It Takes a Village to Keep My Eyes on the Horizon

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Throughout the last 8+ months, from planning the preventative surgeries (which actually began in the late summer/early fall of 2014, so really this has been ongoing for 20-ish months to date), one of the mantras that has been running through my head is “eyes on the horizon”. Seems like a great way to focus, but lately I have been feeling some emotional exhaustion, partly due I believe to the fact that the horizon keeps moving whenever I feel like I might catch it. She is elusive & tricky, and yet when I feel ready to give up she shimmers with a breathtaking promise of tomorrow.

One of the memories that has kept me feel safe, loved, protected, strengthened and encouraged occurred during the last days of Hoffman. We were working in very small groups, discussing how we would move forward in our lives and what our intentions were. As I declared my intention to move forward through my divorce with love I broke down and was instantly taken into the arms of one of my Hoffmates and allowed to cry in her embrace, with the other two immediately coming to hold me from behind and bending over the top – I was literally layered in love. I have been layered in that love throughout this journey.

The image above reminds me also of the story of the geese traveling together – each honking encouragement to call out to each other, each sometimes taking the lead to inspire or being able to fall back and rely on the strength of the flock when feeling weak.

My emotional rollercoaster since completing chemotherapy but waiting to see my oncologist and then hopefully moving on to the reconstruction process has been quite the ride. There are days and moments when nothing can bring me down, and others when it feels like nothing will bring me up – I am exhausted and the work to connect to that Spiritual Self that celebrates life as it is in the moment just feels too much to be expected each and every day (even though I know it is so worth the work). I know that the down days are as important to allow myself to experience as the up ones, but that doesn’t really make it a whole lot easier when going through them. It is my belief that part of this “let down” is that I am the type of individual that is strong when the chips are down, but when the pressure is let off that is when I crash. There is no longer any need to gear up for the next chemo session and I have let down my guard. I am in a lull – to just “sit and heal”; the next steps (reconstruction) can’t happen for a few more weeks (or months) and “idle time” has never been my strong suit. Yet suddenly I feel almost more exhausted at times than when I was going through chemotherapy, and sometimes to sit and visit with someone (even for just an hour) takes more out of me as opposed to re-energizing me (as I am used to).

I know that the emotions need to be the full gamut and provide important information to me, no matter which way they are. I recognize that one of my challenges is not being at work, having something else to focus on, and yet I am also aware that I am not ready yet to return as my chemo brain is just not back up to speed. Though I am grateful for the disability insurance (so incredibly grateful, for it and benefits and access for Albertans to health care in general), finances get tighter each month and I find myself on the search for a roommate again to help with that. The good news is that it gives my creativity a chance to be exercised so that I can find a way to spend my days without spending my dollars.

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The expression that has really come to my mind of late, with an enormous sense of gratitude, is “It Takes a Village”. I have had, and continue to have, a village surround me and help me along my way. It seems that just when I am at my lowest someone checks in and reminds me that I am not alone.

So, how do I intend to work through this?

  1. Journal – record those dark messages that bring me down so that I can acknowledge them and address them for what they really are – be it a legit concern or just a fear that needs to be dissolved with a little extra self love.
  2. Reach Out to My Village – yes, the biggest of hurdles is done, but there is still healing and reconstruction and I need that village to help with a little distraction while waiting
  3. Find Something Silly to Feed My Spirit – were it winter I believe I would be finding some snow to make snow angels on the sly. Perhaps the summer equivalent is running through sprinklers? Maybe if we get a good solid rain there are some mud puddles to go jumping in or a mud-slinging fight (in the truest sense of the word) to be had. Hanging out and laughing at (I mean with) kids and their energetic antics. Any suggestions (or better yet) dates for silliness would be most appreciated.

This weekend I have a gathering planned with some members of my village to celebrate the end of chemo. Admittedly, I had lost my enthusiasm for it for a bit, but even as I write this today I am finding myself working through some of my angst and sadness and feel, yet again, my spirit rising within me.

With love, G.

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