Sunday, July 31, 2016

A New Lens

Cancer is hard.  It changes the way you think about things, and it also gives you a new way to look at the world.  

In a short 6 weeks since being diagnosed it has I have learnt that: 

1. Life is truly short.  We need to make sure that we are doing what we want to do, being who we are and that we are surrounded by those we love.

2. Bullshit is not acceptable. At all. Ever. Deal with it. 

3. People are weird, and some people vanish because they don't know what to do or say and the feelings that come up are way too scary.  I wish that I too could vanish from this all, but I have no choice.  When I have talked to people candidly and openly about my diagnosis they seem so relieved.  And generous.  It's important to take the time with people, because if you can get past the fear, and connect, well, that's the best. 

4. You want to do exactly what is important to you. I want to go back to Spain to where my father came from so I can show my son.  I want to continue collecting stories. I want to grow the theatre and dance audiences in my city.  I want to make art that matters. I want to work on a project that gives cancer patients and their families an opportunity to be creative in a meaningful way while in hospital wards, doctors offices, and waiting rooms.  Getting my hands moving  has helped me so much when my father was diagnosed, and now that i am a cancer patient. These are just seeds and will most probably remain that way until after my treatments, but it's important to identify what means the most to you.  

On Thursday night, I went to one of my all time favourite dance events, Dusk Dances.  For many years it has been in Toronto and 3 years ago they brought this event to Hamilton at lovely Bayfront Park.  It's a night unlike any other.  Audience gathers to a band playing, and then a host appears (this year its' the lovely Nina Gilmour as Madame Pink Lady.)  She lets us know that we will be walking around the park to see four dance pieces.  Disclaimer: I have been a host before in 2009 in Vancouver as the fiesty Ms Lula and know many of the performers involved.  The pieces performed were stunning, so human, and so full of love.  The last piece in particular, Incandescent was excellent.  It was choreographed by Meredith Thompson and Kate Franklin and it featured over 20 community members in a modern piece that took my breathe a way.  The night I went, it was a bit cloudy and far in the distance as the dancers appeared on the horizon, we were treated to a few bolts of lightning that illuminated the sky and the dancers beautifully.  To me, the piece was about life and death, about connection with others, and love.  

As i watched it I was moved to tears.  I watched some people that I have strong connections with dance beautifully as I sat and my body hurt from last weeks surgery.  I wanted to move, I wanted to be dancing with them.  It was, for a moment, a little solo pity party, but then as I watched and thought and felt, it occured to me, that I am changed.  I was watching this piece with a very new lens.  

My new lens allows me to truly be in the moment.  It allows for me to enjoy and for me to feel deeper than I had before.  This lens shows me what is most important in life.  It has made me feel more and think less.  And right now, that is a great thing.  


  1. Lisa, I read your post about how much you liked Incandescent before I saw it on Friday, so I had your words in my head then. When I saw it, the sky was a rich and fiery blend of light and shadow, and almost seemed like part of the piece, like the dancers were dancing with it. It brought out more layers of the life-and-death and eternity conversation... It was beautiful. And so is your post. Thanks for sharing what you're learning.

    1. Thanks so much Emily. I have a feeling that piece will stay with me for a long time. Glad you are reading these posts. Writing them is good for me and I am happy that they are reaching others.