Living in Santa Cruz, it is not unusual for me to find myself at red lights reading the bumper stickers on the Prius car in front of me. More than half the time, there is a "Be Here Now" sticker there in the mix of "Obama 2012," "Santa Cruz" mermaids, and the Dalai Lama being "stoked."
Be. Here. Now.
It's a cliche, of course. And yet it resonates with me. (You know, post-cancer and all).
Right here. Right now.
There is another phrase I often think along with it. It's one I started saying to myself when I was in college to remind myself to stop amid the hustle and bustle of classes and working and homework to smell the roses: "This is the perfect moment."
It's New Years once again and we are all making resolutions (even if we I adamantly refuse to acknowledge them as such). It is common for mindfulness to be high on my list of New Year's... um, promises, which is maybe why I'm thinking of these two phrases more often lately.
However. (Yes, there is a however.)
However, these phrases that used to give me comfort have recently taken on a slightly morbid tinge. I find myself thinking "Be here now... because you might not be here next year."
I don't mean that I might not be here, on the planet. I mean, I might not be here, at the Christmas Parade. I might not be here, making cookies. I might not be here, ice skating.
I can't help but think it. I might not be here because I might be back on chemo. I might be recovering from surgery. I might be too fatigued from an on-going battle to be out of bed.
I'm not trying to sound self-pitying. It's just a fact: Once cancer comes knocking -- once cancer knows where you live -- it never forgets. There is no moving without a forwarding address. There is no witness protection program.
Cancer is the mob. Once it knows your name, it always knows your name. With that comes awe, in the truest sense. And fear.
And trying to enjoy every God damn moment, just in case it comes roaring back.
So you live your everyday life -- working, pre-schooling, grocery shopping, house keeping, dinner making, comforting a sick kiddo, watching Downton Abby -- but you also try really hard to be present, to be right here. To laugh, to feel the sun on your face, to feel that growing-bigger-every-day hand in yours...To push the fear aside, yes, but to also let it be a lens that focuses your every waking moment into something a little bit shiny. Something ever so extraordinary.
Nia and I went ice skating together for the first time this week and I was present -- really present -- and I enjoyed it every so much, even though I'm terrible at it, and my feet hurt, and it was freezing. All I had to do was look at my child and all that slipped away. She was loving every second and I was so happy to be there to witness that.
I don't know if we'll get to ice skate together again next New Years. I hope so. I hope it becomes a long-standing tradition. But I have no idea.
Maybe we get to do it just this one New Years.
And maybe that's ok because unlike so many other moments in this life that I participated in only in so much as I was physically there, for this moment, I was really there and now I have this memory of our first time skating together in which we were both ever so happy.
No matter what this year brings, I think that is a darn good start.
So proud... both of us!