Saturday, September 12, 2015


This morning I'm fighting off a bit of depression, going over things that aren't working in my life. If I focus on it, the list gets very long and the load of dissatisfaction grows heavy, too heavy to bear. But then I bounce back, well, claw might be a better word. Kinda like crawling hand-over-hand on slender vines while dangling off the side of a cliff. I glance down at the rocks and the sliver of water and keep pulling myself up, thinking about what a mess I'd make if I let go.
Before my surgery, right after Christmas, I had an amazing experience that helped put the perils of the abyss in perspective. Before Christmas, I'd been running around filled with the need to do this and that for the holidays -- clean, socialize, plan, wrap, visit, love, catch up, worry, intensely practice yoga, kiss, hug, dance, sing, sometimes even brush my teeth and comb my hair. Sleeping little, sometimes spinning my wheels, I was happily engaged. Confirmation of breast cancer Dec. 22 changed the tone of my holiday ruckus.

In January, two days before my holiday vacation ended and I went back to work, I went to bed, mind whirling, unable to sleep and found I couldn't get back up. It was like a lead weight pressed me down on the bed. The room spun. I was hallucinating wide awake, aware that it was happening, but helpless to make it stop. I checked the bedside clock, considered calling 911. I've never want to disturb emergency dispatchers at an ungodly hour, that is after dark. Just seems too presumptuous, but it felt like I'd lost my grip on sanity, what would I say? "Help, I'm nuts!". So I waited and the experience continued with increasing vividness.
FullSizeRender (9)I clearly saw my sons, everyone in the family -- my grandchildren, my nieces and nephews, my siblings, friends, co-workers, myself.
I realized everyone was growing and changing as I looked deeply into all our lives -- into the past, forward to the future. It became joyful and reassuring, kaleidoscopic, voyeuristic, and I also realized there's still much work for all of us to do, that it's getting done despite my impatience and meddling. I saw everyone handling their own life business very well, thank you.
I tried to shut down, go to sleep pinned to the bed as I was, unable to lift arms or legs, but couldn't. So I envisioned a warm and healing white light focused on my body. I often do this visualization during yoga meditation. 
Then from the left side of my mind came an intense white light, pure, strong and overpowering in its brightness. I stepped closer to it, looked for its source, for the energy behind the emanation, but could not penetrate the light, could not see beyond the engulfing brightness, and was afraid. I stepped back it gradually faded. Alone in the dark of my room I slept deeply, woke up feeling rested for the first time in weeks.
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I don't understand this experience. I've never felt like that before. I've tried to explain it to myself -- fear and stress from having breast cancer and facing surgery, lack of sleep, too much yoga, over stimulation from the holidays, overwork to make the holidays special, worry, anxiety, anger, disappointment.
What I clearly saw is that everyone was growing into better lives, better selves, transforming in beautiful ways -- even me. It was reassuring to see and understand. I saw my work as a writer, met characters I want to know, learned stories I need to tell, sensed feelings I need to express.
It's a lot of work, my work, and I'm growing and changing. I felt washed with knowledge and amazement, cleansed with a deep understanding that everything is fine, working just as God has planned for me, our family, you, our world.
Say what you will about this experience. I don't feel fit to judge it. I can only report truthfully what happened on the other side and be amazed. When you have a moment to talk, I'm here waiting. Love you.
P.S. Nearly a year has passed since I saw the light. Went to the oncologist last week. She said, "You're cancer free." They caught it early through a routine mammogram, caused minimal damage to my body. She said, "You're a writer. You need to tell people routine mammograms save lives." In my case, the discovery did more than save my life. It cracked me open and gave me a glimpse of a new life.