It is the one-year anniversary of when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A diagnosis on a Friday. Surgery on the following Tuesday. The weekend in between spent communicating with family, friends, with you all. Will signed. Real conversations. Preparing to possibly die or to live in a very new way. Six weeks of recovery followed by full on chemo, hair loss. The whole cancer scene. Too many of us know it well. So many of you were with me for the ride.

A year later and with so much health in my body, I have had the opportunity this past weekend to remember and reflect upon this life crisis initiatory journey. I spent much of the past few days writing, digesting, dancing, giving thanks, trying to wrap my head around it all, feeling the full on transformation, crying too. Sweet tender tears of release. That cancer stuff is really wicked.
These times are a bit like cancer, out of control. We are all being asked to help eradicate and transform the toxins that infiltrate our bodies, our homes, our communities, our nation, our world.
So with my full gratitude, I am also feeling a certain kind of urgency.

First, I want to thank you for your prayers, your cheering me on, your interest, your words of praise, your tending, your steadfast love. No words could cover the endless ways I have been gifted by you all. I will best say thank you today by sharing just a few glimpses of what I learned on the journey. I would like to simply articulate some treasures that I have excavated during this wild ride. Perhaps these tidbits will serve you or someone you love. All obvious, yet worthy of remembering. May they serve our collective facing of the beasts in these unwieldy times.

#1: Cancer is a disease that is infiltrating the bodies of more and more people and animals around the globe. It is ruthless, deceptive, invasive, and cruel. Don’t be afraid of it. Be vigilant to keep it at bay. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Skip the sugar. Rest when you need to. Move your body. Skip the stress too. It sucks life force. And if you feel off, ask for help. See your doctor if you are so privileged to have access to one. Waste no time. Time lets weird stuff grow more complicated to treat. Getting help when you first notice a lump or an ache or extra fatigue can help make your healing more rapid and possible. Skip procrastination.

#2: We as humans are more powerful than we think. In fact, when we stop thinking and focus our loving attention into the very heart of what matters, our relationships, the natural world, our vulnerabilities and glory, we can begin to wrestle with the beast. The beast of our own fears, our ego, the disease.

#3: One way to prepare for this potential visitor is to focus, to practice with all of our might. Focus the mind. Give it jobs day in and day out. Track Sensation. Visualize golden light spiraling into your body or centers of conflict. Practice. Pray. Move. Track your inner realities. Shake. Keep finding your inner ground. And commit to staying awake. Now. And then the next moment and the next.

#4: Death is not scary, just a drag, especially if you are busy. Get busy. The work of protecting life needs us all on deck. Do something. Anything that gets you out of yourself and into your Self.

#5: Love is so powerful. Ask for help. Cultivate and share love, in abundance. Gather with those you love and love them more than you can imagine. Let them love you. Say thank you over and over. And, mean it.

#6: Set boundaries. This is your life. You must be in the truth of what is happening. Feel that aloneness. Feel the glory of staying on path.

#7: Trust the body, even in the face of disease.

Cultivate your relationship with your sober body every day. You may need that connection down the road. I sure did. And thank goodness that I had myself. Intimate communion was familiar to me. The doctors knew protocol. I knew my body and how that protocol was working for me, or not. I spoke up, a lot.

#8: So please, use your voice to advocate for what you or another needs. No one will ever know if you do not say what is so.

#9: Listen too … to the many messages, the ones from within, the ones from those whom you trust, and the ones whispering their way in from the phenomenal world. For example, I was not a chemo fan. I had always gone the natural way. Not this time, however. The loudest message from within and without was to go the allopathic way. Of course including loads of amazing supplements and acupuncture. Chemo actually became my friend. It rotor-rooted me right up. I feel grand!

#10: Create ceremony. Make art. Turn it all into a sacred dance. For, it is.

Don’t miss the GRACE. Feel the love streaming in, the powerful medicines in nature, in a smile, in a song, in your soul’s longing for life.

#11: Tracking the deep and difficult terrain of one’s body in transition teaches us of stillness. Go there.
And move more than you think you can. Every day. Move. MOVE. MOVE.

Then rest.

#12: Above all, behold the beauty of this world while you can. Each ice-flake is magic. The budding crocuses. The children’s laughter. The smell of soup cooking. The warm bath. The whirl of your colorful skirt. Whatever it is that turns you on, go there. Enjoy like there is no tomorrow. There actually may not be one.
Glad we are here together today!

I love you.
Melissa

This film short was taken during the end of our Movement Mass yesterday. Dancing for healing, for celebration, for the honoring of all that is real and moving through us as a community, season by season, year after year. Resilience in action!

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