For the past several weeks I keep having appear in different ways a simple message: New Life.
A new life.
What signifies a new life? Is it those life events that mark milestones? A new job, a move, a new house, having a baby, a new relationship, marriage, divorce, retirement?
Am I supposed to be focusing on finding my way to one of those events because this message keeps appearing? Comparing myself to others who “have” them? Or does a new life mean something else entirely?
I recently had an unexpected surgery to remove some near-cancerous cells from my leg. The physical healing process continues, but after about a month my leg started to feel like a leg again.
The very same day it began to feel like a leg I received more biopsy news. More spots tested positively. One, minor enough to not need more work, the other a bit more extreme and should be removed. Neither as far along as the first, but the one that needed to be removed is on my other leg so it could mean not walking again for a couple of weeks. It could mean going through the whole thing again and so soon after the first one.
My brain tried really hard to come up with my typical response such as, “of course, just when everything is feeling great something else happens that I have to deal with. Just when I felt recovered, I’m back at square one. Starting over again. Having to rebuild yet again”.
And even more weakly the whispers of a deeper belief: “I don’t get to rebuild and everyone else does”.
These thoughts have been with me for much of my life, but the deeper belief solidified after another surgery where several months of complications followed. Each time I thought I’d be going back to the doctors to hear that everything was resolved and I could build myself back up, it wasn’t. And each time I felt torn apart, dragged deeper and deeper into the pain of these beliefs (because obviously they were proving to be true). The nature of the situation was such that I was sure I kept getting knocked over and pushed further and further away from being able to build a life at all, while another person’s life in particular seemed to keep growing in the direction I wanted. He seemed to keep getting to “have” and build his life in the ways that I kept being reminded by these experiences I wasn’t or couldn’t.
Recently I could see how what felt like a huge gaping wound for so long from my previous experience had somehow transformed along the way. Somewhere along the way it no longer felt like a gaping, exposed wound. It was no longer destructive. Somewhere along the way the wound transformed into a huge force of love and healing.
What if every experience can be viewed as healing?
I mean, the all of these results came back as “positive” and while I like to see all experience and energy as neither positive or negative but neutral I can’t help but wonder about the use of that word. In any other situation you look forward to hearing “positive” news, except when it comes to test results from your doctor.
What if these little spots are positive for me? Marks of healing ready to be released and transformed into something else.
Shortly after the last surgery on my leg I was feeling so deeply well in mind, body and spirit – better than I’d ever felt. I’m not saying it’s because of the surgery at all, but that the experience didn’t take anything away from me. I don’t have to start from scratch – in fact, there is no such place. There’s nothing to rebuild and no sense of loss or destruction to have to rebuild from.
Even though these thoughts started to surface when faced with the news of the positive results, I couldn’t buy into them. They didn’t make sense because I had been feeling so great lately and that was so soon after just experiencing something similar. My true nature had felt like it’s shining through strongly and that wasn’t impacted by the last surgery so how can anything take that away?
Instead of allowing the thoughts to take over and drag me down deeply into how I’d felt in similar situations in the past I couldn’t quite see how they fit any more.
Yes, this is a new condition to manage – but I’m not destroyed by it. I’m not even back at square one. This situation may feel similar but it’s not the same and those other experiences aren’t related and aren’t still happening.
In this moment I have the potential for a completely new experience, even with another surgery. I have the ability to choose whether or not to allow those thoughts and beliefs to run my life.
So maybe the message of creating a new life doesn’t mean picking up and moving to a new place, getting a new job, having a baby, or any other variation of a major life event.
Maybe it’s that I get this chance to live similar situations differently. To allow every experience to be healing. To incorporate it all into my life. This life.
We hear in yoga all the time to be in the present moment. Maybe instead of expecting what has felt true in the past to become my truth it’s possible to be present in this moment for this experience, which could always be entirely different. To not let my assumption of this experience influence the future that hasn’t yet happened.
Perhaps there is constantly an opportunity to create a new life in every single moment.
An opportunity to tell a new story. In time the old story disappears until similar situations no longer even register as points of comparison and the new story becomes a new way of living. A new life.