Monday, August 2, 2010

Going with the Flow, Even When It's Undertow

You ever been swimming when there's an undertow?  It's a strong current under the surface of the water that pulls you out to sea. 

I had some undertow action today.  It was a long rough day.  Dealing and grieving and living and acceptance is not some straight line progression with this thing.  You talk yourself up and you feel up.  and sometimes when you wake up, the weight of it comes crashing down on you again like a strong wave.  Some days the waves keep coming.  On those days, like today, I am learning to be patient and gentle and kind with myself.  I allow it.  I don't fight it.  I allow it. I stay with it and make it a cup of tea.

That's how I made it through today.  Treading water.  Occasionally going under.  Coming back up for air.  Down again.  Treading water.  It is quiet now.

When I have days like this, I try my best to keep my perspective.  It's not easy.  It's much easier to be rough on yourself.  Or try and distract yourself from what you are feeling.  I think some days you just need to allow yourself to feel what you feel, and think what you think, and rest, and grieve.  I think it is all part of growing into acceptance.

I do my best to keep my focus present, engaged, content, grateful and not let myself get too far ahead.  This is not easy when faced with so much uncertainty, and knowing even after I complete chemo, I have a long way to go.  This is a marathon I am learning.  You need to pace yourself.  You do what you can when you can.

Remember that period I thought I'd get?  Never came.  Maybe I really am done now.  That's weird to think about. Crashing into menopause.  I can't say I will miss having a menstrual cycle.  I will miss what it means, or rather what the loss of it means.  I would have had to face this anyway.  Which reminds me, good luck Donna with your surgery tomorrow.  You are in my thoughts and prayers girl.

Today felt like a lost day.  I can't say there was one specific thought that had me down.  It was just a general feeling of malaise and melancholy, and I felt really really tired.  Sleepy tired.  I don't sleep well at night, often times waking up for a variety of reasons.  Lately because my port is hurting me.  I know all of this contributes.

Sometimes I just want to run away.  Hide somewhere.  Ditch the cancer.  Let my child self run wild and play pretend.  Could I be Goldilocks and sleep in your bed?  Will you hide me from what is after me?  Will I be safe with you?  Sometimes my child self speaks to me.  I do my best to settle her down.

Wherever you go, there you are.  Dang.

I don't know if you ever read Pema Chodron's book, When Things Fall Apart.  I knew nothing about her or Buddhism when I found it in a thrift shop years ago.  Many times I have pulled this gem of a book off my library shelf to read again.

She talks about when you let things fall apart, and let yourself be "nailed" to the present moment.  It's when the great teachers arrive.  When you fear, or when sadness and longing are your companions, you are getting closer to the truth.  Sometimes your heart needs to be cracked wide open so that something new can grow.

To stay with the shakiness - to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge - that is the path of true awakening.  Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic, this is the spiritual path.  Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior.  Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

I stayed with me today.  I caught me today, out there in the undertow.  I got hammered.  It is quiet now.  The pull of the undertow is gone.

Except for the sand all in my panties, I'm ok.

Dude, just relax.

I'll be out there again on dawn patrol.  I gotta feeling it will be a righteous day, and I'll catch a wave and rip, with a Beach Boys song playing in the background.


Didn't know I was bilingual, did ya?



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