I am now a woman with one breast. Don’t be distressed by this news – I am not. I’m recovering well, resting, doing only what makes me happy. What’s surprised me about this surgery to remove the tumour is that I still feel entirely ‘me’. I’d somehow expected to feel diminished, more vulnerable or less worthy. But so far, and it’s only been a few days, it’s increasingly clear to me that even if I lose my hair or a breast, or my work or identity in my role, I am still essentially me. The me that is not me.
It’s often been said that what doesn’t kill us heals us and I’ve felt for a long time that this cancer has come to teach me how to really live. You could even say that I have chosen this path. As Aristotle commented a couple of thousand years ago, breast cancer can be caused by grief, and part of my healing is to end – now, in this time and for my line - the huge grief and even despair I have felt for mother earth, which is linked to and sensitised by my own mother’s death when I was three.
So nowadays I’m living firmly on the lighter side of my own edge – in full trust in the process of the Universe, which is where meaning is for me. And by trust I don’t mean sitting back and watching life unravel like a movie. I mean being actively involved in the extraordinary art of co-creation, yet with trust and acceptance.
I recently walked with my friend Viviana past this sign on the building site off Western Road. At first glance I was convinced it said No Hat, No Boobs, No Job. A zen-like description of how I feel, and how perfect that feels.