The post-steroid crash this time, instead of bringing the unrelenting-three-day-sob-fest of four weeks ago, brings with it guilt – at every little thing, done and undone, and once again, it is out of proportion with the action. (Last time, I would stub my big toe and sob as if it were the worst thing ever to happen. And then three days later that seemed ridiculous, and it was all better. It’s the steroids. The only thing to do is to wait it out.) The best innoculation against guilt that I have found is a quote from Mary Oliver via David Whyte:

You do not have to be good…
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

David Whyte reads the quote in a “do what you love” context of mid-life career re-focusing, but for me, in this time, what I love is my very life itself, my very being in the world, my body, my presence…because I’ve had a scare, because this experience was a close call. So what I love this summer is: gentle summer air, floating down rivers, camping out, breathing, singing, exercise endorphins, the ocean, the mountain….all those things that are about being in the world and in my body and heart and not in my head.


“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


1 Comment

Filed under chemo, quality of life

One response to “Innoculation

  1. alicia saltmarsh

    here’s a note on power bars that could be okay for you. Made by Biogenesis My friend Charmane got them from her Naturopath for helping balance her blood sugar. She finds that appetite is vastly decreased and blood sugar and mood balances. thinking about you a lot. let me know when it is time for the garden.

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