An anniversary is simply "the date on which an event took place in a previous year". Some anniversaries spark great anticipation and joy, while others are difficult for us to deal with.
Three years ago, our family was rocked by a diagnosis. The truth is, I don't know the exact date (it was too much of a blur), but I know the week it happened.
And ever since that traumatic event, I subconsciously associate this time of year with tragedy and often feel myself sinking into a funk.
If you can relate to this--you are perfectly normal. We humans have a natural tendency to engage in reflection on anniversaries. And as we begin thinking about a traumatic event, it often takes us right back to that painful time.
I knew this pattern wasn't serving me (or my family) well. And so I made a conscious decision to make our cancerversary about prayer, reflection, deep gratitude, fun, & celebration. (I'm talking Mardi Gras on steroids kind of fun)!
It hasn't been easy and I still struggle from time to time, but I realize that its a work in progress. Here's a few things that have helped me get more aligned:
1. HONOR IT ALL & MOVE ON
Take time to honor all that you think & feel. Anger, resentment, frustration, loneliness, isolation, confused, betrayed, love, gratitude---honor it all.
The key is to not allow yourself to dwell on any negative thoughts/feelings. Recognize them--Accept--and Let Go!
2. CHANGE YOUR THINKING/CHANGE YOUR LIFE
If you've read my previous posts, I'm big believer in TFA model. Simply put;
Therefore, when I catch myself feeling or behaving in a way that is undesirable, I know that I need to change the way I am thinking.
3. BE PRESENT
My biggest thinking error is NOT being present. One of the most spiritually profound things we can do is to live in the moment. And, when I am feeling out of sorts, I can most often attribute it to flailing around in the past or future.
After our diagnosis/treatment, it was easy to spend time worrying about the future. Was it really gone? Would it come back? But in consuming myself with these thoughts, I was missing the current, healthy, precious, beautiful moment. I knew that I didn’t want to sit down 20 years in the future, healthy and well, and look back with regret over the fact that I missed the beauty in those years because I was stuck in fear. I didn’t want to allow fear to separate me from God/Spirit.
So really try to bring your focus to the here and now. While on a walk in nature, do not think about your “to do list” or a grudge--really be present. Love the moment; take in every detail & feel the peace and joy.
4. LET GO OF THE DATE
I often have to challenge my thinking regarding specific dates. I remind myself that there have been many beautiful things that have also happened on every date on the calendar.
Sometimes I have to shake myself and do an inventory of my blessings (even in the midst of obstacles). This starts with remembering how sacred it is just to be alive and having gratitude for exactly what I have right now. Gratitude for the smallest of things; a beating heart, a safe home, the breeze on our face, the stars in the sky, laughter, and joy. And as difficult as it may be, we must have gratitude for even the most difficult of circumstances (remember, everything is a blessing). Gratitude connects us to God and our spirit and produces a feeling of peace.
[This picture stays close to me, as it sparks immediate gratitude].
As we reflect during our cancerversary, we often think about all the doctors/nurses who helped us get back to "living life". There is truly no way to properly "thank" these people. We chose to show our gratitude by sending them a 1 minute video, so they could get a glimpse of the lifestyle they helped to make possible. [I know this is why they do what they do!]
No better way to internalize our gratitude (& manifest our future) then by getting still through prayer/meditation.
7. GET UP, MOVE AROUND, CHANGE THE SCENERY
When you find yourself in an emotional rut, remind yourself that emotions ebb & flow and are easily influenced by the environment. So get up, go for walk, call a friend, water the garden, exercise, take a bath, etc. A change in scenery has a way of quickly changing stubborn TFA (Thoughts/Feelings/Actions).
8. FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Let the world know your philosophy by announcing to the world that "this is our cancerversary and it is a time of celebration".
9. PASSION-FILLED FUTURE
Evaluate your life & go for it! (whatever "it" is).
Always have an exciting hopeful future. Use your gifts, have a project, a vacation, an event, hopes, dreams, excitement, passion, & live in love & light.
10. IT'S NOT AN OBSTACLE-FREE JOURNEY
Letting go of fear and embracing love/gratitude may not always be as easy as we'd like. Accept this fact and respect where you are every moment on your path.