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Living This Life Fully

facing life with equanimity

I am in the middle of reading Breast Strokes: Two Friends Journal Through the Unexpected Gifts of Cancer, by Cathy Edgett and Jane Flint. Although Cathy does not use Buddhist terms in her spare but lyrical journal entries and poems, it is clear that she understands what it means to embrace Dharma, to live this life fully even while undergoing the rigors of medical treatment for breast cancer. She faces each day trying to be as present as possible to what each moment brings: the sight of a redwood tree outside her window, Mt. Tamalpais in the distance, the fragility of the body, with its soreness, nausea, and fatigue, the soft morning light, the joy of being able to walk or share a meal, the sound of rain, the clutch of fear. As she confronts the truth of what is, she comes back again and again to “calm, steady, present, and clear.” Realizing that suffering arises when she wants things to be otherwise, she is now willing to “be with the journey, instead of wishing or willing it away.”

Cathy’s mindfulness, acceptance, equanimity, and even gratitude in so much discomfort remind me of how Munindra dealt with the vicissitudes of the ailing, aging body. Read More 
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