We are symbols, and inhabit symbols. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Several months after my final reconstructive surgery, I started to understand I was living through a life altering experience. Like getting married or having children, living with cancer was profoundly changing my life. That realization was a major step forward in my healing of cancer, because it brought me a small measure of acceptance.
Up to that point, I was completely caught up in the diagnosis, surgeries, disabilities, scars, fear, anxiety and pain. Ironically, I was completely living in the moment, which is usually a good thing. But I felt trapped in a hole and couldn’t for the life of me see a life beyond cancer, because so little about my life was recognizable anymore. Basically, cancer shook up my entire life and I had no way to fool myself into thinking I knew what tomorrow would bring.
My newfound realization came to a head the day I sat down and wrote my Gifts and Losses List. That was the day I faced all the changes cancer was bringing and accepted them as part of my life. It was eerily similar to the realizations that hit after marrying or having children, but in the exact opposite way. Before each of those two life changing events, I had naively expected a new life of romantic or motherly bliss. Those expectations also died hard when reality hit and things weren’t always rosy. Cancer was like that too. Even worse, I had walked into cancer with no idea of what to expect, except to think it would all be negative. How on earth could cancer bring anything positive into my life?
With all of these realizations swirling around in my head, I found myself craving a symbol of my healing of cancer, but I didn’t want it to label me. Unlike wearing a diamond engagement ring or the pink ribbon, I wanted a symbol which quietly spoke only to me.
One day I discovered Satya “yoga-inspired jewelry.” As I had recently fallen in love with yoga and considered it one of my favorite gifts of cancer, it seemed like the perfect fit. The necklace I bought has three charms:
Carnelian Gemstone – stone of protection. Protects against fear, promotes positive thought and stabilizes all energies.
Ganesha Symbol – God of strength and fortitude. The remover of obstacles and bestower of success.
Moon Symbol – a symbol of the goddess. Protects and nourishes individuals along the path of growth and actualization.
I don’t believe that my carnelian gemstone actually protects me. Like I said, it’s a symbol, but it helps me focus on the positive. I do believe that my healing of cancer is leading to growth and actualization and for that I am grateful. Was there a moment in your cancer experience when you realized you were healing? Have you adopted symbols of that healing that fortify you?
Survival > Existence,
Image courtesy of Satya Jewelry