Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An Intimate Relationship with Cancer

Are you prepared for cancer?  I wasn’t, neither was my husband or our kids.  Like the emergency evacuation plan in case of a house fire, preparation for cancer was not on my to-do list.  Why would cancer come knocking on my family’s door?  We ate healthy food, I managed an organic food coop, I studied nutrition, I cooked from scratch, my kids played soccer, my husband liked to work in the yard, we donated to charity. 
How did we become a target?
When a diagnosis of cancer is spoken, the world immediately slows down to the thickness of molasses and the mind desperately begins searching its memory banks looking for a connection, looking for an anchor, a file to make sense of what it has just heard.  I distinctly remember the moment, the doctor and the room became fuzzy and I retreated into my mind retracing every step and every decision that could have led us here.  

The mind wants to know why?  The mind wants an answer and there is no answer.  There is only the molasses that threatens to swallow you whole.
Everything that was our life no longer existed.   The door to our happiness with friends and family, dinner parties, soccer games, family outings, movie nights, birthday parties, and Saturday breakfasts were now a thing of the past.   The little things that make a family hum along were left behind as we were rudely shoved into a medical system we didn’t understand.   A week later, I dropped my husband, Mike, off at the cancer treatment center for his first infusion of chemo.  
And then cried in anguish for the loss of our life,for the terror in our daughters’ faces, for the overwhelming feeling of helplessness, for the possibility of losing the man I loved.        For all the time I had spent studying nutrition, for all the dinners I had made from scratch, for all the food wisdom I had acquired, I felt at a complete loss to help Mike.  In the evenings while he fitfully slept from the exhaustion of chemo, I poured over the internet looking for answers.  Well-meaning friends sent emails and made phone calls with cures – drink juiced asparagus, take him to Mexico, give him coffee enemas, try this machine that oxygenates the blood.    

I was desperate, grasping for solutions, feeling like I was in last place in a marathon event that would never end. 
Finally I stopped the frantic internet searching and settled into the only thing I was sure of – organic whole foods.  It was all I could do, it was what I knew.  So I cooked and Mike ate.  And within eight months his cancer was nowhere to be found.  

And again I cried, but this time from a deep exhaustion that flowed like the river Nile, a continous flow of release from the months of living on the edge of a cliff.
Was it just the organic whole foods?  I don’t believe so, but I do know it was a very important piece that allowed his body to overcome death.
Unfortunately I am now prepared for cancer; I can check that off the to-do list though I still do not have an emergency evacuation plan in case of fire.

"A Keeper's Promise" painting by Autumn Skye Morrison

Monday, May 5, 2014

Creating without Money - the Feminine Truth

We're all searching. Searching for the one thing that will bring us our riches, the one thing that will be our destiny.  The one thing that will finally be worth all the hard work, the trials and tribulations, that we can send out into the world and finally say we've made it.

I'm forever in that search, continually striving to find my golden ticket, my nugget of pure genius, my contribution.  It's painful and frustrating.  For years I've been searching and each time I think I've found it, the shiny excitement soon begins to fade and I'm back where I started - searching.

Food is the only continual theme, the connecting thread that yanks me back time and time again.  Back and forth I go - between entrepreneurial ventures and steady day jobs.  My intense desire to do something worthwhile bounces me back and forth between the two, never finding my true happiness.  The number of busineseess I've had?  The number of "jobs" I've had?  I lost count a long time ago.  But what I've never lost is the circular journey of always coming back to the question, "What do I want to do?"

I've consulted all the greats in the world of therapy, coaching, business.  I've tracked my astrological charts and progressed Moons.  I've read my weekly numerology, printing it out and pasting it in my journal full of my most lowest of lows and moments I'm convinced are the most epic I've ever encountered.  They all say the same thing - "What do you love?"  Um, food.  "What would make you leap out of bed each morning?" Um, going shopping with an unlimited budget.  "What do you always do that you can't stop yourself from doing?" Um, cook and eat and dive deeply into my own self to learn who I am.

"What would you create even if you knew you wouldn't get paid one penny for it?" That question posed to me by my bestie gal stopped me dead in my tracks.  What would that be?  I drew a total blank.  I don't know, everything I've ever created has come from my masculine.  A masculine determined to prove that I am good enough, that I can take care of myself, that I can be independent and that I can create my own wealth.  Was any of it from my feminine?  The center and source of true creation?  Did my masculine ever stop to ask her what she wanted?

Washing the dishes this warm spring day, I began to look over everything I've ever created and I asked myself, "Would you create that even if you were never going to be paid for it?"  Every answer was no.  Would I create meal plans if I never got paid?  No.  Would I create private food coaching packages if I never got paid?  No.  Would I teach cooking classes if I never got paid?  No.  Would I create tele-seminars on food and nutrition if I never got paid?  No.  Would I create kitchen transition guides if I never got paid?  No.  On and on I went dropping deeper into my feminine until I said to her, "What would you do?"  Without a moment's hesitation, before the masculine could jump in, she whispered sweetly but fiercely, "I . . . would write."