Getting Centered

It’s Day 16 in my radiation regime. I’m a third of the way through. The daily routine is a bit tedious but the treatments are short and painless, and the side effects thus far have been minimal. The doctors and nurses have given me tips on handling them and for the most part I feel excellent.

So physically I’m OK but my head isn’t quite where I want it to be. I’m eating too much, drinking more than I’d like, have stopped my daily walks, am meditating only sporadically, am staying up too late, and have gained a few new pounds. (To be honest, I had kinda hoped cancer would help me drop a few!)

The holidays and daily trips to the cancer center are largely the cause. My whole routine is scrambled these days and with Christmas there have been movies to watch and no shortage of goodies in the house to enjoy… and enjoy! The Rec Center was on shortened hours a few days. Plus I’ve distracted myself with various projects that I’ve wanted to do but have put off forever.

Anyway, it’s time to center myself better. I’ve said since my diagnosis that I want to use the opportunity of perspective that cancer provides to better myself and my life.

I’ve come up with a list of changes I want to make. I won’t call these New Years Resolutions but rather New Years Intentions. To help break some bad habits and build some new good ones, I’ve turned to “Awesome Habits,” an app that works on my iPhone and iMac. The images here are samples from the app’s website.

I can track my progress each day. I’ll rarely if ever hit 100%. That’s not the point. The idea is to keep goals in mind and keep improving. Life is a journey, not a destination.

Return to Meditation

My biggest goal and the one I do hope to reach everyday, or even several times a day, is meditation. I think stopping the noise and distraction in one’s life for just a few moments each day is the key to everything else. While it’s an ageless practice, modern research is showing that meditation has immense power to help us lead healthier lives physically and happier lives emotionally.

I’ll be posting more about meditation here in the weeks to come. To start, this is a TED Talk delivered by Andy Puddicombe, a former Tibetan Buddhist monk who decided to take meditation to the masses with his Headspace app.

I use Headspace as my primary meditation tool. It offers an extraordinary array of courses and individual meditations for virtually every situation. There are fully-guided and partially-guided meditations, unguided meditations for those with more experience, and much more. New material is posted every morning and they have an excellent podcast too.

Andy Puddicombe is a survivor of testicular cancer and leads a 30-day series of meditations for people dealing with cancers of all kinds. I’m at Day 20 in this series.

Some people use music for meditation. That’s not my style, but I actually do frequently use music to conclude my meditation. After a meditation session, usually lasting 10 or 20 minutes, I frequently finish with one specific piece of music, Namaste, performed by Lea Longo (best with headphones). I find this very calming and centering.

Title image is by Levi XU on Unsplash.

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