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– The Graceful Warrior

 

Grace is the breath of God – an invisible essence beyond intellect that moves swiftly amongst us. 

Grace is immediately accessible to you and everyone around you –

through humility, devotion, and the courage to follow divine guidance.

— Caroline Myss

November, 2012

I walk the path of the warrior. I do not accept that I will die from cancer anytime soon. It doesn’t matter what others tell me. I have my own truth which I must live. Or I will die. Spontaneous healing happens. Miracles in medicine are being discovered everyday. We each must find our own path. But it is clear that we must not give up… or is it?

I am fighting the good fight. I am cleansing my body of toxins and providing it with nutrients and anti-cancer remedies, both naturopathic and toxic modern medicine. I am exploring my emotional landscape now as my primary unexploited weapon. And I become increasingly less comfortable with the metaphors of war.

I do believe that my inappropriate handling of emotional stress contributed to cancer returning and ravaging me. I think that my innate tendency to control my world is part of that stress. I think about acceptance and grace and surrender and how to incorporate that seemingly opposite concept into my fight. It’s like the Buddhist paradox… in order to achieve enlightenment, one must give up all goals. Yet achieving enlightenment is a goal in itself and requires commitment to that goal.

So, how do I eliminate stress and my control-freak tendencies that feed cancer while being determined to rewrite my own destiny by kicking cancer’s ass? How do I incorporate grace and acceptance that my path may not lead to survival and achieve serenity from that surrender into my fight for survival?

Thoughts and emotions are part of the physical landscape and they are crucial to the healing process. I’ve tried to get tough with my cancer. I’ve tried to direct anger towards it. But it feels wrong. Anger is a toxic, negative emotion. Cancer feeds on negativity and toxicity. And, frankly, I am grateful to cancer for what it is teaching me… again.

Five years ago, I focused on kicking cancer’s butt. I took care of my body. I made sure everybody knew that I loved them. I focused on beauty. I focused on sending love to my breast. She was scared. I wrote her a love letter. I wrote my cancer a letter and proposed a deal… if it would back off, I wouldn’t attack it violently.

I had thought about giving up, leaving it to the Fates, the doctors, God, anyone… as long as I didn’t have to take responsibility anymore. It was bigger than me. But I thought, if I give up, then life has no meaning… it has all happened for nothing. I’ve always envied those with a sense of purpose, those whose destiny is clear. This, apparently, was my destiny, and I needed to rise to the occasion. I decided that my strength was greater than my fear and that my strength would heal me.

But I had that mastectomy. And that cancer didn’t go away. Now, 5 years later, against the odds, I have Stage IV cancer that the doctors say will kill me. I look for answers, all day every day. And again I wonder… what if the only answer is that there is no answer? That this just happened because life’s a bitch… and then you die? What if my legacy is not to teach people how to fight? What if my legacy is to teach people how to surrender and how to die with grace?

Naaaaahhhh!

Sorry, but it makes me giggle. I really do need to embrace and incorporate grace. But who I am is a fighter that makes life on my own terms. I must fight stronger and harder than I did five years ago. I am not ready to surrender. I have served cancer an eviction notice as an ironic swipe at my stress over the last year. I posted it on my mirror to look at every morning. I will do everything in my power to get it out and try to keep it from coming back. I will continue to be tough and committed and I will not yet entertain the notion that I might not prevail.

And I will meditate on grace and love and beauty and light and use them to vanquish my foe in ways I didn’t understand then.

I will walk the path of the graceful warrior.

 

The warrior who trusts his path

doesn’t need to prove the other is wrong

 — Paolo Coelho

 

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