Writing this post will be a kind of hypocrisy in that sometimes we go through experiences that are too deep for words and here I am still using words to try and articulate this experience (?).
There are times when a shock tears the fabric of your world apart for a time and you gaze into the depth of infinity and find a wordless place which contains so many feelings all jumbled up. You gain glimpses into the entire trajectory of your life but from a far off place. Is this the soul making its presence felt, and awakening you to the fact you stand on the brink of a huge transition?
I received my cancer diagnosis today at around 3 pm. I had known in my gut from the time I was on the bench in the radiography room undergoing the ultrasound, last Thursday that I had cancer. It wasn’t just a thought, it was a deep feeling, I just touched into the most profound sadness, and inside me were unspoken words, “please God, don’t make me go through any more” but somewhere deep within I just knew. I had a powerful vision of my dead father and dead sister in the room with me that day. And a few days later, Dad, appeared in a dream and this has only happened about two or three imes since he died 31 years ago.
At that time I know I was in deep resistance, for I was crying and inwardly saying “Not more pain”. Today as they told me the diagnosis Stage 1 Ductal carcinoma Insitu, there was a resignation deep within. Today I know we go through what we need to, and this, hard as it is, is the next step of my journey.
A little over a year ago I bought a beautiful book of meditations written by cancer survivor Mark Nepo, called The Book of Awakening : Having the Life You Want By Beign Present to the Life You Have. Each daily reading is so filled with an awesome profoundity that you just know it has been written by someone who has stared death in the face and been stripped back to essential truths that lay at the centre of his heart and were obscured before he underwent cancer.
I can’t make huge comparisons with my own journey as mine is very early stage breast cancer with a good prognosis, but I still feel it is a wake up call of some kind for me, as for many, many months now I have felt that I have been living with attention drawn outwards to activities that don’t really always put me in touch with myself on the deepest level, a thousand distractions that don’t really fill me up. And now with this diagnosis I am feeling a real need to be present with my soul in the silence which contains so much. It is as if the soul that lives in my body is saying to me “wake up Deborah and listen”.
Tonight I don’t have the television on. I need the silence. I feel the need to touch the dusk as it steals in to overshadow the day and move me towards night. I know at night dark thoughts may come but also there is a kind of sense that you have when you are involved in serious motor vehicle collision between the time the car spins out of control and the impact hits, that of seeing things with the utmost clarity and intensity.
I know its a truism that the prospect of death makes life more acute and precious. Even in the dark silence there is a hum and a sense of a power that sustains the entire cycle of life and death, death in life and life in death. For tonight I need to draw close to it.
Its too dramatic by half to say I am anywhere near death as the survival rate for this cancer is 90 percent and I am in the very early stages. Hundreds of thousands of women have gone through this experience. And still as I undergo it, it is a profound inward experience which never the less I feel the need to share about.