On election eve, my head slumped because I now sleep on an incline to help my drains from my breast cancer surgery function. This caused my hands to go numb and my muscles to spasm. I got up, took my meds, and it passed fairly quickly.
This process is a common side effect. My swelling is way down so now my muscles are aware that there’s a network of tubes in me that rivals the New York City subway around Fulton Street! I’m hopeful that my plastic surgeon will be able to remove my drains soon.
My cancer has partially distracted me from politics over the last few weeks. Now that the ballots are still be counted, I’m back into full-on news mode. Many of you may feel anxiety about this process that seems like it’s taking an eternity. There’s more on the line this year than we’ve had in any election in modern history. To help ease your mind and heart, I thought I would tell you a story.
When I went through my apartment building fire 11 yrs ago, I was afraid every moment of every day for over a year. But no one knew that except my wizard of a therapist. I had to keep up the charade of strength because we were in the middle of a recession, I had $100K in student loans, and there was no one to help me financially. My life was a terrifying house of cards.
At a therapy session, I broke down and told my therapist I hated therapy because every session felt like tearing off a painful bandaid. In his wise and calm demeanor, he simply said, “Now we’re getting somewhere.” He was right. We were getting somewhere. It just wasn’t a place I wanted to go.
I was building emotional muscle. I was able to face what hurt, name it, and not flinch. That practice replaced my pain with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude. I learned I could be scared and still take action, that action could erase fear.
For me, 2020 has been a version of my 2010 but this time I have tools and skills I didn’t have before. I know now that being soft and flexible and caring is a kind of strength that can withstand and grow under intense pressure, that it can absorb shock and make something meaningful, beautiful, and joyful from it that helps me and helps others.
This is not an easy path but it’s given me confidence and courage to face anything and everything that arises on my path — even cancer, even death.
If you’re struggling today, or any day, close your eyes and remember you’re the light that illuminates your path. The answers aren’t out there. They’re in you. They’ve always been in you & always will be. And know that as you close your eyes and breathe, I’m doing the same. I’m with you, now and always. You’re not alone. We fight together for each other as we heal. We’re all just walking each other home.