Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Week of 2016

Is anyone else just a tad bit panicked?  Less than a week of 2016 is left?  Wow!  Yes, I say this every year at this time.  38 last week's of the years I have lived, and I am shocked every time it creeps up.  Okay, so what to do with this week?  I tend to get all excited about how I am going to make the upcoming year the best year ever. Then about a week into that new year, I am back to my usual ways.

I am not going to go with the usual resolutions this year.  I am not going to focus on losing weight, running everyday, saving money, etc.  Those things will always be there whether I make them a resolution or not.  Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't.  I am going to continue to try and eat well, exercise, loose a few pounds and be careful with my money.  But what do I really want for 2017? Well, here are some thoughts.

  1. My word of choice for 2017 will be ACCEPTANCE.  This past year was Courage and it did well for me.  I first needed the courage to wake up and see what was happening with me.  What was I hiding from myself?  What emotions did I need to see I was afraid of?  Courage was step one.  Granted, I still run from a lot, I am still afraid and I still have anxiety, but I am a bit more open to it.  Can I say what I think will happen with ACCEPTANCE yet?  Nope, hence why I am willing to explore it for 2017.  
  2. Write, write, write!!  My goal is to get back to really getting my thoughts on paper.  This works!!  I will share what I want and keep private what I don't.  Plain and simple.  The few times here and there I write in my journal clears my mind and seriously makes a difference.  Most of what I write I can't share (sorry all) but it gets it out of my brain, on to paper and allows for the full release.  
  3. Getting me some mindfulness!  I am smack dab in the middle of John Kabat-Zinn's book Full Catastrophe Living and it is beyond eye opening.  It's a huge book so if you pick it up, tell yourself to divide it up over time so you are not overwhelmed but it is a game changing book.  If I can master this idea of mindfulness, I just might be on the road to full ACCEPTANCE of everything about me.
And on that note, my last week of 2016 will be spent enjoying the rest of the holidays, celebrating the year and looking towards 2017.  Happy New Year!1

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Stop The Beat Up - NOW

When you read that title, what came to mind first?  There is no right answer.  Just think about it for a minute.  Then, I'll tell you why I wrote it.....pausing for you to think.....Okay, carry on now with reading my thoughts.  I wrote that title because I was sitting here thinking about how long it has been since I blogged and I was beating myself up for it:
  • What would people think about this blog since it has taken so long between posts?
  • Would they remember the blog existed when I wrote again?
  • Would people still be interested in what I had to say?
  • What would they think about The Dragonfly Angel Society - Cancer Survivorship?
  • I should have had a schedule ahead of time to make sure there was no lag time between blogs; how could I let it slide?
Those were some of the lovely thoughts that rolled through my mind over and over and over again.  It was just one beating after another.  I almost said forget it.  I am not going to write.  I am not going to bother trying to pick up the blog again and see where my words might take me.  Then I stopped just as my fingers were about to close out the computer screen.  

STOP!!  JUST STOP!!!  I pushed those mean thoughts out of my mind and started asking myself non-judging questions - Did you ever think that maybe life just happened?  So, you didn't have a perfect writing and blogging schedule all timed out perfectly to follow.  So what?  At this point, I allowed all the thoughts to swirl and simmer in my mind.  I let them just be and i began to type anyway.

I changed my focus on the negatives and tried to push forward to the positives.  I am writing my thoughts now, right?  I'd like to work on getting my thoughts in order to share in the blog a little more frequently but if I don't?  Then I don't.  End of story.  I will not beat myself up.  I will not allow my thoughts to overcome me.  I will move to the next day and if that includes writing, or blogging or sitting on the couch watching TV, then guess what?  That's what the day includes and I will enjoy.

Shouldn't this go for all aspects of life?  Well, the short answer is an obvious yes.  Way easier said than done.  I am sure you are thinking "easy for her to say."  There are tasks that every one of us has that we have procrastinated on.  Everyone has tasks and to do lists and ideas galore they want to tackle.  Stop beating yourself up on the ones that you haven't finished in the timing in which you expected to complete them.  Stop listening to the negative thoughts.  You will get those tasks done when the timing is right.  You will get those ideas out and into the world when you are ready.  In the meantime, stop the beating.  Maybe life just got in the way.  Enjoy it.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Getting Our Social Media Feet Wet

Here we go!  We have been Facebooking.  (Not sure that is a real word, but who is counting?).  We just started Tweeting - TODAY!! And finally, we have been Instagramming (again, a word?) for a few weeks now.  We'd love to connect with you and please connect with us.

Facebook - The Dragonfly Angel Society

Instagram - @dragonflyangelsociety

Twitter - @dascancer

We are having so much fun and going a little crazy too, trying to figure out how each of these social media worlds work.  One of our key pushes for the next 100 days is the #100daysfearlessofcancer project.  It's our goal to try to live 100 days fearless of cancer.  Every day we will post a picture of how we are losing the fear and gaining the fearless.  Do you have something of your own you want to do for 100 days?  Join us!  Create your own #100days hashtag and tag us too.  

Our feet are not exactly social media soaked yet, but we are working on it.  See you out there!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Trust In March

As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, my goal in 2016 is to focus on one word and one book that goes with it for each month.  This month, my focus is Trust.  Personally, when I think of the word trust, I think about how I trust people - friends, family, etc.  Thinking about my focus for March, I need to take the word trust to a different level.  As cancer survivors, I think the word trust can also be related to how we feel about our bodies and our medical teams.  
For me personally, I struggle with literally just trusting my body.  Can I trust it to be healthy?  Can I trust that it will tell me if something is wrong?  I hate to say it, but can I trust it to not get cancer again?  Sound like blame?  Maybe.  However, it is definitely a feeling about trust that I do have rolling around in this crazy brain of mine.  When I got cancer, I was mad at myself physically and mentally.  How could my body let me down like this?  How could it let itself get cancer?  
Only years later am I slowly starting to realize that my body didn't fail me.  It told me when something was wrong.  I need to learn that trust again.  I need to let it do it's thing.  With that being said, the book I tied to my trust focus for March is Rising Strong by Brene Brown.  I love her insights!!  Trust is not something that can be accomplished 100% in one month, however, I think my basic understanding of it can be learned.  I think it is a great basis as cancer survivors to build our future on and help us recover.  I hope you feel the same way too!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

How's Your Life? How's Your Energy?

As I sit here at Midway airport in Chicago getting ready for a little weekend adventure in San Francisco, I keep thinking about one fascinating person I had contact with already today.  It's barely 7am so that is saying a lot.  I had just go through security and was in line at Potbelly for some much needed coffee and a little breakfast to go with it.  The line was full of mundane faces...frowns, sleepy eyes, tired looking parents and crabby airport workers.  It was virtually silent until.....a Potbelly worker walked in and started yelling out:  "Hey everybody, how's your day?  How's your life?  How's your energy?"  I think I just turned and stared.  Then of course my mouth fell open.  The sentence that would have come out is "How are you this happy?"  He still kept going:  "What are you having?  How are you?"  It was pure awesomeness.  He woke me out of my own swirl of worries, negative thoughts, and all the other usual thoughts that roll through the ticker tape in my mind.  I worry to the extreme and it can often put some damage into a fun weekend.  This guy snapped me out of it.  Just watching him do his own personal day-to-day tasks with such a high amount of energy made me realize that all is good.  It just is.  Take this as your own reminder today, no matter what you have going on.  If you are making sandwiches at Potbelly, if you are going to work, if you are going to the doctor or if you are going to San Francisco, just take it all in everyday.  Think of the sandwich maker today and remember to ask yourself:  How's your energy?  How's your life?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Mindfulness In February

This year I am focusing on COURAGE.  It's the first time I picked a word to dedicate an entire year to.  It seems like it is something easy to say, but how the heck do you focus on one word for an entire year and even further, what do you do?  I am sure it is not just sitting around chanting "COURAGE, COURAGE, COURAGE!"  I had a feeling there was more to it but I had no clue how to get there.  Then I had an idea.  What if I broke it down?  Overall, I want the courage to face my fears, move past my doubts and try things I never believed I could do.  Over the last five years, my fears always revolve around courage.  I have managed to do a great job of running from my fears and never facing them.  I always thought I was facing them head on, but after further review, turns out that wasn't the case.  So, in order to break down the year long focus on courage, I thought of twelve mini focus words - one for each month of the year.  Along with the word, I found a book that could tie it together.  In January, my focus word was courage.  I decided to kick of 2016 with a bang and go right to the main word.  The book I added to it was Brene Brown's Daring Greatly; fantastic start to the year!

Here we are in February and my focus is MINDFUL.  Mindfulness is a huge buzz word these days.  I love it and I love what it stands for.  I am not the best at practicing it but there is always a time for a first.  So, this month I am trying to be mindful in the every day things.  I am trying to pay attention to the food that I eat.  I am trying to just live in the moments - the good and the bad.  It's easy to be a part of the good, but it is next to impossible to be a part of the tough times; those times of fear.  This is where learning to be mindful is certain to help me.  I think this is where courage becomes useful too.  My book of choice to go along with MINDFUL is Tara Brach's TRUE REFUGE.  She teaches the mindful practice and how it worked for her, helping her move past tough times in her life.  I think focusing on mindfulness in the second month of 2016 will help me build the basis of my year of courage.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Courage In A New Year

Maybe I just haven't paid attention in the past, but I am noticing that picking a word of the year is a becoming a really big thing.  I've seen a ton of different articles, resources, websites and blogs about picking a word of the year.  I think I was blind to it in the past because I just wasn't ready to focus on a word, let alone a word that would force me to face my fears, pick up the pieces and move forward.  Sometimes it is just easier to turn a blind eye and run.  I have gotten pretty good at that.

However, this year 2016, a word jumped out at me.  I figured, what the heck, let's focus and see what happens.  This year's word: COURAGE.  Eek.  It's an exciting and scary word all at once.  I have mentioned this a number of times, but it is worth repeating.  I have been done with cancer treatment five years now and sometimes I feel like it all just began.  I am still so very scared of recurrence, the what-ifs, etc.  A lot of people say it gets easier for them over time, but for me, it really hasn't.  Sure, I can function and do daily tasks but that freaking fear is always right there.  That's where the COURAGE comes in.  12 months of facing that cancer demon.

So, we are just about one full month into 2016 and for me, one month of COURAGE.  This first month has been all about just testing the waters.  It's been about seeing how I see COURAGE, what things I really need to face, and how I am going to get there.  Next month I plan to go into the water at least up to my calves and do a little more hard core staring at that fear.

In the meantime, I found this really cool website that has a whole kit you can have put together that captures your word.  It's really awesome and of course, I love stuff like this.  There is a necklace, candle, some mantras, a notebook and more.  I couldn't resist and now I can keep my courage visible whenever I need it.  Of course, Jerry wanted to get in on the action too as you can see from the picture.  The website for more information is www.soulmantras.com.  The kit is called THIS IS MY YEAR.

So, my parting words to you are, what is your word?  If you don't have one yet, will you consider?  I am anxious to hear your thoughts on your year as well.

Let the COURAGE (or, insert your word here) begin!!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dragonflies Are Blogging

Hey Everyone,
We officially have our blog here at Dragonfly Angel Society.  I am so excited to write this first post.  Now, I just need to get more tech savy.  At this point it is separate from our website, but have no fear, we will get it linked.  One step at a time.  I'll post details as soon as I have them.  Looking forward to writing for you AND hearing from you!!  Stay tuned!!
Dana and Shelley!

Instagram @dragonflyangelsociety