Some people call October, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”. Others call is, “Pinktober”. Still others call it, “October”.

I don’t like the commercialization of breast cancer with the commercialization of pink things, nor do I like the sexualization of breast cancer. I don’t like the commercialization of suffering or sexism at all.

I don’t, however, give Pinktober the same kind of harsh judgement as I did in the past. Part of this is because the pink stuff is decreasing. I applaud those that work to decrease it further.

Another reason is that my physical and emotional recovery from breast cancer has gotten to the point where I can even entertain the possibility of taking a broader view.

And oh yeah, I had two heart attacks.

An oh yeah, my husband and I have reared a brilliant, talented LGBT/Q daughter from age 13 at the time of my breast cancer diagnosis to her recent 20th birthday. Her life has been no picnic.

I actually forgot until just now that my dad died three months ago.

The main reason is that the broader issues of sexism, racism, health disparities, xenophobia, heterosexism, etc. have taken priority. These are my priorities and I am thankful to have the emotional and physical health not to mention financial security to be able to make these decisions.

Mindfulness is awareness. I didn’t make that up. That’s what it is. Mindfulness is an approach to reducing human suffering. I didn’t make that up, either. That came from the historical Buddha. He also talked about the main causes of human suffering as fear, hatred, and delusion.

Fear, hatred, and delusion.

There’s a lot of that going around.

As a psychologist, I’m going to tell you that fear is a basic human emotion, needed to keep us safe. But I can also tell you that our central nervous system gives us many false alarms about safety and how we respond to false alarms can certainly cause human suffering. It can also underpin anger and at it strongest form, hatred. We can also respond to an off kilter nervous system with delusion, cognitive contortions of thought. (There are also mental illnesses that produce delusions on their own and those also cause suffering.)

I guess the biggest issue I have with the way that Breast Cancer Awareness month is that it’s not even really awareness. Awareness is mindfulness of all aspects of breast cancer, which to a certain respect, is different for all of us, based on medical differences in disease processes, treatment access, and personal, social-emotional and cognitive processes.

And certainly, awareness without constructive actions, is not very useful and if we are stuck there, thinking it is sufficient, I guess that may be a kind of delusion, too.

I hope you find my musings helpful today.