2nd January 2020

Anita Neilson writes some words that resonated with me in  her article When your worst nightmare turns into your greatest gift. In her article she  writes  that for many people times of ill health can be a gift.

She suggests that the gifts may include   a time for self-reflection and growth, the development or re-emergence of qualities such as compassion , kindness and understanding and can allow  reconnection with one’s life purpose.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago my life changed in an instant. Although I was tired I had no symptoms that suggested anything was amiss. Thank goodness for Mammograms.

( Have you had yours?)

The year ( 2019) that followed was difficult, going through surgery, decisions around treatments and adjusting to being a “cancer survivor”. Although it was truly difficult it did afford me the opportunity to look at all areas of my life. In many ways it did give me as Anita Neilson writes certain gifts.

What have I learnt?

During my recovery  I have been able to reflect on how I am living my life. I realised how fortunate I am to be working as a Creative Arts Therapist using harp as my main modality. My work puts me directly into the heart of what it is to live a human life- I  have experienced  and seen the full gamut of human emotions- joy, hope, peace, sadness, grief, love, regret, guilt, anger, determination, death, birth and everything in between. I understand that  life can be unpredictable, uncertain and the only constant is change.

I am learning to be more kind to myself. I now takes breaks when I need to, say no more often and rest when tired. I see and recognise kindness and compassion in the care I received and when its offered to others by  clinical staff. What a difference it makes.

Finally, my illness helps me in fulfilling my life purpose of working with my harp in hospitals and hospice. I have a deeper awareness and understanding of what its like to be in a oversized blue gown waiting for radiation. I understand the difficulty and anxiety of waiting for results, waiting to feel better, waiting for life to return to normal……..

Finally, being diagnosed with  cancer informs how I live my life now. I have become more mindful and aware of the sacred in the ordinary  such as enjoying times with family and friends, eating nourishing food, walking, sitting in my garden, taking time to read my favourite books and play my harp just for fun. I have learnt not to put off the things I want to do as the only constant in life is change. 2020 will be a great year.

Love and Blessings to you all.

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