“Yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today, let us begin. ~Mother Teresa


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As stated on the National Breast Cancer Organization website: "2020 has been a powerful reminder that we are all in this together, and our choices and actions have the power to protect the most vulnerable among us in a big way. The same holds true when it comes to breast cancer."

This year marks my 20th anniversary as a breast-cancer survivor (my surgery was on August 21, 2021). At the time, I was living in Orlando, Florida, and flew to Los Angeles to have my surgery because there was a surgeon who specialized in my type of cancer. After a few weeks, I returned home and was recovering on my living-room sofa with my three adolescent children as I watched 9/11 happen. It was a stressful time—mourning both the loss of my breast as well as the men and women who'd lost their lives on that fateful day. Those were challenging times, but I believe there's a silver lining in every experience. For me, it was that my surgery took place in California, which eventually resulted in my move there in 2006, and it was one of the best decisions of my adult life. I write more about this in my article "My 20th Anniversary as a Cancer Survivor."

This month I send love and prayers to all those now dealing with breast cancer, to all survivors, and to those who we've lost to this dreadful disease.

On another note, I'd like to draw your attention to my article on maintaining a sense of focus. So many of my friends and colleagues have reported that the past 18 months have presented them with many new challenges, one of which is the inability to concentrate. Check out my article, "7 Ways to Get More Focused." It must be an important topic, because Psychology Today elevated it to 'Essential Topic," and I had nearly 5,000 hits. Enjoy the read!

Be well. Be safe. Be happy.

  • Write about someone you know who has or had cancer.
  • Write about a Halloween memory.
  • Make a list of your favorite pearls of wisdom.
  • Do free writing for 20 minutes a day for a week.

October 26, 2021
9 a.m. - Noon
"Writing a Riveting Memoir: A Roadmap for Crafting a Compelling Story"
Santa Barbara University Club
Santa Barbara, CA
Members only for now
"7 Ways to Get More Focused" (article). The Good Men Project. August 31, 2021.

"The Origin of Us" (poem). Fiery Scribe. September 6, 2021.

"7 Strategies to Prevent Suicide During the Pandemic" (article). Psychology Today. September 6, 2021.

"How Suicide Turned Me into a Seeker" (article). Medium. September 10, 2021.

"How to Cope with the Suicide of a Loved One" (article). Sixty and Me. September 11, 2021.

"My 2oth Anniversary as a Cancer Survivor (article). The Mindful Word. September 18, 2021.

Anne Lamott is a revered and favorite writer for many. I picked up this book because I loved the title, as I thought it would be a good book for breast-cancer survivors, and because so many of us have had a challenging 18 months.

As someone with a history of trauma, Lamott explores the same issues from different angles—dysfunctional childhoods, spiritual challenges, redemption, single parenting, mental illness, and so on. Recently married at the age of 66, she now brings in a new narrative. As she defly states, "I have a doctorate in morbid reflection, and a grave anxiety disorder, which is not ideal for our times as we join hands to turn the climate change around (p. 135).

Lamott's pearls of wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book, but the best of them are condensed in the final chapters. When finding our way out of darkness, whether it is cancer or a pandemic or the loss of loved ones, there are certain passages that can truly help soothe the soul. Here's one of my favorites: "The facts of this world will never satisfy the human heart, but what we give each other can, when it holds love" (p. 176). AMEN!
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