Two years ago, I made the life-changing decision of starting anew after 25 years with the same wonderful man and father to our three children. A hard choice. The hardest. Ever. But why?
Because in the weeks, months and years that followed my cancer diagnosis, I became painfully aware that I had not been my true self. Not quite. Not really. Buried deep inside was a huge chunk of who I really was. That chunk was my spiritual self. From the outside, you wouldn’t have guessed it because I went through all the motions that “made me” a spiritual person in other people’s eyes through yoga, meditation and a library full of religious and inspirational books.
My man, on the other hand, was a self-proclaimed atheist. An appellation that made me uneasy and that I thought I shared until I realized the difference in my head and heart between God and religion. Even though he was there for me as best he could, I never felt completely supported. For anyone who has ever chosen to “live” with or, as I like to say, through cancer without chemo or any other form of radiation or surgery, life can be quite lonely. There are no live support groups, no special yoga or art classes to deal with the fear. But the fear is there. Not only our own, but our loved ones’ as well. No matter if we choose radiation or not.
Raised a Catholic, I stopped going to church when I was eleven years old. Still, I was always pulled towards churches, cemeteries, bibles, rituals and religious symbols such as prayer beads whether catholic or from other faiths. Slowly, it became clear I could no longer deny my belief in God, the Universe or the Infinite Spirit, whatever you choose to call it. There were no two ways about it: I believed in a Higher Power and that Power was, as the same time, lifting me and loudly screaming to be let out.
And so my spirituality had a coming-out of sorts. I could no longer deny who I was. Even though I hoped it would, I became painfully aware that my relationship could not survive this even though my love for him was, and still is, whole. It was not an easy decision and the road travelled since has not been easy either. Life did not take a 180 degree turn as I had imagined. Two years later it still hasn’t.
But then today it hit me. Cancer had brought to my mind’s eye an unbelievably clear dream of a community for those who choose to “live” instead of battling; dreams of a wellness center where women and men could put their feet up and their bums down on a meditation cushion with other like-minded people before heading home or to work; dreams of a place where sharing, crying, laughing and enjoying life every minute of every day was celebrated – because who knows how long any of us have anyway?
Did I make good on that dream? Regrettably, no. Not yet. I have only myself to blame. I let myself get steamrolled by life and it’s every day struggles. Still linked to my “old” life, I slowly FORGOT my own motto while waiting for a new home and a new financial situation. I CHOSE to stand still instead of moving forward.
That is my wish today. To remind you, just in case you find yourself forgetting too: stay true to yourself, be grateful, take baby steps every day towards your dreams. Pray, love and live every precious minute, hour and day with love and forgiveness in your heart for others but first and foremost for yourself.
Judge no one.