Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dying To Be Free

Cancer!  A  big word that loomed over me for many months.  It first came in the form of an elevated white blood cell count, which can be an indication of disease in the body.  Disease was another big word that attached itself to my fit, vegetarian, never had a major disease self.  The lack of ease had unveiled itself, crept out from the inner closet I tried to stuff it in and became a part of me that I could no longer ignore.  I had my blood tested every month and was eventually sent to an oncologist.  While the doctors were unable to identify the cause of my strange blood cell count, I knew in my heart why I lacked ease. 

The ease one feels when they are authentically themselves, the ease that comes when we peel away the mask, shed the armor and become our most vulnerable, flawed, and beautiful selves was a state of being that I could not step into.  I did not feel worthy unless I was doing something for someone or achieving something valuable.  I possessed the classic "hero" persona that Dr. Robert J. Ackerman wrote about in his book Let Go and Grow. 

As an adult child of an alcoholic, I continued to hold on to that hero role throughout my marriage.  If only I could do more for my husband's career and for my children's growth and development, I would be free.  But my lack of ease literally caused my body to begin to shut down.   The cancer closed in when I was diagnosed with a lump in my left breast.  A biopsy was ordered.  When the female oncologist, a woman I could see myself befriending in a different setting, sat me down 24 hours before I was to have the procedure, I knew I had to make a change.  I decided to end a marriage that was filled with hurt and pain, and quell the urge to "do" and just "be." I believe that quietly made decision saved my life.  The lump was benign. 

What I now know is that sitting on my meditation pillow is even more valuable than running 10 miles a day and eating a clean diet.  Sitting quietly on that tattered pillow gives me something I lacked my entire adult life, the freedom to live with ease.

Learn more about Dr. Robert J. Ackerman