Life has taught me that I do not always have control over what comes my way, only in how I choose to respond. I certainly did not choose to have breast cancer, but I did choose to not let that diagnosis define how I would experience that medical adventure. The trick was in believing that in the heart of all challenges, a gift exists.
I remember those initial feelings of anger and fear that flooded every pore of my being when I first heard the words breast cancer. I kept wondering, “Am I going to die? How can this be happening to me?” In one quick moment my life turned upside down and I felt very scared. Yet, I was determined to see a rainbow in the sky every day.
But how was this going to happen? How was I going to be able to keep my mind from wandering into all those scary thoughts? I discovered it was possible if I could just remain focused in the present moment and not let my mind become fixated in all those “what if “ scenarios.
One day while nervously waiting for a doctor’s appointment, I took out a pen and paper and began to “doodle” in an effort to reduce anxiety and worry. After doing this for awhile, an amazing thing happened. The more I doodled, the more relaxed, calm and peaceful I was beginning to feel and I knew I had stumbled into something very powerful.
I continued to doodle when I returned home. I even bought a special “doodle book” and took it with me when I knew I would be waiting somewhere (carwash, hairdresser, airports or before meetings). At some point I decided to create one guideline…to begin and end each doodle outline at the same point, without lifting the pen off the paper and to do this in 3-5 seconds. While I had no idea what the finished product would look like, I began to see that there were never any mistakes! I created amazingly beautiful doodles–all by letting go of control and learning to have faith and trust in the process. Not bad for a non-artist perfectionist! I was truly amazed.
I then began to see the correlation between this art form and my adventure through breast cancer. Both were about immersing oneself in a journey-that space between two points and learning to trust in the unexpected twists and turns along the way. I learned that there are no wrong turns, for in every turn a gift can be found. The only mistake is in forgetting to slow down long enough in order to discover what those gifts might be.
I’ve come to appreciate that challenges come in all sizes, shapes and colors, and arrive when least expected. That’s what makes their experience so fascinating.
Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the unexpected with a greater sense of trust and faith, knowing that I receive no more than I truly have the capacity to handle.
Copyright 2005—Carol Edmonston
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Carol Edmonston is an inspirational speaker and human potential advocate. She is the author of Connections: The Sacred Journey Between Two Points and Create While You Wait: A Doodle Book for All Ages. Email her at carol@SacredDoodles.com or go to http://www.SacredDoodles.com for more information.