From October 12th

Today the new moon and the sun both sit in the constellation Libra, signifying a universal momentum towards balance, as Libra is the constellation of the scale. As the light from the new moon waxes, so will ones intentions if you set them. These cycles teach us that now is the time to plant new seeds, to harvest the fruits of the season, to celebrate hibernation and give gratitude for death.

It is a time to bring new light into life, as the light of the days grows shorter, our perspective and focus can only expand.

Today is also the dawn of my 6th chemo treatment. It is the halfway point. The 6th treatment is over on Friday and the countdown to 12 now can begin.

I welcomed the passage of this countdown and the darkness of the moon deep into my soul as I sat in the woods, encircling a fire, with 6 other beautiful women on Tuesday night. With the moon and the sun in Libra, it is believed that harmony and equanimity are upon us. We sat together, with this as our intention.

Yet within the quest for balance, imbalance rears its head.

Coincidentally during the last week I have been learning a new contemplation practice. The practice walks me through a process of asking a question and making space for answers or clarity. As I have sat, reflecting on the time – only three months – since I was diagnosed with cancer, I have wondered what this ‘mid-point’ might bring. Does it bring balance to this journey? Does it bring hope to the rest of the road? Does it bring clarity to the terrible ride I’ve been on? Are more questions answered about why I have cancer? Or am I more accepting of the fact that I just do? Do I want this acceptance? Or do I want more answers?

What I have come to realize is that within seeking “balance” I have to embrace imbalance. And the thing is, balance isn’t “good” and imbalance isn’t “bad”. There is much, much more to the story.

It is in this gray area where I believe the clarity lives. Where perhaps no answer is the answer for right now. And to borrow the words of Stephen Cope, the lessons are to:
Tolerate the mystery
To welcome to unknown
To live in the wildness
To love the darkness and the moon
To embrace the Wisdom of the Circle

I know that my Life. Has. Changed. I know that part of this journey is just plain Shitty and I truly believe that there is no meditation or contemplation practice that can change that. I don’t say this out of negativity; I say it out of truth. Out of recognition of acceptance that THIS is my journey right now.

And the more I contemplate, though the answers don’t arrive, the more I realize that with almost every negative or challenging part of this journey, there IS a balance – an equanimity. There is positive thing right there along side the hardship.

CANCER IS A GIFT OF TIME. Time for me.  For self-care and self love in ways that life has not made so easy in the past. I treat myself to massages, to acupuncture, to walks with the dogs and with the people in my life. I have an occasional chocolate croissant with no feeling of guilt. I sit in the sunshine and sit with my sheep. I take time to read, to practice yoga and to write. I even enjoy watching baseball with my husband. The slower I learn to move, the more I find ways to express gratitude to the life that surrounds me – to the life that I am within.

CANCER BRINGS LIGHT TO THE DAYS. Since being diagnosed with cancer, there has been a new shadow next to me. The shadow is there at all times. Sometimes it’s so massive and encompasses all of my being. But most of the time, my awareness of this shadow requires me to see the light through it – to cultivate enough light to break its darkness…much like the waning of the moon, as it grows from new to full. As I practice and teach yoga since being in the hospital, I have newborn authenticity for the lessons of the practice – For the wholeness of the practice. This is a magical gift. One I sit with daily and one I long to hold onto forever, both for my growth and the growth of my students.

CANCERS GIVES PERMISSION FOR OTHERS TO SHINE. The people that I see in my community look at me with different eyes. Usually, without words, they display their concern and care with a look – one that penetrates my heart and warms my soul. For no matter how well or how little I know this person, they are able to give me a piece of their health, of their energy, by simply acknowledging that I am on a journey that they likely don’t understand. Many times there are no “right” words to say when you run into somebody with cancer. And there are no words that make it better. Just that look – those wide and soft, loving eyes, this is enough to bring light and peace to my day, and I am grateful for it.

CANCER IS AN EXCUSE TO HAVE HATS AND SCARVES.  I have always liked winter hats and scarves. And now that my hair is thinning and the cold neuropathy takes its toll on my fingers, toes and airways, I have more reason than ever to have lots of great hats and scarves. I had at least 15 scarves already, which Steve never quite understood, since you technically only wear one a time, he says. But now he supports me to have as many as I need to make my wardrobe spectacularly colorful and warming.  🙂

As I continue on this road, down this other half of treatments, and the surgeries and whatever else comes after that, I contemplate my ability to continue to find the light within the darkness. This is my intention. May I always find and express the words and the love within myself to remain strong and positive. And I trust that the words and the looks of others will help me along this path.

Here’s two pieces of wisdom from others:
Dialogues With Silence
The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is answered it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God. ” (Stephen Cope)

If you Want to Sing Out, Sing Out, Cat Stevens


2 thoughts on “the light in the darness

  1. Stay strong– you have the support of all those that love you—Hopefully you feel all the love and strength that surround you daily— thinking of you with warm loving wishes— Ellie


  2. Amazing strength, to find the positive side of this part of your journey. I am internalizing it, so I can practice it too. Except for the scarf&hat situation, as it is still 90 degrees over here… :p Hugs!!


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