If you just focus on yourself, that's a life. But if you do something that is bigger than you, that has a bigger effect than just you, it's really what its all about.
Last week I spoke with an old beau, and he talked about his fundraising responsibilities, which are a challenge for him, yet he's committed to doing this because it's bigger than him. It's even bigger than his father who fought against the Nazis and survived. I have been stuck on the thought: Am I just so self-absorbed, have I only been examining my navel all these years? Having been someone that sought to achieve and win awards to make everyone proud when I was young, the part of me that has become more introverted, reclusive has embarrassed me because it did indeed seem so selfish. But this evening, as I was laying here trying to go to sleep without taking something to aid my sleep (forced menopause via chemo), I realized my goal now was to go from self loathing to self loving enough to no longer focus on the fears of what might happen but remain in the possibilities of the bliss that can still unfold for me. Watching the Olympics lifts my belief in those possibilities. I see bliss erupting when that rare, incredibly brave person dives off a mountain with a simple board to ski down and do tricks on.
When I watch some of these new Olympic sports that weren't recognized before now, I'm blown away. What kind of sacrifice it took for Jamie Anderson, one of eight kids growing up on a mountain, to dedicate her life to snowboarding? I watch these kids fly through the air and land backwards at such a speed that the possibility they can crack their head open hitting up against that very mountain if they get it wrong is undeniable. This seems even more potentially concussion-inducing than football. But they're willing to take those chances for the bliss of getting it right.
I see bliss on their faces I have only known in one situation, a very private coronation in which to me I felt like I was on top of a mountain looking out on all I could see from horizon to horizon. I felt willing to get hit up against the mountain perhaps with how others perceived of me because I was not using all my strengths and abilities for everyone else.
I have this cancer that half of the population says don't even say its name. Yet, I see those that have it much worse than I have it. Last night I remembered a man who blogged about CLL. I wondered what had happened to him since I last read his blog. While trying to find him I found another man waiting in hospice to die. Then the one I was looking for is looking at a 70-day transplant coming up. I just as quickly said to myself, "Don't be scared by this. Don't let it get to me."
For the last 24 hours I've had indigestion and a burning feeling from my stomach up through the esophagus to my throat. In yoga today where I sought peace, I felt such a fatigue in my bones, and a fear comes to my mind that I'm much older than my true years because of the toxic treatment I went through in order to get better. I listened to an OB-GYN yoga teacher on a Hay House program who warned against sleeping medications, especially Ambien, because of their link to cancer.
Can it cause cancer? We can Google it now. We used to have to take our doctor's word for it. Now we can research for ourselves. We can recreate our bodies like Plushenko did, back from the brink, and back into the rink. We can come back. We can heal ourselves. Do we do it for a bigger cause? To win for our country?
How easy it was for my cancer doctor to insist that I take Ambien because I needed sleep more than not sleeping. All these things run through my mind and keep me awake. Self-loathing, which may sound like a strong term, but I've had a self destructive streak that I recognized early on when I was running so fast to achieve and make everyone proud of me. The part of me who was so unhappy found and fell into a pattern of self-destruction. I'm not speaking facetiously. I'm saying self-loving is what it takes to do the deep breathing in the face of true fear.
One of the gals who was running moguls said many of her sports sisters were all reading Phil Jackson's book and finding ways to get beyond the fear that restricts us from expanding our abilities and enjoyment. She said, "If you focus on the love of the sport, breathe and get into it, you can release the fear."
This OB-GYN (Dr. Sara Gottfried) said that sleep meds only give a short amount of actual sleep, but it is low level sleep and takes away from one's own authentic quality rhythms of sleep. It's better to learn how to calm myself. Yes, there are the fears inspired by what others with my illness have gone through; listening in a support group or reading on a blog, what they are going through, being fed images and made more aware of the scary parts of this disease. But there is also a belief that all the dreams of what I sensed were true and available, sensations that I saw, that I gave up a regular life in order to search out, train and go after the gold. I did feel and live these sensations. I didn't watch from the sidelines.
I see it in these kids when they come barreling down the mountain and get it right. I see in them that which I saw in private. It's that peak experience. It's available within, on a mountain, and even when taking care of others in life.
But first and foremost loving oneself enough to recognize and feel that which was self inflicting pain, making oneself unavailable to others while healing that split within so that one's gifts can be given more readily. To learn one's own authentic boundaries so one can live in a sense of self and have full faculties to give to others, is that selfish?
The hardest thing to do is to lay here when the fear comes up, breathe deeply through it, and calm myself down. Breathe into a state of awareness instead of hyping up into fear. Being aware of what I'm feeling and that it can change if I do these techniques that have existed for thousands of years to calm the mind, body and soul.
It's not selfish, it's self full. The gifts I was given with my hands, I can help others with their pain. I may not be able help the masses, nor need I risk my life and jump off an actual mountain poised and perfect. But these gifts I give others, can only be given when I get out of my own fear. Breathing through the fear, in order to get through to what is possible isn't selfish. It's the selfless way of living, to be brave enough to shine in the areas one has the skills for... they might not bring money and they might take everything from you but if that's what you have the talent and ability to do, who are you to say, "Oh no, not me."