Embracing Life

Wellness House offers programs to people impacted by cancer. I’ve volunteered there this last year by teaching my Mindful Journaling program. I designed it to help participants come back to present moment awareness. This is a challenge for all of us. It’s especially hard when we face a devastating diagnosis, lose a job, end a relationship or face any loss. At these times, staying in the moment is a courageous act.

At first, I was a bit reluctant to teach at Wellness House. I wanted to do it, but I feared it might be difficult to sit with a group of people in such a tough place.

Would I walk away saddened by their struggles?

There is a cliché about volunteering that says you will receive much more than you give. I have found that to be true. I am not brought down by their struggles but encouraged by their desire to live fully. The people who have shown up are engaged in a process of being present. I have compassion and respect for those I’ve met.

Johnna Parr, one of the participants, continues to inspire me. Her Facebook posts take us along as she goes to doctors’ offices, hospital rooms for chemotherapy and more. A path that includes a bone marrow transplant along with other major challenges. It has been an arduous journey. At the same time, she works to keep her focus on healing, faith and love.

This is her Facebook post from June 2, 2019.

“One year ago, today I jumped out of an airplane to celebrate “NO sign of any cancer.”
45 days later the cancer was back with a vengeance.
The second diagnosis was harder to take then the first.
I crawled into a hole for a while….
I could no longer fight “WHAT IS.”
I eventually HAD to come to a place of acceptance and KNOW……
God’s Plan is PERFECT……even if we don’t like it. “

She demonstrates acceptance and action in equal measure. At a time when many of us might give up she keeps showing up. Her posts do not paint a rosy picture. She paints a real picture. A mother, wife, entrepreneur, an author, a friend, a woman making sense of her life and using her experience to encourage and teach others.

How do we define having a great life, a life that we wish to embrace? Johnna’s journey says that being fully alive is not about waiting for the perfect circumstance.

Recently, I asked a woman in one of my ongoing women’s circles this question: What do you have to see or believe to say you are having a great life, a good life? She said, “That’s the best and hardest question anyone has ever asked me. Let me think about it.”

It would be difficult for any of us to answer. If we don’t dig deep and ask ourselves that hard question, we don’t have a chance of embracing our lives. Without that awareness we are more likely to keep searching for something “out there.”

Wellness House continues to be a place for me to explore and learn what it takes to live in the moment. People like Johnna are my teachers.

I am learning that embracing life is a choice.

Johnna recently created a youtube channel