“The Dark Night of the Soul is a painful process that heralds change, transformation and ultimately embodiment of the Divine.”- Loner Wolf
Sept. 22, 2019
On the plane ride from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale, I noticed a frail woman lying down with her head on her partner’s lap. I took a moment to acknowledge her on the way to the bathroom. My head was congested, lungs gurgled with every breath, mucus spewing out of my facial orifices…fucking hell! Under the fluorescent light of the miniature lavatory, I hardly recognized the pale, aged, face looking back at me. My body ached like I’d been a punching bag for Muhammad Ali.
Life was sucking profoundly but I was too tired to be angry. Uggg, I can’t believe I got another cold, a heavy period , with the extra bonus of Cancer on my sunny vacation! All summer long, I felt phlegmy and experienced the annoyance of hay fever for the first time. I was regularly breaking out in eczema which used to only happen a few times over the winter. My body was profoundly off kilter.
I know now, that my immune system was severely compromised. The mucus build up, the exhaustion, and finally the Cancer was all a reflection of my system failing. My body was trying to tell me but I’m too damn good at being optimally functional! Yep, just hammering away with my head down to the grindstone, looking after everyone but myself, oblivious to the fact that I was falling apart.
I had planned this long awaited trip in the Spring. I’d been swimming with wild cetaceans around the globe, ever since my 16 year old self fell in love with a Spotted dolphin. It was the first time my heart flowered open while gazing into the soul of another sentient being. It had a radical impact on me but that’s another blog post to come…
I’d been on hiatus from visiting my finned friends since my daughter, Lanoa was born. She was 9 years old , a great swimmer, and ready to be plunked into the ocean with my beloveds. I picked the Bahamas because wild encounters were easy to come by, at least that was my experience twice before. When I was actualizing my reunion, I felt a surprising urge to invite my parents who at the time lived in Japan. That was interesting because I didn’t think to invite my husband nor any of my friends. My parents miraculously had the exact dates open in their busy schedule to join us on our adventure with the dolphins. We got the last 4 spots left on the dates that I selected. So that’s how it happened…
Divine Intervention was already at work months before my diagnosis. I was already receiving the help that I needed. I had pre booked a trip to the Bahamas with the only people I could be with at the time.
In a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, we met the other participants of the Wild Quest dolphin retreat based in Bimini. We all had an intrinsic liking to one another with the common love we shared for dolphins. I saw a woman being pushed on a wheelchair coming towards us. It was the very same woman who I saw on the flight! What? A wink from the universe?…When I saw that she was part of our pod, I knew that she would impact me in a meaningful way.
I felt like I could finally fall apart with my parents there with me. I needed to be present with the messy process of accepting cancer as my companion. That first day on the water was super rough. Hurricane Dorian had ripped through the Bahamas right around the time of my diagnosis. The ocean was still reeling in its wake. It truly was a perfect reflection of my emotional state. The catamaran heaved up and down riding giant waves into the open sea.
I’d never felt so ill in my life…I tried to keep myself together for Lanoa’s sake but the last place I wanted to be was on that boat! We encountered a group of spotted dolphins but the water was too wild for my girl to go in. While everyone else jumped into an ecstatic experience, I stayed on the boat consoling my heartbroken girl. It took everything in me to hold back my insides which was on the verge of spilling out. We spent the entire day rocking with the swells while I clung to my dear life…literally.
Back on land my nausea and the rocking did not stop. My brain was pulsing against my head, the mucus build up spared me little space to breathe. Then my nose started to bleed…What if it’s the cancer? Is it happening? Maybe this nausea will never go away and nosebleeds will become a regular thing?
I crumpled into pieces onto my bed… the flood gates opened. Lanoa was downstairs eating dinner with my parents so I let myself go. I sobbed for my life before, I sobbed for how I treated my body, I sobbed for pushing myself too hard, I sobbed for the life I might not have…terror slashed through every cell in my body shaking me from my very core. Just when I couldn’t take it anymore, my parents walked in to witness my unravelling. Lanoa was outside playing with lizards while my parents sandwiched me between their love. They held me compassionately…quietly….
The waves of sobs kept coming like the waves I rode that day. I let myself fall apart some more, unable to hold all the broken pieces of me together. There was something beautifully authentic about the giant pile of mess that I’d become. All storms eventually subside. I let the pieces of me rest at the bottom of the sea.
The next day was a new dawn for me. Back at home, I only shared my diagnosis with a few of my trusted friends. I didn’t want people to look at me like I was sick, or project their own fears around the big “C” word. The last thing I needed was people’s opinions on how to go about my treatment plan. I needed to create a safe zone for me to just be with my experience.
It was my turn in the sharing circle, I held onto my dignified self for a split second before realizing the ridiculousness of it. It was typical of me – to present myself as my best even when shit had hit the fan and crap was all over me. Not this time… I was trembling…
I didn’t know if I could speak or what could possibly come out. Then, it happened…I channeled my Knowing Self. Between sobs, I stated that the cancer came to save my life. That it was a Divine tap on the shoulder to wake me up- to truly experience life authentically. It came out as a vow finishing with “I have time”. I was shocked in the conviction of my statement. The room was a silent container. When I opened my eyes, I saw glistening eyes looking back at me. I was completely held within my human pod.
We had an epic day with the dolphins that day. The ocean reflected the settling of my Soul; calm, clear, pristine blue, holding me in it’s vastness. Swimming eye to eye with my old friends filled my heart with such expansive joy. I finally felt like my old, giddy, self with dolphin energy swirling inside me. I got to share that very special experience with Lanoa. I let that magic stew inside with intense gratitude. Be Here Now. Yes, Be Here Now.
I sat next to the woman who I recognized from the plane ride. Her body was fragile yet her spirit shone through her so brilliantly. She told me that she’d been chronically ill for over 40 years and that she was finally recovering. Inspired by her story, I asked her if she had any advice for me. She smiled and said if there is one thing she would like to pass onto me, it would be to stop searching outwardly for answers. She said, “Find the answer from inside your Self because true healing can only happen from there.”
My spirit soured in elation in a resounding “YES”!I knew this. I knew this so clearly in the very essence of my being. I just needed the confirmation. I got this! It was in that moment that I took the giant leap.
LESSON: BE HERE NOW