“The words we use about cancers and wars matter more than we know” -Brian Doyle***

In the early months after Isabella’s diagnosis, she grappled with what sorts of conversations to have with her self and this cancer that felt both OF HER and NOT HER. There might be something for us all to learn here.

Wartime language is creeping into our everyday lives, as our leaders frame themselves as wartime leaders, waging the battle against an invisible enemy: coronavirus. Perhaps there is another choice besides passively absorbing this feeling tone into our psyches. While so much is out of our control, perhaps we have leadership in our most private conversations, as participants in our inner dialogues. Some clues from author Brian Doyle…

“Use real words. Real words matter. False words are lies. Lies sooner or later are crimes against the body or the soul. I know men, women, and children who have had cancer… All of them spoke of endurance, survival, the mad insistence of hope, the irrepressibility of grace, the love and affection and laughter and holy hands of their families and friends and churches and clans and tribes…”

More from Doyle tomorrow. For today, keeping in mind the poetic expansiveness of endurance, survival, hope, grace, and love…

Jess Stevens, curating mindfulness for Isabella

***Excerpts from Brian Doyle’s essay “On Not ‘Beating’ Cancer”