Show Notes: For those who prefer to read rather than watch
Today we’re going to talk about bravery.
I want to start by telling you about this amazing woman I met a few years ago. Her name’s Claire Clifton, and she is a very talented artist with her business Abstractions Art of the Soul, in Daylesford, Victoria.
Claire is a breast cancer survivor, and a few years after I’d met her, one of my friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. So, I thought, “I’ll get in touch with Claire and ask what tips she could share on how I could best support my friend with cancer, and if she has any tips on treatment that I could pass onto my friend.”
Claire went above and beyond. She gave me two amazing pages of information to pass onto my friend. Handy practical stuff that they don’t tell you: Things like Fruit Tingles are important for day one of chemo because it helps nausea and also it helps with the taste in the mouth.
Anyway, my friend came out the other end of the treatment process, and she’s doing well.
However, last week another friend was diagnosed with cancer – a different sort of cancer. So, I once again dug out Claire’s notes to remind myself of what Claire said and to pass the notes on to my friend who is starting the treatment process.
As I was reading, something in Claire’s notes struck home. She said, “Something to remember is you don’t have to be brave. Just show up. You don’t have to be brave. Just show up. There’s going to be days when you think you can’t do it – but you do. And there’s going to be days when you think you’re fabulous and fine – but you’re not.”
“Be gentle on yourself. Allow yourself to be whatever you are feeling and be gentle on yourself and accept that’s where you are right at that moment.”
But the thing is that with Claire’s notes that it’s not just about chemo.
Right now, all of us are living as if we’re going through chemotherapy. Every single one of us – we’re living in quarantine.
We’re going through all of the things that people who are immunocompromised do: We wash our hands thoroughly and more often. We have to think and plan our approach to the shops. We’ve got to try and stay healthy. We are trying to manage our anxiety.
All of that stuff is what people who are going through chemo go through, and we’re just having a little tiny taste of it.
The people who have come out the other side of cancer, this is going to all feel remarkably familiar for you. For the rest of us, it can be challenging, and Claire’s words still stand true.
You don’t have to be brave. You just have to turn up.
So, you turn up for your family; you turn up for your job, you turn up for your community.
You just turn up. You don’t have to be brave. You just turn up and remember that as Claire said, there’s going to be some days when you think you just cannot do it anymore and you just can’t deal. But you do it anyway because you do, and you come out the other side.
And there’s going to be days when you think you’re fine and fabulous, but you’re not. And that’s the days when your inner two-year-old will come out to play.
It’s OK to be whatever you are and feel whatever you do, be gentle on yourself.
The thing is that you cannot possibly expect 100% productivity of yourself. Just like when you’re going through chemo, you can’t be 100% productive and work as if nothing has changed.
Things have changed! And so, some days you’ll be able to focus and other days you won’t. That’s all of us now.
Some days we can focus and do great work, and other days, not so much: The couch looks good. It’s OK right now to do that.
But remember, you don’t have to be brave. You just have to turn up.