Have you ever wondered what the dimensions of the human heart are? As I reopened a study of anatomy to understand what is happening with my recent diagnosis, I noticed a coincidence – my tumor is approximately the same size as my heart, sitting a little bit to the left (sorry Ramana!). The human heart averages about 11cm x 8cm x 6cm. My tumor is 9cm x 8cm x6m. Throughout the last month and during my first days of chemo treatment I’ve had plenty of time to contemplate this auspicious similarity. A total coincidence? For me, in this lifetime, probably not!
This healing journey for me is expansive. For sure it includes the chemotherapy treatment to reduce and eliminate the malignant b-cells in my body (as my little backpack attached to my chemo port has been reminding of since Monday). And it also includes the aspects of existence that may have contributed to stagnant energy in chest, to a blockage or otherwise karmic message coming through this process.
Keep in mind as I write this, I am sharing my own explorative investigation into this more internal and deeply personal relationship with myself and my life, I am no means expressing any certainty or expressing any master or knowledge on these topics! My background in yogic teachings and healing already led me down a certain direction with my spiritual self-diagnosis. First signs of the disease? A large tumor on the left of my chest (meaning the more receptive, feminine, yin aspect, and close to, nearly touching my heart.
Over the past weeks, I have briefly eluded to several of these explorations and words of from other spiritual healers. First was Louise Hay, also known as one of the founders of the self-help movement. Her first book, Heal Your Body, was published in 1976, long before it was fashionable to discuss the connection between the mind and body. Her remarkable book tries to make connections between physical, emotional and mental aspects of disease. For cancer, she describes something like a deep hurt or a longstanding resentment. Or even a deep secret or grief eating away at the self. This can manifest in carrying hatred to having a “What’s the use?” attitude. For most ailments she offers antidotes or affirmations that help us reverse the trend in our minds. For cancer, hers is: I lovingly forgive and release all of the past. I choose to fill my world with joy. I love and approve of myself.
Louise specifically correlates lymphomas with:
A tremendous fear of not being good enough, a frantic race to prove one’s self until the blood has no substance left to support itself.
As I’ve explored around my own heart and soul and bodymind connections, this one lands strongly for me. During my early symptoms of cough, many people would suggest I look into grief or despair that is often correlated with the lungs and chest, like not feeling worthy of living life fully. However this never resonated strongly with me. When I look hard, I can find some grief around lost relationships, or the loss of my spiritual community last year, but none of these are overly pervasive.
Intuitively I knew my struggle was more fundamental, on the level of giving and receiving, on being full worthy and accepted in this world. (Side bar: I am compressing about five years of shadow work, therapy and self reflection into one paragraph!). This not being worthy is not like some kind of shadow that follows me around like a depressed cloud all day. Its more the opposite, it has propelled me in life – rather than ever allowing myself to be exposed in full vulnerability, openness or fear, I move forward in word and action and avoid exposure. The lone wolf, not relying on others, not needing anything. It is far easier and safer to meet the world alone, detached, aloof, and stoically.
Recently I have been enjoying the book, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown where she shares :
One of the greatest barriers to connection is the cultural importance we place on "going it alone." Somehow we’ve come to equate success with not needing anyone. Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves. It’s as if we’ve divided the world into those who offer help and those who need help. The truth is that we are both.
Intellectually I am fully aware that I am completely interdependent on the world around me, that I am dependent on so much and so many others, out there. However there is a a big difference between being aware of this and actually enacting it in daily life and relationships.
‘I’m fine’ has probably been the main mantra of my life.
And if I have learned anything in this last month, it is certainly that I am NOT fine, that I am utterly reliant and dependent on the gifts, offerings, support and love of others. What has appeared so powerfully for me in these weeks of diagnosis/prognosis/treatment has been the outpouring of support, unconditional love and friendship from people that I genuinely did not expect.
I have offered so little in the past – why is it being offered back to me??
This is my current contemplation and reflection, also considered by by Brené Brown:
Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.
Most people in my life will describe me as warm and kind being, very capable of love and care. What is not seen, possibly, is my inability to receive that very same love and care from without. To deeply, fully, profoundly receive it.
With deep humbleness and gratitude I continue to be thankful for all that I am receiving – my words are only a fraction of acknowledgement for what is appearing in and through and beyond this experience, for this mystical dive into the opening of my heart.
To be continued…