Friday, August 2, 2013

Operation: Seize the Day

“Illness can be a catalyst for developing self-compassion, softening our egos, 
trusting our intuition, defining what’s truly important to us. 
It sets the stage for the opening of our hearts.” - Judith Orloff

Another lovely dinner at Janelle and Bobby's.

This tumor is old news.  It’s time to get rid of it.  It’s been growing in my noggin for a long time, apparently.  It started in response to something that happened a long time ago--who knows what? I’m not worried about a cause. Because worry never solved a problem.  I don’t want to try to “get to the bottom of this.”  Because there is no bottom. Besides, trying to get to the bottom means facing backward.  I want to face forward.  That means being firmly planted in the here and now, in this beautiful eternal moment.

Getting rid of no-longer-necessary stuff seems to be a theme of Dave’s and my life recently. First, I decided to retire. Then we decided to let go of our house and live a traveling life.  Getting rid of many of our things was an adventure within the adventure.

A couple of months before we hit the road, Dave experienced two bodily castings-off of his own. First, a cherry angioma (one of those little red dots) on his inner lower lip began to bleed profusely and spontaneously at inopportune times, like at a party or while eating a big sandwich. After the surgical removal, he was reminiscent of an Amazonian with a lip plate. His lip was barely healed when he need to have a patch of basal cell skin cancer removed from his scalp. The zealous doctor cut out quite a chunk (gotta get those margins). Then he plunked the offending flesh in a basin right next to my face where I sat in wifely support.  

Fortunately blood doesn't bother me that much. It actually kind of fascinates me. I thought about that yesterday when the friendly phlebotomist drew three vials for my pre-surgical tests. Fascinating that what had just been inside was now outside. Fascinating that inside our bodies blood is black, while outside it’s red. Fascinating that a certain amount of blood can be removed from a body without much effect.

Although yesterday it seemed to affect me more than usual. I was tired and had a raging headache, so I honored my body by spending most of the afternoon and a long night in bed. Here’s the funny part: I think the headache had nothing to do with my brain tumor. I think it had to do with a triple whammy of:  

a) killer period cramps (what, at age 50?!)
b) the sadistic medical directive disallowing me from taking pain-killers until after surgery, and
c) caffeine withdrawal, also a pre-surgery requirement.

I’m not a lay-around-in-bed-all-day kind of person. But it sure felt like the right thing to do. And I’m so fortunate: I don’t have kids or a job to tend to so I can actually respond to my body’s requests. I mean, really, my blessings are beyond counting. Right now I’m writing on my laptop poolside while Dave does yoga and Janelle works on her novel in her office. In a few minutes I’ll be floating dreamily in that azure water.

The number of people who have emailed, texted, called, Facebooked, and visited me to offer their love, healing energy, and practical support is staggering. Life is taking on a precious glow. It’s like my seizure opened up an even greater carpe diem capacity in me. A greater desire to be in this moment, facing forward. This is why my friends and I are calling this experience  “Operation:  Seize the Day."

My literal and symbolic operation is about living fully. It's also about not living in fear. We will all have our time to transition to the next thing--and who knows when? So why not be right here, right now, cherishing this. The past is old news. Now is where it's at: the beauty, the love, the unfolding possibility. The choice to love it is ours.

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