Saturday, January 21, 2006

paulo coelho says. . . .

Today I pondered a lot about what I typed in my blog yesterday. I wondered if maybe I was too honest, too forward with my feelings and that maybe it would have been best for me to keep these thoughts private. I came to the conclusion, however, that what I did was exactly what was needed and that it's important that you, who read this blog regularly, are aware that although I try and I think am successful at putting my best face forward most of the time, there are indeed times when I feel really lousy and depressed. There's a lot more to cancer than just the physical wounds. The emotional wounds can be just as if not more difficult and in my opinion, these wounds are more difficult to talk about frankly.

You wouldn't believe it but I was up until about 3:20 this morning working on that post. Naturally, I type slowly which didn't help the matter but more importantly the time taken to type that post was a clear sign of how stressed I was. I felt so suffocated by my need to express my feelings of frustration and impotence that I labored so intently in the composition of that blog entry.

I wish to clarify something as well. In the last paragraph of the post "sullen and forlorn," I mentioned that I felt "even a little jealousy." By this, I meant that I wasn't jealous at Elizabeth because of her recent trip to the West Bank and Israel. In fact, as I stated before I am very happy for her. She's my friend and I love her. What I was speaking about was a feeling of jealousy (and perhaps disillusionment) that I have at moments at the fact that I feel sometimes as if my life has been suspended or stagnated, frozen into a wierd state of mediocrity in which progress or success as I see it is not forthcoming, whereas my friends and peers, who are in their 20s and cancer-free, are moving along in life, progressing and striving, fulfilling their ambitions and dreams.

Despite yesterday's emotional meltdown, I continue to 'keep my eyes on the prize.' In reflecting over my own dreams of travel, I'm reminded of some of the many beautiful quotations in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, which I completed about 1 month ago. There are many lines in the novel in which the characters talk about the need to be true to one's heart despite the challenges of life. With fidelity will come true peace and joy - one's personal Treasure. The importance of following one's heart, one's dreams in a world of so many distractions can be so difficult, Coelho argues, but in the end it is the faithful pursuit of these dreams which may sustain and even save you. I decided to list a few of Coelho's quotations here:

"Why do we have to listen to our hearts?" the boy asked, when they had made camp that day.
"Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure."
"But my heart is agitated," the boy said. "It has its dreams, it gets emotional, and it's become passionate over a woman in the desert. It asks things of me, and it keeps me from sleeping many nights, when I'm thinking about her."
"Well, that's good. Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to say."

"We make a lot of detours, but we're always heading for the same destination."

"When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it," the old king had said.

"Because it's the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That's what helps me face these days that are all the same, these mute crystals on the shelves, and lunch and dinner at the same horrible cafe. I'm afraid that if my dream is realized, I'll have no reason to go on living."


Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should be honest about the emotions that you are having during this whole ordeal. everyone supports and understands you. it is a very difficult and arduous process and it is very normal for you to be depressed and sullen. you are "allowed" to have those feelings!

by the way the pictures of your travels are fantastic!

good luck this week. we are all there rooting for you!

5:52 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read your post. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Those feelings of life on hold, of being stuck in the same place, choked by the day to day realities of the world, until dreams and goals are nothing more than distant memories. I’ve felt that too. Actually, when talking to many other grads of our class, I’ve found this to be a common thread. I mean, I know dealing with cancer creates its own emotional scars. But there are quite a few of us from the class of ’02 that are still trying to figure out what path we’re supposed to be on. Meanwhile, time and youth are draining away as we tread water trying to survive.

There was a time when I was working at the law firm when I used to go home and cry every night. Not only was it the sheer monotony, but it was the feeling that I was trapped in a world with no time or money for travel and no place to be myself. I’ve talked to a number of Vassar grads who have experienced or are experiencing this bit of post-college depression.

To me, it never needed to be explained why you did the Watson, and what it meant to you. I know. You were the lucky one who got to go abroad and do what so many of us dream of. For every person that has the opportunity to go abroad and pursue what they want, even for a brief while, there are always many more left behind, watching them fly off, wishing we could be them. I too, know that feeling of jealousy you mention watching a friend achieve their goals because I felt it when I got your emails when you were traveling abroad. I think part of what you are feeling is what we went through in the immediate months following graduation.

In no way do I mean to belittle what you are going through, but I wanted to let you know that you are not the only one who feels trapped and stuck. I tell people I get antsy when I’m in the country too long. And it’s true. I’m going for my MAT degree mainly because teaching in America will give me the precious chunks of time to travel that few other jobs will. I realized, sitting in a hammock in Bangkok two springs ago, that what I really wanted to be is a writer, but not just any writer. I want to be Hemingway, who traveled and lived a full life and wrote about it.

You’ll beat this cancer, Duane. I know you will. And if you happen to be free in the summer of 2008, you are more than welcome to come with me to China. I’ve been telling everyone I know and telling them that if they have time, to come with me. I’m going to start in southern China, where there are entire villages related to me, and trace my way across Muslim Xinjiang along the Silk Road, and (if stupid Bush doesn’t get us into more trouble) follow it across Central Asia, into Russia and then Constantinople. That’s my idea anyway. Who knows if I’ll actually be able to do this with time and money constraints. But hey, you gotta hang your hopes on somethin’ right?


10:58 PM  

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