Friday, June 29, 2012

Dear Cancer

Dear Cancer,

We had a rocky beginning you and I. Looking back I think you had a plan for me, and until I was able to get on board and see it, I resisted and was afraid of the new life you required me to step into.

Our relationship broke me down from the bottom up- looking at myself in a very fundamental way, I questioned my identity as a human being in community with others, my very value in the world. I probed at wounds left unattended for a long time and found that they still weep and wait for Medicine. My inner-child even got a few visits as old patterns re-emerged and old pains resurfaced.

One thing that I have come to believe through this process is that we all have things to learn in this life- our life time, even if measured in moments, is a bounty of experiences that enrich us deeply before we let go of our heartbeats and worldly selves. We each learn at our own pace, and some people pick things up quickly (maybe many iterations of themSelves already been here and the lessons familiar?). Some resist and struggle and learn in large bursts of intense experiences, and rail and question in between. Some people learn slowly- every lesson a chore and seemingly insurmountable and unfair to have to experience. All are right, all are the way they should be- none better than others.

I think for Healers, for people who have picked up the quicker lessons quickly, it takes something big to break us down. Healing and learning happen when we are broken down to our smallest (yet largest) selves, we suddenly begin to question things in a deeper way in order to survive the terrible pain and fear we're experiencing. We open ourselves up to new experiences, new ways of thinking.

One might say it is violent to till the earth- disrupting the smooth ground and all that lives beneath it for our own means. Tearing the bodies of roots and worms so that we might plant new things.

The tearing must happen, the ripping up of established thoughts, beliefs, and processes must happen, if we are going to plant the new seeds of who we are becoming.

This is what I believe our life experience is, at least a facet of it- we are torn open over and over so that our established ways of being might be broken and challenged to grow new directions in order to continue living, that we might recognize the things we no longer want to nurture and pluck them, and make room to plant new ways for ourselves.

Cancer, you have been a great gardener. You came into my life at just the right time (of course), and eased me into the idea that we might have a dance to do. I did not have to suddenly find out I had cancer, I had time to dip into that idea before I knew for sure we'd be spending time together. I appreciate that.

I had to honestly imagine the darkness of telling my children that I might have some awful version of you, one that would end my physical life with them - and it was a dark time for me. I went deep into the Underworld, feeling terribly sad and lost but still anchored firmly in the realities of what was ahead, no matter what.

While I am glad that we are no longer together, I am not angry about you coming into my life- I never was. I felt heart broken, a deep heart break, sad and afraid of how I would let you fit into my life (worrying all the time that I would have to stop everything and make my whole life all about you, which thankfully, you didn't force me to do).

Rather, I feel tremendous gratitude. I knew from the beginning we were going to do great things together, that I would be deeper, enriched, and expanded because of you- and that has all been proven true.

My heart is softer. My ability to love myself with less judging is bigger. I feel less connected to "What I should do" and more connected to doing what feels right in the moment. I am open to seeing grace in situations where I couldn't afford to give it before. The constant chatter is quieter in my head, and I feel a tremendous sense of curiosity about all things that is so much bigger and deeper than it was before you came into my life.

I wonder, all the time. I just wonder about things. I am in my body more than I have ever been in my life. I am seeing through my eyes, and touching with my skin, and feeling all of those things instantly rather than having to dive down to find those sensations. I saw a tall, purple foxglove in a neighbor's yard the other day and it was so real, so here, and for once, so was I. I was the foxglove. For once, it feels safe to be in my body.

I don't want to say too much, wrapping words around what I'm experiencing puts some kind of limit around it and the experience is private and mine - but I wanted you to know that while it cost me a little, I feel that what I have given away to be here today, in this place of wonder and curiosity, and deep, unwavering LOVE, is a small price to pay.

Thank you for leaving quietly and leaving behind such an incredible impact in my life.

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