Monday, May 2, 2011

What I've Learned So Far

I think Oprah always writes an editor's note with this title on the last page of O, her magazine. Well, I'm going to take a page out of Oprah's book. (No pun intended.) Today is the last day, rather, morning of the retreat. Today, we leave Rocky Harbour (Gros Morne Park) and drive back to Deer Lake. From there, I will take a road trip (7 hours) to St. John's (the provincial capital of Newfoundland) with another participant and two of the organizers and fly out tomorrow night. (The reason we are not flying out tonight from Deer Lake is that the plane tickets were $ 2000. This was the cheaper option. Imagine! De' plane ticket so dear an' we live inna' Canada. It no like we gwine fly a foreign.)

So as I sit here facing the ocean, after my prayer and meditation, I wished to share what I've learned so far on this trip.

1. Cancer is not my fault. (I think part of me was blaming myself for my cancer diagnosis.) Cancer is not my fault.
2. Nature is healing. While here, I have had an amazing time being with nature, sitting outside, going on walks, etc. etc. Sometimes, I forget my symptoms. Don't get me wrong. I still am feeling the effects of my illness through exhaustion, waking up very very early (insomnia), heart palpitations, moodiness, anxiousness, muscle cramps, and loss of appetite at times but the difference is, I don't dwell on it. All I need to do is look at the majestic, snow-capped mountains or the wide-open ocean vista and realize that I'm surrounded by this beauty and I want to soak it all up. When I'm at home, I can return to this place (in my head or in photos) whenever I am sick.
3. Sensitivity and showing emotions are strengths. Just like when I teach my students, sharing your feelings can help you feel better. Now I'm learning that for myself.
4. I am not alone. There are other young adults walking on this cancer journey. I'm with people who get it. (And we are many. In Canada, 7,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer ever year.)
5. Let go. Everyone here did not "plan" on having cancer. We all found out in different ways. In our young adult years, the time when you are trying to establish your career, identity, family, income, etc. is not the time when we plan to get sick. So sometimes athough we make the best plans, we have to yield and let go because things usually roll out the way they should. (Often not the way you planned them.)

More amazing photos to post soon. And no, they will not be all of me. (I had to ask permission of the people I met to post their photos. It's the courteous thing to do.)

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