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Posts Tagged ‘Celebration’

I am thinking a lot about my transition from being in treatment for breast cancer to moving on with life.

Like all good stories I want a good ending. I want to tie up all the ends, close the book and move on.

But this is real life.

There can be no neat ending with cancer. Nor with other forms of loss like bereavement or divorce. We have to move on, taking our new scars with us.

Ending on a High

This week I came across the Peak End Rule which gives two useful tips on how to soften the memory of a bad experience.

According to this we judge our past experiences almost entirely on how they were at their peak (pleasant or unpleasant) and how they ended.

Other memories of the experience are not lost; they are simply not used in our recall.

The interesting thing about the peak memory of a negative experience is that, no matter how bad it is, your memory of it is averaged out in relation to what else was going on at the time.

And so the tips are:

  • Soften the experience of the peak experience, the worst days, by creating positive experiences in the midst of them.
  • Create a good ending that gives you a positive start for the next stage.

So does this work for me?

The worst days have been bad, and there were lots of them , and yet in the midst of them were very many lovely experiences. You gave me cards, flowers, phone calls, text messages, emails, a smile a, hug.

Averaging this out, I have an overwhelming feeling of being loved and cared for. I will not look back on a long black year of breast cancer treatment. Instead my memory is of being vulnerable and yet surrounded by loved.

Thank you for that.

And the ending? Well, that is what the party is all about.

I will send emails out this week.

If you are reading this blog and I do not have your email, please let me know.

Having shared the year with us, please join us as we end on a high.

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I need a really good ending to this year – a right of passage that lets everyone know my period of intense breast cancer treatment is over. I am well.

I want to celebrate life and health and love and friendship.

BC and I are deeply grateful for the love and support you have given us.

And so we are having a PARTY.

Come and be our guest – dance CEROC with us on Saturday 16th October.


This will be a party with a difference – we will be taught some dance steps and by the end of the evening we will all be dancing together to our heart’s content.

Put the date in your diary and look out for more details.

Have a look here to see Ceroc in action. If others can do it, we can.  We want YOU to come.

Let’s celebrate together.

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So this is it – my last day of radiotherapy.

The weather is cold and wet

Drive to hospital, early as usual.

Wander to the coffee bar; coffee tastes better today.

Thinking about yesterday’s news . .

‘New research promises better treatment for breast cancer – better survival rates!’

Give thanks for the treatment I can have today

Read my bible – Jeremiah chapter 19

‘Listen . . disaster . . listen to my words!’

Watch the huddle outside open packets – Smoking Kills

They light up.

Hmm – life is precious . . but not yet

Follow directions to Cancer Centre – yuk

No radio, no wait, no grumpy man

Three radiotherapists celebrate my finale

They care about the red triangle covering my breast

They give steroid cream, and wish me well

I present chocolates and a card

‘Thank you for your kindness and your care on this part of my journey’

Their eyes soften

I park at home and suddenly I am crying.

This was costly, and it was okay.

Father, life is precious – every day. I want to listen to what you are saying.

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Who says plants don’t talk?

A visit to the garden centre, alone, with the promise to myself to look, listen, smell and touch.

This is not about buying anything I need – it is about enjoying the moment; giving my mind ideas for a new season of growth.

And there on its own is the Amaryllis – the last of the batch. It speaks to me of purpose, endurance, hope and beauty. I check my posture to match the upright young stem, and I notice I am smiling. This young bulb is determined to be what it is meant to be – and I want to be like that too.

‘Think UP’ – words I read in the morning as a key concept of the Alexander Technique bring it all together. What preoccupies my thoughts affects my body, my posture and the way I feel.

Here it is on my kitchen window sill . . . . pacing me daily, drawing me forward and turning my thoughts to things above. I need all the help I can get.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

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Here it is, the first fruit of my return to knitting creativity – a slipover for our 4-year-old grandson.

Letting go of being too busy has made space again for the absolute joy of being creative. Over the past month I have been a regular at the wool shop and library, exploring new ideas and learning new techniques.

I spent three days with two of our grandchildren this week. The slipover is a success, the children are a joy, and project number two is already under way.

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Day 4 – the final day of the workshop. We look at conflict within ourselves – what happens when one part of me wants one thing and another part wants the opposite.

This can be a powerful route to self-sabotage. Our  parts are usually focussed on making sure our needs are met – and conflict comes because the parts look at the needs from different perspectives.

The meditation looks at me in relation to the bigger picture.

I go back to the metaphor for health and fruitfulness – the tree planted by streams of water. And I recognise straight away that I am a very small part of something very much bigger. Life flows through the tree linking the stream that feeds its roots to the air and sun that ripens its fruit. I recognise the intimacy and relationship that holds the whole picture together.

The mark of a master gardener is everywhere; creating and sustaining the cycle of life.

God is the gardener. And his actions are motivated by love.

He values the smallest trace of life, encouraging it to full growth. He makes every provision for fruitfulness.

bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out

What I know and believe about his nature affects how I relate to him.

And so as I seek to know the gardener, I think of the intimacy of the relationship between the creator and the created.

If this tree could be me, then where I put my roots matters. I have choices to make about where I sit, walk and stand. And my choices have consequences.

The flow of life-giving energy through my body nourishes my soul. Are there parts of me that I keep hidden; dark secrets or habits that I do not want to give up? Any part that I close to the life-giving sap will affect the health of the whole tree. I have choices to make and my choices have consequences.

If this tree could be me, then it matters what branches I allow to remain attached. Are there parts of my present and my past that I cling to; anger, resentments or hurts? The gardener wants to remove these branches to allow new growth that will bear fruit.  Am I willing to be pruned?

So what does this mean to me?

I recognise my dependence on the gardener and his heart of love towards me. I recognise the intimacy of our relationship. And I recognise that the choices I make can either nurture or sabotage the relationship.

And most important of all I have found a safe place to explore the darkness of my heart, knowing that my soul can be restored.

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