“Love is letting go of fear.” – Gerald Jampolsky
Yesterday at a friend’s house I opened one of those books of quotes and this was what greeted me. It seemed appropriate. Today is Valentine’s Day, so I have been thinking a lot about love. And this past year I have been dancing a lot with fear. A year ago tomorrow I started my first round of chemotherapy. I have had a complex, layered relationship with fear this year. Being in fear. Avoiding fear. Accepting fear. Embracing fear. Releasing fear.
And then there’s love. Love. At a ceremony today a wise woman shared: “Love is the absence of judgement and the awareness of compassion.” And, I thought, Love is the opposite of fear. A year ago today, in anticipation of the coming five months of chemo, I threw a “Kicking the Sh*t out of A** Cancer Party”. I knew I wanted to sing and dance and celebrate all things joyous, and mostly to be surrounded by the people I loved. It was a scary time, carrying all the horrible things that could befall me as a result of this chemo and the anxiety of the impending nausea and sickety sick sick sickiness. Something inside me knew that being in community with those I loved would help. And it did.
My family. My friends. Dear dear friends who have had my back since high school hopped a flight from DC with a moments’ notice. Friends drove across the state in a blizzard.
When love meets fear and accepts it, love wins and fear fades. And it comes in the big moments: walking the plank, weathering the bad news… but it is also in the daily offerings: in a breakfast waffle, the coziness of a cafe, and the beauty of a nature hike. It has been challenging for me to write recently. There is so much I want to share, and so much thanks to offer and I haven’t known where to begin. But on this glorious day, in the spirit of love, I just give what I have to give. A start. A new start.
I hold such gratitude for my friends and family who have stood by me this year and showered me with love. It really really really makes a difference.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you eminently lovable loves!