This blog is dedicated to my friends, Valerie, who is valiantly recovering from a massive stroke, and to my high school friend, Donna, who lost her 28-year-old son in a tragic car accident. May you both be blessed on your journeys of recovery.
The other day, my 14 year old son, Mark, came home with his art project (see photo). If you look close enough, you can see a powerful message, Think Different. All of you Apple product fans know exactly where this tagline came from. Mark, I believe, is their biggest fan. Seeing these words reminded me how I was able to stay grounded during a life crisis, that it’s important to think different, especially when life throws a curve ball.
In November of 2013, my own foundation was shaken to the core. I got a call from our Pediatrician that Mark was diagnosed with Lyme disease. Four days later, I sat in the doctor’s office with my husband, David, and heard the words, “I’m sorry David, you have stage-4 cancer.” What happened? I was merrily skipping along in my life when BAM, life threw me not one curve ball, but two!
At first, I was in a state of shock like a deer in headlights, motionless as life was happening around me. Knowing that my loved ones needed me, however, it was necessary for me to snap out of my fog. I asked myself the question, What advice would I give a client who was in this situation and inquiring about how to stay grounded, present, functioning and calm? I wanted to be helpful, loving and available to my husband and son, so I did what I always do when I’m seeking guidance; I went into deep meditation and got the following bits of think different wisdom.
Those of you who are bold enough to believe that you can change your world… will. – Tamara Green
6 ‘Think Different’ Secrets: Making Your Way Back To Home Base
- Get Support – My friends and family pulled through for us in ways we never could’ve imagined. Friends and family feel helpless unless they have something to do, so give them a job. They will be so happy you did and you will receive the loving support that you really need.
- Ask, What’s Right About This? – There is benefit in every situation, especially the most challenging ones. For example, during David’s ordeal, there were a lot of sleepless nights. Instead of getting upset that we were losing precious sleep, David and I asked, What’s right about this? It was on those sleepless nights that we shared the most wonderful and memorable moments of emotional intimacy. As a result, we are closer now than at any other time in our 20-year marriage. There was nothing but ‘right’ during those sleepless nights.
- Even When You Feel Terrified, Accept And Love Yourself: You are going to find that your emotions are like a roller coaster, and that’s okay. In the moments when I felt fear, confusion and upset, I repeated to myself, Even though I feel this way, I love and accept myself anyway. This mantra was a God-send. It helped me to cut myself some slack, especially when I needed it the most.
- Start Or Maintain Your Spiritual Practice: Go within and you will find peace, even bliss, in the scariest and most upsetting moments. Examples of a spiritual practice are meditation, praying, going on nature walks and/or listening to calming and soothing music. As a caregiver, I found my meditation practice to be the most important moments of my day. I felt cared for as I received precious love from the Universe.
- Be Authentic: If you are feeling upset, don’t try to hide it or hold it in. Releasing emotion is a positive experience for your body. Holding in your feelings is bad for your emotional and physical health. So, be authentic and let the tears flow. If you are upset, share it with someone. It’s okay to let it all out.
- Be Okay With Not Knowing: The ego wants to know, understand and analyze. In your mind, you may be asking, Why me? What’s happening? How did this happen? What do I do? Is everything going to be okay? This line of self-questioning usually adds more stress because you are not accepting what is. Instead, just BE. As I learned from my own experience, this is a lot easier said than done. However, if you repeat this mantra, I Am present, it may be easier to step into the flow of calm and relaxed energy. Young children do this all the time, so let’s learn from them and just BE.
Fortunately for Mark, we caught the Lyme disease early enough. He only required several months of antibiotic treatment before he the got a clean bill of health. For David, however, his medical treatment was long and difficult; chemotherapy, radiation and major surgery. In the end, though, it all paid off. I am very happy and relieved to announce that he not only survived but also is now thriving. He has remained cancer free to this day. Both of the ‘men’ in my life are my heroes.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela