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The Cancer Center where I received my treatment is hosting a six week “Stress Reduction” course for cancer survivors as a follow-up to the Wellness Workshop I attended in May. Our first class was this evening. The facilitator, Pasha Hogan, opened the session by reading John O’Donohue’s poem For a New Beginning:

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Hearing Pasha’s lilting Irish voice read these lines aloud was all the “stress reduction” I needed! I could have left right then and would have felt that I got something incredibly valuable from the class! But, of course, we went on to discuss a few stress management tools like “thought awareness” and “creating an inner sanctuary” – all very helpful in their way.

For me, though, just being reminded how any moment of our choosing can be its own New Beginning – that was enough.

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