Life is a Gift

When I was told that my disease had progressed to its final stage, it was like a wakeup call for me and a time to reevaluate my priorities. It wasn’t so much that I became depressed and sad; instead, I had a desire to make the best out of the time I had left. Who knows how long that will be? I have no control over it, but I have total control over how I want to live and feel. A proverb came to mind:

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often
we look so long at the closed door that we do not see
the one which has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller

I didn’t want to miss the new door that was opening for me, although it would have been easy to stare at the closed door with regrets and longing. I could have stopped there and focused on what I have lost. Instead, I decided to fill my life with happiness and joy. I saw the open door, the infinite possibilities remaining for me, and I felt gratitude. Yes, there are things which will remain undone in my life, but they are in the past, and I have decided to live in the present.

Life is a gift we often take for granted and consider it as an entitlement. It feels like life is a given until it is snapped away. But nothing and no one can take away my joy for living and my desire to be happy. I will live the remainder of my life in joy, and every day will be filled with happiness and laughter.

I wanted to share this because I am repeatedly asked how I manage to remain so positive. How couldn’t I be? I have time left to enjoy my husband, Romeo our little Yorkie, my dear friends, and finishing my book. I have lived an exciting life, and now it is time to enjoy the smaller and simpler things. I still have much to live and to be grateful for, and there is no space in my mind for sadness.

When I saw the snow this week – yes, here in Tucson – I remembered when we lived in snow country with snow storms and such massive accumulations that we had to hire roof sweepers to save the roof. I recall snowmobiling in Yellowstone Park, skiing when I was younger, bringing food into the woods for deer, elk, and other animals, and I could go on. I am grateful for such adventures.

Life is a gift to be cherished and lived to the fullest. Remember the closing door and don’t hang on to it with memories and regrets. It will not open again, but a new one will, and you will have ample opportunities to live a joyful life. It is all up to you!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

 

Flying High

Fly high, and you’ll find blue skies. This is a meaningful sentence for me. I started feeling ill before Christmas and didn’t feel better for over two weeks. Between the dreary weather and my poor health, I needed something to hang on to. And it was this sentence which allowed me to climb my emotional ladder.

I saw myself in an airplane flying through dense clouds and experiencing severe turbulence. Looking out, I could only see grey. It was depressing, but I reminded myself that the plane could climb higher to find blue skies and smooth air. And it did. That’s how I saw my physical challenge – a cloud cover which could be pierced if I wished to do so. This knowledge is powerful, and since you are in charge, you can fly as high as necessary. Next time, when I need a crutch, I’ll be more adventurous and see myself as a Blue Angel piloting my aircraft, zooming through the cloud cover at high speed, and breaking into a blue sky in no time. It will be a thrill.

Sometimes we need a metaphor to pull us out of a hole. It makes our desire stronger, and we can more easily visualize a positive outcome. Just seeing myself climbing at high speed to clear blue skies helped me leave my self-pity behind. I felt stronger, in control, and confident that I would improve. I know that episodes like this one will happen more and more often, but I also know that I can equip myself with tools that will help me continue to enjoy my life.

Why write about this? I felt compelled to share it in case you are also stuck in a grey cloud cover. There can be many varied reasons for it, perhaps caused by physical discomfort, emotional distress, or both. As long as you know that you can climb higher above the clouds and find blue skies again, you do not have to get depressed and stay down. You might want to create your own metaphor, something which can help you leave the unwanted behind.

You are the pilot of your life, and you are in charge; that is powerful knowledge, and as long as you believe it and act accordingly, there is nothing which can bring you down for long.

I wish you a happy and joyous 2019 – flying high above the clouds into blue skies!

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

 

Yoga and Medicine

Dr. Ruben Mesa is a leading oncologist in the research of myeloproliferative neoplasms, and at this time he is heading a new research program on how yoga can benefit patients with these rare blood cancers. I was very intrigued by this study. The first reported results from Dr. Mesa’s research appear to be very positive.

These developments reminded me of a prediction by Krishnamurti at a workshop I attended years ago that science and spirituality will come together one day to complement each other. At that time this was not something easily accepted, but the talks Krishnamurti had with leading scientists of the time were very interesting and insightful. I strongly believed then that this will happen, and that one day the differences will become complementary and the whole will be enhanced.

I am so grateful that I have lived to see the time when a highly respected medical doctor endorses yoga as a symptom reliever and a way to feel better. It doesn’t replace medications and other essential treatments, but it helps with general well-being. And yoga doesn’t have any negative side effects! It influences your body and your mind in a positive way, and when combined with meditation and mindfulness, it will improve how you feel and enhance your life. I can only imagine what break throughs we’ll see in the coming years in the medical field, and how they will be complimented by spiritual exercises to allow the body mind connection.

Yoga is very powerful, and I was blessed to have worked with Yogi Babacar Khane, who taught three different forms of yoga. You might want to read more about it in Healthy Insights “Yoga”.

The Eastern and Western philosophies are drawing closer, and soon the day will come when they will be side-by-side fully complementing each other. I am looking forward to it.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Quality of Life

Quality of life is hard to define or to describe, and I have never spent much time thinking about it.  My life has been interesting. I loved my work, traveled extensively, socialized, entertained and in a few words, did what I wanted to do, and what I thought would make me happy and bring me joy. Looking back, I can honestly say that I enjoyed a great quality of life when I was master of my ship.

But then, everything changed. It suddenly felt like I was living in a tumbling house of cards. My doctors talked to me about choosing between quality of life and length of life. I was in shock. I had the quality of life I wanted, but it was evaporating. What am I to do with my limited physical capabilities to create a new quality of life and what would that include? I was certain of one thing. It would have to be new and different, something I never thought would be the center of my daily life. Would it be possible or would I fall into a depression? I decided to find a new quality of life, and to never allow self-pity to hold me back.

So, after a lot of soul searching it all came together. I can still see my friends, just in different ways. Late-night and long dinners have been replaced by early bird dining and “happy hour” is becoming a favorite of mine. I have replaced my cherished dinner parties with invitations to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. I realized that I can still socialize, just in different ways.  Then we got an adorable Yorkie puppy, Romeo, a true lover and a sunbeam of love in my heart. I always loved to read and now I have the time to do it. Workouts at the gym are no longer possible, but I take delight in vigorous walks. And of course, I love to write, and I stay busy with my memoires, blog and other projects.

I realized that one’s quality of life is fluid and needs to be adaptable under any circumstances. But it requires an open heart and mind to do so. I know I will have to adapt again, but as long as I can fit some of the activities I enjoy into my daily life, I know I can tell my doctor, “Yes, I still have a good and acceptable quality of life”.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Talking Openly

Saguaro-NPGrowing up in Germany I learned when very young to keep certain things buried within me to avoid punishment or arguments. What things were considered inappropriate to talk about? Opinions on friends and family, politics, religion, anything that didn’t fit into the Catholic indoctrination (my mother was a devout Catholic and one could only speak with respect and devotion about the priest and the church). And then there was the taboo for saying anything that could point to dissatisfaction, which my mother would have taken as a personal insult. So I started writing and developing a creative and imaginative mind to express my thoughts and also my frustration, and it worked well for quite a while.

As a teenager, I was still comfortable with it until my mother died. The grief, loss and shock of losing my mother and home, combined with a cruel and unloving family created such uproar in me that I was unable to make believe everything was acceptable. I spoke out and the consequences were painful. I wondered why people couldn’t talk openly, agree to disagree, have different opinions but still love each other?

When I finally became independent, I started studying metaphysics, and I found ways to express my thoughts and feelings without stepping on other people’s toes. What a relief. And who would have known that later in my life this practice of talking openly and honestly would help me with my failing health and allow me to embrace my future with peace and joy. Steve is learning to talk more openly with me and I am grateful that he able to jump over his shadow. There are still areas I would like to talk about but he does not feel comfortable doing so. With time I hope completely open conversations will be possible, and I know this would help me tremendously.

Talking openly doesn’t mean being hurtful or harsh. It means listening and then sharing one’s own thoughts and feelings. There is no reason for criticism or blame. There are subjects in everyone’s life, which are touchy and vulnerable, but it is those protective feelings that block us from growing spiritually. Finding a way to bring those feelings to the light and let them go is not easy but very beneficial. I do not talk about secrets, things we do not want to share with other people, I talk about traditions and habits that stifle us and don’t allow us to be who we really are.  For example “boys don’t cry”. It is cruel to force a little boy to keep tears unshed and to bury emotions within. No wonder many men have such a hard time to express their feelings and emotions.

I am glad that my husband has decided that he can travel my journey with me. As a Texan, he has many taboos and talking about feelings is one of them. He is slowly taking his fences down and I know he does it out of love for me.

I wanted to share this with you because we all need open and honest conversations that come from the heart.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

ShareThis Copy and Paste