It has been one year since I finished my treatment for breast cancer, and there isn’t a day that goes by that isn’t filled with insights and lessons, my “gifts” from this life-changing journey.
I never really considered myself a writer per se, but things do come to me, and I just try to let them through. And I LOVE music (who doesn’t really?). Recently, I was on a flight and was listening to Joni Mitchell’s song “Free man in Paris,” which she wrote about her friend David Geffen, the music agent / promoter who that felt trapped by his career and obligations. Great song. After listening, then some quiet, I heard music, and then started writing my own song… about the initial confusion, denial, and fearfulness I was mired in when I got my diagnosis… and the eventual path of light that led me through the dark forces of disease.
Thought I’d share the lyrics… pardon if they read a bit odd, as they have never been sung / edited. Maybe someday one of my musician friends will put some music to it and help me finish it.
Bird of Heaven
Somewhere up there in the unsure breeze
Nowhere to go, only to believe
Someday I’ll be free
It’s not just myself I want to deceive
In the light, the pink moonlight
There is no bargain, there is no plea
If it weren’t for my calling here
I’d be living with the free
Am I a bird of heaven
On the wire, saying no way
Pulled in the night by some unseen lead
Must be I am meant to bleed
On the wire, feeling my way
When the call came, I answered it with tears
Held back, then to take a dive
Through waves of confusion and deep, deep fears
Here I am, I’m still alive,
(but not as certain of the years)
Then I sat myself back and I looked at the light
Saw it shining on, around, without me
I rose, I arose with a fight alright,
From the demon hour, from the night
And this bird of heaven
On the wire, showed me the way
The knowing of how we can all be freed
I followed along with little need
On the wire, feeling my way
To meet the shadows of your curse
The birds of the night took wing
It is ours, not yours, this universe
And I am here to sing
Yes, I am. The bird of heaven
On the wire, feeling the way
Pulled from the night by nature’s creed
I float along with little need
On the wire, knowing my way
The birds and us children of the universe
We are here to sing
Join us to help create a world where our sisters and mothers, our daughters and friends are not at risk. We have a long way to go. We should be able to make it with each other’s help, and great organizations like the NBCF.
During the month of October, Waxing Poetic will donate a portion of all sales to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
It is the call no one wants to give or get. I have breast cancer.
I have unfortunately been on both sides of that phone call. Given the statistics, many of you have also. It is the call where you explain, or witness, the deepest disruption of peace and well-being one might ever know, the rationalizing of your life and circumstances, the most confusing “how and why” this happened to me… and usually some sort of self-blame statement that starts with some form of I “should have…”
We all have to deal with our own should-haves that surround a cancer diagnosis, but looking beyond that to how we can help each other, perhaps we can re-frame the phrase should have for the benefit of all of us who are in this journey together:
We should have done more.
We should have more options.
We should have a better understanding of cancer.Research, testing and the dissemination of knowledge is critical to the development of new treatments that work, and new laws that create a better environment in which all of us can live. Organizations like the National Breast Cancer Foundation do this work on our behalf, to better understand the disease and its causes and to turn the should into could and, finally, did.Join us to help create a world where our sisters and mothers, our daughters and friends are not at risk. We have a long way to go. We should be able to make it with each other’s help, and great organizations like the NBCF.During the month of October, Waxing Poetic will donate a portion of all sales to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Found Again with new friends who walk to end breast cancer
For the month of October, 2017, we are focusing on What Matters Most. One of the reasons why I love what I do so much is that Waxing Poetic jewelry can be a catalyst for connection. These small pieces carry such meaning… we choose them for a reason… and that emotional energy and intention feels somehow contained in the reminder that is the physical piece of jewelry.
So, in the wearing, in the giving, we get to discover this all over again. We are truly Waxing Poetic; becoming more poetic, seeing the world through our own lens, and connecting and interpreting it along the way.
There are a lot of things that matter, and we all know, deep down, and not so deep down, that perhaps the things that matter most are not “things” at all, but each other. We Matter Most, all of us, and in seeing ourselves in each other, our common concerns and cares, and wearing reminders of this awareness, we can receive one of the most treasured “gifts” of a Waxing Poetic piece. I wanted to share with you a day that mattered to me for this very reason. I was wearing my Found Again Star pendant recently in our new Waxing Poetic flagship experience at The Shopkeepers in Santa Barbara, and became connected through a friend (and fellow survivor) with a group of women who chose the same pendant as a reminder of something that mattered to them – completing a walk for breast cancer awareness.
Having gone through treatment and shared this journey on the other side with some friends and family also, this cause is on my mind. Constantly. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not somehow reminded of my journey though cancer, of friends that have beat it, of friends that are at some place on their journeys, and of some that have lost theirs.
As a cause that is in my heart and that I know is very important to my coworkers here at Waxing Poetic, we are honored to be supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation this month with a percentage of all sales being donated to find an end to this cancer that affects 1 in 8 women each year.
Thanks for helping us, thanks for being a fellow traveler with us. And now, the short story of what happened that day…
Meet Anne, Laura, Diana, Amy, Katie, Martha, Cheryl and Jenny. These incredible, beautiful women completed the Avon39 walk to end Breast Cancer in Santa Barbara last month, and stopped by our Waxing Poetic flagship store at The Shopkeepers the day after (what I am calling the Found Again day). One of the women, Diana, started waking after her breast cancer experience 7 years ago. She and her husband Declan have fundraisers and support the whole team (called the Double D’s) hosting group events at Harp and Fiddle in Park Ridge, IL, and Casey’s in New Buffalo MI.
I was so blessed that I was there that day, as we connected and shared stories and laughs. It was as if I had known these ladies since childhood – an instant familiarity, and lots of appreciation and sharing.
The ladies already knew Waxing Poetic, so they were excited to come visit and see the whole line in our new space. They were on a mission, looking for a “memory” charm or pendant to mark the completion of this walk together, and they each individually, and then as a group, chose the Found Again Star Pendant. When we realized that it was the same pendant I was wearing that very day, we couldn’t believe the coincidence (as many of our customers know, we have a lot of different styles to choose from)!
So, if these lovely ladies will have me, I can consider myself a satellite now, a remote-yet-connected traveler on this journey, sharing the same star, Found Again.
When I wear this pendant now, I am reminded of the light and beauty of these women, and myself too… despite (and because of) everything we have been through, and everything we do that is brave and right and good. This pendant has taken on new meaning for me, and every time I wear it, I will think of this day.
What I learned from these amazing women: Beauty is a by-product of living life to its fullest expression. Thanks to Anne, Diana and the ladies for making my day and being such an inspiration.
Sending a big hug and always good thoughts and inner beauty and peace to everyone in the journey through breast cancer, and to all of us on the walk in this constellation of Life. Learn more about the Avon 39 walks planned in Santa Barbara for next September, 2018. Learn more about our October give-back organization, the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Follow Waxing Poetic on Instagram @waxingpoetic Follow The Shopkeepers Santa Barbara @the.shopkeepers
The feeling is one of submersion. Where you can’t really hear or see or feel like everyone else does. It felt as if life is going on “up there”- on the surface, where there is laughter and joy and exercise and all sorts of earthly pleasures reserved for the healthy folks. Where people have eyelashes, can taste their food, can get through a day without needing to get sick or rest.
Now, I have so many friends, and almost all of them were calling and cooking for us, sending gifts and books and all sorts of supportive gestures. This was such a different reality, and it was all mine. There I was. Feeling alone. Down there in the deep. Wondering, can anyone really see me down here?
One day, I came across the work of Torri Horness on her Instagram outpost of poetry, @notesontheway and grabbed the lifeline. One poem, Mountains, found a way in… a way for me to feel what was happening around me. My friends rescued me every single day I was feeling down, and this poem beautifully illustrates the journey of friendship, connected and brave and powerful.I contacted Torri when I returned to work, and asked her if we could design a special little compass (inspired by the compass she drew on her post) to accompany this poem to support breast cancer awareness, and she happily obliged. We are so grateful to be able to offer this beautiful poem, along with the compass necklace, as a special gift with purchase for yourself, or a friend in need of this love (the poem can be framed to be kept close).I’d like to dedicate this post to my friend Amy, who is starting her health journey soon, and to all friends on any side of a cancer journey.
Mountains, by Torri Horness
whatever anyone says or
fails to say, you are loved.
& when you are standing
alone at the edge of the earth
& it looks like no one is coming,
you will hear the roar of rattling
stones, trembling beneath the
feet of friends
who are moving mountains
to find you.Join us to help create a world where our sisters and mothers, our daughters and friends are not at risk. We have a long way to go. We should be able to make it with each other’s help, and great organizations like the NBCF.
During the month of October, Waxing Poetic will donate a portion of all sales to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
The weather in California might act otherwise (but then again it’s California, land of 63 degree winters, so we’ll nod at the sun and keep going), and the Autumn Equinox is still about 2 weeks away, but Fall is here, or more technically, Fall is near – but that nearness is very very very close. There’s a crispness in the air, there’s occasion to use the word ‘brisk’ when describing the weather, and things are all aswirl and changing. It’s Autumn!
Fall means harvest time. Sometimes this means literal harvest time, like having to deal with the bumper crop of pumpkins your backyard garden has generated (ideas: pie, pie, pumpkin risotto, more pie, pumpkin bread, jack-o-lanterns in October, cheerful porch tableaux until then…and, pie!), or taking a drive to the country and picking apples (for those of you in the Midwest and the Northeast, please please get on a hay ride, drink some fresh hot cider, and get an extra bag or two of crisp apples and think of your friends on the West Coast who will certainly get to enjoy Autumnal things and even possibly apple-pick…but it’s not the same, though we’re not complaining). Sometimes this means relationship-type harvests, where you take stock of who you’ve seen and who you wish you had (and make plans to remedy and augment the latter), where you bask in your recent time with friends and family over the summer, revel in the golden glow of your lake and beach memories, then get to planning inside activities with them in the coming cooler months. Sometimes this means emotional harvesting – where you realize how much certain people mean to you, and how much you’ve grown both with and because of them. Sometimes this means helping others, particularly our children, harvest their summer experiences and turn them into transformative fuel for the upcoming school year -- we’re helping our kids go back to school, or start kindergarten (they grow up quickly!) or for some of us, sending our now-technically-legal-adults off to college. Fall is a time of wrapping up, both literally and figuratively. We wrap ourselves in soft scarves, lightweight coats, and sturdy boots so that we might embrace adventures outside and feel crisp and collected. We tuck notes in our children’s pockets, or sometimes our darlings, or sometimes ourselves (and sometimes, all of the former). We might wrap up our summertime, hang our last round of outdoor laundry (as if to catch the last bit of a certain kind of summer sunshine on a certain set of sheets), set off for one or several more weekend getaways (maybe to Big Sur, maybe to a cabin in Yosemite, maybe to our parents’ place at the lake, or a tiny house in the Pocanos…), but just before or after we do any or all of that, we’ll pause for an unintended but deeply felt second and be grateful.
Whatever you do this Autumn, do it with your whole heart and an open spirit – and welcome the changes, however they occur. You are brighter and braver and more knowing and hopeful and capable of love and wonderment than you ever let yourself acknowledge, but we do. We believe in you. xoxoxo
The Sun loved the Moon
With a love so bright
It lit up the entire sky,
And when they were close
In those brief seconds
As day turned into night
The color that rushed
To her cheeks
Set the horizon on fire.
In the stillness of that moment,
The whole world could feel
The warmth of her affection
For the one she would wait
Earth ages for
To glow, at last, as one
In the light of an eclipse,
If only for
A little while.
There’s an Oscar Wilde quote that probably everyone reading this has (or will) come across in their lives at one point – sometimes stencil-painted onto a sidewalk, sometimes part of a mural, sometimes in a fragment of overheard song, sometimes when you’re trying to find a quote regarding stars and google presents you with 300 options but this one will always cap the list, sometimes something inked on the arm of the youthful barrista making your latte just so (and you might feel even a bit invasive having noticed and read the text, even if it’s out in plain view, because it’s visible but also worn by someone else), sometimes referenced in a movie, a novel, a poem, or even in its original form and context, a play. It’s a quote about stars, and longing, and depending on whose read wins, it’s a line about the yearning for connection beyond oneself.
Have you guessed it?
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars."
At Waxing Poetic, we are well aware of our pet uses of the word “universe,” often referring to an interconnected system of love, awareness, friendship, adventure, seekers, and dreamers on varying and often overlapping courses, charts, journeys, and tracks – and we’re also aware that this definition, like the universe itself, is not fixed. Our universe expands, our friend universe shifts with regularity, our family universe a little less so, but our heart universe, the core of our being as a brand and company built with and from love…is always expanding, always changing, always welcoming other gathered pieces to come together and grow.
Autumn is upon us soon. If you drive out into the Arizona desert (or Mojave, or Joshua Tree, or somewhere in Nevada, or hop on the 10 freeway and head east for awhile) and look up, or drive up a mountain, or head into California’s beautiful interior – anywhere you can go where you can ensure a little less artificial light pollution --even without a telescope, you will see something new and unfamiliar and it will become a friend in the sky. And if you don’t stargaze this way, we advise you to look at each other with a little more inquiry, a little more openness, a little more willingness to see the starry bits in side one another and… your winter, your soul, your friendship circle, and your heart universe will be bigger and more gathered and more grateful for it.
We are not all in the gutter, but this does not mean that we are not able to look up, or out, or into the eyes and hearts of the people we love or are going to love or know more – and see some stars.
Gaze onward, upward, and everward, darlings. Stars are everywhere, and we are all part of a gathering, gathered universe.
Waxing Poetic is donating a portion of all online sale proceeds for the entire summer to Direct Relief.
Benefiting Direct Relief, a highly recognized humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and 70 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies.
Read More At Direct Relief’s Blog.
Mother, Mom, Mommy, Ma, Mama, Momma, Mami, Mimi – this is for you who
Held our hands, kissed our knees, straightened our stances, and showed us the world
One marvel at a time—read us stories, taught us colors, wore our macaroni jewels,
Bless you, bless you, bless you.Bless this mother, bless all our mothers, our dearest mamas, our heroines, our darlings –
For our lives, for our capacity to love, for giving us shoulders to cry on, arms to hold us close
(and to remember and feel tight around us, even when we are far apart), quick smiles, oceans of sympathy, humor in abundance, more support than we knew or could ever recognize, grace and joy and patience –May our mothers be blessed with loving children (this falls on us, and we will hold it high), safe homes, abundant love, dear friends with whom to recollect and recount all the adventures (large and small) of the day or moment – shoulders and safe-warm arms to comfort and hold them too (even our heroines need holding, and we want the best for them always)
May they know reciprocity in the most-true ways
May they know they are loved and valued above nearly everything else
May they feel as precious in our eyes as we in theirs
And may they feel as beautiful always as we know they are