Bargaining with The Dude.

I haven’t written in awhile due to spending several days in a comatose state, paralyzed by subconscious anxiety.  Followed by several days recovering from the comatose state and re-engaging with life.

I have found myself internally bargaining with God.  If You heal me, God, I promise to be a living testament of faith in You.  If not, well then, all bets are off and F You. Not exactly spiritual, but very much human.  A friend said to me this morning, “God is a Big Dude, and can handle your anger and doubt.”

I should find out the results of my 3 month MRI, which I had last Friday, in the next two days.  Can you believe that they won’t rush the radiologist for ME??

I’m holding out for a complete healing miracle.  I’d settle for no signs of growth.

More will be revealed…

In Love and Gratitude (even when I can’t feel it)

Dawn

The dirty work.

I am so happy to be officially off my medical leave and back at work!  I was able to transfer from Payroll & Accounting to Animal Care at the animal welfare organization that I have worked at for the past year.  I have received some amusing comments/questions and confused looks from my co-workers who know me as the lady who does payroll.  One told me that I finally decided to come down and get my hands dirty.  Well, that’s what the gloves are for, my hands stay perfectly clean. The rest of me I can’t comment on, but let’s just say that I take all my clothes off as soon as I walk into my house!  I have gone from business casual in a cubicle to khakis and a t-shirt cleaning animal kennels, and they all want to know why. Wednesday, I was even congratulated and thanked for making it through my first day without quitting!

I love my new position, with the exception of starting at 6am.  I haven’t had nearly enough coffee by 6am!  I’m so busy cleaning kennels and feeding the critters, that I only notice the passage of time by my hunger for lunch.  I am definitely getting a work-out.  I’m learning a lot about the different animals, and myself.  For instance, in just two days time, I am now pretty much terrified of chihuahuas. Ok, only the scared or angry ones.  Also, small breed dogs seem to poop a lot more than the big guys . I’m pretty sure that a great-dane snuck into a little terrier’s kennel last night just to go poop.

With all the scrubbing and hosing and chasing of dogs (oh yeah, I’ve had three escapees in two days), I don’t have any time to think of brain tumor Bob.  Except when I think to myself, “huh, I’m not thinking about the brain tumor” or when someone stops me to ask why I decided to work in Animal Care instead of Accounting. The appropriate answer to that question is NOT, “I have a brain tumor, took some time off, then decided that I’d rather work in a less mentally stressful environment and interact with the animals so that I don’t think about my brain tumor all day.”  It makes people uncomfortable.  Which can sometimes be fun. 😉

Six days until my next MRI, but who’s counting?

I think back to when I quit drinking alcohol 18 years ago and remember how obsessed I was about NOT drinking, every day, for months and months.  Eventually, not drinking became my new normal, it was no longer an “issue” that I struggled with.  That experience led me to a faith that I never wanted or considered before. The faith that I have gained gives me hope that there will come a time when I am not obsessed with having a brain tumor, and that I will get to another new normal.

Thank you for reading.  More will be revealed…

Love,

Dawn

Well, this one’s a bummer.

For a few days now, I’ve been fighting against sinking into the pit of Nothing Matters Anymore. Today, I have sunk. Call it self-pity, call it being a victim, call it being spiritually un-fit.  Maybe it is that, or maybe I’m just human.  Either way, it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing, and now I am throwing what amounts to a public temper-tantrum.  Feel free to skip this entry if you are hoping for humor or inspiration. My supplies were dwindling and now I’m fresh out.

Today:

I don’t want to pray.

I don’t want to meditate.

I don’t want to visualize healing.

I don’t want to be strong or courageous.

Today, I don’t want a F*ing brain tumor. I don’t want to wonder WHY or what to do about it. I don’t want to read brain tumor research, eat clean, or have a brain tumor.

I’m angry that I can’t stay emotionally stable, and that I’m exhausted most of the time.  I’m angry that thinking positive feels too difficult.

I’m angry because I’m scared.  And I am angry at myself for being scared.  I have heard too many times that fear is the opposite of faith.  If I don’t have enough faith, does that mean that I won’t get better?  If I can’t stay positive does that mean I will get worse?

I may wake up in a better mood… with gratitude, acceptance, and willingness.  This whole being human thing sure is challenging.

More will be revealed…

Dawn

Good ol’ St. Francis

I have to be honest, I used to flat out hate the prayer of St. Francis.  Do you know that one?   It’s all about being nice and helping others, disregarding my own ego. Are you kidding me?

st francis prayer

I didn’t grow up with any religion, and first heard and read this prayer when I got into recovery for my alcoholism.  That was NOT what I wanted to hear, let alone aspire to feel/believe/follow. I just wanted to feel better, and wanted to be the one being understood, consoled, pardoned, and loved.  I felt that I had nothing to give to anyone else, I was all tapped out.

It has been a challenging journey since then, with one AFGO after another. (AFGO = Another F’ing Growth Opportunity)  A journey to understand myself, learning to accept love, forgiving myself and others. I began to pray, not out of faith, but out of pure desperation, to be relieved of my misery. I followed (and continue to follow) a path laid out before me by others who walked a similar path and who were more content and joyful than I thought would ever be possible for me. I eventually came to believe that it was possible to choose joy and serenity regardless of outside conditions. Not that I always make that choice (I am a stubborn human being after all, just ask my mom!)

I am grateful for all of the experiences that I have had, and for my commitment to the recovery journey, for without it, I would be lost at sea with no compass right now.  I have had years of developing my faith, years of retrospect that prayers do work (whether one refers to them as sending positive vibes, good energy, tapping into the power of the Universe, etc.) and that God’s plan is always way bigger and better than any of my own plans or expectations.

Any bit of grace or inspiration that I have or can offer as I walk, crawl, or cry through this situation, comes from my faith in One much greater than I, which I believe is deep inside every one of us.

I have the prayer of St. Francis taped above my computer where I can see it, read it, and pray it with earnest every day. It brings me peace, as I pray to shine a little light into the darkness.

Thank you for reading.  More will be revealed…

Love, Dawn

When life hands you lemons… Compost.

I woke up feeling defeated this morning.  A little downward spiral began yesterday afternoon actually, after a visit to my work-place where I am on a leave of absence from.  I have been in limbo between wanting to go back to work and trying to get hired in a less-stressful department.  I was hoping for resolution yesterday, but instead I was told that they would let me know in about two weeks.  The un-knowing is very unsettling.  As is the being-broke.

My next MRI is in two weeks, which will let us see if Bob is growing.  I feel 95-98% certain that Bob is behaving, but I don’t have a crystal ball and cannot assure my supervisors that I am not going to need to take time off for a biopsy and therefore get back to work as a reliable part of the team.

I took my defeated ego to bed for a nap yesterday afternoon, and if I hadn’t made a commitment to myself to go to boxing class in the evening, then meet some lovely friends for dinner, I would not have gotten back up until this morning.  Was that me, just yesterday morning, who felt such faith and trust that everything is working out the way it should?  Well, F that person, this person had decided to wallow in the shallow mud of self-pity for the rest of the foreseeable future, or at least until boxing class, where I could imagine that I was beating the crap out of Bob with my fists.

I do not like the see-saw of emotions, of faith/non-faith, of gratitude/self-pity, of patience/impatience.  This battle of ego and acceptance sucks.

This morning, I woke up on the self-pity side of the bed.  I pulled on my sweatpants, t-shirt, and baseball hat (my pre-shower uniform) and leashed my dog to walk to the nearby coffee shop.  Since I feel like crap and can’t go to work, I may as well sit outside and study.

Walking past an alley just a block from my house, I saw a barrel-composter with a “Free” sign taped to it.  I dragged my confused dog back home, drove my Element back, wrestled the thing up onto the back gate, and drove it home, with all the excitement of a child on Christmas morning.

My roommate was in the kitchen making breakfast as I burst inside with my new and improved attitude exclaiming, “I found a free composter!”  I am glad to tell you that she seemed as pleased about this as I was.  I told her about how my mood and attitude had been until seeing this gem, and she said, “keep calm and compost.”  Yes, that!  I think we’ll have some t-shirts made.

composter

More will be revealed…

Love, Dawn

Living the dream.

Do you ever hear the same parable, advice, or message spoken many times in different ways by different people, and one time it finally clicks?  This happens to me a lot.  Today’s message that finally “clicked” for me is that to live an inspired life allows others to also live an inspired life, it doesn’t do anyone any good to play small.  That’s a paraphrase, I don’t remember exactly how the woman speaking today actually said it, but that’s what it meant to me when I heard her.

Previously, when I would have an inspiration to write a poem, a story, create art, or come up with a great idea, my inner critic would shout at me, “who do you think you are to suppose you have anything to say?”  Everything has already been said, thought of, or created by much more talented people than I.  So I would shrink my creative spirit back down inside.

So, what does an inspired life look like?  Becoming a famous novelist?  Becoming an award-winning talk-show host? Winning a Nobel Peace Prize?  That’s how I used to look at it, which automatically left me feeling defeated.  I’ve spent so much of my life in “survival mode,” working to just get by.  I would envy people with more than me who seemed to have all the opportunity, talent, and fun.

Today, I know that I have the power to choose to live an inspired life, no matter what my circumstances.  What that looks like for me, for now: being truly grateful for all that I have, taking and sharing photographs (with just my iPhone 4) and loving them, writing (this blog, with short stories percolating in my head now…)  and trying new things outside of my comfort zone.  I may not have anything new to say or create, but I am expressing myself and in general living out loud!

I had to go and get a brain tumor to change my perspective, but I am immensely grateful for my new outlook.  Being confronted in this way led me deeper into meditation, prayer, and exploring quantum physics (don’t ask).

In case you were waiting for permission: go ahead, live an inspired life, whatever that feels like to you!  It’s super-awesome fun!

Thank you all for your ongoing encouragement, prayers, and positivity… more will be revealed.

Love & gratitude,

Dawn

A few of my photos:

white flower at elk meadow  Saffie at Elk meadow

tree trunk

“How are you?”

That has never been an easy question for me to answer, and now it’s nearly impossible.  First, what is the intent of the person asking?  Is this simply a polite greeting, to which one responds with, “great, how are you?” Is it a genuine interest or concern of how I am actually doing, physically or emotionally?  How much time are you willing to give to listen to me figure out then explain how I am when you ask?

These days, “how are you?” is often paired with a look of deep sympathy when asked by a person who actually knows me and therefore knows about the Bob situation.  It feels equally uncomfortable to look back at the sympathetic face asking the question and replying that I am doing well as it would be to reply that I am falling apart.  And both answers are true, sometimes at the same exact time.

I’m doing pretty damn awesome.  I am surrounded by love and support.  I am learning to accept the unknown and letting go of my deep desire to control my life. I apparently have a great attitude (or so I’m told) and yet sometimes I am completely falling apart and have no idea whatsoever what I’m feeling and am terrified about having no control. Those are great napping times.  All of this feeling of emotions is exhausting!  And yet, I can’t sleep through the night.

I wake up in the middle of the night with a general sense of fear and anxiety, slowly coming to in my bed, part of me frustrated to find myself awake while it’s still dark out while some other part of me is yelling inside, “I have a brain tumor, my world is coming to an end, what does it all mean!?!” or something like that. When I gain enough consciousness, meditating on my breath usually helps me to fall back to sleep.

My typical answer to the “How are you?” question lately has been, “For right now, I’m feeling good.”  That’s the best I can do, for right now.

Thank you for reading and for your love and support; more will be revealed…

Love & light,

Dawn