Powered by Surrender
Recycling energy and surrendering to survive.
By Missy Thibault
On September 26, 2018, Chris sent me this text, “Scan’s not good, unfortunately”.
After jumping through a few hoops (due to phone systems being down) I finally spoke to someone about his results. Later that day I recorded an audio memo. We had recently been trying to step up our documenting game, so I was in the habit of grabbing my phone to record document-worthy moments when they arose.
Now, a year later almost to the day, I came across that recording. I was looking for content to include in a blog that I was writing about the word “surrender”. I listened to it and felt all the feels. I cried as I listened to myself cry and re-lived the sadness, frustration, and confusion of that day. And then, towards the end, I was taken aback to hear myself say out loud that “I just have to surrender to it”. Yahtzee. I hadn’t realized that I jumped to that concept so quickly, and actually, so did Chris.
Here is the audio recording of me recapping the day Chris’s cancer recurrence became real:
The following week we went for another scan to find out where else cancer might be other than his lungs. As we walked out of the hospital I was fighting anxiety with slow, deep breaths. I looked to the sky for a moment of peace. I wanted to feel the beauty of the breeze and experience a moment of gratitude during that soul-sucking moment of worrying about what the scan would show.
As I exhaled one of those big breaths I found myself thinking, yet again, “surrender”. That word would continue to repeat itself, weaving into my daily thoughts.
I would think, “Surrender. Let go and let God. Accept that this is all bigger than I am and that I have no control.”
But quickly those thoughts would shift, “NO! No, no,no. Of course we have control. We are our own advocate. We can seek the best doctors, find healing foods, clinical trials, integrative doctors…”. The concept of surrendering gave me a sense of peace, yet at the same time it felt like I was giving up. I was torn between the feelings of relief and failure.
The concept of surrendering became super intriguing to me. Particularly thinking of surrendering while fighting harder than ever. Surrendering doesn’t mean that I simply put my hands in the air and wave the white flag. You bet your ass I’m not giving up on possibilities, on making miracles happen, on faith or on fighting for my husband’s life. Quite the opposite.
When I looked to the sky that day with a belly full of anxiety, the breath I exhaled was filled with the intention to release the heaviness of the energy that was literally making me sick. That energy is real and tangible so instead of just setting it free, I asked it to be recycled. If I hand over the depression, sadness, fear and anxiety, why can’t I repurpose those emotions to allow myself to feel hope, love and ambition instead?
It’s empowering to know you can do that.
Now don’t think that I’m saying, that in that very moment, everything turned into butterflies and rainbows. It’s a process of constantly reminding myself that I can control my emotions. And that remaining in a place of gratitude and strength is the healthiest most empowering way to get through the days.
In the meantime, and even with that mindset, the worry and fear continued to make me sick. My body was reacting to emotions that I thought I had control over. I had heart palpitations non stop for a month before I even told my doctor because I knew that it must be anxiety. I had feelings of not being able to catch my breath and I was experiencing really bad vertigo. I was just dizzy all the time. It was like my mind could understand the concept of surrendering the emotions, but my body was still going haywire trying to process it all.
I was sent home from the ER with a 24 hour Holter Monitor.
Getting an echocardiogram… just making sure my heart was actually breaking.
Surrendering comes with knowing and accepting that there is no changing the reality of this very moment. This is the hand that our family was dealt. There is no getting around it, there’s only getting through it. It also comes with knowing that it’s ok when the negative emotions come crashing in. I just have to ride the wave, and then plant my butt in the sand and look out into the vastness of an ocean that’s filled with possibilities of what’s ahead.
Some waves I’ll be able to ride with my hands in the air. Others might drag me down and have me gasping for air. In order to be prepared for the roughest seas, I need to be preparing while the waves are building. If I have my head and heart in the right place and ask for guidance, that’s when I can find peace in whatever wave comes my way.
I dove deep into the concept of surrendering because the word just planted itself into my thoughts until I paid attention to it. So, what about the other two words that were making their way into my midday thoughts about work, groceries and diaper rash cream? I suppose I should spend a little time with the meaning(s) behind those words as well. Fair is fair.
Trajectory. I mean, ok, it’s not rocket science to think about how fitting that word could be after a stage 4 cancer diagnosis hits your family. We were on the road of everyday life with goals and plans for our future and then BAM! Side swiped by Metastatic Breast Cancer. We thought that because we had fastened our organic, grass-fed, no artificial preservative seatbelts that we stood a better chance.
So we get thrown and now our course has changed quite a bit. It’s an unfamiliar road and we can’t see what’s around the next corner as clearly as the road we were knocked off of. But that’s not to say we’re driving blind off a cliff. We don’t feel that way at all.
According to Dictionary.com, trajectory is the path followed by an object moving under the action of given forces.
The object is us, our life. The given forces, well, cancer certainly felt like that force. But it’s not so cut and dry. My heart tells me that there are other forces at play here too. Who’s to say what forces changed our course, and, what force will knock us onto the next one?
Maybe the force that changed the trajectory of our life will now be the force that wraps itself around us and guides us as we carve this new path for others to follow.
Now that’s a cozy way to think of it, feels like a warm hug.
Ok, the last word of the day is “attune”. This one too was like a woodpecker tapping itself into my thoughts. I’d heard it a handful of times recently, they use the term in reiki. But, once again, if a word is spending that much time on me I need to spend some time on it.
Dictionary.com says that attune means “to bring into accord, harmony… adjust:” Google says, “To make receptive or aware…”. In Reiki, an attunement connects you to reiki energy and allows you to tap into and utilize it. Research on the subject states that attunement is awareness of our self-empowerment.
All of those definitions make my heart happy. It just seems like a place of being in balance and harmonizing with whatever you are surrounded by.
For me, these three words jive together nicely. It makes sense to me why they were surfacing in my thoughts. Little reminders of ways to get through challenging times with hope, grace, and faith.
If I surrender and am aware of the forces that can affect our trajectory, and if I live harmoniously with all of this, I think my spirit and strength will only continue to grow stronger. No matter what.
Surrender to life’s changing trajectory and get attuned to it. Noted.
The Thibault family has set up a way to donate to their ongoing fight with cancer. Your contributions will help tremendously and we truly appreciate your support.
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