Honour Your Feelings

It’s been a rough day.  A rough week actually.  Not impossible.  Just exhausting.

Before sitting down to write this, I happened to read my daily meditation from Melody Beattie’s “Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul”…  And of course it was exactly what I needed to hear…

Be Gentle with Your Heart …  An open heart is not one-dimensional; joy is not the only emotion it will embrace.  Make room in your heart, room in your life, and time in your days to feel other feelings too – anger, grief, fear, exuberance, tenderness, betrayal, exhilaration – all the emotions an open heart feels.

Most of the time I can go about my days feeling relatively normal and almost forgetting that I have metastatic breast cancer.  I focus on the positive, try to be grateful, and go about my every-day business just like I always have…  Then all of a sudden you spend a week trying to do everything on your own and you realize you’re not ok.  Things are different.  Your body is weaker than it used to be.  You have pains you never used to have.  You are reminded that you do have cancer.  And you need help.

On those days (like today) it’s important for me to remember that it’s perfectly fine to feel angry, and frustrated, and sad.

This is tough fight.  And I’m in it for the long haul.  To be honest, I don’t really like to think about it too much.  How hard this is going to be.  How much help I need.  How I’ll likely be taking medication (in some form or another) for the rest of my life.  How I will always have to monitor what I eat.  How my plans for the future have changed.  How this is going to impact my marriage.  How my life will be dictated by my treatment schedule.

This sucks.  And yes, I am angry, frustrated, and sad.

But as I always say – tomorrow is another day.

Peace.  -T


14 Responses

  1. Hang in there Terri. It’s true, this is a tough fight, but that doesn’t mean you are not up to it. You are. You are doing all the right things — keep it up. Especially keep giving your friends and family the great gift of accepting their help and support. That was a wonderful lesson your mother taught me. I think she told me those very words. “It’s a special gift to the people you love – to accept their help.” It’s one of the many things she taught me that I will always remember.
    I will also always remember you kicking the hell out of cancer. Breathe deep, you will have strong days again. Your body and spirit are just dialling back for a time, which is understandable given all the crazy stuff you are dealing with. Love you, Stevie

  2. Felt you and Mom close yesterday as the pounding waves at Horseneck set a rhythm to my gait. The tears fell on the way home as the music Mom sent me brought visuals- of cleaning the extra bedroom for you and your family, of watching the sunrise with her, of sitting with you on your deck at Bowen trying to make sense out of Mom’s cancer journey, of our trip to Yellow Springs, of our wild birthday celebration in New York…
    Yes, we have to honor the grief, the visceral yearning to be closer to you, the what the fucks…
    And then, tomorrow comes. I hope your tomorrow is a better one.
    Love you

  3. “Be gentle with yourself” is a saying I’ve used for years. There are going to be days when it’s all just too much trouble to be strong and brave and keep fighting – and that’s okay. Because you’ll get rid of some negativity and come back energized.

    Thank you for sharing.

  4. i was trying for many years with meditations and guided visualization, and i never quite got the hang of it. then a friend got me interested in reading about neuroplasticity and especially in response to pain and illness. and how pain originates in our heads that is why people who lose and arm can still have pain in their amputated fingers. it’s not that their pain isn’t real, or that people don’t have an illness, it’s just how your brain perceives it. and we can alter it at anytime, we have so much power inside our heads.

    i read a two medical books recently that forever changed the way i view health pain and healing. i always believed in visualization and being positive and never allowing myself the negative emotions because i thought they were what were making me sick in the first place. so i walked around desperately fighting all my negative bad angry thoughts.and replacing them with positivs….EXHAUSTING!!!!!!!! like i’m not tired enough thank you very much!…but not even buddhist monks do this, they accept the pain and observe it as a part of life, i just still couldn’t figure out how they did that….now i know!
    i have since learned that it’s actually quite the opposite. it’s all the rage, anger, pain and grief, guilt and self loathing that we have to bring up from our unconcious to our concious in order to heal. wow what a concept! we have to introduce them and make them one to become whole………..well when it was put that way it made sense to me…whole, yes please i would like to feel whole! but how?
    i thought no this will never work, but reading these books were so much more powerful to me that all the meditation, guided feelings, visualization books i was reading because here they are saying the same sort of things only it’s scientific and TOTALLY accepted and tested and proved by brilliant dr”s and scientists and neuroscientists all around the world. some have won nobel peace prizes on their work in this field and these doctors are desperate to get mainstream doctors to incorporate this as medicine for sick people, that they are only half healing their patients! exactly why your dr just humored you into thinking you mentally changed your white blood cell counts…..you did! you did mentally change them…….you proved it. you jumped from 1000 to 9000, this is NOT a coincidence.
    the yogis and the buddhist monks were right but now we have the scientific proof of what and why they were right. and somehow that made all the difference in the world for me and my pain journey and my brain…………finally dr’s who believe that illness is real, but it comes from the brain first………(they don’t believe all of it is in your brain, the illnesses are real, once you have aids you have aids, but what shocked them was why one person with aids would have almost no pain or problems or complications while another would have unsurmountable difficulties and that they say comes from the mind) the divided mind.

    so a couple books to maybe try…………they don’t have to do with cancer at all one has mostly to do with back pain, which i don’t even have, but it changed my thinking forever because the author is a pain/brain specialist…………..dr sarno……and the book was
    the divided mind.,…..his next one i have just ordered is the mind body perscription. this man has cured thousands of people and has run a pain clinic for 30 years. the other is a book all about the power of our brain to heal and affect our body. many stories about brain scientists from around the globe that are performing what we call miracles, and they call science…neuroplasticity.
    the brain that changes itself………..

    i know these books helped me tremendously………..i now feel the pain and anger and sadness and guilt and worry and my physical pain gets less and less, it’s amazing…….

    good luck……………..alyssa.

    • Amazing info! Thanks for sharing. I got myself into psychotherapy for just this reason – to acknowledge and work through all the stresses that got me to this point. And as a Buddhist myself I am totally aware of (and in full agreement with) this line of thinking. I’ll order the books tomorrow. Good luck on your journey! Hugs, – terri

  5. you are an inspiration…the strength and spirity that you show whether it’s a good day or a bad day is so incredible and admirable. i send you positive energy out here from the west coast and big hugs to miss m. someone once said to me that the hardest things in life are the most rewarding…i don’t know why the universe is putting you through this but you have what it takes girl…i’ve only met you just a handful of times but i just feel that you have what it takes. stay strong and positive and i’m thinking of you.

  6. I have so few words to share, struggling ideas fighting to escape and nothing that sounds just right for me to simply say… You are strong and brave. You have the willpower to get through, even when all you want to do is curl up.

    And it’s OK to ask for help.

  7. We’ve never met. I’ve never met your folks. I’ve enjoyed your father’s books for years and happened to see a tweet about the eBay auction with only a hint of what was happening. In another day and age I would never know about your condition or have the opportunity to offer any words of warmth or encouragement, albeit from a complete stranger. Be strong, stay positive, and know beyond doubt that there are lots of us out here pulling for you.

  8. Dear Terri,

    I just read Aunt Laurie’s blog. She says so much, so well, just like you do.
    Tanya and I think of you every day. She prays for you at her church. I visit at St. Joseph’s to remind God about you.
    Much love,
    Aunt Kathy

  9. This is wise, and I say that because it’s a hard lesson for me. Learning to deal with heavy emotional energy is like exercising the body so it can weather tough treatment.

    Best advice I’ve seen for training for a marathon was that you won’t be pain free, but you’ll learn what pains you can accept, that are not harmful, and recognize that you’re greater than those pains. The lesson I took from that was not that running a marathon hurts (“hurts” means injury, and you should *not* exercise when injured!) but that it’s not comfortable, and you’ll run into problems if you expect comfort. Instead, one needs to learn that “okay, I don’t *like* this, but it’s not injuring me, and I can deal with it.”

    Learning the ways of the heart are the same. Thinking “Okay, I know how to deal with this” won’t make it comfortable. It just means you know you’ll get through, without injury. And yes, you might find that you can handle more, that things you thought would break you won’t. You may become more resilient, more able to bounce back after shocks. But that won’t make it comfortable.

    The biggest reason this was a big revelation for me was because I realized that *if* it was uncomfortable, and ouchy, and nearly unbearable, *it was not a failure*. I was dealing with the problem; hurting was not failure, not weakness, and not a sign of a problem. Hurting was *normal*.

    In fact, for me (I have chronic problems with depression) *not hurting* was much more dangerous than hurting – not hurting meant that I was numbed/injured(/depressed).

    • So true. So true. Life is full of discomfort. Expecting it to be a certain way or getting attached to having life be comfortable just makes things more difficult. Another reminder to come back to my Buddhist roots. Thanks. – T

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