A few years ago, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. I was scheduled to have surgury to remove the cancer and to check if it had spread to my lymph nodes. In the meantime, I waited. Waiting with the knowledge that a possibly deadly cancer was in my body was not like any of the other waiting I have done in my life. Life was no longer grandly stretched out before me, it was measured in the moments of simply being alive, of waiting to find out if that living was a very temporary arrangement. So while I waited I examined my beliefs, I prayed, and I tried to appreciate every moment of this precious gift of life. I also meditated a lot, attempting to fill my body with love. But a rather peculiar trait of waiting with a life threatening disease is that there is not a lot of room to kid yourself and tell yourself all the little lies about this or that and each time my meditation got to the cancer I had to admit that I did not love it, nor did I know how to love it or even want to love it. I could not fake this or pretend otherwise. Now I had been raised to believe in unconditional love as the highest expression of idealism and something to be striven for in all situations. But the truth was, that I did not love a lot of things. Cancer was, at that moment, at the top of my list, but it was a very long list. It included things like war, our current politicians, people who hurt children, in other words all the ususal suspects. So there I was, smack up against one of my foundational beliefs and not able to call on it when I needed it most. Until I realized that I did not have to actually love everything, that was not possible. I just couldn’t figure out how to do it no matter what. What I could do though was just sit and be the love. Not do anything with it, accept anything with it, not even hope to change anything with it, just be it. And in that I was satisfied with the waiting. The long and short of it is, the cancer inexplicably shrank in that long week, the lymph nodes were not involved and I came up with a new guiding belief.
It’s not easy, but at least it is possible.
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