Robin Roberts is courageously showing us how to be "all in" about life.
Over the weekend, I read Parade Magazine's interview with Roberts, ABC's news anchor for Good Morning America. It is no secret that Roberts was diagnosed five years ago with an aggresive form of breast cancer and for the past year she has been fighting a rare life-threatening disease called myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) which affects the blood and bone marrow.
Roberts is now back on the job which is miraculous given the physical and emotional toll of her chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant and fragile immune system. But life changing events can sometimes make us stronger and Roberts' message resonated with me.
When you lose someone you love or you fight with all of your resources to overcome a disease, life becomes heightened. Things that happen in your daily life that you once took for granted are no longer things to overlook and expect to have happen to you over and over.
Every day I try to make myself conscious of what the sky looks like, how the flowers smell, how good it feels to be able to walk down the street and breathe deeply and feel healthy. I have a precious life and I am going to try and be mindful not to waste it. Because I know that those are things that can be taken away very quickly. And so does Robin Roberts.
Asked by Parade Magazine how her experience has changed her, Roberts says, "I am stronger than I thought I was. My favorite phrase has been 'This too shall pass.' I now understand it really well."
And here's the really cool part. Roberts does something I do a lot when I am feeling stressed at work: visualization.
When work is piling up, I try to mentally check out for a few minutes before I dig in. For me, I visualize myself standing on the beach. I love the beach so much that I visualize myself there at all different times of the day. I try to hear the waves pounding the shore and bring the smell of the ocean back to my memory. After I mentally visit the beach, I take a deep breath and put my head down and just do my work until it's done.
Roberts told Parade Magazine that to fight her fears, she practices yoga and visualization. "When I close my eyes, my happy place is Key West, coffee in hand, sunrise over the pier, Roberts said. "I can visualize that in the studio and it has helped calm me."
No matter what today brings you, you will survive it, and if you feel yourself becoming anxious then visualize your own "happy place."
You are fortunate. You are alive and a new day awaits you.
What will you do with it?