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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Notes from Laura on Her Journey

Thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura as she lives well: October 2006 - December 2006

Visit this section to view thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura from October 2006 through December 2006.


Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

– for Laura only. October 11, 2006

Hello All;

I’m back from a week conducting leadership. It was an inspiring week and contributed to healing my sagging spirits. It gets to be a long ride after awhile, and the spirits can sag. Yet working with the spirit of others is life giving. Working with others to be their most effective in life and to help them create an intentional impact ----- that is a gratifying week of work.

It was a bit of a long week too because I continue to have unexplained pains in my stomach and intestines. So the next couple weeks will be about trying to track down what that is all about.

In the meantime, just a quick navigation note …

How we orchestrate the blog:
is in three months blocks, one heading for postings only from me, and one heading for postings only from you all. You visitors to my blog. Thus, at the end of June we closed down a quarter and started out a new block on July 1st. And now, we close down September and start a new quarter in October. The most recent quarter will always be at the top. If you accidentally post to the wrong section, well no biggy. We are just trying to make it easy for you. And in case some of you have missed it, there is a link at the top of each section which allows you to ‘collapse comments.’ This makes it much easier to scroll down.

I am finding a bit of a challenge in recovering to the fight these days. I told Judy last night that it was sort of like I had set myself up to “make it through this Leadership retreat, to make it to my birthday on Sunday.” I was using some type of glue to hold it together for these last few days. I didn’t see how I had started taking my foot off the gas until this morning when I realize I had stopped taking so many of my supplements this past week. Well you see, it hurts my stomach. And that seems a good enough reason, well, it is a good enough reason in the moment, if the context is to avoid pain. But I don’t really know what is hurting my stomach and stopping the supplements is not the answer. Stopping the supplements is a reaction.

I am not writing to you about supplements though. I am writing to you about the fight again. I am writing to you about WILL power, and actually, I am simply writing to me. Pulling it out of my pocket and examining once again what I ‘want.’ I am looking forward to seeing wonderful, loving and shiney faces on Saturday as the A team hosts a birthday party for me. I ‘want’ that. The fall days here are so beautiful, I ‘want’ to keep savoring the beautiful trees for a while longer.

And still, beyond that what do I ‘want?’

Judy and I stopped at a local shop today and I bought some feu feu clothes, wispy impractical clothes, playful clothes, simply because I desired to indulge a want. I was very present to wanting and fulfilling that want.

I think this is always the most important question, or some version of it: What is wanted? And I find myself not desiring to have a quick and ready answer to that question. That is a question I want to keep hanging out in for a few days. And so I will.

Yesterday, she left us.
I take this space to honor and salute the passing of the feisty and passionate spirit of Ilene Kouzel who had been in the process of examining and demonstrating conscious leaving. She was a caring and intentional course leader for CTI. In many ways her 2 ½ year journey with ALS has paralleled my own journey. She in her way, I in mine. It was amazing how smoothly our conversations stepped into a knowing we had not encountered before. In my mind’s eye I can see us holding hands as we walked our walk. And today as we continue on in our own dimensions. Ilene was involved in a blog and a web cast about conscious leaving and she wrote a poem worth visiting. I think you can see it if you cut and paste the link below:


And once again let me thank you for being here, where I can talk to you and to me, and work my way back to myself.

With Love.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 8:44:00 AM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. Sunday October 22nd.

Hello all;

I have tried to get to the computer sooner, but it has been a bit of a ride this week. More about that in a minute, cause you must hear about the wonderful, special day I had last Saturday. That was a day to celebrate my 59th birthday. I don’t think I have ever had such a wonderfully fabulous, well orchestrated, fun, loving and playful birthday party as was thrown by my ‘A’ Team last Saturday. We tried to keep the number of invitees down to a manageable number – which turned out quite well, because a most wonderful gift from the A team is that practically every person who came sat next to me for a poloroid photo. That meant I got to have real and live connection with everyone. You know how sometimes you have a party and you hardly get to visit with half the people you really intend to. Well this day I got to visit with everyone. Those who flew in from far places to surprise me and those who live close by. What a delicious experience.

The party was located at the Mothertree, the place one and a half miles from my house where I usually conduct the CTI Leadership program. Only this day it was personal rather than professional. I could have asked for bluer skies, but I was warm enough and hopefully you’ll see some pictures too. They’re coming. I got inspired two days before the party and came dressed as fairy Queen Laura, and all the A Team and some others dressed up for the occasion too. You’ll see from the pictures when they get posted that I look pretty queenly, and for those who wonder how I am looking health wise these days, well, I’m lookin’ pretty good. Being Fairy Queen Laura was fun, and suited my sitting on the throne all day, which I did, intentionally, sheltering my energy, letting people come to me, even waitered on me.

And that would be the stretch of the day. To receive so much love and affection. And to receive so much attention. And more, to receive money. The A Team created something called a Money Tree, where people could contribute to my growing medical expenses. And then to receive toasting. I thought I did pretty good. Sitting on my throne in the event room as people lifted their wine glasses to accolades for Laura. And many happy birthdays. And enough already, lets get to the dancing. My arms were dancing as everyone one ‘cut a rug’ especially Joseph my Cancer Champion. And Carly, my Nurse, who came dressed in pink hair and a fun costume. The good news is that we left the IV pole home. We were missing a video camera and should have had one when the ‘A’ Team cut a huge and official Fight, Fight, Fight cheer. It was so good we had it again. It was great fun.

I would say that on Saturday I stretched my receiving muscles to the max. And strange as it may sound to many it has confirmed to me how I have not really wanted to be the center of attention in my life. Yes, stand up to make an impact, to express a point. Be visible and the center of attention, if need be, for something bigger. But for me, I get shy. Isn’t that funny.

In any case, I am most grateful to all who came and especially to the ‘A’ Team, for being THE role model of all ‘A’ Teams for supporting someone on a healing journey. Saturday was a healing journey. Thanks to you all my dear ones.

And on Sunday, my official birthday, some party goers who stayed over stopped in for a breakfast visit and to help with the Money Tree. My goodness. I am so honored. That Money Tree. The funds I received are enough for me to spend another week at the clinic in Mexico, when that time comes, as I think it will. Knowing that I have the funds for that set aside is a relief. It doesn’t make me wonder if I should take this or that life saving action. Just go. So again, the extent of receiving continues.

In the face of such receiving I can’t help wondering if I deserve it. If I am worth it. All the attention; all the money; all the love. I have gotten over those thoughts though. I think they are natural. I think they are questions I should look at from time to time in my life. Actually I think they are questions that we all should address. Am I deserving of ...? How about you?

I don’t think I have to look outside for the answers. It is not what I do in the world. It is who I be while I do in the world. And hmmmmmm, well I do think that what I do in the world matters. Still, it is about who I be while I do what I do in the world. But in this case, I look at who I be as a friend, as a sister, as a partner, as a spouse, as a comrade, as an ‘A’ Team recipient. Am I worthy? Yes, I think so. I hope so.

As to this week. Long absent and missed friends visited on Sunday afternoon and on Monday. That was good for me as I so enjoy stimulating conversation and get energized by it. Which was a good thing cause on Tuesday we started the fight a g a i n. You see, this last month we have been quite aggressive, doing low dose chemo therapy which kicks butt on those cancer tumors, and then I do IVs that chelate the chemo, and nourish the battered immune system, helping me to recover so that we can do it all over again. And so on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of this week I had low dose chemo therapy, and it reallllllly kicked butt this time. Nausea, and pain and fatigue. More stomach pain, cat naps in the middle of the day, tied up to an IV filled with nourishment, sleeping with a bowl, just in case, not very sociable and too tired to post to the blog. Whew!

Joseph left a message for me on Saturday after looking at my blood work and said the same thing. We are kicking butt, the cancer’s butt, and my body is really working it, but I have the perfect IVs to support me during this time, and the perfect partner holding my hand and seeing that the IVs are going in, and the perfect community wanting me to keep showing up. Yay to you!

And I think I am doing what I need to be doing. Fighting the fight, even when there are times, many times, when I don’t feel like it, cause the cancer is in my liver and my brain and my thigh and my spine and well it wants to be everywhere, so back to the chemo therapy, cause even cancer gets to want what it wants. And right now I am negotiating what I want!!

Love to you all, Laura


Sunday, October 22, 2006 5:29:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

for Laura only.

Hello All;

I really want to engage further with the query that Maria and Lora and others have explored here. Where do people go? Why do they go? Or, why do they fail to show up? I’d like to add to the conversation some possible answers -
One possible answer is - fear
And anther possible answer - being too busy.
And another possible answer – difficulty in being with the prospect of life threatening illness/death.
And another possible answer – not knowing how to be with those who are seriously ill or dying.
What do you all think?

I won’t engage deeply in the conversation right now because I just don’t have the energy. This has been a continuation of last week although the ride has gotten rougher. I don’t have enough energy and am in discomfort a lot of the time. And to discuss where people go takes a kind of mental clarity that is missing at the moment. And my lab results are declining as well. So consider this a quick update and a book mark for a future conversation.

Oh, and we are trying to find a way to post all the pictures from the party to a link on the blog, although maybe you have seen the picture of Fairy Queen Laura on her birthday at the top of the blog page. I am sure glad I had the chance to have the energy for that birthday party.

Love to you all,



Tuesday, October 31, 2006 7:37:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

for Laura Only

November 6, 2006

Hello All;

It has been a very tough week for me. More discomfort, fatigue and cloudyness than ever. It seems like something is definitely going on with my lower abdomen. It is swollen and swelling. If I push a bit I can feel pain in the liver area. I am also dealing with continuing test results that show declined red blood cell strength, and a high Inflammation CRP blood test score. Inflammation is a much bigger problem in our country than most people realize - it is usually prevalent in people who get cancer. If you care about maintaining a healthy and long life you might want to go to this article about inflammation - http://www.vrp.com/art/1683.asp

I anticipate to have more news by Wednesday and hopefully some new tests to take before then to see what is going on. We are working on reducing the swelling in the belly and are going to look at a possible trip to the clinic in Mexico near the end of this week or the beginning of next week.

I have to remind myself that this is what we have been working toward, pushing the cancer, realizing that the cancer will drain my body. While this is going on I am pretty ineffective – at the computer anyway. Also my fatigue continues so I am pretty much of a marshmallow today, this past week. So please keep sending me your healing thoughts and healing energy this next week, especially enough energy to reach out more than I have recently. But let me try here.

I really appreciate the dialogue we have been having about ‘where people go.’ Isn’t it an interesting topic? A personal topic? An uncomfortable topic too, eh? Let me make myself clear that I am not coming from a place of complaint, (anymore) rather a place of raging curiosity, wonderment, and service.

What causes this? Why do we disappear?

There are many answers. I had started a list of more things that cause us to go away and I will post them at the end of this email, but instead of my list I’d rather point you to the potent and “just in” email from Helen under the ‘comments’ section. She gives us a personal and comprehensive experience of ‘going away’. As always Helen speaks to our humanity by using her own experience in an insightful, powerful and touching way. Thank you so much Helen, you really nail it. Most importantly what gets nailed is that the answer is not simple, nor easy. Maybe some of you would like to capture in a post your own comprehensive view of it. Please. Because this is a conversation that isn’t over. More of you to hear from, even if it is not profound (please don’t be) or if you feel it is redundant. Let us hear from you anyway.

Oh, and Why do we disappear? That is one part of the question, yet maybe a greater question is this: In the event a friend or an acquaintance or family member has a life threatening illness - who would you want to be? If you forget yourself, or leave yourself, or kid yourself, who would you want to be called back to?

That is a question worth chewing on I think? I’ll sign off for this week and if you want to look at the list of more reasons, see what I came up with below.

Thank you for coming.

Love, Laura

Extra Post: Rationales:
Who might you be in the face of illness or impending death?

Might you tell yourself that they won’t want to hear from you?
Might you tell yourself that you don’t want to intrude?
Might you tell yourself that you will contact them later? Tomorrow? Week?
Might you tell yourself that you are just too busy to reach out?
Might you tell yourself that you don’t know what to say?
Might you tell yourself that it will be a depressing conversation or connection
and you don’t want to ruin your mood?
Might you tell yourself that you don’t feel comfortable about this?
Might you just tell yourself you don’t feel like it?
Might you tell yourself that it isn’t important?
Might you tell yourself that you might say or do something that will hurt them?
What else might you think or do?

I think all of the rationales listed above are valid and real for people. Yet when these thoughts are unexamined, they run us. When we don’t identify why we disappear then we are likely being run by unexamined rationale. Not at choice.



Monday, November 06, 2006 7:57:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. November 11, 2006

Hello All;

I have been looking into some deeper corners about the question of ‘where people go.’ And, well, I just can’t go exploring there right now, as much as I’d like to. Instead I am packing to head off to Mexico tomorrow. I crashed and burned out this week, and fortunately have come back enough that I can travel. But we have to go in after the liver.

It might be a pretty dicey time you’all. And it is exactly what is on the road ahead. No pulling punches. A dose of low dose radiation on the liver is going to release lots of toxins into my body (that’s what we want) and then the question is can the body handle it. Or will it clog it up? Will the ducts keep flowing? At the clinic in Mexico I’ll have more likelihood of immediate response to yellow and red alerts. It sounds scary to me too. It is. And I need to do this now, while I have the strength that I have.

And ya know. I still have all those loose ends. All the things left undone. I don’t have things all wrapped up neat and tidy like I’d think I would. Yet I probably I have done this on purpose, cause ya know, “ya can’t go till its neat and tidy.” So let’s not get too many loose ends handled, eh?

So here’s one after all. Let me leave you with the next question, the one after ‘where people go?’ Now wonder with me (knowing that I hold a context of fighting the fight) from a place of deep curiosity – how would you explain what it means to ‘show up?’ Curiosity about showing up in the world, with lovers, at work, with your friends, and yes, with those who are ill or dying. And even showing up in your life. What might be a way to describe ‘showing up’ and ‘NOT showing up?’ Please, please, all you who just pass through, drop a sentence here about this. We need to hear from each other? I need to look forward to engaging with this loose end. And we need to look at this for a moment. Together.

You’all come. And send me a prayer at the same time.

With love,



Saturday, November 11, 2006 9:21:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. November 22, 2006

Hello All;

True, I am back from Mexico. It was not, however, an uplifting experience. I come back with increasing pain in my back and shoulders and liver. The Liver has been attacked by the silver sword of radiation and will get better. The back and deep ache of the shoulder pain could be an increase in lactic acid. Whatever, being ahead of it is my desire.

I am also in pretty weak shape and have been throwing up the last couple of days. And this is where the fight lives, right here on the edge, where it is hard, where I am too skinny and too tired, and where I hurt. Where it isn’t all positive and cheery words. This is the fight, and its hard, and the time I need to keep hanging in there. Thank you for helping me to do that.

I am grateful for you all, and that brings me to the edge of Thanksgiving…..

I used to be the kind of person who liked to have a lot to do, and to fill my time. Sitting around waiting had not been my forte.’ Yet on this trip, when I could find periods without pain I would just sit there. It was a new perspective. To peer into what that moment was like without pain. And what I could see in the world through this moment without pain. And of course, how did it look ‘with pain.’ Today I was/am just plain curious about the ‘with pain’ and the ‘without pain’ time frame and how it frames up life.

I also have a new slant on what it means to ‘take it for granted.’ I can still have moments ‘without pain’ and take that for granted, because that is what I always did. But life is so much creamier when I don’t take that moment ‘without pain’ for granted. And of course I forget, often and a lot, and take the moments without pain for granted. It is the catching myself and coming back that is noteworthy ……. And for that I am grateful, on this day before and day of thanksgiving. To give thanks for those moments without pain.

And to give extreme thanks for you, for the opportunity to be in dialogue and discovery with you. About life. About Cancer. About pain. About feelings. About ‘going away’ and staying. About Showing up and not. I think there are some powerful distinctions to be made around showing up versus ‘being there’ and I will do my best to bring my input to this conversation in the next few days. After I have rested a little.

So my dear friends I send you wonderful holiday wishes of being pain free, in your heart, soul and body – as you spend time with friends or family this holiday. Do not take that time for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

With love,



Wednesday, November 22, 2006 1:25:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. December 1, 2006

Hello All,

Here’s the latest….
My blood took a nosedive, including my red blood cells, my white blood cells, and my iron – I was very anemic and very exhausted - all the time. Also feeling nausea, painful acid reflux/sick to my stomach and continuation of a lessening though continuing shoulder pain. Little did I know that things were going to get worse since I last posted.

Fortunately, Joseph came up with a protocol that seems to be turning things around. Unfortunately, the protocol requires changing the IV’s every 30 minutes, 24 hours a day! Whew! Our friend Pauline did an all-nighter with us on Wednesday, and my nurses Carly and Joe came last night – what a life saver that was cause Judy got a chance to catch up some on her sleep. It looks like Lisa can help out some tonight and it looks like Breeze can tomorrow night. Well I’m tired anyway so it just continues for me, it’s Judy who is in line for sainthood, let me tell ya, although she is feeling a bit loopy she says. The good news is that we’ve made it through 48 hours and the blood work is improving. That makes it all worth it Judy says. Joseph wants us on this protocol for a couple of weeks but Judy and I are thinking we can make it until next week sometime. We’ll see how it goes.

With all of that going on, last weekend Judy and Breeze and I found and chopped down the perfect Christmas tree. Shekinah and Breeze did the lights and then saint Breeze did most of the tree decorating. Judy fed and entertained the numerous elves that stopped by for a visit. Can you tell Christmas is going to be a big event here this year? I love the colors, the sounds, the smells, and the mood! I especially love contaminating everyone who stops by with the Christmas spirit.

I am definitely working on a “what it means to show up” posting so hang in there with me and check back for it.

Thanks for coming A N D savor the holidays!

Ho Ho Ho



Friday, December 01, 2006 6:03:00 PM

Blogger Melissa O'Mara said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, December 01, 2006 8:14:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NEWS = YAY December 2, 2006


Whew, we get to change the protocol back to different hours. Now we can all sleep through the night without IV changes. I am grateful for the results of the 'every 30 minute' protocol, and yay - now I get to look forward to a good night sleep. So does Judy and Breeze. Thank you soooooo much to those of you who offered your help - what a gift. Thanks so muich for the love and support, and now I am taking the rest of the day/night off.

Love to all. Oh and light the tree.

Ho ho ho, Laura

Saturday, December 02, 2006 6:22:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. December 5, 2006

More udate;

The blood work has taken another nosedive. My results have never been quite this dangerous. We came this close to doing a transfusion today, yet still, the choice is to see if the red blood can right itself, if the Hemoglobin and Hematacrit will return by itself. And the real, the big fear is that a blood transfusion will cause a deadly blood clot. Lots of reason to fear that. It is so strange, I have certainly been feeling stronger than two weeks ago, but my blood work is going the other way. So I feel stronger, and am getting weaker. Now how is that like a life metaphor for us human beings – especially those of us involved with human growth and potential.

All of this has been a challenging experience. Scary, hard, confusing, mystifying, one day better, one day worse. I can’t help wondering how close this brings me to dying. I can’t help wondering.

And then I stop wondering, cause no way is this the time, the day, the way of dying for me today. I still have those lose ends, the finalization of the will, hopefully the CTI buy out, Xmas, the distinctions around ‘showing up’ and not showing up. Hearing from you.

As you can tell, while I have the energy I’ll keep you posted as we go, so stay tuned. And remember, Xmas holiday time is a beautiful time of year if you are hungry for beauty in your life.



Tuesday, December 05, 2006 7:24:00 AM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. Wednesday - December 6, 2006

Hello all;

We were at the clinic today, and we changed to a newer IV protocol today. Joseph and I have had rough times with each other today and yesterday. Transfusion or no transfusion? Being accurate? Making mistakes? Being perfect. Feeling objectified. Working hard, non-stop, for a year. Tired. Messy, messy. It's been hard. Really hard.

Among other things it turned out I needed to have a melt down. It turned into a very wet, long and hard cry Over night. During the morning. Cry and feel sorry for myself. I was over due. It felt better but lots of things had to happen before 'felt better' moved into the neighborhood. Well no doubt Wonderwoman will show up again in the bathroom tonight -- she always does that after a melt down. (=:

GOOD NEWS: The CRP test score from Saturday-- that's the inflammation result - is way down. To 18. Very good news.

BAD NEWS: I had one low dose of chemo therapy while in Mexico. Gemstar, a type that two weeks later, on the dot, caused me to start shedding hair. And here I am today with 10% of my normal hair, and I know I am on my way to zero. I knew the hair loss was coming. I even said I was fine with it. Yet I have a funny feeling that the melt down was aided and abetted by emerging baldness. Siggghhhhh.

Thats the physical update.
Any overdue meltdown anyone?

Thanks for coming.

Jingle, jingle,

Love to you all, Laura


Wednesday, December 06, 2006 7:46:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. Sunday - December 10, 2006

Hello All;

A quick update. We received new bloodwork on Friday. Well, the good news - the downward slide of the bloodwork results has stopped for now. In fact, there is a small improvement in the other direction. Nothing definitive, just going in the right direction. The red blood still needs lots and lots of health. It's coming.

The pain and numbness is increasing in my legs. Hhhmmm, is that the old spine tumor, or has all the sitting for the last year caught up with me. We're lookin' at it.

The hair falling out. It's now at 95%. Isn't it funny that this should be one of those things that I am experienced at.... loosing my hair.

Other news. My energy is coming back. Probably the steroids are not working so hard at the inflammation, so I feel the positive effects, sooner.

Tomorrow is another early trip to the hospital. Monday morning. To do another blood test. To discover the trend - where is the blood going?

Judy got away this weekend. She has really been doing tons and tons of WORK. And worry. And driving and waking and washing and feeding and shopping and .... well all the regular things of life have to go on while the IVs and trips to the clinic and the shots and the sterlizing and........well enough. Lean into it. Picture it. Taste it. Sense it. Feel it?

There is just alot to this fight stuff.

I needed Isha to help me see how hard it was getting for Judy -- the good news... Isha galvanized us into recuperation, rejuvenation and asking for help. My sister Leslie came up for the weekend and went with me to the clinic on Friday and then between us we made sure I was doing all the IVs and shots and other important treatments this weekend. Thank you so much Leslie. Especially as we weathered the power outage brought in by our rainy, windy winter storm. Adventure too. Maybe when we do a repeat next weekend we can keep the lights on all the time. And how was the weekend for you?

There is so much to do in fighting this. There is so little down time. And yet, now, now is the time to keep the metal to the pedal. Either we are going after the cancer or we are coasting and making room for it. Yes, I sure have had moments of wanting to chuck it all, to just give up. To stop the fight. I have had quite a few of those moments in the last month. I have looked at them closely, allowed them to flow through, sometimes to stick, and then to flow through. And yet the call of the fight keeps coming to me. I hear it sometimes louder than other times, but I think that is the voice that I am hearing. "Fight, don't give up, it's worth. It's who you are. It's what is. Until it isn't." Soooooo, what do you think Judy? What do you all think?

Let me please be very blatant here with my appreciation and gratitude and love and respect to Judy, always and forever. And to Isha and Leslie and Carly and Joe, for showing up. (oops, that's another post - coming.) The appreciation and gratitude and love and respect -- that is always for there for youse guys.

And let me present here how so very much I have appreciated the emails and the messages and the support that have been coming to this blog, especially the last few weeks. I go back and read them over and over again. And really, you all have become especially inspiring and caring and supportive to me right now. I am nourished, and very touched.

Thank you - thank you - thank you.

And Thanks for coming.

Happy holidays

Love to you all, Laura


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006 8:45:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. December 15, 2006 ‘Show Up’ - Finally

Hello All,

Consumer protection warning: I have written a lot here so don’t start this unless you have a bit of time. And if I read it one more time I will probably hit the delete button, so here goes.

Showing Up. Not showing up. Disappearing. Where do we go? Staying.

I have chewed for quite some time on all these topics, especially the one labeled …. What is it to ‘show up?’ What is it not to ‘show up?’ Those questions really stirred up some lively and juicy conversation here on the blog. Yay. Yay us. Yay to you all. This topic has occurred for me as a result of being on this journey with cancer. But this posting is not about me, my health or about cancer. It’s about what it means to ‘show up.’ Let me keep putting that phrase in ‘quote’ marks so we are reminded that in this conversation we are seeking a distinction, a differentiation – not a definition.

Note: Being able to distinguish the term ‘show up’ has the probability of serving you powerfully as you move through your life choices. Definitions on the other hand can lock us into narrow points of view that limit available choices. So, let’s keep opening up and distinguishing ‘show up.’

As it turns out I have my own certain sense of what the term ‘show up’ means. Surprise. (-; My definition of what it is to ‘show up’, may differ from yours, so I want to warn you ahead of time that I am going to speak emphatically and decisively about ‘showing up.’ I’m going to borrow from others, and I am going to push for us to align around the importance of distinguishing this concept. Please stand by your definition of what it is to ‘show up’ and take in my input as food for thought.

To ‘show up’ means to ACT. To ‘show up’ is a verb, it is an action verb, it requires intention and an act of WILL.

‘Showing up’ is Action. Not thinking about, wishing, hoping, accidents, pretending, or talking about. To ‘show up’ is visible. It can be seen in the world by others. By you. If you should even pause to look, cause most often you don’t. You are already moving.

To ‘show up’ is something we choose. AND it is a way of life. We choose to ‘show up’ for this or that, and we choose to ‘not show up’ for that and those. And still, there is in each of us a ‘shower upper.’ Some of us show up a lot. Some of us a little. Some hardly at all. And some of us don’t have the distinction, to ‘show up,’ so are unable to access the power when we are and when we are not ‘showing up.’

Here is the example that first taught me about ‘showing up’ - this came from Kim, a long term Executive Coaching client of mine. Kim was home sick, receiving calls from the office and from friends who made various overtures of assistance or asked what they could do to help, accepting the decline and “thanks anyway.” And then she answered the door and there was one friend who ‘showed up’ and said, “go back to bed while I do the dishes and make you something to eat.”

My client realized and even used the language that this was a friend who had ‘showed up.’ She had some hesitancy in bringing up the subject because she was grateful to those who had offered assistance (she didn’t want to make them wrong) yet she was clear that they hadn’t really ‘shown up.’ We had a prolonged coaching conversation about what it means to ‘show up’ and where she had not been showing up, both in her own life, AND at work.

She peered into the actions of others that she worked with and was able to identify those who ‘showed up’ and those who did not. And while there were definitely people who were in action, for many it was a job, a thing that had to be done, and for others, it was an act of ‘showing up.’ This became a turning point for her in many ways. First, that she stopped kidding herself about her own ‘showing up’ and second, provided her access to a powerful and useful question that she could ask herself on a regular basis. Finally, she found herself more adept at assessing players and allies, those who were skillful at producing results and creating, and innovating and getting on with it – more clear ‘shower uppers.’

And her other, really well meaning friends? They would tell you that they did what they could to ‘show up’ and were declined. Yet I am becoming convinced that we can easily become seduced by our overtures, our good intentions, our sincerity. And this is where a key part of the distinction comes in - to ask, hope or be very sincere in our offer to ‘show up’ is not ‘showing up.’ Cause I can be sincere, and still not act. I can have good intentions, make offers, I can try. But there is no ‘showing up’ when there is no action. This can be a longer, deeper topic of conversation, or you can simply look into your own life and determine the locations where you are sincere in your life, and see if you might be confusing that with the act. Look at the things you say you will do and then you don’t do them – but you meant to, you were really sincere when you said it. See if the power of distinguishing ‘show up’ from sincerity can serve you in 2007.

Now here is something very important to say here -- there is NO requirement that one has to ‘show up.’ There is no HAVE to. As a matter of fact if we think we HAVE to ‘show up’ at anytime or anywhere, then we have lost what it is to ‘show up.’ Try this on: One piece of evidence of someone who ‘shows up’ comes when that someone says (or acts) “no, I will not be ‘showing up’ for xxx.?” “I will ‘show up’ for yyyy.” Or, “I’ll let you know what I will show up for when I am clear about that myself.”

Because to ‘show up’ is a stand, a stake, it is the intention that you couple with the act of will. Both the intention and the action are required to ‘show up.’ And we cannot authentically choose to ‘show up’ for everything. As a matter of fact, if we try to ‘show up’ for everything then maybe we are simply trying to be pleasers instead of people who have chosen to ‘show up’ in life.

In my journey with cancer I have had many opportunities to see what it means to ‘show up.’ First by seeing the people who would fade away, who would disappear, who would forget or failed to stay or just never came at all. And then, as I was warned, I was surprised at those who did ‘show up.’ Previously some of them were not in my life on an ongoing basis, until they decided to show up, step in and take action. Some would drop what they were doing and just come. Some would write me a potent card every week or make a phone call to an important reference for me, or drive long distances for a visit, or bring me things that would make my life easier, or listen for hours as I go on and on about organic vegetables. Some would drop everything and come with me to chemotherapy, or my birthday party or even farther, Mexico. Some would sit me down and tell me to wake up, or get up, or something hard that I needed to hear. And, well, it felt good (and sometimes hard) to be with those who would ‘show up.’ Really good.

Yet how what about those who can’t or choose not to ‘show up?’ Well wait a minute now. To ‘show up’ is not the main focus, it is not everything, it is not the only destination. One of the greatest gifts to me along this journey has been all the ‘touches’ I have received from you, YOU, you the bloggers and friends and loved ones who only have the time or the opportunity for a card, a call or a note. I sure don’t want to eradicate or dilute the potency of ‘touching’ (connect with, love, express feelings to, share kindness, etc). Remember, we are in the process of distinguishing here. So there is no HAVE TO ‘show up’ and there really is a lot more to life than ‘showing up.’

One thing all of this chewing on what it is to ‘show up’ has revealed to me is where I stopped. Where I even caved in on the fight. Where I got really tired, for a really good reason, and handed everything, all the thinking and planning and preparing and intending over to Judy or Joseph or someone else. I can tell you when. And that is OK…. For awhile. And then, having retrieved some energy, it was time for me to ‘show up’ again in my own treatment, in my ownership of my protocols and my choosing what I was taking rather than the ‘whatever you say’ role that had seduced me away from my own stand. And I didn’t do that. I stopped ‘showing up.’ I just coasted.

Until we got into this conversation about ‘showing up.’ Now I look at my life inside a context called ‘showing up’ and am I kicking back, quitting or ‘showing up?’ And can I look around at other areas of my life right now and see where I need to ‘show up?’ Yes. And it feels good to look there, and to see, what aligns with me, and my stand and my stake…. And Living Well.

And oh, maybe I should have told you at the beginning. To ‘show up’ is the way of the Warrior. Angeles Arrien, in her book the Four-Fold Way has been a great resource for me in this conversation. She talks about the four major archetypes (Teacher, Healer, Visionary and Warrior) and identifies the key principle for the Warrior as follows:
Show up, or choose to be present. Being present allows us to access the human resources of power, presence and communication. The warrior has a willingness to take a stand. This is the capacity to let others know where we stand, where we don’t stand, what we stand for, and how we stand up for ourselves.

And to Act. Take a stand and act.

This has been a very, very long one I know. And I have even more to say. As a matter of fact, I’ll forward on to you the write-up from Angeles Arrien about the four Archetypes. Maybe tomorrow.

Oh, by the way, to those of you who might have the:

“Maybe I don’t know you well enough” or “Who am I to write to this blog” going on….

Who are you? You are the one. You are the unique and particular and distinct point of view that no one, NO ONE else can duplicate. And what you say always, always, always matters. You are the gift, the one and only you and what you have to say in the world can only be heard from you. It matters. You need to know that for the blog. You need to know that everywhere. What you have to say is worth saying. And worth hearing.

What YOU have to say is important. Sometimes it is profound (who really cares) and sometimes it is simple, and sometimes sweet, sometimes smart and sometimes boring and sometimes tender and touching and always valuable. So to those of you who haven’t ‘shown up’ or ‘shown up’ much because you have that ‘who am I’ story going on, well just check it out. Does it really allow you to ‘show up’ in the world, or could it just be a pile of crap that allows for one more opportunity to play small? Uh oh, who do I think I am. - to get on my soap box about this too?

Thank you for coming,

And remember, have the holidays be happy.

Love, Laura


Friday, December 15, 2006 8:39:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. Sunday December 17

Hello all;

Just a quick Update. The blood work came back. My sodium and CO2 are quite low and I have to ingest more Sodium Chloride and BiCarb. Joseph is becoming concerned that I am becoming too acid.

The rest of the blood has taken a tiny step further in the right direction... and there is still a long way to go. The good news is that my energy is high and my mood is very good. I feeeeeel good. Aaahhh.

And I may need to get back to Mexico for more radiation in the new year. I am off to do a PET/CT scan on Thursday. Test results... that can always be a challenge, but I need the data.

Love to you all, Laura


Sunday, December 17, 2006 11:27:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. December 21, 2006

Hello All;

It is pouring rain and cold here in the Sebastopol area. I had some challenges with detoxing today and had to get to the hospital for my weekly blood draw. We'll find out how things are going on the blood front sometime this afternoon.

Lisa is due here in half an hour and we drive over to Santa Rosa to do a PET/CT scan. Remember, tests can be a kinda dramatic thing. Results won't be in til tomorrow - what results? What am I after that I am doing this test? To find out what is going on with the cancer in the Liver and to help determine how much/when to do more radiation? What is going on with the remains of the tumor in my spine and how it impacts the numbness in my legs. And what else is there to learn?

Joseph gets concerned that I will allow the results to depress me or impact my mood. Well, could be, but I am one of those types who wants data, input, info... so I can make decisions that are relevant to current facts. Well, I want all of that, and then there is always the intuition, doing it's thing anyway, so it is never one way or the other. It's a blend of fact and inner knowing. So the test today feels really right to do.

There ya have it, that is the medical update.

I have loved hearing what you all have to say about 'showing up.' And being a 'show-er upper..' Keep chewing on it. There's more here than you might think.

Ohhhh, and Shekinah, you asked what I want for Xmas. Well of course it is to have people post here. To talk with me and engage with me about meaningful topics, like disappearing and staying and showing up. And, in a while I am going to ask people to help with input on the book/web site. It is getting ready to come and I will be completely inspired and motivated by you all. So stay tuned.

And finally,

I paste below a few paragraphs from Angeles Arrien's Four Fold Way - expanding beyond the 'showing up' piece. Only read when you have time and see, where are you in all of this.

Thanks for coming today and happy Xmas holidays.

Love, Laura


Quoted Directly from the Four Fold Way – by Angeles Arrien

My research has demonstrated that virtually all shamanic traditions draw on the power of four archetypes in order to live in harmony and balance with our environment with our own inner nature: The Warrior, the Healer, the Visionary, and the Teacher. Because each archetype draws on the deepest mythic roots of humanity, we too can tap into their wisdom. When we learn to live these archetypes within ourselves, we will begin to heal ourselves and our fragmented world.

The following four principles, each based on an archetype, comprise what I call the Four-Fold Way:

1. Show up, or choose to be present. Being present allows us to access the human resources of power, presence and communication. This is the way of the Warrior.
2. Pay attention to what has heart and meaning. Paying attention opens us to the human resources of love, gratitude, acknowledgement, and validation. This is the way of the Healer.
3. Tell the truth without blame or judgment. Nonjudgmental truthfulness maintains our authenticity, and develops our inner vision and intuition. This is the way of the Visionary.
4. Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome. Openness and nonattachment help us recover the human resources of wisdom and objectivity. This is the way of the Teacher.

When we understand these universal experiences, we are better able to respect the diverse ways in which these shared themes are expressed by all people. Even though these four archetypes are emphasized in most shamanic traditions, it is important to understand that they are universal and available to all humankind, regardless of context, culture, structure and practice. In our society we express the way of the Warrior in our leadership ability. We express the way of the Healer through our attitudes toward maintaining our own health and the health of our environment. We express the way of the Visionary through our personal creativity and through our ability to bring our life dreams and visions in the world. We express the way of the Teacher through our constructive communication and information skills. Page 7 & 8

The principle that guides the Warrior is showing up and choosing to be present. The developed Warrior shows honor and respect for all things, employs judicious communication, sets limits and boundaries, is responsible and disciplined, demonstrates right use of power and understand the three universal powers. Page 15

The Warrior demonstrates the willingness to take a stand. This is the capacity to let others know where we stand, where we don’t stand, what we stand for, and how we stand up for ourselves. Page 24


Thursday, December 21, 2006 1:18:00 PM

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. - December 24, 2006

Hello All;

Happy Christmas Eve Day,

Christmas Eve Night,

Christmas Day,

Happy Christmas – Period.

Because this is a special time.


It’s special because we say so.
Because we chose to have this be a special day.

It could just be another Sunday or a Monday - it could be regular email and phone calls and duties and other mundane and regular activities.


You could -- SAY how you want it.

You could design exactly how special you want today, or tomorrow, or this year, or this LIFE of yours to be.

So have it be special.

On the medical front:

My PET/CT test results give me new data, new answers, new challenges and new explanations. It looks like I’ll be going back to Mexico in the New Year.

And it looks like 2007 will be a SPECIAL year – this is the year that we pursue the Cancer, the Kick The Cancer’s Butt year. To go for it.

To go right up to the very edge of the Fight of it; the year to put myself in the path of the life and death of the cancer of it; to risk life over and over again; to risk death over and over again; to win the fight! Oh yes that. That is special.

So please come with me and create this special year with me – the ‘kick the cancer’s butt’ special year. And one way to do that is to segue 2006 into SPECIAL 2007. One way to do that is to choose it as special. For example, find and sing that special Christmas song, find the ahhhhh in the wonder of the tree, in the lights, in the friends, in the delightful mood, in the beauty of this holiday season. I wish this for you. I send this to you. And especially I send to you the power to grant ‘special’ to each and everything and every person you choose to be special during this holiday season. And next.

I have been honored and humbled and privileged by your visits, your words and you’re caring this year. You have nourished my heart and soul in 2006. You have ‘shown up’ for my health and my healing, and my words and my extroversion and my aliveness and my life.

I am moved and touched by you.

Thank you, profoundly, really, truly, happily, lovingly.

I wish you the best possible special holiday season, to one an all.

With gratitude and blessings,



Sunday, December 24, 2006 4:23:00 PM

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