Inspiration

Don

Inspiration

Don
First published August 24, 2012 on facingcancer.ca

The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Since last November when Katie was diagnosed my spiritual itinerary has followed a literary trail inspired by Dante’s InfernoA Confederacy of Dunces (which, by the way, if you haven’t read you must!), In the Electric Mist with the Confederate Dead (James Lee Burke’s early work), Setting Free the Bears and The World According to Garp (John Irving), The Beginning of Was (Ania Szado), Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, The Canterbury Tales, and everything published by Jo Nesbo.

Common thread?  Each of these writers inspire me in different ways but what they all have had in common for me during the past 10 months is the ability to transport me into an alternate reality while keeping me firmly grounded in the present moment.

Each has enabled me to find little pearls of optimism and given me hope and intellectual weaponry to fight the nastiest enemy we’ve encountered ever.

In the meantime my most significant inspiration has come from Katie who has used this incredibly heart-rending event as a springboard to reinvention.  Through her own initiative and “by listening to the voices guiding her” she has recreated herself in a fashion which makes her an ever more remarkable Mommy, wife, strategic thinker and business partner.  She too has found inspiration through books and most notably by devouring those which called out to her.  Dr. David Schreiber’s Anti Cancer and Marla Shapiro’s Life in the Balance have proven to be greatly valued sources of  both practical and spiritual guidance.

Then, her pursuit of an aggressive exercise program – one of our first investments post diagnosis was a treadmill (which frankly cost more than my first car!) – that Kate has pursued with diligence and vigour.  She’s now jogging about 5K every day in about 30 minutes.  As well, she’s taken up her Yoga practice again and most notably the work she did with Dr. S. Treyvaud on Mindfulness Meditation has been transformative not only for her but for all of us with whom she interacts.

And then there have been our most inspiring influences – Gabriel and Samuel. Admittedly, two-year old Sam has been pretty much blissfully unaware of the turmoil in our lives (more on that in a post to come).  On the other hand, Gabriel who will turn five in September has been witness to episodes that no child should have to experience and yet he has been a pure inspiration to Kate and I by reveling in a sense of wonder that includes both the dark and bright aspects of this journey.  Both are remarkable and my choice of this photo was meant to show how he has kept me feeling that a race to a future of hope and well-being is within reach.

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