My wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this week. While this isn’t the diagnosis we were hoping for, at least we know and can get into fight mode. Much of what I write in upcoming months will likely deal with this topic in one way or another, so here is a reminder of what I’ve written before that has been helpful to us so far.
Our moods rise and fall, and our thoughts and feelings change even if circumstances don’t. As we’ve lived with the diagnosis, it hasn’t changed, but our sadness, anger, happiness, and optimism have. They have come and gone. They will likely come and go some more as we go rising and falling in cycles, and this will remain true after we kick cancer’s ass. Right now I’m up. It’s effortless and feels great, but I don’t fear going down because I know it won’t last.
Mental toughness does not have to be built. It is available in an instant, and one need not even realize one is capable of toughness to act with toughness. It just happens when we need it most. I think it helps to realize this, but it’s not necessary. I would say that we are exactly as tough as we think we are (it seems to go this way), but I see people acting on toughness daily without even realizing what they are doing. I think the only cardinal sin with mental toughness is to believe it has to be built and that one is not capable of building it. Yet I’ve even seen people with this mindset act tougher than they predict they are capable of acting.
In every moment, opportunities to make plays exist. We make some. We miss some. We move on.
Be aware of your influence. You have some abilities. Use them. Realize none of us is in 100% control of anything. When you truly understand this, you’re very likely to feel grateful when everything is going your way. You’ll learn to roll gracefully when the forces seem to align against you.
Be awake to possibility. Your influence is powerful. It is more powerful than the control you think you desire. Miraculous possibilities are everywhere if you simply open your eyes to them. Sometimes they even appear when forces seem to be aligned against you.
Be alive with action and awe. Make plays. Seize opportunities. See the world the way you can. Find the miraculous in the common.
We are all connected, yet as individual observers, each of us has her own path. Our minds create meaning for the path, but the path isn’t right or wrong, good or bad. It just is. Make the plays you can on your path. Influence others the best you can. Everything happens for a reason. I believe that. I don’t know if God’s will is that reason or if it’s just a matter of physics. Some propose it’s a combination. In any case, everything is connected. Be mindful of that. Perhaps you have more answers than I do.
Be well my friends. Make plays. Today in the Wood family we are making plays to live, love, and laugh while we kick cancer’s ass.