Alphabet prompt: B is for…
A friend and blogger have started an alphabet prompt in their blog this year. Firstly, I have always enjoyed their blog, and a project like this helps me shift away from last year’s focus on working through my anniversaries. Secondly, it also holds me accountable as well by doing something collaboratively. Additionally, hopefully, it will help get my creative juices flowing. I’ve never really done a writing prompt before, so I think it will be a fun thing to do. So let’s move to B is for…
- Ancestral Guidance | Voorouderlijke Begeleiding
- Bargaining with the Gods for Help | Onderhandelen met de Goden voor hulp
I kind of enjoyed going through the epithets of the various Deities that I honour, so I am going to start with that again.
B is for …
Belenus: (Gaulic) Bright, Brilliant
Boedromios: helper in time of distress, Rescuer
Blessings on the work of Neheti on the epithets of Hekate.
Baridoukhos: skiff-holder, barque-holder, one who has a boat: PGM IV 2241-2358.
Basileia: Queen, Princess: The Ophic Hymn to Hekate. Also, Farnell’s Cults of the Greek States vol.2, p. 507. Applied to a variety of Goddesses.
Boopis: Cow-eyed: PGM IV 2708-84.
Borborophorba: Eater of Filth: Greek Magical Papyri, 1402, 1406.
Brimo: Angry One, The Terrifying, of Crackling Flames: Apollonios Rhodios 3.861-63. Also applied to Persephone, Demeter, and Cybele.
Bythios: Abyssal, of the Deep: PGM IV 2441-2621. Can also mean ‘of the Sea’, but scholars have typically interpreted this as a reference to Chthonic powers in this context.
B is for Breath / Breathe
Focusing on my breath, and remembering to breathe is one of my starting points for anything. I use it when I exercise, to ensure I don’t hold my breath, I focus on where I am going to breathe if I am preparing for a presentation. In my prayers and devotionals, I always start and end my with a series of mindful breaths. I use my breath as a calming strategy, as a meditation, as a way to connect to my body.
Take a moment to appreciate your own breath.
And that’s another B-word: Body
B is for Body
Ouff… My body. Serious illness, surgery, medication, changes in capacity and function, menopause – it’s all about the body.
Beauty ideals (another B) can play havoc with confidence when you age or your body changes. I don’t want to insist that I can still be beautiful in my 50s, as a plus-sized person, or as someone still recovering from cancer. I kind of want to release the idea of beauty and all the over culture narratives that go with it. The alternative is an embrace of the idea of presentation, curation, grace, style, and vibrancy; bold, brilliant and bright.
I’m very grateful for my body, and I endeavor to treat myself with love and respect and honour my body and listen to it. I do tend to regard it as where I live… But it’s just another body, and it has no responsibility to be beautiful. I’m not so much working on body positivity, as I am aiming for body neutrality.
- Disability and body image
- Illness and body image
- For People With Chronic Illnesses, Body Positivity Can Feel Out of Reach
Which leads to the other B.
My breast cancer experience is still informing my life post-cancer, and post-chemo (will probably revisit both of those when we get to C).
Returning to work, and starting a new role has very much empowered me to start that transition from defining to informing. When you are living the experience, it defines you. It has to, be because you need to be so focused on treatment and the navigation of all that treatment entails. Massive focus on your body because you are monitoring it vigilantly (especially during chemo). Navigating a transition from recovery to convalescence to redefining life for me has been about balance and boundaries.
Balance and boundaries
- Comfort Zones and Boundaries: Self Care Part 1
- What do healthy boundaries look like? Self Care Part 2.
I spent a lot of time considering my boundaries, and thought into communicating them, and then reiterated them often.
Here are the blog posts about how I did that:
Now that my capacity is building, I am redefining my boundaries; that’s where the balance comes in.
My wellness team is pretty much in agreement that it is going to take another two years of working with physio/rehab to know what my post-cancer self is truly going to be capable of physically. So for the time being it is a balancing act between ongoing maintenance, pushing my boundaries, and building capacity, but not so far that I break or bust. The balance/build/bust cycle is something that my physio and my GP have both talked to me about – there’s a certain acceptable level of pushing boundaries and the setbacks and recovery that entails, but again, there’s that balance to ensure that setbacks aren’t permanent or increasing injury, damange, or deficits.
B is for Brave…
People talk about bravery, but it doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t regard myself as brave – I viewed the whole experience through a very pragmatic lens.
The options were treatment or… A sub-optimal outcome.
I certainly didn’t choose cancer, unlike someone who chooses to be of service like working in rescue and recovery work or humanitarian efforts in war zones or disaster relief, or those who work as firefighters. Those kinds of actions are brave. I was just being practical and trying to make the choices that best aligned with the outcomes I wanted.
Blessings to the brave people who put their life on the line in the service of others.
I do view myself as lucky.
And butterfingers is another B-word – with peripheral neuropathy, I’m now learning to live with a certain amount of clumsiness!
Birthday… a benchmark
This birthday (mid-year) is going to be my 53rd. I’m lucky, as I said, to be looking at celebrating it. It’s also a benchmark, as my mother died of cancer two days before her 53rd birthday. Different cancer, but it’s still a kind of weird benchmark. Her birthday and the anniversary of her death are both in the same month as my birthday.
As I have gotten older, I see my mother more and more in my face and even in some of my mannerisms. It gets a bit uncanny at times, especially when I see people that knew her well.
B is for Butterfly
When my mother was dying and I saw her for the last time, one of the things she told me was to trust that whenever I saw a butterfly, to trust that she was still looking out for me. My favourite butterfly is the Monarch, which we used to call Wanderers, her favourite was the Ulysses.