Friday, August 30, 2013

Just Today

There's a restlessness on me today. Early waking. Not settling back after a breakfast. So I played some games, read a bit of my book, dug out a box of magazine images and snipped a few, but I haven't settled to anything.  I have a feeling like there's something else I ought to be doing. Maybe it's writing. Maybe it's picking up my crochet hook and yarn again. Maybe it's just a sense of the season changing, and I'm not making preparations to return to work next week, like I would have been doing - Have I got decent shoes?  Is there a battery in my clock?

So here's what I'll do for now... I'll share the four SoulCollage®, cards that became my supporters in this cancer journey. They were each made long before I began this journey, so their contribution as part of this particular aspect of my life is very interesting to me. 

It took a few weeks for me to begin to approach inner processing of my response to the diagnosis, surgery, prospect of chemo & radiation. I wondered if I was operating in denial, but chose instead to see it as just going slow, just dealing with things as I became ready to deal with them.  That's all true, and in another way, I know I responded fairly immediately with a deeply felt sense that whatever happens, it's ok. Whatever way it goes, it will be ok. I hold that sense, and it makes everything else easier to carry.  When I pray for healing, it's with the hope that I get to keep this body for another 20+ years, but with the knowledge I might not (we all know this all the time anyway, really), and that the healing I need may be spiritual or emotional, rather than physical.

When I felt the urge to explore what my SoulCollage® cards might have to say to me, I selected four random cards from my deck of over 180 cards, and allowed each to have a voice in answer to the question "In what way do you support me at this time?"

The first card to emerge was my "Protective Female Warrior"  Well, I could straight away say "welcome" to her. She says "I am one who will battle on your behalf, step up to protect you, shield you when you are feeling exposed and vulnerable, ward off anything negative or unhelpful.
And, of course, the background figure's posture - paralyzed with fear, vulnerable, and even with a breast exposed, perfectly represented the part of me that needs this warrior working on my behalf.
The second card emerged - "First step towards my goal", saying "I am one who looks far ahead to the goal, but concentrates at the same time on taking the next first step, carefully and with attention. This will bring me to my goal. Staying in the moment, and taking each step as it comes. There may be storms swirling about me, but I stay clear-eyed, and focused, and I wear my coloured scarf proudly"  - This last surprised me, as I did this exercise on the same day that I'd first toyed with the idea of "What will it be like to lose my hair?  Will I wear a scarf?  How do you tie a scarf anyway" - and had actually experimented with wrapping my head in a bright scarf
The third card to emerge has had a few different names, and supported me in different ways in the years since I first made it, but the title I often use is simply "Don't".  In the past its voice has been shy or resistant, but here, the words were very positive.  "I am one who chooses to stay back from what is overwhelming until I am ready. I look cautiously and allow only what I am able for to approach me. It is perfectly ok to say "no", to say "not now", to say "too much".      This felt very assertive and positive, not weak and fearful.  I was also struck by the appearance of a scarf again!

The final card selected was "Eternal Religion", and speaks to me of the spiritual gifts available to me from so many sources. Wherever I find solace, peace, words of comfort, that is good. Whatever prayer I choose to say, that is good. This card says "Let your soul speak, and it will be heard" Thus has it always been.
The four cards have been ranged across my mantelpiece since that day, many weeks ago now. They remind me that I have within me resources that sometimes I lose sight of. They are companions and friends, parts of myself, and parts of the larger story, and as time passes, their relevance and meaning become deeper and stronger.
[Please read the note about SoulCollage® in the right margin. It contains important information]

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"This journey" was what I entitled a Facebook entry just after my first chemo treatment 3 weeks ago. Tonight, awake on a steroid-induced racing brain, I realise there's a great danger of overwhelming friends on Facebook with my thoughts, interests and odd directions taken, and have decided that if I offer the option of coming here (or not), then I get the chance to "download" all that swirling stuff in my head a little; to share what is of interest with anyone who's interested, and to avoid too much intensity for those who are part of my Facebook community but are not necessarily close enough to wish to share all of that. 

This Journey              (11 July 2013)

It's a common way of looking at life and its stages and phases. Every journey has potential for disruption, can involve stops, new starts, detours, difficulties, meetings with challenges, friends and allies along the way. We travel in many ways, and at the start of my cancer journey, less than three months ago, a metaphor that was strong was a sense of being newly cast off on an...
unfamiliar boat, on fairly rough seas - but not far from shore, and not without strong anchors.
"And who's on the shore?" I was asked. My answer was immediate and felt very strongly. All along the shore, where I can see you clearly, stand friends, family, everyone who wishes me well, who would offer a thought of kindness if they knew I was having a rough time. You carry those things that call me home and remind me that I am so not alone here. Some of you carry lifelines, ready any time I need it, to help. Some wave flags of memory, banners of laughter. You carry books, poems, songs. Your voices carry over the water. You hold lights and flowers, bowls of ice-cream. Some have children in your arms. Some of you carry beads, and say prayers. You have called out to me and said "We're here". I know it.

Today, I start on a new phase of this journey. I start chemo. Four rounds, three weeks apart. I do not know exactly how it will be, but I know that I could not be in better hands, or among better people, so thank you. I appreciate your presence. Simply that. Just as you are, just as you have been, just as you have come to be part of my life. 

  Thank you.

The picture I've chosen as my profile picture is a SoulCollage® card created quite a long time ago, and which I entitled at the time "The Ferryman".  Today, it represents for me a sense of being carried along on a swift-flowing river, by unknown, but very benign forces, and surrounded by a garden of blossoms and lights, dressed in "power-purple. 
The forces supporting me right now are too numerous to list fully, but they include all the people referred to above, The process of SoulCollage®, Bach Flower Remedies, my wonderful Faith community, and an amazing family - siblings, cousins, my Dad and my incredible son, and the grace and wonderful certainty that I am also supported by an array of souls in the next world, chief among them, my dear, precious mother, on whose 5th anniversary, I got word that chemo would be part of this journey. Always with me, always showering me with her love.