Tonight I felt called to write, about that old cat and mouse game. You know, the one where you are looking outwards to someone else to make you feel better, or conversely allow them to make you feel worse…
This Thursday, after months of planning and praying, my surgical procedure is finally upon me. I have been struggling a bit with letting go and trusting my surgeon completely. (a bit? Ok a shit ton, jeez way to call us out Self!) Anyway, this surgeon is kind and skilled, and listens to me which are all aces across the board. Back in late May though, during my initial consult, his words and assessment of my body terrified me. He made me feel like he didn't trust my body and that it was a dangerous place to live. These past few months have been illuminating andI've done a lot of soul searching. I started to see the truth in that no one person can make you feel a certain way if you don't already feel a little that way yourself. Perhaps thats what stung even more, the lack of trust that I had in myself and in my body. Especially after I had worked so hard for my body to be a safe place to live and to try and integrate this new truth.
So yes, no one person can or should hold so much sway over how we see ourselves, and yet at the same time I recognize the value in what a positive trusting relationship with a doctor can do. My other physician who I’ve collaborated with these past ten years, has been nothing short of miraculous in helping me to see the strength of my body and the resilience, that there are so many parts that are healthy and working in my favor.
So last week I emailed my surgeon. I just personally wanted to touch base with him and to get his assurance that we would go slow during the procedure and to maybe have him acknowledge that the area of concern looks remarkably better than it did on that day in late May. A day later, I opened up the email response from a nurse and in it i could see his careful and noncommittal reply. I felt this wave of heat and sadness immediately roll over me. I felt pressure to be doing all I possibly could to prepare the area, I felt angry, and I felt uncared for in that brief moment. Taking a step back however I could see that this all came from within me, and not from him. I started to recognize that maybe even though I didn't get the answer I would have liked, that would have easily and quickly made me feel better, it illuminated what I could do for myself.
The deeper work is, how do I walk into the room on Thursday trusting myself, trusting my body, and trusting him to take care of me? How do I show up so certain that no matter what happens, I am safe and cared for and treated to the best of everyone's ability. Recently I watched a woman living with ALS give a talk and she said “I worked with myself to make sure no matter where I go or what I do, I already show up loved.”
That’s it isn't it? While it would be nice for physicians, or parents, or partners to meet us halfway, the real lasting change and work is what we do within ourselves. We have to show up for ourselves, unshakable in our truth and in our trust.
And at the same time we have to be really self compassionate when we fall short of the mark. Because we will. We will always detour into fear, or doubt, or judgement, but it doesn’t mean we have to stay there. So, after I received that email I got quiet, dropped in and repeated to myself three times ‘I’m sitting with you, I'm sitting with this. I’m sitting with you, I’m sitting with this. I’m sitting with you, I’m sitting with this.’ I felt all that was up for me and let it move right on through.
I don't have the perfect answer in this moment. All I can do is remember the words I told myself that felt so true -that I would no longer let others take my joy and claim for me a truth that is not theirs to claim. My body is a safe place to live in. So for tonight all I can do is recall that, let the tears flow and be where I’m at. As much as a part of me wishes that were somewhere else. It is resisting the waves that breaks our bones, crushing us breathless. It is survival instinct to want to buck against, to fight and kick our way to the surface. Sometimes the bravest fight of all is to simply allow and to surrender.