one of the greatest things about writing this blog is not the clarity it provides me. it is hearing the stories of others who got something out of reading it. i still write because i need to. it helps me think. organize my thoughts. say things and let them go. clear out the clutter. but when i hear stories. receive notes. it warms my heart. brings me to tears.
my daughter reads the blog. my son and husband. my mother and brother and family. friends and riders at soulcycle and others i haven’t met. cancer patients. i’m a little bit in awe of the power of words. i forgot how much i love to write.
my daughter’s friends have been reading, too. a spunky, independent, and awesome group of middle schoolers in new york city. learning to navigate their way in this city. in this life. they post comments on my facebook page and like my link. they tell me that my words inspire them and help them through hard times. they hug me when they see me. i am accountable to them. i am accountable to soulcycle. to my meditation. an ancient practice to be respected and revered. in the midst of the massive purge – first of my clothes, and now all my clutter. i came across a pin mixed in among old receipts and papers and hoarded stuff.
on it: be the person you want your children to be.
and two days ago i took a drive with emma and allie.
after teaching two classes in scarsdale with the suburban soldiers of soul. the advanced riders. where we really have gotten to know each other since day one in the DALE. a community. i drove to meet my kids for my son’s 8th birthday party. grand prix NY in mount kisco. and after go carts and the most amazing gigantic bouncy castle we have ever seen and food and laser tag and the arcade. i drove to MSK – memorial sloane kettering cancer center. working miracles. brilliant and kind doctors and nurses and receptionists and technicians. and truly everyone at MSK that i have met or spoken to. kind. exactly what i need when i’m there. brilliant and kind.
and we had to stop in scarsdale because i had left my computer and my purse at the studio. with the girls in the back we blasted music. we talked. i thanked them for coming with me to get my blood test and thumbs up for the chemo that would be dripped in the next morning. yesterday morning. as we pulled in to gabby’s driveway she was standing next to her car in the garage about to get in and drive away. and it was perfect timing. technology and purse in hand we headed to the city. not the way i usually go. heading to the east side. finding our way. the advanced map and navigation program in magda’s car offered a detour when it sensed traffic. magda our babysitter. she loves organizing projects. she helps me do my life. she drove the boys home in my big car. we stuck with our original route and the traffic branched off away from us. found our way zigging and zagging across and down. found a garage. parked. walked to MSK. the elevator down to the concourse. same building where the kids used to go to the dentist up on the 5th floor. same treatment center that used to be for breast cancer patients, before they got their own building. the same place pam had treatment. now the lymphoma clinic and treatment center. natural light. everyone brilliant and kind.
as we walked into the elevator – first emma and allie, then me, and then another woman. long blonde hair. fit. beautiful. maybe a doctor. maybe a patient. a friend. we were in a little bit of a rush and i settled myself in front of the girls. right by the elevator doors. the other woman walked farther in. allie needed to get home to go to soccer practice. emma needed to get home to continue purging and organizing her room. i needed to get home to teach two more classes in union square. my hub. so fresh. so ready for soulcycle. fierce. strong. learning the steps. amazing. obsessed with them. love that studio. even with the cold showers. i needed to get home to meditate.
and letting the last in, first out shift to first in, first out. the elevator arrived on the concourse. blood work check in. you have to give your name and birthday. and the voice from the blonde beauty. “melanie . . . it’s melissa.” lisa from the dale put me in touch with melissa. some connection through melissa’s best friend and my blog. melissa started reading it and it helped her. same follicular non-hodgkins lymphoma. fresh diagnosis. same R-CHOP treatment on the horizon. i can feel her thoughts. i walked those steps only moments ago we had been emailing. and there she was.
we rode the elevator down together. each did our thing. and rode the elevator up together. got to look in each others eyes. she got to see me a few paces ahead. i have never been better in my life and i told her and it is true and i believe she knows that.
she is a swimmer and can’t swim during treatment. when she is ready she will try soulcycle. and she will love moving her body to the rhythm of the music. and she is ok. and we made a connection. i invited her to a benefit for the Lymphoma Research Foundation. a night hosted by Friends For the Cure, LRF’s Young Professional Committee. music. cocktails. raffle prizes. i will be there for the last hour after i teach at union square tuesday june 21st. tickets are still on sale. www.lymphoma.org/friends2011 i found out about this foundation from two women who came to find me in class at soulcycle in union square. not soulcyclers. but they found me. and we talked. and i am going to their event. i asked if i could speak for a moment. stand up and say this is what cancer looks like. this is what chemotherapy looks like. and it is so simple. and it is soulcycle. mind.body.cardio. for me it is meditation.healthy choices.moderation.soulcycle. soulcycle is offering a generous donation for their raffle.
and as emma and her friend, and i headed west. emma now having seen the naturally lit room where my treatments take place. having met some of the kind and brilliant nurses. the girls told me a story.
allie said that when she and friends read my old blog post. back on tumblr. called notice the signs. http://iamnowthejourney.tumblr.com/post/6327819036/notice-the-signs they read it and talk to each other about what they read. and they said melanie has so many signs happening to her? i don’t see signs in my life. and they told me that talley had the same question. and they had been talking about it. and then we took a ride in magda’s car. and went to gabby’s and zigzagged in traffic. and we rode the elevator with melissa. and they noticed. and they said, maybe we are just searching and it is more about noticing the good things that happen in life. and recognizing them as signs. a subtle difference. a world apart. notice. know. now.
i used to search. try to assign meanings. and then i eased off a bit. relaxed into myself. found my rhythm. trusted myself. chose the hard steps. faced my fears. shared my story. shaved my head. i started meditating. and i found clarity and awareness and rest. and i continued soulcycling and saying the words. and i was prepared for my journey. and being accountable. and then i just noticed.
and now i write. and i love to write. and people tell me stories about signs. and people write me emails and texts and cards about signs. things that make them pause. know their connection to something bigger. a wave is part of the grand magnitude of the ocean. it doesn’t have to know that it is connected. it just is. but when you know. when you notice. it’s the little things. it is calming. and powerful. and connected. and expansive with possibility.
and so now i blog. and i wrote about me and my blog last night. and i figured out what it is about. and one thing it will include is a page to comment with the signs that you notice.
- like sue sharing the fact that actually she had never ever in years and years of masterfully teaching and inspiring and rocking out, played simple man in class. until that day at soulcycle uws. when i was on deck to teach the next class. she said she was somehow drawn to play it. the week it was on my playlists. my last song.
- like the rider in scarsdale who is making me a playlist and asked her 16 year old son to make suggestions and out of the blue – he, too, chose simple man. and it made her notice.
- like lisa reading my entry about my children called hey jude and then the song showing up randomly on her ipod when she was running. or the story she told me about taking a walk in the rain, when the day before my last song was Fool in the Rain by O.A.R. and i had been talking in class about the joy of dancing in the rain.
- like ali d knowing veronique. ali and peter the creative beauties and artists behind the prime book. http://www.theprimebook.com. photographs of women in their prime. no makeup. essays. mine almost done. then my picture will be included. ali a rider at soulcycle. ali and peter meditate. veronique another model at the MORE magazine shoot. the one who gave me a rainforest bracelet. eco-friendly. made from the seeds of the acai berry. for her, this is what 46 looks like. for me, 42. i will add a page with more information about the rainforest bracelets. learning as i go. a portion of the money made from the sale ofthe bracelets donated by Rainforest Native to the World Wildlife Fund. www.WWF.org, a global leader in conservation. ali and veronique know each other. and i made a profound connection with each. separate. connected. a sign.
- like krista calling me. krista who is my friend. who was by my side for so many years. a friendship that began with honesty and communication and good vibes. a friendship that weathered heartbreaks and hard times. a girl who married the boy of her dreams. and is pregnant with a son. soon to join two big sisters who are insanely beautiful california girls. vivi and joe. we love them all. and peter, too. well krista called me in the middle of the night the other day. it is unheard of that i would answer the phone at that hour. i don’t even remember it ringing. and she spoke with that twinkle in her voice that i know so well. she told me a story. how she heard a song that she loved so much. how both times she heard it within a short period of time in different places. when she heard it she thought of me. and she wondered if it would be a good song for soulcycle. and she felt compelled to call me. even though it was the middle of the night. and she never expected me to answer. now, maybe she is not a radio listener or is a mother of two, pregnant with her third, working dad, and no help. yes, a super mom. and artist. a beautiful soul. the song was adele’s rolling in the deep. it is the song that i was listening to when i stood up for the first time from the chair where i buzzed my hair. what was playing when i knew i was ok. i used to believe it. and with that song playing and with hair scattered on the floor, i knew it. and music is medicine. and that was a sign.
- like new friends telling me they are reading my words and slowing down a bit. relaxing into it. controlling their pace. noticing.
i have lists and lists of things that i see as signs. photographs. sayings. quotes. stories shared. it’s the little things.
but i still have to wait for a cab sometimes. and i’m not perfect. and no one said it would be easy. and i take one step at a time. it is a journey. and i don’t want anyone to worry that it doesn’t happen to them. i don’t want to encourage forced searching. just awareness. calm. noticing. smiling at the connections. the timing. the crossed paths. the right place at the right time. the knowing everything is ok. the wave feeling its connection to the ocean.
i made a page called notice the signs. i believe if you have something to say, you should say it.