Friday, March 7, 2014

Fault vs Purpose

I continue to read Mind, Miracles and Medicine by Bernie Siegel.  It is such an interesting journey being human. There is so much to learn from and to explore. I have always been the type to want to learn and understand things. 

Over the years I have explored so many different ideas/practices: Angels, Chakras, Energy Healing (Reiki and other), Acupuncture, Crystals, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Imagery, Hypnosis, Astrology, Numerology, Feng Shui, Wicca. I am sure there are more, but I just can't think of them at the moment.

At times it has been a bit confusing, as they all do not fit together so clearly. How do they work together? Do they? If they don't, which one is "right?" 

They come from many different genealogical lines of belief. In some ways they are as different as two people from two different family lines. And yet, if you go back far enough, perhaps it's like distant relatives. Perhaps there is something that somehow relates.

Over the time that I have been on this journey I have gone from not knowing about any of it, to knowing of it, exploring it in some cases, and then pushing back from it. I sometimes think that there is too much formality to much of what I read and learn. 

If it isn't THIS way then it isn't right. It can kinda make you a bit paranoid. Then when things don't somehow work out, you find yourself thinking you didn't do something right. And even if on the surface it seems you did everything to a "T," the unconscious then gets the brunt of the blame.

Part of what I continue to wrestle with on some level is the idea that we are to "blame" for our illnesses. As I have said recently, I am not sure that is true in totality for several reasons, but I do not think it can be discounted totally, either. 

When I read of some of the things that those who deal with cancer face, there is no denying the similarities that we share. Perhaps at some point I will go into more depth about it. I just kinda don't feel like it at the moment. It is like I am driving at 20 but want to step on it to get to 50. But I am not sure what is all in between.

It is very strange. I feel like I am in overdrive at the moment. Last night I wasn't feeling well before I went to bed. I was very uncomfortable, and I seemed to have a bad case of gas. I was hoping that the pain I was feeling was nothing more than the gas. I found out during the course of the last couple of years that gas can be anywhere in your body, and quite painful. I never knew that before it happened to me more than once.

I went to sleep even earlier last night than I have been. For once I actually felt sleepy earlier. In some ways it was a relief. I think I went to sleep around 2 and didn't wake up until after noon. I must have really needed the rest. I have been waking up a lot sooner lately, too. Not sure that that's been helping anything.

I have several things on my mind and things I need to accomplish. I have also been wanting to make some sourdough bread for days now. The list seems to be growing. It really does feel overwhelming at times. And yet, you may be thinking, with all of these things I need to do why am I sitting here writing?

Well. On some level, I think my life depends on it. I kind of thought it before, given how driven I sometimes feel to write, and in the reading of the above-mentioned book, I think I could see why it is as important as I feel it is. One thing that is said is that those who deal with cancer don't have emotional outlets.

I have spent much of my life not dealing with my emotions. Many times they have gotten tucked inside because I did not know what else to do with them. If I actually would have expressed them I would have likely have found myself having more issues. So I just shut up.

When I moved to California there were a few times that the emotion that had been building came out in a big way. One day I was sobbing. It may have been the first time I ever really felt the idea that I could not get away from myself - "wherever you go, there you are." It wasn't good, either. 

I desperately wanted to get away from me. I was in so much pain. I was beside myself. I remember I was sitting on my bed. It was during the day. But I don't remember what precipitated it. I was just incredibly frustrated. I felt lost. I felt useless. It certainly wasn't the first time, but it was more profound than other times because I had been farther down life's road at that point, and I felt like I had so much to offer, but couldn't seem to find a way to be in the world with it. 

It is one thing to feel a certain way and know that you haven't done things. It is a whole different story when you feel like you have done everything you think you know to do.

It wasn't the first time I would feel that way, either. Right before my diagnosis I was telling someone that I just did not know what the point of my being here was. It really almost didn't seem to matter if I was present, or not.

And then, not too long after, cancer announced, "I'm here!" I am sure it was lurking for quite some time, given the symptoms I now know I was having, so it is not like it showed up over night. Odds are it is quite possible I was feeding it with these feelings of helplessness I was having.

And that is where people will go to blame and fault. I created this. Right? Blame and fault have such negative connotations. They're usually things that no one wants to stake a claim in. 

Yes. It was my fault. No one ever says that with glee, or a smile on their face, unless it is said it jest - or said in regard to a blatantly positive thing. If it is serious that will never happen. There is so much negative attached to it, too.

If you look at purpose, though, that is something everyone would feel good to claim. If you do something with purpose, on purpose, with intention, then it is likely something that has a good feeling around it. The connotation that it carries is much different than the one of fault and blame.

What if the thing that we look at as negative isn't negative at all? What if a diagnosis of cancer comes with purpose? What if there was an intended purpose to its arrival? If that was so, then I could claim it happily. It wouldn't be shameful. It would be something that would seem so wise and so awesome.

The thing is that there is no way to know anything with absolute certainty, even though we will often claim knowledge of something in that way. I think it is what we think we know that can be troublesome.

The book I am reading shares many stories and insights that were gained along the way, not all of which have your "standard" happy ending. It does not seem that grasping onto understanding is always going to be a key to keeping one's life. But it could possibly be the key to extending it. It could be the key to some growth and understanding.

In the back of my mind I am terrified. I can't shake the feeling. I am terrified that I will do everything and still come up "empty." Then there will be people who will be like, "I told you so." "There's proof for that thing I think I know." "She always thought xxx, but I knew she was wrong." "It's so sad that she was so delusional." "Her head was always up in the clouds."

While it is not necessarily related to this, I want to share something I posted on FB recently. The conversation was about "unconditional love."

We tend to think we can "fix" anything. So many beliefs evolve/revolve around that base. It occurs to me tonight - for the first time - what if we believe that what we see in others is us because then we can "fix" it more easily than fixing someone else? What if we are just who we are, and others are just who they are, and that there are just times the two worlds are not meant to meet, or are meant to meet for some insight/learning to occur - as is. It also implies that there is something "wrong" with us. Maybe there are things that are not about us at all. It seems to me that believing the way many do about this can at times be agonizing and self-defeating. Why aren't we getting it? What are we missing? We can make ourselves more miserable trying to figure something out that may not be meant to be figured out than the original situation even makes us. Just a thought. I don't know about anyone else...but I am definitely going to consider this idea more.

In some ways, it does fit this conversation in that perhaps there are things that are just meant to be, and that there is nothing wrong with the things that are, even though we try to label them otherwise. The labeling we use also often has us feeling like there is something wrong with us, and that there is something to be fixed.

Maybe we could alter our conversation around cancer if we could stop seeing it as a deficiency of someone's character, and their fault, and then find ourselves distancing ourselves from it and those affected by it. We all have things in our lives that could fill in the blanks with if we had a template. Dealing with cancer is no different than dealing with other things in some ways. We just tend to distance ourselves the most from the things we understand - or want to understand - the least.

When I went on my trip last year I had no idea how to "fix" me or my situation. For that reason there was no intention to do that. I went on the trip and just lived life. I interacted with people. I just kept going. In the process I came back full of life, and with a lowered tumor marker.

Maybe "healing" isn't about any organized, regimented way of looking at something, but rather a process of just living life. Several years ago I came up with the idea that H.E.A.L.ing could be a "H.ealth E.xperience through A.wareness and L.istening." More than ever I think I could have been on to something.

In the book there is also a statement about how the immune system can be weakened by confusion when a person does not speak how they truly feel. When I didn't feel like I could talk about how I really felt over the years I was likely weakening it over and over if that is true. 

It could be yet another reason despite some inner reluctance at times that I have pushed myself to be so open and verbal about how I feel. On some level I feel stronger when I speak my mind. Sometimes incredibly stronger.

I have had some people tell me that they thought that if anyone could "beat" this, it would be me. There is a part of me that so wants to be proven right and vindicated for all the years that I was questioned, doubted and in some ways ridiculed. 

I am guessing that is my ego. But there are times I feel it goes deeper than that. There are times that I think I do "know" things, and whether or not others believe them or believe in how I go about things there is a sense of "rightness" that is always present. In some ways it feels like it could be enough. But I can't help but want to see the "proof."

If I am "right," then I would like for it to look a certain way. Whether or not that ever happens remains to be seen. In the meantime, I am going to do my best to keep reminding myself of the power of the journey and just keep going.

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