Sunday, February 20, 2011

defining "2nd life"

last week I was walking around downtown
with Brandon
we visited Artlandish Gallery, his first visit there

(here's a strange experience for me:
I cannot remember if I wrote about that here or not
I don't want to go sifting through past postings
and I also don't want to feel embarrassed which I do...
that has been such a real challenging issue for me
beyond the jokes about
getting old
and forgetful
about having chemo-brain
which really never is a joke to me
even when I laugh and make what appears to be
a joke.
all right,
if I told the artlandish tale before, so be it.
if not, I touch upon it again because it is worth

as we were walking out of the gallery
Brandon asked me about my use of the term: "2nd Life"
since I had mentioned that I might like to try to
create some art pieces and
see if they would be accepted for sale at the gallery
as 2nd Life Originals
and the use of "my 2nd life" here on the blog...

it seemed to him to imply that my 1st life was
somehow dead
in order for there to be a second one.

ah, that is worth reflecting on for sure

as I rambled around with thoughts as we walked
I played around with different ideas:
was I living a "2nd chapter"
a "2nd story"
more of a continuum rather than break with the past?

did something die for me to resurrect to?
was this a transition versus a new birth?
did I find myself on the highway of life
and on the day before Thanksgiving 2006
when the word "cancer" was emblazoned
on a huge sign in front of my face
did I take a Detour
or an Exit
did I cross over a new State line
did I crash and die to my old life
and wake up to a 2nd life?

I remember early on, when I was starting to go out again
after the surgeries, radiation, etc
and I was walking alone by a small river, on a bridge
I was searching for an analogy
for the "path" I found myself on
probably thinking of what would be a
good title for my story
and came up with
"my river"

not my journey
my path
my destiny
and most certainly not
my dream

it also was not my nightmare

so "my river" worked at that time
I remember picking up four leaves
one for me, Gary, Brandon, Bryan

I tossed the leaves to the breeze of the day
and watched where they fell upon the water
I watched for as long as I could see them

as a cancer survivor I find that words
titles, names, symbols, things of this nature
have an impact on my self-image and self-preservation
for a long time I was all about wearing
my LIVESTRONG wristband and wearing yellow
I identified with being a SURVIVOR and still do
I use a LIVESTRONG mug at work all the time...

but I am more than a survivor, I am a navigator
there is a paradigm shift in that
and maybe I want a very strong shift
more than turning a corner
in this life I live now

there are wonderful things to carry over from my
1st Life
and they are honored by me and I take them in me
and with me
mostly they are people I love

but there are other things
and parts of me
that I break with and leave behind
yes, even burn the bridges behind me
parts of my character have changed - a good thing
when it means growth
and letting old unproductive ways of
relating vaporize
trying to plant and nurture new ways learned

is this truly a "2nd Life"?
yes, for me it is.
did I die to my first life?
in some good ways I say YES!
with a smile of gratitude

all these days and years are woven together
even burned bridges give texture to the tapestry

looking in the mirror
I never am quite sure who I will see
as long as I LAUGH
that is the saving grace

there is a knitting piece that I started recently
with 57 stitches per row.
I respect that number of years... 1st life
overlapped by second
1st & 2nd & 3rd and however many
I am blessed to live
all at the very same moment


  1. Not that it matters,cause it is your descriptor, but "2nd Life" seems appropriate to me. Does that mean you cannot carry over stuff from "1st life", absolutely not.

    From what I know, many survivors, of all kinds of things, view their life as before and after. Many seek to streamline, refocus and concentrate on the things they believe took for granted in the "1st Life".

    Ps. Artlandish Gallery IS intersting, isn't it. And hey, "2nd Life" would make a great moniker for art!

  2. Jeff, I appreciate your comment/input
    "2nd Life" works and what you wrote gave
    new depth to my choice

    have you taken your children to Artlandish?
    I still want to go to Orr Street Studios
    can't believe I haven't yet - a bit of insecurity
    that needs to be let go of?

    have you been there when the artists
    are working and visitors can watch them
    "in action"?
    it is time for me to go
    will get the info and maybe Bryan will
    enjoy joining me...
    Jeff, my best to you and your family

  3. This "2nd Life" moniker is especially cool and appropriate if your stuff will be made using repurposed or recycled stuff.

    I have not taken my children to Artlandish. I am sure Lauren and Leanna might like it. Ben??? I just went for the first time last week.

    I have been to Orr Street Studios many times and on many different occasions. Working artists yes, open houses, yes, Friday art crawl in the District, etc. I even took a painting class there from Joel Sager for a month. Nothing to be skeered of my friend. Great facility! Cool stuff to look at. I love the doors to the artists' spaces.