Leaning into the sharp points


I read this today in one of the inspirational emails to which I subscribe:

“Connect with the edge, the unknown, of your experience. Allow this pull towards unexplored territory to take you to new dimensions of yourself. Allow life to touch you in new ways. For this is how we truly live life.” ~John & Patrice Robson,

That describes what I felt was happening as I moved deeper into my experience during my cancer treatment. Also, I’ve been reading When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, given to me by a dear friend.  Pema Chodron, the author,  writes about ‘maitri’, a term for loving kindness toward oneself and invites the reader to ‘lean into the sharp points’.  She encourages:

  • stepping into unchartered territory
  • relaxing with the groundlessness of our situation
  • dissolving the dualistic tension between good/bad
  • inviting in what we usually avoid

Breast cancer opened these up to me.  My poetry enabled me to open to fear, anxiety, unknowing, darkness…and to wrap it all in love.  I think In The Darkness came in a powerful moment of leaning, and which brought me a powerful moment of maitri.

In The Darkness
by Vicki L. Flaherty

In the darkness of night I allow myself to be afraid.
I awake from a sleep like there is work to do.
My mind wanders to begin, and then gets going with a fervor
racing through so many questions:

 What if there is hidden cancer in my lymph nodes?
How long will I have to deal with the drains after surgery?
What if I develop lymphedema?
What if I get an infection?
What if the pain is bad?
What will it be like to have no breast?
How ugly will the scars be?
What if I don’t like what I see?
How will I feel? How will I cope?
What will change? How will my life be different?

Exhausted by the questioning,
I become aware of what’s happening.
Oh, I’m scared!
This is FEAR.
I was wondering where it was, that fear.
By day, in the light, it’s hard to see.
It hides behind my hope
and is veiled by positive intentions.
Now I know, it’s there.
It’s okay.

© copyright Vicki L. Flaherty, Mostly My Heart Sings, 2013


About Vicki Flaherty

I feel most alive when I am creating, whether through my writing and poetry, gardening and photography, or simply living my life each day. Running and yoga enrich my being. Travel opens me to new possibilities and greater awareness. I am happiest when I’m with my husband Jim. I share my gratitude for all the gifts in my life on my This Abundantly Delicious Life blog. I find a special joy in helping people succeed. I’ve done something valuable when I’ve helped a colleague or friend see their brilliance and express their full potential. I have awesome opportunities to do this as an industrial/organizational psychologist through leadership, mentoring, coaching, career and other talent programs. I try to encourage Leading with Intention at my blog of this name. As a breast cancer survivor, I found comfort and hope in writing. Poetry flowed through me like a river of healing during my diagnosis and treatment, which I share on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog, that I might offer encouragement and a place of grace and heart for those seeking comfort and hope along their journey.

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