Mar 23, 2011

Hope, Belief, and Perspective

Last week I had my chemo-port removed, because my latest CT scan showed “favourable” results.  As much as I’d love to wax poetic about my existential journey into the deepest corners of my soul, I’m in a much more “matter of fact” kind of mood. Starting with these three:
  1. I HATE cancer.
  2. It takes everything in my power to try and channel that energy into something positive.
  3. Running is my outlet.
My Belief about Perspective
As I’ve said before, cancer—or any adversity—can put things into perspective in a hurry. But life is an ongoing education and I’m also learning to put “perspective” into its proper perspective. You follow me?
Allow me to explain what I mean.
Imagine I’m standing directly in front of you holding up an ordinary medium-sized box. Printed on the front of it in large bold writing is the word “CANCER.” At first it’s the only word visible, because you’re looking at the box head on. Then you take a couple of steps to the left. Because of your new view point you can now see another side of the box and notice the words “POOR ME.” Finally, you take four or five steps back to the right so you can see along the opposite side, from here you spot the words “NEVER QUIT.” It’s still the same box, with the same word on the front, but just by moving your feet—a different perspective—it has changed dramatically.
And really, it’s that simple. If we keep our feet and our minds moving it allows us to change our perspective on anything at any time.
I personally believe that human consciousness is the most powerful tool on earth. And because we possess this ability to control our thoughts—and in turn, our actions—there is nothing stopping us from doing anything. Yet, I also think that we often lack the most important belief; the one in ourselves. Notwithstanding the external factors and/or influences of why we may have self-doubt in the first place, ultimately it is still a choice—OUR choice. We can’t control what others think or do—as much as we may like to—but we CAN control what we think and do.
My Belief about Hope
Let’s assume you’re a runner (I really HOPE you are) and have an upcoming race. You’ve trained hard and physically you’re ready. As the day approaches I say to you “I hope things go well.” Standing next to you is your training partner, also entered in the race. They’ve done the exact same training as you and to them I say “I believe you’ll do well.” Is there a difference? I think hope, no matter how noble the intentions, implies some level of uncertainty, whereas belief is concrete—absolute.
Don’t get me wrong, hope can be a wonderful thing. For example: I really HOPE cancer doesn’t resurface; and I’m hopeful THOUSANDS of people will read this blog. But those are things beyond my control. When it comes to my own mindset I prefer belief. I BELIEVE with all of my heart that I’ll go to the Gobi desert, run my race and finish well. I just hope it doesn’t get too hot and I don’t get bitten by a snake!
And that’s my perspective on hope and belief. For now at least; because my feet and mind are still moving so it could change at any time.
I’d like to leave you with something I recently read:
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.  I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.  When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town.  I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.  Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family.  My family and I could have made an impact on our town.  Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world. ~author unknown

The chemo-port that was in my chest. I asked to keep it as a souvenir.