Cancer Chronicles, Part 23

I was going to write about something else today, but then realized I didn’t want to rush past slowing down, which is what Tuesday’s post was about. Slowing down. In addition to the cantaloupe, there was someone at our eating meditation who didn’t like what she chose to eat: avocados and eggs. It’s boring, she said. When she looked around at what other people were eating, their food looked better. Their food looked sexier. Their food looked like what she should have chosen. That impulse to look “over there” and think that “there" is better than “here." Then she slowed down. She climbed out of her mind and into her body. She started tasting the eggs, then the avocados and suddenly she realized that the world was on her plate and that what she had chosen, what she already had was divine, was perfect. She wouldn’t have realized that if she hadn’t taken time, if she hadn’t slowed down. And because she slowed down, she could take in, allow herself to have what she already had.

I think of this a lot. I was definitely a person who kept looking over there, convinced that there was better than here. What I didn’t see was that the habit of looking outside myself didn’t allow me to look here, to see what I already had. Before the diagnosis of cancer, I remember thinking that I wish I could go to my own funeral. I wish that I could hear, see, know the love that people express for a dead person (moi) while I was still alive. After the diagnosis, and with the care of friends and Matt, I started to see that I hadn’t been seeing what I already had. I was rushing past it, just like the woman rushed past the eggs and avocados, thinking that other people had it better. It was an old habit, a childhood yearning that stayed around. And although cancer pierced the trance of that, it still takes awareness, effort to keep coming back to the fullness, the love of what is already here. Even during Covid, even with the smoke-filled air, even in chaos, there is still the space, the peace, the tenderness that is always here. But the mind is so busy, so convinced that something is always wrong that it takes effort. It takes the desire to slow down, to look, see, revel.

To read more in the Cancer Chronicles, click here.

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