Thursday, March 20, 2008

Transcending the Beatdown

What the Bleep. I posted this a couple of days ago. I know it was up because I got some comments on it but blogger put it back in my "drafts" bucket and took it off the blog. So here it is again. My apologies.

Hi there. Feels like I haven’t been able to get as many posts out lately as I want. I told myself yesterday, “self, no posts until you finish your taxes.” Well, I made a good sized dent in them yesterday so I decided today was a good day for a post.

First the update, and then the fund stuff: I discontinued the radiation treatment on Monday. The pain that I experienced over the weekend was almost certainly from inflation caused by the radiation treatment. The spot that they were working on is on my left clavicle. There is a big old tumor there and it was getting inflamed from the radiation. That in turn was pushing on the nerves that run down the clavicle and causing intense pain. The radiation oncologist response was,” just take a bunch of non-steroidal anti inflammatory.” That just shows he doesn’t know me very well… I cannot take N.s.a.i.d’s due to my kidney problems. So it was a pretty easy decision to bag the treatments all together. That means I don’t have to make the 1hour one way commute down to Roseville all week and all next week and I am glad to have the time back. Bummer that it isn’t going to work for me but at least it was just a side treatment designed to just treat the pain in my clavicle in the first place. It was not a primary treatment. I’ll be fine without it.

So my week has been pretty good since then. I am taking long naps in the afternoons. Waking up at 10 AM and going to bed at 10 PM. Mostly I have been feeling good.

Matt Barnes came over today to be Spencer spotter while the c/h, kids, granny and gramps hiked the Monroe ridge trail. It was great hanging out with Matt. We did a lot of talking about the stuff that is important to us and how pursuing your passion is such an important part of being a happy person.

That reminded me that I’ve been wanting to write about that for some time. It seems to me that one of the things that defines us as humans is what we do for our spirits. The fact that almost each and every one of us has something that we do on a regular basis that helps us transcend the weekly beat down of life. For me it was cycling. Throwing my leg over the bike and putting in miles was the thing that I did to keep my head straight amidst all the noise and distraction of the demands of life. It gave me joy and a sense of freedom. It also gave me a sense of limitlessness in that I could go farther and farther on the bike and was only limited by my own body and how long I would hold up. When I was on my bike there was just me, the bike, the road, and my friends. No work, no family problems, no stress. That was my passion.

Almost everyone I know has something that they pursue as their passion. Religious folks go to church on Sunday, surfers look for the perfect wave, skiers spend their lives looking for the ultimate powder day and the list goes on. It seems to me that the healthiest people both of mind and body are the ones that have a passion and devote a good part of their lives to pursuing that passion. It also seems to me that the opposite is true. People that don’t have a developed sense of passion pursuit tend to be the grumpiest most out of shape people around. It seems to me that most substance abusers are lacking a passion. I don’t know if one is the symptom of the other but they do seem to go hand in hand.

Another thing that I have noticed is that like attracts like. I firmly believe that a big part of the reason that I have so many friends old and new coming out of the woodwork to support me through this is because I have spent my whole life in pursuit of my passions. At time is has been climbing, sailing, surfing, kayaking, rafting, etc. Each of those pursuits has put me in the company of other folks that were equally as passionate about those activities. From that common passion long term bonds of friendship have developed and from there, community has grown.
Right now when I am the most hammered, I have the least to be passionate about. I can’t really do anything. It is a pretty big effort on most days to sit at the computer and write a bog post, but its what I’ve got for now. Consequently I feel pretty ripped off. I spend a lot of my time fantasizing about what I am going to do when I get done with this. I feel like I have got pay myself back for months of missing out on the part of life that to me makes it worth living. I am not sure how that is going to take shape but I do know that I am going to have to pay myself back.

So I have a question for you dear readers. What is it that you do to transcend the weekly beatdown. Please leave your answer in the comments. Please note, if you have had trouble leaving comments in the past, I have made it easier. You should not have to sign up for a blogger account you should be able to do it pretty easily and I'd love to hear from you.


Judy said...

That's the million dollar question for me right now.I've lost my passion and I'm trying to find it.
But hey, at least my taxes are done. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Spencer-I have been reading your blog everyday and keeping you in my thoughts, in my soul and in my spirt.Your post hit home.Living in the moment with loving kindness & enjoying the time I have now with Tyler, the kids and dear friends who have always been my family for so many years. You have inspired me today to get back to my pasions in life. Rafting, sailing, skiing. Tyler will be at Stanford soon and we will be closer to all the greatness of CA that we miss so much.Some of my most fond memories on the South Fork are of Sara and I in the double splash yak, just laughing all the way down the river.Your incredible spirt & soul will rise to this challenge. I will get the sails and spinaker ready! Namaste.
Much love - Sherri

Matt said...

this may sound trivial when compared to the poignance of your post which really resonated with me. but riding in traffic on my bike ad throwing clay -

i dont get out to the open roads every day to do a bigger ride, but i usually ride my bike to work. im not stuck in a car, while people are waiting 3 cycles on a light to get through i go to the front of the line, i skip congestion. yeah it rains, it's seattle. i work up hills and fly down them, i enjoy my commute, for others it is a wasted time of the day. the constant threat of getting squashed by a soccer mom on her phone as she turns into trader joes adds a sense of danger. on the way home it is a completely different scene, the streets are empty, and it is dark, a different facet of freedom, the road is mine.

the other thing is clay, it is fun to see what you can get out of it. if you can get this form to hold or if you can exaggerate this aspect, get more height, thinner etc. failure of a piece is no big deal, when being creative failure is ok.

Anonymous said... way of avoiding the beatdown is to always have something to look forward to...right now it looks like i might just get to go on a two day deer creek trip on 4/ mom is coming net week...spring boating is going to be epic...i love rafting at that is around the corner...the death ride awaits...i find that if i do not have something to look forward to, i get bogged down. thanks for keeping it positive in the face of adversity, thanks for showing me that you are one cool m$#@^&
f%^#$(. i admire you,

uncadan8 said...

Hi Spence,
Cycling is by far my preferred method of transcending the beatdown. It always brings up my spirits, even if it is a ride that turned out like the one I did yesterday. You can check out my blog for the story.

I just wanted you to know that I am riding in the Philadelphia LiveStrong event again this year. I will be adding you to my list of people that I think about while I train. Contemplating what cancer fighters have to go through makes the pain of any climb seem pretty trivial.

I have a friend whose three year old girl was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor and is going through chemo now. His brother's wife died last year from a really nasty rare abdominal cancer. Several others in my social circle have had cancer - some beat it, some didn't, some are still fighting. My dad is waiting diagnosis. So I take the fight against cancer pretty serious.

You are on my list of people I am fighting for, bro.

Take care.

Judi said...

Hey Spencer-

I run to avoid the beatdown. And I ride. But mostly I run.

I am still thinking the very best for you and your family. You certainly are blessed with a great group of friends and family.

Anonymous said...

I play the violin. Terribly. I picked it up at 38 years old with no musical talent and no experience. What I love is working away at something I am not gifted at, that helps no one but me. It is pure selfish time.

Good to see you today, Spencer.
We had a great time with the kids. Please tell them they are welcome anytime!

bikesgonewild said...

...cycling seemed like something i wanted to do when i was a kid, so i entered a contest & actually won myself a red raleigh 3sp...asked the store to please put a drop handlebar on it...yes !!!...
...sweet autonomy, wind in my face, man oh man !...while riding that bike, which was my world, i can still see the first PRO type bike i ever gazed upon...i remember thinking to myself "ohhh, such a precision machine, when i grow up, i'm gonna have one a' those"... it's great to think back & realize a decision i made at maybe 8yrs old still pleases me now at close to 60yrs old... it, kayaking occasionally...awesome, but to just step outside & start pedaling from home on one of several bicycles that i've customized to my needs & tastes...still wonderfully sweet... thanks, made me realize that while so much else has completely changed, 50yrs down the road(s), my love of the bike is just as strong as ever...

Tourmaline OTC said...

As you know, and thanks to the C/H, I have been playing Co-ed Rec league soccer with Scooter, Stu and some of the local gang. All I have to say is it FEEDS MY SOUL. I love running until my lungs feel like they are going to jump out of my chest, back and forth on the field, trying to drive that stupid, octagonally decorated sphere into a very large rectangular target with a net. Don't matter if it's raining, if everybody's bigger than me, or even that it is rec league, cuz it feels like World Cup baby. I love it. Sadly, I have had to put my World cup aspirations on hold while I finish my house, wrangle some kids and get through some bumps in our road. But come Summertime...Mia Hamm ain't got nothin' on me! Keep the passion my man. Sometimes you gotta dig for it, but it's there.
Sendin' some yer way,

Annie B. said...

I try to spread a little LOVE to anyone that comes into the hostel (or anyone that I come across)and that is very rewarding. Waking up and going down to Whalers Cove and breathing in the ocean first thing in the morning helps too. Playing my harmonica really loud (along with some song on the radio) and pretending that I am famous like Norton Buffalo, drumming , reading , reading, reading, journal writing, just THINKING of all of the amazing folks that I have met in my 'path-O-PASSION,and giving THANKS! AND THE moTHER OF ALL GREAT PASSIONS, GARDENING!

Anonymous said...

Hi Spencer,

I'm glad you are feeling better.

I transcend the beatdown by getting out in nature. I do this
primarily by hiking and rafting.

As far back as I can remember, I have loved to hike. Hiking is
very meditative for me. I often find the answers to
questions or problems while out in some peaceful green place,
grunting my way up a hill. When I lived in the Bay
Area, some of my favorite spots include Mission Peak, Coyote
Hills and Monte Bello; Around here I go to Marshall Gold and
Cronin Ranch as much as time and weather allow.

And then there's rafting. When I raft, there is such a coming
together of mind, body and spirit (not to mention FUN!). I love
going to places that are not necessarily accessible by other
means. One of my favorite spring trips is on the East Fork
Carson during the week. Unlike the weekends, there are few other
folks out there. Camping, sitting in a hot springs...I have no
thoughts of the "other world", and time slows way, way down.

You keep dreaming about sailing, biking, and all the places you
will go to. with each passing day, you are moving back to
excellent health and the realization of those dreams. How sweet they will be when they arrive.

Gentle hugs,


jeanne said...

You are really making me think! I don't have an answer about what my passion is or what I do weekly. But I'll tell you this: I'm damn well going to FIND an answer.


Traci said...

I RUN. (although, not as much anymore!) Running has always helped me get the perspective and the answers I need. And times now, when i don't run like I used to, it's almost just as good to remember some of my best runs -- on the beach one cold christmas morning, coming down Murphy with the sunrise (or once with a full moon low in the sky over coloma), or many early mornings looking up at the stars.... and the fact that I can do it and how lucky I am....

I once went to a training at ETC where they asked participants if they could keep one sense what would it be. I realized during that exercise that SEEING was very, very important to me, and it kind of fed my soul the way running did. I found that if I could just get out and SEE the beauty around me, that I would always get the perspective I needed. sometimes I just marvel in the beauty of small things (ie mateo's toes, or the movement of some water over one rock) and I realize how incredible life really is.

I think the whole idea of seeing is really being in the moment, and making the most of that time. For me that means getting out there and doing it, or just stopping and looking at the beautiful and incredible world and people around me.

thanks for helping me to remember and see!

peace and love,