Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Remission Anniversary #12

This is me during the Providence Bridge Pedal of 2003. I cried when I discovered I wasn't strong enough do the longer route that I wanted to take towards the Sellwood Bridge and had to remind myself how wonderful it was that I could do it at all. Both truths were real. I wasn't strong enough to make it to Sellwood AND I did the Providence Bridge Pedal even while undergoing chemo.

This first paragraph is what I will post on Facebook today:

Today marks my 12th year free from cancer. I celebrate today not only to be cancer-free, but also to have experienced cancer. I'm grateful that the lymphoma was eradicated from my body, but am also grateful for the deep teachings it brought me about my own strength and about surrender. While I no longer think daily of my status as a survivor, I do daily face the question of what I'm able to do and what my limitations are. Every day we are all given an infinite number of opportunities to be thankful and the choice to be compassionate towards ourselves. I think the gift of cancer has somehow helped me look at this a little more seriously than if I hadn't had it.

This second paragraph is just for the blog:

I write this now knowing that yesterday a colleague's mother died from the same disease. I was uncertain at first how to handle that. Should I celebrate in the way that I'd planned, bringing a platter of food to school to celebrate? Would doing so be callous, I celebrate life while someone else mourns? It reminds me of when I first learned that I would survive my cancer, but felt so sorry, and some guilt, that my sister-in-law, Denise, did not.

As I turn off the deliberate thinking and go deep with this, I realize that the deep spiritual work is just in holding all of this truths together. I lived.  Another died. There is suffering. There is beauty. There is.

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Hoshanot 2015

I guess writing about Hoshanot is becoming a tradition for me as I did it in 2013 as well as in 2012 in a post that led to my article on JOFA's site and all the way back in 2005 in this article to name a few. You can search the blog if you really want, but by now you will have gotten the point.

Well, this year I had two similar but distinctly different Hoshanot experiences. The first was in our regular shul. Remembering anxiety in past years about how this might go, I emailed the rabbi ahead of time and asked that it be made very clear exactly where women would be and how to participate during the Hoshanot service. I also asked what I could do to help make sure this happened. Our rabbi assured me all would go well, that he would make sure there was a circle for men as well as one for woman, and said what I could do was recruit (which I did a little).

I was grateful to see that an email appeared in the bulletin inviting both women and men to participate in Hoshanot and encouraged both to bring lulav and etrog.

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Welcome To Our Sukkah!

These first two days of Sukkot were packed and I want to write about two things that happened. In this post I'll tell about the sukkah hop. I'll use another post for the other thing.

So in our shul there is an annual sukkah hop. It used to consist of hoards of children bombarding one sukkah after another, swooping up candy, and leaders pleading with them to say thank you and try not to break anything. At least, that's what I hear.

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