Six years ago I did not wake with a smile on my face. As my alarm sounded at 3:30 AM, I wasn’t really waking at all; I had never completely fallen asleep. No one in my house had really slept-slept that night, only half-slept. The 3:30 bell was the official reminder that the day was real, there was business to take care of, and that business involved prayers, surgeons, and eventually a blessing in the form of pathology reports confirming that the cancer cells within my right breast had been eradicated.
The smile on my face when I awoke yesterday morning already knew the peace within—the peace someone knows without thinking, the peace when you remain still, silent, go within, and feel your pulse radiate the unspoken words: All Is Well, All Is Well. This is the kind of peace that feels a 6-year cancer-free anniversary before it completely registers on a cognitive level.
I gently opened my eyes, the smile already beginning to fade from my lips as it moved downward, tucking itself inside my heart. And there my smile remained, for the rest of the day—through my morning Pilates sessions, through helping my son with his homework, through laundry and paying bills, through having friends over for dinner. My smile remained in my heart, not prepared to return to my lips—not in the form of words, at least.
No, I did not utter a word to acknowledge this special marker to anyone. I couldn’t—I was having a private love affair with myself.
It felt as if there would have been something in the “telling” that would have made my inner celebration less-than. Less-than what? I’m not sure. Less-than significant maybe. Less-than the deep meaningfulness it carried. Less-than honoring my connection with the Divine. It felt good-selfish to keep my heart-smile private. In doing so, I felt more significance in my healed body, more meaning in my connection with self.
Within each “more” was gratitude. Like you, I’m sure we share many of the same anchors of gratitude. Things like: our health, our families, and the roofs over our heads. Today, I’d like to share some of my more distinctive items of gratitude, none of which I was able to do in the weeks and months following the 3:30 AM beep, beep, beep.
I am grateful I can now:
- close the hatch on my car unassisted
- lift a watermelon
- pick up my niece and twirl her around
- raise both arms above my head
- walk my dog on a leash, knowing I can handle his squirrel-induced leaps
- sleep on my sides
- do literally 100’s of Pilates exercises correctly, and dozens more with modifications
- swing a golf club
- look in the mirror and see so much more than the scars left behind from multiple surgeries
- offer and receive full-on embraces…the thing real hugs are made of, not wimpy side shoulder pats
- begin to understand some of the gifts delivered through physical and emotional struggle
Those are just the first handful that came to mind; there are many, many more reasons to be grateful and celebrate. Right now I’d like to invite each of you to celebrate with me by declaring something you are grateful for. Write it in the comment section or share it on my Facebook page—there is power in explicitly stating what you’re grateful for, allowing others to bear witness and celebrate with you.
After you’ve shared one thing you’re grateful for, sit back and simply smile. Feel your jaw soften and release any tension from your forehead and around your eyes. Slowly, in your own time, allow your smile to find that quiet place within as you locate your heart-smile. Feel the inner warmth of your heart-smile reminding you that you are alive, that All Is Well. Take as long as you need to celebrate You; perhaps even declare a private love affair with yourself.
It’s never too late to celebrate You.
This blog is all about love and trust. If you know someone you think would be interested in receiving a message every now and then with love and trust as the main characters, please pass this along so they can subscribe. Thank you. Love, Leslie