Friday, March 27, 2009

Woman Twalk

As some of you will remember from last Friday's fiasco, today was my actual smashergram appointment. It's always a tad nerve racking not only because it's a pain in the, well, you know, but there's always that little voice inside saying "what if . . . what if they do find something?" Of course, today was no different.

Both Friday drives into the city were rainy. That always adds to the enjoyment of the appointment. Then I arrived at the office, and there's a little sign by the front desk stating that they are an hour behind for some reason or another. Ya know? That doesn't bother me when I'm going for a mammogram. Of course, there will be circumstances when something really is found and extra time is needed with that patient. At this office, which I have found to be so wonderfully competent and amazingly caring (as it should be!), I understand why there could be an hour's wait. Not a biggy. But, of course, I did forget a book to read. Thank goodness there was a newspaper, albeit The Tennessean which basically sucks. Still, I got a few relevant and newsworthy articles out of it.

Once I changed into my lovely gown, I sat down in a little cubby with several women. I normally keep to myself unless I'm coaxed into a conversation or just feel the need to jump in (the latter hardly ever happens). There is usually one lady who has either been diagnosed with cancer or is in recovery which always just breaks my heart--although they are still there, which should bring hope. Today, there was just that. A lady sat down next to me and started a conversation with another lady there with us. She had noticed she was wearing all pink and started asking questions. Well, yes, she had been in remission for four years but they had found another lump in her other breasts. She had only had lumpectomies before and was sorry she hadn't had a bilateral mastectomy. Then the woman next to me began her story of finding several large lumps in her breast recently and was terrified. It's scary listening to these conversations. But today I was able to practice my Tonglen meditation to open the heart to others' with heartache.

"The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering —ours and that which is all around us— everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem to be.

We begin the practice by taking on the suffering of a person we know to be hurting and who we wish to help. For instance, if you know of a child who is being hurt, you breathe in the wish to take away all the pain and fear of that child. Then, as you breathe out, you send the child happiness, joy or whatever would relieve their pain. This is the core of the practice: breathing in other's pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness. However, we often cannot do this practice because we come face to face with our own fear, our own resistance, anger, or whatever our personal pain, our personal stuckness happens to be at that moment.

At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment of time are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for yourself and all those countless others. Maybe you can't name what you're feeling. But you can feel it —a tightness in the stomach, a heavy darkness or whatever. Just contact what you are feeling and breathe in, take it in —for all of us and send out relief to all of us. "
--Pema Chadron

And it indeed helped me and I hope, somehow, them also. I send them only good wishes. Of course, I was relieved for myself, after having to go back for a second round of mammograms (which is always a little unnerving), that everything looked fine and I am good for another year. But I can't stop thinking about those two who may not have had such good news.

I came home and visited The Susan G. Komen for the Cure site, one of my favorite charities, to see what I could do today. There is so much more that can be done. I feel, in one way or another, we all can help somehow whether it be with a donation of time or money. It's such an important cause for us women folk.

It's always an awakening when I speak with these women who's life ahead is so full of uncertainty. And I always thank the powers that be that so far, I'm good. I hope you all are too. A wonderful weekend ahead? You betchya.

Now go make your appointment for a smashergram if you haven't already!



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'm happy to hear that everything's fine... Nice B&W pictures!

Cheers and have a great weekend,


Linda said...

I like that meditation thingie you were talking about. What a good idea. I hope I remember it next time it is needed. Could have used it yesterday.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Glad you got it done, Rosa... I always hate to do that--but feel good once it's over.

One of my best friends has Stage IV breast cancer which has spread to her bones. I am just devastated about this.

Much more does need to be done.

Ann said...

I miss you!

grannyanny said...

It's me!

robin bird said...

this is a wonderful post rosa! i am more than relieved for you, happy that you are healthy and that you are grateful to be so. i had to read the tonglen meditation twice. if only i could hold that attitude of being grateful every single day and do tonglen meditation. what might be possible for me to feel, be or do? this is inspiring my friend. I love you for being who you are. kind, generous, funny, loyal and caring. and a cat lover ;)

Beth said...

Oh, this is a great post,Rosie! Love the meditation too. I am so glad every thing turned out fine! Are you in Riverside this week?

Jeanie said...

I will incorporate the Chonglen meditataion into my prayers for your mom.

I'm sure your squish will be fine, but I'm sending good vibes that way, too.

I know your purr therapist helped. They always do.

You are so in my heart,



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