The question is not what you look at, but what you see. ~ H.D. Thoreau

PGC Photo-Jacob Dingel

Ground Hog Day. We wage our weather forecast on the sight of a shadow by a rodent. It’s a silly holiday, and one that during the doldrums of mid winter, gives us hope. We might see 3 feet of snow on the ground and a thermometer reading 18 degrees F, but if Phil sees no shadow Spring is on the way early! Low and behold there were no shadows in sight yesterday when Phil was yanked from his shelter, but what does it really matter? Why do I bring it up?

As far as I’m concerned a ground hog and a cloudy day have absolutely nothing to do with the arrival of budding trees and warm weather. It’s hard to know what and when will occur weather wise at all these days, but that is another story. I’m sure most would agree about the ground hog and the weather, but it makes for a feel good news story, and a cute (also feel good) movie. Maybe some minor fame to an otherwise podunk PA town, and not much else. So again, why do I bring it up?

What gives me hope? Some days nothing. Honestly. I am a positive person by nature, and tend to keep my dark side at bay in public, but I sure have one. Some days I can’t really see the point in taking drugs with bio-hazard warnings on the label. My fingers are numb, and achy and it hurts to write. I am cranky, and difficult and I just don’t want to. Don’t want to anything.

Then another day comes and I feel better, much better even. Much better these days amounts to maybe two thirds of my pre-cancer self, but I don’t think about that. I think WOW I can knit a hat, make delicious whole grain muffins, write in my journal, make freakin art! I can.

Since getting sick it seems certain things are amplified. My patience is shorter at times, and my filters can be non existent. I recently “got in a fight” with a woman in a parking lot. Me, a pacifist, let it slider, didn’t let it slide. What I am learning is this can be an advantage. My positivity saves me most days. I can choose to see the shadow or not. On my bad days I try my hardest to suck it up and look for the silver lining. Sometimes I just lay low at home, and that brings it’s own rewards.

So, when I wake up feeling achy and wish I could sleep forever, literally, I open my eyes and look out the window. Lucky for me I can do this with out leaving my bed. If I see shadows I can rejoice in the sun, if not I can contemplate a good reason not to leave the house. Either way it moves me to get up, and the first step is the hardest. I can choose to see my sore feet and bemoan my miserable life, or I can put on some happy socks and keep moving those feet, one step at a time. It is all in how I choose to see, not just what is there.

When I was first diagnosed late last year I was delusional. More accurately I was in denial. I thought I would write about my breezy days at the cancer center, while making amazing art from my bone scans, and writing award winning essays to help cancer patients. Oh, did I mention the money I was going to raise? Hell yeah, lots of it. Over the past year reality set in and I had to accept that I will not be the middle aged Kris Karr (nor do I want to be). I stayed away from here and from many things because I felt poorly, because I am not as comfortable sharing the shit as I thought, because I didn’t want to admit how blind I’d been.

Now I choose to see what I can do, and to be OK with not knowing much a lot of the time. I see the beauty in healthy food, relationships, and in art, music, and literature. And humor, oh how I love to laugh. I take in as much as I can, and at the end of the day I am grateful to have lived another day. I see beauty in that. There is no shame in knowing you are dying. I see beauty in the light and the shadows.

From the Heart,

86 Responses to The question is not what you look at, but what you see. ~ H.D. Thoreau
  1. Kimberley McGill
    February 4, 2013 | 9:30 pm

    My heart is more open because you wrote this. I felt the unoiled hinges creak to open a little bit more. You have blessed me today.

  2. Gwyn
    February 4, 2013 | 9:35 pm

    Oh Kim! Thank You for being there to open. <3

  3. VICTORIA
    February 4, 2013 | 11:16 pm

    always love hearing from you gywn.

  4. Sandy
    February 5, 2013 | 1:10 am

    haha! I was looking for the “like” button then realized this wasn’t Facebook ;))

  5. Estizer
    February 5, 2013 | 4:30 am

    I see the beauty in you:)

  6. Elwyn Crawford
    February 5, 2013 | 8:04 am

    Ah Gwyn – perspectives! – may you keep seeing the positive whether that be by not letting things slide in the grandest grumpiest way or whether you are deep into a monster muffin making frenzy!!!

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    Keep ‘seeing’ Gwen, then find something in the ‘telling’
    that helps you get one aching foot in front of the other

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    Excellent post. Seeing beauty in all these places is a BIG thing. That’s wisdom.

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