Do I really want to be more aware?

Yesterday,  5 Nia Technique teachers got together to “share the joy” with our fabulous  community in a benefit  for Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. The inspiration for this event came after a dear friend passed away from pancreatic cancer a few months ago and we began realizing that so many of us have been touched by death in this form. In proportion to other cancers, there is not as much research being done on pancreatic cancer,  so we made this our focus for the donation, but underneath it all, was a desire to celebrate and practice together, even in the face of so much grief brought on by the way this disease can ravage a life.

In Nia, we say that Awareness can bring more health. In fact, one of our mottos is “Through Movement We Find Health”. In White Belt Principle #5 we teach that by becoming more aware of our body sensations, we can become aware of the ways in which we go off balance and create disease in our bodies. That by tuning in, we can stay healthier by making choices moment to moment that make us feel better. Having practiced this for years, I find myself asking, wondering, what is cancer? To my body, I ask “Can I sense it beginning to take form?”  To my emotional body I ask “Can choosing awareness, and choosing joy help my immune system to bring the errant cells that are precancerous back in line?” To my mind I ask  “Am I just looking for another way to be in control of what I cannot control?” To my spirit I ask ” If I do my best to be a good sober girl will God love me enough to keep my healthy?”

I realize that even hearing the word “Cancer” freaks me out. I feel it in the pit of my stomach. The fear that something I cannot control will take over my body and I will lose my health. And I see that although I am dancing though life, I am also carrying huge amounts of fear with me.  Choosing joy in the face of this, choosing to be present and sense my breath and my solar plexus in its full contraction is sometimes the only place I can go to help myself.  I also see how beneath this fear is a fear of anything that is unknown to me, fear that something will come and take everything I love away from me.

Although I can easily talk myself into being optimistic, I have to really be frank with myself and say, yes, shit happens.  Life can be a struggle. Life can suck. It is not just perspective.

On the other hand, there is adventure and there is the ability to know that I am doing my best to stay with my body, to stand by my self.  Even as I stand with others, not abandoning the moment. Can I do this unconditionally, even if it will not prevent disease? For its own sake, to choose to be here, wherever here is? Can I do it even as I feel the grief and the loss  and yes, the fear? And even as I feel these, can I choose joy? This is what is being tested in me these days.

2 thoughts on “Do I really want to be more aware?

  1. Thank you for asking the gritty questions, and thank you for being honest about how scary the thought of cancer can be…yes, I feel this way too.

    I realize that whatever I do to arm myself against the vulnerability of this disease will never be enough to guarantee me a life with no death hovering nearby, somewhere.

    And it would be nice if by virtue of choice that joy is the order of the moment, and the day, although not my experience either.

    In fact, I believe in the same way that light and dark reinforce one another, joy’s lifelong partner is sorrow, and life’s is death.

    My question about awareness in the face of mortality is this; Can we choose love, which has no opposite? Can we choose love to open our hearts to the present, in the moment, no matter what we are facing? And can we extend this love to the very sorrow that breaks us down in the face of a dying loved one…and even the bigger question, can we love our own death as life journeys us closer to it’s imminence with each breath…

    Things go down better with love.


  2. These are such important questions and I struggle with them as well. Choosing Love. That feels so much more practical than choosing joy, especially when joy is not the authentic response to sorrowful life events.

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