Monthly Archives: September 2016

Weighing of the Heart

tristan-hamsterO my heart which I had from my mother! O my heart of different ages! Do not stand up as a witness against me, do not be opposed to me in the tribunal, do not be hostile to me in the presence of the keeper of the balance, for you are my ka which was in my body, the protector who made my members hale. Go forth to the happy place whereto we speed, do not tell lies about me in the presence of the god; it is indeed well that you should hear!

“The Papyrus of Ani,” Chapter 30b, Egyptian Book of the Dead

 

One’s heart is weighed after one passes away, according to the Egyptian Book of the Dead. In this hymn to the Great God, a human is confronted by a tribunal and his deeds are balanced against the weight of a feather of Ma’at, goddess of truth and justice. His heart must be lighter than this feather to enter into the abode of the gods.

Did my son do his best? Did he face any kind of judgment when he crossed over? The Spirit knows us more intimately than we know ourselves—our deepest truths, our darkest secrets.

It seems to me we judge ourselves more than others judge us, far more than the Spirit of Love would. Does a mother judge her son harshly enough to cast him away from her for all time? If not, then how could Love?

I know my son judged himself harshly. Yet I also saw in him the boy rescuing earthworms after a rain, having funerals for dead mice, giving gifts straight from his heart.

None of us are perfect. We are perfectly human. My son had his issues, yet in my mind the love outweighs the unfortunate behaviors.

May his heart be lighter than a feather.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you find yourself allowing negative thoughts to roll around in your mind, see them for what they are: thoughts. They can be changed. It takes some effort. My friend Kay offers me suggestions for updating my thinking and my words. I believe it makes a difference, because I now judge myself less. As I judge myself less, I judge others less, and the world is a smidgeon happier for it.

Sources

The Papyrus of Ani, Chapter 30b (second copy), from The Egyptian Book of the Dead, copyright 1997 by Neil Parker. Retrieved 8/24/2016 from http://www.bardo.org/ani/ch30b_2.html

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

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Egyptian_Book_of_the_Dead

 

Using unicorn unction

unicorn horn“ … perfectly conscious of the sanitary virtues which resided in its [the unicorn’s] nasal protruberance, and would dip its horn in the water to purify and sweeten it ere it would drink.”

Graham Everitt, Doctors and Doctors’

 

Medieval literature contains references to the horn of the unicorn being full of healing energy, according to William Jackson in The Use of Unicorn Horn in Medicine. “It was even said that poisoned wounds could be cured merely by holding a piece of the horn close to them,” he writes.

Some European royalty claimed to have unicorn horns, and some ceremonial chalices were made from these rare and exotic treasures because they were believed to neutralize poison. These objects most likely were made from the long, single tusks from narwhals, which are medium-sized Arctic whales.

A tapestry at The Met Cloisters in New York City depicts a unicorn dipping its magical white horn into a poisoned stream to purify the water so onlooking animals could safely drink.

Perhaps a little unicorn unction could be useful for dealing with the side effects of poisonous chemotherapy.

During 2014, a five-year-old said she wanted to ride a unicorn when she finished chemotherapy. Lily Raffray’s wish was granted—a party was thrown for her, complete with a ride on a beautiful white horse sporting a unicorn horn.

That seems like some pretty sweet medicine to me.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

For fun, add a little unicorn magic to your chemotherapy experience. Place a unicorn on a home altar, wear a unicorn pendant, or cut out a picture of a unicorn and tape it to the chemotherapy infusion bags or your water bottle. Then ask for the blessing of healing unicorn-like unction in your experience to reduce the side effects of the poisons.

Sources:

Everitt G. Doctors and Doctors. London: Swan, Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co; 1888, as found in “The Use of Unicorn Horn in Medicine,” The Pharmaceutical Journal, 18 Dec. 2004, by William Jackson, referenced Aug. 11, 2016, from http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/features/the-use-of-unicorn-horn-in-medicine/20013625.article

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicorn

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/girl-celebrates-end-chemo-magical-unicorn-ride/story?id=26275119

It’s Official: 5 Years Clean

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Photo by Judy Peace
Photo by Judy Peace

Psalm 51:7, New American Standard Bible

Hyssop, as used in this verse, probably refers to herbs, such as oregano or thyme, used by the early Israelites to purify those with skin disorders and as part of cleansing rituals.

My disorder appears to be purified, cleansed, washed away. Today my nurse practitioner, Michele, confirmed I am now five years clean, five years free of evidence of disease, and five years clear of all medical treatment.

I am THRILLED!

Filled with gratitude and joy, I went to the nearby Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Ky., to light a ritual candle and give thanks. Mother Mary holds a reverential place in this hallowed hall, and I feel devotion toward her for many reasons. I entered, wide-eyed at the majesty of dozens of intricately painted stained-glass windows. The stunning primary window, one of the largest in the world, depicts the crowning of Mary in heaven.

After circling and ogling with my friend Judy, I went to Mary’s alcove near the front of the quiet cathedral and saw, to my great delight, real sunflowers on her altar. Sunflowers are the symbol for sarcomas, which are cancers of the connective tissues. I had been diagnosed seven years ago with a sarcoma. The flowers provided the perfect symbol for completing the experience.

I lit a candle, kneeled on the bench, said a Hail Mary, and expressed my deep gratitude for five clear years. “Thank You for purifying me; I AM clean.”

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you are longing for a clean bill of health, the above verse can be modified as an affirmation of faith in a positive outcome and as a prayer request of the Divine that can be repeated throughout the day: When you take your shower, you can say, “Purify my body with this shower, and I shall be clean…” When you drink your green smoothie, you can say, “Purify my cells with these greens, and I shall be clean…” When you are receiving chemotherapy, you can say, “Purify my organs with these medicines, and I shall be clean…”

Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyssopus_officinalis

Getting Hit Below the Belt

 beltWe cannot change anything unless we accept it.

C.G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

 

We cannot change something if we are not aware that something is amiss. Awareness of our bodies is critical—especially when it comes to cancer. Awareness of, and then acceptance of anything amiss can be life-saving. The earlier a dis-ease is caught, the more easily it is healed.

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, created to help everyone become more aware of women’s cancers below the belt.

Symptoms can include unusual periods, bleeding after menopause, pelvic pain or pressure, a rapidly growing uterine fibroid; even back pain or bloating. Here is a chart outlining the symptoms for these various cancers: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/gynecologic/basic_info/symptoms.htm . Learn the symptoms and watch for them. If they crop up, please go see a gynecologist.

During 2001 I had a dream in which I was warned I could get punched in the gut. Eight years later I had stage 4 uterine sarcoma. This year about 59,000 women will be diagnosed with uterine cancer, and one in six will pass from it.

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic cancer, affecting about 21,000 new patients. And about two-thirds will pass from the disease because it’s usually caught when already spreading.

Cervical cancer comes in as the third most common, with 12,000 new cases identified. About 4,000 will lose their lives to it.

Vulvar cancer will be diagnosed in about 5,000 women, and about 1,000 will succumb; and 4,070 will be diagnosed with vaginal cancer, which will claim about 1,000 lives.

Watch for symptoms. Be aware. If you notice something, accept that it is there. Get it checked. It could save your life.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Knowledge is power—patient power, says Annie Achee, president of the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation. If you hear a woman talking about symptoms of gynecologic cancer, please suggest getting them checked by a physician.

Sources:

http://www.foundationforwomenscancer.org/about-gynecologic-cancers/

American Cancer Society, Inc.

Ways to celebrate the birthday of a deceased loved one

cupcake selfie Laura webMy peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled. Do not be troubled or fearful.

John 14:27, The Voice, Christian Bible

 

My friend Laura wrote out this verse and gave it to me on what should have been my son Tristan’s 21st birthday. Peace is a lovely legacy. I have some peace around his passing, and appreciate her encouraging that gift within me.

Laura and I met when our boys attended preschool. She came by this past week with several goodies for a celebration of sorts—flowers, bubbles to give away as random acts of kindness in honor of Tristan, incense and a candle we lit, and, of course, a dark chocolate bar to soothe my aching soul.

We went to Loveland Sweets and I bought candy Tristan would have liked so I could later share it with my other son. Laura, recalling Tristan’s pirate party when he was six and his love for money, bought giant foil-wrapped chocolate coins—pirate booty.

Tristan enjoyed the yellow homemade cakes I made for him each birthday–a pirate’s island one year, a rocket another year. This year I didn’t want to bake a full cake for two people. Instead, Laura and I went to a bakery. She found the perfect cupcake for us to split—yellow cake, white frosting with sprinkles, and the words “happy birthday” on top. I could not have planned it better.

We sat in the bakery and sang “Happy Birthday” together, out loud, to Tristan. Then we split the dessert.

I am grateful for the thoughtfulness of my friend. She really helped me get through the end of my day so I didn’t have to spend it alone. Her gift of presence soothed my spirit and brought me a small measure of peace.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Celebrate your deceased loved one’s birthday with gratitude for the role he or she played in your life and the opportunity to spend at least a measure of time together. Prepare one of his or her favorite foods, or even an entire favorite meal, as my friend Connie does. Set out another place setting for your loved one. Invite her or his presence while you eat. Sing happy birthday—why not? Maybe your loved one really still is with you.