If If’s and Buts Were Candy and Nuts, It’d Be Christmas Every Day

Always remember, be careful what you wish for and the grass ‘ain’t’ always greener somewhwere else.

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to work with Billy Mills as we did training and leadership development with the National Association of Indian Athletic Directors. Billy Mills grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He received a track scholarship and a degree in Physical Education from the University of Kansas. In 1964, he stunned the world by winning the Gold Medal in the Tokyo Olympics. Later his story was made into the movie, Running Brave.

Billy had many stories to share. The inspirational messages he shared came from Lakota Indian lore. As I became fascinated by the many messages, I read a book he had written, Wokini, which translated from Lakota, means, “New life, a life of peace and happiness,” In the story, Iktumi is regarded as a trickster and a liar. If believed, Iktumi is dangerous and Iktumi’s lies can ruin a person’s life. Iktumi’s lies steal happiness. Happiness should transcend all other goals in life. Happiness improves life in many ways. With it, all your goals can be realized. Real happiness is strength, peace and love.

The Eight Lies of Iktumi

If only I was rich, then I’d be happy.
If only I was famous, then I’d be happy.
If only I could find the right person to marry, then I’d be happy.
If only I had more friends, then I’d be happy.
If only I was more attractive, then I’d be happy.
If only I wasn’t physically handicapped (Or Didn’t Have Cancer), then I’d be happy.
If only someone close to me hadn’t died (Or Didn’t Have Cancer), then I’d be happy.
If only the world was a better place, then I’d be happy.

To counter Iktumi’s lies, what is needed are The Sticks That Fuel the Fire of Happiness
(My reflection is in parenthesis following each of the Sticks.)

Remember, you are the most special thing God ever created.
(We have to understand God’s role in our journey. We might be spiritually tested, but not abandoned.)

Appreciate what life has given you.
(If given lemons, make lemonade. Control your reaction when you can’t control the situation; Blog II)

View your life with optimism and hope for the future.
(If you believe God loves you, there’s hope for all things current and there’s hope for eternal life.)

Set new and interesting goals.
(Don’t stop living. List a series of milestones; births, birthdays, weddings, graduations, and a trip or two.)

Live each day as if it were your last.
(Create a God-centered plan for no regrets. Try to leave nothing undone. Go for the gusto!!!)

Adjust to life accordingly.
(There will be good days and bad days. Live them both to the fullest. Don’t hold back.)

Learn to live with and love yourself.
(Be one of your own best friends. “If you owe yourself a good time, be the first one to pay yourself off.)

Never be a perfectionist.
(Choose your battles. Let some things go. Trust in God to guide you in these choices.)

Learn to laugh at life.
(Keep your sense of humor. Through all of this, I have to keep my sense of humor.)

Learn to see the person’s perspective.
(Don’t let many years of thinking a certain way, get in the way of seeing what others see.)

Mills, Billy, Wokini, Your Personal Journey to Happiness and Self-Understanding, Feather Publishing, 1990

My Update
It is nearly 24 hours since my most recent infusion and still no side effects. They give me a steroid for anti-nausea and it really seems to work. I’m eating less but more often and I still have all of my taste buds. Also, my unrepaired left knee hasn’t acted up since the treatments started.

I’m still asked for my thoughts on this ordeal and I think of one of the answers to Iktumi’s lies; “I said a prayer for health in order to lead a long life and was answered with infirmity so that I can appreciate each minute.” Well, I am now in the ‘appreciating the every minute’ mode.

Also, speaking of having a sense of humor, you know you don’t have to be able to tell a joke to have a sense of humor, you just have to be able to get a joke.

Prior to my next infusion, I’m taking my oncologist, Dr. Loehrer’s advice and having a breakfast of beets, brussel sprouts and egg plant casserole. I haven’t had any nausea yet so if I do for the first time, I want to be able to blame it on beets, brussel sprouts and eggplant. Then, since I’ve never liked them, I’ll have a reason to never try any of the three of them again.