So it is that time of year again. I begin the follow up rounds chemo treatment in November. I am practicing mindful awareness and feel prepared. This will be the last for a few more years (or at all). It is amazing how treatments for long term immune conditions are improving. I am wondering what it will bring this time around.
My whole sense of ‘being’ shifted in this last year, so much of it deep.
The period of low immunity was a challenge but I’m more aware this time around and know when I can be free and when to be alert. This was exacerbated by a double course of antibiotics which in the end were not necessary. They were more harmful than helpful so that won’t be happening again.
The visual aspects, losing some hair and eyelashes were actually quite profound in effect, as mentioned in previous posts. I hadn’t realised how much of my identity I had attached to this. Also, due to the reduced mobility during the low immune period along with unhealthy fatigue encouraged eating, a high dose of steroid treatment and Gabapentin, I gained weight. This has to be the thing I have most struggled with. That and the emotional shifts in tandem. Not only does my extra weight affect me when I see myself it also impacts my mobility (vicious cycle). I very much feel shame and a deep wish to hide when I see myself. I hadn’t realised just how much my sense of identity is influenced by society, by images projected upon me about what is beautiful and what isn’t. I understand on a health level the importance of a healthy weight, this isn’t in question, but to feel such core rejection of my own being for how I look has been rather sad. It feels to me a far more unhealthy aspect of mind rather than of my body.
I am practicing loving compassion as often as I can to just allow my truth in this moment. Allowing the space to be present as I am, without judgement. It is not easy though. However if I look at all the circumstances that led to this moment there is kindness and understanding, there is a sadness but also love. How can I reject this being that I am when I hear my own heart speak?
I often think about people’s sense of identity, what factors influence and what it is attached to for each of us. We are all unique yet equally the same it is quite the paradox. We each come with our differently balanced abilities, genetics, characteristics and then there is the addition of the environments into which we are born. Differing balances in culture, privilege, ideas of wealth, nurture and so on. Our very personal process of sensing, feeling, perception and processing into meaning. The differences in our chemical make up and wiring of our brains depending on how much we feel loved and/or safe versus rejected and/or living in fear. Whether our needs are met or are not. Each little moment that passes, the books we read, the television we watch the influence of other people that inspire us or scare us. Each little step shaping us so uniquely. Yet we all share our humanity, our human strengths (to varying degrees) and vulnerabilities. Ultimately, regardless the easy or misguided or mistake filled path, each of us seek comfort, peace and happiness (whatever this translates to personally).
How many of us are reacting to and rejecting our very own being? How many of us are so lost in creating or cultivating our sense of identity? Building an image that we project outwardly in the world? Rejecting anything else that doesn’t fit what we want the world to see or that we think the word doesn’t want to see?
I look on social media and the many hundreds of thousands of people who feel the need to adapt themselves (including me) using a filter or a tweaking app. The Instagram influencers, the YouTubers who feel that they need to present themselves differently to who they are. I ask myself what has happened, why did it become this way? Consumerism, our own human need to feel like we are accepted, loved and that we belong? Whilst simultaneously alienating ourselves further breaking the opportunities for true connection. I think about this next generation and wonder about the ability to truly connect and meet basic human needs. That value is based on the number of ‘likes’ on social media and feeling low and valueless if not measuring up to other people’s. Not seeing our own value that comes with just being our raw human selves. I think about about the survival of the human race, of rejecting and hiding further and further away from our true selves behind the social mask. These factors contribute to a sense of disconnection to ourselves, to the earth, to a to a sense of home and to others. Perhaps it is why we are not all able to feel the need to address environmental matters. Continually sold and flooded with adverts focusing our attention on having better, looking better, being safer, inadvertently affirming that we are not good enough as we are, that we need to be better. All (I feel) taking away from who we really are in this moment.
In this moment, who are you?
In this moment
A lot of thinking. Also distracting ‘me’ from here and now, this moment.
Yet still, awareness.