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Finding joy while facing cancer

I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting as much recently as I once did. But I’m happy to say that I am feeling a new wind at my back, a new sense of purpose for my blog and for my life. Why should illness or age dictate whether we still live our life with purpose or not?

I changed my tagline today, as you may have noticed. It now reads: “Finding joy while facing cancer.”

I have a theory that almost everyone has been or will be touched by cancer in some way. Directly, or indirectly, this strange scourge will leave its mark, and is leaving its mark even as I write these words.

It’s as if this six-letter word that begins with “C” has become a metaphor for fear. A symbol of a larger fear that haunts and degrades our lives, depriving us of the joy that is rightly ours – UNLESS, that is, and UNTIL we face the fear that is ours to face.

My own life situation—I was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer two years ago-- requires that I have regular tests and scans to see how I’m doing. Is cancer recurring? Or am I holding my own, keeping this affliction at bay, so to speak, and more importantly, finding increased joy and peace and well-being in life?

I’m due for some more tests, including an annual CT-scan, a bit later this year. And I’ll be having a repeat colonoscopy next spring. I do feel anxiety at times when undertaking these tests – and at other times, also. Fear is always there, it seems, in the background, waiting for a chance to assert itself.

But here’s the miracle that is unfolding in my life. Here’s what I’m excited to share with you, as best I can, now and in coming days.

I find that when I get still, in the face of fear, and let myself actually feel this very uncomfortable feeling—it sucks, to be honest—and open my heart in surrender to life, I become aware instantly of a feeling that is very different from the feeling of fear.

I become aware of a feeling of absolute love and assurance, something that exists outside of time but yet is present within the confines of time.

Who knows what the future may hold. But as I think of my upcoming tests, and whatever other challenges may lie in wait in days to come, I continue to be strengthened and emboldened by this simple realization: fear is not the monster you or I may have thought it to be. All we have to do, when fear arises, is to be still, and feel the presence of eternal love—our own true presence, dare I say?--in which there is no fear.

There is never a moment when we are not in the presence of that which is eternal. If you would like to read more about my experiences and thoughts re cancer (and life) please check out my book, The Upside of Cancer, available in print and Kindle editions at Amazon. Simply put the title into the Amazon search bar.

I’d love to share any thoughts you may have on the above. My love and blessings to you.

 

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

David Banner September 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Chris…this is absolutely pristine. Of course, you feel anxiety and fear….you are in a human body. Yet, you choose consciously face it and see it for what it is…an insubstantial ghost.

Bravo! No matter what transpire, you have won.

Love, David

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Christopher Foster September 30, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Your words are beautiful, David. I’m immensely grateful. Much love from my heart to yours.

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Don Carmichael September 30, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Hi Christopher–

Much appreciation for sharing your story while under some duress. Also appreciate this coming from a guy ; ) May the Lord and Lady of Enchantment smile upon your journey friend.
A close friend helped her healing process with breast cancer, along with a lot of prayer and healer friends/family by adopting the catchy and fun mantra/song called Every little cell in my body is happy, Every little cell in my body is well…. Think you might like the energy of the group/individual chant/invocation, videos can by found on the site: laughteronlineuniversity.com , scroll down for the english version. Or simply search online using phrase from the prayer/song. Wish I was there to sing along, may the miracle of life continue to lighten your pathway. Don

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Christopher Foster September 30, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Don, your words touch me deeply. Thank you. And thank you for the info re ‘laughteronlineuniversity’, I haven’t had time to check the videos out yet but I will. Thank God for laughter, and also, as you suggest, thank God for our ability to smile. Good to share the miracle of life with you. With you in blessing.

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solidgoldcreativity September 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm

What a generous and courageous post. Well done and thank you. Many great points including this one, “A symbol of a larger fear that haunts and degrades our lives, depriving us of the joy that is rightly ours – UNLESS, that is, and UNTIL we face the fear that is ours to face.” My best wishes to you and yours.

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Christopher Foster September 30, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Thank YOU friend. Thank you for your comment, and thank you for subscribing to my blog. It’s good to share this journey with you. Best wishes and love back to you, and to your loved ones.

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Maureen Waller September 30, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Thank you so much for this inspiring and very honest look at the whole subject of cancer, Chris, made even more compelling because you are not speaking as an observer to the process but as a participant in it.
It feels as though so much power is given to this disease and I can understand that, but to actually name the fear and at the same time name the love and assurance as you have, brings such a sense of balance.
Thank you, dear friend.
Maureen

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Christopher Foster October 1, 2015 at 1:43 pm

So good to hear from you, Maureen. I’m very grateful to you for sharing these thoughts, and putting this critical need for balance re this issue of cancer into such a clear and compelling perspective. I’m also grateful for the friendship I have known with you for a fairly long time now. Someone once said something to the effect, the best wine comes at the end of the feast. It’s kind of cool how this can happen with friendship. It just keeps getting better over time…Thanks and blessings.

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cols September 30, 2015 at 11:20 pm

I am praying for you xxx

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Christopher Foster October 1, 2015 at 1:44 pm

Thank you very, very much. I shared your loving words with my wife. My prayers go out to you too.

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Karin October 1, 2015 at 7:15 am

How appropriate that I would read this now. I am of the belief that everything happens for a reason, even if I do not understand why I just need to learn from it.
I have just finished active treatment for breast cancer. You are so right, it has changed my life in many ways and bought about feelings I wish I could have avoided but through it all I have been touched by so many wonderful souls that I am thankful for it all. Facing the fear has become a necessary task for sure but pushing past that has opened me up to some glorious feelings of love and life.

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Christopher Foster October 1, 2015 at 1:55 pm

Bless you, Karin, and thank you for your words. I feel the same way. I can think of a number of things that have happened in my life that perhaps–had I been consulted–I would have preferred to avoid. But if anything had been different, perhaps I would not be here now, in this precise moment, in this precise way, heart opening as you say to a fuller and more glorious, perhaps even unlimited experience of love and life. Blessings.

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Karin October 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm

I was also in Kuwait when Iraq invaded and was in hiding with my 3 young children for 6 weeks until I was evacuated . I know that God has a plan for me but I just don’t know what it is! I don’t know if I am extremely lucky or extremely unlucky but I have learned to enjoy every second of the life I have and like to say to others “live like you mean it!” I do tell people though when they have touched me in some way and you, Christopher, have touched my soul. Thank you for that. Blessings.

Evan Griffith October 1, 2015 at 6:38 pm

Chris!

I love every single beatific message of yours. This one especially.

I’m reading your book and enjoying the hell out of it. Your transcendent self rises up from every page (metaphorically . . . I’m reading on a Kindle 🙂

I’ll be over to Amazon the second I’m finished to give it a rave review.

I’ve never read anyone in my life who has such a calming presence and yet keeps you wanting more. You’ve tapped such a deep vein of truth and observation that it’s as compelling to follow your thoughts as it is to follow a river to its source.

Blissings to you — may your week be a good one —

Evan
Evan Griffith recently posted..Elizabeth Gilbert: Enter into a contract with your idea

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Christopher Foster October 2, 2015 at 10:13 am

Evan, thank you and bless you, your support means a lot to me. You bring a big, big light of courage and hope into this world. I’m grateful that life found a way to bring us together. You have a good week too.

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Nancy Leefe October 2, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Thanks, Chris for sharing your life experience with cancer in such an open and honest way. You do provide a poignant message to all of us!

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Christopher Foster October 3, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Thank you Nancy. It’s always great to hear from you.

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Trefah October 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm

Chris, you are indeed a light unto the world and those of us who are fortunate enough to connect with you and read your story are more than blessed, we are bemored by your experience and the wisdom you share.
Fear is the “cancer of life” but fortunately there is a cure as with most challenges that confront us on our Earth journey , that which you are a living example of……COURAGE,
and as you quoted to one reader “keep on keeping on” ( which happens to be a favourite line from The Moody Blues from the 70s)
Fear /cancer is a “gift ” if we’re willing to go beyond it, to “Love Thy Enemy” and claim the gifts it brings as you and several others have mentioned and people I know have stated despite the majority who think otherwise .
We are to “rise above it” and “Love with all our might”
The choice is ours.
Keep on sending your dispatches back from the front line my brother,
Love, Light, Peace, Joy and Happiness
Trefah

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Christopher Foster October 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Thank you for your magnificent comment Trefah. I am deeply, deeply moved.
You’re absolutely right. There is a cure for fear, and its name is courage. Another quote comes to mind: “Perfect love casts out all fear.”
I am so very, very happy to connect with you in this way. I send you blessings and love and will certainly do my best to keep those “dispatches” coming:-).

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sherill October 4, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Hi, Thanks for sharing a very inspiring and beautiful story. I love the sincerity and the positive vibes that comes with it. I really admire your courage. God Bless.
sherill recently posted..Don’t Wait Until You Know Everything Before You Do Something

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Christopher Foster October 15, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Sherill, thank you so much for your most welcome comment. I’m sorry I was slow to respond. Love and blessings to you.

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Michel October 6, 2015 at 7:21 am

Dear Friend,
What a wonderful way to utilise any energy and to transform it into the basic vibration of life itself, LOVE. We are blessed to be aware of this great truth and learn experience love in every moment of our life. You are a shining light in your world, inspiring many to look at the bouderies on their path and transforming them into useful tool to grow and blossom. Your giving heart is what inspires people to allow their life to be change.
One with You,
Michel

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Christopher Foster October 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Michel, thank you so much for your comment. I want you to know how much I appreciate your support. You are a shining light too and it is wonderful to be walking this journey with you. Stay strong.

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Christopher Foster October 2, 2015 at 10:08 am

Karin, many thanks for your follow-up. You’ve touched my soul too, with your comments. You have a great attitude to life and it’s a privilege to connect with you. I believe with certainty not only that God has a plan for you but that it will emerge (one step at a time) as you keep listening and keep taking the step that seems right to you in the moment. Putting it another way, “keep on keeping on.”

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