Happiness Is…

Taking Bold Steps.

More than once, I walked home crying.
But I made it through my first ever dance class.

And I’m absolutely thrilled that I did.

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Healing Humiliation: Wise Words from Julien Smith

I’ve been planning my PAB2011 Jolt. But I’m choking.

Luckily, I remembered this sanity-saving advice from Julien Smith.

Here’s a tiny taste….

Do things that you consider embarrassing.

You must try this. Find your internal filters and break them, one at a time. Notice how society, like an ocean, smoothes over the waves you make, until what you do gets eliminated, or becomes the status quo. Work with this.

Julien Smith, The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck

If my Jolt is a flop. I’ll handle it.

Eeep.

Baby Steps

Yesterday was the end of term dance recital at our local community centre. What a fabulous show.

Hundreds of talented young people filled with energy, confidence, excitement and joy.

Even my belly dancing class troupe performed.
Did I join them? No.
Did I drop out of the class? Yes.

And yet watching that 90 minutes of dance just thrilled me.
My timid tip-toeing into dance has opened life up.

My burlesque is bashful. My belly dancing, a flop.
But I’m trying. And, although what I hoped would be an introductory class turned out to be a seasoned troupe, I’m undeterred.

I’ve signed up for five new dance classes.

I may never make it into a recital. But, you know, I’m really hoping I do.
And that’s definitely a whole new me.

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Talk for Walking

I’m always pleased to hear that my blog has reached people. Especially those on their own versions of this journey.

Today, I heard from Alex in London, England. She asked if I had any advice for post-treatment life. I thought I’d share my response here…

Hi Alex,

Congratulations on completion of your treatment and thanks for your very kind message.

Hmmm. Advice for life after treatment? I guess my advice would be: lower your standards, enjoy each day, face your fears, exude gratitude and try not to stress about prevention.

It seems easy to find tonnes of advice on how to try to prevent recurrence and I made a tonne of lifestyle, food, habit changes during my treatment. But the best advice I have for myself (or you) is probably to be good to myself: and that can mean to remember to be moderate about the anti-cancer stuff. Not to beat myself up because I go weeks or months without eating brazil nuts or almonds or ginger or green tea or flax meal. To accept that I drink coffee and red wine etc. That I have the occasional run of late nights.

Oh, and unsubscribe from all cancer blogs! (I do check in on my cancer-friends from time to time, and catch up on their stories, but getting a steady stream of daily cancer-news was not having healthy results for the post-treatment me)

And here‘s a great bunch of advice.

Wishing you many years of great health and happiness.
Andrea

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Ease

I don’t dream of flying, fulfillment or fame.

Even my life-long boat, plane and elevator disaster dreams are almost always preempted, these last few years, by the horrid-family-problem theme.

But last night I had an absolutely, extremely, wonderfully atypical dream.

I dreamed the path I was walking was littered with bills. So many bills, here and there, that I began to leave most of them, stooping only to snag the curled and crumpled red fifties.

I didn’t feel greedy. Or guilty. Or even thrilled.

I felt lucky.
Tickled.

And I awoke feeling good.

It was so out of character, I just had to ask google:

A dream of finding money suggests that the dreamer is becoming aware of their intrinsic value to themselves and others, from a spiritual, rather than a material perspective. It can also indicate a recent success or imminent achievement in their waking life in which their self worth is visibly manifested. Often this dream indicates that the dreamer possesses special artistic or creative abilities that they are in the process of becoming aware of…

Dream Message
You are worth more than you think you are, and should not feel reticent about taking the chance to prove your value to yourself and others. As you become more aware of your own self worth, you will become more confident at exploring opportunities in your waking life that are to your advantage.

(Ian Wallace, Finding Money)

I’m glad I checked.

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Your Story Deserves to be Told. Well.

Stories stick. Stories connect.
Stories deliver. Stories mend.

Your stories and mine.

This month (June 24-26, 2011), I’ll be treating myself to a weekend of narrative nudging, friendly faces and inspiration at the sixth annual PAB conference1 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

I hope you will be too!

1 PAB2011 is an annual three day social/new media conference that includes speaking sessions, discussion, JOLTs2, workshops, panel discussions, Saturday lunch and, typically, a boat cruise. The conference has flourished on a reputation of strong content and a welcoming community, attracting participants from as far away as the U. K. and South America. Online registration for the weekend is CDN$160.

2 A Jolt! is a timed 5-minute, slide-free session during which the speaker wakes up the imaginations, brains and collective energy of the PAB community.  Jolts are meant to get people thinking, talking, connecting and collaborating.

* PAB 2006 was the catalyst for our “Just One More Book!” podcast.

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Happiness Is…

Evolving.

On April 14, 2011, after 25 years of full-time employment and with no new position in the works, I quit my job.

That evening, I tiptoed timidly into the world of dance. Burlesque, unbelievably. Then celebrated with red wine, Mark and our good friend, Laura.

In the six weeks since then, I’ve turned down a full-time systems analyst position, booked our long-dreamed-of cross-Canada train trip, joined the speaker roster for PAB2011, contributed daily to Mark’s new company and endured ten grueling hours of choreographed belly dancing.

Sure, I’ve continued to torture myself with self-doubt, -criticism and -loathing.
But I’m better, stronger, happier than I was.

I’m alive.
And I’m evolving.

Forget Regrets. Enjoy the Wondrousness.

The world, indeed the whole universe, is a beautiful, astonishing, wondrous place. There is always more to find out. I don’t look back and regret anything, and I hope my family can find a way to do the same.

Derek K. Miller (June 30, 1969 – May 3, 2011)

Thank you, Derek, for your strength, your humour, your wisdom and your authenticity.

Thinking of you, Airdrie, Lauren and Marina. Wishing you healing and many years of happiness and good health.
Love,
Andrea

Encore

A rallying cry from the reluctant hero of Zorgamazoo:

Now, sometimes you lose and sometimes you win,
but my Pop always told me: You never give in!
And if he were here now, I know what he’d say:
Morty, my son, when you’re caught in a fray,

or your travels are tough and the going is rough,
or you’re up to your neck in the slippery stuff,
or say some old robots are on the attack,
then I tell you, my son: You start fighting back!.

Zorgamazoo, by Robert Paul Weston
RazorBill, 2008.

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Ooooh! Look at all these Parts!

When Mark lost his job last month, a friend grinned,
“When one door closes, another opens…
Sometimes, 17 others open.”

And it’s been true.
Possibilities have been popping up ever since.

Possible new paths for Mark.
And, surprisingly, hints of possible new paths for me.

Just hints, at this point. Vague invitations that may mean crossroads ahead.

But, several of them.

Open doors (even hints of open doors) are deliciously scary.