Share a little bit about yourself.
I still want to change the world. I worked as an economist and then got (even more) interested in politics as a way to make things better. Political activism can be very stressful and abstract so currently I volunteer with my therapy dog Sammy, serve on our neighborhood association board and look for other service opportunities to “make it real.” Current hobbies are hiking and reading and when I’m in the mood, cooking. My wife Suzanne and I have been together 34 years (we were the first LGBTQ couple to be married in Texas). We have two lovely adopted daughters, Dawn who is 22 and Ting who is 18. These 3 women have brought bucketfuls of joy into my life.
Share a little bit about your cancer experience.
I had emergency surgery for a rare ovarian cancer five years ago. Chemo and multiple surgeries followed. I joined a Stage 1 Clinical Trial in January of 2017. It is a miracle that I am still here. My trial, so far, holds my cancer in check. Cancer has taught me to be grateful for opening my eyes each morning to a new day: I’m here! Cancer has also taught me how valuable and deeply nourishing relationships with family, friends, and sometimes, even strangers, can be and that we should tend to, and strive to enrich these relationships. I strive to support others with love and compassion, this has become the central life-affirming action I can try to take each day.
How has it benefited you to be part of the Joyboots community?
I love Kelly’s quiet leadership and the environment she creates. Her leadership echoes throughout the Community so we can follow her lead and affirm to each other, “It really is okay to be exactly how you are in this moment — to feel and acknowledge the joy, the fear, the hope, the sorrow…. just be with and honor your experience in the moment.” I look so forward to participating in the Weekly Yoga and Online Sanctuary Communities and getting Kelly’s emails.
What is your meditation practice like?
One day I will have a daily at-home practice (again). The week Kelly’s class started the 40-day RA MA DA SA “challenge,” it re-started my daily at home practice (keep your fingers crossed). In addition to doing Kundalini Yoga (sometimes at home and more often at Flow Yoga) I attend a meditation group at Seton Cove on Wednesday mornings. On Monday nights, I participate in a Power of 8/Healing Circle with friends, a form of group meditation for me. I need structures like these to maintain a consistent meditation (and yoga) practice.
How has yoga and meditation benefited you?
I feel like these practices have made me a different person. I also fee like yoga and meditation have deeply benefited my health and my ability to experience joy and to try and “not sweat the small stuff.” I particularly enjoy singing along to Kundalini mantras in my car — its the best part of driving around Austin these days and makes me a more patient, friendly driver. The first time I heard Mul Mantra, I knew KY was really something special!
What practices have benefited you the most?
I participated in the Level 1 Kundalini Teacher Training program last year. It was an opportunity to take my practice deeper. Thanks to Spotify, I have a pretty good library of mantras, which I enjoy playing around the house or in the car.
What are you still struggling to cope with?
I have scans every two months. Its pretty anxiety producing sometimes. I live closer to acknowledging death as an unavoidable part of life than I ever have before. For the most part I have been fairly symptom and pain-free since my diagnosis. I wonder how I will handle my decline and if I will find the same unexpected inner and outer resources that have blessed my journey so far.
What brings you moments of joy?
I love the outdoors, just being outside in Nature on a beautiful day makes my soul sing. I love hearing my daughters and their friends laugh together when they are home. Or just being with our pets and with family, hearing about Suzanne or Dawn or Ting’s daily exploits. I enjoy reading something new and learning something valuable from what I read.
What is something you’d like to share with the community to help them along their healing journey?
It’s really the little things that matter. Each day, try and make it a priority to surround yourself with people and experiences that bring you joy and make you happy.
I deeply appreciate those who paid it forward by helping me and I love sharing whatever information I can that might be helpful to caregivers and survivors. It has been particularly gratifying to me to help women and caregivers who are newly diagnosed and want to learn from my experience.