Whenever I feel like a victim — they done me wrong, the cancer done me wrong, the radiation done me wrong, it’s not fair that there’s cancer, covid AND the possibility of evacuation — it’s always, always a chance for me to catch myself. Is it difficult at times? Yes. Is there pain? Yes. But that doesn’t make me a victim.
The challenge of these times — cancer, covid, the fires here in Northern California, the political vitriol, the fear — is to see how I get caught in the wave of feelings or beliefs, how I identify with them — and then come back. Always to come back. And to meet the pain, the fear, make room for it and then to ask what I can do, how I can act. In the meeting and witnessing, there is an awareness of something so much bigger than fear. An awareness that I have a choice about what to focus on.
It’s not that the fires go away when I don’t contract in fear. Or that the post-cancer protocol and thoughts and feelings associated with it are any less intense, it’s that I recognize them for what they are: thoughts, fears, beliefs. Ways to hijack my mind and with it my nervous system. I look out my window and see smoke. I feel my left breast and am aware of the pain. Those are the facts. What I do with those facts is what my suffering or lack of suffering depends on. It’s that simple. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. There is such a pull, based on a lifetime of pulls, to go down the road of pain and blame. And I don’t have to. We don’t have to. And that’s a wow. That’s freedom.
I once had a teacher who said, “it doesn’t matter how many times you forget, it only matters that you remember.” So I keep coming back, over and over. And don’t forget to look at those teddy bear sunflowers, shining on all who gaze at them.
To read more in the Cancer Chronicles, click here.