The most heartbreaking thing of all is how we cheat ourselves of the present moment.
– Pema Chödrön
(Hey look! I finally figured out how to add umlauts over my ö with my iPad!)
When I started writing this blog in 2012 (or 2011, I can’t remember) my motivation was to overcome fear. I was afraid of not fully living, of remaining in the shadow of who I felt I could be, or who I thought I might want to be, stranger though I was to myself. Over the years, that has changed from a fear (scarcity mindset) to a goal (abundance mindset) and now, it sort of goes back and forth between the two, depending on what it is I am afraid of…because here is the truth: fear never leaves us. Fear is as innate in us as breathing. It has guided our evolution to where we are today: apex predators, space explorers, climate manipulators, etc . It’s important, but it shouldn’t be the controlling emotion of our lives.
And yet… we can still be so completely controlled by fears, both rational and irrational. We can be defensive and hyper vigilant and reactive and so incredibly anxious that we become not ourselves because our fear has taken the wheel of our Being. I hate being this way and it is still so strong.
From “Emotional Intimacy: A Comprehensive Guide for Connecting with the Power of Your Emotions” by Robert Augustus Masters, PhD.
I’ve dealt with several things in the last few days that were scary and hard on many different levels. I did not handle all of them in the best possible way. I tried. But, I’m human and not perfect. I’ve since had to sit with myself and work through some things, like “what will happen because of this scary, hard thing?” “What are the potential outcomes?” “What are you afraid of the outcomes being?” And also, “What do you hope the outcomes will be?” “What would have happened had you not taken this step toward, and through, your fears?” “What does overcoming this fear, or these hard things, give you?” The things were too personal to write out here, so I apologize for being vague, but some happened entirely unexpectedly but yet felt sort of… inevitable. Something that happened today was something I’d been putting off and putting off and finally had a scarier thing force me to follow through. That, I can talk about, and will.
Last week, I had a routine 6 month check up with my dermatologist. I am a natural redhead so I’ve been seeing a dermatologist since I was 25, so for about 13 years. I’ve had some pretty severe sunburns in my adolescence and have tons of freckles and some scarring from sun damage. Last week was just a regular check up but I mentioned a pink scratch on my collarbone that wasn’t healing very quickly despite using polysporin and the like on it. My doctor looked and immediately said, “we’re going to biopsy that. I’ll be surprised if it comes back negative, but maybe it’s just precancerous. Either way, we’ll get it looked at and have you back in two weeks to follow up.” I was stunned. I’ve had biopsies before and even a couple that came back as precancerous, but it was always “this is probably nothing, we’ll check to make sure.”
Yesterday the doctors office called back with my biopsy results and it was positive. I have basal cell carcinoma. The great thing about that is it is very superficial and the least dangerous of all skin cancers. It isn’t likely to spread, it doesn’t go very deeply into the dermis, and it grows very slowly. I go in next week for treatment, which won’t be fun at all, but should take care of it. Then, I’ll have more follow ups to make sure it’s healing and that it’s entirely removed. Best possible bad news. I cried a little bit, but after talking with Ryan and texting with Mindy, I felt better. I always knew that having some type of skin cancer was highly likely. I had hoped that it would not happen, but my first dermatologist told me given my history with the sun and fair complexion, skin cancer is more “when and what kind” than “if” I will get it. Scary stuff, but not so bad all things considered.
Today, I felt prompted to handle some financial things I’d been putting off. I’m pretty financially savvy but there are still some things I hate doing because they give me anxiety, like calling banks or changing accounts or requesting credit increases or rate decreases or paying off debtors. All those things stress me out. But since the whole skin thing, I felt like I had to just get them off my plate. I’m not worried that I’m going to die or anything, not at all, it was just the nudge I needed to say “hey, stop being scared of this and just deal with it.”
The other things… the other scary things I did… they are still rippling. There is still fear there and I’m trying to not be afraid. I’m trying to be in the present moment and calm and aware. And also, full of love. This situation that I’m afraid of, the Pandora’s box I opened, there’s really a lot of good in it. A tremendous amount of good and love and happy wonderful things. I think my fear is about how precarious it all feels and how I don’t want to lose it, but I know I can’t hold on to it. Like cotton candy. You can’t squeeze it or it disappears. But then, I think maybe it isn’t so fragile because I know what I am made of and I know the other components to this problem are, in my estimation, equal to me. This thing that happened, it was risky, but with this thing I am a little afraid of and a little in awe of, the squeeze is definitely worth the juice.
In this present moment, I choose to savor the squeeze my heart is feeling. I was brave. And a little….