Ten months ago, my doctor suggested it was time for me to have my first mammogram. There is a history of breast cancer in my family, which puts me in a high risk category. I don’t like mysteries, and going to get checked out was a no brainer for me. I wasn’t expecting that they would find anything. I was wrong.
The entire journey so far has been a process of letting go. I am currently waiting to hear from the surgeon as I get ready for the next stage of the adventure, or as my family doctor put it last week “the ride”.
There is a great deal of power in letting go.
My daughter calls me a tank, when it comes to letting go. Actually, she calls me a fucking tank, with much emphasis and enthusiasm on the tank part. It is a great encouragement to hear that from someone else. Gabe is awesome that way. Never afraid to tell me how I am doing as their mother. She knows that she can rely on me. She knows that when things get tough, intolerable, or just plain ugly, I put my head down and work on finding the best solution for the three of us. I am a patient person, but when it is time to take action, I work like a dog to get it done. I think being able to take an approach of nonattachment has helped tremendously. I stopped judging myself and stopped tolerating other people’s judgements of me. Letting go, in many ways, has become an opportunity to give back to myself.
While going through more than a dozen procedures and appointments at three different hospitals, I have been working on removing everything (or as close to everything) as I can that is toxic and unhelpful to my life. I quit my job of 10 years (22 at the same organization) in January, and started a new full time job in April. I found a new apartment and moved out of the house I had been living in for 15 years. I want my children to be surrounded by people and living in an environment that is supportive and caring… and naturally I want that for myself as well. Especially now that I am being told I need surgery.
Nothing in the past ten months has been easy. Not even writing about it is easy. Moving from a three bedroom house to a two bed room apartment is a challenge. It is a very strong lesson in letting go and being ruthless when it comes to getting rid of everything that you don’t need or won’t fit into your new life. I am still sorting and unpacking after a week since the move in. It will be another week or so until I get everything done, maybe sooner. I found the sofa this weekend, and the box the coffee was packed in. I have given away and donated many car loads of objects, and each time I do, I feel much lighter.
There are two phrases that an old friend shared with me years ago that really sum up my life philosophy nicely: Estin Enai – Being is and Panta Rei – Everything changes. Remembering those words, no matter what life has thrown into my path or whatever journey I have found myself on, has helped me to stay grounded. Every day there are lessons in impermanence, people leave, situations fall apart, illness comes and goes, time passes… and I can choose how I respond to it all. Right now, I choose to be patient and still to the best of my ability through it all. This is not to say that I am not emotional about what is happening or has happened in my life, especially in the past four years (not to mention the last 10 months). I definitely have felt heartbroken, sad, depressed, scared, but also joyful, happy and content. Letting go of those emotions, making it ok for me to cry, feel scared, not be ‘strong’, has helped me to find a healthier place to live from. I have spent a lot of time thinking about my life, and wanting to live authentically without turning that experience into something trite and unhelpful. I want to love and laugh until the end of my days.
I am a tank because I am a survivor.