Hell Yeah or No

Here is a bit of a modern proverb on how to negotiate our too busy lives by Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby!.  It is only 1 minute long and definitely worth watching if you ever find yourself saying Yes to more than you can fit on your plate.



Since my diagnosis many people have offered help in anything we need.  Coming up with stuff on the fly has not been very successful for me.  Kestrel and Miranda suggested, and got the food thing  rolling, which has been so great! Thank you lovely meal makers! You really helped us get through chemo! Rex, Andrew, Keiko, Beth and Karin organized the fund raiser back in February which was beautiful and overwhelming. It resulted in a fund that is contributing to our out of pocket medical costs of this journey and reduced our anxiety a lot. The cards with well wishes and financial support that we have received have been very humbling. I have also heard from and about many people that are praying for us, which feels really good. So many people have done so many small and big things to let us know that we are part of a wonderful community, and that we are loved.  It feels like I was doing a high wire act, believing that there was no net, until I fell, and suddenly I discovered that there was a net after all. Thank you for catching me.

The Love Line of cards. The birds, made by my friend Rachelle, say Be Resilient!
The Love Line of cards and drawings from well wishers. The birds, made by my friend Rachel,  say Be Resilient!

Though getting comfortable with the idea of Accepting all help has been a process for me, the amazing kindness and caring of our community has been incredible medicine.  I have come to believe that if we can ask for what we need, without demanding, we can all get our needs met in a way that is a win win for everyone involved.   Sometimes not asking for help is a way of avoiding taking care of oneself.  Like a toddler we insist  “I do it MESELF!!” even when we could really use the help. Sometimes we just don’t know that someone needs  help, and so even though we would be happy to provide it we can’t.

Martin really wanted to open the gate!! On some level this is how we all feel when we can't do it ourselves.
Martin really wanted to open the gate here. On some level I believe this is how we all feel when we can’t do it ourselves, and yet still insist on not asking for help.

I have been reflecting that if it takes a village to raise a child, and that since I am reparenting myself ala Bernie Siegel, than perhaps it takes a village to heal from cancer.  I feel so grateful to have that village. How can I not get better with all these lovely people rooting for me?

Which brings me back to accepting help. We still get asked what we need, and we still have trouble coming up with something on the fly.  Because I KNOW that people are so, so busy, it has prevented me from asking for help. I didn’t want to use the “Cancer Card” or to make people feel guilty, and I don’t want anyone to be motivated by guilt or duty to do anything.   I realized I only want folks to contribute when it is a Hell Yeah! for them, and I finally got the idea that rather than ask specific people to do specific things I could put out a wish list of  some ideas for things which would make our life better right now.  And if it turns out that one of these is a “That sounds great! Hell Yeah!”, then we would be very grateful for the help.  If not, that is okay too.  No guilt for you or me.

helpful interventions in no particular order:

  • Svensen Place Chicken Check- the girls need to be checked three times a week- As a bonus they are laying eggs right now, and it is lovely there when it is sunny.  One option is to just stop by to let them out to free range on a day when we will be going out later to put them in, or vice versa. (Also there is garden space available- so if anyone wants to grow a little something with good soil that can be part of the equation with chicken care.)
  • Make positive comments on the blog: I can’t believe how much the comments help me keep my spirits up. I am surprised, and a bit embarrassed, but there you have it.
  • Plan a walk/hike: with me alone and/or with the boys.  Exercise is super important to everyone’s health- and every time I have had a walk date it has been very uplifting.  I am imagining that now that my chemo treatments are done I will be having fewer weakling days in which I can’t really walk much.  Tree Baths Rock!
  • Boy Support: mentoring or other fun activity with either boy- Including being a possible taxi service to facilitate activities. Their interests include: Sam – Space, Archery, Library, Russian class, nature hikes…     Martin – Dance, Sewing, Bonsai, 4H, Art, Gardening…  One drawback of homeschooling is that the boys have less social time than they could- especially this year.
  • Water from the Spring on Highway 26. We take highway 30 to Portland, and tap water still tastes funny – if anyone travels on 26 and thinks of it I would love some spring water…
  • Ask me for help.  Especially now that I am past the chemo, I am ready to focus out a bit more. We all need to feel useful, and I am no exception. I know I will have some healing to do from the upcoming  surgery, but after that my treatments will be much more in the background of my life, rather than my whole life. I look forward to helping out when I can.
  • Send healing energy on Monday Morning April 28th while I have surgery. I have been the recipient of lots of good energy- and I believe strongly that it has been a big factor in how effective my treatments have been. So if you have any good mojo to send my way thanks.
  • Portland Activity Ideas: We will continue to be going into Portland regularly through December for various treatments and appointments.  If any one knows about good hikes or other adventures for us we would love to hear about them- and maybe meet up with you to do it together!
The Svensen Gang- 4-5 eggs per day.
The Svensen Gang- 3-5 eggs per day.

I have been reflecting on the idea that all the love being directed at me on this Cancer-ing journey is like a wave of light that flows through me and then continues onward. I feel a bit like a conduit in the best possible way, almost like a love amplifier.  I truly believe that love is much bigger than us. It is perhaps the one thing in the universe that is without limits.   When we ask for help we are inviting expressions of love into the world. If we all got a bit better at asking for what we need, then there would be so much more love flowing around.  So thank you to all who have been able to give assistance, thank you to all who have sent good thoughts. AND Thank you to those who have given others the gift of giving to you, by receiving their help for what you need, you are increasing the love quotient in the world. May the love and healing intentions sent towards me on this journey continue on bringing love and healing to all beings.

P.S. I am slowly getting through my list of thank you cards- if you haven’t received one yet please know that it is not for lack of love and appreciation!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Joan Duncan says:

    Hi Iris, I visited with your Mom last week and I mentioned what a wonderful blog you have going. I hope you are continuing to rest and care for yourself to the best possible. You are certainly right about this being a “journey”, and it really doesnt end. You are prolly learning some new life skills that will increase your happiness forever. I am paying close attention to the things you blog because I know I can learn much from YOUR journey. Thank you Iris. Love from Joan

  2. Emily Lennon says:

    Iris, I’m up to date now on your blog. We have been in Florida for a good part of the winter in our camper and didn’t have good internet service. Your Uncle Mark and I are sending our very best to you and we will be with you in spirit on Monday. Your positive energy is a help to us all. Even as you post suggestions for ways to help you, you perhaps don’t realize the extent to which you are helping all of us. Love to you and Joe, Sam and Martin.

  3. Sharyn says:

    As I read your blog here in Illinois I am learning and realizing so much about my father’s journey. Accepting and asking for help….sooo hard for my folks. Your blog is such a gift! Sorting out your family’s needs and listing the options is so helpful. I also appreciate you telling us your current food likes. I will be traveling home on the 28th. I send healing love your way daily. More intense energy will be coming your way Monday. Margaret and I send love to each of you.

  4. Eileen says:

    What a sweet photo of Martin. You guys have some good looking chickens. Wish I lived closer so we go on a walk together. I will be keeping you and yours in my prayers. Love ya!

  5. Tom and Barbara Kulesa says:

    All the healing energy and light coming your way from our little corner of the world and some sound energy from our bowls will ring for you this weekend! We always enjoy your writing! Love and light Tom and Barb

  6. Carolyn says:

    Iris I have been enjoying your blog posts the last few weeks and have been meaning to send you a message… Please know I am thinking of you and your family and will be sending healing energy and loving kindness your way. xo, Carolyn, Neal and Loela

  7. Natalie sullivan says:

    Dear Iris,
    It was so nice having our long chat last night, I’ve thought about your in a better time in history as far as families do things today, your spouse has a role in daily activities, in your growing up years it was not that way and we didn’t expect it.
    I’m so happy you have your whole community cheering for you, what a blessing. So nice Kathleen and Sue were able to take the boys on their outing, I’m sure they will have a lot to tell you when you see them on Sunday.
    Every one I talk to that reads your blog speaks of what a wonderful writter you are.I certainly agree with that.
    You mentioned you have 7 churches praying for you, I’ve gotten you beat the whole state of Michigan is praying here for you!
    As I watch the robin trying to reclaim her nest from the blue jay, it just reminds me with all the modalities of treatment you have working for you against your cancer YOU will win out as I’m sure the Blue Jay will in the end!
    If Joe would be so kind to write a short blog or call me and let me know when your surgery start so we can send healing energy from here, as you know that works too. I would love to be there but at this time can’t but my thoughts and prayers will be.
    Love to all

  8. Meg says:

    Dear Iris,

    I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about you, and am so grateful that I can jump on this blog and find out what you are feeling and doing. You are rocking the ideas of transformation, true change, healing self love, and accepting help. It makes me realize how much further I can go, even though I’ve been on this path for almost 6 years now.

    I am so glad you got the other Belleruth cd for surgery. I was going to suggest that too. The cd I gave you is great for after. I have several that I alternate for daily meditation that I can also bring you copies of.

    I will be driving Mark to the train in Portland on Sunday and then staying overnight. Is there anything I can do for you on surgery day Monday? I am staying with a friend near St Vincents, if that’s where you will be. Are you staying overnight? Are the boys going? I could bring Trudy to the hospital and take a walk with them!

    As to the request list, I’m sure that Mark & I can help with activities for Sam & Martin, and I would be delighted to taxi them around as needed. Just call or text whenever.

    I love you and am mustering all the higher powers I can to guide the hands of your surgeon and the medical team on Monday. Remember that you are being held by so many loving and powerful spirits now. All will be well.


  9. Shannon Cass says:

    Iris, we would be happy to take the boys wherever they need to go. Dom works from home and is able just about anytime. It is a definite “Hell yeah” for us! Sending lots of love your way!
    Shannon & Dom

    1. Shannon Cass says:

      Oh our phone number is 503-298-3354

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