I forgot about her.  That scared little girl inside.  At the age of four I sent her to a dark corner and told her to be quiet and to never express her vulnerable, pure and innocent self. “It is not safe out here”, I said.    “The world is not safe and you cannot trust anyone.  I am strong, I am funny, I know how to deflect, be sarcastic, and prevent people from seeing you.  You are safe in there…. Shhhhh!”  

Over time, I forgot she was in there.  I lost her and I began to believe I was just my past, the labels I had given myself.  I was the mistakes I made, the stories in my head and the hateful words I adopted and repeated to myself daily.

Hindsight is 20/20.  Looking back I can see that one of my children getting cancer was not the iceberg… it was the tip of the iceberg.  I was completely unaware of the mass, two hundred times the size of the portion I could see, completely hidden below the surface. 

For so long I focused on the tip of the iceberg.  I focused on it intently, believing somewhere in my mind that if I focused on it long enough, like a laser beam, it would blow it up and make it go away.  I thought I could control it, and when I couldn’t I was so frustrated and angry.  At first I was angry at God… ugh.  (sorry God)   Over time I began to accept it but still secretly hoped that with enough prayer and pleading and wishing, I was in charge.  

I am a slow learner.  After nearly five years I have learned a few things. 

I gave so much power to the word cancer. I gave all of my energy and power to the word cancer.  I thought by giving it my power I could control it.  I was wrong.  In a sense I stopped living.  I resisted life and became very stuck.  

Very slowly, with much patience, prayer, quiet time, meditating (listening), and through seeing God’s hand in my life, I have taken my power back.  I have realized that in order to rescue my power and to keep from focusing on the tip of the iceberg, I needed to take a deep dive all the way to the bottom of the iceberg, in that dark and scary place that I didn’t want to look at or feel.  

Have you every cleaned out a drawer or closet and somehow, magically, it made your whole day better?  Can you imagine what it feels like when you clean out your body?  When you get inside your body and live in there, rather than in your head, and start to feel what your body is telling you?  Did you know our bodies store our every thought, action and word?  Did you know that our bodies know what’s going on before we do, but that there is an epidemic destroying people and most are unaware of it?  People do not like to feel.  Period.  We came to this earth to receive an incredibly magnificent gift, our body, and no one wants to feel it.  Have you ever noticed your heart pounding when you are supposed to say something, or goose bumps when someone speaks truth and your soul recognizes it and sends you a physical sign?  How about a sick feeling in your gut when your body is telling you you’re in danger? Well, when I started to slow down, to breathe, and to feel…. I started to live.  

I must warn you, it’s scary.  It is so scary to feel.  I wasn’t used to it.  The minute my body would speak to me in the form of anxiety or fear I would react before I could feel by drinking or running or turning up loud music, watching tv, or eating.  

I’ve always loved the idea of scaring myself. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I’ll try anything once.  One day I allowed myself to feel rather than drink.  “I sat in the shit long enough to know what IT was”. (my new favorite quote)  I felt what my body was telling me and guess what happened… I LIVED!!!  I’m still alive.  Crazy right?!  I “chose to stay”. I “faced into the storm and let it pass through me”.   It reminded me of water passing through a small crack until it opens it up and expands it from the inside out, turning it into a beautiful slot canyon. I was being expanded from the inside out.  I was feeling. I was learning and growing from the lessons life afforded me to do so.  I WAS LIVING.  

In the instant I chose to stay and feel, I became aware that I was allowing that little girl inside of me to speak. I was listening to her tell me how hurt she was and how scared she was.  UGH!  Had I been feeding her alcohol and ignoring her with distractions this whole time?  How could I have been so mean to her? This wasn’t enough to completely change this old pattern.  Oh no…. It took repeated experiences in a place of observance and awareness to see what was going on and to begin to change my thoughts long enough to create those new pathways in my brain.  

As I began to feel and was willing to sit in the shit long enough to recognize what IT was, I began to allow my life to unravel.  I started to notice the tip of the iceberg shrinking down toward the surface.  The cancer wasn’t going away.  Something below the surface was melting.  As I was willing to feel and recognize past hurt and fear and disappointment and then trust enough to let it go, I started to relax.  I was emptying my cup. I was making room in my cup to live without constantly being in fight or flight.  The more distractions that were eliminated from my life, the more quiet time I found to pray, meditate and move my body, the more I allowed myself to feel and to let go, the more I observed this new found peace…. A feeling of space, of having room to breathe, and I started to be aware that little things were not causing me to freak out.  

The coolest thing I have learned is that I really love that little girl inside of me.  She helps me know what she needs.  She is beginning to trust me to take care of her and to keep her safe.  She is beginning to be so much happier and carefree as she sees me setting healthy boundaries for her.  She loves others so much that she has let them completely take advantage of her for so long and together we have learned that lack of boundaries is actually a violent act, not only to oneself, but to those around you…. We were preventing others from growing and learning and contributing to keeping them stuck.  We learned that by us trying to control others and by thinking that their lives should look a certain way, we were trying to play God and interfering with their learning process and in the mean time we were so tired and exhausted.  

Everyone is much happier being around us and we feel much safer with our new found boundaries.  We take care of us, and allow others to live the life they were meant to live.  It’s kind of like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, to give you the strength and energy needed to SUPPORT those you love.  Not help them, but support them.  We found that when we protect those we love from feeling, when we try to carry their heavy load for them…. We are taking away their opportunity to become strong and eventually they crash and cannot walk alone…. This is an act of violence.  

I live each day in awe and wonder as I watch the layers of illusion being removed from my mind.  All of the filters life’s experiences have placed before me are slowly being removed as I slow down, listen and act.  God’s ways are definitely not my ways… and THANK HEAVENS FOR THAT!!  His ways are so freaking cool!!!