I Am Thankful For You.

waves, ocean, fantasy waves, nature magick

This is a love letter to you and to life. It is a thank you note for all the gifts I have recently received.

I am thankful to be ALIVE. I am thankful for the plants that nourish me, the medical advancements that may help me live longer and survive my cancer, and for my body. My body has healed well and shows up for me every day so that I can accept that gift and use it to exercise, create new art, cook, write books, and experience love and all the sensory pleasures this life on Earth offers.

north cascades national park, mountain at dawn, nature magick

Mountain sunset North Cascades National Park taken on a family trip last year.

I am thankful for cancer as my teacher. Cancer has a spirit that shows me where I have been asleep. It has taught me to listen to my body, to love my body, to take the time to nourish it. I am not my mind or only spirit. My body is me, while I am here, and to ignore nourishing myself is to say “No” to the gift of health that is available to me. I am practicing saying “Yes” to health. “Yes” to the plants that offer that gift, “Yes” to the exercise that will help me endure, “Yes” to medicine that my body may need, and “Yes” to the things that make my heart sing, because they, too, nourish me.

mount rainier national park, mountains, wildflowers and mountains, forest, nature magick

Great obstacles in this life are not without beauty and gifts. Mount Rainier National Park trip with my family this year.

Breast cancer has been and will continue to be a series of trials. Coming face to face with my own mortality is a gift that I am thankful for. Being mortal here makes each day we have matter that much more, and as I am reminded of this, I am also invited to practice staying in heartspace. Fear of death and anxiety arise often when you have active cancer, and I determined some months ago that I would use this time to create a practice. A practice of noticing when I am descending into a lower frequency state of fear, so that I may continually bring myself back to my center. To my heartspace. Each time, I seek out the note called “heartspace” and align with it, singing the same song. When you practice, the effort becomes easier each time. When I come out on the other side of this, I will be well-practiced in tuning into that higher frequency and finding my center with ease.

mountain lake, faith typography, faith quote, faith nature photography

Have faith. We had faith that if we got up in the dark, we’d get this photo during our road trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway in September. 🙂

As I receive my chemotherapy treatments fourteen days out of each month, I imagine a process unfolding within me that is much like the alchemical step of burning away impurities. I am creating abundantly every day, completing my daily workouts, and doing my best to eat well and spend time with my family. Chemotherapy could be an excuse to “slide back” into older “asleep” behaviors. It is a challenge, in the sense that it challenges me to transform and flow with change.

Can I endure and thrive in all this? Yes, I AM. It will take some time, but as the “impurities” fall away, I have faith I will find myself with new works of art, new books, a new body, and freedom from some of my “vegan junk food” addictions. I need not struggle against myself or old habits. I must be open to receive the gift of grace. Grace is the best word I can think of for what it is. Spirit works on me and through me as I show up as a creator each day. As I create, I am created anew.

foggy trees, mountains, clouds, turquoise forest sky mountain, nature photography, nature magick

The view from near our mountain home.

I am thankful for all the amazing people I have in my life. Kyle has been my rock and has taken care of me when I needed the care. He has loved me when I needed love the most, he is my safe haven in every storm. He is on this journey with me into heartspace and having a partner in this makes what we experience all the more magical. I am thankful for my little one, who creates with abandon all day every day, and brings so much love and meaning into my life.

I am thankful for my parents, sister, and my extended family, for showing me love and support through all of this. I am thankful for the father of my child, who remains a wonderful dad and has been an amazing co-parent, and I am thankful for the wonderful, kind, and intelligent woman he has found. I am grateful that my daughter is nourished, well-loved, and happy when she is in their care and blessed that she now has four(!) parents who love her.

I am thankful for my dad and for the chance to watch him become vibrant and strong. Four months ago, he was in danger of dying from a heart attack; a shadow of his more alive, younger self. He has embraced a plant-based diet, found joy in his walks, and stopped drinking alcohol. He had faith that he could change, and it has been wonderful and inspiring to watch his transformation.

wildflowers at dawn, north cascades national park, purple wildflowers, forest sunrise, mountain at dawn

A picture I took last year on a family trip, wildflowers at sunrise in North Cascades National Park. This is the picture that resonated most with me the night before my mastectomy. I was entering a new life.

I am thankful for my surgeon, Dr. Toni Storm-Dickerson, who was patient with me while I took my time coming around to my mastectomy. She does her work with great skill, humor, honesty, compassion, intelligence, and a drive to always learn more. She goes above and beyond. I am blessed to have her as my surgeon, as she has always respected my wishes and has done an amazing job removing the cancer from my body in a skillful way that has left me happy with the results. My form may be different now, but I can still dance and move and experience joy with my body. Because of her, I have been freed from the burden of the tumor I had, and despite the seriousness of my surgeries, I am not in pain.

I am also thankful for every nurse and caregiver who has been there for me through all of this. These people are truly angels on Earth, offering kindness to those who are at their lowest and most vulnerable. They have treated me as a loving mother does, ensuring my comfort and calming me down when I was most afraid. I am grateful to Dr. Toni Storm-Dickerson’s staff, all of them. Especially her nurse navigator, Becky. I have called her often, and she has always talked us through times of fear and uncertainty.

mt rainier, mount rainier, washington state, pacific northwest, nature magick, cascadia, forest, trees, mountains

Picture taken during a trip Kyle and I took with the Little up to Mount Rainier National Park.

I am thankful for all the traveling I was able to do this year, through many National Parks and beautiful areas of the United States, thankful I was able to explore and capture thousands of photographs. I am thankful to my best friends, Jamie and Carolanne, who inspire me to do and be better as we all create new works of art and brainstorm ways to share our hearts with the world. I am thankful for the connections I have made with others who are also trying to “live in the gift” and create and connect from heartspace. You give me hope every day that the world is full of beauty and is getting better all the time.

foggy forest, sunset, mountains, mountain, sunset in the forest, road through the woods

On the Mountain near Angel Fire Resort where Taos Toolbox 2018 was held.

I feel blessed that I was able to attend Taos Toolbox this summer, in between my mastectomy and the chemotherapy. I’m thankful to Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress, who accepted me and allowed me to bring Kyle with me when I couldn’t yet lift a bag or chop vegetables. I am thankful for all the inspiring new friends I met while there, who helped reignite my own desire to get working again on my fiction book series.

I am grateful to George R. R. Martin, who took the time to talk with me for an hour at a Taos Toolbox dinner. I don’t know what it’s like to have many people wanting your time and attention, but he offered it tirelessly and with kindness. The message he gave me was the exact message I needed to hear to finally move forward on my complicated multi-POV Fractured Era series, and I’ve written tens of thousands of new words in the past month.

foggy forest, foggy trees, pacific northwest, green trees, mystical forest, magical forest

Foggy forest, the view from my writing and music studio and the deck of my new home.

I am thankful for the amazing gifts of synchronicity I have received. For the homeowner and rental company who blessed us with the perfect home for me to rest, create, and heal in. For the view I am looking at right now, from my office where I have my music studio, writing desk, and treadmill. It’s all green trees, clouds, and fog, my heart’s place. I am thankful for and grateful to each person who has purchased my books and purchased or licensed the art that Kyle and I have created—our graphic designs and photographs. Because of each one of you, we can pay my medical bills and work from home.

writing collage, vision boarding, vision board, autumn kalquist, fractured era

New Fractured Era “Defective” vision board in my writing and music studio. Some new boards added for NaNoWriMo 2018.

Most of all, I am thankful for the ongoing support of the hundreds of friends, acquaintances, and strangers I have met and connected with as I’ve moved through life and journeyed through this cancer challenge. You lift my spirits when I am at my lowest and help me get through each day with a more positive attitude. You have astounded me and humbled me with your gifts, both gifts of loving words and material gifts.

waves, ocean, fantasy waves, nature magick

We are all connected, and our actions are powerful.

I am thankful for you.

YOU are more powerful than you know. Your loving actions are as a great wave, extending forever outward, creating change in this world in ways you can’t imagine.

I hope that you have a blessed day, and I am sending you all my love.

Thank you!

Autumn Kalquist, Autumn Kalquist Signature

14 Comments

  • Richard Mayo

    November 22, 2018

    Beautiful! As Warren Zevon said, “Enjoy every sandwich”.

  • Nancy Durflinger

    November 22, 2018

    Autumn you’re amazing and have such spirit, keep that flame burning! I shall continue to keep you in my heart & prayers for a full recovery. Wishing you & yours a beautiful & happy Thanksgiving ?,

  • TCPIPNut

    November 22, 2018

    Thank you for your wonderful insight.

  • Lee

    November 22, 2018

    I lost my Mother to cancer when she was 42. I was 20. I lost my only sibling to cancer when he was 42. I was 49. I am now 68 and sometimes wonder why I was spared this modern scourge, or whether it is sitting there, waiting to take me too.

    I sincerely hope that if it does raise its ugly head, I will have the strength to face it that you have shown, Autumn. I wish you health and happiness, strength and fortitude, peace and love in all you do.

    With love and blessings and Happy Thanksgiving.

    Lee
    Plymouth, UK

  • Brennan

    November 22, 2018

    You’re in this stranger’s thoughts regularly. Sending back good thoughts for all the hours of pleasurable reading you’ve provided me.

    I hope in low times you will have moments of clarity and ‘see’ all of us unknowns that you’ve brought such enjoyment to.

    I am glad you decided to be a writer and hope for a long future filled only with good news.

    BH

  • Tim Jordan

    November 22, 2018

    Dear Autumn,
    Much to my chagrin, I have just barely touched your works that I have bought and downloaded to my pad. With a long weekend now, it is time to start Fractured.
    Some encouragement for you now. My wife was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer in 2004. With some radiation, surgery and chemotherapy, she is now NED! We wish the same for you.

    Stay strong,
    Tim Jordan

  • Steve McClellan

    November 22, 2018

    You mentioned frequencies and I immediately thought of Reiki. If you haven’t looked into it you should. It can be a supplement to your treatments but not a replacement. It’s also gaining acceptance by the medical community – especially in cancer treatment centers.

  • JC

    November 22, 2018

    Bless you for this beautiful reminder of the gift in apparent adversity, if only we know how to “look.” Godspeed your healing.

  • Sarah Streets

    November 22, 2018

    Autumn, thank you so much for showing your strength through these hard times. It is an inspiration to those who are managing chronic illnesses and to let them know they can survive and thrive themselves. Blessings to you and yours…love the beautiful photos. I hope to get back to my nature photography again, I miss it so much. Sarah and the four legged children: Cami Flauge, Cinder Ella, and Trey Cat.

    Sarah

  • Nancy Vega

    November 22, 2018

    I have been wondering about you, your journey of life, your family … and amazingly here you are answering a few days later on a day in which we are all extra thankful. And here you have the love, strength & courage of ten people!

    Blessings to you & your family
    Nancy Vega

  • Kelly Carter

    November 22, 2018

    Thankful for you, too. Your talent and spirit continue to inspire. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Andy Posthumus

    November 22, 2018

    A truly inspirational message. Thank you. May you recover fully and enjoy a long years of health, happiness and creativity.

  • Bob Lee

    November 22, 2018

    Thanks for sharing the healing you are going through. I am grateful for the experiences you share. My Dad went on a very different (sort of) journey with melanoma. He never gave up, and was an inspiration for me then as now. Don’t stop giving, you’ll always get more back in love and good wishes. Remember it’s not always a out you, sometimes it’s about who will come behind and be encouraged and who will in turn encourage the next ones on the path. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Alison

    November 22, 2018

    Thank you, Autumn, for the lovely message and inspiration. I endured 14 months of interferon treatment for Hepatitis C 20 years ago, and while it was physically brutal, it also taught me many wonderful things. My favorite part of the experience was finding that I was not afraid of having a potentially terminal illness. I knew that I would either recovery or not, and was prepared to deal with both. I intuitively knew I’d be ok, and yes, I am. Was cured of Hep C when many others were not in those days. My life is very full of love and color and meaning. As is yours, apparently. Keep writing for us! Happy Thanksgiving.