"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart"
What are the desires of your heart? If you let your imagination run wild - what is it you always dreamed of doing? A recent song by Tim McGraw encouraged us all to "live like we were dying." I found the time during my cancer journey was like a "time-out" in life. I was literally stopped in my tracks in the course of normal daily activities. My life revolved around the frequent visits during each week to Mayo Clinic. Much of the rest of my time was spent in my recliner at home. So I began dreaming. It made me take a step towards doing those things I had always wanted to do.
First of all, I decided to embrace my "inner-diva." Bald or not - I loved dressing up, I loved parties, I loved "chic flicks," and I loved my girlfriends! My first month of chemo was also my 51rst birthday. I wasn't sure I'd be around for my 52nd birthday so I decided to throw myself a "bash" of all "bashes." My daughter Scarlett and I had just been to see my the movie "The Notebook" and we had cried our eyes out at the ending. I'm serious! As the people all filed out of the movie we were weeping in each other's arms, just sobbing our hearts out over empty tubs of popcorn. I began thinking of all my girlfriends I wanted to tell to go see the movie when I got a brainflash. Party time!
Together Scarlett and I concocted a grand party scheme. Diva party! I decided to invite the twelve most important women in my life to gather with me to celebrate our friendship. First we would play dress up. In the invitations we told them to wear a dress and there would be tables full of costume jewelry, scarves, hats, shoes etc to "dress up" like a diva. Then I asked my Mary Kay Consultant - Deborah Leonard if she would consider doing makovers just for fun to complete the diva experience. She was an absolute doll and joined the party and made us all up glamourous and gorgeous. (Check out her website: http://www.marykay.com/dleonard868/default.aspx - she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside and has a true gift for helping women be their very best)
Then we had our official "diva society indoctrination" ceremony as we formed a circle linked by hands. I made up our mission statement for the "Darling Diva Society" and for that day we each were assigned a "diva name" that we drew out of a hat that we would be called by as we acted out our alter-diva personas. Next, we piled into a couple of cars and headed to the local movie theater where I had arranged VIP treatment for our parade of dolled up divas that took the theater by storm. We had reserved seats waiting inside the theater and we were served by the staff as they marched our twelve tubs of popcorn and drinks in to us with a flair.
Next we headed to "The Olive Garden" for cake and ice cream. We were treated like royalty everywhere and it was a blast. I got the chance to have my twelve favorite gals with me and to tell each of them what they meant to me.
My next dream was to learn to play the piano. I scoured the want ads for weeks and finally found an antique Tresor piano for a couple hundred dollars! I has just watched a show on public radio that showed you how to play the piano in an hour. Bingo! I was on my way to playing more than "Chopsticks" and "Heart and Soul." Honestly, I never really learned to play it much but I did master putting on a piano CD on the stereo and kind of playing along by ear with it. It sounded good to me! Sometimes I just go sit in my parlor and gaze at it with pleasure. I own a piano!
Then I saw another show on PBS teaching you to paint. Ah! Another dream of mine! So I dialed the number and donated way too much money to public radio just to get a starter painting and training kit. I dabbled a little bit and did a couple of pictures but I ended up giving away my kit to my cousin Robin who loves arts and crafts.
Yes, some of my dreams ended falling by the wayside but others are still in progress. Like my writing. I began scribbling furiously each day my thoughts about this book I am now writing. It was the birth of the one dream I really want to make come true. I have dreamed of writing a book since the fourth grade when I wrote a Christmas story I had to read in front of class. The applause was deafening and at that moment I knew I would become a writer. Then life got in the way.
So, as I sat so many hours in my recliner during my cancer journey, I stoked the fire of that dream. I began visualizing myself in front of a crowd of women sharing my thoughts of getting through cancer with a smile. I pictured myself holding my book in my hand and flipping through the pages. I began to believe in the reality of being an author and a speaker and ministering to individuals to help them through their cancer journeys. It gave me hope and a reason to live (beyond my family and friends). It gave me what Tony Robbins calls "a magnificent obsession."
So here I am, 3 years since my masectomy which made me cancer-free, and two years since the end of the treatments that followed to squash any remaining traces........even tho I must continue to take Arimidex evety day for 8 more years and have check ups every six months..........mine was a big bad cancer that they only recently found treatments for. And despite it all.......I am filled with HOPE! I learned the hard way what hope is all about. But now since I have discovered the secrets to hope and the miraculous effects of having hope - in ANY challenge - I must tell the world and spread hope wherever I can.
There is proven power in the hopeful mind. One of the things you will discover in the pages of my book are 50 ways of living in hope. It's a combination of my wild and craziest ideas to squeezing every moment of living out of life. It jump-starts your own mind to lead you to making up your own list of things you want to do before you die. I want to lead you to the thrilling concept of living every moment to the fullest. That is the stuff of dreams! That is the substance of finding hope- no matter what.
Yes, hope can activate your immune system and many other vital body functions. Hope can heal. So start dreaming. I came to realize that you never truly live until you truly believe you might really die one day. It brings a whole new perspective on life and makes you cherish every second. And dream big! Cast care to the wind and ask God to lead you to your heart's desire. Then keep your dreams in front of you and walk toward them. I wish you the courage to take the first step.