Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yo-Yo Wow

I was so inspired by the purses and skirt that my two Joys recently made that I wanted to shift my attention back to my creative side.  My dear friends have been sewing skirts, purses and creating all kinds of wonderful, glittery cards together in their cozy cottage lately.  I can just see their space now, inviting and warm surrounded by white curtains, kitty cats, cups of tea and smiles.  Oh, how I miss those smiles. 

I created these yo-yo's in a cottage by the sea in the not so distant past.  They were stitched into quite a lovely belt, the string of which was braided from the selvage edges of my favorite fabrics.  Use, reuse every fiber right?  I created a garden of flowers to choose from and have decided to take out my bag of goodies again.  They are light and portable, you can make them anywhere, and they always make people smile.

I was taught the art of yo-yo making by my goddess, tarot reading, tea making, Stelladanza. With the help of our handy Clover Yo-Yo tools we can make precise, consistent yo-yo's every time.  She has taught me so much about art, life and beauty that most of my creative direction comes from her.  She is a fountain of life energy, a spring of all things beautiful and the sister of an amazing artist, too.  Oh, my lovely talented friends in my city of yesterday.  

God Bless you Dean, I hope you have a peaceful journey.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hope is the art of trusting...

My sense of reality emerged like a whisper, it was as if I had peered into a lit window from a darkened landscape and saw my own truth, bright, shining and clear. Once I saw it I could not ignore it, pretend I had not seen it, every cell in my body knew its shape and even when I step back into a place absent of that light I still know what it feels like. I can see it without my eyes. I can see it with my very being, I can feel it with my heart. So I thought of how that feeling manifests itself in my physical being and I can only describe it as the feeling you get when you really love someone, how it hurts in your chest when you think of them harmed, or when you look deeply, quietly into your child's eyes...there is a sensation of pulling out from the center, a deep tugging, a palpable pain. I truly believe there is so much more than words can describe, so much more than our minds can comprehend, that is being the faith.

I read these words in 2007 and have meditated on them through this long journey to now. I see it as a way to express my life, my art of living, the art of moving my body through space.

"Prudence is the art of seeing clearly,
Temperance is the art of holding balance,
Fortitude is the art of courageous continuing,
Justice is the art of forgiving,
Humility is the art of honest self-appraisal,
Faith is the art of believing in things unseen,
Hope is the art of trusting,
Charity is the art of loving the enemy."

I think I found these words on the back of a book about St. Benedict written by..?? I have to ask my girlfriend, they aren't my words, I did amend the art of hope, instead of the art of waiting, I think it is the art of trusting....that is what I think I do now, trust, hope and believe in things unseen more than I ever did before, more than I could ever feel before. Seeing it in my heart and knowing it is hard to describe, it is like trying to write in words how it sounds when snow falls on a quiet, evening landscape.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"The Sheltering Sky"

"Death is always on the way, but the fact that you don't know when it will arrive seems to take away from the finiteness of life.  It's that terrible precision that we hate so much.  But because we don't know, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well.  Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really.  How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it?  Perhaps four or five times more.  Perhaps not even. How many more times will you watch a full moon rise?  Perhaps twenty.  And yet it all seems limitless."

Peter Bowles
The Sheltering Sky

Is it such a bad thing that life seems limitless?  Can we have consciousness, awareness and still feel the boundless hope of fulfillment?  If we aren't drunk with denial we can savor every drop and still feel satisfied with what is left in the cup....a life full of love is never empty, never limited but those precious moments need to be cherished, their fruit are our memories.   I met a man this summer, here in our small town, who told me how he lived his memories now. Because of his illness his world had gotten very small, very slow, his memories were the food he survived on, his story, his connection to the etherealness of life...not a shadow but a whispered story told by his heart to his soul.

The sun in my face...

  As I sit here quietly squeezing my face between my hands trying to find some relief from this new headache I slowly open my eyes, the sun is shining in my face, my skin is warm, I breathe in, I am alive.  I am not trying to sound melodramatic I am trying to sound alive.  Everything is so fresh, so new, so intense, I feel the vibration of everything now.  My senses are heightened, I can't smell or taste but I can imagine, I can remember.
  My darling is making my lunch, he loves me so much, more than I ever really knew.  He is so patient, so kind.  The back of my head hurts, I have been asking my skull to heal, asking my cancer to stop growing.  I know that it has its purpose but it has to stop now.  Misinformed as those cells are they aren't trying to kill me, they are trying to do what they do, replicate, misinformed, misconstrued, misdirected.  So the next phase is Proton Beam radiation. Hopefully that will kill the remaining cells.  My body tends to heal quickly, my hair grows fast, my nails grow fast, I don't want this tumor to grow fast.  I want to keep living, there is so much more for me to do.  We waited for years to get here, hoping always that things would be the way we dreamed.  They are, it is, but I am not.  At least I have finally found peace in my heart, I am at peace and still in motion.  The fruit is still on the tree.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It's getting better every day, better, better, better...

We left Pittsburgh, drove for 7 1/2 hours and are now in Waterbury, CT. Heading home, sweet home, my beloved New England. I hope some one out there Googles Chondrosarcoma and finds me....I have so much to learn but want to be a guide. I know when they told me they thought I had Chondrosarcoma I was devastated to say the least. I am very hopeful right now. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most malignant, my biopsy came back as a 1-2. I am so blessed. My doctor, Daniel Prevedello, thinks he got 100% of what he could see with his eyes. He said it was a landmark surgery, they did things in my skull they had never done before because of the location of my tumor. He thinks it is over 2 1/2 years old....What was I doing then? Seems so strange to think of my life like that, my body growing a tumor. There will always be some cells left behind so I am going to get Proton Beam (sounds like a comic book ZAP, POW) radiation to hopefully kill the rest of the cells. So far they only have 10 years of data on regrowth and with radiation it looks good. I am hopeful.

On side note, my wonderful dog Roosevelt died two years ago this April of a similar tumor in his skull that eroded his skull and also grew a polyp type tumor. We kept him going for a year and he couldn't make it, the pain was too much.

If you Google and find me, I went to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Oakland, Pittsburgh, PA. I had surgery on Monday and was released from the hospital 2 days later. I was released from their care 8 days later. They have it dialed in there and have done over 1200 extended endonasal surgeries. Google them, send them an email, write to me at this blog.

I have to thank all of my dear friends and family for praying for me, for thinking of me, for worrying, for loving me. I love you all. My life is so rich, so full and I am so thankful. My life begins anew....Peace.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Oh, I remember it well"....

This new journey has led me back to wonderful moments in my life, the bad ones just dust on the soles of my shoes. As I sit alone in the hotel in Pittsburgh recovering watching old movies I think about all of the things in life I love the best. Over these past few months I am reminded of the so many beautiful things in this world, things I have loved since I was a child. I have decided that I spent most of the first half of my life (before Pittsburgh) thinking of how things didn't work, or hurt me or could have been better. I have analyzed them, written about them, reacted to them, suffered over them but now...

I will leave them where they are, dust on the soles of my shoes. I am not in denial, no, they just do not serve me anymore. They may have helped me become who I am, helped only because I accepted them. There will be more troubles, pains, trials and they too will be stepping stones but not carried in my pocket, no not my pocket anymore.

In this new beginning I choose to only remember the taste of sweetness. I am watching Gigi joyfully singing along to "Oh, I remember it well". Yes, I do remember it well. What a beautiful life I have had so far. Soft clouds on a clear blue sky. I used to try to gallop my horse Betty along with their shadows as they passed over the fields in the summer. Racing across the green grass feeling like I could keep up with the wind. Spending lazy, hot afternoons with my black horse Shadow along the irrigation ditches where I used to graze her dreaming of this time in my life now. What I hoped I would be doing, wondering who I would become....What do you call that place in your heart that sees the world, sees the self, the voice that develops somewhere around fourteen, the one that names your dreams? Yes, I have changed, grown, grown up but that core, that center, it has the same familiar voice. The same passion, the same magic and wonder about the world...Dreamy, determined and free. I feel centered now, almost full circle. Oh yes I remember it well.

Here is a self-portrait of the sunshine in my life....

Friday, February 6, 2009

So, this is the beginning, who would have thunk it?

I said let's start at the beginning and this week has been a new beginning. I am four days out from my skull/brain surgery. I cannot believe I am typing this about me. Today was the first time since I started this journey that it actually hit me, I just had major surgery inside my skull. I cannot believe how lucky I am, a few years ago and this would not be my story.

I am feeling very weak and vulnerable right this minute, I have been blessed with a deep calm that helped me march through this week but tonight I guess I am suffering from minor post traumatic stress, it was me. I was so blessed to have been led to the Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center to have this endonasal surgery to remove what they think was a chondrosarchoma. Of the two scary things that it could be that would actually be the lesser of the two, go figure.

So tonight I am reaching deep down to find the strength, I keep turning back to the light, breathing in the light and letting go of the fear. That was how I made it here, that is how I will continue on this journey. I am surrounded by love, by so many blessings and facing all the possibilities has been a major component of my strength but because I can't cry now (because of all of the nasal packing) I find myself stifled, half crying. Man is it hard to half cry, half chortle in a face bandage with a headache. I just swallow some ice cold water (one of the greatest gifts in life) and dig in the hotel fridge for more chocolate, more important than the vicodin. I don't want to be like Debbie Downer, whah whah whau. I have actually been shedding that persona for the new and improved girl power version of Farm Girl "with a mission". My summer time super hero costume is so much cuter than my winter time beat up, stained, once cream colored parka that has a major stupid rip and pockets full of straw and broken eggs (that is so pathetic but fitting) and jeans and giant boots. I would rather freeze in the New Hampshire air than squeeze into layers of long johns and jeans so I usually do my chores quickly. That is the new me, haven't had a hair cut since July, chapped lips and now a big bandage on my nose. Oh well, so grateful for the nose.

Love my friends and family more than I can say. This has become my new journal, I must remember to use the spell check too. I have moments when I feel so deep and poetic and many more when I feel silly and unintelligible and the oh so frequent, who really cares....but I do care. I care deeply.

Thank you and YES!