Have you eaten rice today?

It’s a beautiful greeting, isn’t it. The Chinese sometimes greet each other like this. And for me it oozes pure love. I stepped off a plane two days ago from Hong Kong. My husband and I ran away for a beautiful week of indulging our senses. And I often wonder why I didn’t give myself permission to do these things before I had the cancer? Live more freely. Just enjoying the many wonders waiting for us to experience. I’m already planning our next bit of fun. Because life is to be treasured, isn’t it.

But it wasn’t always this way. Because somewhere along the line, I learned to feel guilty about indulging myself. I learned that it was somehow wrong to have so much fun, just for the sake of experiencing it, and enjoying myself. I seemed to learn that I didn’t deserve these things. Don’t ask me where I got these feelings from. Could have been many places. Because these feelings are rife, aren’t they. So many people relate to them. But why do we live in such a magnificent world if not to enjoy it? There is so much beauty. And we have been blessed with all our senses just to soak it up. And nurture our souls. What a gift.

And once again I am gently reminded that it is this judgement that causes us the most pain. Judgement about anything. There were two days I didn’t enjoy very much while we were away. One was a trip to Macau. I had anticipated an exotic far away place. So, with great excitement, I boarded the ferry, passport in hand. But all I found were soulless casinos and a tourist mecca. I don’t connect with these very well. And it drained me. But some people love Macau, so perhaps it was more a reflection of me and my judgement. And the next day I continued to feel low. Not sure why, I just did. But once again the world didn’t look so rosy. Feelings of not being good enough seemed to rise a little. As I compared myself to my surroundings. In my own mind falling short. But when I stopped judging myself and the world and just accepted that these too were valid experiences the feelings abated. And I was free again.

I often wonder why we are raised to judge things as good or bad, right or wrong, fair or not. Because it always seems to cause us pain. And it’s easy to make these judgements with the experience of cancer, isn’t it. Because what we go through is not always pleasant. But I’ve come to realise that when I make something bad, or wrong, or unfair, uncomfortable feelings always follow. And I struggle inside. Fighting both my mind and my feelings. But when I notice myself doing this and instead take a moment to just observe the situation, it allows me to rediscover my power. Because if I suspend the judgement, and do my best to see all things as valid, simply experiences that I can grow through, I free myself to once again feel the exquisite beauty of life and the joy of living…

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