Candle of Hope
Ways of Seeing - A Journal

June 13th 2003

I sent out a small S.O.S. - cried out to the universe asking for creative ways to get through each day. Afterall, no-one provides you with a mannual to help you face daily life with an insidious spectre like cancer. Good advice appeared in my email box and I feel I should share it with readers of this journal.

Getting through the Days

1. Buy eight pairs of cheap cotton underwear in outrageous colours that you would never choose for yourself from a cheap chain store. Wear one pair every day, and keep the eighth for washing day.

2. Buy a book of crosswords or brain puzzles - I like the Logic ones. Do one at a prescribed time every day, like afternoon tea, or after dinner with a cup of tea.

3. Show up at the pages of your journal every day. Morning is best. Use thick paper and have cheap coloured pens - felt tips are good. If you can't think of anything to say, write words that reflect your mood, in colours that match. Finally, at the end of all the brown and grey and black misery, write PEACE, HOPE, FAITH, LOVE and RAINBOW PRAYERS in bright colours. Colour is good for getting you through the day.

4. Go through your old cook books and cook a new meal every week, even if it's just for you and you have to deal with all the left overs, which can be good if you're having a rought trot for the times when you just can't cook and would otherwise eat breakfast cereal or nothing at all.

5. Do something in the garden every day - even just one foot of weeding in a garden bed. Plant flowers - lots of them, that will cheer you up as they grow and bloom.

6. Get all your ironing up to date in front of every chic flick video you always wanted to see and never allowed yourself to when they were still at the cinema.

7. Buy some runes or tarot cards, or fairy cards, or angel cards. Choose one every day, and put what you choose in your journal to chart your progress.

8. Reward yourself once a week with coffee and a treat in a favourite space, even just an hour is good, even thirty minutes can be helpful.

9. Set up your sewing machine and get a cardboard square, fabric, marker pen, and scissors. Cut heaps of squares from the cloth and sew it into rows of three, then squares of nine. Reaarange the squares of nine until they feel good. Sew them all together. You have made a quilt!

10. Use routine in a good and familiar and safe way. Make it a ritual of comfort to eat your breakfast in a certain spot, or with a favourite marmalade and your best mug. Watch idiotic TV shows if they have the prozac effect in a good way. Know how you will face tomorrow this afternoon, by knowing that Wednesday is shopping day, and Friday is clean sheets day.

11. Go for a walk every day, especially in wind or rain or sunshine or sleet or snow or mist.

12. If you feel sad, really give yourself to it - play music you know you will bawl to. Have tissues. Sway a lot. Then make a cup of tea. You will feel better.

13. Make your home a retreat. Use fresh flowers and vamp up the decor with extra pillows or a throw. Bring out all the old lace doileys and tablecloths and pretty vases and USE THEM!!!

14. Treat yourself as if you were the patient. Make yourself boiled eggs and toast soldiers, put them on a tray and eat them in your PJs, with your socks or slippers on. Don't worry about crumbs. The cleaning lady will hoover them up.

15. When you have to be the cleaning lady, dress like Sadie. Wear a kerchief in your hair, play bad radio music, see the act of cleaning your house as one of supreme nurture and cleaning and ordering and healing your world.

16. Pretend your life is a hollogram training video, and that you can play this one over if you don't get the hang of it this turn around. Be honest with everyone, as if you could jump on a bus and slip out of town tomorrow, it's very liberating!