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.
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.
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!
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!