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Posts Tagged ‘good ending’


Scary – isn’t it?

A whole new horizon – and no markers in the sand to say ‘THIS WAY’

This is how I feel as I begin my journey beyond breast cancer.

And yet there is warmth in the sun and the breath of life, and boy does it feel good.

I am thankful to be alive.

6th October marks the anniversary of the day my life changed when I was told I had breast cancer. This is my week of transition when I step off the bridge.

Please come with me on this new journey.

I look back at the things we did before my year of breast cancer treatment. We had workshops on Spiritual Journalling, Touching the Edge of His Cloak, Listening to God’s Heartbeat. We joined the Benedictine Monks for retreats, and we spent a season Listening to God’s Heartbeat.

And now we can also look back on a long slow year exploring a journey with God – making breast cancer an opportunity to get to know God better.

I would like to keep learning and keep sharing – and to do this I value your help.

We have a Celebration on 16th October. BC and I are thrilled at your enthusiastic response. Please let us know if you have missed an invitation and would like to come.

And after the party, I want to build again on the foundations we laid. I value your feedback on two questions:

  • FIRST – I would like to run another WORKSHOP or RETREAT in the New Year? Are you interested to join me, and if so, what topic would you like?
  • SECOND – I would like to start another blog. This would be about what it means to have life to the full: taking John 10:10 and exploring what that means in our lives day by day.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full

Please let me know what you think. You can comment in the usual way by clicking on the comments tag at the end.  Or you can email me directly.  The next post tells you how to do that.

And about the new header to my blog. I took this photo after one of my early morning radiotherapy treatments. Sitting in the peace of a summer morning, I recognised how much the obstacle of treatment had become an opportunity to listen to God. What do you think – do you like it or did you prefer the orchids?

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10 days of prayer and repentance. Would you dare to even start?

Straight away you might tell yourself this is not for you. Like me looking at a masterpiece of hand knitting, your mind will tell you ‘You cannot do that” and “You would never finish it

. . until now?

Meet Kelly Needham – a young christian woman who finds herself at home alone for 10 days. She has a choice of being resentful or of accepting this as a chance to do something special.

10 days of prayer and repentance – turning an obstacle into an opportunity.

She set herself the challenge to use the time to reflect on Psalm 139.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139: 23-24

As I cross the bridge toward my life beyond breast cancer I join Kelly on her journey.

Meditating on these two short verses will be part of a good ending for me.

How about joining us and praying for Kelly?

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I am crossing a bridge.

The bridge is metaphoric, and yet it is real.

Bridge over the Atlantic, Clachan, Isle of Seil

On one side is the place where I have been for the past year – the land of my experience of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. On the other side is the place where my journey beyond breast cancer begins – a new territory to experience and explore.

Looking back I realise I stepped on to the bridge when I left home for the 6 day training course. As I interacted with colleagues I felt energised to move forward.

And then I went to Scotland to be with my family. Visiting my roots and connecting closely with my family rekindled my sense of life and purpose.

The bridge spans ahead to 6th October – the anniversary of my diagnosis. There my journey beyond breast cancer begins, and there I will close this blog.

Only three short weeks to go.

I notice that I chose a picture of a small bridge that I remember crossing many years ago. And that it is in Scotland – the land of my roots.

Millau Viaduct, Southern France

I could have chosen pictures of other bridges that I have visited that are vast and exposed . . .

Ponte Vecchio, Florence

. . . or that are narrow and enclosed.

Both rekindle happy memories, but neither represents my journey today.

My small bridge tells you that I am in a comfortable place that feels friendly and achievable. And it feels that way because of YOU.

I could not have walked this path without all the love and support of others.

Thank you so much for staying with me along the way.

Please do not sign out yet, my future includes you.

And there is a whole new territory to explore together one step at a time . . .

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Do you ever find yourself having to re-learn something you thought you already knew?

Since being told I had breast cancer in October 2009 my life has been an accelerated learning curve through areas I have never explored before. I cannot help but learn new things along the way.

And now that the months of intense treatment are over, I want to capture all the learning and avoid slipping back into old habits or thought patterns.

Children learn through experience and through play. They experiment with the world, learn the rules and make meaning of their experiences. The making meaning part of the journey of cancer or vulnerability is rich with learning.

As part 2 of making a good ending to this stage of my journey I am capturing some of my learning and will share it with you over the next weeks.

This has been my journey and my learning, and yet we can learn so much by sharing each other’s stories. Maybe my journey has brought you some learning and some blessings too.

Sharing them will make a good ending for us all.

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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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