gratitude and humility

It is 1AM.

I am awake for several reasons – one, because I spent most of the day on the couch napping between hurried trips to the toilet due to the fortnightly attacks of diarrhoea my body is now inflicted with. If that is too much information for you, bad luck. I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t had diarrhoea, and sickness is often not pretty. That’s the reality. The other reason I am awake is because spending the day on the couch, and subsequently sleeping on the couch tonight (I haven’t been able to sleep in a bed for several months now), has put too much pressure on my spine and pelvis and the pain is beginning to escalate. Having given myself 10mg of morphine, I am now more comfortable, although it hasn’t totally eradicated the pain. Pain is an unpredictable and volatile companion of mine now. An almost constant companion, although I do have days where I experience no pain. Other days, it is difficult for me to bring it under control. But this is not what I am wanting to write about.

The physical aspect of cancer has never been of great concern to me. This makes me a little odd I think. Pleasantly odd I hope. At least, it is pleasant for me to be this way. When I woke up fourteen years ago and deeply, completely understood that I am (we all are) eternal spirit having an earthly experience, it transformed the way I saw life. My priorities changed, anxiety fell away, and over time I learned to surrender to What Is. The most important focus of my life became letting go of all the aspects of my mind that prevented me from deeply experiencing the joy, love and peace on which I believe this universe is built. I learned to welcome everything as an opportunity to grow. I learned to let go of victim-hood, blame, fear, anger, people-pleasing, un-necessary self sacrificing, martyrdom, resentment, all those things that we accumulate that stops the light from shining through. The things that take away our joy. The things that ruin our life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m nowhere close to perfect, whatever that is. I only tell you these things because I wish, oh how I wish that everyone could know just how beautiful life is when you live like this. How effortless it is to be peaceful and joyful and filled with love even when it appears from the outside that life is difficult.

There have been times recently when I have wondered why I am still here. By all accounts, I should have died years ago, and more recently, last June the medical prediction based on my scans was 3-6 months to live. I am still here, because I am still learning, still growing. The love, and joy and peace get deeper and deeper.

My most recent discovery has been gratitude and humility. I realise now, they have never been my forte. I truly didn’t know that they could feel so beautiful. Discovering gratitude and humility has arisen from learning to receive. I have never been good at receiving. I much preferred giving. I always believed, even from a young age, that I was here to help people. Some of this was genuine altruism with a good smattering of wanting to be liked. Giving was also a position of power I think. I hated feeling indebted to someone.

Because of the deterioration in my physical health, and my inability to do things that I once took for granted, I have had to learn to ask for help, and to receive it. I’m not going to lie… it was really hard at first. I am fiercely independent in this way although contrarily, I have a deep longing to be nurtured and cared for, but I subconsciously saw that as weakness.

Like many others, I have written gratitude journals in the past, and they were very helpful at times to remind me of the great things in my life, but to surrender deeply into gratitude is an entirely different experience. Deep, heartfelt gratitude is such a beautiful feeling; It is like melting ever deeper into a love and joy that floods the heart and overflows, seeking expression. And with it comes humility – a profound gentleness and thankfulness at being the receiver of whatever has been bestowed.

I am deeply, deeply grateful for the wonderful people who are in my life, and for the care and love I receive. They are too many to mention individually, but in particular my partner, whose ability to nurture me and unselfishly attend to my comfort continues to amaze and delight me. My two sons, whose unconditional love I cherish and of whom I am proud to be called their mother. My sons partners, who love and care about me – something that gives me joy because I hadn’t expected that they should. My ex-husband, who always has my back, and who holds a special place in my heart. My sister who is my best friend, confidante, and staunchest ally. My mother, with whom our increasing closeness in the last six months has been a great joy to me. My many, wonderful, caring friends who take time out of their busy lives to phone and visit me. And the many people who I am in contact with who aren’t close friends, but whose care is evident, even if it is just a passing acquaintance. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart – you make my life rich and full of love.

Everywhere I go, I experience love and kindness and I believe that this is a reflection back to me of how I view the world. Most of us learn to protect our hearts at a young age, and we continue this throughout our lives. Holding people at arms length, cautiously loving, fearing rejection and hurt. I am learning to love with abandonment, to love everyone and everything. You see, I don’t fear being hurt or rejected anymore, so I don’t feel the need to protect myself. I know that someone else can’t make me feel something – that feeling arises within me, from me. Any negative feeling comes from a fear within myself, and I welcome it to the light so I can see it and let it go.

As human beings, we long for connection. We are hard-wired for connection. Connection is made through the letting go of fear, and opening deeper and deeper into love and joy, gratitude and humility… peace. It is within the capabilities of all of us to do this…if we choose it. It makes life beautiful.

I thoroughly recommend it. The rewards are far greater than I ever anticipated.

Take it from me…. life is too short to waste on negativity and keeping love at arms length.

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