Adventures in Living

Art by Leigh Standley

Art by Leigh Standley

“It is not enough to put
your heart
and soul into
something.
Some things
require all
our given graces:
patience,
balance,
risk,
intention,
spirit,
love…”

We have just been deeply blessed with a series of new beginnings. The Moon aligned with the Sun in her orbit and began a new circle around the Earth. The Sun entered a new constellation. The Earth changed its tilt, propelling us into a new season. The time is powerful for nurturing some radical new seedlings within us and around us. Before moving forward, there is always a moment of looking back. Inspired by the Sabian symbolism of the September New Moon (“The transmutation of the fruits of past experiences into the seed-realizations of the forever creative spirit”), I decided to inspire reflection by looking through old photo albums.

At this time last year, as Autumn arrived with the wind in the Northern Hemisphere, I had just set out on a cross-country road trip throughout the USA. I was craving freedom, perspective, expansive landscapes and a chance to recharge. Just two months before, I’d had my last radiation and chemotherapy appointments. I made it to the end of the prescribed cancer treatment. I made it! After spending every day (day-in and day-out, give or take a few weekends) at the hospital, I desperately needed a change of scenery. I had been getting through on autopilot, running on IV fluids and the strength of willpower and grace, finding respite here and there in sacred scattered moments of feeling inspired and well. I was ready to take on a new challenge and live out my dreams of attending a Vipassana meditation course and returning to California. So I started strengthening my immune system, proposed my vision to my dearest most adventurous friends, reached out to supportive family members, and soon set out with high hopes and low budgets on our bucket list trip.

Annie & I at Utah’s Salt Flats, smiling with the sunflowers.

In those two dynamic months on the road, I visited drastically different states, explored the stunning wilderness of various national parks, reconnected with members of my tribe from all walks of life, and faced more fears than I knew I had. In the process, I found a sense of clarity and purpose that surprised me. But when I returned home, I struggled to implement the inspiration I had acquired. Side effects from treatment showed up sneakily in the form of fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and hypothyroidism. I took on a full-time job in the reproductive health field to ensure health insurance coverage, despite wanting to dive head first into my doula and prenatal education work. Those who know me expressed surprise when I told them about my decision to commit to a 9 to 5 office job, but after facing so much insecurity since the cancer diagnosis, having job security seemed quite appealing. I was so relieved to feel like a productive member of the work force again that it took me a long time to realize that I had just fallen into society’s trap of keeping busy and was not actually getting what I needed. I kept myself occupied by pursuing all the relevant opportunities that came my way, avoiding the inner work of finding ways to reconcile and integrate everything from the trauma to the insights that I had acquired during my journey through cancer treatment.

Then, last month, I made my way to my old hospital stomping grounds for the highly anticipated 1-year post-treatment PET scans. I almost burst with anxiety one night after my doctor called me and left me a cryptic voicemail. To my (and my mother’s) utmost relief, everything turned out to be fine. The scans came back clear. Congratulations on remission. I vaguely remembered one day when I explained to my family members that I needed to go on a cross-country road trip because I didn’t know if I would still be here in a year. Here I am. I emerged from the chrysalis, victorious. Yet the cycle of transformation continues. Who knows if I’ll still be here in a year?

In honor of the cyclical and delicate nature of Life, I am re-dedicating myself to my true healing work. I am releasing the busy-is-best mentality and moving forward in the process of building a business that reflects my passion. My hope is that this website transforms with me from a cancer blog to a health and wellness resource. I want to make a living doing work that is both fulfilling to me and helpful to those I work with, that lets my talents shine and allows me the flexibility to take care of my unique needs. I believe that the really important things require a good balance of risk, trust, patience, action, intention, sweat, mind and heart. I also believe in my ability to collaborate with the Universe to create a new life that is more aligned with the way I want to live.

So here’s to new beginnings, to taking chances, to accepting challenges and making it.

Let’s make it big.

We made it to California! Here we stand joyfully in front of The Women's Building in San Francisco.

We made it to California! Here we stand joyfully in front of The Women’s Building in SF.

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