Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘cancer’

Is it Time?

Christmas is only one week away – where did the time go? As you are wrapping gifts to give to your family and friends how about giving one to yourself. I am not talking about anything that can be bought in department stores or shipped to you from the hundreds of online suppliers. No, what I have in mind is too big, too valuable to simply be purchased. I’m talking about the gift of forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the magic elixir, the thing that can seriously change your life for the better. If there is someone that you have unfinished emotional business with or even open wounds that haven’t healed when we talk about peace on earth remember, the peace must first start in your own heart.

You can tell if a person has been sidelined due to their bitterness over something that happened in the past. When they talk about it (which they often do) they talk faster, louder and with such strong emotionally laden words that it sounds like it happened just yesterday. They seem to relive the time, date and place with such vehemence that you just have to wonder what toll it is taking on them on the inside. I wonder if they know about the research regarding the relationship between anger and cancer. Is it time for the gift of forgiveness.

Anger, bitterness or resentment can eat away at you. Even if you feel 100% justified in your feelings the only one paying the price is you – over and over again as you relive it in your mind. Simply put, you have allowed another person to rob you of today when you relive the negatives of yesterday. Sometimes we may feel that we want the whole world to know we were wronged. Here’s a news flash … the rest of the world really doesn’t care – not really – they are too busy dealing with their own challenges. Okay – something hurtful or wrong happened – now the million dollar question is do you really want to carry the enormous weight of that baggage on your shoulders for the rest of your life? If not, decide how long are you willing to carry it and write it down. Your answer determines how long you choose to be the victim.

Forgiveness is not easy but essential if you want to be truly happy. You might think that you are past the issue or do not want to give the person the time of day ever again. I get it – but just remember you are choosing to pay a steep price from your emotional bank account. If you continue to hold on to the grudge sooner or later you will be emotionally bankrupt as you join the ranks of the walking wounded. There are no blue ribbons for the person who has been hurt or wronged most deeply.

You can forgive but you needn’t forget. You have learned something from the experience and it has made you wiser more equipped to handle similar situations in the future. Perseverating on the past keeps you locked into a victim mentality. Little by little you begin to see others with a jaundice eye. Negative energy multiplies fast and will seep into your pores until you look for – even expect -more of the same in your life. You become primed for a hostile emotional take over and then wonder why life continues to be so tough. It all boils down to energy – negative attracts more negative.

Forgiveness is not simply a feeling it is a choice that you make. Are you ready to let go of the yuk from the past? Only you can decide if being in the role of victim, filled with grudges and unhappiness, is the role you choose for the rest of your life. Maybe it’s time to give yourself the greatest gift possible … forgiveness.

Have a great few days!

The Importance of Tenacity

Roger Ebert, THE film critic, author and first journalist (of three) to win a Pulitzer Prize passed away on Friday after a long battle with cancer. When he lost his voice to the disease he found a way to ‘keep on keeping on’ his work and became an avid social media user on both Facebook and Twitter. He refused to give up simply because his voice was gone along with part of his jaw. Although he could not eat or drink as we do, he found sustenance in other ways. Communicating to his nearly 600,000 followers was too important a task to walk away from – tenacity – he had it in spades. He created the now familiar thumbs up sign which became a trademark used by he and his fellow critic Gene Siskel who died in 1999. Demonstrating his passion for connecting with others, he posted his last blog on Wednesday, two days before his death.

What an impact he had on this world! Michael Moore credited him with his own success when he enthusiastically endorsed Moore’s first movie, ‘Roger and Me.’ The integrity of Ebert’s message was felt by both the large film industry as well as the small independent film producers. Movies should stand for something, make an impact and deliver a message along the way.

The tremendous success he experienced came from his honesty, hard work and passion for his field. He believed that the significance of films was in how they could sensitize us to go where we had never been in our minds. He encouraged us to stretch our sensibilities and walk in another person’s shoes during the 90 minutes of a well made movie. His reviews were never ‘bought or sold’ to the highest bidder. If he gave the thumbs up sign, you knew the price of the theatre ticket would be money well spent. He was a person who lived his truth in service to others and just happened to love his job along the way!

During his battle with cancer some people told him he was a brave inspiration. Shunning the accolade he replied that “courage and bravery have little to do with it. You play the cards you are dealt.” He did not want praise or pity but to simply be allowed to keep on going and apply his steely determination to contribute to our views for tomorrow.

Reflecting on death he wrote in 2010 that he did not fear it because he “didn’t believe there was anything on the other side to fear. I was perfectly content before I was born and I think of death as the same state. I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting.”

He lived life to the fullest and made an impact along the way. I wish him well on his journey. Tonight when we gaze up at the sky we might see a star flickering a little more brightly than the rest. It may be Roger Ebert telling us he has arrived and to keep on going regardless of our challenges and to remember to enjoy the ride as we give it everything we’ve got to make the world a little better place. ‘Roger on that…’

Have a great few days!

Living with Joy

Piers Morgan interviewed American stage and screen actress Valerie Harper last night on CNN. After winning her battle with lung cancer in 2011, she has recently been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Her doctors told her that she has only weeks or months to live. She decided to go public with her health issue to remind us to focus on the things that are really important in life and to live life to the fullest. Knowledge of one’s impending death strips away the minors in our thinking and allows us to get to the majors – the true heart of the matter. She looked and sounded radiantly happy, even joyful at times, and it took my breath away. It was the kind of happy that we rarely see but recognize it as coming from somewhere deep, deep inside.

Some things she said she has learned and wanted to share were:

Don’t miss one hour of today thinking about tomorrow
Whatever lies ahead is just that – ahead – and not now
Refuse to think of the should haves, would haves or could haves in your life

Her point was to not let fear of your tomorrows or regrets of your yesterdays control your life. Since none of us gets out of here alive we need to learn to enjoy the ride. Each of us has our own unique lessons to learn and it makes sense to surround ourselves with positive energy as we are learning them. Yes, issues come up, challenges can momentarily reroute our path but everything that happens can be viewed in either a positive or negative frame – an opportunity to grow in wisdom or not.

Valerie also mentioned the topic of forgiveness. She said it is giving up the wish that the past could have been different and releasing the energy we are using to keep those regrets alive in our minds. Better to use that energy making today all that it can be.

When Piers Morgan asked her how she wanted to be remembered she said, “Up and off the couch!”

Valerie Harper is such an inspiration – a model – of how to accept the inevitable without anger or regret but simply with a sense of peace. A knowing and accepting in her heart that ‘all is as it should be.’ In facing her imminent death she is valiantly using the last bit of energy she has to reach out to us with a gentle reminder about the importance of truly living in the now. She is modeling a love of humanity that is so heartfelt it seems like her life mission. She is teaching us how to live as well as how to pass on with dignity and grace.

Watching her was both inspiring and humbling. I thank her for all that she has done to entertain us in the past and all that she is doing now to guide us in the present. Happy journey Valerie!

Let’s make it a great few days by putting her ideas in action!