Monthly Archives: August 2016

Thriver Soup Thursday–Birthdays and the After Life

Field_of_HotepO ye judges, ye have taken Unas unto yourselves, let him eat that which ye eat, let him drink that which ye drink, let him live upon that which ye live upon, let your seat be his seat, let his power be your power, let the boat wherein he shall sail be your boat, let him net birds in Aaru, let him possess running streams in Sekhet-Hetep, and may he obtain his meat and his drink from you, O ye gods.

The Abode of the Blessed, “The Papyrus of Ani,” The Egyptian Book of the Dead

 

The Egyptian Book of the Dead explains the afterlife and its challenges to those souls who move into the netherworld. The judges in the Beyond are asked to bless the traveler Unas with things he will need to survive on the other side.

I cannot give my deceased son anything on the other side except continuing expressions of love. Yesterday was his 21st birthday. What to do?

I had signed up to start tai chi again with Grand Master Vince Lasorso at Whatever Works Wellness Center in Cincinnati, and our first class fell right on Tristan’s birthday, so I sent a brief message letting Vince know.

His response was perfect: “Great. What better place for you to be than at tai chi on Tristan’s birthday? I’m sure he will be happy that you’re taking care of your health. The roles have changed; he is your guide now.”

Yes, the class was a perfect start for my day. I learned a great deal about how to maintain health in my body, at the cellular level, deeper even than through the elimination of inflammation. Vince gave us two hours of fascinating teachings about the body that gives me much to ponder, along with an exercise for raising more vital energy in my body. I believe Tristan, who now is far more wise, is pleased with my choice.

Then on to my psychotherapist’s office to talk more about Tristan’s passing—to discuss how hopeless his situation had become and to express gratitude that he is no longer suffering. It is an interesting place to land after more than a year of grief. It’s sort of like my own afterlife—after life with Tristan.

I have choices in my after-life. I can victimize myself with unending grief or I can bodily experience the emotion of sorrow without thinking about it. I can refocus my thoughts on being fully present when his energy presents itself, rejoicing in his stability and the end of his suffering, and on blessing Tristan with love, enriching his experience on the Other Side.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

I think one of the worst things we can do with our grief is wish ourselves gone. This most likely is not pleasing to our loved ones. I believe those who have gone before us want what is best for us. If we can focus some energy on taking good care of ourselves, then we will have more energy for the living—including, and especially, ourselves. This energy can be used to advocate and work for those who are in similar circumstances.

Sources

  1. A. Wallis Budge, trans., The Abode of the Blessed, The Papyrus of Ani, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, 1895. Retrieved 8/25/16 from http://www.sacred-texts.com/egy/ebod/

https://www.britishmuseum.org/pdf/3665_BOTD_schools_Teachers.pdf

Image: Published by James Wasserman; facsimile made by E. A. Wallis Budge; original artist unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Thriver Soup Thursday–Sharing Kylee’s Happy Place

If one speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows one, like a shadow that never leaves.

Dhammapada 2

 

Buddha was described by his contemporaries as “ever-smiling.” He knew the secret to true happiness came from pure acts and thoughts.

Kylee's Dancing AngelsKylee Brooke Webster found her ever-smiling, happy place when she danced, and made a career counseling adolescent drug addicts.

Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with an undifferentiated sarcoma in 2011. Two years later she danced her way beyond the veil of tears.

She keeps dancing, though, through a foundation established in her honor during 2014. Kylee’s Dancing Angels assists other sarcoma patients with finding their happy places by providing financial support so they can do what they love.

I am most fortunate to already be in my “happy place,” free of evidence of highly undifferentiated endometrial sarcoma and free of medical treatment for five years. I contacted Kylee’s Dancing Angels to see if they could help me give copies of Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey to other sarcoma patients to increase their chances of getting to their happy places.

Because of the foundation’s generous grant, a limited number of free copies of Thriver Soup now are available to leiomyosarcoma (LMS) patients in the continental United States through the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation (NLSMF).

Kylee’s older brother, Allan Webster Jr., wrote, “Kylee loved to read and I know she will be smiling, knowing she is helping you help other sarcoma fighters with ideas on how to improve their journey with sarcoma.”

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you are a leiomyosarcoma patient or know someone who is, in the continental United States, who would appreciate ideas for how to get to a happier place, please contact me for a free copy of Thriver Soup. A limited number of copies are available. We ask, in exchange, that you write a thank-you card to Kylee’s Dancing Angels and make a donation if/when you are able to NLMSF for LMS research.

To donate to Kylee’s Dancing Angels to help other sarcoma patients, please visit http://www.kyleesdancingangels.org/.

Sources:

Müller & Maguire, 2002, http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/buddha/

Thriver Soup Thursday–So this Writer Walks into a Chocolate Bar…

The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink [cocoa] permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.

Montezuma, Aztec Emperor (c. 1480-1520)

 

20160624_135358I agree that chocolate is heavenly. This summer I sought the sublime through a self-styled safari for savoring some sensuous sweets.

First stop: Pittsburgh, to visit my friend Judy and give my talk, “Subduing the Cancer Dragon,” at the local cancer patient organization.

Judy directed me to the local chocolate store and I bought a couple expensive bars for us to indulge in.

“Life is too short for cheap chocolate,” I told Judy. Turns out it wasn’t an original utterance, yet we enjoyed repeating it.

Then off to Long Island for ten days, with frequent jaunts into Manhattan. One day, armed with my mapped-out list of chocolate boutiques, I boarded the train to Penn Station, then the subway heading to the farthest location. I meandered to each boutique on my map, filling little sacks with truffles to savor as I walked.

After several hours I strolled into La Maison du Chocolat and noticed a short set of stairs going up to another room with chairs and tables. I wandered up and into my first chocolate bar.

It was a cocoa lover’s paradise. The extensive menu featured chocolate desserts, including a page dedicated to their truffles paired with teas.

Fortunately I had walked for hours without getting lunch. I sat down and ordered two desserts—an almond-flour chocolate cake and La Traviata, their best seller.

For an hour I surrendered to a sensual and sublime sugary samādhi.

Filled with divine refreshment, I continued my trek into boutiques and back to the train station. Yup, I could walk all day on chocolate. And walk all day for such a precious, divine treat.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

If you love chocolate yet want to limit your sugar intake, I found that for me, chocolates sweetened with erythritol were the best non-sugared treats. A good option for an occasional treat might be dark chocolate made with organic raw cane sugar.

To avoid gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and soy, I make my own fudge. Combine 1 cup each of organic coconut oil, raw organic honey, and raw organic cocoa powder. I add a teaspoon of vanilla flavoring and lots of organic, raw pecans that have been soaked overnight in salt water, then dehydrated. I mix it well, then store it in my refrigerator for an occasional treat.

Thriver Soup Thursday–She’s not The Statue of Liberty

Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), in his essay, “What is Enlightenment?”

statue crown webThe philosopher Immanuel Kant gave this answer to the question “What is Enlightenment?” in an essay published during 1784, nearly 100 years before the Statue of Liberty was built.

But “Statue of Liberty” isn’t the true name of the giant green goddess-like figure overlooking New York City’s harbor area. She was officially named the statue of “Liberty Enlightening the World.” I realized during a recent trip that to call her simply “the Statue of Liberty” is to miss the point of her name. The liberty she represents has a defined purpose—to bring enlightenment the world.

The copper colossus, designed by French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, was intended as a 100-year birthday present from the French to the people of the United States. Construction of the statue and the pedestal was completed in 1886.

Originally the statue stood for shared political freedom between the United States and France. Poet Emma Lazarus expanded this view to include hope against external sources of tyranny:

… Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. … “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Yet “liberty” and “enlightenment” mean so much more.

Kant had put the word enlightenment into a personal context a century earlier. “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity.” Kant’s motto of enlightenment was “Sapere aude” – Dare to be wise.

As humans take more responsibility for their personal lives, they find more freedom within themselves to act from a place of authenticity. This brings more awareness into their lives, which in turn spreads more light to others. When enough people experience this internal freedom, then perhaps humanity will reach a critical mass in consciousness and the whole world will experience more freedom, maturity, and wisdom.

It must start with each of us as individuals. Do I dare to develop the courage to emerge from my self-incurred, self-limiting immaturity? Do I dare to be wise?

I wasn’t ready to tap into my deeper levels of courage until my cancer journey forced me to dare to emerge from my self-incurred immaturity. Right after the sarcoma diagnosis in 2009, when I was in New York City, I apparently was ill-prepared for the privilege of visiting Liberty Enlightening the World. Unbeknownst to me, I first needed to grow up and heal my life. I missed the last ferry to the island that year, and put a visit to the green queen on my bucket list.

When I visited her this summer, five years into Radical Remission, I was ready to receive the full impact of her message of internal liberty and the resulting enlightenment that can be shared with the world.

I even ascended the double-helix passage up to the crown for an in-spirational view from on high.

And so I share Liberty Enlightening the World’s message: Dare to break out of self-incurred immaturity. Dare to be wise. Dare to lift your torch beside your own golden door and open it to share your brilliant light with the world.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

If you want to climb to the crown of the statue, purchase your tickets several months in advance. Only 500 people among the thousands who mill around the pedestal are allowed up into the crown each day.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Answering_the_Question:_What_is_Enlightenment%3F

http://fiveminutehistory.com/liberty-enlightening-the-world/