Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Personal Growth’ Category

I am sure that many of you could not give a toss about football and although I am very happy that the Patriots won the Super Bowl, this post is not just about fan girling on the team, which I will immediately get over and done with: they were amazing, so happy for them and me as a big fan, redeemed themselves, stuck it to the haters, etc…..

No, there is more to it than that due to the whole Deflategate saga which unfolded the two weeks prior to the game. When I wasn’t alternating between being angry/disappointed that they may’ve cheated, mixed with defiance and support for them, I was able to watch the unfolding of this with a sense of space, with less emotional connection and was very disappointed in what I saw in the media, society and us as individuals, me included.

The minute the rumors began, there was a massive rush to judgment, there was labeling, there was the dismantling SO quickly of people who have spent years building their reputations. The sharks were in the waters and everybody and everything was fair game, pure bait with no protection. And I cannot write this without acknowledging it in me, too. If it had been a story about another NFL team, would I have climbed on the band wagon and said to myself ‘yes, I always thought they cheated’. And it’s not just around this, it happens in the media the whole time – judgments are made (he’s the Olympic bomber, they murdered their child), reputations are ruined and apologies made in small print on the back page.

We do it around individuals at work, at home. Someone makes a suggestion and suddenly I wonder if maybe they are a slacker, a poor employee, a crappy friend. What is it about us that makes us so happy to imagine someone else going down, grinding our collective heels in to their pain? Does this feeling of moral superiority make us feel better about ourselves? Does making others small make us bigger? If that’s it than shame on me, shame on you, shame on us. As I say to my girls the whole time, gossiping and making others look bad does nothing for your self-worth. That can only come from you and is built from the inside out.

I, personally, am sick and tired of the media being judge, jury and executioner. I will learn the facts, let those facts speak for themselves and then decide how I want to react. I will no longer be a media lemming at the expense of others, period.

Love to all with a picture of a lemming in case you don’t know what they are!

Amanda

IMG_0845.JPGThey are reputed to follow each other without thought!

Read Full Post »

Even when they don’t leave the house! Yesterday, Victoria set off for the mall and about an hour later, our carbon monoxide monitors go bananas – danger, danger, evacuate, evacuate they scream at us, frequently, very loudly and at high decibels. Having never had this happen, we were unsure what to do, except put our hands over our ears and rush around the house in a pickle. After getting our act together, we call the fire station which is literally down the road and in they sweep, husky men to the rescue. Just what is it about a fireman in uniform? Is it the color yellow? Doubtful. Is it all that equipment hanging from their belts? Hmm. Is it visions of YMCA running through my head? Hmm again. I warned Sarah she was in for a treat but at only 14, I think she thought I was in the midst of a weird middle aged fantasy! No acknowledgement from me on that score, no indeedy! A little disappointed though as two of them looked like they were just out of high school and the other was older than Steve with a similar middle aged spread.

The carbon dioxide culprit was determined to be Victoria who had sat in the garage with the engine on, garage door closed, texting, playing trivia crack and generally doing whatever teenage girls do before she left on her trip. Perhaps if Steve won’t wear the Captain Kirk outfit, he might be more amenable to a fireman’s suit, tool belt ‘n all?? Or perhaps I’ll pay Victoria to do it again? Sigh.

Love to all,
Amanda

Read Full Post »

Steve is away this week, golfing with ‘the boys’ in Florida. Sarah, my youngest, is almost 14 but has always had a penchant for wanting to sleep with me. For years she slept next to me on the floor on a comforter because she wanted to hold my hand as she went to sleep and didn’t want to be in her own room. As you can imagine, this eventually stopped when she was 10ish. I didn’t mind too much as trying to go to sleep with my arm stretched over the side of the bed was getting mighty uncomfortable and truth be told, I wasn’t as appreciative of the connection as she was.

But I was just so touched that even at this age, when she knew Steve was going away, she just looked at me, raised her eye brows and I nodded. We rubbed our hands together in glee, we were going to be holding hands in the dark once more. I think I am more excited than she is. Each night when I go to bed, there she is all snuggled up and warm in my bed, with her face calm, her beautiful eyelashes fanned out over her closed eyes. I slip into bed, kiss her softly on her cheek and take her warm, slightly sweaty hand in mine, feeling enveloped with love as I drift off to sleep. Such a simple act, such impact on my heart.

Below is a picture of Sarah with her rabbit, Smokey.

Love to all,
Amanda

IMG_0699.JPG

Read Full Post »

I did not loose my eyelashes and brows as fast and as obviously as the hair on my head. They disappeared quietly, without fanfare, a few hairs at a time, until one day I realized that I had no bottom lashes and on the top, on the right side in particular, about 6 that I could legitimately mascara, 3 of which fell out in a clumpette last week. But I am VERY happy to report that they are growing back and it is fascinating to watch. They are coming in in lines, like soldiers marching to battle. Each morning when I get up, I examine the latest growth in the mirror. Yes, I can see more growing, little itty bitty things like dots on my eye lids. And I smile. Going through cancer can provide gratitude for the smallest things. My eye brows are also getting much bushier but I do notice some grey hair in there, too, so don’t smile quite as much when I look at those!

So where am I in my treatment? Last Friday, I finished radiation. My skin is sore, but luckily not split or bubbling like a chicken in the oven which is how some experience it! The hospital tells me that for 7-10 days the irritation will get worse, but after that things will start to heal. I am rubbing endless amounts of cream on the affected area and smell quite wonderful (most of the time)! Last night I tried a sample I got from the health food store which was Dr. Hauschka’s Almond Body Lotion. I didn’t want to go to sleep as I kept sniffing myself it was so yummy! So physically I am getting there.

Emotionally? Hum….up and down. I felt like I might cry whilst having my final radiation treatment but in the end did not, getting my certificate of completion and ringing the end of treatment bell. But as I was explaining to friends, I see the whole thing like a comet with a long tail. The front end, the big kahuna is done, but there is much still to be experienced. BRCA2 raises my chances greatly of ovarian cancer, so I have to book my oophorectomy for this year. It also slightly increases my chances for pancreatic cancer, so have to have yearly tests for this, needing an Upper GI in the next month or so. Both of these procedures will leave me waiting for tests results, my now most hated way to spend time! And of course, the final breast implants and endless oncology appointments will keep the hospital well funded by me this year.

I did celebrate though, having dinner with friends on Friday night and with Steve on Saturday night, but the prevailing thought that comes to me is “Holy shit, I had CANCER.” The emotions that phrase evokes are so varied – sadness, gratitude, courage, fatigue, connection, loneliness – all with the potential to coexist at once.

Jim Morrison once said, “There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors”. I am standing in the hallway with one hand on the door of this past year. It is closed behind me but the memory and energy of it still exist as my hand touches the doorknob, not yet ready to let go but knowing that eventually, I will.

Love to all,
Amanda

Read Full Post »

“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.” Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

I was originally just going to write about my experience with the wolves but after posting this quote with my coaching circle, the following questions came back to me – “Do you see yourself, your life in this quote anywhere? How are you the wolf.”? After pondering this for a while, I realized that yes, I do see myself in this quote. One of my BIG triggers is when I believe others have a negative perception about who or what I am. Dependent on who they are, I want to make them like, respect, value etc., me. This can be a tough row to hoe as, of course, I have no control over others. One of my therapists once said, “what others think of you is none of your business”. Needing others’ approval is on my list of things I’d like to shift in 2015.

So back to the real wolves. Our tour started with some pretty grim facts about the hunting and eradication of wolves during the last century. Many of you may know the success story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and their incredible impact on the environment. Check out the four minute video at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa5OBhXz-Q on this. However, it is clear that the animosity towards wolves is still alive and well, including killing supported by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. My father-in-law sent me a great article that highlights both the conservation challenges and the possibilities for the future at http://www.oregonwild.org/wildlife/wolves/the-journey-of-or7.

Having my wolf, Leila as my spirit guide, I wondered how I would feel being at the sanctuary, among real wolves. When I connect with her energetically, she feels light and free, peaceful and wise, allowing me to bring those elements in to myself. The energy of the wolves in the sanctuary was different – powerful, majestic and strong but still with an amazing grounded wisdom. I felt no fear, but certainly experienced their strength as I fed them, getting knocked over a few times! Power and strength are particularly important to me as when I believe that things are happening to me not with me, I feel small and powerless, afraid and anxious. A theme for this past year, that’s for sure.

So check out the pictures below from the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. We also hung out with some cute, chubby foxes!

Lots of love,
Amanda

IMG_0779.JPG

IMG_0768-0.JPG

IMG_0807.JPG

IMG_0783-0.JPG

Read Full Post »

Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/sequinofkindness! I am featured in Episode 6, which you can either watch in it’s entirety or in shorter segments that are labelled as to their content. I discuss how I am spreading the energy of love, peace and connection through my  “You’ve Been Flowered” program.  Enjoy!

If you happen to live in Chelmsford and want to see when it’s on the telly, go to http://www.chelmsfordtv.org/schedule.

And here, also, is a picture of me being attacked by wolves from my visit to the wolf sanctuary this week (they are really just after the food in my hands!).  More to come on the trip.

Love to all,
Amanda

IMG_0754

Read Full Post »

I have not written for a few weeks due to the holiday season.  It’s not that I have been busy, but rather very pensive, thinking about 2014 and pondering what 2015 might bring for me, although who the bleep knows, right?

But here I am, right now, in Colorado Springs, starting  2015 with an adventure! I have been allowed a few days off from radiation to give my burned skin a chance to heal a little before the final week of my treatment. I am using this time to take a trip to Colorado Springs to hang with wonderful women and wolves! I have joined a women’s group and we will work together for ten months on a journey of self discovery and growth via phone, skype etc., but are meeting in person this weekend. We are from all over – Texas, London, California and me from Boston. Steve thinks the whole thing is very bizarre, cavorting with people I’ve never met in a house in the middle of nowhere and visiting wild animals that could eat me.  And I suppose if you look at it like that, perhaps he’s right! But those of you that know me are not at all surprised, I’m sure.

And why wolves in Colorado Springs?  I have always been fascinated by them and about ten years ago, I discovered that I have a beautiful white wolf as my spirit guide.  The energy of her brings me comfort and wisdom.  This women’s group is about using the energy of wolf in our everyday lives and we are spending half a day at a wolf sanctuary here.  The thought of looking a real wolf in the eye gives me the chills. I have attached a link to the energy of wolf if any of you are interested:  http://www.spiritanimal.info/wolf-spirit-animal/

I am also craving an oasis in time, space to just be with my inner wisdom after all I have already been through and the pieces I have to face this year. Apparently, there are two times when cancer patients have the propensity for depression: when first diagnosed and when finishing treatment. I certainly experienced the former but have been wondering how treatment end would hit me. Well in therapy this week, I discovered, getting in touch with the massive vulnerability I feel, sobbing all over the therapist! It’s particularly acute for me as this is a cancer repeat performance and with the BRCA2, know just how vulnerable I am, along with my girls. My sense of invincibility is rocked to its core.

I want to make clear that I am not sinking into depression, but our feelings demand to be heard and acknowledged, to be brought out in to the light and loved.  So in my pondering on this past year, I have decided that I would not change a thing – nothing, nada.  Did I enjoy it all?  No, of course not.  Would I want to repeat it?  God, I hope not.  Is this journey bringing me gifts?  Yes, some of which I fully recognize and some of which need yet to be uncovered (subject matter for a future post).  So here I stand, at the beginning of another year, ready to embrace all of life’s adventures, big and small.

Happy New Year and I’ll let you know how it goes with the wolves.

Love to all

Amanda

Read Full Post »

Hairy Tail, Part I

One of the things I most enjoy about the holiday season is our Christmas Tree. It adds sparkle and light to my holiday spirit. We don’t do much decorating around the house, either in or out, as I am much too lazy and Steve is rather bah-humbug about the whole thing. But my one effort to let the neighbors know we do posses some seasonal joie de vivre is the tree. I used to insist on a real one but eventually my tree hugging nature, combined with the chore of picking pine needles out of the rug for months after, drove me to agree to Steve’s pleading for a plastic version with lights already attached (I hear some of you out there screaming in protest!). He subsequently purchased what must’ve been the cheapest and thus puniest tree he could find in Target in the January sales.

The thing has lasted us two years but this year has received a serious onslaught in the form of ‘dearest’ Peanut, yes, the cat that got stuck behind the wall 20 minutes after arriving home from the shelter. Of course, my purrfect baby, Lulu, would do nothing as heinous as climb the tree, knock off all the ornaments, eat the tree, bend all the branches and knock the ornaments off again, right after we have replaced them. No breakable items have been dispensed from the storage boxes this year, leaving room for all the lollipop stick non-breakables the kids made in elementary school. My poor tree looks ratty tatty and the whole thing exudes an air of unkempt loneliness. I am not mirroring this I hasten to add, but do somehow feel as if my sparkle will have to find it’s mojo from another source. I have included a few images below to provide pictorial representation of the whole sad story!

Hairy Tale, Part II

On Monday I had a shower which I know sounds like just the exciting type of information you’d choose to read about in a blog! But there is a whisper of new news in this as I actually washed my hair! Is there much to wash? No. Did I do it anyway? Yes. I used my most expensive shampoo and then also conditioned the fuzz as you have to pamper the little baby shoots. It felt SO comforting to return to a familiar routine as for the 48 years pre-chemo, I have always washed my hair first in the shower.

Hairy Tale, Part III

And last, but not least in this series of hairy tales/tails, Victoria passed her driving test yesterday. I think I was more anxious for her than she was and now I am even more anxious than she is at the thought of her heading out alone. Luckily her first solo flight will probably be to Michael’s where she works, which is just 5 minutes down the road. As my friend, Eileen, whose daughter passed today, texted “now the worrying begins in earnest”.  And as I replied “ain’t that the truth”!  Another parent/child right of passage bites the dust.

Love to all,
Amanda

IMG_0711.JPG

IMG_0719.JPG

IMG_0747.JPG

IMG_0739.JPG

Read Full Post »

So yesterday I had my TV interview about You’ve Been Flowered. It’s a taped affair and the guy who is the technical editor for the show (whose Grandmother I once helped with her garden!) won’t be back until next week, so not sure at this point when the grand reveal will happen.

I’ll tell you one thing though, I LOVED doing it! It was just so much fun. Afterwards, Barb, the host of the show, the Sequin of a Kindness, told me I was a natural and even if she says that to everyone, I totally bought in to it! I am thinking I’ll change careers and become an official interviewee, swanning around giving my opinion to anyone who cares to ask. I’ll be a professional celebrity, sort of like Kim Kardashian but older, balder and wearing more clothes. I’d not be able to recreate her champagne glass on the butt photo shoot, but I could certainly balance one on my left boob. Heck, if it hadn’t been deflated, I could’ve balanced a whole champagne bottle, accompanied by canapés! That would certainly get me interviews, I think.

I will obviously attach the link to the show once it comes out, but in the meantime, if you know of anyone looking for someone with an opinion who loves to talk on camera, give me a bell!

On a separate note, a big call out to my Boston work buddies who outdid themselves again with a wonderful care package that I received this week. I got a mug that says “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain…”, along with a beautiful hummingbird ornament and a brand new Kindle with a wonderful lime green case. You really are an amazing group of people and it is my privilege to know you. Thank you xxxx.

Love to all,
Amanda

Read Full Post »

Every two weeks at The Healing Garden, I attend an In-Treatment Support Group. At our meeting last week, the therapist who leads our small, intimate sessions distributed the following poem by Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

This poem resonated very strongly for me as I have been feeling so many different emotions on this journey of mine around my health, family, work.  I have taken on the practice of naming my emotions and sending them love, whether I feel upset, disappointed, scared, hurt, used.   It is amazing that this approach liberates me from the spiraling head, the thoughts of righteous indignation, the ‘what ifs’, the sleepless nights spent analyzing a situation.   I recognize my feelings, give them a bed, tuck them in with a warm blanket and a glass of hot milk and honey. Letting them in is NOT about festering or holding on but about being authentic, facing what I am feeling. It is just amazing how quickly things shift when I take this approach. And I can nurture how I feel, deciding what’s at the root of it, what I can learn and last but not least, what do I want to do about it. Is there something I need to change or voice? I am not controlling or managing how I feel, I am being still and listening and that, for me, makes all the difference. And after all, who wouldn’t want to be swept out for a new delight!

Love to all,
Amanda

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »