There are three days left to Breast Cancer Month and I wanted to end them with something with an upbeat rather than the downbeat that sometimes takes over the days. Count Basie said those words to me in the fall of 1967 at the Newport Jazz Festival. It was when dad took me to Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra’s rehearsal and the Count was onstage sitting at the piano and he motioned to me to come sit next to him on the bench. I shot a look at dad he looked at me smiling Go on, he’s family! At that very moment at the tender age of thirteen thinking I am absolute existence, I am a meadow of all that is possible Jazz is collaboration of individual souls connecting to a universal riff transcending all limitations awakening everyone present to self discovery and expression in the majesty of God’s gift to our lives. In 2000 it saved my life. Why? Because my mom and I did not have any choice back in 1997, when our Breast Cancer journey began and was not commonplace back then. Our Oncologist a Harvard Medical School doctor was making strides to treat the disease. We were collateral damage. He proscribed medications that gave me horrifying dreams of my mother and I being decapitated in a collision with a 18 wheeler mac truck. When I told him about the dreams and the lack of sleep his response was That’s psychological, I can give you adavan. That did not work. I was desperately to reconnect with my soul. What had been sacred to me changed and I wanted to make peace with my cancer and use it to give up the notion of what no longer worked for me and find new ways to get close to what is sacred in my life. I would go for chemotherapy and would play Coltrane, Miles, the Count and Ella, Sarah and of course my dad’s music. Mark Singer in The Untethered Soul” taught me to allow the cancer and loss not to fight it but to embrace and accept things as they are. I created a conversation remembering that Fall day back in 1967 with Count Basie and it brought me back to an aliveness surrendering my fears to find a new current and flowing with life at that moment. My friends faded away because they didn’t know what to say to me. I can’t tell you the number of times I wanted to give up. I began to listen to Coltrane’s Serenity and became completely present. The transformational power of letting go of my identity of being a cancer patient dissolved away.
Uploaded on Aug 26, 2010
Here are a few brief steps I took:
Seek solitude: Take a deep breath and allow yourself some time and space to step away from the expectations; the conversations; the pressures and the noise of everyday life. Focus on your life in that moment. Strive for feeling free, independent and self-sufficient, gently let go thoughts of loneliness, worries or fear.
Seek out and find your passion: When you believe or see beauty in something, you should follow your heart no matter what anyone else thinks or says. If you have found something that is worthy of your focus, sacrifice, and efforts, you have discovered a passion of your life. Poetry in the ambience of Jazz did it for me!
Seek more Information: Identify through reading and searches on the internet to find someone who is doing the exact passion you want to do. Find out how they did it and how you can create and manifest it in your life.
Seek support : Finding friends that are supportive and who encourage you when you need it most are key to my journey. I lost my mom, but, Ida, and Andrea, Greg, Gerry, Cindy, and Dave have taken this journey with me. A support system is crucial to any personal transformation and healing. They will understand what you’re going through.
So get to steppin’ to the soul filled beat of your life. Mark Nepo says it best Poetry is the utterance from the soul… Peace and Love Out! JBC 😎 ❤
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