smooth leaves no purchase

It’s  natural to want to put out a smooth exterior. I like to appear that I have things under control. Usually I do, don’t I? Except for that one thing. 

And that other thing. 

Until it’s obvious that I am out of control and things are not smooth. Which is about where I am at now. My hair hasn’t fallen out because of chemo yet, but it’s coming. I can’t hide it. 

Being vulnerable feels like a insult following the injury. It’s hard enough to keep it together in these hard times, why do I have to explain to everyone why I’m falling apart? 

Brene Brown writes about the power of vulnerability. She’s doing quite well talking about it. She has a lot of books about it. I’m kinda seeing where she’s right.  

It turns out that acting like I’m fine is really boring. When I put it out there that I’m in a struggle, facing some stuff, people have been kind. I suppose there are some people who will stay away, but the people who I barely knew who step up and held me out have been surprising. 

Being the person who needs nothing leaves others out. Smooth exteriors are too slick. There are no rough edges to hang out to.  

Asking for help, as it turns out, creates a connection. 

Connection is very valuable. These relationships are what makes life enjoyable and precious. 

When I’m feeling vulnerable, it’s easy to want to hide and cover it up. But in a counterintuitive reality, showing up with my true stories brings me what I was afraid to ask for. I didn’t expect it, but I’m so grateful. 

Maybe it wasn’t insult to my injury after all. It gives me hope to look for more silver linings. 


It’s not paranoia if they are really out to get you

Head of the dojo was teaching the class and wanted us to think:

“You love hitting the heavy bag, don’t you? It feels good to get that impactBut I started the class asking you to shadow box. Which do you think is harder?”

I thought striking the bag was harder, of course. There is impact!

Sensei disagreed. “Shadowboxing takes a lot more control and balance.”

Striking is very satisfying, but it’s a lot harder to keep my form correct and stay on my feet when I’m fighting the idea of an opponent.

I’m shadowboxing right now. I know the blow is coming, but I don’t know when yet and I don’t know exactly how it’s going to land.

This chemo thing sounds pretty nasty, but it’s coming. The surgery took a lot longer than we hoped for me to recover, but just this week I’m getting some capacity back.

Just in time to dread the next thing. Surely it can’t be as bad as the surgery.

But even the surgery wasn’t supposed to be as bad as the surgery.

It doesn’t hit until it hits. Like I’ve learned, I have to keep my feet under my and stay balanced. Check my structure.

It isn’t paranoia but it’s a close cousin. In my weak moments I succumb to resentment. It’s not fair to hit me while I’m down.

Except this impact is peripherally mine. The main impact is meant to be on the cancer disease. The impact on the rest of my body is friendly fire, collateral damage.

I am waiting. It’s coming. I’m trying to stay balanced


I want to be strong. I love it when I feel strong, and if I notice I’m getting stronger. Can I do another situp? How about a push up?

Using my muscles has been a fall back. If I’m stuck in a bad place, and least I can go lift something heavy. It’s an easy way to feel proud of myself. I can go get that W if I just reach for it.

Only now I’ve got something else going on. It’s opposite world.

I’ve left the land where strength is easy. I’m used to being able to push myself. The surgery has forced me to

Be Still

I don’t like being still. I want to get up and move. I want to use my strength and feel my power. But that’s not what I need rig right now

I remember feeling this kind of paradox when my daughter was an infant. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. But it was the opposite of power. Caring for a baby requires the gentlest of small movements. The most important work of my life required me to keep still

Great things can require restraint.

I am not pleased with how long it’s taking to recover from surgery. I’m not in pain—not much anyway—and I up and ready to kick move.

I discovered that my  body wasn’t ready to move as much as I –my spirit?—wanted. I’m still too swollen and the doctors need me to

Go Slow

I can’t get back to full strength until I practice the art of being weak. It’s very hard to be slow. I have to hold the pose of stillness before I can resume motion.

I’ve got a way

I’m right here. And I want to get over


I know the way: a straight line from here to there. I can see it clearly.

Not so fast. Why can’t I get there? it’s so close I could reach out and touch it. Why can’t I touch it?

Saturday was international labyrinth day–a perfect reminder of how very far here is from there.

It’s a mystical miraculous thing, the way.

The way must be travelled, letting here be all the things it has to be until it is inevitably and surprisingly


as clear as my vision might be, the way isn’t clear until I walk it.

The labyrinth teaches me I have to walk it. The goal is not as close as it would first appear.

But the path is always there. I am never stuck.

The way will present itself as soon as I look for it.

I might be impatient…

ok, I’m always impatient

…and I might be afraid

in doubt and disbelief

The way is there for me.

I’ve got my eyes on that goal, the place I want to be so bad. I walk towards it and it slips away, teasing me with it’s nearness

and escaping in the distance

my here places me apart from the goal–that goal one there

But the way is always with me. The path I am traveling will hold the faith even as I have lost it and lost sight of my goal.

I’ve got a a long way to go.

what’s it about?

When I’m choosing a book to read, I ask that question.

What’s it about?

Even more so, when I choose to do a review of the book, I have read the book. I can rely on my own experience of the book to share the essence in my review. With my favorite books, they are complicated and it takes some effort to get down to the essence. I will wrestle with it to find the structure that I can share with my audience

Life is even more complicated than a book. That’s part of what authors do is take it all down to a smaller stage and highlight in the story what they are trying to convey. This sets the stage for the art that the book is.

There are moments in my life like that. A time when it’s clear an action needs to be taken. Like when I must break off a relationship. Or conversely to grow a relationship.

When I became a mother, a lot of choices were more easily made. My kid was my priority, everything else was second.

And now I am looking down the barrel of long set of cancer treatments. That has narrowed my priorities again.

What’s it about? Killing this cancer disease is what it’s about. It calls back the earlier clarity when I became a mother, I have to live for my daughter. Priority.

But I’ve never been one to go overboard on that. Neither she nor I will do well if I make her the center of my life.

Here comes the re-shuffling of priorities and possibilities.

SINCE I have to subject myself to continued treatments …chemo and radiation…which are harsh and use up so much of my energy

What is that margin of leftover energy and capacity going to be spent on?

It is frighteningly small. I do not want to squander it.

I’m arriving at another moment of clarity. It’s the people.

If I have a tiny budget of time and energy left over, I want to spend it on the people in my life. It’s the place where love shines in. More than anything else people are what it’s about.