Living... not existing!

Today is a day I won't ever forget. It's a very chilly -38 in Saskatchewan. Usually I would stay indoors and enjoy the benefits of self employment, but I have a coffee date I've already rescheduled twice because of my busy schedule. I couldn't bring myself to ask her to reschedule again, especially when she has already been so patient and accommodating.

God works in mysterious ways. I think perhaps the Universe had a hand in this one as well. 

I have been inspired to cause real change in my life since last Christmas. I was not living fully and I knew it. I had become dispassionate about quite frankly, almost everything in my life. I was living on autopilot. I was lacking purpose, and instead of complaining about it any longer, I decided to bravely pursue something I WAS passionate about... helping people. 

How could I have known the incredible people I would meet because of this new choice to start living, instead of just existing. 

This time I had a different conviction to my decision. I didn't just set a goal, I made a commitment to my vision with a PLAN. The plan included, every single day... reading, watching or listening to something inspiring. Funny how when you are looking for something, it starts to show up everywhere you look. 

I noticed a social media post called "6 months to dream" with a beautiful family of 3 under the title. Intrigued, I opened it up to be touched by the story of a young woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Faced with this prognosis, she decided to live out her days on her own terms, doing the things that she loved, with those she loves most. I was so inspired by her story, I reached out to her Sister who had started the Go Fund Me page to ask if she would help arrange for us to meet.  

Things happened very quickly after that. Time is precious, and two women on a mission know this. We planned our meeting over Facebook messenger and I was excited to get to know her. I knew if I was inspired by her, my readers would be as well, and her story should be in my book. Without meeting her I couldn't be certain, but something told me she would want to inspire others for years to come. Perhaps I could help make that happen in a published book.  

I walk into the coffee shop and immediately notice this beautiful young woman at the counter. I have only seen pictures of her on her page... she is even more beautiful in person. Perhaps it is because I can feel her inner beauty now that I am near her. 

I begin by taking notes, then find that distracting because I am more interested in what she has to say than documenting it perfectly. I wanted to be fully present to her story.

I can hardly imagine, at 24 years of age, 2 days after my wedding,  hearing the words... you have cancer. The Doctors took swift action and within weeks she had a full hysterectomy and although not clear of the cancer, she was given a renewed hope she would live. 

The spots were there, and being monitored, but her health, for the most part, was okay. A pregnant woman heard of her story and reached out offering that she adopt her unborn child. How could this be happening? It's almost unreal. She would get a chance to live, plus become a Mother... her daughter was born, and home within a few days of birth, and life was good.  

As it happens, cancer has made its reappearance, and in March, 2017, Colleen was given 6 months to live. In shock and disbelief, Colleen chose to dream and LIVE out her days with a renewed sense of purpose. She says she had an "awakening". This news helped her define what was really important to her, and focus her time and energy on those things. 

Through her eyes I see my own life differently.

I asked her, facing this, what advice she would give people. Thoughtfully she answered: 

* Know what is important to you, and give all your attention to that. (purpose) 

* Be mindful and spend time with those you love so that they have beautiful memories to reflect on about your time together. 

* Don't wait. ACT on life and BRAVELY do the things you want to do. Even if your scared. "To many people have regrets" 

* Have faith. Everything really does happen for a reason. "I believe that" 

And much more... 

But what really struck me in our conversation was this... 

She said to me, "I feel lucky". I get choked up just typing that. She meant it.

She explained, if I hadn't received the cancer diagnosis, I wouldn't have become a Mother to our daughter. If I had not have been given "6 months to dream", I wouldn't have done all the travel I have, or wasted time on unimportant things. "I am lucky I have had time to fully live".  

That really hit me. 

We are all so blessed with time, good health and opportunity, and we often don't see ourselves as "lucky". Her sense of gratitude and profound appreciation for how precious life is, has touched me deeply. We take so much for granted, and often only "wake up" to truly live, when life gives us a circumstance out of our control. 

I hope Colleens story inspires you to live, not just exist, as there is no guarantee for any of us.   

Bless you Colleen, and THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for so freely sharing your life and story with us all. 

xx Corliss