Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Living Well Is the Best Revenge

Cropped picture of Carlos Slim, a Mexican busi...Image via Wikipedia

There are many sayings that litter the literary landscape--euphemisms, aphorisms, cliches, hackneyed tidbits parading as something more (or less) dated echoes of an era. Remember the 80s, when in La Belle Cuisine (new owner/location, same logo) you could buy an apron with matching potholders and tea towels professing as gospel, "You can never be too thin or too rich." We bought, and bought in. But we know that only half of the statement is true; unfortunately you can be too thin. But I'm guessing that Gates, Buffet, and Latin America's Carlos Slim Helu would agree with the latter. If you know me well, you have a smile spreading across your face, and you're thinking, and she agrees with them. Interestingly, I do not. You can be too rich if in the process you lose something of your essential self, but that would be another post.

I am a devout believer that living well is the best revenge. In fact, as I type, my smile leaches into subtler paroxysms of laughter reaching into my past, where the motto aka mantra evokes some memorable moments. Does anything top that proverbial last laugh. But to twist the meaning into something different, off track of its conventional usage, living well is the best revenge against cancer, and that requires some deconstruction.

What is living well? For me, living well is an interconnection between mind and body, linked with a spiritual essence. I believe that our mental outlook governs our body, our wellness profile, inner and outer. That is not to say that I believe the visitation of illness is punitive in any sense, or that we can talk ourselves into cancer remission. But I do think that illness, even cancer, can visit us because something in our life is not in kilter, because our mind-body connection is not in sync with our inner sense of spirituality. In short, we are body and soul, and when they are not in harmony, for whatever range of happenstances, we fall prey to illness. And research tells us repeated or protracted illness can ultimately lead to a form of cancer.

Living well is living in harmony with what matters in your life. If I can do good, take a stand against something bad happening to someone good and make a difference, then I am living true to my core values. Body and soul in sync. If I can begin a day and say a borrowed prayer, "Lord, make me a blessing for someone today," and then live that opportunity, my inner-outer systems sync with the spiritual. I like living in harmony, and no, I am not a do-gooder. Just someone trying to do good in day, and I would like to think they are slightly different.

How does this thinking stack up against cancer? Simply this: if you are what you believe, and you become what you do, then living in balance ~ mind and body and spirit ~ is living well. Years ago, in what seemed the dark ages, before we surrendered our privacy, we lived a different kind of footprint and it wasn't digital. We were marked by our compassion, kindness, our friends (remember when if we showed you our friends, you knew who we were). We lived a simpler pace. We sat on porches with Grandmother and counted black cars (didn't Henry Ford say you could have any color as long as it was black). We found grace in simple things, and we counted our blessings we had a bike to ride, a pet to walk, and grass to cut. If we were lucky, a summer vacation, if only a day trip. We loved our family, and we stuck it out, whatever it was.

We defended our friends.

Have times changed?

Not really!

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