Being present with cancer
by Josephine M. Joseph —
I am as surprised as you to be writing an article about cancer. Recently, my husband was diagnosed with rectal cancer and, in addition, he has a tumor in his left kidney and one in his right adrenal gland. It would have been easy to become a victim and ask, “How could this happen to us?” Instead, it felt important for me to share, in the hope that it might make a difference for someone else.
Looking back I realize I was being prepared for this. All of my previous experiences had led me to this moment, where I was able to use what I had learned to create a smooth road through the cancer process. I am asking for what I want, yet surrendering the outcome to the highest good and focusing on trust whenever I feel fear.
My past experiences taught me to release outcomes, stay present and deal with the current reality. Some days were harder than others; so on the hard days, I narrated out loud what we were experiencing to keep us focused on the here and now. My emotions acted as portals of healing during the stressful process of doctor’s appointments, tests and hospital visits, making the waiting more bearable. My husband remarked as we sat in the waiting room, “Being here really slows you down.”
A cancer diagnosis causes one to speak honestly and take care of things you thought you had plenty of time to prepare for. The reality of the possibility of the physical life ending brought an intimacy to our relationship, and we crossed into a new area of appreciation and gratitude. I have always felt blessed, but now I feel the blessing in each and every moment. I have a new awareness of how I have the power to choose my thoughts and enjoy each experience, even the unpleasant ones. There is a divinity in each moment that we miss when we are caught up in planning the future.
Being present for someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Seeing only wholeness while acknowledging the condition gives it a voice, a way to move the energy. When we bear witness to another and we are at peace, it gives others the ability to find peace in themselves.
It takes courage to stay in the moment and surrender the outcome. What comes from that is trust in oneself and in the spirit that lives in all life. Knowing we are eternal beings and that we leave the body behind does not stop the emotions, fears and anger that arise.
We can look into the future and try to change it, or we can smile, trust and breathe into each moment, knowing there is a divine plan that guides each life. It is truly a gift to bear witness to each other’s journeys.
Josephine M. Joseph, a Karuna and Shamanic Reiki master teacher, is the owner of lightjourneys.org. 623-698-6899.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 4, August/September 2014.