Quick update on the physical stuff before we move on – my blood count is through the roof, apparently better than a lot of ‘healthy’ people which is excellent news. This is of course all to do with the cell-boosting injections and nothing whatsoever to do with all the wheatgrass protein, Vit A, Vit D3, Flaxseed oil, Echinacea, Whey protein isolate, pomegranate and vegetable juices I have been pouring down my throat, and the stupendous amount of healing that is being sent to me. It is such a shame that key people within the NHS seem unable to embrace anything that isn’t included in a scientific study. If I hear the phrase ‘science doesn’t support it’ one more time I am really going to be tempted…… Anyway, I’m free to contemplate my navel for another week then I’m in next Thursday for at least 4 days for Cycle 2, which should be plenty of time to catch you all up on Dot, who gave me a big cheery smile yesterday when I told her I was back in next week. Bless her.
And contemplating my navel is exactly what I have already been doing for several days, starting properly with last Sunday which was definitely the worst day so far. I have been exchanging emails with my dear friend Judy Hall on a wide range of subjects whose common link was the ability to accept, or otherwise, what is going on at the moment, and at her suggestion I’m bringing some of them into the blog so I can think them through in public. I know that sounds weird, but it really helps me – it really is cathartic so thank you for bearing with me.
There are several conflicting trains of thought going on in my head:
1. Interlife planning – Stephen and I planned all this before this reincarnation so that I/we could have a particular experience.
2. Acceptance or surrender to the illness and whatever it is going to teach me/us.
3. Cosmic Ordering. I somehow created this and so with a bit of positive thinking I can get myself out of it.
I fully embrace the belief that we have been here before, and that when we come back we do so to gain particular experiences. Anyone who has read Judy’s lovely books ‘The Soulmate Myth’ and ‘The Book of Why’ will know from mine and Stephen’s story that we feel we have been together for many lifetimes, along with many other case histories in the books. (See Book Blog for info)What I struggle to understand is why, in a life that has already included more than its fair share of death and grief I apparently thought it would be a good idea to experience a life-threatening illness, just when things seemed to be going well. The whole concept of life after death is usually one that comforts me, but I feel positively grumpy (in my darker moments) that I now have to summon the energy to deal with this massive thing that has come crashing into our lives. I was looking forward to sunny cruises of increasing length, driving in a casual fashion most of the way around the UK to see all the places we have never visited, nice stuff like that. Before you all scream at me that I still can, and that I need to have positive goals for after I am better, yes I know all that. And I do. But in the darkest hours before dawn there’s a part of me that is like a petulant and very upset child, shouting ‘BUT I DON’T WANT TO DO THE BIT IN-BETWEEN!’ And looking forward to a lovely holiday has a completely different feel to it when you insert 5 months of unpleasant treatment in front of it, trust me.
But I have no choice, as I have said before, I can’t just call Ward 11 and say that I’m not going to play any more. ‘Um, Hi, yes it’s Margaret Cahill. This is just to let you know I’m not taking you up on your offer of treatment after all because it is really going to make me feel awful’. Well I could, but that would be stupid in the extreme. It is hard enough to get into remission with this cancer even with the treatment so there is no way I am refusing it. I have no doubt that the reason for having to go through all this will become obvious to me – and this does in fact give me comfort, although that won’t be obvious from the above. To feel that I am treading a path that has spiritual intention gives me focus and a feeling that I am not alone. Someone, somewhere presumably has the original plan…..
Which brings me on to acceptance, which is a word I think is bandied around far too lightly. It is a very simple word with a huge amount of clout behind it. Accepting seems to me to be a very passive state, which doesn’t sit at all well with my cardinality. Taking what comes with non-judgement, being at peace with events beyond your control, staying calm and focussed in the face of adversity. Loving kindness. It all sounds totally brilliant until you are faced with a non-negotiable situation, then you realise that to survive this you HAVE to accept it. So acceptance isn’t a voluntary decision, it is a coping mechanism that the majority of us probably haven’t had to use very much. It is submission on a grand scale to forces way beyond our control, as a means of staying sane. That is the bit that gives my inner child the grief, which is on its own something to explore. Hmmm.
When I think about surrender it reminds me of a conversation I had many years ago with Swamiji. I was asking for her help with a mantra that I wanted to use to help me meditate – a little phrase that I could use to give my brain something to do to keep it out of mischief. I was working on something to do with giving everything that I was/am/will be back to God – to become an empty vessel that could wait quietly for direction. She pointed out that whatever it was I thought I was giving back wasn’t actually mine to give in the first place – what we agreed on, and what felt right, was that I was surrendering everything willingly, and it is a concept that has drawn me ever since. There is something that works for me in the act of surrendering that doesn’t, yet, in acceptance. Acceptance brings out the sulky, ‘No don’t want to’, inner child, whereas surrendering is still difficult but somehow I feel am being allowed to make that decision myself. As you can see, I still have a long way to go with this, and the idea of surrendering to the cancer sounds weird. I can theoretically accept cancer but I can’t surrender to it as that has connotations of giving up. I can, however surrender my current situation and give up the idea that I have any power over its outcome. That little sentence is going to provoke a few comments!
Which brings me nicely to the idea of Cosmic Ordering. I would like to say, first off, that many decades ago I was involved for a (very) short time with Amway. Now everybody knows about network marketing and how bad it is, blah, blah, blah, so we’re not going down that route at all. What I do want to point out is that their personal development programmes were second to none, and through them I was introduced to the power of Positive Thinking. For that I am very grateful. This was a Very Long Time before the New Age movement hijacked it and cosmic ordering became the buzzword for having a successful life. I would say that having a positive attitude is incredibly important and I would like to think that I am usually in possession of one (Dark Nights of the Soul excepted), and that it has indeed helped me through some very difficult times. My mother used creative visualisation to help her survive breast cancer for much longer than expected – without any treatment whatsoever – and it figures very strongly in my own meditations. Something has to give the chemo soldiers direction!
I think the danger with taking this concept too far is that it is very obvious if you fail, which is a very heavy burden especially with illness, and for the person who is sick. Quite apart from the shock of an unpleasant diagnosis it is almost too much to take on board that I could have caused this because my thinking was wrong. If we all had our thinking straight everyone would live forever. Nobody lives forever, so excuse me, but isn’t there an obvious flaw here? How can we be vigilant on all fronts so nothing bad sneaks in? And how can we continually programme our thoughts so they only bring good? We can’t. Let me give you an example of how this can go very wrong, and how you can actually start worrying what you think about. A while ago I heard a rich rock star saying that the best thing about having money was that he was able to put his family through regular MRI scans – a potential problem had already been picked up and he was incredibly grateful to have had that early warning. Great idea, I thought. I added that to my list too. First thing I had after the diagnosis was an MRI scan. I have long wanted to write but never had a subject and certainly never had the time. Look at me now. Working part time with long periods of enforced seclusion due to treatment. Lots of time to write. I could go on, but I am sure you can see where I am headed. I shared this (and many other very recent examples of ‘be careful what you wish for’) with Swamiji as I was genuinely starting to worry that I was indeed creating my own reality in completely the wrong way. She has these wise words:
…”In the Yoga Vasishtha the great sage Vasishtha tells his disciple Rama in no uncertain terms ‘whether enlightened or still in darkness, our own mortality sets fear in us’. One of the ways the New Age movement masks this fear is with the belief that if we can just get our thinking right we will be able to get everything right – transcend our illnesses, our failures, our difficulties. In other words, we have a means of control. And if we don’t transcend these things it’s not this theory that’s wrong, but rather we hadn’t got our thinking ‘right’. This does seem to me very much like blaming the victim. Life is full of challenges and no matter how ‘right’ we think, we WILL lose some of these battles, and at our end, we lose the fight we make for life. Not because we got something wrong but because that is the nature of life itself. Not that we have no responsibility. Indeed, we must get our thinking right. We must get our diet, our exercise, our attitude – right. And we must fight every day to do this knowing that we may win the battle today, but we will definitely lose it tomorrow……”
So there we have it. To someone who will only see blessings not problems, or who is accustomed to ‘ordering’ what they want the universe to bring them, this is probably an absolute travesty, but I find it quite helpful. In a perverse way I am almost enjoying the opportunity to plumb the depths of my soul. I am equally sure that both for Stephen and I there are hidden gifts along this difficult path if we only have the courage to seek them out.
I leave you with something more from Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan:
…”There is a need to dance the cosmic joy of Shiva. Yet we seem to have cut the possibility of doing it out of our lives and to have fed ourselves with ersatz pleasures. We sacrifice joy for pleasure and try to entertain ourselves with very puny things indeed – things that are really very soul-killing. The real breakthrough of joy only happens when we are moved to the core of our being – when we are shattered by our encounter with meaningfulness…”
Thank you for sharing this time with me. Be well.