This post has two inspirations. The first is blogger and metastatic cancer warrior Lori Marx-Rubiner (@regrounding). During the #BCSM breast cancer tweetchat on October 15th, Lori shared her own experience of coping with metastatic breast cancer, and shared some of the tools she uses to cope with her illness. This series of tweets was Lori’s list of her primary coping strategies:
First, I worked w/an amazing therapist who always reminds me that the tests r just information. W/o them, you can’t treat the disease!
Second, I practice a form of meditation. For about 5-10 minute, 3-4 times a day I just breathe. I let whatever thoughts want to come, come. Then I ask them to leave. Nicely…lol
Third, I remind myself of the + things I can do with the time. Backgammon w/kid, a walk, a book, call a friend…and I do them!
Fourth, I write. My blog (both published and unpublished posts) is the place where I excise all the garbage I can’t coax away.
Fifth, when push comes to shove, I remind myself that tears really do carry toxins out of the body…and I cry.
The rest I have to surrender. — Lori Marx-Rubiner (@regrounding)
Her list blew me away. Everything on the list is a tool I try to use myself and often share with my clients. But that last line–the discussion of surrendering–that just hit home for me.
Surrendering is one of the skills that often gets short-changed when we are facing serious pain. We are taught to be active, to be engaged, to push back against pain. But sometimes, pushing back doesn’t serve us. Sometimes being active just wastes our precious energy. And then, it is worth thinking about surrendering. It is worth accepting that whatever has happened has happened, and give yourself permission to grieve, to heal, to move forward in whatever way is possible.
So, the idea of surrendering has been on my mind since that chat. Here is one small way that it affected me. I often walk if I have a block of unscheduled time during my day–it gets some exercise in and lets me clear my head. On a recent walk, I had made it a mile or so from my office when it started to rain. I thought about trying to dodge the rain, but I recognized that it wasn’t going to happen. I could get wet and enjoy my walk, or I could get wet and be stressed about being wet. I remembered Lori’s words and made the choice to surrender. My walk in the rain turned from a stressful race to a meditation on the beginning of fall.
That small walk was a powerful illustration. Surrendering transformed upset into a chance to recharge. I know that it’s a small example, but it made me curious. What can you surrender? Where can you transform stress into meditation? If you think of something, please feel free to let me know in the comments.
Image Credit: When it Rains by beeep via Flickr