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A Reason to Care

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I was walking through the parking lot, when I saw a large guy with a sour expression painted on his face sitting in his car. As I passed, he hurled his drink, cup and all on the ground. He growled something I couldn’t really comprehend to his wife who came out of the liquor store.

I had to get off my high horse and bite my judgmental tongue to keep from saying something to him about littering; something just told me to walk on by.

There was just an aura about him that really discomforted me. You could tell he was miserable. He exuded despair. I don’t know anything about him, I have never seen him before.  But the story I created in my head about him really affected me.

I imagined the lethargic, obese guy is on welfare, unable to work, most likely has diabetes. Probably mad about the hand that was “dealt him”; probably doesn’t have many interests, probably doesn’t have a whole lot of enjoyment. With a life like that, why would you care?

I complain about my neighbor who has the gout. He is unemployed and spends his days shuffling back and forth to the liquor store, NEVER following crosswalk rules. Why should he? Why would he care if he got hit? Why would he care about the pain and trauma he would cause the person who hit him?

I had a pitying thought that people so hopeless probably don’t care much about social graces. Seeing that guy in the car strangely changed me. It made me so grateful for the things I have. It made me grateful that I do have a reason to care.

I felt so enlightened, so free, with my new revelation, I totally didn’t realize I cut this elderly lady off in line.

c. 2012

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Work your Mojo

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Mojo: a magic spell, a hex, or charm, broadly: magical power

Mojo. The word conjures up psychedelic flashbacks of Austin Powers chasing Dr. Evil, trying to get his back. Strangely enough, that’s an appropriate parallel. We all have mojo. Too often, it gets threatened, even stolen by people and circumstances. We all must spend our lives chasing it back.

I just finished reading Geralyn Lucas’ memoir, Why I Wore Lipstick to my Mastectomy, her story of how she found and kept her mojo in the face of cancer. I started reading it for research, not even intending to finish it. [It’s not like I haven’t heard cancer stories before]. But I found myself so inspired and drawn in I couldn’t put it down.

Geralyn was diagnosed with breast cancer at 27, requiring a mastectomy. While most would see this as a death sentence, she not only survived, she thrived. She tells how kindred spirits came out of the woodwork. How she learned to let go of certain security blankets she had grown deeply attached to and find her inner strength. How she dealt with the effects of having a mastectomy. How her search for the perfect bra was completely different from other women her age. How despite nearly transferring her office to the bathroom to accommodate puking at any moment, she got a promotion. How she beat the odds and got pregnant. How not being assured of a next moment gave her the power to truly focus and live fully in the moments she had by taking risks, and laughing.

“I have cast a spell over my own life. I have willed myself to find my magic that must still be there. Despite the baldness and one boob, and occasional heaving, I am charming. I have met my mojo.”

Today she is motivating and inspiring survivors and people who have never given cancer a second thought with her story. I imagine her at the bar drinking her coke adorned with one of those Boobzie coozies.

“If my life is short, I need to taste it now. Mojo.”

c. 2012

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