Cancer Chronicles, Part 20

I read somewhere, I can’t remember where, that the purpose of life is living. I like that because it includes every single thing that happens: experiences, thoughts, feelings. Fires. Cancer. Listening to birds. Picking up trash on the sidewalk. Pain in breasts. What I make of those, the stories I tell myself is what I experience as “life.”

This is what’s happened this week: Our neighbor’s dog was eaten by a coyote. A member of my family died of pancreatic cancer. The Bay Area is on fire with new fires. The air is not breathable without a mask. Covid cases are rising. The doctor suggested I get another surgery. Tax returns were revealed. The news. The news. And as the purpose of life is living, it's all included. 

Staying sane, staying grounded is always the same process. It’s a practice. This is earth school. I keep writing about it because I have to keep reminding myself of it, again and again. Because unless I bring myself back to breath, feet on floor, butt in chair, sensations in legs, arms, sounds of wind, hum of refrigerator, I live in a nightmare of my own making.

Grieving for my family member can still happen. Sadness about the dog and the coyote keeps coming. Wearing a mask is simply that: wearing a mask. Decisions about surgery become clearer. None of that stops, it just can take place in a wide open space. And when I forget for too long, I look at these slippers. The world that includes coyotes, pancreatic cancer and death also includes redwood trees, holding hands and pink and turquoise slippers.

To read more in the Cancer Chronicles, click here.

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