Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order. Virginia Wolf
I closed out 2012 with 3 Lessons Learned: Finding Peace in the Midst of Tragedy and a bit of depression. Now, I have a wicked cold picked up right after Christmas. Given the pitiful lows of 2012, it seems appropriate, doesn’t it?
Despite some setbacks, there’s something about a new year that makes new beginnings possible. But how do you get there? The secret is the divine, female creative power you have to reinvent yourself.
Change happens all the time. We’re just acutely aware of it when it’s monumental (like getting cancer, changing careers or failing in a relationship.) The changes that hit me after I was diagnosed inspired my closing, ”Survival > Existence.” Long ago, when I was completely new to cancer survivorship, I assumed surviving meant not dying and being able to simply move on with my life. Now I know survival is greater than just existing; it brings massive change, a whole new skill set and reinvention.
With time, I’ve become more comfortable with the big changes cancer dealt me. I had no control over those changes, other than to learn to accept. When it comes to reinvention, however, I have a lot of input and realize it’s the little things that usually make the most impact. Like making small, healthy changes in my diet. (More about my new powerhouse breakfast staple in a later post.) Or enjoying moments of gratitude frequently as I become more aware of how vital gratitude is to my mental health. Getting back to my meditation practice (which fell apart pitifully during the busy holiday season) helps too.
So what do you need to reinvent yourself?
1. Resilience: The reason we’re all still here and upright is because we’re resilient. Nurture your resilience on a daily basis. I tell you how in an earlier post, Six Truths I’ve Learned About Resilience.
2. Grieve: No one gets hit by a bus and reinvents herself the next day. Grieving is the process of coming to accept the “new normal.” It’s painful, but it’s a vital step in reinventing yourself.
3. Gratitude: I firmly believe that gratitude is the single most important building block of reinvention. Without gratitude, there is no hope. With gratitude, anything is possible because we know how very blessed we truly already are.
4. Support: Speak up, tell your story, share! If you want to find support you have to communicate. The beauty of finding others who “get it” is the strength they give you to reinvent yourself.
5. Small Successes: Make small stabs at reinvention to achieve small successes. As you do, you get bolder and can stomach more risk. You can do it!
6. Carefully Chosen Words: Reinvention is self-inflicted change and change is scary. That’s why, even when you’re excited to reinvent yourself, you’re also anxious. Instead of scaring yourself unnecessarily, why not change your words and thus your approach. If you break out in a sweat every time you say, “I’m going back to work,” try saying, “I’m excited to find new opportunities to work with (fill in the blank.)”
You and I have lived our share of tragedies, losses, failures, disappointments and traumas. Whatever you’re struggling with now, it’s probably not your first set back, and it won’t be your last. When we take what we’ve learned from our struggles and use our female creative power to reinvent ourselves we are creating meaning. And, meaning is what we’re all looking for, right?
You and I are going to dig deeper this year to reinvent our health, spirituality, sexuality, careers, relationships and friendships. And as we do, dear friend, we’ll be reinventing and moving WhereWeGoNow to create inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy!
(If you want to start your own Gratitude Practice, don’t miss The WhereWeGoNow Gratitude Gems Series: Your 30-Day Guide to Jump-Starting a Lifetime Gratitude Practice coming out soon. As an added bonus, I’ve also created a relaxing video slideshow to watch anytime you need to recharge and reflect on gratitude.)
Survival > Existence,
Survival > Existence
I’m so glad to hear you talking about survival > existence. I very much agree that living, moving forward, reinvention (and that kind of good stuff) is more important than just holding on . . . though sometimes, maybe, holding on is all we can do in hopes of recovering ourselves. ~Catherine
Survival Means Coping with the New Normal
My survivorship journey went from “just hanging on” to reinvention over a period of about two years. I don’t think that reinvention is more important than holding on (which was crucial when I was in the trenches), it’s just the next phase I went through.
When I say Survival > Existence, what I really mean is what I learned over that two year period. I really thought in the beginning that being a survivor meant that cancer didn’t kill me and I would go back to my life. Boy, was I wrong! Survival means so much more than just not dying. It means living the new normal and coping with all the changes it brings.
Survival > Existence,
Ah I see what you mean now. Yes, there’s certainly a lot to cope with, and I also think it’s very important to share that side of the story – people need to know about the ‘after’ and what it really means/requires in terms of healing.
One Day at a Time
Healing is what it’s all about, right? One day at a time.
Survival > Existence,