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I remember in group therapy so many years ago we were talking about procrastination and that there always seemed to be good reasons to delay working toward our goals, there was always plenty of time. I used to think I would someday start my private practice, but lifelong insecurities got in the way and hid behind the global nondescript word, procrastination. I think about this now because in a different way I am doing the same thing. When I was first diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoma in March 2020, it felt like life was being snatched away from me with fervor and that I had to use that same energy to make the rest of my life one that I can be proud of — when I felt better. I was certain that when I was well, I would fill my time with worthwhile goals, though I just didn’t exactly know what, but when I was feeling better, I’d work on it. Cancer came at the same time as the pandemic so everything I did before cancer ended. My hospice social work, the groups I ran for senior citizens, my spiritual studies, they all ended. I didn’t think about the tremendous task of rebuilding a life then, I was too busy trying to get through cancer treatment, but I was sure this time it would be different, when I felt better.

When treatment was over, I wanted to travel but I realized that my fear and anxiety was now targeting my limited physical energy and ongoing stomach issues. I felt uneasy leaving the security of home where everything I needed was there, just in case. My doctor and nurses told me I could take all my stomach meds with me, I could rest when needed, knew what food to avoid, so there was no reason not to travel, but my fear held me back anyway. It frightened me to think of not feeling well in an unfamiliar place, so I thought I’d wait till I felt better. In addition, I understand that moving out from under the cancer cloud was and is still not easy. It’s hard not to think about the possibility of cancer coming back so whenever there is a twitch or an itch the fear mounts to unmeasurable proportions and that is paralyzing. And, by the way, my fears were founded as they did come back.

Eventually I accepted the fact that I wasn’t ready to travel, though I was ready to make positive changes in my life but sadly didn’t know how to begin or what I wanted to do. I had to re-create my life which I found frustrating, and the aimlessness was demoralizing. It was too hard to start over and I just wanted life to be finished. I thought I’d wait till life was over to find peace and move to the great beyond where I will find all that I am looking for, whatever that is, which as I write this, sounds like another elaborate form of procrastination. But when I pay attention to my body, I realize that it is doing better than my frame of mind. At the time of this writing my body is still fighting for survival, but mixed emotions continue. I realize that because I’m frustrated and don’t want or feel able to make the effort, I want life to be finished, but life will NOT end just because I’m frustrated. If my body is still fighting for survival, shouldn’t that have an impact on my frame of mind? Realizing this, soon after a thought popped into my head: this is my mission. It’s about facing my frustration, the conflict of mixed emotions that come with having to start over, and resisting change. The mission is learning how to move through the resistance and not let it take over. The goal is to feel the thrill of having accomplished something difficult — the peace in regaining balance with the opposing forces that battle inside me and the peace that comes with successfully battling my inner demons like Hercules in the Strength card. All that being said, I still have resistance in moving forward with my life.

Perhaps I’d be more successful if I were more compassionate with myself.

In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu states, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” I am waiting passively for “the dust to settle” but perhaps it’s like “Waiting for Godot.” I’m slowly understanding at a visceral level, that I’m going to be here for a while, that there is still gas in my tank, and I am not finished living. This brings me to my next thought: what are my dreams, my desires? As I’m thinking about this, I had a dream. In my dream there was a woman laughing, and enjoying the moment as she was reading something she wrote to her audience. Though I don’t know what she was reading, my take-away was that instead of waiting for the anxiety to subside, or the timing to be right – all tools of procrastination with an underlying fear that propels this continuous cycle of paralysis. I should instead face the very obstacles that scare me with compassion and humor. Not to dismiss anything, but maybe I need to lighten up. Fear and anxiety are not helpful, they are like a door slamming shut incarcerating possibility. Behind this barrier, there is a part of me that is excited to share her wisdom, humor, strength, and desire to succeed but doing it lovingly is more encouraging.

All of this sounds wise and it’s all true. I know all the steps to fulfillment, it makes perfect sense, however I am still feeling resistant to change and I know that I’m not ready to follow my own advice, especially on days when I don’t feel well. But I continue to write because it helps me think and explore my thoughts and feelings and also because I think I’m more comfortable working toward something than actually having it. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” So maybe I’m doing better than I think I am and that I should just keep writing.

 

I remember in group therapy so many years ago we were talking about procrastination and that there always seemed to be good reasons to delay working toward our goals, there was always plenty of time. I used to think I would someday start my private practice, but lifelong insecurities got in the way and hid behind the global nondescript word, procrastination. I think about this now because in a different way I am doing the same thing. When I was first diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoma in March 2020, it felt like life was being snatched away from me with fervor and that I had to use that same energy to make the rest of my life one that I can be proud of — when I felt better. I was certain that when I was well, I would fill my time with worthwhile goals, though I just didn’t exactly know what, but when I was feeling better, I’d work on it. Cancer came at the same time as the pandemic so everything I did before cancer ended. My hospice social work, the groups I ran for senior citizens, my spiritual studies, they all ended. I didn’t think about the tremendous task of rebuilding a life then, I was too busy trying to get through cancer treatment, but I was sure this time it would be different, when I felt better.

When treatment was over, I wanted to travel but I realized that my fear and anxiety was now targeting my limited physical energy and ongoing stomach issues. I felt uneasy leaving the security of home where everything I needed was there, just in case. My doctor and nurses told me I could take all my stomach meds with me, I could rest when needed, knew what food to avoid, so there was no reason not to travel, but my fear held me back anyway. It frightened me to think of not feeling well in an unfamiliar place, so I thought I’d wait till I felt better. In addition, I understand that moving out from under the cancer cloud was and is still not easy. It’s hard not to think about the possibility of cancer coming back so whenever there is a twitch or an itch the fear mounts to unmeasurable proportions and that is paralyzing. And, by the way, my fears were founded as they did come back.

Eventually I accepted the fact that I wasn’t ready to travel, though I was ready to make positive changes in my life but sadly didn’t know how to begin or what I wanted to do. I had to re-create my life which I found frustrating, and the aimlessness was demoralizing. It was too hard to start over and I just wanted life to be finished. I thought I’d wait till life was over to find peace and move to the great beyond where I will find all that I am looking for, whatever that is, which as I write this, sounds like another elaborate form of procrastination. But when I pay attention to my body, I realize that it is doing better than my frame of mind. At the time of this writing my body is still fighting for survival, but mixed emotions continue. I realize that because I’m frustrated and don’t want or feel able to make the effort, I want life to be finished, but life will NOT end just because I’m frustrated. If my body is still fighting for survival, shouldn’t that have an impact on my frame of mind? Realizing this, soon after a thought popped into my head: this is my mission. It’s about facing my frustration, the conflict of mixed emotions that come with having to start over, and resisting change. The mission is learning how to move through the resistance and not let it take over. The goal is to feel the thrill of having accomplished something difficult — the peace in regaining balance with the opposing forces that battle inside me and the peace that comes with successfully battling my inner demons like Hercules in the Strength card. All that being said, I still have resistance in moving forward with my life.

Perhaps I’d be more successful if I were more compassionate with myself.

In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu states, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” I am waiting passively for “the dust to settle” but perhaps it’s like “Waiting for Godot.” I’m slowly understanding at a visceral level, that I’m going to be here for a while, that there is still gas in my tank, and I am not finished living. This brings me to my next thought: what are my dreams, my desires? As I’m thinking about this, I had a dream. In my dream there was a woman laughing, and enjoying the moment as she was reading something she wrote to her audience. Though I don’t know what she was reading, my take-away was that instead of waiting for the anxiety to subside, or the timing to be right – all tools of procrastination with an underlying fear that propels this continuous cycle of paralysis. I should instead face the very obstacles that scare me with compassion and humor. Not to dismiss anything, but maybe I need to lighten up. Fear and anxiety are not helpful, they are like a door slamming shut incarcerating possibility. Behind this barrier, there is a part of me that is excited to share her wisdom, humor, strength, and desire to succeed but doing it lovingly is more encouraging.

All of this sounds wise and it’s all true. I know all the steps to fulfillment, it makes perfect sense, however I am still feeling resistant to change and I know that I’m not ready to follow my own advice, especially on days when I don’t feel well. But I continue to write because it helps me think and explore my thoughts and feelings and also because I think I’m more comfortable working toward something than actually having it. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” So maybe I’m doing better than I think I am and that I should just keep writing.