Living a Course in Miracles – Book Review

Living a Course in Miracles – An Essential Guide to the Classic Text by Jon Mundy PhD.  5/5 stars.

When I was a young girl, I starred as Alice in “Alice in Topsy Turvy Land”, a ballet production presented by the ballet school I was attending at the time.  In it, everything was upside down.

This is how I feel about A Course in Miracles.  We are undoing the topsy-turvy learning of the earth plane.  I picked up the text of A Course in Miracles and was daunted by just flipping through it.  However, I found Jon Mundy to be a delightful teacher who makes things simple.  I’m studying with him via his youtube channel, and getting a better general overview by reading his books while I’m also studying the Course.

This book is a gentle invitation, to change our way of thinking and our way of life.  I’m looking forward to reading more by this author.

Finding Peace

I spent most of my life trying to understand exactly what forgiveness is.

If someone hurt me, why should I simply go on as usual and pretend it didn’t happen?  That is what I thought forgiveness was.  I thought I had to have the same exact feelings I had for the person as before, even if now I didn’t feel comfortable around them, or didn’t respect their character for what they had done – depending on whether it was one atrocious behavior or a pattern.

Doing this (pretending it didn’t happen) gives others consent to continue their behavior.  After all, if someone insults you, and you never say anything, they think it’s ok to insult you, so they will continue.  That isn’t forgiveness; that’s just denial.  And, it’s possible the behavior will even escalate to violence on the part of the offending person.

Sometimes we have to confront someone with their unloving behavior and how it has affected us.  Not in an attacking way, but simply in a “that’s not ok” way.  That is part of loving ourselves.  Loving ourselves is just as important as loving others.  Sometimes it might get to the point of breaking off any contact with the person, if they continue their offensive behavior.  Not in a “you are a bad person” kind of way, but in a “I need to do this to take care of myself” kind of way.

I heard a definition of forgiveness recently that I like, by the author Jon Mundy.  ”Forgiveness is simply letting go”.  That doesn’t mean what happened wasn’t offensive.  That doesn’t mean the person shouldn’t have repercussions.  That doesn’t mean I should continue a relationship with them.  That means I let go and set myself free.

There is a person in my life who thought I should have done something 20+ years ago.  They asked for a favor, and I declined, for good reason.  They have held a grudge that I didn’t do as they asked, to this day.  I don’t see them very often, but one time I did a few years back, and was appalled when the person proceeded to rip me up one side and down the other regarding that ancient event.  The angry contortion of their face was so ugly.   I stood there, not knowing what to say.  After all, all I had done was say “no”, which I had the right to do, and which I felt was the right thing to do at the time.  Did they think I didn’t have the right to say no to a request, and to make my own judgments?  Apparently so.  Then, it wasn’t a request, was it?  It was a demand – do it or else.  They were making a god of themselves – everyone must do as I ask.

This is part of the reason why people pleasers have trouble saying no.  They think they will suffer this kind of backlash and fear it.  Although my situation is on the extreme end of the spectrum, I have to let go (forgive).  It gives me peace.  The other person is the one who will live in their own hell of bitterness until they let go (forgive).  This is one of the lessons we all have to learn.

 

Coal Miner’s Daughter – Review and Commentary

Back in 1980, I went to see the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter in the theater.  I’m not sure why, since I didn’t actually go to the movies much back then.

I at first thought the story was made up, thought it was a nice story, and was very touched by the movie.  When I found out it was a true story, however, it became my favorite movie of all time.  The story is simply astounding – how an impoverished country girl from a small town in the hills of Kentucky rose to be the Queen of Country Music and a Country Legend.

I didn’t know about the Law of Attraction and Universal Laws back then, but lately I’ve been thinking about this movie and it became clear to me that Loretta Lynn was without knowing it a magnet for manifestation.   Let me explain my take on this, from what I have gleaned from the movie:

  1. Loretta grew up in a poor household, but there was much love in the home.  Love is the highest vibration there is.
  2. Loretta was grateful for everything she got.  Gratitude is also an extremely high vibration.
  3. Loretta was conspicuously devoid of negative emotion such as bitterness and anger over her circumstances.  Those emotions can block manifestation.

We know from the Law of Attraction that vibrating in Love and Gratitude is a powerful manifesting force.

Loretta had to work very hard, but the planets also aligned for her as it were.  The Law of Attraction doesn’t necessarily dump things in your lap; you still have to do necessary work.  The “perfect storm” of circumstances happened so she wound up in the national spotlight.  She simply allowed these events to unfold (Law of Allowing) and took inspired action as it was needed.  She had a very strong supporter (her husband) who cheered her on all the way, whom she attracted into her life, marrying at 13!

She simply put one foot in front of the other, not thinking “this is impossible, it will never happen” (a manifestation stopping thought).  Or if she did entertain those thoughts, the more prominent thoughts had to have been of success, and visualizing it.

Here is another important point:  Loretta truly loves and appreciates her fans, thinking of them as friends.  She loves her family and wanted a better life for them.  This brought to her ample compensation (abundance) for her efforts.  She is much beloved in return.

She had a very strong desire to be a singer.  Because of this, she was able to write lyrics and melody and sing chart topping hits without any training – no vocal training, no music training.  She taught herself to play the guitar!   Her presence on stage is very graceful in old videos on youtube – she looks so comfortable and not nervous at all.  She looks like she is simply enjoying herself.

She was also adept at taking care of herself – not to put a spoiler out there for those who may not have seen the movie, but at one point she doesn’t want to go on stage (she knew her limits).  She knew she was tired and needed a break.  She was pushed to go on anyway and collapsed during the performance.

The story is so powerful that Sissy Spacek won best actress that year for her brilliant portrayal of Loretta Lynn.  Tommy Lee Jones was catapulted in his career playing Loretta’s husband in the movie.

The 25th Anniversary Edition of the movie came out ten years ago, and I have just ordered my own copy so I can see the movie again.  After 35 years and my new insights about how the Universal Laws work, the movie is even more of a favorite than ever.

 

Book Review – A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson – 5/5 stars

On March 28, 2015, I purchased the book on Amazon.  It’s April 11 and I just finished it, just a little after midnight.  I was inspired to review it immediately.

I’m an avid reader, I will admit.  I’m an avid study-er, I guess I would say, if that’s a word.  I like to study and reflect.  I sometimes buy books that I intend to read, and sometimes the book will sit, perhaps for weeks or months or even years, whether on my shelf or my kindle – and at the appropriate time, I pick it up and read it.  Sometimes I buy a book and read it immediately, like this one.  There is no rhyme or reason to it; simply intuition.  But I’m always reading or studying something.  The books seem to shuffle themselves somehow and one rises to the surface.

I find it fascinating that these books seem to mesh together and find me, as it were, at just the right time.

From time to time, one reflects back on their life and wonders.  The older one gets, the more one has to wonder about I suppose.  We seem to think we have to accomplish something in our lifetime.  We have to have that “stamp of approval” as it were.

What I loved, utterly loved, about this book is the author’s frank discussion about the struggle.  The desire to accomplish hiking the entire Appalachian Trail – because after all that is what you are “supposed” to do to get the kudos.  It started out that they seemingly were going to do this.  But then the twists and turns, the concessions and accommodations, were about life, real life, wasn’t it?

Metaphorically speaking, one can get to the end of their life and think “oh, I skipped that part of the trail, I didn’t do it”, but yet we all live life our own way.  One can compare themselves to someone else who seems to be bounding effortlessly across the stream while they are soaked – and it’s easy to condemn oneself for not “measuring up”, but there are many ways to get across that stream.  One keeps trying, using different approaches.  We all keep going, and we all get there.

That’s the real story, and all our stories are worthy.  No one can say we “didn’t do it right”.  Bryson and Katz showed us that.

Seeing differently

The other day, I ordered soup at a restaurant.  It sounded good when the server described it.  It had ingredients I really like – mushroom and artichoke.

What arrived looked really unpalatable.  It looked like gravy; thick and lumpy.  Seeing differently, which I try to do as a fun thing, I saw the bowl of soup as “concentrate”.  It seemed to me that single serving would serve about four people with the simple addition of water.  I tasted it, and I was right – it was too concentrated for my taste.  I really don’t enjoy soups that could be used as gravy or spaghetti sauce.  I’d rather pack it up for later and use it for sauce.  Or, water it down to make it a soup consistency I like.

The irony is astounding – the restaurant could make four times as much money on their soup by not serving “concentrate”.  I’m not telling them – I’ll just pack it up!!  Bonus!!

This habit of trying to see differently can really be fun – try it sometime.   Could this thing be used for something different?  Could I see this situation differently?  Could I see the past differently?  Can I put myself in someone else’s shoes for just a moment and what would things look like?  The possibilities are endless.

I asked the server if they could pack up the soup to go.   I felt like I had the equivalent of canned soup without the can, with the bonus of it having been prepared fresh.   Another time, I added some meat to it, and water, heated it up, and it was a DELICIOUS lunch!!  Perfect consistency.

 

Book Review – Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant

Book Review:

Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant  5/5 STARS!!!!

Forgiveness by Iyanla Vanzant is a gem of a book.  I took my time to process this book.  It sat on my shelf for a while, waiting for me to realize the intuitively right time for me to pick it up.   It was amazing how it seamlessly worked into my life with the other self-development work I was doing at the time.

I felt like I had a friend with me during this process.  I was ready for it, and willing to do it.  After all, we have all made mistakes, and it’s time we stopped punishing ourselves and others endlessly for mistakes we and they have made.   Life is way too short.  Punishing never gets the results we want anyway.

Memories surfaced throughout this process, which I then had the opportunity to release at the right time.  This happens when you are immersed in a process that you have committed to.  I even had dreams, which were gentle reminders.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was to forgive myself for thinking anyone should be anything other than who and what they are at this moment or who and what they were in the past.  People act from their level of consciousness, which can never be judged.  Oh it can be, but it’s pointless, because it is what it is.  They will still think they did the right thing, because that is what they are capable of understanding at that moment.  This doesn’t erase consequences; it just frees us from something that is not our burden to carry.  I have found that when I let go, the Divine is perfectly capable of taking care of things better than my mind could have imagined.

There is an accompanying CD at the back of the book, which is a bonus with meditations and Iyanla speaking each day of the journey.

It felt to me that the book was left open ended at the end.  Why?  I don’t know – I imagine because this is an ongoing process.  Was that intentional?  I don’t know.  But it was brilliant.  It is said that it takes 21 days to establish a habit, and a habit of forgiveness is a good one to establish.  The benefits will be better health, perhaps even a longer life.  Less headaches, and more peace.  Sounds good to me!

This was my experience, and yours will be your own.  Get this book if you want a structured yet personal way to cleanse some spiritual “gunk”.  The word “forgiveness” can really set some people’s teeth on edge, because of our misunderstanding of what it is.  You will learn what it really is in this book from experience – and it’s all good.  Give this program a try.  I can tell you from my experience, I started to look forward to what was coming up next.  I felt lighter at the end.  Thanks Iyanla.

This book was provided to me by Hay House.  It represents my true opinion of the book.

Never the Fool

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I got to thinking about love.  Specifically, unrequited love.  And I posted on my Facebook wall about this, and I will expand upon this topic here.

I’m not talking about romantic love, but this can apply to that also. Have you ever loved someone, either in a romantic or friendship way, and then found out later it was not returned? That perhaps they were being nice to you for their own reasons, whether business, trying to get something from you, or the like? And how did you feel when you realized this? Taken? Like the fool?

Hogwash. You are never the fool for having loved someone. Never.

If you have ever taken a cruise, you might relate to this. Everyone is best friends for the 3 or 7 days of the cruise, pledging to remain friends, then when you disembark, you never hear from them again.  As a matter of fact, when you see them at the dock, they don’t even seem to recognize you.  Seriously?  We ate breakfast together…..

At first my husband and I believed this, and I felt stupid about it, and now we just realize people want to have a pleasant vacation and we go about our fun without believing any of that any more. But it doesn’t matter. Even if you have a friend for 3 days or a week on a cruise, that’s still valid, and it’s all fine. And like I said before, you are never the fool for having loved someone. I use the term “love” loosely, in that it is an expression of goodwill, kind feelings for, liking someone.

I’m making this a mantra for myself “I am never the fool for having loved”.  Because love is the highest vibration, and for me to be residing in love is awesome.  It is something actually experienced within, and whether or not it is returned doesn’t even matter.  If it is returned, fine.  If not, you have loved.  You have loved!!

People can’t “take” you or “fool” you.  You loved, they tried to pull the wool over your eyes and pretended to return it, or made fun of you for it, talking about you behind your back perhaps.  This is not a reflection on you.  YOU LOVED.  They manipulated, conned, backbit, and so on.  So who’s the winner here?  Always the one who LOVED.

Always.

For having loved, for having resided in love, you will attract all sorts of wonderful things to yourself.  Maybe not that person you think you “have to have”, but something even better.

So keep loving – others will do their own thing, and it’s all good.  And if you find yourself sad, let that move through you without it getting stuck.  Sometimes things happen that trigger the release of old “stuff”, and it’s a relief to let it go, have a good cry, and go back to your state of love and peace.

For those of you who seem to get taken advantage of repeatedly for your good nature and loving nature, Doreen Virtue’s book “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” is wonderful.

On the Radio Again!!

Today I was on the radio again.  This time the topic was more metaphysical, yet completely in line with Law of Attraction. Take a listen. You can hear me at the very beginning and again at the end of the show.

 

New Self Help Podcasts with LiveLOAradio on BlogTalkRadio

Healing with LOA

The Law of Attraction can present to you opportunities for healing.  Releasing old wounds.

I just realized that recently, one such opportunity was presented to me.

I mentioned before that I got a harmonium for Christmas.  It’s tiny, and looks like a miniature piano.  I really have been enjoying playing it and learning how to play it.  It was almost a childlike excitement I had about it.

Then I “got it”.

One day, as I was driving down the road, I realized my harmonium is about the size of a miniature play piano my brother and I got one year for Christmas.   We were both very young children, and the gift was for both of us.  We started fighting over it.  Obviously, my desire to be musical dates back to my very early childhood and I wanted to play with that little piano.  It seemed  I could never get near it.  Hence the fighting.

One day, it was gone.

My mother had returned it to the store without warning.  While this “cured” the fighting (nothing to fight over), it left a little wound in me that I didn’t know was even there.  I missed the piano once it was gone, and was sad.  I really, really wanted to play.  For quite a while, I mourned the loss of that little piano, although no one knew.  The whole situation seemed completely unfair to my little child-brain.

Later on in life, I tried piano lessons, but it was difficult to learn as an adult and I did not do well.  The harmonium is a lot easier to play, however, so I felt immediate success at my first lesson.

So now, I can feel like that little girl again, at her little piano, that the LOA gifted to me in a beautiful form just perfect for me.  An old wound heals and a new adventure begins.

TOYS

I was saddened to do a brief search of the internet about adults playing with toys (and I’m talking regular toys – the kind children play with), to be met with the question:

“Is it normal for me as an adult to play with toys”?

Obviously, the person asking the question was already playing with toys.  Whether it was legos, or playing “army”, or whatever.  I think this question is more of a worry.  ”If someone finds out I play with toys, will I be shamed?”  ”Will they think I’m “weird?”   The person has stumbled upon a wonderful stress reliever, only to wind up with stress over worrying if other people will think it’s normal or not!!

It’s ok to be seen enjoying playing with toys if a child is around, but not if you are by yourself?  It’s enough to make my head explode.

I wrote a post recently (under Journey through Cancer) called “The Comfort of Stuffed Animals”, in which I admitted I love stuffed animals, and will until the day I leave this planet!!  I also wrote in that post how I was chastised by someone once for wanting a stuffed animal at a theme park, when I “should” be wanting adult things (like pots and pans, I guess).

BOGUS THINKING.  I mean the part about the “should” is bogus.

Our lives are filled with stress, and if playing with toys is a stress buster for you, have at it!!

I went to the toy store recently (yes, a real toy store) and got some toys – they are actually healthy for you.  It’s healthy to play games with others, and also there are nice solitaire games that stretch the brain (3D puzzles, and others).  As we age, it’s important to keep stretching the brain.  It’s not just for children.

So, as adults, we are not confined to only meditating, or going for a walk, or exercising at the gym.  We can actually spend some time playing with toys.

And if someone says to me “act your age” my response will be “I am, this is how I act at my age”.  LOL!!

By the way, I consider my exercise time when I do pilates to be going to the playground for me.  Children develop their muscles and bodies by playing on the playground.  The same can occur for adults.   We don’t have to just sit around all the time being proper.  That’s a prescription for dis-ease.

Just this past weekend I was climbing around on some rocks.  It was fun.  All my preparation from the “pilates playground” got me in shape to actually enjoy that.

What do you all think of this?  Hopefully you are encouraged.  If you already play with toys, may you be comforted that you are indeed normal.  And if you want to play with toys, here is your permission slip to go to the toy store without a bit of shame.

LIVE LIFE TO THE MAX, and have FUN!!!!!!

Snowstorm

I have not been “snowed in” in nearly 30 years.  For those who deal with winter, snow, and all of that year after year, perhaps it can get tedious.  But for me, who has not experienced living in winter for nearly three decades, this is a blast.

I made a snow angel, and a snowman (actually more of a snow goddess).

snowangel snowgoddess

 

Thank you, God.  I do pray that all stay safe and warm out there.

I am learning how to play mexican train dominoes, which is a new game for me.   It’s been fun.  We have plenty of food, warmth, electricity, and even the dog seemed to love the snow!  Of course she had on a nice warm parka and was only out for a few minutes to take care of business.

wigginsnow

 

Let Them Walk

Here is a great video I found on letting go of people, instead of groveling before them. Sometimes, it’s just time to let go.  Have you ever run after someone, begging them to stay?  This video is for you.

After my cancer journey, I’ve woken up to stop some things: taking unnecessary pain and being a doormat.  This is one of the aspects of being a doormat.   If someone walks away from you, don’t run after them.  Like Bishop TD Jakes says “LET THEM WALK”.  If they walk away from you, they don’t care about you.  You are way too valuable to degrade yourself by groveling.

If you have done something wrong, apologize and try to make amends.  If they walk away for no reason or after you have done all you could, let them go.

Enjoy the video.

Harmonium Success

I asked for a harmonium for Christmas this year.  I love the sound of the instrument, and I wanted to be able to play it so I can do some chanting sessions for meditation.  I wrote about the harmonium in my book “Dancing in the Parenthesis” and I’m happy to report I’m having some success with it!

I took my first lesson today, and was very excited to learn about the instrument, how it works, its parts, and to learn two chants that I can use right away.

On those days when I need a more active meditation, walking meditation or something like singing and chanting with the harmonium are perfect for me.

Singing, whether or not you do it “well”, is good for you!  It’s a great way to lift your mood.  It also oxygenates your blood.  So, I can just sing to my heart’s content with my harmonium.  Just make sure you sing uplifting songs, not the “blues”.

Also, it is a great anxiety reducer.  When one is wrapped up in an activity that requires concentration it can give the mind a break from anxiety thoughts.  I could have pulled out the harmonium and played some chants if I had that in my toolbox the other day when I was in such recurrence fear anxiety.  But I do have other tools, which I mentioned in my last post.

In addition, playing a chant that you love that is recorded on CD or mp3 on a long loop (say a 30 minute recording) while doing walking meditation helps, whether you just listen or sing along.  Listening to guided meditations while doing walking meditation are great also – I did that while I was in chemotherapy.

Now off to practice my harmonium!!

Recurrence Fears

There is another thing that goes along with the cancer journey, which happens after treatment has ended.  Something that’s not talked about much.  Probably because it’s a bit awkward.  How does one bring up the topic, and no one can do anything about it, so it’s ….. awkward.

I’m talking about recurrence fear (fear of the cancer returning).

This fear is perfectly normal, and every cancer patient deals with this at one time or another.  They might not tell you, but it’s nearly impossible to stay completely worry free for the rest of your life after cancer – never thinking of the possibility of recurrence.  I went along for quite a while, without even thinking about recurrence.   At first, it was all celebration that treatment was over, and no thoughts of recurrence at all.  I was too busy celebrating.  Until one day, very recently, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  A number of things can set off the fear, or bring a fear that’s in the background to the foreground.

Just like I was living my life, when BOOM I was diagnosed with cancer, I could be just going along, when I get news I don’t want to hear.  I don’t like having that in my life, but I suddenly became aware of it.

How did I deal with this fear of recurrence?  It was very uncomfortable.  It gripped me, it seemed, and wouldn’t let go.  I wanted to do something to get rid of it.  It was a little “dark night of the soul” I had to work through.  Here is what I did:

  1. I journaled A LOT.  I just poured out my feelings on a journal, a computerized “screaming room”, if you will.  Only the only noise was the clacking of the keyboard.  I just let it all out.  I call this a “data dump”.  No one sees it, and you can say whatever is on your mind.  I find that the more I write, the calmer I feel.  Stuffing down the feelings and pretending they are not there isn’t healthy.
  2. I accepted the fear.  The possibility of recurrence is something that I have to live with, because I am a cancer survivor.  I may not be able to “get rid of it”.  In order to get rid of it, I would need a guarantee that the cancer won’t return.  Which no one can give me.
  3. I asked for my friends to send me light and love and hugs.  I didn’t tell them what for (although if they read this post, they will know).  The outpouring of love and support from my friends lifted my spirits.  They knew I was dealing with something, and that’s all they needed to know in order to offer support.  We are energetic beings, and when we are sending positive energy to one another, sending light, love, and prayers, it’s a real thing that can be felt.
  4. I practiced my coaching.  I reached for a better feeling thought, I practiced gratitude.  Remembering the miracle of my story and my high chance of survival  lifted my spirits.  Thinking of how good I feel right now lifted my spirits.
  5. I kept up my usual routine.
  6. I avoided negative people and negative news as much as I could.  This might mean curtailing social media for a time until you feel better.
  7. I gave my fear to God.  My life is in God’s hands.  This trust drives out the fear.
  8. I went for a nice walk.  That always refreshes me.
  9. I imagined myself dying of old age, rather than of cancer (meaning it never came back, which is a possibility).
  10. I realized that if it does happen, it would not be my “fault”.
  11. I realized that I’m strong enough to handle anything that comes my way.
  12. I stayed in the moment.  My mother used to say:

“Worry is interest paid on trouble before it falls due”. ~William Ralph Inge

Right now, at this moment, I’m fine.  Fear only destroys the moment that I could have otherwise enjoyed.

So today, I feel a lot better.  I may have to repeat the above if the fear monster shows up again.

Thank you, God.

Assertiveness for Earth Angels – Book Review

 

earthangel

Assertiveness for Earth Angels

How to be loving instead of “too nice”

by Doreen Virtue

Rating:  5/5 Star!

Doreen explains in this book what an Earth Angel is.   If you are interested in this book, it could very well be that you are one.  Read Doreen’s description to find out.  If you are what is called a “lightworker”, sensitive person, or empath, this book is for you.  It can help you to deal with the overwhelm that sensitive people have to deal with, handling the density and negativity of the earth plane.  It can help you to better understand yourself and others.

I already knew it, but I am one of the Earth Angels.   I’ve been drawn to the helping professions all my working life.  And like Doreen describes, I’ve experienced the downside of being an Earth Angel – having one’s gentle and kind spirit being taken advantage of.  Doreen lovingly explains how to handle this.

Doreen takes you step by step through what to do about this problem, for the Earth Angel is here to help others, and needs to learn to deal with the downside of being an earth angel so they can accomplish their mission to help.  Assertiveness, boundaries, relationships, and some tools you can use to deal with your energy are discussed in this wonderful book.  Red flags for toxic relationships are also discussed in this book, as Earth Angels need this information.

Doreen, you hit a home run with this book.  This would make for a wonderful self-retreat, with one’s journal nearby.  Reading this book during a quiet and reflective time, which I did, was an awesome experience.

FTC Disclosure I received this book free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment of the product.

The Comfort of Stuffed Animals

When I was at the beginning of the cancer journey, before I had had the surgery that confirmed the suspicions, my husband and I went away on a little vacation – the calm before the storm.  I asked for that, prior to the surgery, because I didn’t know what I was facing, and I wanted to have a vacation weekend and a change of scenery, with all the stress of all that was happening.

During that vacation weekend, I went into the gift shop at the resort and found the softest, sweetest stuffed animals.

sa

 

And yes, I bought them.  All three.

They were a comfort, during the recovery from the surgery and during chemo, sitting there on my bed.  The elephant reminded me that in the very beginning of my journey, I felt like the “elephant in the room”.  That I had a huge situation going on that maybe no one wanted to talk about.  I felt like THE elephant.  It was lonely, feeling that way.  It stemmed from a bogus belief “never bother anyone”.  I didn’t want to bother anyone with my situation.  Thankfully, I got over that and decided to become transparent about my cancer journey, and people rallied around me.  (Thank you to all of you who were there for me).

I would hold these stuffed animals from time to time when I needed comfort, and would rest my arms on them.  They were there, in the bed, on the days I was too sick to get out of bed.  To this day, I enjoy them.  When I moved, of course I brought them with me.

Never think a woman is ever “too old” to want a stuffed animal.

One time, some years ago, I was at an amusement park and wanted my husband to buy me a stuffed animal.  There is something romantic about that, which I cannot explain.  And I still find it romantic to receive a stuffed animal from my husband.  If he gave me one tomorrow, I’d be tickled.  Anyway, there was someone with us, who made the comment that I “should have” outgrown that by now, and that I “should be” wanting adult things (like pots and pans, silverware, dishes, and the like).  I didn’t reply to that comment.  My husband did buy me the stuffed animal I wanted.  But I let that comment get to me a little.  It was shaming.   And it wasn’t even correct.  It’s a stereotype.  It’s based on a cultural idea that you “should” dress, “should” behave, “should” be a certain way at a certain age.  That you “should” want things that society deems to be “adult”.  That is a part of “ageism” we don’t normally associate with ageism.  It’s discriminatory to tell someone they can’t enjoy an innocent thing such as a stuffed animal because of their age.  And it’s also wrong to tell someone how to live their life.  If they aren’t hurting anyone or themselves, what’s the big deal?

Perhaps that person was just a tad jealous, and wanted their husband to buy them a stuffed animal (because of its association with romance that I mentioned before)?  I’ll never know.

I will love stuffed animals until the day I leave this planet.  And no, I’m not an astronaut; I’m talking about when I take my last breath.  My stuffed animals will be somewhere near when I take my last breath, I’m sure.

Every once in a while, I donate some of my stuffed animals to charity.  So no, I don’t have a room full of them.  But I do always have room for more.

The three above, however, are really special to me.  They are keepers.  Perhaps because they were there during a really rough time in my life, giving me comfort in their stuffed animal way.  Just like the people who were there for me I will always hold dear in my heart, I’ll always be fond of these particular stuffed animals.

I love the Snow!

When I first arrived in NC, I spoke of my desire to see snow.  That was very high on my list, next to seeing the mountains!!!!   “Don’t expect to see much snow” I was told.  They explained that in recent years, there hasn’t been much snow.  More rain than snow.  That didn’t stop my strong desire to see snow.

Yesterday, the forecast was initially for rain, and I thought to myself “it would be so much nicer if it were snow”.  Guess what? It snowed instead!  It’s beautiful.  Take my breath away beautiful.

snow1snow4 snow3 snow2

 

For Christmas this year, my brother in law gave us birdseed, a bird identifying book, and binoculars.  I thought I’d have to wait until spring to enjoy it.  But then, I discovered that there are birds who stay for the winter here.  Immediately, we got two bird feeders and then a suet feeder for the birds.  The feeders are squirrel proof, but don’t feel too sorry for them, they get the seed droppings that the birds toss to the ground.  So each day, I enjoy watching the birds and the squirrels feasting.  I keep a watchful eye on the feeders, as the feed disappears quickly!

A nice walk in the snow beckons me today.  Hearing the crunch of the new fallen snow underfoot, breathing in the crisp air.  Ahhhh.

Now for the funniest thing of all.  I went to the salon the other day, right before this snowfall, to get my hair buzzed again.  The stylist actually said “I think the vortex on the back of your head is attracting all this snow”!  She was just kidding, but it was an interesting comment!!

071313

 

The snow-attracting vortex!!  LOL!!

The Waiting of Second Best

I have completed one book, “Dancing in the Parenthesis”, and it is available on Amazon Kindle.  The backdrop to the story is my experience with cancer, but it’s a book about life, and navigating the adversities we all face in life, from annoyance at a stoplight to dealing with a life threatening illness.  There is something for everyone in the book.

I’m working on my second book now, which is about the various kinds of waiting, and whether they are functional or not.  How to tell the difference, and the antidote to dysfunctional waiting.  How to make sure that any waiting you do is functional, because your time on this earth is valuable.

I got to thinking about the waiting of second best today.

We have all experienced this, I’m sure.  When a friend makes plans with you, and cancels them because “something better” comes along.  Maybe they make up a story, and you suspect so.   They don’t have a legitimate emergency, but something they want to do more than being with you.  What an insult that is!!  You are worth oh so much more than that.  A corollary to this is the friend who makes plans with you, who says if such and such happens, they will have to leave.  In other words, you could be left in the dust.  You committed fully to the time with your friend, but they did not, with the disclaimer they added to the plans.  Why would they think you would enjoy wondering if at any moment your time together would get interrupted?  You have set aside your valuable time for them, but they have not fully engaged.  Are you not worth the full engagement of someone else?  Of course you are.

I experienced this once, when I was first dating.  This was in the days before cell phones.  A boy had made a date with me to spend the day together which I was looking forward to.  The time for him to pick me up came and went.  I didn’t know what was going on.  All I could do was sit and wait.  He called, and said he had to do (x) and then he’d be by.  Then a few more hours went by.  Finally, as the sun set, I realized the day was just over.  He finally called again to say he couldn’t make it at all.  I waited the whole day for nothing.

That day, I was his “second best”.  Something else was holding his attention.  He didn’t have an emergency, he just had something that was “better” than me in his eyes.  My wasted day off meant nothing to him.  Keeping me waiting for nothing meant nothing to him.

I never saw him again, as the utter disrespect of that behavior was unacceptable.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I have been through cancer treatment.  It has changed my perspective on life.  I am still in the careful watching stage of the cancer treatment, and although chemo is over, there is the cloud over my head of the possibility of recurrence, which unfortunately will always be there.  I have to learn to live with that.

Because of this, this particular type of waiting has no place in my life.  It never did, but especially now, my time is especially precious.

If you have a friend, or family member, who has had cancer, please realize that their time is valuable and may be limited.  Even if their treatment is over, the cloud of recurrence is still over their head.  The complacency of “we have all the time in the world” doesn’t apply here.  So don’t waste their time.  Don’t make plans with them with the intention that if something better comes along, you’ll cancel and leave them hanging.   It is just unfair to them.  It’s not right to do this to anyone, but especially a cancer patient.  Don’t keep them waiting for nothing.  Don’t keep canceling and rescheduling.  Either be a friend, or not.

If you are married to a person who has been through cancer treatment, the greatest gift you can give to them is to make their lives as pleasant as possible.  Think twice before having those petty arguments.  I know that my wish is to make whatever time I have left as pleasant and fun as possible.  And I want to be surrounded by people who support me in that wish.  I may live 40 years, or I may live 4 years.  I just don’t know.  But there are things I do know:

Today was an especially bad day for me.  Usually, I just go along without thinking much about recurrence, but it hit me like a ton of bricks today for some reason.  This is a good thing, because it awakened me to my priorities.  It awakened me to the complacency of the waiting of second best, and that I can’t afford to do that.

I got my hair cut today, very close to the head.  I have been doing this ever since chemo, because of a sensitive scalp which the “chemo curls” irritated.  Now, the sensitivity has abated, but I have decided to keep the close cropped haircut.  Part of the reason is fear of recurrence, and of going through losing my beautiful hair again.  I have not mentioned this to anyone before this blog post.  My hair was waist length when I was told I’d need chemo and would go bald.  I am not ready to experience that again.  Losing the small amount of hair I have now would be less traumatic.  The stylist asked me if I was going to grow it out, and I simply said I didn’t know.  I didn’t want to get into the reasons why I’m keeping it super short right now.

So, if you find yourself in the waiting of second best all too often, re-evaluate this.  Perhaps it’s time to put yourself first.  Yes we are all busy, but this is no excuse for rudeness and callousness for other’s time and feelings.

When I was in chemo, I put a disclaimer when I accepted invitations, because I may have legitimately not felt well that day.  I had good days and bad days.  This is not the waiting of second best that I am talking about here.  This is taking care of yourself and not pushing yourself beyond your limits just to please someone else.  The difference is night and day.  One is self-care, the waiting of second best is callousness of other’s feelings.

Interview on Radio!

I was interviewed today on blogtalkradio, on the Live LOA show, regarding my experience with cancer and how I navigated that challenge, as well as talking a bit about my newly released book “Dancing in the Parenthesis”, which is about this story and navigating adversity.

 

Discover Self Help Internet Radio with LiveLOAradio on BlogTalkRadio

This was a great experience for me! I am so happy to be able to help others in such a big way as radio. Please listen in as Linda, Nada and I talk about navigating adversity and the Law of Attraction.

Book Review – Second Firsts

secondfirst

Book Review

Second Firsts - Live, Laugh and Love Again

By Christina Rassmussen

Review: 5 out of 5 stars

Christina has written a book to help people who have suffered a loss “re-enter” life again.  I admire her ability to function to the point of getting a promotion during the grief period after her husband died, while taking care of two young children.  I admire her candor and vulnerability in telling her story.  I admire her blazing the trail to starting a new life after loss.  She is an example and encouragement for all of us.  She also is a reminder to us all that although someone who has suffered a loss appears to be doing well, they can still be in deep pain.

Christina wrote the book she wished she had when she was in such grief, and what a gift for us.   Looking back on her times of conducting grief counseling, and experiencing grief counseling herself, propelled Christina to come up with something new and helpful, as a fellow traveler on the road of grief/loss, as someone who knows what it’s like.

I believe this book can be useful for everyone.  I read this book in a positive time in my life, and yet I have been through grief.  I have been through the grief of cancer, both by losing a loved one and experiencing cancer myself.  The process Christina outlines in the book can be extremely helpful to someone going through a loss.  It also can be helpful for those who want to change their life but are stuck in fear.

Even if you are in a positive time in your life, this book can help you to understand the intensity of grief that someone close to you may be experiencing due to any kind of loss.  It can help you to examine your life and make changes if you want to.  Thank you, Christina.

FTC Disclosure I received this book free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment of the product.