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If I were to tell you you had the strength to raise an army, would you believe me?
Would you allow others to willingly rally for your cause and lift you high?
Would you allow this protective movement of soldiers to barrel toward you and feel the love ribboning through?
And could you then connect with the deeper meaning behind this rising and recognize your own strength beating at its heart?
Found in the strength that others freely give us, in that breathtaking moment when we realize we are worth rallying for, maybe then we can believe in the strength we always hold inside ourselves.
Let me cut to the point without being too pointed: someone I love and care about deeply has found themselves in a one-two, one-two stance with cancer.
It feels uneasy thinking about what they’re enduring as a threatening war that has been waged. But the words “fight,” “persevere,” and “battle” lend themselves to acknowledging the legions on their side lining up before them.
So…there must be an undeniable fight on their hands.
Part of me feels this battle is comfortingly common. Like so many others, or even ourselves, these front lines we find ourselves on is familiar. Cancer is a known-of enemy.
This person is a fighter and has been all their life. Fighting solo for security, peace, and calm.
So much of a solo fighter, it was their noble “I can handle this” attitude of carrying out life’s obligations every single day that may have led them to this painful space in the first place: the taking on of things. The soldiering ahead without much rest, or without much help.
It can be so difficult for us to accept a helping hand every once in a damn while.
But this revelation of a foreign invader in their body changes things.
My loved one, the biting, stubborn, hurt, injured, double-fisted fighter they are, leaning into no one for decades, is now suddenly standing in the stark, glaring light of an intense new reality, needing to relax those palms a bit.
The outcries of our cells cannot be ignored. Our bodies kick and scream when we’ve neglected to care for ourselves. By “care,” I don’t just mean low-fat this and high-fiber that.
I mean our emotional selves. The thoughts we create in our minds that help us survive the day may not always be the highest-serving thoughts for our own longevity. The places we send our feelings and our hurts that don’t stay buried. Dismissing our inner voice that urges “this choice isn’t for me.” These thoughts, rejected hurts, and ignored instincts find a way of circling back on us.
From where I sit, it feels like cancer has targeted the brave. It attacked the admirable. Those “keeping on” despite the financial heaviness, despite the nurturing of growing children, despite heartache, the hours of commuter bumper-to-bumper traffic, the sh*tty headlines on the evening news permeating and contaminating our thoughts, the smoggy air we somehow breathe anyway, and the lack of space to come up for air. This courageous, expectant, crowded, and isolating existence so many of us live takes its toll.
And our bodies let us know.
Our bodies are magnificent. Breathing, beating, overcoming infections and illness, and recovering all the broken parts.
But our bodies are also fragile. They are susceptible. We can dutifully swallow every vitamin, run every uphill mile, cleanse every toxin. But our bodies, one way or another, become afflicted with something.
Sometimes, this something is easily overcome.
Sometimes, this something threatens to take even the strongest of fighters to their knees.
How do we fight off an unfair creation resulting from our earnest attempt at survival?
How do we rationalize a life in motion, lit up with the most optimistic and heroic actions, and seemingly winning, only to be pierced by the shriek of a whistle screaming: the cancer is here. It’s been growing all this time. Stop and pay attention.
This is the unchartered point on the map I find myself now.
It feels so helpless, watching this person I love be derailed in violent, jerky motions as news of the cancer’s stages unfolds. Tough news one day, hopeful news the next, disappointing news the third, then cheerier news makes the rounds again.
I’m not sure what’s worse—when bad news happens to you, or when bad news happens to those you love, where your physical efforts are useless.
I can’t bring them honeyed medicine. I can’t pinch out the harmful cells. I can’t clean their house the way they like. I can’t send them money.
This cancer, aggressive and rare, is confusing and has dropped us off at uncomfortable, unfriendly, unknown crossroads.
The knock-the-wind-out-of-your-lungs kind of crossroads. The kind of crossroads I wish I could deny and high-knee it back down the road to where we were before.
Because, while I am writing this piece in an attempt to spark positive energy, with a focus on love and healing and all things courage and strength, my hands are trembling as I type. Folded in amongst my bright, hopeful truths are shadows of the fear I am trying to not breathe in too deeply.
There’s a human, small, tightened part of me that can only be named rage. Deep down there is a boiling fury at seeing my loved one standing at those crossroads alone, and I just want to ball my own fists for them and scream: f*ck you, cancer. F*ck. You.
But I know that fueling that fear won’t heal a thing.
So I am doing the only thing I know to do. I’m calling all my banners.
I’m calling in all the light. I’m calling in all the angels. I’m calling in all the gods. Maybe there is only one God, one Source, but in my decades of world travels and meeting good people who have no god, and godly people who are not good…I’m not drawing any lines around religions today. I’m opening the doors to all faiths and calling every one of them in.
Calling in all the good, all the hope, all the strength, all the healing.
All the light and love and energetic healing and prayers and Reiki and ecstatic dancing and crystals and Bibles and Korans and island hippies burning away fears scrawled on paper into a bonfire under the full moonlight singing for peace and love—I’m calling it all in.
I’m raising an army of every belief, an army of light and love, to send forth what they can to bring healing. I may not have an underground black-market hook-up for elixirs or potions that cure. But I do have unwavering faith. I have strong-as-diamonds bonds with beautiful friends and family who will hear my cry for help and show up with all their love in what ways they can.
It won’t be much longer before the last of the meds have been injected. When daily routines have been purposefully revised, and recovery shines on the victorious horizon we all have our eyes on.
Every day, I intentionally replace my fear with hope. I restring my rage into the vibration of healing, and I send it through the skies straight to them.
If our thoughts truly become things—and I believe they do—then I need all the good thoughts and beliefs I can harness.
Belief in the strength of our armies. Belief in the strength within ourselves.
And it’s working. Prayer works. Reiki is real. Light travels. Love lands where it should.
I am raising an army because it’s all I can do. To send out love in legions.