When I first started thinking about writing another book, I wanted to capture the essence of all of the things that I had been writing about the last several years. I spent some time walking backwards through all of the blogs, posts, Instagram and Facebook comments. In those moments, I tried to envision my life at those times, and the lives of those that interacted with me, or lived along with my journey.
Engaging with the last few years of writing was an emotional experience. It is very different to write while you are living through a rough time than going back and reading it later when those times have passed. As memories flooded back about scary times, painful times, and just terrible moments, I remembered thinking to myself that if I could just make it through the next day, or even the next hour, then I would be okay.
Living through cancer treatments and many surgeries gave me a perspective into healing that I had never dreamed could exist. This clear vision of healing history made it impossible for me to stop writing, or talking about a different way of living life. I realized that this journey, made by so many other women, was important. This journey was painful and scary, and I wanted to speak to the process of healing, even in the worst situation.
Dying to Live Your Life emerged from fear, the fear of dying before the best life was lived. Walking out of the hospital and having a clear understanding that death almost ended my life, not once, but several times, made me realize how much I took for granted. In that realization, I understood how I was distracted by my own life and duties, and how cancer brought me to my knees, and the realization that I could do better.
That everyone could do better in how life is engaged and lived.
Like me, many people have a breakthrough realization of engagement and enlightenment after a death or near-death experience. Suddenly, the proverbial life-flashing-before-your-eyes moment occurs, and you want to do better.
You want life to be better. Happier, more engaged.
You want to live the life that you always thought you should, but instead, you were just coasting through life unaware of what the true potential could be. The light comes and shines bright into our lives, and some people immediate change the pattern of what is into the pattern of what could be.
For me, understanding that my life was at a crucial point, that my life could soon be at its end, the world turned. I felt something break apart inside of me that I was not aware was being held together. As I felt a change, a shift towards something different, I wanted to be free of the current state of illness and move ahead, to do something with my life.
But at that time, all I could do was focus on living, on getting well.
It is easy to pray to God for help, make promises if he would just “do this one thing” and then move on when the world stabilizes again. The hard part is holding on to the scary moments, just enough to continue to appreciate each new day and what it may have to offer.
With life moving so fast, it is easy to just move on, and forget the commitment to doing better.
I hope that everyone can experience a life shift, truly a downshift if you think about it, into a slower, more meaningful way of life. As I check my phone for the 39th time in the last 30 minutes, I wonder if I have been at all successful in this venture. Have I done anything to hold on to what I wanted to do with my future? Have I made a difference?
Truth be, I am not sure yet. What I do know is that I made a commitment to myself to stop reading my Facebook feed. It made me feel inadequate, like I was always missing out, and that everyone was doing better then I was in life. In their marriage. With their kids, who must be smarter than my kids, and everyone had amazing happy lives.
I needed a change of the “life” that Facebook generated, so I stopped. I decided I want to spend more time with people, face-to-face, than connecting online. I have spent many years locked up in myself, and I am not sure I am happy with what that has created in me. I have become a different person for sure, yet I am not sure of what this person needs. But I do know that this person needs to connect better with others – real connections, not the Internet kind of connections.
So, I will be more present, more “out there” than in the past. I hope to see some of you out there too – on a hike, hanging out with friends, doing new things. I hope to spend some of this summertime out and about, trying to reconnect with the world.
I hope I see you there.