While I was prepping for an upcoming school visit, I was thinking about the themes of my new picture book, How I did it. As part of the Peace Dragon Tales series, this text presents a loving way to view our challenges. This was written in response to something I was facing as an adult, but something everyone feels in all ages and stages of their lives. It’s about our hopes and fears. It’s about the hopes and fears of doing, being and succeeding. And though it wasn’t written about a health issue, I believe the message is a survivor story offering all of us a way to understand our journey, even through cancer, even with a picture book.
Life has challenges. We have supporting friends, doubters and naysayers; we all face success and failure. The protagonist of the book, the capital letter I, goes through these same challenges. After a cataclysmic event, initially, “I” can’t see beyond the physical changes as anything other than loss. As the tale unwinds, eventually “I” and every reader are presented with some ideas worth engaging off the pages. And truth be told, the ending makes my heart sing every time I read it! (No spoilers here…). The following three ideas truly aligned with the messages I needed to hear during my treatment and every day since. They’re the simple ideas that keep us empowered with a positive lens on our joy and they all come from the pages of a picture book about a character and her dreams.
Your way. This is your life and you need to do it your way. You know “you” better than anyone else, and you need to be the one at the helm of decision-making. Knowledge is your freedom path from fear–full to fear-less. Ask your questions and find your answers.
Find your buds. You don’t have to go it alone, but you need your best buddies by your side. Send love to the naysayers and the doubters, because their doubts lie within themselves. You don’t have to pick them up. Be your biggest cheerleader and surround yourself with your cheerleaders (like anyone from the WSA!).
Find the treasure. Every event in your life presents a take-away; just make sure you’re taking away the treasure and not the trash. Think about it. Do you want to hold a treasure chest or a garbage bag? How you see things determines what you take away. “I” couldn’t see it at first, but when reflecting on what “I” wanted to achieve, “I” went beyond the original goal. It was all in the way “I” chose to look at it. How do you see your story coming to light?
As we come nearer to SURVIVORville ’17– A Story Half Told, I’m hoping you’ll come and share just how “you” did it. Our stories empower those who are on this journey, about to start, or starting again and even for those that are just plain living. Our survivor stories are the lights in the darkness, the starlight for someone’s wishes to come true. Our stories connect us all. I look forward to hearing your stories in July, and until then – you’ve got this!