i've started re-reading pema chodron's when things fall apart. the title sums up how i feel right now. things are falling apart. the book has been a powerful tool for me at many pain-filled times in my life. pema is a buddhist nun in the shambhala tradition and speaks with a voice grounded in her own imperfect life, a voice of compassion and wisdom that always touches me in just the way I need.
in 2001, in the summer after my last tumor, i went on retreat to gampo abby, in the very northern tip of nova scotia. pema established the abby and is the spiritual leader there. the experience, coming just a few months after my health crisis, was so impactive. i learned to sit and meditate with the mournful cry of ravens in the background. i let a whole bunch of emotional garbage go off the high cliffs into that endless ocean.
so now i am beginning to think of the spiritual part of this whole process. what energy i hold on to in my body, what junk i still need to let go of. just sitting with the fears this tumor brings up to the surface is very uncomfortable, but it is real life.
as i sit, dozens of thoughts pop into my head, i try to just notice them and let them pass. certainly, that is much easier said than done. i beat myself up over the thoughts, then realize that's exactly what i'm not supposed to be doing. sitting and judging. sigh.
inhale, exhale. walking is better right now. it feels active, like i am moving away from something, towards something. only i can define those somethings.
one of the thoughts, the most persistent thought is over and over, what can i do? what can i do? what can i do? the need to take action, to try to fix the financial mudslide heading my way is so compelling. yesterday i worked in my studio on a series of new earrings for the holiday shows coming up. that felt good. making beautiful things is always a positive action.
several people wrote and suggested i add a donation button to this blog. that is an action that is more challenging. to choose to receive, to allow others to help me. i feel very shy about it, but i did add the button. so i am just swallowing that awkward pride and sitting with how uncomfortable that is: to ask for help.
i realized the full weight of the financial need especially after talking to dr. naik. hearing that even if the tumor is benign, i likely will need some kind of reconstruction surgery. at the very least, i will be paying for two insurance policies for months while we wait to see how the healing goes.
and as i worked yesterday in my studio, it hit me how much time and energy this tumor is taking. the self-employed don't have paid sick time to tap into. i've just got to work as much as i can and still focus on healing. that alone feels daunting.