Refuge

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Hydranga, Presat, Montenegro

Hydranga, Presat, Montenegro

July ise an emotionally challenging month. A reminder. An anniversary.

3 years. 3 years since my diagnosis. July 25th, 2011.

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I’ve noticed how I am invited to experience once again my woundedness. The pain, the fear, the suffering. I wonder how it is that I remembers vividly the moment the nurse told me the biopsy showed ‘carcinoma’. Perhaps it is precisely because the feelings are so deep and intense that they are remembered – remembered not by what I think, or what I want, but by the emotions, by the substance of their meaning.

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This morning, Rachel Naomi Remen, author of My Grandfather’s Blessings, reaches me in her chapter “The Meeting Place” with potent reminders of my vulnerability and fear, and, more importantly, my strength and wisdom. She brings me comfort with her promise of the beauty of being genuine, intimate, and profoundly human, not just inside myself but in communion with others.

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As I touch this soft spot of my cancer, my hope is that I become ever stronger and wiser, able to find refuge in my sharing.

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About Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through my writing, gardening, photography, or my work. Running and yoga enrich my being. I am happiest when I’m with my husband Jim. Travel opens me to new possibilities and greater awareness. I find a special joy in helping people succeed. I’ve done something valuable when I’ve helped a colleague or friend see their brilliance and express their full potential. I have awesome opportunities to do this as an industrial/organizational psychologist through leadership, mentoring, coaching, career and other talent programs. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

10 responses »

  1. Happy anniversary, Vicki. I am thankful for your diagnosis, as it brought you close to my meeting place. But, even more thankful for your health. Nameste

    • Thank you for pausing to share with me. I’ve met so many beautiful people and had so many positive experiences, that I would not have without being a breast cancer survivor. Today seems like a glass half full kind of day!

  2. I am amazed that even after 22 years, 2 months, and 14 days, I can still recall that fear of the unknown my diagnosis brought, an initial sense of loss of “innocence” about life. But it also, in time, brought me a renewed sense of the value of life, how blessed I am to share the creativity, strength, and awareness that have become a more valued part of my life through sharing this experience with so many wonderful women who have become my friends because of this shared experience. Vicki, your shared insights continue to enrich my experience through shared reflection. Thank you for your presence and presents.

    • Jedn, you put both the hard part and the delicious part into just the right words. It wasn’t until I saw your frame that I realized I, too, have had a sense of loss o innocence about life and like I’ve entered a new season, which like all things seems to have days where the class is half empty and, more often, half full. 🙂 So glad we are friends and part of such a lovely community here in Iowa City/Coralville. Thanks!

  3. Ah Vicki! after yet another 12 hour day as I try to figure out the “new me” in our company, it is SO GOOD for me to read this because it reminds me of what really matters. Logging off from work stuff starting right this instant – thank you – and thank you for including us on your awesome journey.

    • Maureen, I continue to be amazed at how my catharsis serves others. It makes me smile to know that I invited you closer to what matters. (And, yes, seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago, all at once!). Keep leaning in to the new you that finds energy, balance, joy and possibility in your work

  4. 3 years ~ an eternity and a blink of an eye all at once. My heartfelt gratitude for you singing your song and sharing your poetry with so many others who have endured bc. You continue to find a way to integrate love, sunshine and gratitude in all you do Vicki. How richer my life is because of our connection. I am truly sorry that you endured bc but I am appreciative for the journey that connected us. May you continue a long, prosperous life filled with health, joy and much soul singing. You bless us with your presence. Thanks for being you! xo

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