After viewing the film about the comedian, Tig Notaro, my husband likes to introduce himself in this way, “Hi, I’m Bob, I have cancer.” My husband has stage 4 melanoma. He was diagnosed with Stage 2 in January, but this is an aggressive strain of cancer. After no success with immunotherapy, he started a new protocol two weeks ago; chemo pills that he takes twice a day. He’s lost a lot of weight (cancer cells secrete appetite suppressants) and has days when he exhausted, nauseous, vomits, and can’t get out of bed. Our last road trip was almost two months ago to pick up our son in southern Oregon who needed our care and housing. Our son’s story is a long one that I’m not ready to share here quite yet, but let’s just say that at age 27, with High Functioning Autism, and many gifts that have yet to fully blossom, he requires a lot of support, particularly in relation to medication management. With both of them not able to fully be in the world, my trajectory into the life of summer pleasures has been quite limited, but I am grateful for my garden, our little food forest, and our new meditation sangha that meets in our renovated garage, B & B’s Bad Buddhist Temple. We meet every week and it has been immensely nourishing for all of us. I also get to write, walk, enjoy beautiful weather, friendly neighbors who are always offering support, cook up lots of tasty things to tantalize the family (even if they can’t eat them), paint in my iPad, listen to stimulating podcasts, do Physical therapy for my pseudo-sciatica, get massages every 2 weeks, and generally have a very good life. I can get wistful for a life of traveling, but I remind myself of the climate costs of such an indulgence. If I stay off of social media with everyone’s photos of their journeys, block the borderline personality disordered folks who I seem to be a magnet for, and remind myself that every day is a miracle, I will make it through this threshold somehow.
And, with the upcoming gathering in my studio, “Re-emerge and Reboot,” I get to brainstorm with locals who might be interested in figuring out new strategies for navigating this time, or as my book title says, “Rewilding Our Muses: Creative Strategies for Navigating the End of THIS World.” Perhaps with the help of folks who gather with me, I will sense that the only thing on hold might be my attitude.