As I sat in the examination room yesterday, I remember thinking to myself, “there is something wrong.”
It wasn’t that I had been hit with some huge premonition. It was more like a series of smaller “hits” had finally accumulated enough girth as a whole to become undeniable. Some of those hits went as far back as last year (maybe even earlier) and the latest ones had come just that morning. They showed up in the subtlest of energy shifts in the two wonderful techs that had performed a follow-up mammogram and an ultrasound on me. I noticed the slight withdrawal of presence, the merest tucking in and tensing around the mouth, and a slightly more businesslike, albeit kind, farewell. To me, it added up to one thing: they couldn’t give me the reassurance I was looking for. They saw something in the photos.
The longer I sat and waited, the more frightened I became. By the time the doctor bounced in – a stunner of an older gal with long gray hair, a generous smile and bright blue eyes – and asked me how I was doing, all I could say was “I guess I’m waiting for you to tell me that.”
And she did.
With great compassion, kindness and optimism, she explained that there were a couple of suspicious areas in my left breast that need attention and proceeded to show me on the film.
The “good” news is, the area(s) is/are small (thanks to regular mammograms), are very treatable with surgery and some radiation applied directly to the affected area(s), and I won’t have to undergo chemo or radiation.
Then, in an attempt to keep things light, I guess, she told me that she heard many women met some wonderful galpals on the journey I was about to embark on. Sisters dealing with the same issues.
I guess there’s an upside to everything.
The “bad” news? In her opinion, what she saw was most likely a breast cancer. A couple of biopsies and an MRI will be done to confirm that, one way or the other. I am, naturally, praying for a miracle call “The Other”.
Anyway, because of the hits I’ve been receiving, her news wasn’t a complete surprise, although – in all honesty – by the time I walked out of the office with paperwork in my hands and a couple of appointments on my calendar – I was in tears. And I continued to cry on and off for most of yesterday.
One of the biggest of those little hits happened sometime last year. I had a “Aha!” moment. At least, that’s what it felt like at the time when I realized just how much time I’d spent completely not liking my breasts – mostly since the changes they’ve undergone in the last few years. They’re huge, for one thing (G cup), heavy and – thanks to gravity – tend to create the illusion of thickness around my mid-section that no amount of lace and underwire seems to alleviate.
I had been boob bullying, and it occurred to me that The Girls might not fare well under that sort of onslaught. If you are familiar with Masaru Emoto’s “The Hidden Messages In Water”. you understand what I mean. Our bodies are made up of about 60% of water, so why wouldn’t the cells in my breasts respond to energetic bullying?
So I began to apologize to them. Sincerely apologizing for all the negative things I’ve said and thought about them. When I remembered to, I would hold them tenderly and told them I loved them. I blessed them. Probably not often enough, or consistently enough…especially when I stood naked in front of the bathroom mirror. But it was a start to the turnaround and you can bet your sweet tatas that it’s something I will be an expert at in short order.
I’m not going to lie. This is SERIOUSLY not a journey I want to go on. I had hoped that things would be calm for a bit after going through my daughter and brothers ‘ recent cancer scares. But Life Happens, and this morning, after sharing a bucket of tears and two bottles of wine with my BFF last night (miraculously, without much hangover effect ….the first of MANY miracles I hope to be the recipient of), I feel calmer. More under control. And my mantra is: I AM HEALED, WHOLE AND HEALTHY.
I’ve also begun praying over my breasts, Ho’oponopono particularly, and have let any cancer know it cannot stay in my body. This photo I altered for my electronic wallpapers shows the four lines of Ho’oponopono. If you’re unfamiliar with this prayer, check it out. It is quite powerful and healing:
I don’t know all that the future holds, but I do know this. I want to embark on this new journey with the intention of loving myself thoroughly and mindfully every step of the way, and to heal.
Forgiveness, love and gratitude. They seem like the best place to start.
I was raised to believe that holding down a job was the way to make sure one wasn’t a financial burden on someone else, or on the assistance rolls. That is, unless or until I landed myself a husband to take care of me. Born in the late 50s, it was too early for the full effects of the Women’s Movement and feminism to kick in. If a girl didn’t marry right after high school, she was encouraged to become a secretary or a school teacher or a nurse. Higher education was fine, but it was considered a bit of a “stop over” until Mr. Right came along.
Me being me, and with a deep creative vein, what I WANTED to do was to become a hairdresser. However, my parents made it very clear that while they would pay for my college education (I had been accepted at a couple of universities), they would not pay for beauty school. It was too blue-collar, and with all that “standing on your feet all day” thing, somehow beneath their support and expectations. Well, fuck me.
So, the summer after high school graduation and a mere 30 days after we met, I accepted the first marriage proposal I received and married just after my 19th birthday. He was a poor, slightly odd, almost always high but very artist “professional” surfer. Looking back now, I know there were many reasons I did what I did…..a FIERCE desire to move out on my own; an extremely LOW self-esteem that fueled many bad decisions where “men” were concerned. But the primary one was, it sounded so “romantic”, in that “we’re madly love and love will keep us together” kind of way.
However, something happened after the ceremony. Something deeply ingrained in my party-girl psyche rose up. I suddenly became RESPONSIBLE. Someone had to make sure that the rent on our little apartment in Huntington Beach got paid….that we had food on the table and gas in the car. So while Surfer Dude was busy getting stoned at the shop where he made and sold boards for some inconsistent cash (when the surf wasn’t good, that is), I began to bring home the regular bacon by working my first 40 hour week job as a file clerk
The marriage lasted a year. The 9-2-5 life, almost four decades and still going.
At 19, I married a free spirit who followed his bliss (and still is, as far as I know), and simultaneously gave up my own….gave up my wildness, my freedom, and a big piece of my soul to do the “right” thing, as was expected of me.
Over the years as I remarried, had children, divorced, remarried and divorced again, I worked a job as well as took care of all the things my “stay at home” friends did. Mostly. I couldn’t be a room mother, or get my kid to a 4:00 baseball practice, but I did what I could while still holding down a job. I’ve also managed to progress in my career while struggling through all the weird effects of The Change – insomnia, night sweats, hot flashes. It ain’t been easy.
Being part of a two income family has always been a necessity here in SoCal, as it turned out, if I wanted to live in a relatively decent neighborhood, with a relatively decent lifestyle. There have been NO exotic vacations (hardly any vacations at all, really). NO fancy homes, expensive clothing or luxury cars. But I have lived a decent life, treading water in the middle of the middle class. Sure, there have been times that I walked around without a single dollar in my purse for a week, but the rent was paid and there was food in the frig. Over the years I’ve colored my own hair, made do with second-hand and thrift store items, robbed Peter to pay Paul. But my children never went without any of the basics, even during my many years as a single mom. I was willing to do anything to make sure of that – to do without things for myself. quite often – even as I prayed for a way out.
It wasn’t for lack of trying, either. I’ve started more “work from home” businesses than I can count on both hands, the first time in my 20s. My goal was to grow the business enough that I could quit my job and be a stay-at-home mommy. I enthusiastically told everyone what I was doing, and followed all the suggestions given by those ahead of me. I walked pamphlets around the neighborhood. I made business cards, put out lead boxes in locals businesses, and offered discounts on everything from makeup to diet pills to jewelry to organic personal products, trying to drum up customers. Some of those business I tried more than once!
And nada. Each time, at some point towards the end of Year One and in spite of all my enthusiasm and best efforts, things petered out. Or maybe I just got tired putting in so much time and money into a second job that produced so few returns. I don’t know. What I do know is that I am still working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, at a desk…. in an office…..and feeling like I’m bleeding out.
I’ve often looked at some of my high school friends, the ones that never had to work outside of the home once they married, as if they were somehow better than me. As if they held special graces or abilities or “something” that I lacked. That is the temptation, anyway – to feel as if somehow I wasn’t good enough to be with a man who wanted to, and was capable of, being the sole provider. Not that looks has anything to do with it in reality. They absolutely do not, and there’s no “truth” behind what I feel at all.
Feelings just are. They don’t have to be rational or reasonable or logical. That doesn’t mean they won’t come.
With the new year here and my 58th birthday approaching, the call to Something More grows louder and more urgent. The time left on the clock is running out. I’m making some changes…whatever changes I can, to shift out of this prison I’m in, even if the shift is just in my head. I have to believe that, with all of the work and the prayers…the vision boards and the begging (smile)…. if my life was supposed to have been different, it would have been.
But maybe there’s a little glimmer of light at the end of this long tunnel . For the first time, The Man – all on his own and without any prompting from me – is talking about wanting me to be able to quit my job. I don’t know why the sudden change. Maybe age is catching up with me in ways I’m not really aware of but that he sees. Maybe the permanent bruises under my eyes from having to keep it all together whether I sleep or not, or get any time off or not, are bothering him.
Or maybe he’s just looking for a way to minimize our tax liability. I don’t know. And he hasn’t explained to me where the money will come from to replace what I bring home.
What I do know is that a tiny space deep inside me, a place I’ve tried to forget about, that I’ve worked hard to push down and ignore, is moving. It’s where I put away my Wild Soul long ago, and it’s begun quivering with the faintest stirrings of Hope – A hope that says maybe it’s ok now to believe it is possible for me to have enough time, enough space, just to BE in the world. To spend my days following the prompts of my heart, my body and my bliss, while I am still young enough and in good enough health to enjoy it.
The how, when, or where of it is still up for grabs. But I can see a bit of light. Just a bit. And it’s enough.
What an interesting couple of weeks this 2015 has been. So far I’m declaring it a real Mixed Bag, and the jury is out about who’s holding it!
There have been some wonderful high points (rang in NYE with my BFF with an overnight girlie fest, and I’ve already lost 7 lbs. of trouble since Christmas!). There have also been a few lows (my brother has been diagnosed with at least three malignant melanomas on his body, and the doctor just called me in for another round of mammograms after finding a new ‘density’ in my left tata).
My grandson has been with us the last three nights while my daughter battles the flu. Having Mr. Big around is always wonderful, but it does add to the crazies. Getting him to and from daycare adds over 2 hours to my daily commute, and there are two people to get ready and out the door by 7:30 a.m. It’s amazing how much like a puppy he is – a pint-sized ball of perpetual motion until he falls to sleep at night. (Albeit a glorious, Heaven-sent puppy in a “farts are so hilarious” phase. Gotta love it, even if I do fall exhausted into bed after he nods off!)
Selfishly, part of the challenge of all this LIFE that keeps happening is that it makes my meal planning and exercising harder to work in. Harder, but not impossible! Now that other people are actually noticing my weight loss, it’s totally firing up my motivation. 7 lbs. doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider what a single pound of fat looks like in real-time, it puts it all into perspective. And I’m over 25% to my goal!
My plans for 2015 aren’t all about my physical self, though. As time allows, I’m also doing some deeper work. I’ve been poking around in the shadows like a clam digger at Pismo Beach. See, as scary as it can be, as humbling and Story demolishing, I know that’s where the buried treasure is.
Maybe it’s who I hang with, but it’s occurred to me recently that I don’t really know a lot of people who purposefully delve into their shadow like I’m want to do. Sure, if confronted with something, some in my immediate circle will own their shit. But it ain’t pretty and they SURE don’t go willingly, at least, not in my perception. Most people avoid the dark side. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a friend say, “You know, I’m going to start digging through the crap in my psyche and see what I come up with.”
Oh, hell, no! It’s hard enough for most people to admit they made a mistake let alone that they might be operating out of some Shadow Trauma or Agenda.
Dark Diving seems to be part of my unique calling…part of my own luminositciousness. (I just made that up). I am a big believer in the idea that we can only provide as much light for others as we’ve made room for inside ourselves – for ourselves and by ourselves. Maybe that’s why I’m allergically adverse to competition (except with myself). I haven’t wanted to Be Somebody for a long time. There were a few decades there when I thought I came to Planet Earth to Do Something Big – Something SPECIAL. Not any more. I’m just fully in my Me-ness now. Whatever I do (or don’t do) is just fine.
Too often people are just glaring their egobeams around, a-hoping and a-praying they are giving The People what they want so they can attract the masses in droves, carrying their adulation and their strokes with them.
Oh yeah, I just went there. I’ve GOT to! I see soooo much, all around me…..Folks at work so occupied with building their kingdoms (or queendoms) that they’ll pose and primp and ass-kiss and lie and throw anyone they need to under the bus in order to achieve it. It’s pathetic.
Unfortunately, it’s absolutely viral in the “spiritual” arena as well. JezusHChristmas, everyone wants to be a mentor or a teacher or an expert or a guide. It’s a little heartbreaking, actually, to watch how hard they work at trying to make it all happen. I know it’s coming from a broken place in side of them…overcompensating for some need for validation or acceptance.
NOT that hard work is a bad thing! Nor is wanting to be a teacher or whatever. I truly believe some come into this life with that calling firmly in place. But in the age of the WorldWideWeb, where anyone with a keyboard and too much extra time on their hands can decide that taking a class makes them an ‘master’, well…. the numbers of those that self-identify as someone “special” is truly extraordinary.
Everyone wants to claim a supersized purpose, and it’s making us collectively obese and unhealthy. It’s time to go on an Ego diet. We need to start counting our humbleness along with our glories. It’s past time that having a smaller proportioned life is recognized as just as important, just as valid, just as WORTHY as having one with massive dimensions.
I don’t want to miss the power of small things….mundane things…. done in great love, and without anyone else watching.
It’s 5:40 am here. Both of my kids, and my grandson, are sleeping in our extra rooms as I write this. What a joy to have both of them under my roof for Christmas morning for the first time in forever. I’m cooking up some cinnamon rolls to have with juice and coffee while we watch Little Man open all his gifts from Santa, and exchange gifts amongst ourselves. Slippers for everyone wait outside their closed bedroom doors…a little something to warm their feet and warm this Mama’s heart. Later, the rest of our family will be joining us here for a sumptuous holiday feast, and I’m foreseeing a few naps later once the early hour and the sugar buzz kicks in full force.
It’s a wonderful life….
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May your hearts be cheery and light!