As a former control freak, aspiring to become more present, or what some may say ‘living in the moment’, as cliched as that sounds, I’ve made plans and set expectations my whole life. I should get a gold medal for project managing my life. I was so distracted with living in the past, or future, that on too many occasions I hadn’t fully soaked up the moments in the ‘present’.
After some mind-blowing and devastating news in March 2014 about my health, I found myself in a place where looking to the future filled me with worry, anxiety, immense fear and lots of questions! My habitual approach to thinking and feeling about the future kicked in, before it had even arrived and immediately it impacted the present moment. It was time to re-frame as much as I could, otherwise, I would be more of a wreck than I was at that moment, spiralling out if control.
Within one week I learnt I had uterine cancer, which is extremely rare for a young woman, I had trembled through the CT and MRI scans, had blood tests and received the results to confirm that it was contained in my uterus. My wonderful uterus that had protected our daughter whilst she grew for 9 months was now protecting me and preventing the cancer from spreading if I acted quick and went ahead with surgery as recommended by the Oncology Team.
What kept me going over those seven days was the strength, love, kindness and immense support from family, wonderful friends and colleagues. I also found an inner-strength by being present every day, counting my blessings, taking small steps, facing my fears and believe me you have countless fears when you are told you have cancer… Dark thoughts about not seeing my toddler grow up, my gorgeous husband, my family, my health.
I slowed down and paused. A vital skill for our health, especially in the frantic world we now live in. I spent time meditating, walking, becoming very aware and when I mustered the courage to face into my anger, anxiety and fear, I tried to be kind to those feelings, rather than cursing myself for feeling that way.
Each day during that life changing week and the months that followed was a reminder of how quickly you can lose something you thought you always had — Health. When you become caught up in your tomorrows, workload, and the long and ever expanding ‘to do’ list then it is time to Pause.
I felt like I had been given a gift of new senses and I now see the world so differently through the same eyes, yet new perspective. I’m now more present than I ever have been and at times that can be equally as challenging!
There is a mission in my remission, to raise awareness and support other people beat the burnout by slowing down and pausing and ultimately re-charging the ultimate battery in life — You!
I have run all my life; I am not going to run anymore; now I am determined to stop and really live my life.
Thich Nhat Hanh