One of my struggles this last year has been dealing with loss. I’ve been sad about all the things that I felt that cancer had taken away from me. I felt a deep sense of loss that I was reminded of regularly.
Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.
~ Dalai Lama
I struggled with a sense of loss for a future that I will never have. I went to Commonweal with the hope of getting my future back. What I mean by that is the sense that I can plan for a future, to have wishes for the future, but I learned that first I had to forgive myself for not having the future I had hoped for. I needed to learn to let go of the fantasy future that I thought I’d have so that I can live the future that I do have.
I had to forgive myself for the constant assault on my body that was treatment. I had to forgive myself for the past that I cannot change. I had to release the expectation that I could change the past.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
~ Derek Walcott
I also needed to forgive my body for not being the perfectly healthy body that I want it to be. I needed to forgive my body for growing the cancer that tried to kill me. And after the forgiveness, I thanked my body for being strong. I thanked my body for powering through and rebounding after each assault.
At one point, Waz from Commonweal mentioned that we look at animals in nature with a sense of awe, and yet when we look in the mirror we do not see that same sense of awe. We need to learn to look in the mirror and see that sense of awe that is in ourselves.
Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?
~ Kristin Neff – http://self-compassion.org/the-three-elements-of-self-compassion-2/
I must learn to be compassionate towards myself. To be self-compassionate, to forgive myself and my body, to be thankful. I asked about the difference between being selfish and being self-compassionate. The response was that selfishness takes from others, where self-compassion does not. Compassion does not draw upon a well that is limited. It isn’t a zero-sum game, where giving to one means the other is losing.
And so, by forgiving myself and my body, I move beyond the sense of loss that was overshadowing my soul to a sense of hope for the future. I see the resilience that is inside of me.