I’ve been trying to do a lovingkindness meditation each day of March. I have done one most days. I did one of them while I was taking one of my neighborhood walks. It is true that the meditation is designed as a sitting meditation but I was curious and decided to play the 30 minute-long meditation during a walk. It was actually quite a nice experience. The birds seemed to be singing more loudly and sweetly. The air had the scent of flowers.

As is typical of all mindfulness meditations, I was instructed to examine my current experience. It was suggested that I might be feeling physical or emotional pain. The instruction was to pay attention to the uncomfortable aspects of my life but also, “to see if there is something else.”

“Something else.” There is always something else. The suggestion in the meditation struck me as one of the most powerful aspects of mindfulness meditation, which is the consideration of the “something else” in addition to what is weighing heavily on the mind, body, or emotions.

There are those of us with a cancer experience who wince at words such as, “Cancer is a gift.” That statement omits the “something else”. The something else is life changing and painful in a way that merely writing the words, “life changing and painful” seem to discount the way that cancer changes everything.

For me, however, there is  another side. There is the side of not everything about my life as a cancer patient is awful. Not everything I made of my cancer experience was awful. Although I think about my breast cancer every day, it does not encompass my life.

My life is full of the “something else” in addition to the pain, discomfort, and loss in my life. My life is full of the “something else” in addition to the joy and emotional health I experience.

Life is full. I have long known this. It does seem that a gift of mindfulness is the opportunity to experience more of the “something else” and to get more aware of and engaged in the expansiveness of life, while not getting lost in it.

Today, the “something else” was experienced with by me with my camera. The small gems of beauty mean so much.