Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, i’ve been in contact a bit more than usual with other survivors. (Here’s one blog i particularly appreciate.)
I’ve learned through this correspondence that even though breast cancer is not one of my primary topics here, some readers might like to know my back story in that regard.
Here’s a detailed narrative for those are are interested…
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Some of the most caring people i know have said this to comfort me in the midst of tragic circumstances. I have received it with warm gratitude for their empathy. Yet inwardly, i admit, i have also grimaced and rolled my eyes.
Many people must find comfort in the sentiment, since it is so commonly expressed. Perhaps the conviction behind it is, “If some meaning can be found in this awful thing, that makes it a bit less awful, and a bit easier to hang on through it.”
Four years ago today i returned to the surname Hansen after many years away from it (as noted on this blog’s About page). Thoughts about the significance of that change formed a large part of the rationale for starting this project.
As chance would have it, less than three months later, i was diagnosed with cancer. In a longer post a year later i discussed why i wasn’t making that a prominent blog topic.
Anniversaries have a way of spurring us to take stock, to big-picture our everyday experiences. This one is compelling me to ruminate about all that has happened since then. About the way the passage of time can make the exact same event seem like yesterday and like ages ago. Continue reading
The plans we map out for ourselves rarely follow their set course without detours.
The exploring post i wrote earlier this year commended the courage of those that set out to sea, into the perilous unknown.
Some of us who do not see ourselves as brave, though, are thrust out to sea against our will. And all we can do is make our way to some sort of shore, on an adventure we didn’t choose. In the process (to paraphrase the old saying), facing one’s impending demise wonderfully concentrates the mind.
I do not know anyone who has not been wronged by another person.
In fact, i don’t know anyone who would say they have been wronged only once. Many of us could recite a litany of slights, large and small.
If we are self-aware enough, we know that we wrong others as well, whether unintentionally or deliberately.
Integrity requires that we do what is reasonable and within our power to make things right. Deciding whether to re-approach someone we’ve hurt (or who has hurt us) usually isn’t easy, and depends on the magnitude of the offense, the closeness of the person and how long ago it took place. Continue reading
Exploration is exhausting, and discovery is demanding. Sure, serendipity happens — but more often than not, unearthing self-shaping insights requires dogged determination.
My previous post consists of the following quote by French author Andre Gide: “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” I’ve seen it translated from the French with two different wordings. The other version uses “courage” rather than “consent,” an intriguing difference.
I’ve often pondered the courage of the famous world explorers who placed themselves at the mercy of the seas without certainty of what they would find or of how long it would take to find it — unable to imagine myself capable of or interested in such risks. After all, one person’s courage is another’s utter lunacy. Continue reading
If there is a recipe for contentment, it calls for four ounces…
In this recipe, though, the unspecified ingredient is less important than how the cook views that half a cup. Four ounces in an eight-ounce glass: half full or half empty?
I think most of us see ourselves as leaning naturally toward either optimism or pessimism. Those who tend to be more hopeful know how to look for the good in difficult circumstances. Those who brace themselves for the negative don’t want to be caught off-guard when trouble comes.
It seems very few are exclusively one or the other. The popular idea of new year’s resolutions requires some optimism – though the pessimist might simply anticipate failing sooner.
A well-known quote resolves the opposing tendencies with a third option: “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” I love this quote — and i didn’t notice until a good friend observed it that one can do all three. Continue reading