Last Friday I saw Unbeatable, the musical, on opening night of a 9 performance run in a community theater in Roseville, CA. It’s being done as a fundraiser for two charities, including Healing Journeys. In this picture, taken that night, are: Jason Alexander; Jennifer Bortz, who plays the starring role; me; and Todd Schroeder, the Director and co-writer of the music and lyrics for Unbeatable.
It’s a musical about the human spirit and how an obstacle can become a stepping stone to a fuller and more rewarding life. It’s the story of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. As I laughed and cried, lessons from my own experience of breast cancer were supported and enhanced.
Like me at the time of my diagnosis, the main character in the musical is very busy and gets a lot done, sometimes at the expense of nourishing her spirit and connecting with those she loves. As part of her healing process, she discovers new priorities in her life and spends more time enjoying the moment rather than accomplishing her “to do” list.
My cancer journey started in 1989 and it feels like it’s taking me a long time to embody my belief that love is what matters, that I can take time to nourish myself, and that who I am trumps what I accomplish. Last month, for the first time since 1967, I took a four week vacation. For 26 days in May, I traveled in Spain and Morocco with two friends. I can’t say it was relaxing; there was so much to see that we were on the go most of the time. But I was doing what nourished me. I wasn’t accomplishing anything or taking care of anyone else. I enjoyed it so much that I’m ready to plan the next trip.
I’m also trying to incorporate more fun and connection into my daily life. Yesterday I walked in the Sacramento Gay Pride Parade with people from my church and it felt like another celebration of the human spirit — another day of fun. Last night I danced till midnight to the rocking music of Sista Monica and her band. Another opportunity to feel joy and wild abandon and live in the moment.
I don’t know if all this joy will make a difference in the progression or regression of my cancer, but it sure does make a difference in how I am enjoying life in the moment. My body could respond to the message that this life is worth living by giving me a longer life. But if it doesn’t, at least the life I have is joyful and full of love.
One of the nourishing things I did for myself last year was attend the Mexico retreat with Jonathan Ellerby, PhD, that Healing Journeys sponsored on the Riviera Maya of Mexico. It was so incredible that I am going for two weeks this year. In fact, many of the people who attended last year are returning for more. It’s a beautiful, magical setting. The classes with Jonathan were spiritually enriching, and the connections I made with others in the group have led to deep life-long friendships. That experience was a turning point in my healing journey. I invite you to give yourself the gift of joining me for one, or both, of the two weeks that Healing Journeys is sponsoring this year. The price is amazingly inexpensive, and it’s a rare opportunity for fun, healing, and spiritual enrichment all rolled into one. You can get more information here.
If you live close enough to drive to Roseville, CA (near Sacramento) for a show, get tickets for Unbeatable. It’s playing two more week-ends in June and I hope to see it at least one more time. The acting is superb, the music is upbeat and sometimes hilarious, the message is inspiring, and Healing Journeys benefits by your ticket purchase. Learn more about Unbeatable here.
In the Spirit of Healing,
Jan Adrian, MSW
Founder and Executive Director