Archive for May, 2010

May 15 2010

Just Show Up – Issue #52

This morning I was in the waiting room of the Cottage Hospital Lab to get a blood test. In the next room I heard the frantic, pleading screams of a little girl named Emmy, “Noooo, noooo, nooooo!” The nurse was trying to draw her blood but Emmy was having none of it. She protested over and over again, screaming, crying, railing against her present reality, trying to outrun it, resist it, fight it.

Several of us who were in the waiting room witnessing this human drama gave each other knowing smiles. How many of us have had, or still have, a child inside of us screaming the same thing, “Noooooo! I don’t want this! Get me out of here!”

Her mother and the nurse were wrangling with her, telling her, “Emmy, just sit still, don’t be scared, it will be over soon.” I wanted to tell them, “Move toward the fear. Tell her you know how scared she is. Tell her it’s okay to be scared. Meet her where she is.”

I had a wonderful private phone counseling session yesterday with Mary-Margaret Moore, who channeled the Bartholomew books in the 80’s and 90’s, books that bring me more comfort and feelings of expansiveness than any other books I’ve ever read. With heartfelt compassion she counseled me to move toward my fears and pain and not resist them, to simply rest in them for a while, to just show up with whatever is happening, to stop efforting, stop trying to be elsewhere, even in a “higher” place, because, to paraphrase Bartholomew, “You are already there, and once you effort you have lost that place.”

In the session I got in touch with a painful belief that I have done something wrong; I’ve screwed up; I wasn’t relaxed enough to keep the cancer monster away. As much as I have felt empowered by the belief that my thoughts and feelings create my reality, there is a downside to that belief, a blaming and shaming of what I have manifested, what I have created. Mary-Margaret asked me to question that belief, is that true? Did I create it? Can I know that for sure?

The only thing I can know for sure is that cancer is here. Chemo and radiation are here. Nausea is here. I am here. When I stop questioning, resisting, and wanting it to be different, then I land on it — I show up, I come into harmony with this reality. Breathing and resting in what’s happening, no matter what it is, is the portal to the spacious NOW. Kicking and screaming and resisting, like little Emmy, is what creates most of the suffering, just as arguing with and resisting Emmy’s fear only compounded it.

When I come to that place of accepting my worst fears, when I stop resisting them and, instead, rest in them, I experience that it is not as bad as my mind had imagined. I used to think I would rather die than have persistent nausea. But when I rest in it and breathe with it, it’s not so bad. I am showing up with the throwing up. It’s not fun, but it’s not horrendous either. It just is. I feel a stillness as I surrender to it.

I am actually doing this cancer, chemo, radiation, nausea thing. I am doing it (and if I can do it, anyone can, though I hope you never have to). There is a beautiful song by Joan Jacobs that repeats two words melodically over and over again throughout the song, “I surrender, I surrender, I surrender.” I am singing that song.

When tear-streaked little Emmy finally came out of her torture chamber and walked by all of us compassionate witnesses in the waiting room, I wanted to reach out and hug her. Instead, I am hugging my own inner child who wants to resist reality, and I’m telling her, “I know this is scary. It’s okay to feel scared. I’m sorry this is happening. I love you.” She feels heard, she breathes, she starts to relax a bit, and to surrender. She shows up. And, to her surprise, she finds that it’s not as bad as her fear had made it up to be.

Is there a part of you that is in pain, a part of you that is kicking and screaming and resisting reality? I invite you to move towards what you’re feeling, meet yourself right where you are, and then give yourself a big hug. How brave we all are to be on this journey!

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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May 09 2010

Finding a Natural High in the Midst of the Storm – Issue #51

I’ve been feeling like an immigrant from olden times, sailing on a ship across the ocean – once inspired by a dream of a new life, but unable to feel that inspiration because I’m too darn seasick! I want to touch solid ground. I want to feel good again. I want to enjoy food. I want to remember the dream.

Today I have landed on an island of solid ground, and reconnected with inspiration and my dream of health, and I ate delicious, nutritious waffles for breakfast! Usually by the weekend, the further away from chemo I get, the better I begin to feel. But chemo rolls around again tomorrow, every Monday, another wave, as I resume my ocean voyage.

Last week I had high hopes for a new anti-nausea pill that I was trying out. I felt a little bit naughty – it’s called Marinol, a synthetic form of marijuana containing THC. It is supposed to improve appetite and reduce nausea (and I was also secretly hoping for a nice mellow high). I’d only smoked marijuana about 3 times in my life, in my twenties, and I didn’t like it – I felt paranoid. Now we were to meet again, legally. I wondered how we would get along.

As I took the pill last Tuesday, I was writing this newsletter. Within minutes I found myself reading the same sentence over and over again, unable to get a grip on it — the Marinol had kicked in! My eyes started spinning like little pinwheels and I quickly shut them. Crap! I was trapped in this dizzy spinning wheel for the duration of the dose. I held perfectly still, eyes clamped shut for 2 to 3 hours, with creative ideas like fireflies flickering in and out, then gone forever. I was dizzy for days afterward — so much for my ‘high’ hopes for this drug.

As I rest on this island of solid ground today, I am taking deep, slow breaths, evoking a natural high, the remembrance and feeling that I am right where I’m supposed to be — simply being still and quiet and resting in this spacious place.

I have been reading my Bartholomew book by Mary Margaret Moore, and I’m reminded that, “We have misidentified ourselves as the clouds, when in fact we are the vast sky.” I am focusing on identifying myself as the sky, and peacefully watching the clouds go by.

Last Monday, as I sat in my 3rd chemotherapy session, I closed my eyes and became the sky, witnessing my inner clouds. What I saw was a lifelong pervasive story of mine that was clouding up, coming up to be healed. When I first enter the chemo room I search for the perfect chair where I can plant myself for the 3-hour intravenous treatment. I want a nice, private area. I don’t want to chat with people, I want to be quiet and read and meditate.

The ‘clouds’ gather as I imagine the nurses watching me and judging me as a difficult, fussy, unsociable patient. Then I witness myself trying to counter their imagined bad opinion of me, trying to be ‘good’, trying not to be a ‘problem’ — in other words, not asking for things I need and want, like a pillow or a blanket or water. I get mad at myself for being such a wuss — why shouldn’t I ask for what I want? That’s what these nurses are here for, to help, right?

I begin to judge the nurses – nobody really looks at me or offers to help, except when the buzzer goes off and they come over and press some buttons and dash away. I watch them chat and joke with friendlier patients. Oh, I AM the problem. Now I am in high school comparing myself to the outgoing, cool kids.

Thoughts come like: Why can’t they meet me where I am? Why can’t they ask how I’m feeling? As I witness my thoughts, I know that I am projecting my story onto the nurses. I am amused at myself as I watch the ‘clouds’ drift by, and I become more and more the observing sky.

In this witnessing place I realize that I AM MEETING MYSELF right where I am — I don’t need the nurses to do that. I am celebrating my quiet nature, my need for privacy and time to reflect and being still. I imagine like-minded friends meeting me in this spacious place. I imagine my husband Tom and all the people who love me just as I am.

I open my eyes and high school and uncaring nurses have disappeared. There are only efficient nurses waiting for me to ask for what I want. I ask and they happily give it to me. These clouds were just wisps of past programming, the old core belief that my very nature is a “problem” for those around me. In the clearness of this vast blue sky, I appreciate that some very fine healing happened at last week’s chemotherapy session.

Tomorrow is Monday, another chemo day. My goal is to anchor myself in the feeling that I am the vast sky, even in the midst of gathering clouds and stormy seas and seasickness. Finding peace within the storm is a challenge that inspires me. It is a dream worth remembering.

What are ways that you re-inspire yourself and remember your dreams in the midst of life’s cloudy skies and stormy seas?

In Love,
Jan Jacobsen

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