My Mother and a Friend were diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time. My mom decided that it would be best to not talk about it and power through treatments. She made a joke at the time…
“I’ll call you if I live.”
When both my Friend and my Mother had gone through their treatments successfully there was rejoicing and celebrating.
It didn’t last long. I had my own scare. A lump was discovered in my breast that needed tracking. My boobs were living in fear and looking for some comfort.
I thought impossible.
Waiting for their moment in the diagnostic mammogram breast center sun my boobs and I sat watching for the technician to walk down the hallway with the results from the review of our scan to give me my results, sitting with two other women in our breast friendly gowns on nervous edge. As the relief flooded through my body and boobs when I was told my results were clear I watched the woman next to me break down in tears when she was told hers were not. It’s a horror show moment that takes place way to often in this world. So much goes on in those moments of waiting and not knowing. It gives you time to think clearly about what is important.
When I was asked to join a three day breast cancer walk fund raising event with a dear friend of mine I committed myself to taking the sixty mile journey from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles to putting one foot in front of the other to support breast cancer awareness to help make a difference. I said yes to the training and yes to getting out of town and yes to clearing my head.
Away from my home environment and surrounded by the love and community and common purpose we started off against the gorgeous pacific ocean and lovely homes of Montecito, we walked in the sunshine, we walked and cheered and shared and enjoyed all the stops; the breaks, the food, the camaraderie. We were 10,000 strong committed, loving souls joined together in a common purpose on a mission.
At the end of the first day after walking through blisters that almost got the better of me I was somewhere else in my being. When we pitched our tent I felt a sense of my self. I felt the grass and the accomplishment. I felt every step of that first days twenty two miles. I was away from my self and I was under the stars. I was with a friend who had been through a lot in her life and was a sincere joy to be with.
Waking up into the second day of the walk, we took our time, we chatted with survivors and the family members of those who didn’t make it but were there in spirit with us on the walk. We cried and grieved and started out on the second day, knowing we had two more legs of the trip, two more days and forty more miles to go but optimistic after surviving day one. There was a moment on this second day when my blisters gave way to something else and the sweat and sun screen had mixed together so beautifully that my walk partner and I hit that mythic walkers high. We just grooved it. When we set up the tent that night, after music and dinner and a hot shower I was in the full presence of myself and the stars in the night sky.
As I lay on my back in the tent in my sleeping bag every one of the 10,000 walkers strewn about me in their own tents in our tent city -- the energy of true love freed from the confines of routine was in the air and an energetic experience of connection came over me. Like a tidal wave of loving energy sweeping through the universe picking me up and bringing me along. Reminding me of the truth. The universal nature of this loving feeling knocked me on my ass. I felt it. I was with my friend. I was with the entire group of 10,000 walkers. Like a scene from the movie ET an energetic explosion rocked me to the core. It was complete and total and whole.
On the final day of the walk there was no not feeling connected. I was with everyone. When we got to the finish line, a breast cancer patient, in the middle of treatment, bald, wearing a pink shirt was thanking everyone for their help. I reached out and put my hand on her shoulder sharing with her in that moment. Her healing and mine flowing. I couldn’t speak and there was no need to. I had joined the walk to honor those women in my life that had to battle through a disease with courage and who had taught me everything I knew. Women that answered the challenge, women I loved.
After this game changing event. After realizing how beautiful the deeply connected space of the human heart is, I knew I was no longer going to live “alone.” I wanted the connection with my being and my community to live and breathe and expand. I was reminded of the truth and had to stop living in the illusion of life wearing my mask. Where my actions operated in a vacuum. I was reminded of the kindness of strangers. I was reminded of my humanity and I was ready to live in that practice.
My being soared that night. In breathless anticipation of what was next.
Having experienced the higher degrees of intimacy with yourself in the oneness of the planetary field of love. The more connected to everything you feel; it makes sense the absence of connection is like a wet cold fish. Once you know connection you want to warm in its glow open up to the love and harness its womb creating peace and harmony in everything you do. You do not want slimy, chilled, wet emptiness.
I felt like a puppy that had finally made the connection.
I can’t tell you how tricky it was to know you are missing something and not know what it was. I had my script -- I’m a loner. It’s what I always thought.
After the 60 mile three day walk I got...
If we’re all floating around alone… as Sinatra used to say “How’d all these people get in my room?” I wasn’t a loner separate from other people. My limiting thinking around love and my inexperience just kept me in my child hood pattern.
The picture completing. Everything filling in.
No more flashes I didn’t want to look at.
Walking into the connections being offered.
No more impossible.
I knew what was possible.
The dream exploded and became reality. For me. Once I got it I didn’t want to live the delusion of separation and being different. The deeply hidden misery of not knowing anything about my needs, not knowing my tune, not recognizing my self. I wanted to live in Reality with a big capital R where I was alive and awake and in my loving center.
As Schopenhauer said “life can be regarded as a dream. And death as the awakening from it: but it must be remembered that the personality, the individual, belongs to the dreaming and not to the awakened consciousness, which is why death appears to the individual as annihilation. In any event, death is not, from this point of view, to be considered a transition to a state completely new and foreign to us, but rather a return to one originally our own which life has been only a brief absence.”
Killing the offending false personality at issue was my path. Throwing away my mask of not connecting. Of not being good enough and living out loud the journey.
When I think of my past I want to smile. I want to stay in the loving moments. I want everything that isn’t loving therefore not true, to wash away like so much chaff or straw disintegrating in the forgiveness that is my treasure chest of truth, revealing the golden stash full of love and joy and peace.
Excerpted from BONUS MATERIAL that didn't get into the first edition of THE BARE MELCESSITIES by Melanie Lutz www.thebaremel.com
Day One of a 40 day honoring cycle that started 10-1-11 with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month... it is a Mel movement of the heart, a cycle of gratitude in the light of remembrance.
May we all feel connected, comforted and full of peace. Today. Now. Always.
In Grace and appreciation,