On August 9, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.* For two days I moved, stunned, beneath the dark shadow of those words, which I never had imagined would apply to me. I felt as if all joy and flow in my life had vanished. I couldn’t access the inner peace that had become so much a part of my daily experience. I couldn’t hear my soul’s voice. I was lost within the dramatic scenarios my mind was playing out, all of them shadowed and sad. I grieved the loss of my connection to spirit, to trust (and perhaps to life). Then a wise friend reminded me that I didn’t have to immediately be at peace, that it was okay to feel whatever I needed to, day by day. The light of peace would eventually return, as long as I remembered not to get caught in the mind drama, and just trust the divine process of it all. He was right.
Shadows and light come and go in our lives. They are the yin and yang of the Earth plane. One can’t exist without the other. We wouldn’t know happiness without sorrow, pleasure without pain. On a planet of polarities, we cannot expect the external world to be only one thing. We might be bored if it were. What we can do is find a place of calm acceptance within us to experience (or observe) all those seeming opposites that fill our lives. From that perspective, all is well, and there is purpose beneath the play of consciousness before us and within us at all times. Eventually, we learn that the opposites flow together into one. The diverse forms that make up our planetary experience arise from formlessness and eventually return to that oneness. This is the nature of the multiverse that we inhabit and that is also within us.
That is wisdom I carry in my soul. At times of crisis in my own life (cancer) or in the world (pandemic), it is easy to forget. Feelings of fear and sadness almost overwhelm me. At the last minute, something or someone appears to remind me. The light shines, and the shadows recede. If I can accept the existence of both shadows and light, I can move forward even in the face of fear, even with sadness in my heart. The human experience is complex and unpredictable. Only in deep inner surrender and trust can we find peace. I signed up for all these life experiences before birth; to resist them is to lose the greater wisdom and purpose of my unique life. I am expanding and evolving through each and every one of them. Our entire planet, our entire multiverse, is evolving through our individual and collective experiences.
I am still on this journey, still facing the unknowns of living with a cancer diagnosis (follow-up MRI yesterday; awaiting results; surgery next week). All this is perhaps a further emptying out within my life, which began in Florida. I know now, with everything in me, that that emptiness occurs so God awareness can fill it. I remind myself repeatedly to remain open to everything that appears to be a loss. More space for God, for divine connection, and for my own soul’s full flowering. There are no mistakes, no terrible errors or punishments. Every single thing, as Rumi wrote, “has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
*NOTE: I found the lump in my breast myself, only two weeks after a “normal” mammogram. It couldn’t be seen because my breasts are very dense. A subsequent ultrasound picked it up, and I was sent for a biopsy. I am grateful for whatever divine impulse moved me to examine my breasts (which I rarely do) that day because the cancer was found at what appears to be an early stage. So please remember to do breast self-examination–it could save your life!