If I Were Doing Things Right, I Wouldn’t Have Cancer


Daphne odora marginata

There is a sort of comfort in imagining that we have control over the world. Better to blame ourselves for becoming mortally ill than to truly experience the helplessness of accepting randomness and chaos. “If I were doing things right, I wouldn’t have cancer.” Continue reading


A Living Nightmare

Photo Credit:  cosmonautirussi

Photo Credit:

My father learned of a dream-based culture that had a technique for managing nightmares. As an amusing experiment he taught his four year old daughter what that tribe taught their children about nightmares. He told me that the next time I had a bad dream, I should make the Bad Guy give me a gift.

That very night:
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If You Really Knew Me

You would know that:

  1. I am a warrior journeying alone, but companioned by guides, friends and helpers.
  2. I only truly rest when I am outside.
  3. When I talk the most is often when I most crave solitude
  4. There is a neighborhood crow with a dangling leg that keeps an eye on me
  5. I shapeshift. I become animals, trees, rocks and I use what I learn from them to heal.
  6. I was a living human sacrifice in a past life, as I have been in this life.
  7. I always dream in color.
  8. For the past 3 years I mostly dream when I’m awake.
  9. My heart soars and drops, soars and drops when the hummingbirds discover the Mahonia I planted for them.
  10. My fundamental purpose is to be of service.
  11. I am often afraid but equally often courageous.
  12. I swing an axe like nobody’s business.
  13. I have twelve pairs of really truly comfortable, expensive shoes.
  14. I am ready to stop working at my job, but haven’t found the financial pathway to do that yet.
  15. I refused a prognosis when diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. I still don’t know how long I’ve “got.” Neither do you.
  16. I think the sexiest “man parts” are good teeth, twinkly eyes and crinkly smile lines.
  17. I began writing poetry when I was 51 years old.
  18. I know when people are praying for me.
  19. I enter other people’s dreams and teach them things.
  20. Sometimes I teach Buddhist monks use Facebook.
  21. I’m unflinchingly honest – and I’m kind and considerate.
  22. I have an Internal Healer who comes to me as a middle aged Aboriginal woman – she shows me pictures in my head to help me heal.
  23. Every morning I spend an hour outside drinking coffee.
  24. When I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was crying a lot, both of my cats and my dog overcame their differences and sat or leaned on me until I calmed down.
  25. My young nephews used to call me “Aunty Potty Mouth.”


Homecoming by Erica Sternin

Today I arise from 646 days

Of ash and immolation, a survivor.

And today I’ve donned a shimmering, verdant robe,

Which is embroidered with strawberries,

And peonies, and joy.

My heartbeats roar like a humming bird,

Drum like a flicker,