Thursday, March 09, 2006

Just Say No to Resignation

I have already written on this (see NOT Giving My Power Away), but it bears repeating. One of the most essential lessons that I took away from cancer, and that I think is available for others going through the cancer journey is CHOOSING TO FIGHT. Being our own best ally. Standing up for ourselves. Being true to what we need and want. It is simple, but not easy. Especially in a situation where we are trained to give our power away to “authority”, people who “know best” and are “well educated”. But none of these 3 quotationed bits gives these caregivers any insight into our hearts, into what is important to us. They are just giving us information. Information that we then get to add to the stew of All That We Are, and come out the other end with decisions or more questions or whatever.

As Bernie Siegel puts it, one needs to have a will to live, depression is a partial death, and cancer is depression at a cellular level. Despair and depression come from feeling powerless, hopeless and helpless. I believe that this is why empowering ourselves, taking back our power and finding some hope and asking for help, these all change how we are, who we are and how we interact with the disease.

When I was busy going through cancer treatments, one of the most painful and disheartening parts was going into Cancer World with my entourage (this is, by the way, one of the reasons I needed an entourage, to protect me from this other perspective, that I am about to describe, lest it leak into my consciousness and pollute or poison me and my thinking) and seeing the other people. Not all the other people. Just some of the other people. They had this look. Like they were already dead, but walking around. They had Resigned Themselves To Their Fate. Given up. Succumbed.

Fuck that, I say.

There is no easier way for cancer to sneak in than that. And I am not just saying that at as someone who only had to do the “easier stages” of cancer. I get that there is a road way tougher than the one I walked, and maybe if I (god forbid) one day have to go that route then I might change my tune. But for now, from where I am standing, I think that Fighting For Our Lives is a part of the cure. Caring enough to want it, to do what it takes, to go to any lengths, that is a part of what makes us healthy. Saying I really like and really, really want to keep being Signy Wilson (well, obviously, for you it would be a different name, unless in fact you do want to be Signy Wilson, and then I guess I will have to fight you for it – but know that I have already fought for it once and won, so you run a pretty big risk), that is half the battle. In a world where everyone seems to struggle to some degree or other with self-esteem issues, with wanting other’s approval, with feeling less than (or greater than - cause you know they are just on a continuum of comparing ourselves, an indicator of unresolved self-esteem stuff), knowing who we are, accepting it and loving it, and not abandoning ourselves in the face of life, those are a powerful healing tools, I don’t care what dis-ease you have.

Now I know that having that attitude doesn’t guarantee we beat cancer. But I think having that attitude can make dying from cancer very different than succumbing to cancer. That commitment to our spirit, to the truth of who we are in our essence, somewhere in there is the place where we get the capacity to die with dignity. With peace and with understanding. Cause when it is my turn, many decades from now, that is how I want to die, the way I lived. Full of piss and vinegar, and Signy to the very end.


At 6:59 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just came back from the Power Within seminar!! Powerful frickin stuff. The last speaker of the day (following Bill Clinton, who was amazing) was Lance Armstrong. His message was pure, simple, profound and humble.....he talked about his "obligation to the cure" - the torch that he now carries as a cancer survivor, and now cancer vigilante!!! He was SO incredibly inspiring - part of the "obligation to the cure" that he was talking about was telling your story - if your story can make one iota of difference to one person (known or anonymous), than you have started your journey toward the fulfillment of the, obligation - if you can live your life in such a way that inspires just by being, then you have started the journey. I thought of you while he was speaking, of the raw humbleness in how he surrendered, how you surrendered - not gave up or gave in, but surrendered to caring, to hope, faith, trust. He said that after his brain surgery, his coach asked how he was doing shortly after he came to and his response was "I'm amazing!" He felt that this was a pivotal turning point in his life - because he essentially said "fuck you" to cancer!

You Signy, are also inspiring in your struggle, your beliefs, your vulnerability, your surrender and utimately in how you live out your "obligation to the cure" - Keep sharing your story - it is a powerful, profound gift!


At 5:50 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Signy ---way to be you!

Hopefully Ann will give you a hug or two from her and from me while she's there.
We love you!
-Daniel in Taiwan


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