You think it would never happen to you. But, for me, it did.
I am a 54-year old woman with a diagnosis of Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Bladder – more commonly known as bladder cancer. I don’t call it cancer, though. Instead, I call it “Creative Cell Growth” (CCG) as a way to empower myself through my own healing process. Words are energy and frequency. What we name things matters. (Watch for an upcoming article to learn more about the re-frame of cancer.)
I was shocked to receive my CCG diagnosis. My illness is most common in 75-year-old white men who are chronic smokers. I have been physically active my whole life, have eaten organically/naturally for years, and have not had a job or lifestyle through which I was exposed to lots of environmental toxins. I have practiced yoga, meditation and sound healing – all activities that improve a person’s state of mind and physical health. As a still fairly active woman who doesn’t look ill, it’s an odd thing to walk into the urologist’s office amidst aging, hunched-over white men to wait for my appointment and the inevitable urine cup. Superficially, my illness makes no sense.
So how did I end up here? I tend to think, “I rolled the wrong dice”. You see, CCG does not discriminate. It will take anyone along for the ride, regardless of age, health, lifestyle, race, or gender. I encourage you, if you have CCG or you know someone who does, please drop the idea that they did something to themselves. Assigning blame for the condition isn’t supportive or helpful in any way. In this world, there are way too many factors that lead to these types of diagnosis, including a multitude of factors that we have no control of.
I didn’t choose this path, as no one on this path ever does or will. Yet here I am: doing it. Doing it. Really, there is no other choice. Some call it courage. I suppose it is, in that you find strength in facing the pain or challenge when you find yourself facing an incredibly frightening life event. It necessitates courage, because the other option is simply to roll over and die. Which, perhaps, is courage in another way. For myself, I never resonated with the idea of courage in this type of situation. Courage is a choice, and this illness was not a choice. To me the idea of courage gives power to the illness to continue trying to take me down. It’s a fighting stance rather than a surrendering form. Courage says I have to bolster myself up, and stand up against this crazy illness. What if, instead, we could simply accept what is, trust the process, and surrender to the demands? (Acceptance is not to be mistaken with rolling over and dying). What if we could creatively co-create with the illness to bring the physical self into a new form?
The idea of acceptance and co-creation isn’t intended to negate the process of how one faces their illness, the steps they take, the changes they make, and the incredible fortitude it requires. Because those actions are most certainly a form of courage and they help one to face their illness with what they can. Some don’t choose to work with the illness in any way or any form. They continue their chosen lifestyle, and don’t make changes.
Very early on in my CCG journey, I recognized that I was undertaking some form of an initiation. I was crossing a new threshold. I knew that Spirit is asking me to step further into myself – to know myself, and direct myself towards a higher existence. This initiation is still in the profound process of revealing itself. Understanding this adventure as an initiation helps me to not fight and resist but be with what is and be in the moment to what my body, mind, heart and spirit need. The initiation is asking me to be more mindful in slowing down, breathing into and being with. In other words, it calls for less ‘courage’, and more presence. It’s not about ‘strength’, rather, it’s about softening. It’s not about being strong, but rather being able to draw from your inner power of being. It’s a form of courage that softens into existence rather than scrapping its way to wholeness. A form that takes away the fighting spirit and brings in the surrendering spirit.
My journey has restricted me in many ways. It has limited my engagement in life, my previous lifestyle, work, family, relationships, and activities. All these limitations have been an instrumental part of the journey. It’s the way the creative cells have helped me to learn, and grow. It’s a brilliant way to keep me learning, growing, and sharing my wisdom with the universe. Isn’t that wonderful?
As a person who has spent over two decades practicing and teaching numerous embodiment practices, I’ve experienced extreme betrayal from my body in this process. I’ve learned to relate to my body in different ways, to address its needs differently and understand it more fully. Every relationship goes through many states of change and my relationship to my body is not immune from these changes. I got comfortable relating to it in the ways that I have, and the ways I have learned. I found that by leaning into the illness I have deepened my connection and understanding even more, though I haven’t necessarily liked nor enjoyed the way it has come about.
As the CCG has taken me down, I’ve had to look at the labels and identity I’ve created, and let myself become nothing again and again. A space remains to be filled with what is more authentic, more real, more everything. Overall, it’s been an insightful opportunity to open my mind, my heart, and become a bigger and better version of myself.
My journey has brought change, transformation, endings, insights, and even rebirth, which I hope to share in greater detail through this series of blog articles. My healing path has included a beautiful blend of allopathic and integrative methods, which I will speak about in future articles. There is no one right path, just the right path for you. I will share stories, insights, and ways that I have addressed my body, heart and mind during this journey. I hope to encourage you through your journey, and offer perspectives, tips and tools to help you navigate your own journey with knowledge, grace and gratitude. Stay tuned, and in the meanwhile, take a breath!