Tag Archive | inner strength

FINDING HUMOR WHEN FACING CANCER

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

                             ~ Dr. Seuss

Everything has the potential to be funny. Even cancer. You may remember Gilda Radner and her book, It’s Always Something. Gilda was great at finding the funny.

When facing cancer – or any illness or life challenge – it helps a lot to tap into our inner strength, to hold hope, and to find the funny. Reba McEntire said it well:

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.”

When I shared the news of my breast cancer diagnosis with you last May, I wrote seriously, with backbone strength and wishbone hope about the healing power of love.

I’d like to give my funny bone a try today. With joy, here’s my story continued:

So, with relative grace and ease I had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

During the weeks leading up to surgery, I joked a bit about the silver lining. You know me, always looking for uplifts – uplifting thoughts, uplifting feelings. Without having to pay for elective surgery, I was going to end up with a body “uplift!”

Yes, focusing on the positive, I looked forward to having a younger-looking, more perky chest. And I got it. There were other benefits. I could wear tank tops and skinny-strap sundresses without a bra.

Well, one day about a month ago, I noticed that the left side was way perkier on the top than the right. A closer look showed that the “natural slope” of the implant on the left was upside down. Somehow, it had spun around.

When I learned that happens sometimes if the cavity is a bit large for the implant used, I figured, kind of like “what goes up must come down” that “what spun could spin again.” And maybe I could help it.

So that’s what I did. Or tried. And I did get it to turn. But it got stuck half way. So then I had a whole new look, with the “natural slope” going sideways!

The good news is that, somehow during sleep, the implant found its way into proper positioning.

The bad news is that, after swimming, it had spun again into the upside-down position.

But more good news! If I swam some more, it could spin some more.

So now, when I’m done swimming, I check to see…

Even perkiness? Yes? I grab my towel.
​​​​​​​No? Back in for another lap or two or whatever it takes.

Hey, I just might get in better shape!

You know the song, “I Hope You Dance”?
I hope you do. And laugh, too!
Today and every day.

With hope, love, and laughter,
Charlene

PS – I’ve posted a picture of the younger me, when everything was perkier!

A TREE GROWS IN SEDONA: A TOUCHSTONE FOR STRENGTH AND HOPE

Joanne's TreeMy friend Joanne greatly appreciated the tree that stood in front of her townhouse.

 

One day Joanne noticed small dark spots on nearly all the leaves. Close inspection revealed that millions of tiny bugs had invaded her arboreal friend. She immediately called the homeowners’ association to report the problem and asked that the tree be treated.

 

Joanne was horrified when, a few days later, she came home to find the tree being chopped down. In fact, by the time she arrived, it was nearly gone, felled to the ground.

 

She regretted reporting the problem. “I should have sprayed it, tried some things myself, taken some other approach,” she repeated to herself and to all who would listen.

 

Day after day, Joanne mourned her missing tree. Where there had been beauty and vibrant life, there was now a barrenness in front of her home – no singing birds, no swaying branches, no soothing shade, no musical rustling of leaves – just a circle of stones, like a grave marker, around where the tree had stood.

 

Many months later, a shoot appeared from within that circle of empty red earth Continue reading

HARNESSING FOR GOD THE ENERGIES OF LOVE

Small Deer

Some say a shift is happening now.

 

When I see declarations like the Three Days of Love, A Global Call to Action, and other proclamations for peace, a prophesy made by Teilard de Chardin comes to mind:

 

“The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the wind, the tides, and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in human history, man will have discovered fire,” he said.

 

Is that day near? I hope so. Can we help make it so? I believe so. How?        Continue reading

FAITH IS LIKE A SAFETY NET

Purple stained cloth and glass

I had just written my “Today’s Touchstone” message for tomorrow about faith being like a safety net.

 

I made a Berry Smoothie and then slipped on a drop of water on the kitchen floor.

 

The  amazing thing is: I felt cradled on the way down to the tile.  Time slowed.  I somehow landed gently.  So did the glass.  It fell on the tile but did not break!


I wish I had thought to get a photo of the mess before my husband kindly cleaned it up. The deep purple drink splattered everywhere. Here’s a photo of that glass next to a formerly-white washcloth after repeated rinsing.

One sip of the drink remained in the glass. It was delicious.

 

What was more delicious was experiencing a sense of safety and being cared for, even during and after the fall, especially in light of what I had just written to share with others:

 

“Parachutes weren’t proven trustworthy
by having people carry them around on their backs.
The device showed its reliability once someone jumped.”
– Mary Manin Morrissey

 

Are you facing anything now that calls for a leap of faith?
Continue reading

MAY YOUR INNER SPARKLING SPACIOUSNESS SHINE!

One of the things I loved about Christmas when I was a child was gazing into the shiny balls on our decorated tree and feeling as if I had entered a magical place.

When I looked into those fragile spheres, I saw my home transformed. The curvature of the ornaments reflected rooms much larger than they actually were and created an effect that was both sparkly and soft.

So, instead of seeing our small living room and dining room, I saw rooms that were spacious and gracious, peaceful and palatial. I loved going from color to color and experiencing the palace of my home as golden, then silver, then red because each color stirred a slightly different wondrous feeling, kind of like love, hope, and joy.

Looking back, I can see now that I HAD entered a magical place, a mystical place.

The outer palace I saw was a reflection of the inner sparkling spaciousness that dwells in the heart of every child.

Remember how you felt as a child, when outer wonderment resonated with the wonderment in you?

No matter what age we are now, we’ve all got that place within us.

During this busy season, may we take time to enter the “Inner Palace.”

May we be renewed in the gifts of love, hope, and joy.

And, may our inner sparkling spaciousness shine in the world and be reflected back to us.

SPIRITUAL SPINACH

 

plate of raw spinach

During the time my mom faced cancer, there was a day when I felt so emotionally overwhelmed and energy depleted that, instead of helping my parents, as I had traveled to their home to do, I wanted to open the back door from their kitchen and run and run until I could run no more.

 

Instead of running, I stood still, closed my eyes, inhaled, and whispered, “Strength.” Literally, I called for it. And with grace, it came, immediately and with a force so full that it startled me.

 

If you were to ask me to describe what that was like, I would ask if you ever watched a Popeye cartoon. Similar to how that character was transformed after eating a can of spinach, ready to take on the world, I felt completely energized–physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was ready to take on everything that was my world at the time–which was to shop, cook, clean, and be lovingly present for my parents.

 

I often think back to the experience of that day.

 

I also think back to those Popeye cartoons. Although I probably wouldn’t have used these exact words back then, I used to wonder, “When is Popeye going to get it?! He needs to eat spinach all the time?! Every day so that he is always ready!”

 

Perhaps that was the lesson that children were supposed to get as we watched the cartoon series and saw that spinach needing-spinach eating scenario episode after episode: Popeye needed to eat spinach in order to be strong! Maybe we were supposed to want to eat spinach, or at least our vegetables, in order to be strong in our little bodies.

 

At this stage in my life, I realize that I need to nurture myself every day with “spiritual spinach.” I need to be strong on all levels.

 

Like it was for Popeye, it’s wise for us to always be “ready” to face whatever comes our way. Being nourished in this way strengthens our sense of self-worth too.

 

What might be spiritual spinach for you?

 

For me it’s inspirational quotes, affirmations, uplifting music, prayer, and meditation. It’s also being playful and pausing throughout the day to express gratitude.

 

Spiritual spinach can also be hiking, walking the dog, gardening, or bird watching.

 

What nuggets of inspiration might you consume to stay strong? Or what might you do each day to refill your inner strength tank and keep all the forms of strength flowing through you?

 

Consider identifying that for yourself and making a commitment to nourish yourself daily with “spiritual spinach” so that you are “ready” to take on “whatever”.