Tag Archives: Laurie Foley

There’s No Time for Anything Else

Image by Heather Muse

Image by Heather Muse

Laurie Foley is one of those people I just knew I’d meet someday. I was so sure of it. We have some of the same friends in real life, have 55 friends in common on Facebook, attend the same sort of events, run in the same circles, find the same stuff funny, wonder at the same things — it was inevitable, really.

But it turns out I will never get to meet her. After living for 3.5 years with ovarian cancer and all its various complications, Laurie entered hospice care this week. What I know for sure about her without having to meet her face to face is that she’s one of the kindest, funniest, warmest, most brilliant humans around, and I’m so incredibly sad (and angry) that soon she won’t be here anymore.

Her friend Cath Duncan (a pretty amazing human herself) posted something about her on Facebook that I asked her permission to share here. She said yes.

Laurie hasn’t lost the fight to cancer. Though I’m certain that she has been the most well-educated, active, and diligent patient there ever was in her pursuit of treatment for the cancer, Laurie was never occupied with fighting cancer. She’s been pursuing something much, much harder … finding ways to live lovingly and well, and now to die lovingly and well, in the face of all of the unfair, and physically, emotionally, and spiritually difficult ways that cancer has intruded on her life. Laurie’s definition of living lovingly and well has always placed a big priority on looking after others, and her timeline today is a testament to that.

Laurie, I’m fucking pissed that, with all the love and medical science and prayers in the world, we couldn’t wrangle the miracle we all have wanted for you. And for us.

I asked Cath if I could share what she said because I so appreciated the way it honors Laurie, but also because it reminds me so much of how I felt when Kelly died. That the “success” stories when it comes to cancer shouldn’t be limited to those who survive. That no matter how well we live or take care of our bodies, no matter how many people love us or how hard they pray and want it, no matter how much money we have, no matter how excellent our medical care, no matter how much good we’ve done — we still suffer, we are vulnerable, and we die. Even the best and the brightest and most loved lives are impermanent, temporary.

But the promise of it, the inevitability of that end doesn’t dull my sadness, my anger, my confusion and resistance. I’m still only human, caught up in what’s fair and what isn’t. And then I’m reminded of that Facebook post from Keanu Reeves where he said,

My friend’s mom has eaten healthy all her life. Never ever consumed alcohol or any “bad” food, exercised every day, very limber, very active, took all supplements suggested by her doctor, never went in the sun without sunscreen and when she did it was for as short a period as possible- so pretty much she protected her health with the utmost that anyone could. She is now 76 and has skin cancer, bone marrow cancer and extreme osteoporosis.

My friend’s father eats bacon on top of bacon, butter on top of butter, fat on top of fat, never and I mean never exercised, was out in the sun burnt to a crisp every summer, he basically took the approach to live life to his fullest and not as others suggest. He is 81 and the doctors says his health is that of a young person.

People you cannot hide from your poison. It’s out there and it will find you so in the words of my friend’s still living mother: ” if I would have known my life would end this way I would have lived it more to the fullest enjoying everything I was told not to!”

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.” (~Nanea Hoffman)

[Update: apparently this piece is fake, not written or posted by Keanu Reeves, but I’m leaving it here anyway, with the final paragraph credited to the actual author of that section.]

Laurie’s friend Patti Digh shared a story about her on Facebook recently, about the time in 2013 she gave a talk at Patti’s Life is a Verb Camp.

She spoke about transformational energy – about how she was transforming the negative fear of chemo into hope, and many other transformational energies she was learning about in her walk with ovarian cancer. And she ended by holding up a cupcake and lighting the candle, demonstrating for all of us what transformational energy can do.

Thus the picture I included with this post. It’s a nod to Laurie’s reminder about the power of transformational energy, it’s a tribute to how she’s lived and how she’s dying. It goes back to what I said the other day, “if you can hold the pain and remember the magic, you can keep going, you can do what you need to do, you can be content, you won’t give up.” And when it’s time to go, you can go, knowing that you were so loved, knowing that your energy was transformational for every one you touched.

Something Good

1. Good stuff from Marianne Elliott: Why I haven’t practiced yoga for five weeks. And why that makes me a better teacher and How I pack for 5 months: a packing ninja reveals her secrets and Telling the difference between a bad day, a run of bad days, and burnout.

2. Good stuff on Elephant Journal: Natural Remedies to Heal your Thyroid, and 7 Ways to Help Someone Who is Grieving, and We Are Not Here to Do Everything, We Are Here to Do Something, and 10 Things You Need to Stop Doing Today to be Happier, and Letters to Myself. P.S. Maybe you’ve noticed I share a lot of their stuff? I’m a paid subscriber — the content is totally worth it.

3. a room with a view on SF Girl by Bay. I’ve talked before about how much I love Amsterdam. Next time I go, I want to spend at least a month, maybe a whole summer, and stay in an apartment just like this one.

4. Good stuff from Jen Louden: How Being a Good Girl Gets in the Way of What Calls You and Finding Your People Right Where You Are.

5. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

Do not be afraid to follow a thousand directions. You are only listening for one voice. You are following heat, light and truth. There is no right answer to find. An inspired life is all about developing a relationship with your own wholeness and love.

6. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: Why Paleo Didn’t Work For Me, and 5-Step Cleanse To Maximize Thyroid, Adrenal, Immune & Digestive Health, and 5 Ways To Love The Present No Matter How Scared You Are, and 10 Fun Facts About Sweet Potatoes, and The 7 Chakras for Beginners, and Autumn Kale & Quinoa Salad, and 5 Things A Yoga Instructor Should Never Say.

7. Rise and shine: the daily routines of history’s most creative minds on The Guardian.

8. In case you feel like you need permission today… from Kat McNally.

9. Karma points, happy break-ups, true confessions, darkness + light: the BEST things I’ve ever written … that aren’t on this site from Alexandra Franzen.

10. Mudita from Rachel Cole.

11. The Body, Mind, and Space of Self-Care for Creatives – Part 3: The Space on Scoutie Girl.

12. My Pursuit of the Art of Living on Zen Habits.

13. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

At some point, if you’re fortunate, you’ll hit a wall of truth and wonder what you’ve been doing with your life. At that point you’ll feel highly motivated to find out what frees you and helps you to be kinder and more loving, less klesha [i.e. mental states that cloud the mind and manifest in unwholesome actions] driven and confused. At that point you’ll actually want to be present—present as you go through a door, present as you take a step, present as you wash your hands or wash a dish, present to being triggered, present to simmering, present to the ebb and flow of your emotions and thoughts. Day in and day out, you’ll find that you notice sooner when you’re hooked, and it will be easier to refrain. If you continue to do this, a kind of shedding happens—a shedding of old habits, a shedding of being run around by pleasure and pain, a shedding of being held hostage by worldly concerns.

14. 3 habits for dissolving envy from Danielle LaPorte.

15. 25 things every woman needs to know from Hanna Brencher.

16. Be Cool and Don’t Be an Asshole, really good advice from Chris Grosso on Huffington Post.

17. Shared on last week’s Positively Present Picks: Need-To-Know: Practical Magic, and 21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors, and The path is not straight, and Dog People Unite Temporary Tattoo, and Be Happy: 46 Proven Techniques to Increase Your Happiness and One Way to Get More Sex, and Convos With My 2-Year-Old – Season 2, Episode 1 – “Dinner Time,” (this whole series is one of the funniest things ever).

And on this week’s list, Socktober from Kid President and Soul Pancake, and How to Do What You Love.

18. feeding the feelings: my confession (please be gentle) from Liv Lane.

19. When did you get the call to service?, a beautiful confession from Andrea Scher on Superhero Life.

20. 10 Dog Training Tips for Rescue Dogs, (which seem like good tips for any dog owner really).

21. The Inconvenient Moments from The Scribbler’s Journal.

22. Tender from Simply Living with Ariana Pritchett.

23. Get Simple and Focus on What Matters Most on Be More With Less.

24. Missing Mahlon from Rowdy Kittens.

25. Hashtags: #MomTexts with Jimmy Fallon.

26. Pack Dog, a website I am afraid to join because of the potential for time suck and cuteness overload.

27. Where Bloggers Blog on Tumblr.

28. 6 Things Every Couple Should Stop Doing from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

29. Claire has a birthday message for her mommy, on Hello Giggles. Warning: Danger Baby alert, (“Danger Baby” is code for a kid so impossibly cute, it will make you want to make, adopt, or steal a tiny human, immediately). Even though this video is only a minute and a half long, you know that the adult who filmed and edited spend hours and hours working on it.

30. Wisdom from Chögyam Trungpa,

We must be willing to be completely ordinary people, which means accepting ourselves as we are without trying to become greater, purer, more spiritual, more insightful. If we can accept our imperfections as they are, quite ordinarily, then we can use them as part of the path. But if we try to get rid of our imperfections, then they will be enemies, obstacles on the road to our “self-improvement.”

31. Wisdom from Mark Nepo, “The reward for kindness is not goodness or being thought well of or even having kindness returned. No, the reward for kindness is joy.”

32. Don’t know if you heard, but I am currently obsessed with all things sweet potato. Here are a few recipes I’m going to try: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas and Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas.

33. The truth about Columbus from The Oatmeal.

34. 3 Powerful Insights About Finding Yourself and Creating Change on Tiny Buddha.

35. What do you do when you DON’T KNOW what to do? from Kute Blackson. This guy has so much good energy, watching one of his videos is like watching someone dance.

36. 7 Ways To Find Your Inner (and Real) Happiness, Ed and Deb Shapiro on Intent Blog.

37. The Other Things We Do: Going to the Dogs, a beautiful post about grief, dogs, and words.

38. The Freedom of Less on Becoming Minimalist.
homecoming1639. Rescued Pit Bull saves foster family’s 4-year-old son on Dog Heirs. What I love about this story is that the mom had initially only planned to foster this dog, but after what TatorTot did for her son, “I am never going to let this dog go…I owe him for the rest of his life.”

40. Potty Talk! [Original] Need a good laugh!? You’ll have tears streaming… It really is the funniest video.

41. Wisdom from Randy Pausch, The key question to keep asking is, “Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”

42. An interview with Susan Piver about the Open Heart Project, in which she shares this wisdom,

If I was to measure my life by how much money is in my bank account, you know, I would not be very happy right now…But if I had to measure my life by how myself can I be every day, and how much can I offer that makes me happy – I don’t mean to sound sappy about it – but it makes me overjoyed to offer this.

43. Wisdom from Laurie Foley, “To do lists used to be my tada lists, summits upon which to plant flags. Now they are merely trailheads where I start letting go.”

44. A piece about Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind Humans of New York, from ABCNews.

45. Dutch TV interview with David Sedaris, (the interview portion is in English).

46. Julie+Nate // Portland Engagement Session, a beautiful set of pictures from Phil Chester. The ones with the light and the trees are brilliant, so beautiful they almost hurt to look at them.

47. Plant Your Feet, a poem from Ken Roberts on Museful Things.