Tag Archive 'gratitude'

Jul 01 2010

I Am Willing – Issue #54

My chemo and radiation treatments ended 3 weeks ago and tomorrow my doctor will examine me to see if the tumor is gone or still remains. The radiation continues to take effect 3 weeks after the treatment stops, so that’s why the wait.

This waiting period has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. I’ve found myself fully in the Now at times, and at other times in the future where I sometimes imagine the worst and sometimes imagine the best. It’s been difficult to think positive at times when I feel uncomfortable in my body, feeling my innards scorched by the radiation, feeling queasy and fatigued from chemo.

Right now I’m in a place of willingness – I am willing to be present with whatever comes up. I am willing to feel whatever feelings are here. I am willing to experience complete healing. I am willing to experience death. I am willing. What got me to this place was the realization that a part of me was NOT willing, a part of me was resisting and resenting.

Recently a friend of mine, who is very in touch with her light, has been exploring her shadows (those disowned parts of herself). She never thought she had shadows, so this is a new exploration for her. I started looking at how I see so clearly her shadows and her resistance to them, and I wondered if she was reflecting back to me something in myself that I’ve been resisting. As I told her, I believe that if it’s in your life then it’s in you. The people in our lives that push our buttons and stir our judgments are mirroring back to us our disowned parts. How nice of them! The goal is wholeness – owning all our parts makes us whole.

I told my friend that a strong indicator that someone is reflecting back to us our disowned feelings is if we feel victimized by them (anger is often cleverly disguised as “victim”). As I explored this in myself, I was not aware of feeling victimized by anybody in my life, but I affirmed, “I am willing to see my shadows. I am willing to see every part of me. I am willing to be whole.” Just then it came to me…I don’t feel victimized by any body in my life…just my OWN body. I realized there is a part of me that feels let down by my body, disappointed, sad, mad and scared. I did everything I could to be healthy, I ate well, took supplements, felt my feelings, connected with my spirit, loved myself and others, and yet I got cancer. Now I’ve been resisting taking supplements, thinking, what good did it do me? I’m seeing my cynicism, seeing that my surly Cynny persona has been operating from the shadows.

As I connect with the feeling of being betrayed by my body, I let myself cry and feel the disappointment and sadness, I let the emotions move through me, ventilating my feelings. I welcome my cynicism and disappointment and sadness to the party, I invite them out of the shadows into the light, and I feel lighter, I feel whole.

I’ve found that the best way to anchor myself in this place of wholeness, this place of openness and willingness to feel it all and be one with it all, is to ‘TAG’ myself. I created the acronym and practice over a year ago when I first discovered I had cancer. It goes like this:

TAG – Trust, Acceptance, & Gratitude

I TRUST that I am loved, guided and watched over. I trust that things happen for a reason. I trust that my life is purposeful. I trust that everything will work out.

I ACCEPT that this is what’s happening. It is what is. I breathe and allow it to be. This moment is perfect just as it is. I surrender to it. I become one with it.

I feel GRATITUDE for the many blessings in my life: my loving friends and family, my fellow journeyers (you) and learning buddies, my wonderful husband Tom. I am grateful for this opportunity to cultivate more awareness, love, trust, and wholeness in my life. I am grateful that I remember that this is what is most important to me.

I feel scared to hear what my doctor has to say tomorrow. But I am willing to be present, to breathe, feel my fear, and face whatever life presents to me. I am willing.

P.S.
It is the next day and I just got back from my exam. The doctor said that there is still something there and it’s about the same size that the last CT scan showed. The tumor shrunk to a quarter it’s original size, but apparently did not shrink any more in the remaining weeks of treatment. He said that there’s still a possibility that it could shrink more…or not. It could also grow back…or not. He suggested we wait and see and keep an eye on it. I don’t foresee any further treatment. So here I am, willing to be here one breath at a time. I think I’ll go have a good cry, eat some chocolate, and then TAG myself.

In Trust, Acceptance and Gratitude,
Jan

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Jun 05 2010

Counting Blessings – Issue #53

A good friend of mine recently returned home from a weekend trip with her husband and found that someone had broken into their house and stolen several pieces of expensive jewelry, including her wedding rings. At first she cried, but very quickly she shifted into acceptance and told me that I was the reason why. She said she thought about me and reasoned that she didn’t have cancer, and no one died — that put things into perspective for her. She learned the lesson from the experience and was able to let it go.

That is a great illustration that how we choose to think about things affects our sense of wellbeing. It inspired me to focus on what I’m grateful for on this cancer journey, and I’d like to share some of it with you in this update.

About two weeks ago I had a CT scan which showed that my tumor is responding to treatment. After four weeks, the 2” x 3” tumor shrunk to one fourth its original size. It’s gone from an egg to a grape. That is good news!

I am also grateful that for the last 2 weeks I haven’t had chemo because my blood counts have been low. I needed a break from the relentless nausea and I got it. I’m using this reprieve to eat better, exercise more, and fortify my body.

This treatment could have been far worse. I haven’t lost any hair! I haven’t had to take narcotics as they’d said I might — Ibuprofen is handling the pain and discomfort.

I’m grateful that I’m in the homestretch — there is just three more days of radiation treatment (and possibly one more chemo session, depending on my blood count). During these weeks of treatment, time has crawled like a snail. Now there is an end in sight. Yay!

Occasionally the fear comes up for me, what if this doesn’t work? The doctor said that if the tumor doesn’t completely disappear, it will grow back. When this fear appears, I’ve been doing the only thing I have control over — I’ve been training myself to come into the present. Throughout the day I say to myself, “Present moment, only moment.” It is a blessing to be strengthening my ability to be fully present in the moment. It’s a goal of mine in this lifetime, and feels like a huge accomplishment.

I am grateful for Tom who is taking such good care of me, and also himself and not letting himself become burned out. I am grateful for friends and family and the people who have been on this journey with me, giving me so much love and support. Thank you!

I feel blessed that my cancer experience is of service to some people, like my friend who put her loss into perspective and was able to let it go. People have told me that it has reminded them that life is precious and has inspired them to get more focused on what it is they’re here to do, and what it is they really want. I feel honored and grateful to be of service in this way.

I am counting my many blessings. I am Here and Now. I am happy to be alive. There’s always someone who has it worse off than us. My heart fills with compassion for them, and gratitude that I’m not them! It’s all relative.

How about you? Counted your blessings lately? They really are plentiful when we look for them.

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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Nov 04 2009

Miraculous, Mind-Blowing Holidays! Issue #31

The holidays are here! — otherwise known as the ‘hollow’days, ‘holler’days, ‘hell’idays, or ‘holy’days, depending on what frame of mind we’re in. It can be a challenging time of year for many, evoking and shining a spotlight on our painful core beliefs, family issues, and losses.

Years ago I dreaded the holidays. My mother lived 3000 miles away, and though my sister lives nearby, she’s a Jehovah’s Witness and doesn’t celebrate holidays. My friends were visiting their families. Therefore, I spent many holidays alone. This stimulated my painful core belief that said, “I am all alone in this world, I am unloved and unlovable.” This belief was accentuated by my imagining that everyone in the entire country was gathering with loved ones for a fun, festive Norman Rockwell holiday — except me, poor Lil’ Orphan Janny.

Over the years the warrior in me decided to adopt the orphan in me…and a new attitude. I decided to use the holidays as a time to reframe my core belief by focusing on Thanksgiving and Christmas day as a time to deeply connect with my spirit, to meditate, to walk in nature, to feel my oneness with All That Is and feel the love that surrounds me. I started looking forward to those peaceful, prayerful days, filled with gratitude and appreciation for the many gifts in my life. My feeling of “all alone in the world” transformed into feeling “all one with the world”, and my holiday misery became a holiday miracle.

I also realized that I could ask my sister and her kids to get together with me on those days for a few hours and do non-holiday things, like go to the movies. I therefore got to spend time with some of my favorite people in the world, by choice.

I think that choosing to feel loved opened the spigot of love, and a beautiful love flowed to me in the form of Tom. With Tom in my life, I thought, no more holidays alone. But the universe was about to give me a pop quiz. One of our first Thanksgivings together, Tom spent with his family in Minnesota and I chose not to go. I was happy and content to spend some time with him talking on the phone, hearing all about his holiday with his huge family. I waited for his call, but no call came. As day became night, there was still no call from him; I imagined him frolicking with his family having a great time…and forgetting all about little ol’ me, all alone. I started simmering and made myself ‘stew’ for Thanksgiving (complete with ‘Chopped Liver’)!

I eventually called him and shared some of my ‘stew’ with him. As we talked, I got clearer and realized that I could have called him at anytime. If I’d done that, my Lil’ Orphan Janny wouldn’t have gathered steam and ingredients for her ‘stew’. It was another holiday miracle — waking up and seeing my part in things, realizing that it is my choice to stew or to count my blessings, and it is my decision whether I want to burrow inward in anger and sadness or to reach out for connection.

Holidays for me have become a powerful time of healing and reframing painful core beliefs, a time of awakening to the awareness that I am the creator of my reality, not the victim of it, and a time of connecting with my higher power, remembering that I am loved and I am not alone.

What is your frame of mind about the holidays? Do you have any core beliefs or feelings of loss or lack that are accentuated during this time of year? If so, you can use the holidays as a time to blow your mind-set and engage your inner warrior to re-frame the hollow, holler, holidays into a holy day of remembrance of your magnificent, loved, beautiful Self. Wishing you a miraculous, mind-blowing holiday season!

In Love,

Jan Jacobsen

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