It’s inherent to think that if you’re not being productive and receiving a result on efforts, you’re wasting time. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget there is a purpose to doing nothing.
Doing nothing energizes you, refreshes, and allows time for deeper thought. It’s the most basic form of meditation.
The key to doing nothing is to do exactly that. Meaning put your headphones away, turn the TV off, escape outdoors if you have to. It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you’re doing nothing when in fact, you’re still multitasking!
Last week I ate lunch at the park. One day after eating, I laid down and closed my eyes for a good half an hour. It was a stressful day and I was dreading having to finish it. But this little break of doing absolutely nothing, listening to nothing but natural noise, completely re-engergized me. I faced the remainder of my day. I don’t always have time to do this on my lunch break, but I know the option is there.
So relax at the park, the couch, the floor, the bed, wherever you find peace and close your eyes. It’s amazing what doing absolutely nothing can accomplish.
While the phrase, “it takes a village” may seem cliché, there are moments in life where the meaning and roots of the saying convey so clearly what you are going through. On August 4, 2005, my daughter, Lily, came into the world after a relatively normal pregnancy. Throughout this transition in all of our lives, Lily and I had a “village” consisting of my husband, family and friends who were the supportive rock I needed. They were also there when the storm came.
About a month after returning back to work, I started feeling fatigued, breathless, and completely lacking in energy. Although these could just be signs of new motherhood, something felt off and I went to the doctor to investigate. Numerous tests later, we found out the culprit wasn’t stress, it was something much worse.
On November 21, 2005, just three and a half short months after Lily came into the world, I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs and is usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Apparently, I had come into contact with asbestos about thirty years ago as a child and now it was coming back to haunt me.
Without treatment, I was given fifteen months to live. My first thoughts weren’t about me, though, they were about my husband and my baby. The thought of them being alone made me determined to beat the cancer. Mesothelioma is a very deadly cancer and we decided to seek the most drastic treatment.
My husband and I sent Lily to live with my grandparents in South Dakota while we went to Boston, home to some of the best mesothelioma doctors I in the country. On February 2, I underwent an extrapleural pneumenectomy, a procedure that required the removal of my left lung and all of its surrounding tissue. This was the first in a long line of procedures. After eighteen days recovery in the hospital and two more months of recovery out, I was to start chemotherapy and radiation.
Being a new mother is difficult, but balancing that while staring mesothelioma dead in the face is a whole other level. I eventually made a full recovery and am currently cancer free, but I’m not sure that would be the case had I not had my “village” supporting me and helping raise my daughter. Seeing Lily’s first milestones printed off a hospital printer thousands of miles away gave me the strength I needed to fight.
If my battle with mesothelioma has taught us anything, is that life is fragile and must be embraced. Cancer is a horrendous trial to go through, but when you come out on the other side, you will love and appreciate life in ways you would never expect.
Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out her story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.
This blog entry was posted in Personal on Jun 22 2012.
I actually did take a photo of the Santa Monica beach on Saturday, but it seems to have disappeared into the void of my iPhone.
Instead, I figured I would take a pause from the photos.
I moved to California from Florida exactly one year ago with nothing but my dog and whatever fit into my car. It was scary and exciting. I could make it on my own and I wasn’t going to run home crying.
Friday dropped a financial bombshell on my fiancé Josh and me. So it’s funny that this month, the one year anniversary of successfully blossoming and creating a home here, we are struggling again.
We made a plan. Then we hit the beach.
Sometimes you have to laugh at what life throws at you.
I’ll take the opportunity to tell you this — there are always hurdles. Whatever it is you’re working towards, don’t give up!
This blog entry was posted in Personal on May 28 2012.