Once we get over ourselves and our story and all the stuff that life throws our way to distract us from our ‘chosen path’ we are left in a clearing: a great big open space full of everything and nothing at all. It’s easier than you’d think to get here… andthough you might not realize it in the present tense: we block our path with fear and hesitation and difficulty without even ever realizing it.
Worry gets in our way and we become consumed with ‘what if I fail’ or ‘what if it hurts.’
So what if you fail?
Relax: It’s just a feeling and it’s only temporary. (A gut reaction that rears its ugly head when life doesn’t go the way you intended it to go.) Superheroes have difficulties all the time… we just don’t notice it. Take Bruce Wayne, for example, the difficulties he had started when he was only a boy. Did that stop him from striving to be a better person in the face of tragedy? No. I never said it was going to be easy… It’s life. And life is only ever easy when it’s finished– You’re not finished yet!!
Come on, buck up: what’s got you feeling so confused or beaten or dejected? Is it bigger than you? Your dreams? You’d be surprised how amazing you can be when you just let it it shine. Without effort, you are a brilliant, radiant being who was born to make the world a better place. I am honoured to be having this rather one-sided conversation with you. Truly I am. (Pause) Look, I just gave you a space to react or reflect or do whatever it is you do when someone compliments you. Go ahead. Show me again…. There, now doesn’t that feel better?
We don’t have very much control of what happens to us out in this big bad world. I’m sure that most of us would like to think that we are in control… bust life has developed a nasty habit of reminding us that it will always have the last say. The only thing that we are in total control of? (I’m glad you asked.) We are only ever in total control of how we deal with whatever is happening or has just happened or is about to happen.
Take, for instance, a catastrophic event. For months now, online, there’s been a movement to prepare ourselves for the end of the world. Someone, somewhere or other said something about an asteroid impacting earth. Whoever her was, mentioned September 29th as being our final day and it snowballed into a bunch of press-conferences and news reports about nasa or some other scientific community being ready to us missiles to blow this supposed asteroid into a bizillion pieces before it ever comes into contact with earth proper.
(Click on the picture if you’re curious about this story a.k.a. the end that never happened.)
I’m not one to focus on the end of the world coming any time soon but last time I checked: I’m only human. I hoped that it wasn’t going to happen in spite of myself. I mean, if it were really happening I wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyway so worrying about it was really just a waste of brain cells. Then September 30th happened and we were all still here… So what now? Can you imagine what it must feel like for someone who really truly believed in all that hype? Maybe you can. Maybe you can’t. The only thing that I can compare it to in my life was when I woke up from having a big piece of cancer taken out of me. I went into the operating room not knowing for sure if I was going to wake up again (mostly my fear talking) and then I opened my eyes again and I was still alive. Good news.
For the latest edition of ‘Good News’ a.k.a. September 30th, I was pretty much hanging around in the ‘thank goodness it didn’t happen to me’ camp. Come on, I know that you’ve visited the neighbourhood at least once in your life. It’s not bad: the state of being can even be interpreted as ‘I’m happy to be alive.’ It’s actually super easy to get here. If you plug ‘waking up to yourself’ into the worry and fear machine: it all amounts to nothing. Nothing really happened. So what was I so worried about?
Bad things happen to good people every day. Without warning, someone is shot or hit by a car and try as we might, we can never be fully prepared when it happens to us or someone we care of about. The badness belongs to an event. Plain and simple. Feelings and reactions and realization and upset can blow things way out of proportion is you let them. I’m not telling you that you can’t feel any of it… It’s a natural reaction and that’s a valid place to be in the short term. When all the dust clears, you are left with a better understanding of life and yourself and how you can and will react next time.
No… I’m not wishing anything bad on you. I am speaking from experience. I know things about dealing with the fact that we are mortal beings. Death doesn’t scare me like it used to. I’m at peace with this. When I was eighteen, I woke from what felt like a dream to a life that fit differently enough to notice. I had been recovering in the hospital for six weeks before I could remember anything at all. All I knew was that I almost died in a car crash and that was only because I had people explaining this to me repeatedly. I thought: “hey, I’m still alive for a reason… I wasn’t meant to die.” This kept me feeling accomplished and lucky for almost a decade.
Cancer is an ugly thing indeed. I got my diagnosis for Christmas just before my thirtieth birthday and that really did a number on everything I thought I knew and believed about life. How can somebody be this unlucky? This time, my conversation with death came in instalments. “I have Cancer,” walks hand in hand with the realization that “I can die” and that’s a pretty lonely place to be. Fear takes over and your survival skills turn everything you encounter into fighting for your life.
At least I had developed the skills to understand that I was not my cancer. It was just something that they were going to take out of me forever. I wanted it gone. I wanted it to go so far away from me that it would never touch me or my body every again. Even when we feel like our weakest meekest selves: we can still rise to the challenge. Recovering from something so huge takes time, energy, patience, and a willingness to explore parts of who you are that you probably never even knew about. Spending hours by myself, I never felt lonely… Because I had work to do. I knew that if I was going to make it through all this yucky treatment stuff: I needed to work on all the parts of healing my insides that I could manage.
Imagination and visualization are very powerful tools indeed. Ber Siegel and Deepak Chopra wrote about paths that I could take to guide me on my way to healing. Their books… my journal… drawings… poems came from feelings… Dreams meandered in and out of my rememberings. Like a child, my body was learning a whole new set of rules about repairing itself after every thirty minute treatment peppered my inside with radiation. My power of healing saved my life. Thyroid Cancer? It wasn’t so lucky.
Seven years have come and gone. Through thirty two seasons of change, I have wandered down streets I thought belonged to me but wound up lost. Being is believing. It is truer to you than all the ways you’ve been before. Be amazing, Be free if that feeds your desire. Being anything and everything you ever even wanted to be is a choice that you were born to make.