This month is the beginning of the New Year and for me, the beginning of a year that I am not in chemotherapy or any type of active treatment for cancer. There are so many feelings swirling around in my heart and mind about how I want to live my life that I am truly overwhelmed most of the time. I can only speak about my own experience as a cancer “survivor”, but I hope that maybe what I have to say may resonate with some of you.
I think it is really important to be honest about the sadness I feel about losing my old life. I am sad and I am grieving. While I am very grateful to be alive today, I also feel angry at the interruption to my life that cancer brought and the extinguishing of my life plan to obtain my Master’s Degree and enter into a career as a college professor. That was my goal and I spent eight years working on that goal. Letting go of that dream has been extremely difficult for me and I am still struggling with it. The side effects of chemotherapy treatments and the importance of stress reduction in my life are the deciding factors of why I must let go of that previous goal and switch gears. So, now what?
This is where the importance of meditation (Dhyana), yoga practice (Asana), and self-study (Svadhyaya) come in. The Yoga Sutras call Self-study, Svadhyaya and this means to actively cultivate a self-reflective consciousness including the awareness and acceptance of our limitations. Meditation, or Dhyana is vital to the process of self-study because it clears the mind and facilitates a connection to whatever you call the Divine or Source or God. Once you can connect with your higher power the path to insight about your life and your future can open up, bringing clarity and peace of mind which allows you to examine your true Self and possibilities for the future.
Getting on my yoga mat and doing an asana practice is very important in my life because it allows me to simultaneously work out my frustrations and turn off my mind for a while, turning inward and connecting to my breath and the collective breath of those on their mats next to me. Sharing this special time with other yoga students reminds me that everyone is dealing with changes in life; regardless of the status of their health. It may sound trite, but there is truth to the ancient statement made by the philosopher Heraclitus who said, “The only thing constant in life is change.”
So when change happens in life (and we are all guaranteed that it will) allow yourself the space to feel what you need to feel about it. Grieve, cry, yell and holler about it. Then go to your yoga mat to work on those feelings, sit in silence with yourself for a few minutes every day, and cultivate that self-reflective consciousness that is Svadhyaya, linking up with your conception of the Divine. The answers will come. New opportunities will reveal themselves and the plan for your life may slowly or quickly be revealed. That’s where I am at this month. I will be sure to let you know what gets revealed to me.
Namaste my friends!
With love, light, & peace,