Let me pause from blogging about the dynamics of my week in the hospital (pursuing immuno-oncology after my breast cancer diagnosis) to take you inside my heart, for that is truly where most of my healing is taking place. It is my Ground Zero for healing.
My first reaction when Dr. Kelly told me that the mass in my breast was “something bad; you need to have this guy taken out,” was complete surprise. The next split second, I knew that I was going to need to completely change the direction my life was going. And that meant working at the heart level.
Only a couple of days before seeing Dr. Kelly, I had a meltdown. I literally came unglued — crying and hysterical. Yes, it happens to me, too. In the aftermath of my meltdown, I remember saying emphatically, “I’m not happy.”
And I meant that.
But what I did NOT mean was that I felt it was anyone else’s place to make sure I am happy. I don’t believe that. My happiness is not dependent upon anyone else, not even circumstances. I learned that lesson over 15 years ago through a Women of Faith event in Anaheim. I can remember, I think it was Thelma Wells who said, “it may not be well with my circumstance, but it is well with my soul.” The truth of that statement became a little seed in the core of my heart that has sprouted and grown into a well-established belief.
What I meant was that I had stepped off my path and was running full tilt down another path that, although meaningful and impactful, is not the path that is most congruent with my purpose. And my ability to feel completely happy on that other path was being challenged. No one asked me to step off my path. No one forced me to do it. I took those steps myself, and then I could not see how I was going to get back to my purpose — not for a long time, at least.
Suddenly, I realized I didn’t have the leisure of taking a long time to make my days congruent with what brings me inner meaning to being alive. It’s not enough for me to simply be alive. I want to be fully alive, knowing that I’m living in congruence and harmony with who I am and what I’m here to do.
And although I know that my life is not threatened by early-stage breast cancer from which my body is currently recovering very nicely, any time someone is faced with a diagnosis of cancer, it kind of makes one pause and take stock to be sure each day lived is experienced as a total gift. It gave me the impetus to open my heart and evaluate how I was going to change my current experience so that I have no reason to say, “I’m not happy.”
The changes I need to make are not the kind of changes that can be made overnight. I have obligations, responsibilities, and commitments. And at the same time, I have the ability to make room for my heart’s passions and get my feet back onto my own path. I spent the first three weeks while away, both in Mexico and in Santa Barbara at the Issels Clinic, just getting back in touch with what is deeply meaningful to me.
My path is a spiritual path. I have two degrees in theology, have written a book about The Secret (law of attraction) and the Bible, and have recently identified a doctoral program in theology I planned to enter in the Fall of 2017. But I put my spiritual focus completely on hold for a number of logical, rational reasons. And I recognize that I made a mistake in so doing.
Just prior to Ivan’s diagnosis with prostate cancer in 2012, I was having a total shift in my perceptions of spirituality, religion, and the very essence of life itself. A contemplative door had been opened to me, and I moved from an experiencing separation between God and Creation (creation includes me) to a deep realization of unity with God. If you read or follow the Franciscan Friar, Richard Rohr, you will understand what I mean.
Now, looking back, I can see where my conditioned mind almost immediately created a busy, busy, busy life that really took me away from living in unity with God, and took me back into separation.
Having this experience with cancer has made it imperative to completely bring my life to a screeching halt, take myself out of my everyday environment, and create a healing bubble. Doing this has allowed me to get back in touch with my path. The split-second after I was told that my situation was serious, I knew my healing was more spiritual than physical, and that with the spiritual healing will come physical wholeness. The certainty I felt about that was so strong that I knew I would be whole even without going to the hospital. And at the same time, I felt a keen sense of wanting to give my physical body all of the support needed to heal.
My week in the hospital was a time of walking with God, waking with God, resting, eating, dreaming, and loving with God. The room I was in became my own “mountain-top cave” where I did the deep inner work which has expanded my heart and filled my life with love, peace, and, yes, happiness.