Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30 - Rio Chama

As I start to wrap up my time out west and begin my journey back towards home, I have stopped at the Rio Chama Campground in northern New Mexico. This is a special place for me. First it is located in New Mexico. We lived here for six years and I will always have a fondness for this place. They call it the land of enchantment and it hooked me hard. I don't think it will ever let go. Nor do I want it to.

The second reason is that this particular place is where I spent part of my time while on a Vision Quest a little over two years ago, just before my cancer diagnosis. I believe that my time spent in these canyons is part of the reason I was able to deal with my disease in such a positive manner and mostly why I was able to receive it as the gift that it is. 

I know that it is hard for many people to understand and accept a life threatening disease as a gift, but it truly can be if you open yourself to it. Some people I have discussed this with get it and choose to grab life by the horns, like my good friend Suess Karlsson, author of a series of journals for living with cancer called Relentless Hope. How perfect are those words, relentless hope, for the way I choose to approach LIVING with cancer. 

So many people hear the words cancer and immediately feel like they have received a death sentence. Please don't feel like I am minimizing anyone's individual situation. This is an ugly disease and it kills many people. But the way in which you respond to your diagnosis can have a major affect on your length of life. More importantly it can have a drastic affect on your quality of life. So no matter what your diagnosis is don't just give in to the depressing statistics and automatically think your life is over. If I did, I probably wouldn't be here today to tell you that you too are allowed to LIVE with relentless hope. 

When I arrived last night in the dark, I turned off headlights as not to disturb other campers. I used my headlamp to find a campsite, and took the first one I found available, set up my tent and went to bed. I slept soooo good listening to the gently roaring river. 

When I awoke to the beautiful song of birds praising the morning light, I discovered I was in the same campsite I had been in two years ago. It was and still is the best of the dozen sites because it is the only one where the river is both visible and easily accessible. I moved my tent so I could wake to this amazing view. 

I spent the day hiking, picking sage, reading, playing music, writing and making jewelry. Life is good.

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