Today is Key

photo: by me @ my meditation spot, Big Island, Hawaii

photo: by me @ my meditation spot, Big Island, Hawaii

"Today is the key to all that you will become, and what you want and desire for yourself."

Sometimes it is all I can do to get out of bed. Not because I'm depressed, (or maybe it's miserably cold and dark outside), but because it is often so hard to want to jump into the things that are to be done on my to-do list. I would often prefer to lay still in my own thoughts and follow them to wherever they go. You've had a morning when something comes to mind as your eyes open up that you'd just like to sit with for a couple hours, or the entire day? The luxury to ride the wave of that single thought and see how it unravels and possibly turns into maybe a full revelation, relevant insight to other ideas, or a completely new project. The time and space to practice the illusionary task of figuring it all out is what I long for. You know, having all the pieces come together in the mind to reveal the map for, the Holy Grail of, or the complete answers to LIFE.

And though I do intellectually understand her points, I feel less freedom with regards to responsibility than what my life coach promises. Just because I am in charge and what needs to be done as dictated by ME, doesn't mean that I always have the time and energy that I need or want to muster. Somedays, I'm just tired and other days simply over it all, for there is only so much I can manage and then, I get cranky. I get frustrated and have yet to learn how to let go of 'the need for things to be just so'. AND — maybe my list of things, or the ways in which I believe those items on the list of things to do needs to change? And maybe none of that really matters and I just need to get out of bed with a different attitude?

Well, it was much easier for me to wake up all happy with the sun while in Hawaii at the Yoga & Ayurvedic retreat I attended last month than is typical for me at home in New York City, (especially in the winter - lol). However, during one of our Ayurvedic lectures, the importance of starting each day with one positive and consistent thought to set our day, mind and intentions in motion was discussed. With everything good, awful and life changing that has happened as a result of this last year working through cancer, decisions for treatment, and the actual treatment/surgery that was compounded by my emotional, physical and mental recovery, I have been quite inspired to come up with a daily ideal that I could believe in. One un-corny message that would allow me to feel equipped, ready to work through the importance of, and any potential difficult day or, overwhelming series of days, including the darkness that is New York in the winter (day after day, after...). How can one walk into the unknown with wonder and acceptance for what has not yet been revealed? This is what I've got so far: "Today is the key to all that you will become, and what you want and desire for yourself". What my experiences have offered towards the meaning and support for this thought is as follows.

1 - No matter what happens in each day SOMETHING FROM IT in some way, will contribute towards the shaping and delivering of whatever it is that life is shaping you into. And within that, SOME PART will speak to what your heart is truly after. It may not come exactly as you see it, but it will come. Each day is a bread crumb or full of a series of bread crumbs that will eventually lead their way like a road map, directly to the prize. However, if we skip steps and/or don't actually connect to the lessons that we are meant to learn along the way, we get re-directed off from our designated route. When the Universe thinks we're ready to try again, we are invited at another junction in our lives to be placed back on our path. Our actions and decisions determine our way. Think of life as a big flow chart. The options and choices are endless. If this, then that, (but maybe not right away).

2- My new morning mantra assures the concept that one MUST PARTICIPATE IN, and make it through that day, however possible—that is a requirement. It can be messy, (life is messy and sometimes seemingly unbearable), but the point is to make it to the end of the day. Each day. There is NO other choice. Having the experiences that we encounter give us the emotional practice and perspectives that will help us in making the decisions that will be placed before us in the future. If you do your homework, you'll be ready for the pop quizzes that life throws out. Without the practice of, the understanding, or the exploration of how we feel, we will be unable to use those emotions as tools when necessary. The rough spots along the way are there to help us develop our tools. When you hit your own thumb with a hammer a couple times, you get better at using the hammer, right? Sad, but true...Life. But we can also be as creative as we can imagine. You could also figure out a way to use that hammer to hold up a shelf or some other unconventional use. Its your hammer, use something else to bang in your nails. If that works, maybe that's a way to save your thumbs. Tools are meant to be useful. Once we understand them, we can figure out how best to use them.

3- Our first job is to get out of bed. Just get up, then put one foot in front of the other and live. On some days, that much could be really hard. When it is difficult for you, acknowledge that, then get out of bed! And that can look a bit different for everyone, but mostly it looks the same. We all have stuff to do that either overwhelms or excites us. Too many things on our to-do-lists and probably not as much money as we'd like in order to take care of business the way we'd like either. Those are not the issues, but the homework, or drills if you will. Those are the little exercises that we are to work with and through in order to learn, grow and to build strength. Some of it sucks. And some of it can suck for a long time. That's not the point either. The point is in how we navigate and how we speak to ourselves. How we ACT and get back up when we've fallen. It's also in how we decide to REST and lay down for a well needed break when necessary and then get back up again...rested. 

4- What we want for ourselves is to be stronger, more wise, experienced and successful. Living long enough will offer an education in each of those things. The problem is that we can't really have much say or warning about how that all gets dropped into our lives. To become stronger, we must be challenged to build stamina and endurance. To become wise, we must have had a multitude of experiences from which to have made mistakes and experienced losses, as well as victories and successes. Being successful takes on many forms and we are to be open to all of them. It is all perspective.

5 - Energetically, we have to be open. We must be ready, willing and resolved enough to trust ourselves to pull out our smarts, our instincts and whatever information we have current to make choices for handling whatever gets placed in front of us. That takes being clear, maybe having a support system or process and a simple desire. We must also trust that if we make a mistake, that we're smart enough to find another way. Remember —we have tools.


I NEVER wanted to be diagnosed with cancer and have multiple surgeries to remove, disfigure then fix the aftermath of cutting out my cancer. Many days, I was willing to lay down and let it all be over, but that ultimately just didn't really make any sense. The upheaval in my body, my personal life and my professional life was something that even just one year later, still makes me feel forever doomed to be 'recovering'. Like that lava rock, I spoke about in my last entry. Life roughs us up and sands us down, but  the point is that there are some reasons for it all. It's never what, or as simplistic as we would like. We may not understand any of it for a while or possibly not ever. True understanding usually can only be known in hind sight. We have no other recourse but to live, to trust and at some point to look back on, and be stunned by how and where the bread crumbs sent us.

Looking back on life pre-diagnosis, I realize that I was unable to openly discuss loss. Couldn't do it. Didn't know how and wasn't that interested in it. For some reason, I was supposed to get there. Cancer revealed to me a new perspective on the severity of what I had already lost, a glimpse of what else was possible to lose—and miraculously the wealth of what I actually had. As a result, I am more physically aware, more health focused (in baby steps to be truthful), and my relationships with friends and family are stronger and more cherished. The layers are now more rich and the connection is deeper. I am more clear on what my life's purpose is (at the moment), and better able to focus on it. I am humbled and more directly aware of my own strength. And it is that strength that truly matters. I'm better about accepting my weaknesses, but it is clear that cancer roughed me up pretty good, and it is also sanding off some of the sharp edges that are no longer useful as well.


Teri Gandy-Richardson