May 09 2010
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?
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