Fall is in the air, and as much as I love the changing seasons it is still not easy to head into autumn and come up on the anniversary of my diagnosis. I “stay positive” about 90 percent of the time, but the remaining 10 percent is filled with fear, grief, worry, anxiety, anger, irritation, confusion, and pure old-fashioned terror.
It’s hard to find the light–to stay smiling–in the hard moments. Isn’t that the point? That is where the test lies. It’s easy to stay happy when things are good—clean scan, healthy kids, a great evening laughing with friends–but when coffee spills on your lap, the kids complain and whine, your friend cancels a date your were excited about, the bloodwork isn’t what you anticipated—that is when you dig deep. I used to scream, rage, yell into pillows. But my new strategy is gratitude. Not to sound too New Age-y, but turns out being thankful actually works!
Yes, I was always a fairly grateful person and yes, I heard (and repeated) the word gratitude for years in my daily yoga class. But now I live it. I try my very hardest to take a breath and just say thank you (instead of expressing something else that is close to the surface, and unprintable on this blog). This poem, by the insanely talented American poet W.S. Merwin, always brings me back (and brings me to tears).
I am saying thank you.