It’s Not All About Me

Late last week I discovered a lump on the back of my 15-year old cat underneath her coat. I was shocked. I pet Sarah many times a day and the lump seemed to come out of nowhere. I’m almost always convinced that everything is going to be fine yet this worried me. I told my fiance what I discovered and he said that he had just noticed the same thing.

First thing the next morning I brushed Sarah’s coat with my fingers searching for the lump. It was still there but it seemed like the size had subsided. I let that be my reassurance that maybe it was just a bug bite and things were on their way to getting back to normal. I went through this process and thinking for three more days before I reckoned that the lump was still there and I better get it checked out.

This morning Dr. Eva took a sample from Sarah’s lump. Dr. Eva looked at the sample under a microscope and saw that there were many cells in it. My probing enabled me to learn that this meant it probably wasn’t a cyst or an abscess, but probably some kind of abnormal cell growth. The sample is off to a pathologist and I’ll know more in a day or two.

Like I said, I’m usually a very positive thinker yet having gone through the heartbreak of losing my last cat to lymphoma, I couldn’t help thinking about what I would do and feel if the news was not good.

I went about the business of my work for the remainder of the day with thoughts of Sarah flowing in and out of my mind. While considering the worst possible outcome–a malignant cancer–I found myself feeling frantic, like what will I be able to do to fix it–to get her healed?

Somehow later I was led to a different perspective that has given me a sense of peace. It is one that recognizes that Sarah arrived on this planet with her own journey to experience. However her life is to play out is her journey. My job as the person who has loved and cared for her for most of her life is to support her on her journey in all the best possible ways I can.

As someone who believes there is a purpose behind all that happens, I recognize there is a purpose in Sarah’s lump. Whatever happens is not about me and my life, but rather what is being called for her life. And I’m going to be right by her side however she needs my support.

I’ve been thinking about how I can apply this to my relationships with others — less emphasis on trying to make them better in whatever way I think they’d be happier to just giving support to the condition they’re in.

My Mother Says Everything Happens for a Reason

finding meaningI had been thinking about re-launching—or more appropriately, resurrecting—my personal blog for weeks. I’d been on hiatus for four years while consumed with getting my marketing business sturdily off the ground all the while becoming increasingly aware that my life was out of balance. I knew that I needed to add a focus that feeds my soul and keeps me in touch with the experiences of life. I don’t want to end up feeling that my life has passed me by.

The sadness of last week’s tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman lingered with me for several days—far longer, frankly, than I would have expected for a man whose work I honored yet didn’t follow closely. The thought that has stayed with me is just how delicate the human experience is on so many levels. How easy it is for us to observe someone else’s life on the outside and think they have it made yet have no clue about how much they may be suffering on the inside.

As I tried to process my emotions in response to this event, I recognized that I wanted to learn more about what was touching me. Isn’t this really the experience of life—truly feeling what gets thrown at you day by day?

For decades I have heard my mother’s voice uttering, “Everything happens for a reason.” I do believe this is true. Yet how can it be true for just the big things? I believe that everything—big or small–that happens every day is an opportunity to be looked at to lead me or you to do something new or different.

So while I was in a state of wanting to explore my responses to life on a deeper level, I had a very mundane event occur that I looked at as guidance to return to my personal blog. Thank you, Sheila, from Dublin, Ireland for following my dormant blog the other day. You motivated me to get back out there. Hopefully my digging for meaning will make some kind of a contribution.

It’s Not Too Late to Realize Your Potential

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I had an experience yesterday while strolling the streets of a very affluent town that has lingered with me. Tucked away in this community that has been home to Hollywood celebrities and rock and roll stars is one of the finest private college preparatory schools in the country. With tuition at $31,315, this is an environment where great care is exercised to help students to fully realize their potential.

Standing atop a large rock in the midst of a meticulously landscaped flower garden, I felt surrounded by an energy of excited hope. It was Sunday, yet a well-equipped gym kept a trail of students coming and going. To my surprise, I felt my heart pang. I found myself wondering what my life would have been like if I had been similarly prepared.

I was raised in a working class European family with old country values. As the only daughter in the middle of two brothers, I was handed down the inspiration to get married and have children. College was neither encouraged or discouraged. I’ve since discovered that guidance for life ahead was a rare commodity among many in my generation. Get a degree and find a good job is about as deep as it got.

I don’t think times have changed too much. With a ratio of hundreds of students per career counselor in public schools today, there’s not a lot of personal attention going around to help students discover what they want to do with their lives. It astounds me that we remain a culture that places so little emphasis on preparing its individuals to live fulfilling, rich lives. All too often without that supportive guidance early on, we end up in mid-life feeling the clock ticking away the time we have left to create a legacy we can feel good about.

There is some good news to all of this:

  1. It is never too late to realize your potential.
  2. Some of us work better under pressure anyway.

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