Beginning Again

Hello! I have started this posting many times over the last few months and would get pulled away for various reasons or just didn’t feel that it was coming out right. I also wasn’t in a great place for awhile (while we fine tuned my hormone replacement…who knew how powerful your hormones are and how tricky the balance is?!) so allowed myself space to figure it all out. There is an interesting thing that happened at the end of all the treatment that seemed odd. It felt a little like being spit out at the end and wondering “Now what?” And yet, from the beginning of all this, there has always been a deep knowing that this was suppose to happen in order to change the course of my life and that nothing else could have “cleared the path” as this has. But what I have found is that with the old gone and the new not yet formed, the space in between has proven to be a test of faith. This is what I have been reconciling over the last few months…while focusing on having fun!

Many of you have been so sweet to check in and ask how I have been doing as I have not posted anything in some time and I’d said that I would “fill in the blanks” after my last scan. To be honest it all just seems irrelevant and several lifetimes ago as things tend to with time. I could write a detailed account of what happened, how emotionally draining it is to go through those scans, how much work it is to coordinate it all with my various doctors, my nutritionist and how they almost canceled it because of an insurance issue and yet all I hear in my head is “Blah, blah, blah…boring!” Who wants to focus on all that? So what I have chosen to do is just to write what comes out, trusting that it is exactly what is suppose to be said.

This whole journey has been a process of continued surrender and trusting and is what I keep coming back to. I look back and laugh at the funny stories of riding my bike at the beach with my catheter, girls coming up to me and asking what products I use on my “hair” (wig) to make it so shiny or someone asking if I was a triathlete several months after my last bone marrow transplant (Oh, if they only knew!! :)) and yet there seems to be larger message, a more universal message. It seems that I have been taught that when I get myself out of the way, clear out all the “stuff”, then that things just flow. Let me explain, in one of my prior drafts I described this “current” I found myself swept up in very shortly after I was diagnosed. Somehow the implosion or explosion (depending on how you want to look at it), of my whole world as I knew it exposed a Divinely guided part of me that seemed to step in and take over everything. I know this sounds a bit odd but it is the best way I can describe it and it is something I aspire to get back to. It’s as if I was given the experience as a frame of reference as a new way of living my life.

The experience was soul shaking, a true awakening. It was far beyond appreciating what I had or taking time to smell the roses. It was an unveiling of what life truly is, how things work, and I have spent the last year on an inner quest that was very “led”, so to speak, and that was one of discovery and clearing. This flow that I became aware of brought the perfect people at the perfect time and took me down some very interesting avenues. The months of medical treatment were certainly significant in light of what I went through and yet there was always this reflection, this parallel with the inner/spiritual part of the journey that was undeniable and bigger. It was a call to be and do something else. I look at things with very different eyes now and I exist in the world in a radically different way than I did before. Some will chalk this up to going through a traumatic experience and being changed by it and, while that is true, it is much greater than that.

In the last few months, as I have “re-entered” the world I have come to realize how much I have changed. I find myself quite disillusioned with the everyday “stuff” as it just seems filled with distractions. I find myself most comfortable on the periphery, and the chaos I once thrived on doesn’t seem to fit anymore and is often irritating. I find myself observing more and wondering how I had missed all this before. As I watch the scrambling about of strangers and the busyness of the world, I feel a bit like an alien on pokies online the planet. I have found that as I try to do things that had once been fulfilling and satisfying, it just seems to fall short and my new point of reference is guiding me else where. What I have come to realize is that I have to “re-find” what is fulfilling to me and what makes me happy with this shift that has occurred. How to do this has been a learning process as well as another lesson in surrendering, listening and trusting.

What seemed unthinkable at times is that I was called to learn this with the biggest stakes hanging in the balance–to be called to let go of all fear in the face of the ultimate and deepest primordial fear, death. Yet, underneath all this, there was always a knowing, an deep understanding, that my path was one of healing and that the only death was that of what no longer served me, the old me, the “sleep” that I had been in. I was no long allowed to keep going on a path that, ultimately, I was not meant to be on. It had served me up until that point and a new path was now laid out before me. Where it leads is a story in the making. I am telling you all this because I think this is true for all of us in one way or another. Sometimes it is more or less dramatic and, yet, I think all of us find ourselves at different points of our lives where the old no longer fits and the new has yet to arrive. Recently, Buckhead Church here in Atlanta had a series on “The Waiting Room”. I actually laughed when I heard what the message was and once again marveled how God speaks to us…help and guidance are everywhere. The message spoke of the phases in our lives that where we are called to wait and we are left wondering where to go, what to do, when it will be over.

I’ve learned to stop beating on the one door that has closed in front of me, trying to stay on a path far longer than I was intended to out of fear or habit. Now I know to turn around and see all the other doors that are open, calling for me to let go of the old and step through onto a new path. With practice I find that I catch myself quicker and earlier now and pay attention to what things feel like and use that as my cue to proceed forward or go another way. I’ve learned to trust myself and have found that when I ask for help, guidance and clarity, it always shows up. This is a far cry from how I lived my life before, actually the opposite. When I think back to how hard I pushed and forced things, everything, my heart breaks most at how hard I was on myself. The trick is we get rewarded for pushing ourselves in this world and yet for what? To be exhausted, burned out and irritated and yet still wondering why it isn’t enough? What’s enough? Tired?…keep going. Hungry?…too bad. Sad…suck it up. I have spent the last year undoing a lot of this and now have a deeper, kinder respect and gratitude for myself and my body. I stand in amazement at how strong my body was through all of this and see what an truly precious and amazing gift it is. I am so much gentler with myself now. There is no doubt that there was a Divine, protective hand on me though out this and I continue to honor that by listening to what my body is asking for. Our bodies are always talking to us both through our physical senses and, even before that, with our emotions. If I have learned anything through this experience, it is the unquestionable link between the mind and the body.

I find myself now with an raw openness and an overwhelming need to clear out and simplify anything that is a distraction from finding peace and joy. I find that I am happiest in nature and constantly look for anything that is fun and makes me laugh. I find that we don’t watch much TV anymore, that I am slower to return emails and calls and have less tolerance for the minutia of life or anything that leaves me feeling drained versus filled up. Neil and I have found ourselves gravitating towards things like packing a picnic dinner and going to a field to watch the sunset and it is why I feel so centered at the beach. Now I walk around amazed at everyone on their phones, texting while they are having a conversation with someone else or running outside on a beautiful day with the birds chirping and the sun in their face…listening to their iPod. And a year ago that person was me. Don’t get me wrong, I am still all for technology and there is nothing wrong with using and enjoying it and yet what are we missing in the mean time? I find myself compelled to simplify and create space in my life instead of filling it up with clutter and distractions as I use to. How lovely it is to really see, hear, feel and experience the moment rather than wondering where the time went.

So wow, right?! Maybe not what you expected and yet all of that is honest and real. In sharing my journey with you and by being as transparent as possible, many of you have told me there has been a piece of it that resonated with you and it’s been extremely humbling and gratifying for me to think that you have gained insight from the path I have walked. What was meant to be a simple way to keep our friends and family updated throughout this process morphed into a megaphone that has reached far more people than I ever realized. It’s beyond humbling that so many of you have told me that somehow in sharing my journey it has helped you or someone you know. I have come to realize more recently by running into several people I had not seen in awhile, and few I had not even met, how my story has been divinely used. I find it hard to believe sometimes but I have realized that within my story people find there own. There is some part of it that speaks a universal story and I know that is why I have been guided to share it.

Early morning hike in Utah

The last few months have brought some fun trips and there are more in the works as we look forward with our new mantra of “just living”. I’ve officially been on my first plane trip since being cleared to travel again and flew out to Utah with a great friend of mine for a girls’ weekend and stopped in Vegas to see “Jersey Boys” on the way back home. Neil and I will be leaving shortly for a Detox trip out to California and is something that we have had “on the books” for quite sometime now. Neil’s parents will join us for part of it and we look forward to spending time with them as well. I also have to share the wonderful news that Monique, my sister, is pregnant and will be having the first grandbaby, a little boy, the end of November and everyone is just thrilled. My next scan/ “check-up” will be at the end of September…the 28th to be exact. I will check in with everyone when it gets closer. I have also posted some updated pictures. As you will notice I liked both my wig and short hair cut so much that I have decided to keep them both…a girl’s gotta have options!

Dinner at Tao in Vegas before the show

 

Blessings to all of you. I remain eternally grateful for your prayers and loving support.

With love,
Alyssa

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls.”

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
-Howard Thurman

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