Sooooo . . . Wha’ ha’ happened wuuuuzzz . . . I was recently preparing one of my favorite snacks — avocado with lemon juice — and when I squeezed the lemon over the bowl: YEOOOOOOOOOOOWEEEE!
You see, I didn’t know about the teeny paper cut on my lil’ finger. But there she is! Stinging quite sharply and insistently as I try to just move on and enjoy the simple pleasure of eating my avocado. The initial sting dissipated pretty quickly and I proceeded to squeeze the rest of my lemon — with my OTHER hand, of course (“Not gonna do THAT again!”). I throw away the remaining rind (slam-dunking it in the garbage can from inches away just to give myself a bit of profanity-sealed closure on the incident) and attempt to go on with my day ignoring this newly-discovered wound.
The thing is . . . You can’t un-ring the sting!
I’m now acutely aware of my sliced-open flesh. When I type and that finger hits the keypad, it’s a reminder. When I go to staple a stack of papers, I cradle them like a newborn bird while stretching that finger as far away as possible, and then I close the Swingline jaws with a little extra gusto and a hint of vengeful “How do YOU like it, Mister Paper Stuff?” Holding the phone receiver, taking cash out of my pocket, every thing you don’t realize your fingers are doing in everyday activities: reminders of The Sting.
So, I spend the rest of the day in a temporary ambidextrous existence, in reflective and protective mode as I avoid doing anything that will trigger that painful sensation again!
By the end of the day, though, this “acid trip” had me thinking about the parallels between this imperceptible wound on my finger and all the “invisible” but very much active wounds we all have — emotional, psychic, spiritual — that go unnoticed and therefore unaddressed for years or even our whole lives. If the lemon juice hadn’t flowed over my finger, I would not have known about that cut. And that awareness, although inconvenient, also allowed me to take care of the cut.
After thinking about it some more, I felt grateful. Not just for the citric sting but for all of the people, events, challenges, struggles throughout my life that were painful in their time but were ultimately gifts, opportunities to grow, to heal, to cleanse my mind and spirit of negative thoughts and choices, to deepen my sense of self and continue to aspire to be my most Whole, Joyful, Peaceful ME. They were catalysts that activated a more awake existence. A more reflected and aware movement as I forge my path in Life.
So, when life hands you lemons . . . Do NOT make lemonade! Do NOT dilute with water! Do NOT add sugar! Let the sour juice cleanse your spiritual palette and galvanize your salivation, your thirst for innervision and exploration. Let the sour be a fruitful reminder to take care of yourself, to nurture yourself, to make new choices and weave new patterns for your path with patience, compassion, Light, and Love.
diggit.# vimeo.com/78515846 Uploaded 77 Plays 2 Likes 0 Comments
THINK(BIG). DREAM(BIGGER). DO IT!
As I celebrate being ovarian cancer-free for 10 years and look back (and forward, and up and down, inside and out, and all around) at what my life looks like, it’s hard to imagine how much Magic and Beauty has come from being on that C-Train!
Bald Is Beautiful might have just been an anonymous alliterative phrase that’s fun to say. Instead it’s a Bright, Sparkling, Soul-Filling Purpose through which I am connected more deeply to myself and to everything and everyone around me. Loss becomes Gain, Fear reverts to Fierceness, Doubt transforms into Determination, Palpable Proximal Ending becomes Renewed and Reinvigorated Life!
This past weekend, once again I participated in the Revlon Run/Walk for Women’s Cancers — my favorite event of the year! The woman who created this awe-inspiring event, Lilly Tartikoff, is my hero. She had a vision, an idea, a spark — it was set alight by loss and pain, and she took that small flame and created a movement (literally and financially) that set cancer awareness and community participation ablaze. Teaming up with Revlon and Entertainment Industry Foundation, Lilly co-founded the EIF Revlon Run/Walk for Women in 1993. Over the past two decades, this vision grew from an annual local Los Angeles event of several hundred participants to a bi-coastal, transcontinental happening that now draws an average of 40–50,000 enthusiastic run/walkers in both New York and Los Angeles and raises millions of dollars for life-saving cancer research.
Lilly is one the main inspirations for me founding my Bald Is Beautiful organization. I didn’t want to tuck the idea away in a small but persistent that-would-have-been-a-cool-idea file in my mind. Because I saw in her the embodiment of how a thought turned into action, a dream becoming reality, is not only well within my reach but it’s up to me to set my compass (intention), put one foot in front of the other, and walk in the direction of my vision. Eleven years later, I’m still making my Bald Is Beautiful dreams come true. One moment and vision at a time.
So that’s the dealio, y’all. The lesson. The message. THINK BIG. DREAM BIGGER. DO IT. Diggit.
http://www.baldisbeautiful.org# vimeo.com/65880563 Uploaded 158 Plays 0 Likes 0 Comments
Most people in the world want to give, to reach out, to help someone they love by supporting an organization that is in line with their cause or circumstance. Even if — and often when — it’s a financial hardship to do so, it’s more important for us to feel like we’re doing something to create positive change, either for our loved ones or for the future and others in the same situation.
In recent months, some major “non-profit” fundraising organizations made the news under a cloud of controversy about their backroom policies and their finances. This cumulus formation has obscured or betrayed their publicly-stated intentions. In some cases, though, the controversy is clarifying as we see behind the mass-marketed, brand-perfected curtain of some of the more ubiquitous organizations. Unfortunately, the by-product of this editorialized data can be polarizing and off-putting.
The result: people throw up their hands in disgust or frustration or confusion, reluctant to participate at all for fear of being roped into the donations drama.
Specifically, on behalf of the many smaller cancer awareness organizations, national and local, I say this: DON’T GIVE UP ON GIVING.
There are many small(er) and/or local awareness/fundraising organizations that are helping people, and they are oftentimes started by people who had a personal experience themselves or are caring for or have lost a loved one in the midst of a health challenge.
My concern is when the organization betrays the intention of those of us giving our hard-earned, precious dollars or when the marketing gimmicks supercede the cause itself. I celebrate organizations successfully cultivating far-reaching access that garners huge amounts of money for very important causes. This is the wonder and power of agents of media and marketing acting as agents of change.
And while the larger organizations are often very effective for general awareness and funding for vital research that so many people need, they may not address your specific cause or situation. Ovarian cancer, for example, gets very little (almost NO) media attention, even though it is the most fatal of all gynecological cancers. Or for my dear friends the 46 Mommas, campaigning for awareness and research for pediatric cancer, the huge cancer orgs barely address this “smaller” cancer cause.
Today’s point-and-click cyber-simplicity makes it very easy to make a donation just because it’s quick and requires very little effort on our part. So we can take it upon ourselves to us to do our own background checks when we are sending them our money. And this way, we can find (or be founders of!) orgs that are giving directly to the causes and people we cherish.
This vid is about Gilda’s Club listed below are some more of my personal favorite orgs and links to their donations pages. (By no means does this cover the countless organizations all over the world — or even maybe right next door — that are doing incredibly valuable work, but maybe this can be a starting place for you to point and click your way to your local heroes!)
GILDA’S CLUB: http://www.gildasclubnyc.org/Giving/Donate.html
OVARIAN CANCER RESEARCH FUND (O.C.R.F.): http://www.ocrf.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=117&Itemid=433
T.E.A.L. WALK: http://www.tealwalk.org/site/c.ajITK8NHLdJ2E/b.7948995/k.C251/Donate.htm
BALD IS BEAUTIFUL: http://www.baldisbeautiful.org/ (donate via PayPal using firstname.lastname@example.org)
ST. BALDRICK’S: http://www.stbaldricks.org/get-involved/help/#cfc
46 MOMMAS Shave for the Brave: http://46mommas.com/
As a cancer warrior trying to generate awareness in my little corner of the crowd-sourcing community zeitgeist, I again encourage you: Don’t give up on giving! Let us be activated to really stand up and not just commit an “act” of charity, but an “action” of charity!
Rather than being discouraged or apprehensive about donating to a cause, let us be inspired to dig deeper. To wake up! To educate ourselves and be more informed — not only about charitable causes that we are passionate about, but also in all of our life choices. We can choose to be activated in how we live our lives, how we form and maintain our relationships, how we perceive and receive ourselves and others, how we feed our bodies and minds and spirits. It’s a chance for us to be truly ALIVE and AWAKE in every moment. That’s a gift that keeps on giving!# vimeo.com/51341116 Uploaded 349 Plays 0 Likes 0 Comments
Talking to three people this morning about Death (what else would you talk about on a sunny Saturday morning?) got me thinking about the inherently paradoxical nature of all things Life. The opposing yet interdependent forces that comprise our experiences — physical, emotional, and spiritual. Yin and Yang and all that jazz.
In the course of my ovarian cancer journey, I experienced the co-mingling of seemingly dichotomous energies in many ways. The emotional dichotomy of surrender and acceptance, and at the same time fighting fiercely to survive. Of needing people to stay very close to me while my fear and frustration made me scream and yell for them to “Go away!” Both sides of that feelings fence were very sincere … and true.
Even in the case of our physical bodies. We all want to relax and find peace, yet the governing control panel of our body is called the “nervous” system! Our lives (and deaths) are fundamentally filled with an intricate matrix of opposing and cooperative functions. It’s that friction that propels movement. Between the extremes of choice and fate, science and spirituality, pain and pleasure, good and bad, angel and evil, there is a spectrum of interrelated events and processes that culminate in what unfolds along our life path.
So, isn’t it possible to remember without holding on, and to let go without forgetting? To thrive on independence and also crave companionship? To shed joyful tears? To scream with delight?
Maybe it’s not about having to choose between holding on or letting go. We don’t have to do one instead of the other. It’s not either/or. Maybe it’s about taking a step further out from that. Seeing the two as one. The whole as its parts.
Instead of seeking Light as a way out of our Darkness, maybe we can look IN-to the Darkness to find the Light. Because darkness and light are inextricable … you can’t have one without the other. And then maybe it’s even about doing what seems illogical. Closing a door in order to find an Opening. Doing Nothing as a way to Activate something else!
We are here in this temporary cellular/electrical encasement known as “the body” for an unpredictable amount of time. And we can choose to be in the fullest, self-loving, compassionate, patient, passionate embrace of it all. Experiencing our lives in a Whole-istic way.
And we can either grab the reins and hold tight as we zoom on down the road, or we can let go and fly fly fly! Because from the moment we are born, we are riding an arc of gradual decay. Sometimes we die before that process comes to completion — by disease, by accident, by someone else's doing, by our own hands. We die emotional/spiritual death and are reborn every moment as we change and expand and evolve.
Life is Death, and Death is Life. And it’s all worth the ride.# vimeo.com/48684624 Uploaded 109 Plays 0 Likes 0 Comments
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