Mum gives the impression she is unconcerned about the test and the results. I have come to the family home to drive Mum to the consultation and following surgery or procedure, Reality is that neither of us is sleeping very well. The first question she asks each morning is how did I sleep? Very well or the usual is her answer. But the chink of light under the kitchen door at 3 a.m. the creak of the floor board as she passes the bedroom I am sleeping in on her way to the bathroom,all attest to my very light sleep as neither of us drop into a deep and healing sleep.
The body heals when we sleep so when Mum turns off the T.V. together we share a warm drink. The nurses in hospital told Mum, whole cream milk will take the bodies energy to the stomach to digest away from the mind, allowing for sleep. I add the spices of nutmeg and cinnamon, and a touch turmeric to flavour the milk. We then discuss tomorrows pace and talk about what we have to be thankful for. I have an attitude of gratitude for my brother, He will fly in from another State for Mum’s recovery time. As he and I were discussing on the telephone the emotions of returning to the home in which we grew and how it can move us off-center very quickly.We talked of our introduction to cancer and the effect on this family and it’s wider connections to friends, family and those who holidayed, shared Christmas and birthdays, funerals and so many celebrations and markers of time and ceremonies of beginnings and change.( Statistics tell us one in nine women in Australia are diagnosed with breast cancer.)
My brother suggested I use the Affirmation
I am centered and calm no matter what flows around me.
Finding that center, a space of calm, an oasis of peace, is a modern-day challenge,
I found walking in Mum’s garden, being with the moment of watching a bee enter a flower,listening for a bird song early morning, as I lay warm in the tiny,single bed,began to dissolve the tension that had tightened my jaw.
The top of Mum’s list of things to be grateful for “sunlight on my back as with my Macular Degeneration sunlight now hurts my eyes.” She thanked the Doctor for all the medical profession had done for her in keeping her alive for the last 13 years. Adding to the list of thanks are the Colleges and Universities that educate these amazing Doctors, I am impressed with the fact that these modern facilities are only 20 minutes drive away from the family home, on well made roads and that I can park close to the front door, so Mum does not have far to walk.
To take away the feeling of isolation and being separate- from that cancer can bring and come back to feeling included and loved is a positive effect of counting our blessings. Each family member on returning to the home of our childhood will arrive with our own bag of support mechanisms. Elder brother, like me flying in from another State, brings his computer, brimming full of his family photos. My sister has her photos printed out, hard copies to pass around. She will have phoned the Doctors surgery and know the name of each receptionist and will to bring them a small gift.The other brother often has a child in tow with their computer, he ‘uses them at work and not on weekends.”
In our haste to share and help we overlook that Mum only wants our company. Someone to talk too, disagree with. For me, the person who always made me feel centered and calm, no matter what flows around me died of cancer thirty years ago, Mum often says ”I wish your Father were here. I want to ask him his perspective on this. How would a man see this?” Our evening chats reveal that my brothers have inherited Dad’s kindness and a lovely way to deal with sickness. I remember as a little girl waking with nightmares, Dad would be there telling me to put my hand on the wall, feel how solid it is, and know as I touched its smooth surface, I was safe in my room and no wolf crawled over the foot of my bed.
Meditation has become the place of safety, the wall for me now.
And the Affirmation I am centered and calm no matter what flows around me.
Is one technique to center.I also use the drops from flower essences. -Rescue Remedy or Australian Bush Flowers. For many of you Holy water is part of your tradition and I suggest you resume that practice in times of stress. Yogis have long used the essence of Sandlewood as a clearing/cleansing essence.
This is a potent aura cleanser and strong-smelling essence. Use the essential oil sparingly. Place a tiny amount on your finger tip, use this one drop to lightly touch all five points.
Anoint the third eye spot,
Back of your head at the base of your skull,
On your skin just above your heart.
And with the remaining essence on your finger tip touch the inner part of your wrists where wrist and hand are joined. Then sit in a calm quiet place and slow your breathing.
Maybe in a room where the sun can warm your back,as Mum does and say thank you for the people who have filled your home and your life, even if your home is not yet the oasis of calm you wish it to be, think for a moment of all the love that surrounds you,embodied by sunlight, and the love that is coming to you, for as we daily work with an attitude of gratitude,slowing down in to the moment of sunlight on our back , melting your shoulders, this awareness must and will bring more joy and healing into our lives.
Discussing at night an attitude of gratitude to all the people who are interconnected with Mum and her medical journey, helps me and surrounds Mum with the feeling of interconnectedness. Mum trusts the medical team that work with her, Trust opens us to a space beyond the everyday and takes u to the place of being centered and calm. The beautiful prayer the Desiderata says “Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.”