The FLASH

I just thought to myself, “I should follow the Pollyanna Plan’s example and write one blog post every day for an entire year.” Then I had this flash where I imagined not being able to finish it because I’d died… So it scares me of course that this is the first reaction. The reaction of death. Man, it scares me.

But now, writing that first line of this post onto my wordpress document and thinking about it for a minute… now I’ve just thought to myself, “where did that original thought – that positive thought – come from in the first place? Where did that idea to live for a year spring up from?” And I’ve never really asked that question before. But, thinking about it now, it feels like there are two parts of me, except the only part I’ve been noticing and taking seriously is the one offering flashes of fear.

Weird confession: Whenever I see a knife in someone’s hand, I have a flash of them stabbing me. And whenever I have a knife in my hand, and someone passes by, I get this flash of myself stabbing them. That’s mostly why I’m a little scared of knives. It’s the same things for guns. I get these flashes of people shooting me. Weird.

My point is, these are the flashes that get my attention. The ones based on fear.

But there are other flashes, and I am realizing right now as I write this post that they need to be nurtured more. I have flashes where I can see myself teaching my own child a ‘life lesson’. I have flashes of living in a cottage in Balaton. I have flashes (dreams) that my book becomes a bestseller.

Just a moment ago, I had a flash to write 365 blog posts in a row, across one whole year. That suggests that some part of me – a strong part of me, since it comes to my mind FIRST – feels the capability of living at least 365 days more.

Each day I live with the fear flashes. They tell me I am going to die too soon. They make me afraid that I’ll be leaving my husband and family far too early. Part of me has been afraid to admit this in the blog, because what if this is me knowing what will actually happen? What if this is me knowing my fate, and not yet accepting it?

But then, if one part of me has that fear, another part of me does in fact have hope – otherwise I’d never be capable of dreaming.

So now I have this challenge, and it is to nurture the ideas that comes first, my ability to hope and to imagine. I want to feed that part of my mind, and help it learn to follow through. Fear will get me nowhere, hope can take me anywhere.

And I’ve literally just realized that that hopeful side of me exists. Like, right here as I wrote down the experience to simply get it out of my head… and it’s turned into this realization. There are many parts of me, not only the part who is afraid all of the time. I want to learn about Catherine Who Hopes. She has some good ideas. I reckon she should be introduced to Catherine Who Acts. And we don’t need to invite that other fearful Catherine along to the party.

Anyhow, this is what I’m thinking about, and I think it makes sense. Why haven’t I noticed my positive side before when it comes to life, and when it comes to cancer? Well, because I was scared of all this fear that has been running through me. But at least I am noticing it now. At least I realize it is there. That is power in itself. And it’s also a really good starting point for change.

P.S. I will not be writing 365 posts, because I think it’s better to just not. This isn’t about fear, this is about me not wanting to blog that much! Better to be focusing on that bestseller goal 😉

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17 thoughts on “The FLASH

  1. oh, Catherine, you are so wise. and I am so happy that you have zeroed in on the Catherine who hopes, because that is the way I have always seen you. we can’t always maintain the fearlessness; those fucking fear flashes, though unbidden, just strike at random, and sometimes there is no rhyme, no reason

    . what you have processed so brilliantly is the fact that we do have a choice of how to respond to them. and you took it to the next level, and looked at just how you live, breathe, and exude hopefulness through the wonderful flashes of dreams of the future, and of the ones that have already come true. keep going, dear Catherine, keep envisioning and hoping and BELIEVING. just look what happened when your big ambition to become a writer flashed through your beautiful mind!

    much love and light,

    Karen xoxoxoxo

  2. Great stuff! Really spot on. Have similar thoughts and reactions so your post captures that well. Mindfulness, being in the moment important – you only have this moment anyway and it may as well be positive. I too seem to nurture the hopeful me not the fear that lurks.

  3. I think Catherine Who Hopes has met Catherine Who Acts and they created The Adventures of Claire Never Ending. Now get Catherine Who Fears out of the way and see what else the other two can do!

    You’ve made a wise decision not to subscribe to 365 posts. Even though I would love to read 365 days of your thoughts, I think it would become a burden for you around day 100. I also get the fear…. I have it too. I don’t know why it is so easy to be afraid. Hugs all around!

  4. You are so honest Catherine. Regardless of our circumstances we all live with fear of some sort but the only certainty we all have is the now. I love the line ‘fear will take me nowhere but hope can take me anywhere’

  5. Wow, what a terrific post – and it was so interesting reading the comments too. I know just what you mean about the flashes – I get them too all the time. Reading your words reminded me of what Eckhart Tolle writes about in his books about being the observer of our thoughts. So in a way there are two people inside all of us and one of them we call the observer, what Tolle calls ,” the silent watcher.” “Be present as the watcher of your mind — of your thoughts and emotions as well as your reactions in various situations. Be at least as interested in your reactions as in the situation or person that causes you to react. Notice also how often your attention is in the past or future. Don’t judge or analyze what you observe. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction. Don’t make a personal problem out of them. You will then feel something more powerful than any of those things that you observe: the still, observing presence itself behind the content of your mind, the silent watcher.” – Eckhart Tolle

    • Thanks for the quote, Marie. It was by stopping to observe the thought (rather than reacting as always) that I pulled the observations for this post. There’s certainly something powerful in that silent watcher… I will try this more often.

  6. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  7. Catherine, it’s your joy of life and hope that comes through all your writing and I’m so happy to hear you say you will focus on that. But fears stated have less power so I hope by being open you now are freer now. What an amazing person you are. Audrey xx

  8. Scares me too and you put it brilliantly. Every time I plant a tree or move a perennial I wonder if I’ll be around to see it bloom again. But it’s an act of faith to do it – to place things lovingly in the ground with handfuls of smelly compost and a nice bed of mulch. Writing projects are another and our experiences are the fertilizer for our creativity. 🙂

  9. I have flashes of hope as well. There are many times that I even forget I have cancer and I actually feel “normal”. I’m trying not to live in fear anymore because fear doesn’t make us happy. Whatever time we have left we need to spend it happy and hopeful.

  10. I find sometimes when I read a blog post all I want to say is “I dropped by today and I read what you wrote.” I don’t want to translate it or give a written reaction. I wonder if it is okay just to say “I was here and I listened to what you had to say. Top to bottom.” and for that to translate into something meaningful for you, the writer. So here I am, leaving my little kitty cat footprints on your post and being a bit quiet as I cheer you on.

  11. Hi Catherine, How did you get so smart? It’s funny I get some of those same weird-type flashes – like the knife ones among others. Why don’t we focus more on the positive flashes we get? Great question… I’m going to try to focus more on them myself this year. And maybe we’ll both be best-selling authors some day, yeah, I have that flash too! By the way, I plan to read your book next week. I’m waiting for a big chunk of alone time. Best to you in 2014. Can’t wait to find out where you take us…

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