Dana Stewart was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 32. She is the co-founder of a cancer survivorship organization called The Dragonfly Angel Society. She volunteers as an advocate and mentor, focusing on young adults surviving cancer. She enjoys writing about life as a cancer survivor, as well as connecting survivors to the resources, inspirations and stories that have helped her continue to live her best life, available at www.dragonflyangelsociety.com.
How often do you pause for reflection?
Pause for reflection. Three simple words but how often do you think about them? I’ll be honest — almost never for me. I rarely pause for reflection. I rarely pause for anything now that I think about it. I feel like I am always in this go-go world where if I stop for one minute I might just miss something. Anyone else feel this way? It’s hard not to. There is always the next post on social media, the next best technology or just the next best thing. Who has time to pause for reflection?
I was completely thrown off when these three words made it into a presentation in which I was listening to. I was in attendance at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium listening to a doctor walk us through her latest findings from her recent research. She presented to us in the audience via several slides with lots of numbers, graphs, facts and figures. The research was quite interesting and it’s always amazing to see all the work being done in the cancer realm. It is, however, a lot to take in and can get overwhelming, especially for those of us who don’t have a medical background. Most of the doctors at the symposium present their finds in a very straightforward manner. This time around this doctor added a twist. After she went through all the details of her research, she threw a slide up on the screen so all 5,000 of us could see it plain as day and it stated — PAUSE FOR REFLECTION. That was it. My mind was blown. Where was this coming from? She had tons of medical research and only 15 minutes to share it all. Yet she threw those three words on a slide.
I am not sure all the other people in the room noticed it quite the way I did. I was fascinated and taken aback. I listened carefully to why she put those words on a slide. She wanted us all to pause from listening to her words and take it all in. And by taking it all in, she meant more than just her research.
The symposium is unbelievable. It is the biggest breast cancer symposium in the country and it is filled with 7,500 doctors, researchers, scientists and advocates all there for one thing — figure out how cancer works and how to beat it. Every day, people spoke about all the research they were doing and their findings. However, as amazing as the findings are, the days can also be overwhelming.
So that’s what I did. I paused for reflection. I stopped the crazy disarray of words and thoughts flying like a tornado through my head and just paused. I paused to think about why I was in San Antonio. I paused to think about what I had gone through as a cancer patient. I paused to think about all the work that is being done to help those of us going through cancer and those of us who don’t know they have a journey yet to start.
I paused to reflect on how I don’t pause and reflect if that makes any sense at all. Being in that place in that time and having someone tell me to pause was eye opening. I realized if I don’t pause every now and then all of this and everything around me will disappear right before my eyes. I will miss the stuff that is happening right here right now. So, that’s my message to you. Pause for reflection. Think about it in the most unlikely spot or time. That’s when it sinks in, makes you think and makes you pause.