Sunday, January 2, 2011

DAY 1089 - Day 847 in Recovery Paradise

It is true that circumstances occur in each of our lives that we would not have chosen and cannot control. Cancer, accidents, weather, the economy, taxes, or the passing of a loved one, are all pretty much beyond our ability to personally control. We do, however, have a great deal of control over how we allow these uncontrollable events to impact our precious remaining TIME and of the duration of the moments in which we allow external events to affect us.

William Ernest Henley (Invictus)

"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with Punishments the Scroll.
I am the Master of my Fate,
I am the Captain of my Soul.

Some of us walk out of a doctor’s office with the crushing, matter-of-fact, very cold and clinical words: “You have Cancer” echoing in our heads. We just got elected to a very exclusive club you wouldn’t wish upon anyone. 

Just as not everyone died in the internment camps in WWII, not everyone dies of Cancer. The odds are that the ones in those camps that successfully fought off the foreboding negative circumstance stood a better chance of survival than those that gave up and discarded hope. Being diagnosed with Cancer is no different. The greatest medicine you can treat yourself with is the proactive positive use of your mind. 

Everyone will die.  A fellow Cancer warrior inspired me with "I choose to beat Cancer and live long enough to die of something else".

Regardless of the length of time or circumstance, we should live our life with well-crafted intent. We should intend to be happy and satisfied. We should readjust our goals daily. We need to constantly fine tune our goals and plans to get that 'radio dial signal' of control to be just right. All musical instruments need to be regularly tuned to keep the sound the way it was intended. We should re-tune our direction daily to be the instrument for which we were intended.


“So often we allow life to dictate to us how we live and what we do. We become a victim of our own circumstances with no purpose, design or intent. Living a life of intent means we take charge of our lives and direct ourselves to whom and where we want to be. Intent won't just happen it takes effort and commitment.”

Every golden moment of every given day has its value. How we decide to live that moment is truly ours, regardless of the circumstance of environment around us. 

Great musical works of art were created by Jewish composers while interred in concentration camps during WWII, while others around them lived their days in dark despair. The common man would never wish these conditions upon another human being,  however,  the unconscionable environment was the same for both. The deciding factor was one of human choice, living by intent, exerting personal control over seemingly uncontrollable circumstances.

Robert Frost

The Road not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
and sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
and having perhaps the better claim
because it was grassy and wanted wear;
though as for that, the passing there
had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
in leaves no feet had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.

Sometimes a seemingly impenetrable roadblock like Cancer will appear in your chosen path. Accept the detour. Denial of truth does not change the truth.  Truth, by the way,  is only what we perceive it to be. Perceive this new truth as nothing more than an unplanned detour in your intended path. Make it your new path by choice, not by denial or submission. Enjoy the scenery along the new way. Acceptance and awareness and appreciation of the unappreciated ‘things’ you do have can be your gift, the silver lining in the cloud of Cancer. Focusing on what you don’t have at this point in your life will not make the circumstance disappear. You may discover that waiting for you on the other side of treatment is a life full of a renewed appreciation for the moments you do have.

When we embrace the fact that the most important "things' in our life are not really not things at all, we can then fully appreciate the daily gifts that are around us. Control the things you can. The number of them is staggering. The things we cannot control are few.

With reverence and apologies to the "Serenity Prayer", I offer an updated version sent to me by a friend...

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the one thing I can;
and the wisdom to know it's me.

Seek out the positive parts of your new path. Open your eyes to your new reality. Engage with the value of the new path. Check out the positive scenery that was probably there all along. On every roller coaster there are people crying in fear, sobbing "Make it stop". Seated next to them are people on the same ride with their arms thrust high in the air, whooping it up, having a pretty good time.

The path of life after being diagnosed with Cancer is a very scary ride. I am on it to the end. There is no getting off this path for any of us, with or without illness, until it comes to a full stop, seat backs up and the tray table folded into the seat in front of you. Then, and only then, do you get to unbuckle your seat belt and depart the ride.

Although my ride has unexpected and unasked for heights, drops and loops, I still have two choices. I have the choice to bury my head in my hands and cry "why me" or I can seek to find peace and pleasure in the view that has all the twists and turns while I still can. 

After all, we all only get one turn on this ride.

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