5 Words of Wisdom

If asked to pass on 5 words of wisdom, I would be hard pressed.
I got out my thesaurus and found synonyms for some of my favorites:

enthusiasm: passion, intensity, spirit, liveliness, eagerness, fervor
patience: forbearance, tolerance
persistence: continuation, determination, steadfastness, tenacity, resolute
grace: elegance, kindness, continuance, seemingly effortless, harmony
faith: certainty, confidence, trust, reliance, dedication, commitment

I use those five words, and their synonyms, quite often when I speak about cancer.  Coming to terms with the reality of cancer and amputation required not just a change in perspective about what life would be like without my left hand, but also overcoming my fears and making a strong commitment to meeting the challenges of one-handedness and changing dominance.

Author Nevada Barr describes “a kind of fear that jangles through the cells of our bodies like cold electrical current, short-circuiting the natural flow of life.”   I have experienced that kind of fear.   She goes on to say, “From fear to faith is a journey of letting go…Letting go not of the fears but of the defenses constructed against them.  Succumbing to the terror, letting it wash over me in waves, then getting up again to marvel I am in one piece….”  My fall through the narrow spots of life has been cushioned by my faith.  The fear that the cancer will return is always there.  It dwells as an ever-present shadow on my life, but that is a gift to remind me to live everyday, enthusiastically.  Yes – I am grateful for the lessons I have learned from cancer.

The root definition of enthusiasm is “inspired by or filled by God”.  What is surprising to many audiences is that an enthusiastic life begins with paying attention – awareness.  It is almost easy to be constantly occupied.  You can spend all of your days busily focused on activity and those around you.  It requires tremendous effort to choose to turn that attention inward; to spend time being filled: slowing down, breathing deeply, listening to your heart and discovering – yourself.  This is not a selfish act.  It is the cornerstone of self care.  It is a bold, powerful choice to embrace the opportunity to move forward everyday with intention and attention; being enthusiastically and eagerly present to your life.  Then, after spending time being with yourself – you go out into the world and let your light shine abundantly.

Think about the people in your life who live with abundance of spirit and an awareness of grace.  Those are the people you want to be present for you when you are experiencing a narrow spot.

Changing my perspective helped me to move forward with persistence.  I describe myself as being strong, fiercely independent and determined.  There are very few things I am not able to accomplish with the right amount of patience, persistence and grace.

Patience has everything to do with a gentle, honest relationship with yourself.  Patience is not waiting passively until someone else does something.  It asks you to be completely present, to be where you are.  If you allow yourself to rest, with an open heart and a quiet mind, you are given the opportunity to experience growth and grace.

In times of transition you stay stuck or you persistently move forward;  you see no hope or you faithfully see the possibility of transformation; you resist or you gracefully surrender; you fight against or you enthusiastically embrace the change; you stick your head in the sand or you patiently discover your sand’s new arrangement.

The 5 words of wisdom?  Grow Through the Narrow Spots.  And a 4 word bonus:  The choice is yours.

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