Easter weekend is nearly upon us. As a child I looked forward to our traditional Easter egg hunt, hunting happiness in the garden.
Whatever the weather, on hearing my father announce the arrival of the ‘Easter bunny’ my brother and I would rush outside, paper bag in hand to delve amongst the spring foliage, peering into tulips, carefully surveying bright heathers, following trails of sprouting clematis and honeysuckle, in the pursuit of a tiny chocolate eggs wrapped in bright shiny foil. Very rarely did they melted in the spring sunshine.
This afternoon I bought two bags of little eggs, to hide in my cottage garden on Sunday for my three sons, my niece and nephew. Charlie, my eldest at 23 years old probably enjoys the occasion the most of all! I indeed love watching them too. Hopefully they’re grown up enough to bypass the arguments and tears over who has collected how many eggs, but I’ll let you know about that one later!
I have recently read and thoroughly enjoyed Rachel Naomi Remen’s book “Kitchen Table Wisdom.” Dr Remen shares a vast number of true short stories from her cancer patients and insights she has gained over her many years as a physician, a professor of medicine, a therapist and long-term survivor of chronic disease. She is one of the earliest pioneers on the field of mind/body health which fascinates me. Since my experience with breast cancer almost four years ago now, I continue to be amazed by the incredible impact our thoughts have on our health, well-being and healing and how import it is to understand what we attract into our lives, too often in total oblivion.
Rachel believes that in sharing stories and thoughts it helps us all to heal, so I have written down a few of mine to share with you today.
When asked, ‘What do we want in life?’ I believe most of us will say ‘to be happy’. As I look back on my life, I was always in the pursuit of overall happiness. Often I felt it was never quite in my grasp, just those few feet away, I was always nearly there. Whether I was trying to achieve better grades at school, saving for a holiday, getting married or even having children. I was always looking elsewhere or onto the next horizon , whilst often gazing at others who had what ‘I wanted’ and trying very hard not to sound envious of their circumstances.
I have spent much of my life looking outside for happiness and fulfilment in life. Only having cancer did I stop and ask myself how important was my life to me. In my search for answers I began to realise that true happiness lies within me, in my contact with the real me, not who I think others would like me to be. It may sound cliché but I do feel my soul is revitalised by nature around me. I have a silver dog charm, I call ‘Gratedful’ which hangs from my handbag, each time it jangles it reminds me to be grateful for everything I am able to do, have and enjoy.
Have you ever bought a dress and stood moments before in the changing rooms, admiring how you look, excited at the prospect of wearing it out? To ‘feel’ good. To have the confidence to stride out, knowing you look great. Then for some unknown reason several weeks later you put that same dress on and wonder why on earth you bought it ? ‘What did I see in that?’ Those fleeting moments of happiness, created in buying the dress have passed and quite possibly now you are annoyed with yourself for frivolously spending the money. You can tell — I’m writing about me!!
Yes, I do enjoy going out to dinner, going on holiday, being able to buy gifts. I would like my own house and quite possibly a new car but I know that whilst these goods will bring a smile to my face, often equal satisfaction if not more comes from imagining their arrival. How I choose to think, makes all the difference.
When I was 16 weeks pregnant with my third child, I was told the foetus had died in my womb and I would need an operation to remove all that remained. I had been convinced it was a girl too! When the time arrived that the child would have been born, we went away on holiday to Greece for a 2 weeks, taking our eldest son Charlie, out of school. The weather was perfect and we relaxed on the golden sands. On returning to the UK however I felt incredibly low and depressed, I couldn’t lift myself up for several weeks. I could have allowed myself to see how lucky I was to have my two wonderful sons, to have been on our first holiday but I wasn’t aware of the impact my thoughts were having on my health, on my appreciation of life.
Yesterday my youngest son produced a long list of items, his school require him to have for his orienteering weekend in a fortnight. As I glanced down the list I began to feel stressed. Most of the items we didn’t have not to mention the cost of buying them. My stomach churned, until I released what I was attracting to myself with those set of beliefs, based on previous experiences. Instead of fretting ‘how’ I was going to manifest these items, I allowed myself to believe that they will appear when required either through hiring them, on loan from friends or possibly deciding that given the time of year, he simply won’t require them. I immediately felt a shift inside me, calmer and more relaxed I reminded myself what a great time he’s going to have, how much he’s going to learn.
I am still learning everyday to appreciate life. To be enriched by the beauty around me. Not to feel stressed or disappointed when things don’t go the way I planned or expected, but to hold belief and faith that God, the Universe has something better in mind. I ask myself daily ‘how I feel’ about given situations and continue to follow my instincts and intuition, when I remember to pay attention!
Easter Sunday, traditionally seen by Christians as Jesus’ assertion into heaven. I’d like to think God is part of everyone of us, but we need to ‘seek’ in order to ‘find’. I believe we have far more control of over our destiny than many of us like to imagine. I have to thank cancer for opening my eyes to the power within me and around me. Whilst my children will be seeking chocolate eggs and hunting happiness in the garden on Sunday, the whole experience will bring us all together to celebrate life.