Friday, August 31, 2012

In the Zen Zone

Starting this week with being denied chemotherapy was, honestly, rather difficult for me. Although having another week of recovery is nice, there were fears to be faced. My body gets an additional week to strengthen, but the cancer cells also get a reprieve... I can only hope that the scales balance in my favor. And there is little I can outwardly do to increase my bodies ability to be up for the treatment again next week. This lack of control in the situation makes me uneasy. Added to this is the fact that there is not a lot of structure in my daily routine. The two-week chemo schedule was the only structure that I really planned around. And having that one solidity taken away required some mental readjusting.

On a daily basis, I try to keep a rather zen attitude. I listen to and attend to my body's needs first. If there's nothing that needs tending, then I ask myself "what can I do now" or "what do I wish to do now," or some combination of the two. If I don't get to something in a day, or cannot finish a project, then I allow that to be acceptable. There's a sense of fluidity that I attempt to maintain from hour to hour and day to day. And I am getting rather good at being present in whatever I am doing in the moment. There is much less internal judgement now. I used to carry lots of mental measuring sticks and was always coming upon them in everything I did or thought about doing. And it often made me see a rather poor presentation of myself. I realized how futile all those sticks were when held up against the ultimate criterion of life versus death. Because that is the whole of your thinking when first faced with cancer.

All we have is what we have already done and what we do today. There is no promise of tomorrow. Lack of attachment, in the Buddhist tradition, is really about bringing you to the present moment. Yesterday, even two minutes ago, is gone and you cannot reach back to change it. Tomorrow is a dream, a hope, but not a given. Although this can appear dismal, and can be argued in both a positive or negative frame philosophically, I sense it as rather freeing. It has helped me discard judgement and expectation, unshackling my psyche, and providing more space for ease and happiness. This moment is my choice. Only mine. That is an empowering revelation. -I- can choose... right now... I am the only one in control of myself and my actions. I can sometimes choose to give that choice away, or to make a choice that assuages others, or to not make a choice and simply flow with the circumstance. But the responsibility ultimately lies only within me. My reaction to the consequences of those choices is also a personal decision. So, a question for each of us is, what attitude do you choose to affect? I choose happy, positivity.

This perspective has ushered in even more felicitous insights. I have found that any given moment can feel like an indulgence if you let your mind and body loll about in the senses of it. For someone of such a sensual nature as myself, this was an amazing discovery. I sort of recognized the possibility before, but didn't understand how complete it could be. I now allow myself to fully revel in many moments every day. It helps to make each day feel special. It turns the simple into something more divine. And sometimes, like earlier this week when I had to bring my mind back across to the sunny side of the street, it makes the work easier. 

So today has been up and down. I awoke hungry and found deep satisfaction in satisfying that need. Then there was back pain, and I accepted it and tended to my body. Today flows with hunger, music, tiredness, satisfaction, disorder, sunbeams, contemplation. Each moment worthy and true. I float with the rhythm of the day and am content.


  1. Staying positive while all of the negatives make quite a pile is a challange that you are meeting head on. I'm very proud of you for keeping on the sunnyside as you put it. I'm looking forward to years from now when we can look back at this over a glass of mead with you in perfect health and still smiling at the world.