I received this from the Cancer Crusade. I thought that it was well worth sharing not only for those of us that are survivors but for those that are newly diagnoised.
Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.
Wilfred Peterson, This Week (Oct. 1, 1961)
I spent a lot of time beating myself up when I was diagnosed with cancer. Why had I smoked as a teenager and young adult? Why had I allowed those extra pounds to creep on in middle age? Why had I not exercised or eaten an apple a day or binged on broccoli instead of cookies?
One of the first and toughest things I had to do in order to begin the recovery process was forgive myself for a lifetime of taking my healthy body for granted and treating it with less than
the greatest of respect.
Forgiveness is always in season, but the beginning of a new year is an especially good time to forgive ourselves and to remember that regretting past mistakes and worrying about tomorrow do not support our health goals.
Perhaps more than anyone else, cancer survivors and others facing serious illness need to let go of the past. We need to remember that in many cases, there are no answers to the riddles of disease. Many people who have taken incredibly good care of themselves all of their lives get cancer and other serious diseases, too. We need to let go of the obsession many of us have with finding out "what went wrong." And if we imagine that it is something we did or didn't do, we need to forgive ourselves. One way to do that is to turn our backs on the past and learn to
live in the moment.
How? We can take a cue from those recovering from the illness of addiction, those who remind themselves and one another that we can only live our lives "one day at a time." There are even days when we can only endure an hour at a time, even one minute at a time, but the minutes and the hours and the days endured are victories in and of themselves. They are battles won, and they are to be celebrated joyously. These are the moments that add up to the sums of our lives.
Resolve to celebrate every morning that you open your eyes, every contact with a loved one, every moment that you draw breath, the breath itself, every seemingly inconsequential thing or occurrence which, if examined closely,
reveals a miracle.
When you temporarily lose your resolve, don't give up. Remind yourself that this is a new approach that requires practice, and gently return your attention to the present moment. If you can focus on this task and make it a conscious practice each and every day, its promise is that the joyful moments will greatly outweigh the sorrowful ones when the sums of our lives are tallied.