Tag Archives: love

Peace for my friend


peaceThinking of my friend, Diane. Wishing you peace.

May you be, feel, experience all that’s happening and find somewhere in all of the fear, chaos, and unknowing, a sense of peace.

I hope you can feel the light and healing energy and abundant love that I am sending to you. May it wash over you like a bath and bring you comfort.

My Dad’s Heart

My Dad teaching me to play golf a few years ago

My Dad teaching me to play golf a few years ago

This morning it’s a delightful summer day in Iowa – breezy, low humidity, blue skies, temps in the low 70s. Perfect for a run. As I was going along, listening to the music on my audio player, a song by Catie Curtis came on, and it made me think of my Dad. He’s helping someone get back on their feet right now so “My Dad’s Yard” really resonated.

If you need somethin’ when times are hard, you can probably find it in my Dad’s yard. 

If you need hope and your coming apart, you can surly find it in my Dad’s heart.

He can see the beauty beneath the dust and grime.

He can see potential where the rest of us are blind.

He will polish the gray until it shines clear blue.

And, if you know my Dad, he won’t up on you. 

~From Catie Curtis, My Dad’s Yard

P.S. If you know my Dad,you know he doesn’t have a yard or barn full of stuff you that might help you (he’s a retired Navy man living in an RV – you just don’t collect stuff with that!). Instead, he has a life full of rich and amazing experiences that enable him to give you guidance, wisdom, and love shaped just for you.

I love you, Dad, for all you’ve done for me and so many others to bring out the very best in us. Thank you.

Healing Light


healing light

Yesterday I learned that one of my breast cancer survivor friends was diagnosed with colon cancer. I am so glad she chose to share this news with our yoga group before our practice.  Our sanctuary filled with healing light. We offered our hearts to our friend, and she received.

Her diagnosis is fresh, having had her colonoscopy a week ago yesterday. She’ll be having surgery this coming Wednesday. The good news is they found the cancer early enough that they can remove the cancerous section – no colostomy.

We all dedicated our practice to her. This poem is an attempt to capture the beautiful moment that Theresa, our yoga instructor, helped us create with her guided healing imagery.

We Are Light
By Vicki L. Flaherty

We are light
Pure and healing light
Here to hold you
To give you strength
To offer our love for you

We press our palms together
Rest the edges of our bonded thumbs against our hearts
Our fingers spread like rays of golden sunshine
Releasing healing power from deep within, out into the room
For you

Our energy floats gracefully to the center 
Each of our spirits moving toward the other
Melding into a single source of powerful light 
Encircling you in radiant illuminating light

Take our pure and healing light
Let it hold you
Let it give you strength
Accept our love

I’ve been transported to that place of vulnerability that comes with such a diagnosis, that place where reaching for hope is strength, where the ability to trust is a gift, where the simplest act of love brings incredible contentment.   I’m reminded of what’s important in life – my family, my friends, my health, bringing joy into the world, filling space with beauty and gratitude, embracing all the possibilities that open in front of me.

A letter to my friend  

courtesy of awaykening.net

courtesy of awaykening.net









I know you can’t see it. Not now, when so many things block it from view. But it is there. Oh, yes, it is definitely there inside of you. It’s a light. I bright and beautiful light.

Right now, your soul seems to be screaming, covered in fear. It wants out of the darkness. And it will find its way out. Oh, yes, it will definitely find its way to the light. And you will find yourself shining.

May you see that the fuzziness of your thoughts is protecting you. That uncomfortable softness will give way to clarity. Oh, yes, clarity will find its way to you. And, when it does, you will radiate light.

May you soon be in a place where you wonder why it ever felt dark and heavy. May your vulnerability now be the source of infinite strength.

I see your light, my friend. It is glowing inside of you. It is filled with hope. It sees possibility. It believes in life. Life without cancer. Life without fear. With each passing day may a layer of darkness peel away so your radiance reaches the world in all its beautiful power.

My heart is holding you in love,



the gift of giving


004 2

I saw it. In a flash. A glipse of myself. Just like my father.

Sitting at the table with 20 other women – gathered together as breast cancer survivors – we were celebrating ‘generous J” who has given so much of her time to our group, ensuring we had plans for monthly dinners and knew the yoga schedule. When J decided she needed to ‘retire’ from her leader role, me and another member of our group thought it would be nice to say a special thank you to “J”. And, then some part of me, shaped by the goodness and giving of my father, stepped in and started organizing a party, gathering us all up in our goodwill and giving a special gift of gratitude to “J”. I’d been instrumental in making it all happen. Sitting there next to K, I saw it. It was a flash. A glimpse of myself – just like my father. For an instant my Dad was there with me; I was him. He was me. We were one giving spirit.

Thank you, Dad, for all the giving you’ve done and continue to do and for being a role model of selfless generosity. I am proud to be your daughter and hope that my glimmer is even half as bright as your glow. I love you.


About to leave the hospital after my mastectomy & reconstruction, 9/29/11

About to leave the hospital after my mastectomy & reconstruction, 9/29/11

Two years ago today, I left the University of Iowa hospital with a new right breast. I had my mastectomy on 9/28/11. I felt like one lucky girl, going home after a difficult overnight stay, with a new breast. You see, the original plan was for this to be the first of 2 surgeries: 1) removing the breast and putting in an ‘expander’ which stretches the skin for an implant, and 2) removing the expander and putting in the implant. But, I went home with the implant!

Jim and I had done our homework, and had asked my plastic surgeon about the ‘one surgery’ option. He was skeptical, lots of variables and usually not great results. However, given my mastectomy went well and I’m small breasted and was not obsessed with perfect symmetry, the surgeon thought putting in the implant with the mastectomy was a good option. Poor Jim, though…he was approached in the waiting room by the plastic surgeon as the oncologist was competing the mastectomy to decide what kind of implant!

We had not really spoken much about saline versus silicone since we thought I had months to decide.  Once I had said I like the feel of the silicone implants. It was that day when I had my ‘before’ photo taken and there were boxes of implants sitting in a corner of the room and I’d felt inclined to feel them.

So today I am celebrating my one-surgery journey and my return to great health, and all I’ve learned through my experience. I feel somewhat wiser, calmer, more connected with what’s important in life. My heart is singing!

Thought I’d share today’s poem because it will take you through those days 2 years ago…it’s a long one!  🙂

By Vicki L. Flaherty

Memories like a photo collage,
fleeting pictures in my mind’s eye
one image moves to the next.

At early morning light
stretching into yoga postures
and touching all of the prayers flowing my way.

Entering the hospital waiting room
so bright and sterile —
the reality taking hold.

A doctor entering my prep room
putting her initials on my right shoulder,
a tattoo for my surgeon.

Asking questions about an epidural,
wondering why I am deciding now,
hearing my survivor friends’ voices —
“take the pain meds” —
and choosing the needle.

Relaxation filling my body
as my new IV feeds me —
“It’s going to be alright. Breathe.”
I say to myself.

Whispering “see you soon” to my family
from the hall outside of the operating room,
and then whirring down the corridors,
where it’s cool and surreal,
everything a blur without my glasses.

Being given names to go with the faces
of those moving about the surgery area,
names I won’t remember,
but thinking how nice to meet them
and asking my angels to watch over them.

Electrodes and monitors being attached,
time for a few deep breaths…
before fading into sleep.

Awaking to a soft voice asking
“Do you know where you are?”
And hearing the good news:
“They put your implant in —
no more surgeries!”

My doctor-friend visiting —
her smiling face
bringing much needed light
into the recovery room.

In and out of sleep for hours
waiting to get my hospital room;
ah, well worth the wait —
a private one for me.

Feeling like a sack of flour
moving from gurney to bed,
nausea overcoming me
when I try to move.

Ordering dinner,
despite a lack of appetite —
yum, yum, I think sarcastically:
mashed potatoes, broth, bagel, cake, jello, apple juice —
surely one of these will inspire in the wee hours?

During the quiet of night,
comforting myself in the love bathing me,
knowing my family is sustaining itself
with much needed sleep.

Celebrating at midnight
my first trip to the bathroom
without “the bucket.”

Even taking a short walk —
today’s version of a marathon is:
teeny, tiny, slow, slow steps about 20 feet.

Sleeping in spurts,
constant visits from nurses —
vitals to check,
meds to administer.

Waking to “the day after surgery”
and a new day of recovery —
my rebirth beginning.

Eating my first solid food:
Angel food cake —
how symbolic?!
The delicate bread
reminding me of birthday cakes past,
Mom and Mother-in-Law.

Rejoicing in my family reunion:
Holding my husband’s hand
having his strength to carry me.

Seeing Mom and Dad smiling
filled with delight
their girl has her color back.

Hearing the long awaited words:
“Your discharge papers are ready.”
Being wheeled away from room 4645,
into the warmth of the fall Iowa day.

Thinking life is good going home,
as memories of the past 48 hours
begin to fade into the light.

Heart opens & love flows in



Today would have been my friend Barb Kamer’s 45th birthday. I celebrated her life in my This Abundantly Delicious Life post Happy Birthday, Barb. I’ve also written about losing her in the post A beautiful white light and felt a deep need to express my grief through poetry which I shared earlier this month in What do you do?  Last night I was blessed to spend time among Barb’s friends and family, and I awoke today deeply connected with my heart. It called me to make some quiet time for exploring what I am feeling and to just BE.

Eventually I made my way to my desk and found myself drawn to several inspiring blogs. A post in Tiny Buddha by entitled Use Your Heart as a Wall: Make It Stronger Instead of Shutting Down gave me a new perspective on how I protected myself from my fear of cancer. I didn’t realize I had chosen at the time, but I did choose. I chose to open up my heart big and wide. Open, it would sing, and love would flow in.

I see that, of course, Barb and I bumped into each other on our journeys…we chose the same path…opening our hearts to light and love. Thank you, my friend, for walking beside me.

‘Dropping in’ to heart

Graphic courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Graphic courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Yesterday I came across a blog post called Need Peace? ‘Drop In’ To your Heart by Cathy Cassani Adams. She talks about moving into our hearts, how doing it can separate you from your thoughts momentarily, how it’s about feeling (versus thinking), how doing it is a practice, and how you can find your heart in stillness.

The piece really resonated for me. Poetry was my way of ‘dropping in’ to my heart throughout my diagnosis,treatment, and recovery. I was able to get out of my head, that place where I uncovered fear, worry, doubt, and I was able to move into my heart, where I opened to hope, love, and possibility. Even now writing helps me connect with that peaceful place inside. Yoga helps me do that, too.

How do you ‘drop in’ to heart?



Mom & Dad

I vividly remember the day we all went to the hospital for my mastectomy. I was so calm and utterly afraid at the same time. I felt strong and like I could fall apart in a moment. I was vulnerable yet determined.

Mostly, I remember the incredible love and support surrounding me. Jim at my side – always reassuring me and knowing just what to say to keep my heart from feeling heavy. And, there were my parents, who arranged their plans to be with us.

We were all in the waiting room, although not for long (for once, hardly a wait!). I remember sitting across from my parents. I could tell they felt much the way I did – vulnerable yet determined. I recall glancing up at them and how the power of their love washed over me. I wrote LOVE out of that memory.

My parents will celebrate their golden 50th wedding anniversary on February 22nd. I am looking forward to honoring this incredibly special love that has been at the foundation of my life. They are Valentine role models!

I love you, Mom and Dad. Every day I am grateful for you.


by Vicki L. Flaherty

They sit quietly.
They are calm, or so it appears.
They hold each other’s hands,
channeling their strength to each other.
They steal glances and kisses,
grounding themselves in the love that bonds them together.
They smile,
They speak soft ly, kindly.
They focus on being supportive.
They are here to give.
They continue to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

Their precious baby girl.
A grown woman now.
A challenge along her journey.
They want to remove the obstacles for her.
Yet, they know, as they always have, this is her path.
She’s strong.
She’s spirited.
She can do this.
In her own unique way with grace.
And, how do they know?
The same way they knew she’d climb all the mountains before:
Their love.
It gives.
It continues to give.
It’s never-ending, a parent’s love.

© 2012, Vick Flaherty, Mostly My Heart Sings




Friday I was inspired to blog about the dogs in my life (Furry Foto Friday) and that got me thinking about my stay in the hospital, especially the overnight. I didn’t see any reason for my parents or Jim to stay there with me – they needed their rest and I was well cared for with UIHC staff. I think the day had been more stressful for them than for me. I was medicated and out of it – they were wide awake and wondering how things were going, especially since I was in recovery for over 3 hours – waiting for a room to become available (and it was worth the wait because I ended up in a private room!).  Who would have guessed a little stuffed animal would help a grown 47-year old woman get through the night? (Jim, of course!) That night was rough with the nausea and fear, and each time I awoke in that groggy state induced by pain meds, Hup was there, reminding me that everything would be alright. If you could have been a fly on the wall, you would have seen how I smiled each time I awoke, Hup in my arms or at my side, reminding me of the love in my life. He sits on my bed these days, with a pillow I bought for myself in the spring, reminding me that life is like a garden and I am like a flower. When I make the bed each morning and  place Hup on the pillow, I am inspired to Grow Tall and Be Beautiful!  (Check out the Furry Foto Friday blog for the poem I wrote about ‘Hospital Hup’.)

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Mostly My Heart Sings, 2013