Not much for bumper sticker statements, I’ve always thought it a bit odd to stand on a soapbox while burning fossil fuels.
My vehicle does feature a few ornamental declarations. There’s my license plate frame from the Surfrider Foundation with the request to “Respect the Beach.” There’s a Polynesian rendering of a dolphin on Jeb’s backseat window, put there when he was small. And there’s the simple, round decal suggesting “No Enemy“, adhered there to remind me, as much as anyone else.
Perhaps like any profound truth, these sentiments reveal themselves in time. Often beginning with the receiver of the message nodding in easy affirmation, “Of course!” But only through stages does the depth of the lesson unfold.
So it is for me and No Enemy. Another layer has been shed, another strata to explore has been uncovered.
What if one were to apply No Enemy to disease? To consider that which presents itself in our life as an illness (even a life-threatening one) not as an enemy.
I don’t have a life-threatening disease. I am facing a health issue that I have been resistant to write about here in the Archives. Snippets of my journey with a dermoid cyst on my ovary have threaded their way here on occasion, but for the most part I have remained quiet on this topic. Mostly because I have come to no conclusions and often have not even found any interesting question beyond “why?”
For twenty years these growths have periodically announced their presence in my life, and twice I have undergone the surgical knife in order to remove them. On one occasion the growth was so determined it overcame my ovary, resulting in the loss of a precious organ. It would be easy to see how I could resent these persistent tumors (benign but troublesome all the same). It could be easy to hate them (and I have). Fight them (I’ve tried). Wage a battle to eradicate them once and for all (a mission I have attempted, and honestly, still pursue).
The mystery (and subtle beauty, actually) is that no doctors have any idea why these growths develop and there are no known alternatives to surgery that have proven to dissolve them. Hence, with an aversion to a third surgery, I have been left to face this present growth in all of its existence. Ever the communicator that I am, last week we had a conversation.
Ok, it may sound strange, but the growth itself is strange and if there are options between an operating room or some dialogue, I’ll pick the chat. Of course, I had to settle down. Be in a still space. But once my head was calmed, the message from this growth was clear.
It has a desire for life. It wants to fulfill its potential. It is compelled to grow.
Instead of shunning this mass of cells attached to my ovary, I was able for the first time to meet it in neutral territory. It simply wanted to be.
I can relate to this. Maybe you can too. I want to grow. I have an ever-burning desire to fulfill my life’s potential. I want to be free to be. And I don’t want to be shunned or dishonored for that.
Once I could meet the growth from this place, everything within me shifted. I wasn’t fighting anymore. I wasn’t resisting. I was accepting from a very matter-of-fact perspective. A growth of cells on my ovary wants to fulfill its potential and grow. Ok.
For now, I’m left with knowing this but also recognizing that this growth puts my ovary at risk if it continues to grow. From my perspective, the only way to support my overall physical health is for the growth to dissolve.
So the questions remain.
Can I honor the growth and request its death?
Is it possible that through its dissolution its potential can still be fulfilled?
Can I lovingly come in to greater health without “battling” an illness or “fighting” a disease?
Is the ultimate healing one without an enemy?
I’m still on the journey, following this thread. For now, this is what I have discovered.
I remain open. Curious. Looking, learning, listening…