Playing Roles – Changing roles

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts ……”.  William Shakespeare

How much easier life could be if one could accept that it is a drama. We are playing ‘parts’, parents, workers, learners, teachers, tourists, canoeists, cancer patients ….. Everything we do is a role. We are those roles only while we are playing them but the roles are not who we are. Better not to get too ‘caught up’ in the role. we should play each part at the appropriate time and play each part to the best of ones’ ability but know that it is all about playing the role. All roles are important, they are ALL part of the ‘play’ of life. Experience each role!. Enjoy each role!. One person will never always be the hero or always the villian. Life is about variety and should be accepted as such. Stop briefly between each role, all the better to rehearse for the next part. Hero or Villian, Pleasure or Pain, Good or Bad, Rapids or Calm, they are all transitory.

The Rapids Abate

A few short weeks ago I wrote about being on the rapids and having a really tough time. It felt as though I was in for a long tough ride. I was prepared for a long haul. Imagine my surprise when the Rapids went still – Literally still in a flash – I found myself on a calm stretch, a lake almost. The frantic energy of the Rapids just abated. My oncologist called (unexpectedly I must admit) and told me my scans were clear. The most unexpected news. Very welcome. Another valuable lesson – Don’t anticipate!, Don’t expect!. I just hope I can carry that lesson with me if and when the waters start speeding up again. But for now, Summer has broken out and  meditation is boosting my supply of Satvic energy. I can loosen my grip and relax. I might even have more time to blog as I had originally intended. Hope so!!

Emotional Rapids – Part 2

I wrote a blog on emotional rapids almost two years. I really didn’t think it would would take so long to have a re-look at that aspect of the canoe trip. In  the previous blog the talk was about the sudden appearance of sadness and fear out of absolutely nowhere and the ‘raw-ness’ of these emotions. They are almost pure and are always powerful and somewhat overwhelming.

Going down a violently moving series of rapids (which is the only way I can describe my chemotherapy experiences to date) is bound to bring up emotions and this latest episode is probably just what should be expected. If I had to give any advice to fellow canoeists (and am addressing myself here also) or their close ones it would be  … Expect nothing, anticipate nothing but be prepared, Don’t get caught in it. If the emotions arise let them – They cannot be stopped, They must be acknowledged, They are valid and They will abate. They are transitory.

Anger at the whole trip, not the cancer, not the treatment but at the lonliness of it all. Have just today reached a slowly moving part of the river. I need the rest … there are more rapids up ahead. That’s the nature of the trip. Have heard news of the passing of a fellow canoeist and of another going into the river. I feel for them ……….. I wish them well

When the river gets rough

I usually try to stay calm, cool and collected when the river gets really rough. It is not always easy. Chemo on monday last – not too bad until this evening – Now have fallen into a rough rapid flow – Always happens – Sporadic episodes of irregular stomach spasms not unlike but not then very like hiccups. Have been there lots of times – after nearly every cycle – must be closing in on 20 cycles at this stage.

This stuff sucks the pleasure out of life – Horrible physically at the moment and then horrible psychologically for another few days.Then the inevitable intensive self care and recovery in time for next round

This is not me – this is a sheath – I am not cancer, cancer may be part of me but just a small part I need to get back to my essence – my calmer self

Horrific, Horible,Horrific …………….Horrible….Horrible

What choice do I have

‘I cant go on, I’ll go on” – Samuel Beckett

Losing fellow Canoers

When you are on fast parts of the canoe trip, when the current and flow are rapidly changing and intensifying, when the water is white and noisy, when you are in the zone and concentrating – At these times one is focussed on one’s task and doesnt see there are many more canoeists on the river. We canoeists only really notice each other on the quiet parts. At these times we can meet and recognise each others journeys, provide mutual support and encouragemnt, disclose tactical knowledge. It is a learned group. Experienced. Every individual on a canoe trip faces the fast parts alone and should enjoy the quiet parts in good company.

This is a dangerous river, there are always some who get lost, go down, drown. I have met and lost some very good and wise companions on my canoe trip to date.

Good Company just like the river is ever changing

Back in the canoe again

The ‘distant rumbling’ needs to be heeded always. I’ve said that before. Keep it in ‘half’consious. Be ‘Ready’ to move. Don’t get caught by surprise. Easy to say. The ‘rumbling’ continues and intensifies. I had to get back in the canoe and tighten things up. Current picked up slowly but steadily. Flowing fast for a while, easing now a bit. Another few of these ‘rapid’ coming up over the next while.

I never strayed too far away from the river ….

The rest, the meditaton, the philosophy, the reading, the poetry, the exercise, the travelling and even the boxsets – They are all part of the preparation and have earned their place in the kit bag. Tie it up. Going to be lonely for a while. Just keep it tight!

The next quiet stretch …………………………………………..

Distant Rumbling

Faint rumblings in the distance are par for the course when on a river journey. As long as they are faint there is no need for anxiety. The rumbling could merely be a sign that the current is picking up a bit. Become and stay alert but don’t panic. They do not necessarily mean that more Rapids are approaching. They should be taken for what they are, just signs but not proof. Maybe the water is flowing a bit faster up ahead. Maybe a tributary in feeding in. Maybe there are rocks in the river.  Maybe, maybe, maybe ……..

It is good to detect them, to be aware of them. It helps to be prepared for any eventuality and the course of a river is sure to be ever changing. That is the nature of a river and indeed the nature of life.