There is nothing like getting a big scary death threat from your body to kick up the level of self reflection and inner listening. So when I was first diagnosed, I started asking myself questions right away. One of the questions I asked was, “What thoughts or actions have I been engaged in that make my body compatible with cancer-ing?” I also asked; “For what part of me is cancer-ing the best answer?” and “For that part of me, what need(s) are unmet, that makes cancer-ing an appealing strategy for getting that need met?”
These 3 questions are not about blaming myself for my diagnosis; rather, the aim of the questions is to know what I can control – namely, my thoughts – and to take responsibility for them. Hopefully it also might lead to other ways to meet any sneaky unmet needs of the subconscious that may hold back my healing. Though this may seem like New Age Voodoo, questioning in this way is an exercise that I have used during other difficult periods of my life to find ways through. I have no way of knowing if residual unmet needs from my early childhood, or any other part of my life, could possibly contribute to my cancer-ing. But I love the idea that I just might be healthier and happier by addressing the unmet needs of my inner self. If I think of it as a game of “Let’s Pretend It’s True”, then in the words of my friend Margaret,”It keeps my ego out of the way.” And keeping my Ego, and its obsession with the Who’s-Right-Game, out of the way, just might make room for magical miraculous reality to leak into this realm just a bit.
I am seeking to heal without blaming anyone. Lately, in my research about healing and spontaneous remission, I have been receiving one message from every conceivable source – which is this: The key to healing is Self-Love. Without self love other love just bounces off. Without self love our inner healer cannot take action. SARK, an artist, author and self-proclaimed ‘beacon of light and love in the world’, describes it as:
“Live like a full cup of self-love, sharing the overflow with the world.”
Like most people I oscillate around a bit on the self-love, self-confidence, and self esteem continuum. Learning to be comfortable with whole-heartedly loving myself takes a bit of work. This is probably because our culture equates self love with pathologically selfish and narcissistic tendencies. As in “Gee, he certainly loves HIMSELF, doesn’t he?” said with Church Lady sarcasm. But Self Love is really another way of saying Self Care. Just like on the airplane, when we are called to put on our own oxygen mask first before assisting others. In general I am surrounded by a lot of love. I am not hounded by the need to be a martyr in every situation. I have tended to be remiss in self-care, by running at 110% until I drop from exhaustion repeatedly. (Which is certain to have contributed to my current cancer dance.) So, self love looks like taking good care of oneself.
Which brings me back to the 3 questions I asked in December. In the three months since I first asked them, my questions have morphed and been condensed into just one Question:
“What do I need to Heal?”
In answering that, I have been wrestling with how to be 100% committed to healing without being 100% obsessed with it. To start, I am working out a prescription for self love. It involves focusing on writing, art making, being in nature and gratitude. I am still taking chinese herbal formulas, eating delicious food, napping, taking A.C.K road trips, etc. – but it feels like the intangibles of the magic love realm are what is making it all come together.
Joe’s sister Kathy sent us a Christmas card which featured a quote by Willa Cather:
“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”
I have been the recipient of so much tremendously Great Love lately, that I believe I must be in the midst of a miracle. Seems to me that Miracles are never about just one person. So setting aside my ego, I need to figure out the cup filling business of self-love, so that I can share all the overflow with the world. I want to Dive deeply into the magical realm of miracles – and hopefully bring back something for a feast with all my beloveds.
May my cup runneth over, as may yours.