Coming Full Circle

So I said I was done with my blog. And I think I am. But these days, as I (and you?) continue to live “amongst the waves,” I keep bumping into situations and thoughts that I feel compelled to share.

I’m in London this week on work travel. Just about a year ago I visited this fine town for the first time and stayed at the same hotel. Being in the exact same surroundings at the same time of year in cold, brisk London made me reflect on who I was 365+ days ago as I ventured out alone. Something about exploring a great big heaving city for the first time makes you feel so alive.  New sites, new smells and new rhythms of city life bring about new emotions. I definitely felt that way last year. But as I think back to that time BC (“before cancer”), I realize I might not have been living as full of a life as I thought.

Back at beloved Liberty...the obsession continues

Since things turned upside down, people ask me all the time, “how have you changed your behavior after becoming a cancer survivor?  Are you a vegan now?  A fanatic exerciser?” Definitely the answer is “no” to the first question, although I have a budding romance with carrot juice and kale.  And to the second question, my answer is sadly, no…sigh. But I’m working on it.

The area I have decidedly and definitively changed for good is this idea of living with intention. At the risk of sounding like a Pollyanna, every time I wake up, it is an opportunity to embrace the day and be fully present in each moment. I still scan my iPhone at inappropriate times, get caught up in my Facebook newsfeed when I should be working, text while driving (shame on all of us for that) and let my thoughts drift when I’m in the middle of a meeting. Guilty as charged. BUT, I also have a different take on the little things that I know, hand on heart, will never leave me (spoken like a true Londoner?!?)

This trio of good friends escorted me to my first real football match. You can't help but live in the moment at an Arsenal match!

Today I had coffee with the granddaughter of some very good friends from Alaska that helped look after us when we naively moved there in ‘96 (Steve and Cassy, who you can read about in a former post here). Stay with me if you can for this twisty tale.  It’s rather random but maybe it isn’t…

Yesterday, sitting in my meetings doing the dirty deed of checking my email while pretending to pay attention, I suddenly got an email from Katrina (the granddaughter in question).  She had graduated from school last summer and had been interning with the Fulbright Scholar administration and living in London. She had no idea I was here but was just reaching out to let me know she’d be moving to Portland soon and was going to be looking for a job in communications. Lo and behold we were in the same city at the same time, many moons and miles away from the small Southeastern Alaska town where we first got to know each other when Katrina was growing up.

I met this beauty of a girl in Greenwich market last year. The image of her stuck in my mind. A human connection!

In past lives, I would have brushed away this moment of serendipity and taken weeks to get back to her, if at all, given the pull on my schedule. But, instead I wrote her right back and decided to make time this afternoon to meet up for a few hours. We had a great chat and hopefully I gave her some good career advice suitable for a young, hungry person who’s looking to make a difference in the world. And I realized that this was what it was all about. Living with a real intention to make meaningful connections along the way. And in turn, potentially give back and make good on the amazing support we received from her grandparents when we needed a hand.

As I walked back into the hotel after our chat, I saw the bellman who helped me with my bags the first day of this trip.  He was the very same one who helped me a year before. As usual, I didn’t have cash when I got in from my flight so could not tip him.  But, with intention, I wrote his name down (handsome young American boy named Alex). And today when I saw him, I looked him in the eye, said “thanks Alex” and handed him a few bills.  A small thing, but again, a human connection that I wouldn’t have made (and frankly didn’t) one year ago.

Yes, oysters, pinot grigio and candlelight for one can count towards living with intent!

This week I learned that a fellow co-worker who is a much respected man of very big and sound character was heading into chemo.  I also learned that a girlfriend of mine has been given the tough news of more cancer battles ahead.

This was hard for me.  But harder for them.

I despise this disease and what it does to vibrant, beautiful people.  And there is nothing I can do.  Except to live each day with purpose and add a little more hope and human connection to the world.

With hand on heart, can I ask you to do the same?

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  1. Savonn
    Posted January 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    You better believe I am in. I will be *holding* your sentiments this evening for the first of what I hope becomes a monthly ritual of the extended candlelight yin/restorative practice. It will be about living with intention and finding that clarity by slowing down occasionally and listening deeply while lightening up. Tall order, served up neat. You are an inspiration and I am very blessed to know you.

  2. Kate
    Posted January 28, 2011 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    I’m in! Thanks for sharing this, the timing couldn’t be more perfect as a great reminder to take time to reflect, and make a connection.

  3. Anna
    Posted January 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Count me in!

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