I am counting down the hours till Miss M and I hit the road for Nashville! This will be trip # 2 in our North American summer tour. Looking forward to 5 quality days with my outspoken cousin, her sweet-as-honey husband, their 5 boys, and my talented aunt. Craving some Southern hospitality and flavour.
I’m also excited about going to church Nashville style. Last time we were in town we went to a service and I truly had a magical experience. Tears flowed. Bodies were swaying. Marisa was dancing. Smiles all around. It was so moving. So this was my one request for this trip – Can we go to church again?? And so we are.
I’ve been thinking a lot about spirituality, faith, and religion lately. The breast cancer is demanding that of me. But even before that, hubby and I were feeling the pull to get more in touch with our spiritual sides. We started watching Joel Osteen on TV and talking about finding a church community we could become a part of (especially since we were moving to oh-so-religious Ohio).
To be clear – neither hubby nor I have ever really attended church as adults. Hubby grew up quasi Catholic – showing up at church for a holiday here and there. And I was raised by two hippie artist parents who let me decide what religion I wanted to be. So hubby and I actually going to church on a regular basis would be a pretty big deal.
But my mom did expose me to her love of Buddhism from an early age and instilled in me much of the wisdom without me even realizing it. I always tell the story of how she would bring me to the beach as a child and then suggest we just sit in silence, appreciate the view, and not talk to each other for 20 mins. I realize now that she was sowing the seeds for my meditation practice. She gave me my first zafu (meditation cushion) when I went off to college at age 17. I was SO not ready to use it – But I kept it with me – move after move after move. And at age 28 I was finally ready to embrace my Buddhist self. Hubby and I had a Buddhist wedding ceremony in San Francisco where we took the precepts and I’ve been trying to stick to a (relatively) steady meditation practice ever since.
Today I am so thankful to my mom for giving me this gift. I credit meditation with a lot of my ability to stay calm, centered, and healthy. Especially with everything that’s happened over the last few years and this crazy breast cancer diagnosis.
At tonight’s support group for young women with breast cancer, one of the other ladies commented to me that I seemed so positive. I think some people are surprised at the idea of being positive or happy when you’ve been handed a diagnosis of late stage cancer. But I think when you’re grounded in a strong foundation of spirituality, community, and faith that anything is possible.
It doesn’t matter what religion you are. If you believe there is something bigger than yourself then you have an amazing resource to tap into. Whether you do it through prayer, song, being in nature, meditation… It don’t matter. From the day I was diagnosed, I have appealed to the Universe and my mom’s spirit to help me through this. And so far they have.