Life. It’s crazy. Just when you think you’re starting to figure things out, or that things are finally falling into place, the rug is swept from underneath you. Life as you know it changes forever. Sometimes the changes are tiny, incremental; other times, earth-shattering moments swoop in and flip everything you thought you knew upside down.
And you look around and wonder how everyone else is doing it. What have they figured out that I haven’t? The secret is, I think, that nobody really does have it figured out. Even if they think they do. Maybe, especially when they think they do… but I’m starting to think that ‘figuring it out’ isn’t the point, or rather that the end result of having ‘figured it out’ isn’t. We are all just muddling through, doing our best, but our best moments are usually just that – moments. Points in time where we forget about the ‘point’ of it, forget about the to-do lists and the ‘coulds’ and the ‘shoulds’ and just be in the moment.
This Art Called Life. I read this phrase somewhere and it stuck with me, so I decided to name my blog just that. Because, to me, life is about creation: creating moments that are full of love and full of meaning, full of light and laughter, and fully experiencing all of it – the dark stuff included. Just as Art is about creating a piece that captures a moment, or an emotion, our lives are created by the endless moments and emotions that constitute our stories. We can exist in the moment, but I feel that the best lives – or the best moments of our lives – are brought about by action and intention. We will the life we want into existence by the actions we take to get there – we create our lives. Life is art. Your life is your masterpiece.
Funny enough, I started this blog at the New Year as an intention (I’m not into ‘resolutions’). Little did I know at the time how apropos this name would become. 2015 was a really rough year for me. I knew another year like that would do me in, and I’ve always had the intention of keeping up a blog. I’ve created blogs in the past, but never followed through with them. ‘Writing a blog’ became just another ‘to-do’ on the agenda. The intention, this time, was to just let it happen: no pressure, no agenda. Of course, life continued to happen and the blog didn’t. Not so much.
Back to 2015. The words that come to mind include perpetual exhaustion, burn out, anxiety… basically I was a stressed out mess. As New Years’ 2016 approached, I figured if I really focused on taking a step back and focus on things that would nourish my mind, body, and soul, life would improve. 2016 would be a better year. I felt like I was generally getting back on track, however, rather than improving, my physical health continued to decline. Little did I know, the damage was done….
In December, I had gone to the doctor with pain in my chest when I breathed, which, at the time, he diagnosed as pleurisy – an inflammation of the lung lining, which isn’t typically too serious. Advil and rest were the prescribed panacea. The following week I came down with a sinus infection, went back and got a prescription for antibiotics, and once they kicked in within a week my health improved. The holidays rolled around and I was feeling, more or less, ok. I was tired, but I chalked it up to whirlwind of the holidays. The winter dragged on and my cough lingered and the pain in my chest still wasn’t resolving, though I had read that pleurisy can take a while to fully heal. Breathing slowly became more difficult, sleeping became uncomfortable unless I was on my right side, and my yoga practice ground nearly to a halt as many poses triggered my cough and I was just generally almost too exhausted to think about it. It was winter, it was cold, I was stressed… I just needed some sunshine to heal. I thought spring would breathe new life into me.
Perhaps it did… but in the crazy way that life often works. I brought myself back to the doctor when a bad cold had me down for weeks. I knew there was something more going on. After a series of scans and biopsies, I was officially diagnosed with Lymphoma: Primary Mediastinal B Call Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma to be exact. Here it was. One of those earth-shattering, life flipping moments. I was diagnosed with cancer. A healthy 30 year old who practiced hot power yoga regularly and was a vegetarian for 8 years. Someone who drank more than 8 glasses of water a day her whole life, had always been active and always watched her nutrition (dark chocolate obsession aside). A woman who had never spent a day in a hospital, only went to the doctor for checkups, and had really only ever taken advil and birth control her whole life aside from a couple one-off rounds of antibiotics. I’d never even contracted chicken pox as a child, try as my mom might to set up playdates with those kids who had it. I had to get the vaccine. And here I was, in the prime of my life, diagnosed with cancer.
Today is June 1, 2016. I was diagnosed in mid-April, and started my first round of chemotherapy May 6. Yesterday I finished my second round. Today I’m ‘starting’ this official blog, so I can keep track of the moments of my life – the good, the bad, the crazy – as well as the things I figure out along this journey as I work on creating my own beautiful masterpiece.