Thursday, July 25, 2013

Systematic Weeding

Yesterday, I finished my last chemo treatment, getting all the way through the infusion with minimal hiccups and disruptions.  Gratitude is my word of the day today.

Given that this part of treatment has concluded, it is time for a bit of self-assessment.

The last few months, I have been systematically weeding out things that are not working for us or piling up uselessly in the forgotten corners and drawers around our house.  This has been an ongoing project for several weeks in a row -- a little bit at a time because, for obvious reasons, I honestly don't have the energy at the moment for wholesale cleaning.

We have accumulated way too much crap.  That's just the truth of it.

The accumulation has been ongoing for quite some time, so it isn't as though it all came in the door the same day or anything.  But holy cow, how a family of three can amass so much random crapola is beyond me.

Well, it isn't really that far beyond me.  Given how insane things have been in our lives for the last few months with a second cancer diagnosis in a three year span of time, it is understandable that the little things would get shoved aside a bit.  When you add in several years in a row prior to that of crushingly painful family deaths, and all of the adjunct work -- including making room for Grandpa to live with us for a long stretch with a week's notice to make it work?

Things just pile up...everywhere.

Let me just say up front that I would not have done anything differently.  When family needs your help, you step up -- it is what we do in our family, always have, always will.

But for my own little family's sake, it is time to do some serious weeding to get us back to some baseline of organized sanity.  Not to sound all new agey or self-help-book soaked or anything, but I am wholly convinced of this:  all of the external clutter is an outward manifestation of how topsy-turvy and crazed so much of our life has become the last few years in a row.  We need to reassess how we are doing things, and make some changes for the better for all of our sakes.  And I intend to do just that.

That goes for my internal self as well.  You cannot go through any extended treatment for a potentially fatal disease without accumulating a lot of emotional baggage.  You freeze up, shove things deep down just to survive the wretchedness of treatment and as a defense mechanism to maintaining sanity and continuity for yourself and your family.

But at some point, you have to pull out that ball of fear and need for some changes and look it square in the face.  Now that I have finished chemo, it is time to that, for my own sake as well as for my family, who deserve a happier, healthier me to the extent I can make that happen as much as I long for it, too.

All this to say, my hope is turn turn over quite a few new leaves -- gently -- in the days ahead.  Starting with this:  morning pages, every day, no excuses.   (Much more on Morning Pages here.)

A few years ago, I went to a seminar run by Julia Cameron, whose The Artist's Way books are just a fantastic excursion through your inner creative process. One of the things we did at the seminar was do notes for others who were participating about things we'd noticed about them that were inspirational or wonderful or just some kind and encouraging observation specifically about each individual in our group.  The notes that I got were lovely and encouraging and incredibly energizing.

Today, I'm going to dig out the little scrapbook I made of the notes and read them over.  A sort of instant pick-me-up of encouragement to move myself forward on the creative side, too.

I have woefully neglected that while being in survival mode and I miss it.  So today gets to be a reflection day with a bit of fun and planning woven into the mix.  The systematic weeding will continue...

(Photo via tobym.  I know that dandelions are considered weeds of the highest order, but I love their cheery yellow flowers in the spring for that lovely pop of color that they give to all the surrounding gray until the rest of the flowers catch up.  Seemed a perfect symbol for how I am feeling internally at the moment.)

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