your belly and your knees and nothing more.

It is a mystery. It’s a horror. It’s a necessity.

Nine months ago, I finally began my quest. Obviously, several years had gone by, so I was due. I say with very little time left and with no urgency because I was unaware of what my body was about to go through. It began with an uncontrollable and very painful, monthly bleeding problem. I likened it to the story about the woman with the “issue of blood“ as mentioned in the Bible, more specifically Mark‘s gospel:

25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

When the woman, who had bled for twelve long, miserable years touched the hem of Jesus‘ robe, she was healed. Jesus proclaimed that her faith had made her whole. My faith would not be making me whole.

However, my new ob-gyn would be sending me for several tests after the initial physical examination including an ultrasound.

Diagnosis: two fibroids three centimeters each located in the lining of the uterus. Treatment: Drugs. Hysterectomy. Do nothing until menopause.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The fibroids were non-problematic before I knew they were there. Initially I thought I only needed to find a new ob-gyn because I was in need of a yearly pap smear and mammography exam. That was all. I had no bleeding issues. No symptoms. No problems. But as soon as I was diagnosed, shortly thereafter, the bleeding began. Perhaps the fact that the fibroids were noticed, observed, poked at, prodded and acknowledged was all they needed to make them stronger. Make them stand up and be filled with existence and blood because now, they will not stop bleeding.

After undergoing several different types of treatments including progestin, I realized that the hormone imbalance that that was causing was only exacerbating my condition. As the months went on and the bleeding continued and the treatment produced no positive result, I decided to get a second opinion.

That’s when I was referred me to Dr. Fernandez.  He was a true life saver and came highly recommended.

(Interesting to note here that Mrs. Fernandez has brain cancer and is being treated by my radiologist Dr. Vialotti.  I do not know presently how Mrs. Fernandez is doing, but I hope she's okay.  It didn't look good at the time.)

I set up an appointment and went in for an examination and consultation. Dr. Fernandez also diagnosed the fibroids and suggested a D&C and Cauterization. This same day procedure was going to put an end to these uncontrollable bleeding issues. The procedure was scheduled, and like a very obedient guinea pig, I showed up and assumed the position in the operating room. Luckily, I was knocked out and shortly after regaining consciousness, was able to go home to rest.

Five days after the D&C I actually started to feel better, I even exercised a little, but the next night something changed. I started to experience very bad pains in my stomach and wasn’t quite sure what it was, but I told my husband that something was wrong. The next morning, I went back in to see Dr. Fernandez. Diagnosis: Infection. Why? Who knows? I wanted to blame the hospital. I wanted to blame the Dr. I wanted an explanation. I wanted to be getting better. These things I would not be getting. I did however, get a script for an anti-biotic and for the next week I would be taking them.

But, and this may sound familiar, a few days after starting the antibiotics, I started to feel better. I started to feel like myself again and thought the worst was behind me. The D&C and the cauterization and the infection were all behind me now and I was on the mend. I am healing now and ‘everything will be fine’. That’s when I believe God laughed. I didn’t exactly hear Him laugh, but you know the expression ‘you make plans and God laughs’. Well, on the seventh day, one week after beginning the antibiotics and two weeks after the D&C, the issue of blood RETURNED reaching way beyond biblical proportions and becoming life threatening.

Thankfully at around 10pm my husband Jim returned home after coaching football practice. I went into the bathroom because I had the sensation that I was bleeding- like I had had prior to the surgery and infection. The sensation that had plagued me for months and months. That horrible sensation was back but this time the bleeding will not stop. It was a little under one hour before I, we, realized that I was literally bleeding to death. Unless something or someone stopped this bleeding, I was going to bleed to death in my own bathroom while my husband tried in vain to convince me it was fine. He had no idea. No way to gauge what amount of blood is normal and lethal. I was so scared and horrified by the plum sized blood clots that were pouring out of me, I began to get upset and started to panic. Deep breaths, crying, asking Jim to get me orange juice because I remembered giving blood at the Red Cross and afterward, graham crackers and orange juice were the common fare. He ran to get the juice which I chugged. It did not help. I thought I had better call the Dr. service to get some advice. My Dr. was not on call, but the Dr. that was listened as I rattled off my conditions and symptoms and he began to describe the symptoms of going into shock. Shock? I hadn’t thought of that. I had been bleeding for months. Why hadn’t that occurred to me? He suggested I get help if that happened. I hung up the phone and that’s when the room started to spin. I was in deep trouble. I cried to Jim to get me help and that’s when he called 911. The operator told him to get me on the floor to prevent more of my precious life source from pouring out of me. I crawled to the floor and began shaking uncontrollably instantly breaking into a soaking wet sweat. The police and the ambulance service arrived shortly thereafter. They assessed my situation and quickly and efficiently removed me from the safety of my home and brought me to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, that was not Dr. Fernandez’ hospital, so the resident ob-gyn came down to examine me. His name was Dr. Fischer. His diagnosis: Fibroids. Treatment: Emergency Partial Hysterectomy. What? Did he say I needed another surgery? But what about the D&C and Cauterization? What about the infection. This all just happened in the past two weeks. How can my body withstand another surgery? What about all the blood I lost? It didn’t matter. These fibroids were going to continue bleeding. The D&C and the Cauterization were supposed to cut off the blood supply so what happened? Dr. Fischer described it this way “The fibroid has to die off in your body and eventually it will, and will be expelled on it’s own. In the meantime, it looks like they are going to bleed a lot. A lot? I’m anemic now. My hemoglobin was an 11 (a normal level) it’s now a 5. I’m so weak and I barely have any blood left to bleed.

Jim and I made a critical decision to leave that local hospital on our own and drive up the highway several miles away to the hospital where Dr. Fernandez resides. That was the decision that began to put this nightmare to rest. I arrived and was greeted by the night nurses who dutifully administered an I.V. and tucked me in my hospital bed. It was now 3 a.m. I turned toward my husband who was as white as I was and said “You need to go home now and get some rest. I‘ll be okay”. My emergency partial hysterectomy surgery was scheduled for 2pm the next day. He reluctantly kissed me goodnight and made his way home. He did not want to leave me there. I did not want him to go.

As I lie there awake in my new surroundings knowing I‘m never going to fall asleep, I cannot help but reflect on the past two weeks. Wow. How did I get here? What was tomorrow going to look like? I’m so weak, how can they operate on me again? I wish I knew that woman’s name in the New Testament.

The next sound I hear is the morning nurse coming in to take my vitals. Blood pressure very low. Blood count very low. My skin is now a sick color of green. I have no veins that I can see. I cannot eat or drink anything until after the surgery. I really didn’t want anything. I really just wanted to go home. Jim met up with my mother and my best friend Debbie and they sat with me, starring at me.

The next thing I remember is being pushed through the hospital hallway to surgery. Two right turns, that’s all? It has to be a longer ride. No. The operating room was right next to the elevator door. Convenient, I thought. They pushed me into the cold, sterile room which seemed smaller than I thought it should be. I noticed at the foot of the table, on the floor, the floor was stained. What was that? Beta dyne? Blood stains? Oh and nice utensils on the table that the nurses seem to be putting in some barbaric order. Way too much information. They transferred me over to the table and began to administer the elixir that will bind me up for a week. And I was out. And it was over. They took my uterus and left my ovaries so I wouldn’t go into instant menopause. That will turn out to be a great decision down the road, but for now, recovery is the order of the day.

Recovery. Agony. A six inch scar six inches below my belly button straight across my abdomen. Well, almost straight. Dr. Fernandez got it a little wrong on one side, but I always had an eye for a straight line. I could have cared less about that though at the time. The morphine drip was the only thing that got me through the worst of it. That, and of course, my family. It is a very barbaric operation to be sliced open and have organs removed. It’s surreal. Until you try to get up out of bed, then reality sets in. You can barely stand, head spins from the anemia. I’ve never felt so weak in my life. It felt like death. But there’s a little light off in the distance that you’re drawn to. Every day you feel a little bit better, but so little at times too small to measure. It would be weeks before I would feel like myself again. It’s November now and I still have some tenderness on the left side of my abdomen where my incision is. This is a long healing process. I do have my energy back though. I exercise again. I’m alive again. I don’t bleed anymore and that is unbelievable! I’m so grateful to Dr. Fernandez and the nurses at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck. They are truly God’s servants and healers and I was blessed to have such competent brothers and sisters administering to me.

This year God has truly shown me His mercy. He spared my life when clearly it could have gone, in an instant, the wrong way. I could have died this year but God, in His infinite wisdom, chose to spare me and give me a second chance at life. Why? Who knows but I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to figure out why. It probably has something to do with sharing my story. My story always has something to do with God. He alone is my salvation. Thank you Lord for everything this year. For my healing. For this I am thankful and truly humbled.

-- That was then.  This is now.       I am currently re-reading Deborah King's "Truth Heals What you hide can hurt you".  She states over and over again in the book that you need to speak your truth.  She goes on to say that the conditions I have suffered from are directly related to my heart and throat chakras which are out of balance.  Holding on to past hurts leads to dis-ease in the body.  That's a fact.  As I look back at my medical history I am astonished that this has fallen on my deaf ears, that is until now.    Deborah is very frank in her book describing her turmoil and some of it is awful to read but I can relate.  I am very thankful that she wrote this book, that I have a copy of it and that I'm not afraid to speak my truth.  Thanks Deborah.

When she signed my book she wrote:  Maria, Just take care of you!  Exclamation point!  When I saw that the other day I couldn't believe that I had just either overlooked it, or just continued on my path which was to fix everything, everyone, all the ills.  I didn't take care of myself, at least until now.   I've had enough ill in my life.  I've been through so much turmoil and I am responsible for most of it as it pertains to my lifestyle, thought habits, stubbornness, inability to let go and Let God.  All of this is changing for me.   I will re-read this book again and again if only to remind myself that I am important.  I matter.  My feelings are important and they matter.  Forgiveness is for self.  Healing is for self first.  You must heal yourself before you can help anyone else.   

I'm truly sorry if my life path at this point does not include you any longer.  God gives and God takes away.  My heart is open and I am available.  My phone is on.  If you have any issues that you want to drag out into the light, there is time to do so.  I am not the same person.  How could I be after enduring so much physical pain, emotional pain, spiritual turmoil.  


He that is in me is greater than any turmoil.  My healing begins today.  I will not return to the bad behaviors and patterns that caused such chaos in my body.  I hope that these words that I've written illuminate your heart, bring you to your knees and allow your heart to open to the oneness, and importance of harmony and unity.  Discord is not the way.  

God's healing and blessings for you always, even if we don't see eye to eye.  We will always be soul to soul however.  If not in this life, in the next.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Relay for Life

In May of 2012, I received the news that I had Stage O Breast Cancer.  That same month I walked in our local Relay for Life in support of two angels, my best friend Rachael and my new best friend MaryLou.  I did the walk to support these two lovelies, but was in complete denial that I myself had cancer.  This is not something you just accept and say - hey, yeah, no problem.  It frightens the life out of you, literally.

Rachael's Dad, Joe passed away at the end of May last year succumbing to brain cancer which was discovered only two short years before after he was in an random accident.  They did a routine examination looking closely at his head and discovered an aggressive tumor.  They gave him only a few years to live, and live he did until his body could no longer survive what was happening in his body despite surgeries, chemo, etc.  It was the saddest thing to watch.  My heart breaks every day for Rachael.  She's heartbroken and will be until she's reunited with her "Padre".

MaryLou, a divorced mother of 3 has Stage 4 Breast Cancer diagnosed several years ago.  Ever since I met MaryLou she has been having one surgery or another, undergoing constant chemotherapy all the while smiling.  She says 'it's because of my kids, I have to be strong for them'.  And that she is. 

After the Relay For Life last year, I had my own battle to wage, and as you've read in past posts, surgery, radiation and the like was the order for the day and now, I'm home with pneumonia thinking long and hard about reality.  It's as if this whole year was a blur - by the way, not quite a year.  Just a mere eight months.

A few months ago, MaryLou contacted me.  She said she 'needed to get her God on' and reached out to me to help her spiritually.  I was more than willing and Rae and I met her for lunch.  She told us she was organizing the Relay for Life this year.  She said she was Chairing the event and she knew that I have planned many events, have done lots of PR work and have lots of connections with regard to sponsors and the like.  She felt like I was the perfect candidate to work with her.  Me?

I was more than happy to lift her up in the Spirit.  Offering her prayers and advice on how to get God back into her psyche more than anything.  She kept saying 'I know this', and 'how did I forget'?  But how can you not forget when the throws of life have you face down on the concrete and you're facing your mortality.  We all know millions of people die of cancer every day.  The reality can be overwhelming and it was especially for me, as I am only now realizing.

These two woman have become a beacon of hope for me encouraging ME to fight the good fight.

This past Friday was the Relay for Life which I did not help coordinate.  I did the best I could encouraging MaryLou, but participate?  Coordinate?  Get involved?  How could I?  I was still fighting.

That being said, when I realized the walk was Friday I couldn't miss it.  As sick as I am, I managed to get out of bed, put on a pink shirt in support that Rae helped me embellish and I registered at the event but this time as a Survivor.  I didn't know that Survivors wear purple not pink.  That revelation brought me to tears instantly.  The organizers who gave me my purple Survivor shirt asked me what type of cancer I had, when I was diagnosed, and I told them that and that I was there despite my pneumonia.  The tears were flowing but the compassion and empathy that these strangers yet kindred spirits gave me was deeply moving.  They hugged me.  They told me it was okay.

It was then I realized that I had a special place of honor among the Survivors.  They had chairs set up in the front row.  Purple shirt cancer survivors, of which I am now obviously one, took their seats and the ceremony began.  MaryLou took her place with the microphone and read her testimony.  She held it together as she described her journey, her mastectomies, her chemotherapy's - which she was still undergoing even only a few days earlier.  Her children and her friends, even the Mayor of Rutherford were all there in support.  After several more speeches, what came next caught me again off guard. 

Had I been sleepwalking all this time?

They announced the Survivors by name.  They called my name and I had to go and receive a purple cancer survivor medal.  MaryLou was called right after me - we basically got our medals together and what an honor to have her right by my side - she's so incredibly strong.  When I look at my struggle vs. hers, and I'm not comparing, she's the warrior.  I'm just a little squirrel trying to get a nut.  She's an amazing woman with the courage of an army of women.  She never faltered.  She was, however, so very happy to see me there and we hugged and shed a tear of hope between us.

Then we walked our Survivor lap.  Together.  Right in the front row holding the Relay for Life sign.  It was surreal.  I realized at that moment that I am a cancer survivor.  All the needles, poking, prodding, scans, tests, biopsies, lumpectomies, radiation - none of it was real until that moment.  I could barely get through my lap.  At the same time, the caretakers are also walking their lap in the opposite direction.  I could see my bestie Rae off in the distance.  She took her caretaker lap last year in honor of her Padre, and this year she took it for both of us.  She was an amazing caretaker to me.  She still is.

When we got closer and closer and the the two groups came together, MaryLou and I both lost our breath.  The support from family and friends that rallied round was gut wrenching.  I realized besides Rae, I was alone.  There was really no one there for me, except the entire Relay for Life community, and that was enough.

After the second lap, I was so completely winded, overwhelmed and frankly so sick I had to sit down.  I couldn't walk another step.  I am still fighting.  I am still sick.  So I sat and let Rae walk around a little more.  She wasn't done yet.  She needed to be there a little longer for her Padre, for MaryLou, for herself and I'm guessing for me.  Her reality is just settling in also.  It's all a lot to accept.  Acceptance is key, as I now know.  I couldn't feel my pulse and felt like I would faint at any moment, but I didn't.  I got through it.  WE got through it.

I called MaryLou the next morning to thank her and to apologize for not helping her with the organizing and of course, she said 'don't be ridiculous'.  She said that when she saw me there she was ecstatic because she knew how empowering it was.  I was embracing the reality of what I had experienced, not poking my head into the ground but looking around and knowing that yeah, I got cancer, I am fighting back and I am a part of something so much bigger than just myself.  This is not something that goes away.  You have this experience and it becomes a part of your life forever.  There is no 'getting over it'.  That's not the way cancer works.  Perhaps a splinter works that way, but not cancer.

I told MaryLou that I am getting involved next year.  MaryLou suggested that I Co-Chair the event with her.  Can you imagine?  What a place of honor.  What an opportunity to give to this community all that I have to offer and for such an amazing cause.  Not for some self glory but for the help of humanity.  MaryLou, of course she's planning on doing it again.  She'll live forever that one.  I told her I would absolutely do the very best I can to organize, promote and fight this deadly disease from the Survivor front line holding my head up high and owning who I am.  I am fearless today.  I've been educated, I've been through it - but know this - if you've not walked in my shoes do not judge me.  Do not have any preconceived notions about what this feels like.  You have no idea, and even after going through it, I still had no idea.

Today is a different day.  Today I will rise to the occasion giving all of my energy toward that which is profitable and that which will yield a harvest of righteousness.  If I can put a smile on just one person's face, if I can help diminish the fear from just one person's heart, if I can raise just one dollar or one more persons awareness that we can find a cure then that's my purpose in life.

If you would like information on the Relay For Life, please visit  Give, educate yourself, get involved.  It's not just about you, it's about all of us and if one of us is sick, we're all sick.  There is life after life (my new favorite saying) and I will hold your hand.  I promise I will be there.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Let My Life Be The Proof of Your Love

Music moves my whole life.  It soothes the savage beast within me.  Sometimes I'm a kitten and sometimes as a Leo, my inner lioness roars and truth be told, nips.  I prefer the kitten as I know most that know me do as well.  It is highly recommended, therefore, to be gentle.  (:

We all have a 'side' to us that we'd prefer the world didn't see.  I'm trying to be more transparent these days especially knowing how short life is and how hard it can be to overcome life's many challenges.  I am the salt of the earth.  In human form, I come from a working class family and have had to work for everything that I have.  In spiritual form, I am but a reflection of God's love still in the throws of growing into perfection.  We will be like Him when He is revealed.  Glory to God.

I am currently not the illness that happens to be passing through my body.  I am not the emotions that I struggle with.  I am not my past but I am responsible.  I am not my failed or successful relationships that I engage in.   I am not the job that I work so very hard at.  I am not my hopes and dreams, those realized and those I'm still working on.  I am not my ego, my body or my brain.  I am not the things people say about me.  I am none of these things.

I am not even the image that so perfectly captured the lost, hurt child in the photo below which was taken in my formative years.  As my perfect life was falling apart in March of 1978,  I was only 15 years old and I was completely lost.

I am also not the most recent image below taken in my current state of being. It's 2013 and I've still so much to learn, live, share and give.

I've come a long way baby, and what I still and always have aspired to be is a reflection of my idol, the Man Jesus, the Shepherd, who has set the bar so very high when it comes to the real meaning of life. 

Following the Shepherd does not make us weak.  Following the Shepherd makes us strong.  It helps us navigate His creation - this life He's given us.  God sees us as a helpless, sweet, soft, little, blemish free, innocent lambs which we all know we are not if we are without Him.  We are all together different without Him.  A lamb is a soft, gentle being that needs guidance and also needs protection from all the snares that accompany this gift.  God knew that this life would be frought with evils the mind could not comprehend let alone defend itself against.  There is trickery, and illusion.  There is real hate and a real war of separation.  Christ, the Shepherd, did not die on the cross forgiving his crucifiers because there was no war.  He died so our eyes would be opened to the reality that is this life.  The reward after living this life for Christ is nothing like the reward for living for the opposition.  What opposition?  There is an opposing, completely different force in this world and Christ knew that His people, His flock would be attacked at the very first opportunity.  Some would even be seduced and fooled.  The attacks come in all shapes and sizes, promises of great fortune and greatness of all kinds.  Even a false sense of comfort.  Of course these are disguised and it's the fool that grasps the golden ring and forsakes the Shepherd, but even fools have an opportunity to come home.  Even fools.

I aspire to be a reflection of God's love.  Period.  No matter what you do to me.

I hope you love the lyrics and the video I'm posting here today.  As I recover from so many things, it comforts me because I am well acquainted with the divine inspiration with which For King and Country created this masterpiece.  It is for all sheep, lambs, children of God, of which I am proudly one.  Don't be fooled however, it's the disillusioned that need saving.  It's the lost that need the Shepherd the most.

Live your life like you mean it, like it is a gift from God, which it is.  A miraculous gift, nothing to be taken lightly or for granted.  Live your life like Spirit is watching and teaching and praying that you will get the real reason you are here.  Take each opportunity to learn in a way that is giving, forgiving and loving.  This is not about money, fame or fortune, titles, possessions or the glory you give yourself for your accomplishments.  God forbid.  Many sell their souls to the devil for one thin dime and a thin dime is all you will get.

I love you and I pray that you'll look deep within.  The truth is all in there if you'll only humble yourself, pray, and believe.  If you shut the door before you take your last breath, you may be trapped in more misery in spirit then you ever were in human form.  Disobedience or lack of respect and humility leads to more life lessons.  Maybe even more lives.  Let's hope you don't come back as a lamb.  Some only make it to the dinner plate.  But that's Buddhism and that's not what were talking about here.  A soul that forsakes God gets its just reward as does a faithful follower.  Jesus is the true and just Judge.  The King knows His sheep.  He calls them by name and they know His voice. 

Time is on your side though.  You only need but a moment like the prodigal son.  Forgiveness is yours for the asking.

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's word with power, revealing all of His mysteries and making everything as plain as day, and if I have faith to say to a mountain jump and it jumps but I don't love I'm nothing. If I give all I earn to the poor or even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, no matter what I believe, no matter what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."