Musings by Chris and Photos from Here and There
Much of what I ruminate about has to do with my healing journey. I’ve been reading many consciously enlightened books that were gifted to me as I grapple with my newly awakened spirit. I had no idea how un-attuned I was until I dipped into the reservoir of spiritually inclined literature. Some days I can barely contain my vibrational core. Other days I weep with relief that I don’t have to have all the answers – yet.
I’ve decided to share:
My Top Four ‘Ahas’ On The Road To Waking Up – Or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Recovery
Touch your body – frequently
If you have had your body adapted or altered or transformed, due to an injury or because of surgery or simply through aging, there will be scars and constant reminders of the time of impact. Those ‘in-your-face’ visuals have a life below the surface of the skin. They grace your psyche with unwanted memories of what was, what could have been, and what is yet to come. Not until you truly look in the mirror, shake hands with the stranger before you, caress the past away, and bless the rebirth before you, will you fully let go of ego and embrace the ‘present’. I could suggest a play-on-words here, as each stage in our evolution comes gift wrapped with promises of more to come. The degree to which we are grateful will determine our level of acceptance.
It is very much akin to making love to a new lover for the very first time, especially if you have come from a tried and true, exceedingly comfortable long-term partnership. You are awakened to new curves and straightaways, hills and valleys all requiring a roadmap in Braille, guiding you past detours and directing you to the nearest shortcut to pleasure. As you feel your way over scars and possible appendages that are no longer or unalterably changed forever, you cautiously pause over new found bumps and crevices, as if stroking a newborn baby. That’s what you are – infantile and newly emerged requiring the most tender and loving touches possible as you come to terms with the new form that is you. Touch is the gateway to your soul.
Jim suggests I’ve been grieving for some months now. I’m caught up in semantics suggesting the tears of pre-surgery were shed out of fear. The tears that recently laid waste on my therapeutic yoga mat were sorrow-full. I’ll readily admit to walking in the opposite direction, far from where I was intending to go, if it means I can avoid someone from my past who has yet to see and hear the ‘new’ me. I still can’t get past feeling ‘lesser than’ what I believed I was. Jim is a great champion and pushes me forward towards handshakes and embraces with unsuspecting past acquaintances who all seem to have ‘heard’. And when they see me, they appear genuinely surprised I look as well as I do. Some even remark, ‘Well your speech seems fine.” I wonder what I use to sound and look like and have come to accept, no one is as critical or as observant as I.
“Somehow we have been fooled into thinking that song is entertainment, something we can do without, like dessert. I remember my first day alone at home after my rib surgery. For the first time in months, everything was still, the morning light now filling the space where my rib used to be. Suddenly, finally, I began to weep, loudly, as pockets of fear and pain and exhaustion escaped. This release was a song, and what I hadn’t realized was that, once released, once the buildup of my journey was given a way out, life with its thousand energies and softnesses could come in. Such a simple secret: by letting things out, we also let things in.”
Charlie Brown often exclaims, “Good grief!” in the eponymous comic strip. Nothing is as it seems, as the metaphorical rug is continually being pulled out from under him on the baseball field, during punting practice, or while choosing a tree for the annual Christmas pageant. I now am recognizing that grief is good and until you have that big cry, there is no room for a new perspective to make its way into your heart. There’s no point in buying more clothes if you haven’t thrown out those items you never wear. Grief is the queen of de-cluttering. It is a way of life, not a one-time thing.
Never say never or don’t judge yourself by the cover of your book
I have been living a life that one would consider healthy for many years. I was a vegetarian for 30 years who morphed into veganism then stumbled headstrong into the live plant-based world. I truly believed in the power of food and if there were some level of dis-ease in the body, food would be my medicine. I exercised most days of my life either during fitness classes, in a gym, or out on the open roadways running 10 km during the dawning hours of each new day.
I was convinced that if I were to be diagnosed with cancer I would undertake every alternative form of intervention rather than a traditional medical approach. However, I would never be diagnosed with cancer because of my lifestyle. How could I?
In her book Dying To Be Me, Anita Moorjani shares her near death experience while her body was consumed with cancer. Rather than passing, she chose to come back to her form and overcome her cancer. She undertook traditional medical interventions (things she resisted prior to her near death experience) of which she no longer had any fear. I’ll let Anita explain her before and after perspectives.
“Before, without even realizing it, everything I did was to avoid pain or to please other people. I was caught up in doing, pursuing, searching, and achieving; and I was the last person I ever took into consideration. My life was driven by fear – of displeasing others, of failing, of being selfish, and of not being good enough. In my own head, I always fell short.
“Since my near death experience, I don’t feel that I came back to accomplish anything. I only came back to be. Because of this everything I do comes from love. I just follow my heart and know that I can’t go wrong when I do so . . . I’m so much happier and more liberated. This has had a big impact on my health as well.”
No, I didn’t have a near death experience, but I did feel an awakening within, a lifting of fear, a humbling sense of gratitude for life, and a refreshed love of self and others. I have forgiven myself for the judgments I’ve made and the beliefs I held that limited my acceptance of possibilities – both naturopathic and allopathic. I’ve made a choice and within that choice I am viewing the next six weeks of radiation as golden beams of healing light. A choice made selfishly. There is still more I want to do and still more time I want to spend with family and friends. There’s nothing like the threat of death to tighten the tightrope around your heart. Pay attention – the next step may be a doozy. Acceptance is the gateway to trust.
A friend came to visit and we were discussing life, what makes one happy, and how simple is best. Then she shared with me that her grandfather always said the key is to “Live lightly”. That has resonated with me ever since. When I’m becoming overwhelmed with making a decision, or emotions are flooding over me in waves, or my version of the future is less than a perfect fit, I say those two words. Suddenly I’m feeling more present and life isn’t so bad after all. My massage therapist puts life’s challenges into perspective for me when she says, “It’s not ok but I’m ok.”
My daily ‘go-to’ reading of the day is The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. He postulates,
“We all stray from the moment in particular ways. In diagnosis, I feared surgery. In surgery, I feared treatment. In treatment, I feared stronger treatment. In recovery, I feared recurrence.
“No one can avoid this straying, but our health depends on the breath that stops us from straying further. No matter how far we’ve gone, it is the practice of returning to whatever moment we are living now that restores us, because only when fully in each moment can we draw strength from the Oneness of things.”
Everyday is lighter if we just stay in the moment.
And now a word from our sponsors
Of course there are so many people, family members, my loving partner, and friends who have been by my side during my recovery. They have promised to hold my hand as I embark on the next six weeks of radiation. I value their steadfast support, their bountiful wisdom, and their commitment to accept, not judge, and just be there for me. It means so much to me. As well I have been gifted many books that have bolstered me along this journey and practitioners who have guided me towards recovery. I present a partial list below.
Learning to Fall – Philip Simmons
Dying To Be Me – Anita Moorjani
In Love With The Mystery – Ann Mortifee
The Book of Awakening – Mark Nepo
The Seekers Guide – Elizabeth Lesser
Outrageous Openness – Tosha Silver
May you find the support you need through love and light and may all moments be merry and bright.
“Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” – Kurt Vonnegut