“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
I've seen the above quote before, but it really resonated with me this week. When did I stop singing? Somehow, at some point in the last few months, I had fallen out of listening to music on my drive to work and had been focused on news and talk radio. Instead of starting my day by raising my voice in song, I let my voice grow quiet, and I let the dark misery of the world news and political arena fill my car with their sad vibrations as I heard people fight each other and tear each other down.
I used to write songs during my drive as well, but I haven't written a song for a long time. The last song I wrote was about my father-in-law which I shared at his funeral in September. It was the only song I wrote all year. I haven't really felt like writing, or playing my guitar for a long while. I guess it should have been a big, bold, brightly-colored clue that something was amiss. I wasn't singing, I was allowing sad stories to dominate the airwaves, and I wasn't feeling terrific. In fact, I couldn't really sing even when I wanted to, because my cough would interfere.
Before last Thursday, I had almost forgotten what it felt like to feel fantastic. But I got a good reminder on, ironically, a day that I was being pumped full of chemo poison. My treatment day this week started like usual, but something different happened this time. Maybe it was the Wonder Woman socks I was wearing, maybe it was the steroids, or maybe it was the good energy of the nursing team and volunteer staff at the infusion center, but something inside of me changed.
I realized that everything is connected, and I didn't want to see my own cells as the enemy. As much as I might hate to admit it, my cancer cells are my own cells that have just lost their way. They've tried, but they are just damaged. Isn't that why people lash out and do awful things to one another? It's because they've been damaged in some way through hurt, pain, and loss. People can't be healed by being treated as an enemy. A body can't be healed by being treated as an enemy either.
So, I did the only thing I could think to do at that point. I channeled all the amazing love I've received from every one of you and I poured it into my body. I sent it down into every cell. I told the damaged ones that they did their best, but it was OK for them to let go now. And I felt fantastic. All day.
I won't pretend that I feel fabulous all the time, because I don't. I won't deny that I still feel scared sometimes, because I do. I don't know what the future may hold, but here's what I do know. I am singing again.