Sunday, June 30, 2013

The power of choice

This trip has been an absolute blast so far.  I've seen old friends, made new ones, swam in the Pacific and high alpine lakes beneath huge volcanic peaks, climbed at Smith Rocks and now I'm enjoying a refreshing iced coffee before heading up to Devil's Lake for an afternoon swim with my sights on climbing South Sister tomorrow.  The weather here in Bend is hot, but the river that runs through town has provided ample opportunities to cool off.

I headed into the Mt Jefferson Wilderness this past weekend and got into thinking about why I'm blogging. These days it seems like everyone has a blog. Without much scientific research (read: none at all) I can find a blog for anything, from how to make interesting things out of old shoe strings to stories of people's opinions on local politics, and building aluminum can sculptures to sharing the day to day experiences of life...

I'm starting to think that this blog is going to have something for everyone, beautiful photos (hopefully), travelogues and most importantly, thoughts on living deliberately. As a young(ish) cancer survivor, I also hope to provide hope to those who need it.  After my diagnosis and my amazing opportunity to be a part of the Colon Club's Colondar, I've received emails and Facebook messages from people around the country who have been affected by cancer or have loved ones that have been affected.  They've been gracious enough to share their stories with me and thankful to see positive outcomes from what is absolutely a 100% life changer. 

Everyday, I'm grateful and feel sooooo lucky. My cancer was stage one, it didn't metastasize anywhere and I didn't have to endure chemo or radiation.  Many others aren't so lucky. I've lost friends and loved ones to cancer. It sucks. However, everyday we wake up and have a choice.  Not everyone is going to like hearing this, but we can choose happiness, sadness, eagerness, anxiousness, fear, love, hopelessness or optimism.  I'm currently reading Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now," and it's powerful. EVERYONE should read it. Ultimately there is nothing but the now.  We have to make sure we're making the most of it because it's all we have and who knows for how long we'll have it...

So here's my insight for today: whatever makes you happy, do it. If its flying a kite, or knitting a sweater or going for a run, or playing with your kids, just do it.  You'll be happy.  And when you're happy it will make others happy.  No one I know encounters angry people and afterward says, "Wow! That was awesome! I wish I could deal with angry people everyday!" Angry people use their anger to mask their pain.  I believe happiness is a great natural remedy for a lot of pain in the world, so choose happiness, be nice, and don't mess with the people who serve your food :-)

I'm off to do what makes me happy--heading into the mountains!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Two years ago today...

I was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of, I'm in Portland, Oregon getting ready to head into the hills with friends. For those that know me and have helped me weather this storm, I am forever indebted. 
I always think I should have some incredible insights and poignant observations about life and what it all means, but these past two years have taught me that I don't know much at all. There are no certainties in life. I do know this though...Give it your all. Too many opportunities pass us by without much recognition on our part other than, "That would be such a cool thing to do," or "Wow, I wish I could doing that." Well you know what? You can! I know people have obligations, families, mortgages, jobs, responsibilities, but take a moment, breathe, and ask yourself, "Do I make too many compromises? Am I always putting others ahead of me and ignoring my own needs?" If you find yourself answering yes to those questions, then really think about what you want your life to be about. How do you want people to remember you when you're gone? How do you want to feel during those last few breaths? No one can tell you when that will come, but you can damn well bet that you'll feel better about the end when you can look back on your life and say, " I went for it."
Today, go out and whatever it means to you, go for it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Let the adventure...

This trip marks an end and a beginning.  The end of feeling like someone else was in the driver's seat, bouncing down a circuitous mountain road with sharp, precipitous drops on either side and no brakes...Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously, cancer, divorce, house fire...enough was enough. I had to take back control of the steering wheel.  It's been no easy's required pain, loss, sadness, regret, guilt and uncertainty.  However the positives have been the seeds that have sown this beginning as well. Hope, courage, strength, will, desire and trust. Nurturing those and believing in them have allowed me to create this new beginning. I've left my job, moved out of my house, donated many things to GoodWill, got accepted to graduate school for the fall and now I'm waiting for my flight on my first or two forays this summer to the west coast. First Oregon and Washington to visit friends and climb in the mountains, and second to Alaska for more of the same.  Believe in what you want, but I believe that we manifest our thoughts into our lives. If that's the case, I've somehow manifested an unplanned overnight at the San Fran airport tonight because of a delayed flight and a missed connection ;-)
The adventure begins...