This week was a rough one. My dog Peso has been in remission from cancer for several months and responding beautifully to his treatments. But this week, the cancer came back.
This was a big time blow for me — so I allowed myself an entire day to cry and be sad and scared. After our vet appointment where we heard the options and the prognosis and the statistics, I went home and laid in bed with him and cried all day.
I let the emotions move through me and let all the tears and fears up and out of my body. Having given myself permission to be a total hot mess, I really did it up right. I sobbed and shook and wiped snot all over my shirt. It felt good to let it all out and acknowledge and accept the parts of me that are sad and scared and pissed.
The next day, we DANCED. We got back to our rockin life of loving everyone and everything. And that felt good too.
What I have in front of me right now is a happy dog who feels great. We have SO MUCH to be thankful for and so we spend our days accordingly. Whenever I begin to slip into the old pattern of fretting about the future, all I have to do is turn to my favorite teacher. Peso isn’t worried one lick about the cancer. He is so fully present in each moment that worrying about some potential future event would seem like the most ridiculous way to spend any time to him. He has been teaching me about living life well his entire life, and the lessons that have come with our journey through cancer have been especially rich.
More and more, through following his lead, I am able to really experience the moments of our life as they are, without clinging to them or worrying about how many more moments I will get. True presence is what Peso has been teaching me all along and I am doing my best to give him that same gift though this part of our adventure together. Because I am not as good at it as him, sometimes I need a day to cry. There are parts of me that are worried and sad and sick with grief, and giving those parts a chance to be expressed and heard is an important part of inviting them along into the whole of the experience. I don’t think I would be able to feel as calm and peaceful and joyful as I do if I was stuffing down emotions that I wanted to pretend didn’t exist. I don’t think I would be able to dance.
All and all, I have to say, I am thankful for the reminder — that everything is temporary, that all we have is now, and that the absolute best thing to do is to take in each moment as it comes and let it go as it goes. I know right now, more than ever, that if I am holding onto the past or worrying about the future — I am not actually living the life that is in front of me, the one where I have a happy dog who feels great.
So, thank you cancer, for teaching us about life.
We will go ahead and dance our tails off now. We will love each other fearlessly and experience this fully. This pretty much sums up how I strive to live my life. So it seems that things are right on point.
Touché life, touché.