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Dan Duffy

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Cancer and the Dalai Lama...

Posted: 04/29/2013 10:44 am

It truly boggles my mind from time to time where the inspiration to write a blog comes from. So it was last night when we were giving our little bundles of joyousness their bath when this latest nugget came.

I have been a little bit irritated lately, partially because of our boys being complete madmen, and partially because of a painful lower back. Our boys will always be madmen, so I can't do anything about that, but the back thing has gotten to me. When I was younger, it used to work itself out. At 40, it works itself into a pretzel, and unless I go see a chiropractor, it only gets worse. I feel it every time I roll over in my sleep, every time I try to stand up, and, especially, every time I sit.

Yes I'm grumpy and I know it.

*Clap clap*

And this did not serve me well last night while sitting at the dinner table. We had just told Ben that for his birthday party this weekend, his brother Sam was going to get to bring a friend to Charles Ephrom Fromage's so that he would have someone to run around with. Well, you could have kicked Ben in the head with an iron boot and it wouldn't have hurt him worse.

"I'm just going to cancel the party," said our four-year-old, sobbing.

To which I roared back, "No, we'll have the party. You just won't be able to come!"

It was my way of looking at my son and saying, "You're not going to dictate what goes on in this house! THPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!"

I know. I'm a child.

But thankfully, one person in our house had a cool head. Stephanie calmly asked, "Ben, why don't you want this? I really want you to explain it to me." And she was able to get out of Ben that if Sam had a friend there, he wouldn't get to play with his older brother. He had actually forgotten that he had fourteen friends from school coming. Once Steph reminded him of that, we went back to Defcon 5 and the Cuban missiles were withdrawn.

I was so impressed, that I quietly thought that my wife could single-handedly talk Kim Jong Un out of being a complete moron.

So last night as the baths were commencing, I commended my better half on having the patience and fortitude to quell the situation. Her response openly floored me.

"I got it from the Dalai Lama this morning."

Come again?

"I was on the 'book this morning when I saw a post from the Dalai Lama. It was just a little mantra that he had shared that I really didn't think much about at the time. But throughout the day, whenever I felt frustrated or bored or angry, I found myself repeating the words, and they always made me feel better."

And she's only telling me this NOW?!

"What were the words?" I sweetly asked.

"As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all beings."

At first, I thought to myself, "That's it?" I mean, it's so simple. A cave man could do it.

But it only took a few seconds to grab a hold of me.

Breathe in. Cherish yourself. How many of us have ever done this? I can honestly say that I don't think I have consciously done it. We're so busy with the people and the world and the chores and the noise. Sometimes, the only time we really think about ourselves is when we're in pain, and at that point, we're cursing ourselves for getting older. Or being stupid.

Or being sick.

I remember being in unbelievable pain during the months before I was diagnosed. I had no idea that cancer had grown a tumor the size of a football in my abdomen. I simply thought that my back was failing, and I cursed it all the time. As it turned out, my back was trying to keep me upright.

Many of us cherish our lives. I am blessed beyond imagination with my wife and boys, with my family and friends, and with the ability to actually do what I want to do for a living and earn a paycheck doing it.

But the one time that I actually subconsciously cherished myself was when I had cancer. I say this because when I heard those three words that everyone dreads, I resolved in my heart to fight for me... to fight to live.

It was not about, "I've had a good, albeit short, life." It was, "My life is worth living, and there is too much I want to do for me. I want to see the world. I want to marry my soul mate. I want to see if I can have kids, and if I can't, to keep practicing anyway. A lot.

I owe this to myself. I owe this to me. I am worth living. I cherish my life."

I cherish myself.

And by cherishing my life, by fueling my passion to survive, and by nourishing my will to win, today I am blessed to have the ability to breathe out... cherish all beings. We should cherish all beings.

Do I always cherish all beings? Pfft. I still struggle with a particular troglodyte whom I used to go to school with. And every time I see a rabbit in the yard, all I can think is, "So... you're the jack sauce that's been eating our flowers." It's a noble goal that, shockingly, I am nowhere near accomplishing.

I suppose it's one of the reasons why I'll never be the Dalai Lama.

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