We’ve all read or watched programs about people who have overcome great challenges or heart-breaking situations. Some of the things they’ve gone through make us shudder and perhaps secretly thank God that we never had to endure such pain, heartache or misery. Until we do. It is at this point that many of us believe that we don’t have what it takes to overcome our situation. For some reason, we believe that others who have overcome strife have something special inside that we do not possess. Fear would have us believe that we couldn’t possibly face such adversity and come out on the other side with a win. This was definitely me, especially at the time of an invasive cancer diagnosis. No way did I sign up for all this, I thought. But after a year that entailed four surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, I came to learn that I, too, have the same source to call upon when the chips are down. And, yes, you do too.
The feeling of “I can go through this and be okay” did not kick in right away when hearing the news that I had breast cancer. And believe me, “awesome” was nowhere in sight! I fell apart when I received the first and smaller diagnosis. I already had myself planted in the ground by the time I got home on the train after receiving the news from my doctor. A couple of months later, when I received the invasive cancer diagnosis in the other breast, I was in total resistance mode. Learning that I’d have to go through chemotherapy, I remember crying out to my husband, “I don’t want to do this!” He looked at me plainly and said, “Well, you have to.” For some reason his words settled into me, and I surrendered to the journey. He was right. It was at this point that I could decide what my mental approach would look like. I learned that being in denial of “what is” must fall away before any guided response is available to us.
By the time I reached the point in my story where my husband let me know that he no longer wanted to be married, I had already fought for my life and was told I had won. I was cancer free. During the previous year, I had lost my right breast, been bald, and brought to my knees through distressing chemotherapy treatments. That was all behind me. Also during that year, I had been shown so much love from others, as well as from within. My faith was never stronger. I had been through the wringer and came out on the other side very grateful for my life. Yes, I was still upset and worried at learning of my mate’s intended departure, but I was now much more familiar with my inner compass and guidance system to know that I would somehow be okay, even if I didn’t know how. It’s not that I just flipped a switch and could deal with it. It was a process, but there was a new level of trust in the journey that I didn’t possess before.
So, when did “awesome” show up for me? It made itself known as I continued to honor my authentic self rather than follow what I thought others or society expected of me. I knew I was on the right track when the choices I made caused me to feel expansive rather than contractive (a feeling the old me knew all too well). I took better care of my body. I took trips and visited loved ones. I met a wonderful guy from France and had three great years with him. Awesome showed up when I could say, “I love my life,” and “I wouldn’t change a thing!” The journey through all the crazy twists and turns brought to me via cancer and a broken marriage forced me to face my life with faith and trust. I pulled the gems from adversity to create an awesome crown that may slip off sometimes but is always within reach. What I gained personally will never leave me.
Some people become famous after coming through a challenging ordeal. We can begin to assign superhuman qualities to them, which throws us into the “not me” category of people who can overcome. Remember, folks, that we are absolutely imbued with the same breath of Life as those we admire. It is equally possible to redeem our life from despair, illness, injustice or whatever gets thrown at us. It is a feeling of victory. Of freedom. Of new possibilities. And should a nasty adversity come calling again (hey, it happens), we have internal resources at the ready to take us to the next level, because “Awesome,” my friend, is an upward spiral!