I call my mosaics “Peace by Piece” —and the other night I learned that others can find the same in themselves. Especially people who know the feeling of hearing 3 words: You. Have. Cancer.
Life goes from normal—to nightmare. Equal to the physical effects can be the emotional effects—constant fear and stress.
As a mother of two children, facing a bad prognosis and a year of treatment, my brain was on constant code red—there was never a day, an hour, even a minute when cancer didn’t penetrate my thoughts. I tried everything—meditation, music, walks on the beach. My mind refused to turn off.
Until I learned that the answer was not in my head but in my hands.
I was as far as you could get from Martha Stewart. But I discovered that creating something artistic–with my own two hands—was an art in itself. It anchored me in the present, forced me to focus—and turned out to be my escape route from thinking about cancer. I understood why crafting is so popular—as cancer released a flood of creativity –from painting to knitting to beading.
Best of all were mosaics. They became my passion—and I think they’re the perfect metaphor for life. Life can break what’s most beautiful and precious to us; but we can pick up the pieces and rearrange them—into something different, that’s beautiful in a new way.
That’s why I brought my apron, my tiles, my glue and my story to a group of cancer patients and their caregivers at Hope Lodge in New York.
Hope Lodge is magical in itself, a haven for cancer patients in 30 cities where the American Cancer Society offers rooms– for free– while people undergo treatment in local hospitals. It’s more than a hotel; it’s a refuge—where they can relax, cook meals, get massages, like a home away from home. On this night it was more like a party:
I love seeing each person’s individuality expressed—and where they find inspiration.
Of course the real inspiration is inside each of them.
No one inspires me more than people fighting cancer—how great to enjoy a few hours and leave cancer behind.
To me, what’s most important is not the product, but the process.
Nothing lifts my spirits more than creating art—-even better is sharing it, so others can find their own “Peace by Piece.”