Personal Growth


Let me level with you. Staying positive while battling a life threatening disease is very difficult at times. Shocker, right? A positive mental attitude is just as important as the medications I take to fight this battle. I know it is paramount to my healing to stay positive! Despite my best efforts, there are days when I wake up and my body is aching and my head is in a fog. Just moving around the house to start my day seems to take most of my energy and I find myself thinking “So this is what it feels like to die”.

I have always been a very active person so the need to slow down and pace myself is new to me. I know it won’t always be this way. There will be a day when I am in full remission and my strength and endurance will rebound. Until then, I need to be patient (another area of personal growth I need to work on). Do you know that feeling you get when you know you’re coming down with the flu and you are going to vomit? Then you usually feel better after? I am having a lot of days lately where I feel just like that. Sitting around the house is not my style. I like to go to see a hockey game, a gallery exhibit, the Symphony or even dinner out with some friends. Lately it seems that every time I do, I feel like crap for the next few days. It becomes taxing on me physically and mentally.

There will always be obstacles and hurdles to navigate. I will have sick days and perhaps some setbacks. My focus needs to be on my blessings and my faith in that, this too, shall pass. I liken my life to an ice berg: What is easily seen is the small part above the surface (problems, struggles) but below lays the plethora of blessings! Having blind faith is like putting on the goggles and diving under the surface to study the massive collection of blessings. I think too often I try to flip it over so it’s more convenient or easily viewed.

One obstacle that I am working on eliminating from my life is regret. Being true to me and who I am is the first step. Being true and honest with others goes along with that. Once I set my mind to these tasks, I found it got easier each time the opportunity arose. The relief I felt was immediate and rewarding! Sometimes though, I know being honest to someone might hurt their feelings initially, but I have to think that long term they would find it, eventually, a relief. I have severed friendships that I knew didn’t serve me well. I’m sure you know the kind? One sided, Negative, egotistical people that always have one up on you. No matter WHAT issue you had, theirs was worse…Toxic friendships like this drag you down and don’t allow you to be true to who you are. Don’t waste time and energy on toxic relationships.

I have a mental list of things I want to do, places I want to see, etc. These too can become regrets the longer I put them off. My new policy is to keep the list short and reasonable, yet challenging enough to keep me motivated. But the hardest and most damaging regrets to move past are the ones from years past. Mistakes I have made, bad choices at times when I ignored that “little voice” in my soul. To get past these is a must! It takes forgiving myself and then letting go, giving them to God. I’m not very good at this but personal growth is necessary! My goal is to remove all things toxic to my mind, body and soul!



The power of human kindness

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We all suffer bouts with depression from time to time. Severe depression can be very destructive, not just to you, but to those that love and care about you. Depression takes lives in their prime. Depression hurts, steals and destroys. Being half a century old didn’t come without several ‘potholes’ along my path. It’s easy to reflect back now and see the times where my path became crooked and bumpy. I see times when I lost my faith, lost my focus, lost my “center”. When you spin a coin on a table top fast enough, it spins beautifully, but as it slows or hits something, it begins to wobble off course and “lose its center”. That’s exactly what I felt in those times of confusion and depression.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘mid-life crises? I would say that I had experienced that, but there’s no sports car in my driveway and I never was interested in women half my age, lol. So stating that I “lost my center” would be a better description. How I regained my focus, my “center” was quite by accident (in my eye’s, not Gods) and unexpectedly.

The kindness of a Facebook friend (whom I have never met) altered my course and helped me rediscover my true self. Without either of us knowing, fate stepped in and we became connected. Through instant messaging one day I let something slip that she caught on to and drilled me about. From over a thousand miles away, this friend, busy with a million little things in her world, stopped her life for a moment and reached out to me in a way that may have saved my life!

Months later, we spoke about that day. I was thanking her for taking the time to help me and explained how much that meant to me. She said she was totally unaware (at that time) just how depressed I was and how much she helped me. She was merely responding to a feeling that she needed to keep conversing with me that day, but wasn’t sure why. We can now look back and see that she was a willing servant of God allowing him to work through her to help me without any forethought or real effort on her part.

This event was at a time in my life when nothing seemed to be going right. I was Divorced with 3 grown kids that didn’t seem to have any use for me anymore. Recovering from surgery on my wrist and arm after an incident at work had me sitting around the house in the cold winter months shivering with the thermostat down low (to save on the electric bill). No one came to visit. Not even my daughter who worked a mile from my house!

I spent 3 weeks of this time in Tampa as a caregiver for my brother after his Bone marrow transplant (last effort Leukemia treatment) and we talked a lot about my situation. For a while it was better, but I still had a ways to go. The summer that followed was a bit of roller coaster ride and with fall fast approaching I felt myself in a downward spiral once again. I was very good at hiding it and my closest friends had no clue. I had been off center for so long that I was becoming comfortable with it! Then I slipped up and let someone I really didn’t know inside my head.

She broke me down that day and then helped me back up. I will never forget the three simple little things she told me to do. Three Simple things to make me remember the child within me (that I had locked away). She made me PROMISE to do these three things and to prove to her that I did do them! She held me accountable and wouldn’t give up on me no matter how hard I pushed her away. I know I could’ve just stopped messaging with her and go on about my day, but for some reason I kept responding to her instant messages and agreed to her plan. Today I am SO GLAD I did! How amazingly powerful that simple exchange between cyber friends became in the grand scheme of it all!

Had I been diagnosed with Cancer at that time in my life (I unknowingly had it, but my doctor failed to catch it until several years later) I think that would probably have been my way out. I think, in the state of mind I was in at that time, I would have opted to let it go and not seek treatment. Knowing what I know now, I am glad I wasn’t struggling with that diagnosis back then. It was a blessing and it all went according to God’s perfect timing!

The message here is about the power we all have to effect someone else life! Jessica answered that call to help me, even though she had no idea this was happening! She could have signed off saying she was busy and had to go, but she didn’t. She didn’t know me. We had very little interaction before this, just a mutual love for art. She is a good, loving, caring human being open to what God and the universe had in store for her and on that day, it made a huge difference in this man’s life! We have become good friends since then and I have to believe that God has used (or will use) me to help her as well.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to help someone in need. Listen to your inner voice. Be open to what God and the universe have laid out in front of you. Trust that we all have something to give. By helping someone, you also benefit in ways you may not know at first. Besides the obvious good feeling you get when you help, more benefits can be just under the surface.