“A Memory I’m Grateful For”

three years

It was four years ago today that I finished my last treatment for breast cancer. It was the day I had waited for since the journey began and as you can see by the look on my face, it was one of the happiest days of my life! It was over and my life was all my own to live again without the shadows of cancer hiding in the background.

And in that four years I’ve written and published two books and began to realize that my life purpose had become just that: a writer of my life experiences; a writer that wanted to make a difference in the world and in someone’s life by sharing her ups and downs and how she got through; and a writer who will never stop trying to help others.

I say that “chemo healed the cancer but the cancer healed me,” and it did. I became even stronger than before and learned how to put myself first and more importantly, how to love myself as much as I love the people in my life. I began to realize the importance of surrounding myself with positive people and that saying good-bye to the negative ones wasn’t a bad thing, but a necessity to live my best life. And that it’s okay to say “no” to things that don’t serve my Highest Good and to people and situations that cause me stress and drama.

In other words, cancer taught me to treat myself as well as I treat others, to love myself just as much, and to be just as kind to myself as I am to them.

Today I sit in a bit more gratitude than most days and am remembering that day four years ago. I’m remembering the lines of the song I wrote about that day:

“Journey is over, the battle is won, a new chapter started, a new day begun,So what do I do now? Where do I start? Do I take the road known or the one less traveled and follow my heart?”

What a day it was four years ago…

What an incredible life it’s been ever since…

What a  beautiful word to be blessed to call myself today: “survivor.”

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

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“What” Is Not As Important As “Why”

what 2

“What’s” happened to you in your life isn’t as important as “why” it happened. ~AD~

We all experience some difficult situations in our life and I’ve come to accept and understand that the “what” that’s happened to me isn’t as important as  the“why” that it did.

We’re so quick to blame others for our difficult times, yet we have a hand in those situations as well. Perhaps we aren’t being our authentic self or standing in our truth to those around us. Maybe we change “who” we are according to the people we are around at a particular moment. I can tell you that I’ve learned that I am in control of what I allow to happen to me and it’s up to me to set healthy boundaries for my highest good…and it’s not always easy to do.

I had breast cancer and it can’t always be prevented, yet I could have had a mammogram sooner than I had; I went 5 years without one and only had one done when I found my tumor. So while this “what” may have been destined to happen to me, the “why” it happened when it did was because I wasn’t loving myself enough to get that mammogram every year like I should have. I know better now.

I’ve lived through divorce and a bad relationship. The “what” that caused an ending to these relationships isn’t as important as the “why” it happened. It happened because I was allowing those people to treat me in a way I didn’t deserve. What you allow will continue and it did for me until I realized I deserved better and decided to stop it.

And I’ve lived through emotional, verbal and physical abuse. It went on for years until I finally put an end to it. “What” was said and done to me isn’t as important as “why” it was done to me. It happened because I let it happen. I wasn’t as strong as I am now, my self-esteem was non-existent, and I blamed myself for causing all those things that were said and done to me then. I was at the bottom and when I finally decided that enough was enough, I pulled myself up off the floor and began to see clearly of the “why” it happened. I began to get stronger day by day and set up boundaries that were never again to be crossed by anyone, and if they were, I certainly recognized it sooner. It happened because I let it, not because I deserved it. It was yet another life lesson for me to learn.

You have to love yourself, respect yourself, and know that you don’t deserve to be treated badly by anyone, especially by yourself. Let’s face it, we’re all masters of self-sabotage at times…we can hurt ourselves better than the person who is hurting us. Yet that’s not the way it should be; you know that as well as I do.

It’s time we all, myself included, stop focusing on the “what” that happened to us and start looking deep within ourselves to see our truth of the“why” it happened.

It’s then that we learn and grow and move forward into the life we want and deserve.

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Feel, Deal and Heal”

I’ve gone through my share of, what most may say, are traumatic experiences: divorce, cancer, and abuse, to name a few. When I share these experiences publicly many people ask me how I’m still standing, how in the world did I become so positive after so many negative things happened to me.

My answer is always the same: Because I chose to get through and I’m standing even stronger.

And how is that possible?

Because I knew I had to feel all the emotions that came with those “traumas” and deal with them; and that’s how I was able to heal.

No one wants to feel hurt, sadness or brokenness, yet we all do at some point in our life. Many people block those emotions; they tuck them away and believe that they moved on from them. I can tell you that they didn’t. Ignoring what you have to face is lying to yourself and eventually all those emotions you didn’t deal with will catch up with you at some point in your life. They always do.

And when they do catch up with you those around you pay the price for it as well.

Don’t you want to feel happy? Don’t you want to find joy in your life? Don’t you want to let go of an experience that caused you pain?

Sure you do…we all do.

So do it. Take a long look in the mirror at yourself and let your truth come through. Take that experience and all the pain that came with it and deal with it. Feel the pain, the heartache and let the healing waters of your tears flow to release it all. Then forgive the experience so you no longer hold onto it and then forgive yourself for allowing it to hold you back from the happiness you want and deserve.

You can run from those traumatic experiences but trust me, you can’t hide from them until you deal with them.

Feel, deal and heal, my friends.

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,
~Anne Dennish~

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“My Restless Soul”

I feel restless. It used to be that I only felt that way once or twice a year, yet lately this feeling is happening more and more frequently. I’m feeling restless, feeling bored, feeling like I need a new adventure; I need something new, something exciting, something different. I need to feed my soul because it’s my soul that’s feeling restless. I guess you could say I have “restless soul syndrome!”

Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, yet there are moments even I wonder if this is as good as it gets or this is all there is…and I’m at that point now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way now and again. Maybe some of you feel that way as well.

Life seems to morph into a ritual of the same people, the same parties, the same old same old…and while I love those people and those parties I need new experiences as well. I’m not one who can stay in a box and that same comfort zone for too long. I need to experience new things, new people, and new adventures.

And that’s where I am today…feeling restless. I’m wondering what direction I need to move in my life next, what I should be doing differently, what I’m missing out on. I love my writing and I couldn’t imagine a day without writing something, yet in the midst of that I find myself in the middle of laundry, housework and mundane routines…

And I’ve lived that life before…

I’ve been a full time housewife and mother, and as the kids have grown older, there’s not much need for it now. I have two of my five children living home now and both boys tell me that they want me to do more as a writer, that they love the fact that I AM a writer, and they support me through it all. They want to see me out there in the world catching my dreams, always believing that something wonderful is about to happen, and living my life pursuing my passion of writing. They know I’m always there as their mom but they want so much more for me. They’re two very impressive boys and I’m grateful for them every day. They sometimes see in me the potential and ability that I sometimes lose sight of in myself.

They believe in me.

They love me.

And they want me to do the same for myself.

They both lived through my breast cancer with me…they were there for the diagnosis, the treatment and the recovery, and ever since then they want me to do what makes me happy. They want me to write, to publish more books, and to try and make a difference in the world. They want me to live my life in a way that I never had before. They want me to live my life making the world a better place.

And believe me, they’ve done that for me.

So here I am, knowing all that I know, feeling restless…wanting more, desiring more, and ready for another adventure. I want to push the envelope and shoot for the moon. I want to dream bigger and better; I want to write more and share more with the world; I want to step out of this box I find myself in and push the limits to one of endless possibilities.

And I’m the only one that can do that. I own the fact that I’m feeling restless and I know that it’s up to me to change it.

I want to fuel that fire that ignites my soul.

Feeling restless doesn’t mean I’ll change who I am; feeling restless means that the Universe is trying to tell me something. It’s taking who I am and trying to make me a better person. It’s trying to teach me a lesson and tell me that there’s more that awaits me in this world. It’s telling me to get out from under the laundry and move up to what it has to offer me next. It’s telling me that there’s another experience waiting for me if I’ll just open my eyes and see it.

So, while I’m feeling restless today I know that tomorrow is another day with endless possibilities and new experiences just waiting for me to grab onto them, move forward with them, and let them guide me to the next chapter in my life.

I know these moments of feeling “restless” are for a reason and I can’t wait to see what they are!

I’m ready to take a leap of faith and open up the door to something new…

Are you?

It’s a good thing.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

restless soul

 

“Remembering The Last Day Of Chemo”

It was three years ago today that I wrote the following post below. It was my last day of treatment for my breast cancer. It seems like that day was a lifetime ago but I’m forever grateful for closing that chapter. The journey of breast cancer may be over, but the lessons I learned have become a part of me. As I say “Chemo healed the cancer, but the cancer healed me.”

And it did…

“Today was my very last treatment of the “golden ticket” drug, herceptin, at the Cancer Institute in New Brunswick. The nurses celebrated my milestone by decorating the medicine bag with stickers, throwing pink confetti at me, and making me a “last day of chemo” sign! Even though chemo was done months ago, I’m grateful that my every three week treatment has come to a close. It was a day of celebration and tears as I said good-bye to my “Angels” who have been there with me since last August. They were my teachers, my mentors, and my friends as I went through this journey with them. They truly are “Angels” and I am forever grateful to them for all that they did for me. The last piece will be on Thursday when I have my port removed. So this is one time I will not say that a chapter is finished and a new one started; tonight I raise a glass of wine to “finishing this book, and never opening it again!”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

“Chemo Healed The Cancer But The Cancer Healed Me”

My last book, “Waking Up: Lessons Learned From My Adventures With Life and Breast Cancer” was born over two years ago while lying on a radiation table for breast cancer.

I’m the type of person that loves meeting people because every single one of us has a story…we ARE a story! Some may not believe that, yet as a writer, I know it’s true. I was out to dinner with my love one night, along with his cousin and his love, and a table full of people I had never met. Yet by the end of the night, I knew them well.

You see, that’s the beauty of paying attention to people and speaking to them, yet more importantly, LISTENING to them. They were laughing at me last night when I said that the whole night of conversations was indeed a story!

So it’s no surprise that “Waking Up” was born; the idea may have begun on a radiation table, yet the stories were already taking shape in my mind, and for the last two years of writing it, more stories were born. Every story is true; most of them are of my personal experiences, and there are a few born out of situations with someone else who graciously allowed me to write about it

Yet, here’s what that one moment that woke me up was: “breast cancer!”

Yes, I had been on a spiritual journey for years, but finding out I had cancer was a big kick in the ass! I realized that as much as I had learned over the years, the lessons were far from over. Breast cancer changed my life and how I live it. That tumor was all the things I never said out loud, all the pain of allowing people to treat me badly. It was everything I never said that I should have, so I made a deal with the cancer: “I’ll open my mouth and use my voice, I’ll make better choices of who I surround myself with, I’ll rid myself of people and situations that make me feel less than good, and I’ll take all of this and write about it to help someone else as long as you leave my body when the time is right.”

I guess the cancer agreed with the deal, because it held up its’ end of the bargain. I did all those things and it left me the day they cut all that stuff out of my body. They did more than a lumpectomy on February 21st. As cancer and I were about to say good-bye that day, I could hear it speaking to me. Sounds crazy, but it wasn’t really. It said: “You’ve done the work and I know it wasn’t easy. I’m sorry to have had to come and visit you, but this journey is over. Remember the lessons, remember to love yourself, and finish up our deal: tell your lessons to everyone you can reach. I’m counting on you.”

Well, in a strange way, chemo may have healed my cancer, but my cancer healed me. It taught me more than I could imagined, and since then, I spread the word, I keep out as much drama and stress as I can, and I walk away from anyone or anything that tries to control and manipulate me. Cancer didn’t abuse me as much as some people have tried to, and I’m smarter because of all of it.

“Waking Up” is so much more than a book; it’s my heart and soul that simply wants to make a difference in someone’s life. Life get’s shorter as we get older, and my goal is to live everyday to the fullest, to show love and kindness to someone who needs it, and most importantly, to make someone laugh and smile.

Struggles will always happen in our lives, yet it’s your attitude and perspective that will handle it and teach you more than you could have ever imagined.  After all, “we don’t become who we are by chance; we become who we are by choice.”

Love your lessons, whether you like them or not, because in the end, miracles happen!

“Chemo healed the cancer but the cancer healed me.”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

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“A Day In The Life Of A Ship Agent”

When I first met my love he was a self- employed custom tile worker. He did the most amazing sawork yet a few months into our relationship he suffered an injury that would end his days of tile work. I remember how frustrated he was at not working, yet I kept reminding him that everything happens for a reason, and within 3 months time he knew the reason. A job that he had done many years prior suddenly had an opening and my love finally had his reason for the injury: he became a ship agent. It’s a job he loved before and one that he loves even more now.

So what is a ship agent? Well, it’s many things, and my love let me spend an entire Saturday with him on a day he had to “sail a ship.” It was an incredible experience for me to see what he does and to be able to watch the ship, the crew, and all that they needed to do.

First off, let me tell you that being a ship agent is a tough job. My love is at the beck and call of the ship and there are times he’s out in the middle of the night until the wee hours of the morning doing his job. He works overtime, spends every other weekend on call, and will even do ships on his weekends off. He climbs gangplanks and pilot ladders, rides on a tug to get to a ship that isn’t docked, and at times has to walk over and around an obstacle course of machines and equipment just to get to the ship, and all the while with a heavy backpack strapped to him.

I thought I knew a lot about his job until after this past Saturday. The ship had been docked in Staten Island so we had a long drive home and I asked him: I know what you do, but what do you really do as a ship agent? Well, he told me and it was much more than I had known and it filled the time in the car until we got home!

A ship agent is the liason between the owners and operators of the vessels, and everyone else in between, which includes the government, customs, immigration and the Coast Guard. The job of the agent starts long before the ship comes into the port. The agent has to gather the information on the vessel, the crew and their cargo, sending all this information to customs, immigration and the Coast Guard. A PDA, or proforma disbursement account must be sent to the owners before hand; this includes the costs necessary to bring the ship in. After that the agent sets up the pilots, tugs, lineman and long shoreman that are needed to help bring the vessel into port. Many factors have to be considered with each ship; whether they are tide restricted, which berth can accomodate them, and when it’s safe to travel, to name a few.

And the ship agent doesn’t stop there; he is there to help the captain and crew with anything they need while in port; this could be a trip to the store, a doctor or dentist appointment, phone cards or accomodations necessary if the ship is berthed overnight. The ship agent does what it takes to make the captain and crew comfortable while in the port and to help them with the lay of the land, especially when it’s a foreign ship.

Once the ship is ready to sail, the ship agent has to record a “statement of facts” which includes everything they did with the ship while they were in port. It is then sent to the owners and operators. All of these tasks are done at minimal cost and maximum efficiency.

The interesting part is that these ships come from all over the world, and the ship agent has the privilege of meeting the captain and crew, and sometimes is invited in for coffee and something to eat…all indicitive of the country they are from. It can be exciting at times for my love to meet people from all over the world, sharing stories of his life and listening to stories of theirs; many are out at sea for months, leaving their wives and children behind.  No matter the culture or the miles, the stories of “love and family” seem to be universal.

Each ship carries something different, from salt, to orange juice; chemicals to containers.  Ship agents rarely have a mundane day “at the port or the office!”

I’m grateful I had the privilege of spending the day in Staten Island watching my love handle a “salt ship.” It was exciting for me to watch the process and wave to the crew members on board…I know they all saw me watching and taking pictures.

I’m a believe that “everyone has a story” if you just take the time to ask and to listen.

And this is the story of my love and “the day in the life of a ship agent.”

Wishing you love, light and smooth seas,

~Anne Dennish~

ship agent and the girl

“The ship agent and the writer”

 

“Under The Tree – Just Me”

under the tree uncle bobI sit here this morning alone  with my coffee while all my loved ones are asleep, thinking to myself that I can’t wait for this month of March to be over. I lost a very close friend two weeks ago and last night I lost my “favorite” uncle. It seems that throughout my life this month of March has brought pain and heartache, and sadly, I have the proof to back it up. Anyone who knows me will joke and say to me”ugh, it’s that month of March for you.” And so it is, and so I try every year to change it. This year has been a tough one, and this morning I’m grieving and my heart is hurting.

I  hadn’t heard from my close friend, Rosamond, in almost two weeks, so my love and I trekked over to her house, only to find that the car hadn’t been moved and the house was locked up. I came home, called the local police and received the phone call I was dreading an hour later: they found her in her home, and she had passed away.

She was just 70 years old, but one of my closest friends and my greatest spiritual teacher. She was the one who introduced me to this amazing circle of “Angel” people that have been my teachers as well. I miss her everyday and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to call her…yet she’ll never answer.

Last night I received a call from my cousin on the West Coast. He called to tell me my most favorite uncle had lost his battle to brain cancer. I knew it was coming but I wasn’t ready to

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My “favorite uncle” with his “favorite niece.”

know it. He was just 68 years old and a man that had a life of love and passion, excitement and adventure. No matter what life handed him, including cancer, he made the best of it. I’d love to believe that this part of him is part of me.

I’m feeling the loss so deeply this morning, yet I also believe that when someone passes we can still hear them…and sometimes still feel them. I’m grieving at the loss of the physical touch and the sound of their voice.

This morning I’m sitting quietly outside while the rest of my house is asleep; I’m sitting under my “magic tree,” which hasn’t yet bloomed, but it’s still magic. It’s under this tree that I wrote a poem which turned into a song by the same name; it’s under this tree that I can hear my loved ones on the other side; I can hear their reassurance of them being okay and that I will be too; I hear them whisper “I love you and always will” to me; I hear them that they take our love for them with them and that their love for us will always be a part of us; and I hear them assure me that they will always be with me, and that all I need is to speak to them, and they will listen and answer.

It’s this belief that helps me grieve and heal and brings me a sense of peace that while their physical body may be gone, their spiritual soul lives on. And it lives on in me.

Today I remember Rosamond, and I wish my Uncle Bob well on his travels to the other side, knowing he’ll be whole, he’ll be healthy, and he’ll be carrying all our love with him.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~”

*I wrote this song over a year ago and today I dedicate it to my “favorite uncle,” my Uncle Bobby and to my dear friend, Rosamond

 

“What Now?”

“Journey is over, the battle is won.A new chapter starting, a new day begun,

So what do I do now? Where do I start?

Do I take the road known or the one less travelled

Follow my heart.

 

Life is always changing,it’s time to turn the page,

Now the story continues

And it’s mine to create

So what do I do now? Where do I go?

Do I let my mind lead me backwards in time or move ahead slow?

 

What now with new beginnings

What now with the old life behind

What now that I’m starting over

With no clue, no reason, no rhyme.

 

Time to change my thinking

It’s time to lose the fear

The Universe is watching

That’s what brought me here

It’s all an adventure, my life is a song,

I know where I’ve been, not where I’m going

But I’m dancing along.”

I remember the day I wrote the story, which became these lyrics, in my book called “Waking Up.” It was my very last day of treatment for breast cancer, and as I said my good-bye’s to the nurses and staff, I felt a multitude of emotions.

I got in my car and started the long drive home. I felt happy, excited, relieved and a bit scared. All I kept thinking is “now what?” Now what do I do with my life? I had been on a breast cancer journey for over a year and a half, and suddenly it was over. The Cancer Institute had bid me farewell and sent me on my way. What now?

I thought “I know what the last year and a half with cancer was like, but what would it be like without it? Where do I begin to start over without it?”

And so I wrote the entry “What Now” in my breast cancer journal and a year later wrote these song lyrics.

But you know, this song isn’t just for my breast cancer journey; it’s a song for anyone starting over with a new beginning. It’s for anyone who is starting a new life. It’s for someone who has to learn to say “good-bye” to their past in order for the doors to the future to open.

It’s a song for you and a song for me…doors-to-past

It’s scary when something ends and is over, yet you need to find the excitement in the possibility of something even better coming into your life. I can promise you it always does when it’s meant to. Have faith in the Universe and have faith in yourself!

Embrace your day, embrace your new beginning, embrace this life that you are in control of.

The choice is yours…

And I know you’ve got this!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

Lyrics by Anne Dennish – Music and Vocals by Sutton Thomas Music copyright 2016

“Someday”

someday-post

It took having breast cancer to realize just how precious and precarious life really is. I thought I valued every day of my life until I was diagnosed with something that stopped me in my tracks…cancer.  Suddenly, I valued every single minute of every single day. I began to realize just how lucky I was and things I took for granted were now becoming blessings to me.

When you’re going through chemo you have to be careful of chemical cleaners, people who are sick, including your own children, your pets, what you’re breathing, what you’re eating, what kinds of cancer causing chemicals are in your make-up, your shampoo, and the list goes on. I never thought I would miss the mundane things like spring cleaning, but I did. And one of the biggest things I missed was not being able to walk barefoot on the sand or put my toes in the water because if I got a cut it could be serious.

So you can see why I appreciate everything about my life, the good and the bad; it’s because I’ve learned that nothing should ever be taken for granted and that I’m blessed to have this life.

Cancer taught me those things, yet in the last year or two, and in the last several months, it’s all changed again. My family and I have been affected by the loss of loved ones and the diagnosis’ of life changing illnesses. It’s’ been quite a couple of months, yet we’re all here, together, weathering the good days and the bad ones together.

I never thought I could appreciate life or the lives of my loved ones more than I already did, but I’m here to tell you that I do. My life and theirs have become incredibly precious to me and I know first-hand that we never know about tomorrow…we only know about today.

There is no waiting for “someday,” because that’s never promised and I’ve realized that more than ever. I dislike when anyone says “I’ll do it someday, we’ll do it someday, maybe someday,” Actually, I hate to hear that, especially since I’ve lost  loved ones very close to me in the last few years that looked forward to “someday.” They never knew that on that last day of their life, their “someday” was gone.

I don’t wait for “someday” anymore, because there is no “someday, only today,” and today is a gift to me every morning that I wake up to see it. Every day is a gift to live my life to the fullest, love as hard as I can, and laugh at every chance I get.

Tomorrow is never promised and yesterday is already gone, so why wait for “someday” to come, when you can live every day of your life as if your “someday” is today?

Don’t miss out on something great because you’re waiting for something  better to come “someday;” don’t miss out on a lifetime of love because you’re waiting for the “right time for it someday;” don’t miss out on an adventure or an opportunity or a dream because you thought the best timing for it would be “someday.” There’s no time like the present, and that will be gone by tomorrow.

Don’t live your life waiting for “someday” to come; live your life as if someday is “today.”

And today, more than ever, I appreciate my life because today I am a

“3 year breast cancer survivor!”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

*This is a song I wrote called “What Now.” I wrote the story on the last day of my treatment, wondering what come’s next after cancer. The story is in my book, “Waking Up,” which inspired me to write the song. It was about the end of my cancer, yet it can be for anyone who is changing their life and starting over. I hope you enjoy it! I have to say, it’s one of my favorites!