I'm a cowgirl, without a horse. The Cowgirl vs Cancer retreat that I had planned to be on, right now, and tell you all about in this edition - did not happen for me. The clinical trial I am in, which has been doing a great job of reducing my cancer, is also pummeling my immune system. My doc - who fully believes that cancer patients should live life to the fullest every chance we get - asked me to not travel. In an unprecedented act of compliance, I listened.
Anyone who knows me, knows I truly love to be active, write, travel, and generally squeeze every last bit of fun I can out of life. So, being "grounded" and slowed down is a challenge for me to say the least. It's not like having the flu, or something that will pass, and you can get back to "normal." Having a terminal illness means, at the time in your life that you most desperately do not want to miss a single soccer game, party, or carpool, you often have to do just that - sit on the sidelines.
I don't typically throw myself pity parties, but I will admit that I did have a good ol' cry about missing this long awaited yoga/horse retreat in Montana and meeting the other amazing cancer cowgirls and hosts with whom I'd been corresponding for months. Every time the kids stressed me out, a needle at the hospital was particularly painful, or I felt overwhelmed by foundation tasks - I thought of this trip and blissed out. "Oh my god, I can not wait for Montana," I kept repeating to myself, and anyone else that would listen. I wanted, needed, an escape from the reality of living day to day with this disease and all that goes with it. Not going was a huge blow.
However, something came to mind, through my tears, while unpacking my still neatly folded yoga pants and riding jeans...Montana, was never the solution. I wanted it, sure, but I didn't need it. Of course, it would have been ah-mazing to get pampered, ride horses and be immersed in that beautiful scenery. But, I realized I had fallen back into the same patterns I had BTC (Before The Cancer). I had found my center - many times actually. But alas, I had lost it and become misaligned. It can happen so easily - we don't even notice it. That is until you find yourself sobbing like a four-year-old into some stirrups over a trip you had to miss. I was doing it again. I was "manufacturing" my life, instead of just living it. If I have learned anything from my experiences over the past (almost) three years - it is that all we have, for sure, is right now right in front of us. It is our choice how we choose to spend that time. We can't always choose where we are, or what we are doing - but we can ALWAYS choose how to think and, therefore, how to feel about it. We don't need a trip, a car, a house, a vacation, a raise, good weather, or even another person, to change that. Someday I will get to be in Montana, but for now - I will be grateful just to be able to "be." That is a simple, beautiful thing and that, I can do.
Speaking of simple, beautiful things...I went to my post office box today for the foundation mail, and found a beautiful, lavender scented owl eye pillow with a note. It came from an amazing, fellow MBC patient across the country - named Becky Hall - whom I have featured here previously with her incredible movie Bare, based on her life. I reached out to her a few months ago, knowing she hadn't been doing so well and wanting to send her some love. She hadn't been up to responding at the time. Then, last week, she thought of me - and sent this ...
Beautiful, simple, and it came just when I needed the boost she said my email had brought her all those weeks ago. See, I didn't need to go all the way to Montana to find peace and beauty after all. Don't get me wrong, I fully intend to go next year, as the lovely Margaret at Big Sky Yoga Retreats has kindly assured me I will, and I know I'll find the peace and beauty I sought there. However, unless I find it here, within me, first - in Montana is where it will remain.