A Winter Lesson
I was reminded of an important lesson this past weekend – changing our minds. I mostly grumble about winter although I continue to live in this climate. And, honestly, there is much to grumble about. However, Saturday morning I didn’t want to shovel out my car and instead walked to Bank Street to a favourite cafe. I noticed something odd the minute I opened the door and stepped outside.
It was beautiful everywhere I looked: the brilliant blue sky; the sun lighting up snow-covered trees; the quality of the air; the mild temperature and not a wisp of wind. When I began walking, the thick carpet of snow was not slippery- no ice. As I rounded a corner a flock of adorable birds flew onto a bush an arm’s length from where I was standing. It was wondrous. And I was brought up short because in those moments I loved winter. This was a feeling and it will pass soon enough. But it was also a visceral childhood memory of how I had loved winter and how this morning I loved it again. And I was flooded with thoughts about winter like how it can build resilience and many other desirable traits.
A reminder of looking with fresh eyes rather than assuming how awful x is.
When I chose to accept chemo after my diagnosis I recognized that this was a change of mind. I had previously and confidently proclaimed: “if I ever get cancer I won’t do chemo.”
I thought you said…
my daughter chimed in, when I told her about my treatment.
“I didn’t think I would ever get cancer,” was my answer. And I went on to talk about the research, the interviews, the questions, and the reading, all to discover why I needed chemo. It was my best chance. I henceforth saw chemo with new eyes; I was one of the lucky ones, where treatment was available. Don’t get me wrong, chemo was harsh and if you don’t need it you don’t want it. Yet, here I was, with this thing I was against, and it turned out to save my life. I see that differently still, and I am grateful that I got to have it.
When I was a girl, changing my mind wasn’t considered a quality. Rather, it was a black mark against anyone’s character and described as wishy washy. It often lead to getting up on a moralistic high horse and not getting down. It could lead to any number of life-changing actions that you felt obliged to follow through on. All kinds of implications, when you think about it. Furthurmore, it was and is, a rather perfect recipe to fracture relationships.
I change my mind with additional information
We can change our minds about people and situations: tell me more; maybe I was wrong; maybe you are right; let me think about this; I made a mistake. We don’t have to hold our ground on everything. We have all been exposed to petty and tiresome arguments. I’m not sure why we think they are important but I assume conditioning. “Once they make up their mind, they don’t change it.” Often at great expense to those around them.
We can change our minds at any age. Age is not an excuse. Every now and then it can be interesting to question our own beliefs about everything, especially about what we think we can or cannot do. It can be fun to change our minds: learn to swim at 75, like my Mother; travel alone; start a new hobby; write a book; paint a picture. You might want to change your mind about yourself and what you think you are capable of.
Stay curious, try new things and live your life, while you can. Change your mind if you want to and surprise the family.
1:) First a big thank you to a reader who has become a friend. The surprise gift of a book of poetry, written by her, called Bits and Pieces by Pat Scanlan.
2:) A nature video (thanks to Emma Rooney for introducing this to me) some of you may like The Healing Forest
3:) I was invited to teach a Living Well with Illness program for two organizations in BC: Naramata and Sorrento. They asked me to post their link to the program and I am happy to do so.
4:) May you find ways to have a good week. And may you find the strength and courage to face difficulties. All my thanks and best wishes, Trudy