If you liked this, you might also like David Kanigan’s post from yesterday, There’s the purpose. Right there. Ah, to accept myself completely and let go of pleasing others as a way to feel good about myself.
May you be, feel, experience all that’s happening and find somewhere in all of the fear, chaos, and unknowing, a sense of peace.
I hope you can feel the light and healing energy and abundant love that I am sending to you. May it wash over you like a bath and bring you comfort.
You are strong.
You are colorful and vibrant.
Your spirit is open and shines in the foreground.
And, it is beautiful.
This post is dedicated to my friend Sheila Connelly who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. She’s sharing her journey at In Sickness and In Health. Sending you hugsful of strength, energy, light, and love, my friend.
Yesterday I learned that one of my breast cancer survivor friends was diagnosed with colon cancer. I am so glad she chose to share this news with our yoga group before our practice. Our sanctuary filled with healing light. We offered our hearts to our friend, and she received.
Her diagnosis is fresh, having had her colonoscopy a week ago yesterday. She’ll be having surgery this coming Wednesday. The good news is they found the cancer early enough that they can remove the cancerous section – no colostomy.
We all dedicated our practice to her. This poem is an attempt to capture the beautiful moment that Theresa, our yoga instructor, helped us create with her guided healing imagery.
We Are Light
By Vicki L. Flaherty
We are light
Pure and healing light
Here to hold you
To give you strength
To offer our love for you
We press our palms together
Rest the edges of our bonded thumbs against our hearts
Our fingers spread like rays of golden sunshine
Releasing healing power from deep within, out into the room
Our energy floats gracefully to the center
Each of our spirits moving toward the other
Melding into a single source of powerful light
Encircling you in radiant illuminating light
Take our pure and healing light
Let it hold you
Let it give you strength
Accept our love
I’ve been transported to that place of vulnerability that comes with such a diagnosis, that place where reaching for hope is strength, where the ability to trust is a gift, where the simplest act of love brings incredible contentment. I’m reminded of what’s important in life – my family, my friends, my health, bringing joy into the world, filling space with beauty and gratitude, embracing all the possibilities that open in front of me.
I know you can’t see it. Not now, when so many things block it from view. But it is there. Oh, yes, it is definitely there inside of you. It’s a light. I bright and beautiful light.
Right now, your soul seems to be screaming, covered in fear. It wants out of the darkness. And it will find its way out. Oh, yes, it will definitely find its way to the light. And you will find yourself shining.
May you see that the fuzziness of your thoughts is protecting you. That uncomfortable softness will give way to clarity. Oh, yes, clarity will find its way to you. And, when it does, you will radiate light.
May you soon be in a place where you wonder why it ever felt dark and heavy. May your vulnerability now be the source of infinite strength.
I see your light, my friend. It is glowing inside of you. It is filled with hope. It sees possibility. It believes in life. Life without cancer. Life without fear. With each passing day may a layer of darkness peel away so your radiance reaches the world in all its beautiful power.
My heart is holding you in love,
Today is the day after her surgery. I don’t know what she decided to have done…lumpectomy, mastectomy, single or double, implants or not…and I don’t need to know. I hold her in my heart, sending her my love, my heartfelt prayers for her recovery, my intentions for her life of health and happiness. So many memories come flooding to me today as I think about my friend M in a room at the UIHC hospital, recovering with her dear sister at her bedside. My soul smiles upon her, knowing she is moving ever closer to clarity and grace and hope in her life.
I dedicate today’s poem – that I originally wrote in the fall of 2011 after receiving a beautiful gift of flower essences, prepared especially for me by my friend Ginny, to my friend M.
By Vicki L. Flaherty
My friend’s sweet hands blend the essence of flowers.
She creates a healing elixir, especially for me.
Her beautiful gift created with hope at her fingertips.
Each flower representing a need;
each accompanied by an affirmation:
Self-Heal to bring me healing —
I awaken the self-healing power within me.
Sweet Chestnut to comfort me in the darkness —
I feel a shining light through my suffering.
Hibiscus to honor my femininity —
I experience loving warmth in my body and soul.
Love Lies Bleeding to connect me with universal love —
I can bend but not be broken.
Rock Rose to address my fear —
My courage is rock-bott om strong.
White Chestnut to release my anxiety —
A calm presence creates freedom within me.
Star of Bethlehem to support me through shock —
I see my star shining renewed and whole.
Walnut to move me through this transformation —
I welcome new possibilities into my life.
Other posts about my dear friend M and how she touches my heart:
Where the clouds end – https://mostlymyheartsings.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/where-the-clouds-end/
I can’t seem to let go of her – https://mostlymyheartsings.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/i-cant-seem-to-let-go-of-her/
Healing waters – https://mostlymyheartsings.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/healing-waters/
(Any WordPress bloggers know why the hotlink button on my blog might no longer be active?)
October will always make me think of BBD (Bosom Buddy Dana). It was around this time two years ago that we first met – at the first cancer patient yoga class that I attended after my surgery. My intention was just to sit quietly and take in the sanctuary of my fellow survivors’ presence. I had only been to class a few times – and I knew there was incredible healing and loving energy to be had there.
As I sat on my mat after class and listened to the woman speaking to the instructor, I vividly remembered my first class in late September, when Mary approached me afterward to welcome me to the group and ask about my story. I started to cry as I said, “I’m having a mastectomy.” for the first time out loud. Putting everything into those words made fear echo deeply through me. Mary understood. She’d had a mastectomy a handful of years before. She asked if it was OK if she hugged me. Yes, oh, yes, that would be so comforting.
As I relived my moment, I saw my soon-to-be friend living her moment. Sharing out loud with the instructor that she was having a mastectomy in a couple of weeks, she had started to cry. I continued threading the circle of caring and compassion that is our yoga group, and I approach Dana asking if I could hug her. We stood in the doorway after class for 15 minutes…and a very special friendship was born.
By Vicki L. Flaherty
There she was.
She appeared shaken,
a bit hidden in the darkness.
Her voice quivered —
with familiar fear.
Tears welled from nowhere,
her body calling for comfort.
I opened my heart to her,
and she reached for it.
A thousand feelings
communicated in our embrace.
As the others supported me,
I am holding her now.
Sharing with her,
I see how far I have come,
how I’ve learned
so much so quickly.
We’ve been walking together
side-by-side for months,
though not knowing.
Now we find we are walking
hand-in-hand on the journey.
Where the path will lead,
we do not know.
There’s comfort knowing
we’ll move ahead together.
I continue to think about my friend M who is fighting a tough battle against her breast cancer. (I’ve written about her before in Healing Waters and I can’t seem to let go of her). Something about her touches me, reaches deep, finds that soft spot of vulnerability, and calls on me to remove another layer of emotion buried inside.
The poem below was inspired as I drove to the gym one day with M on my mind and a summer thunderstorm approaching. The ideas started with the whirl of the wind, continued like the little raindrops that started falling, and finally pounded through me like a deluge. That day I had to run around the track with a paper and pen in hand due to the outpouring. The poem took shape during several quiet moments over the subsequent 3 weeks. I have a feeling I could work on this one for a long time to perfect it – instead I am going to release it like a butterfly, just as it is.
For M, that she may see the line where the clouds end…
Where the Clouds End
By Vicki Flaherty
It starts like the rustling of paper
As the wind breezes through the leaves
Dust swirls into a gauzy haze
The skies darken with foreboding
Gray blackness looms like a blanket
Ripe round droplets tap, tap, tap
And crescendo into a deluge
The storm exhausts herself
And the rains back away
Their cleansing work complete
Silence follows the clamor
At the line where the clouds end
The filmy ceiling dissolves into the heavens
Nourishing waters soak deep into the earth
Calming light returns anew
Trees stand steady and tall
Grasses dance with grace
Flowers rise to the joyful sun
Peace lies softly in the air
© 2013 Vicki L. Flaherty
July 6th was pretty much like any other day for me this year. I am lucky for that. That day marks the 2-year anniversary of my abnormal mammogram.
Cancer touches you.
While events in my own life are not triggering raw emotions of that time – when fear and uncertainty seemed to rule the day, what’s going on in the lives of others moves my heart in ways that I cannot explain.
Cancer changes you.
I recently blogged about how meeting a young woman newly diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer touched me unexpectedly. And, today I found myself crying as I read an email from a colleague who lives on the other side of the world and shared news of his wife’s diagnosis of cancer in her lungs, liver and hip. A Pema Chodron quote that was posted on radiatingblossoms has helped me realize that the source of my tears is compassion:
Cancer connects you.
I can’t seem to let go of her.
I keep thinking of the sweet young woman I met Thursday who just discovered she has aggressive, triple negative breast cancer (see Healing Waters).
Just days ago she was a complete stranger to me. Now I feel a powerful connection to her. I barely know her. And, I feel I know so much about her. I recognize her fear. I feel her vulnerability. I see her strength.
I don’t really know how I can best support her along her journey. My sense is to just be there – be here, where I am now, emotionally connected, energetically available – for her…to listen to her, to hold her, even if from afar. I hope she knows I am here. I hope she will call out when she is lonely or afraid or just wants someone to sit beside her.
Sitting Peacefully Next to You
By Vicki L. Flaherty
Is it possible that when I hugged you I took away some of your pain?
By holding my body up close next to yours, was I filling my bucket with your fears?
Oh, I could feel the weight of your worries deep down to the bottom.
Is it possible that when I thought about you this morning you felt my touch?
As I held my loving intentions for you, did you sense me there beside you?
My heart sits peacefully next you, ready to hold your hand.