Blessed Is This Moment

by Arleen Lorrance

August 15

          Two weeks ago, on July 26th, I went for my annual mammogram. It was to be taken at a new imaging facility. I "forgot" to have my previous films sent on ahead of me. Had I remembered I might not be writing this exploration.

          The radiologist at the new place had no point of comparison and noted a nodule that he called suspicious. Thirteen years ago an oncologist had determined it to be innocuous, but the radiologist had no way of knowing that without the prior films. I knew that the nodule had not changed during the dozen years since its discovery.

         The radiologist ordered an immediate ultrasound. This test confirmed his evaluation that a biopsy was required to rule out malignancy.

          By now the stage of my life drama was cluttered with an array of characters costumed as fear, hope, distress, anxiety, dismissal, etc. They didnít really interact with each other as much as they upstaged each other and demanded the spotlight.

         Fear was among the most powerful. My mind immediately wrote worst case scenarios. Oddly, although death from the big "C" was an odious thought, what bothered me most in my mindís leaping ahead to disastrous thoughts was the possible need for conventional cancer therapy. I created stomach upset and diarrhea at the thought of ruining my strong healthy body with chemotherapy and radiation. I have often thought that the medical profession should talk about remission of the malignancy as the possible side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. It seems to me that their primary function is to cause illness in the remainder of the healthy vehicle through the introduction of poisons.

         I eased my fears by reminding myself that I could handle anything, that I was a whole and conscious being, and that I really had no fear of death because I knew death to be little more than change/transformation, as well as a step in a great continuum. It was at that point that a very small, childlike voice, inside said, "I know you know all that and it is helpful, but not when the possibility of death might be real!" I had to smile. It was OK with my psyche to believe in higher truths, as long as they remained philosophical! Once they entered the realm of possible reality, they took on a different flavor.

        Distress was the next lead character. I heard myself saying, "I do not want my life to be about dealing with cancer, struggling with debilitating Ďcures,í and fighting to stay alive." I want/wanted my life to continue to be about what I was doing creatively and how I was growing and facilitating growth in others.

        When I was given the diagnosis of heart disease at the age of 29, my life became about weighing 92 pounds, having no strength or energy for the simplest tasks (such as combing my hair), being unable to eat, and needing six months to recover. I didnít want to do that again in this lifetime.

        Dismissal was strong because when the nodule had first been discovered 13 years ago, it showed up at that time on the first mammogram I had ever taken. It had been easy to figure that it had always been there. Now, I was sure that what was showing up on the ultrasound fell into the same category because I had never had an ultrasound before.

       When the radiologist did receive the comparison films he said that the nodule looked benign and was in fact involuting (reducing in size). However, he said that what he was seeing in the ultrasound did not correspond to the location of the nodule and he still recommended a biopsy. My GP told me to make an appointment with a surgeon.

       Had I remembered to have the comparison mammograms sent on ahead, I would not have needed the ultrasound and could have avoided the current distress. On the other hand, if there is an abnormality and my Ďmistakeí grants me early diagnosis, my Ďforgettingí might be a gift to me.

      The drama being played out on my life stage became wearying. I needed a way to deal with the negative doomsday thoughts that sought to overtake me. I needed to live in the now moment and remove myself from projections into a disconsolate future. It was then that I made an important discovery. I created a mantra that not only returned me to the present and reminded me that that is all there is, but also lifted me into finer frequencies of consciousness. The mantra is Blessed is this moment.

      Every time a negative thought enters my head, I say Blessed is this moment. I am immediately lifted out of the dense darkness and into light. I watch as the unwanted thought-pattern quickly crumbles and falls away. I feel a smile grace my face. I feel myself breathing and relaxing. The most amazing thing is that I cannot say the word blessed and remain in the denser frequency at the same time. I say the word and I move into the spirit, into clarity, into the music of the spheres.

      I remembered how Gandhi and others committed themselves to having the name of God on their lips at all times. In this way, when they faced death their transitions would occur in the light of consciousness. My mantra, Blessed is this moment, serves in this same way, whether I am struck by illness, a car, or death by old age. The mantra allows me to live (and eventually to die) in the frequency I choose.

     My appointment with the surgeon is two hours from now. I would be very surprised (and delighted) if he determines that no biopsy is needed. However, my view of surgeons is that it would be an oxymoron for them to dismiss surgery in any circumstance. I am experiencing what I would term a normal feeling of concern about the appointment, but nothing excessive.

     I was aware as I went to sleep last night that the desire/thought, "I donít want my life to be about dealing with a malignancy," returned with great force. I stopped myself to inquire, "What do you want your life to be about?" The response provoked another important insight/awakening. If I replied, "I want my life to be about creative expression, or working with people, or being of service," each of those is related to doing. Suddenly I saw that what my life is really about is functioning consciously. That is a greater purpose than any expression of doing. I saw that if, as, and when my life is about functioning consciously, what I am doing or focusing on is irrelevant. I can be functioning consciously in relation to everything that is transpiring in my life. This was very liberating. It put things in proper perspective. It enabled me to be even more present to the blessing of each moment.

Later: I saw the surgeon. Based on the radiologistís recommendations, I was told that "just to be sure," I am to have a needle biopsy. It has been scheduled for the 26th of August, giving me almost two weeks to practice functioning consciously, to stay out of negative projections, and to still my mind when it marches toward worry.

August 24

       These days that have gone by have had a strange feel to them. A large part of myself has resided in suspended animation. I wonder what the results will be (the verdict, the judgment) and I wonder how I shall respond, no matter what they are. Itís as if the future is being swung over my head or as if the roulette ball is spinning round the wheel in quest of a place to land.

     When I say I wonder how Iíll respond, I have a sense of calling up little energy, either for elation if the news is good or for struggle if that is what is required. This diminished energy results from two elements: the not knowing, and the nature of life in which at any moment something can enter and change everything. I sense how fragile we are, how much we are at the mercy of everything that is beyond our control, and everything is. I see now that I have become much more of a realist than the optimist I used to be. At least, that is true today, a day when I simply must wait. I must wait for a test and a determination.

August 26

    I went for the biopsy this morning. Mariamne accompanied me as a loving support and was allowed in for the procedure. The radiologist who performed the biopsy while using ultrasound to guide the needle was a young woman who was caring, informative, gentle, very present, and blessed with a good sense of humor. The same was true of the female technician who assisted the doctor. So much was this true that tears fell from my eyes mid-procedure as I responded to the question "How are you feeling?" I told them both that what I was feeling primarily was gratitude for their tenderness and careful attention to everything that was going on with me.

    Surprisingly, there was very little pain associated with the biopsy. Several samples were taken after the doctor determined that the suspicious area was not a cyst and I felt little or nothing during the various stages of needle probing. At one point I commented that the thought of a needle penetrating this area which had been undisturbed for 60 years, was distressing. In actuality, it was only the thought that was disquieting, not the penetration. I see now how important it is to keep alive in my consciousness at all times the knowledge that everything is energy. To think of the breast tissue as part of "me" and the needle as a metal invader is separating and objectifying. To know that the breast is energy and the needle is energy is more a process of energy merging with energy.

    The tissue is now on its way to the lab for scrutiny and testing. I probably wonít have the results until Monday. During this interim time, I will continue to practice what I practiced for the last month, stilling my mind, functioning consciously, and remembering that each moment is blessed.

    When the first radiologist looked at the first ultrasound and ordered the biopsy, he referred to the suspicious tissue as "ugly." I asked him why he called it that because it seemed an inappropriate term to me. He replied that it might be the enemy. I have reflected on this often and it never sits right with me. I find it hard to think of disease as an enemy. The very term conjures the need for battle. I resist fighting. I would, in all circumstances, rather focus on restoring harmony if that is what is required. Iím more and more particular about how I express my life energy.

    I noted that while I was in the waiting room this morning I had three occasions to relate to other women who were there alone for the same procedure. The three were very nervous and concerned. In each case I was immediately moved to comfort, guide, and reassure them, and to remind them to breathe. I smiled to myself as I realized that I was a facilitator and loving support system even in this circumstance when I would have been perfectly justified to direct my attention only to my own needs.

September 1

      I am now into the 6th day of waiting for the results of the biopsy. My experience of the medical profession is that the old phrase "hurry up and wait" applies. The doctors say "Get this test quickly." then there is a long wait for an appointment and an even longer wait for the results.

     Beneath the conscious quieting of the mind, I sense the subliminal concern about what the results might be. My blood pressure has been higher during this time. My greater sense is that the results will be benign but my mind still seeks to flood me with unwanted story lines. I also know that I am a simple human being and as such the results can go either way because none of us is immune to anything. What can happen to anyone of us can happen to every one of us. Moreover, whatever is happening to any one of us is happening to all of us because we are as one body.

     A poignant moment occurred on Sunday. During our Teleos Board of Directors meeting we were discussing health care, and Tom McCarthy, our vice president, said, "Whatís important is that test results are positive." I agreed, but I hesitated before I said a loud, "Yes." Everyone in the room felt the glitch. After a very few moments, I took a breath and shared with those present what was transpiring with me. Except for Mariamne, I hadnít told anyone until that time. I couldnít keep it from the loved ones present, especially since they experienced my hesitation. I let my tears flow, and they did too, and the love that traversed the circle was palpable.

September 2

    Although the surgeon who referred me for biopsy received the results two days ago, it wasnít until today that I was officially notified that the biopsy was benign.

    My gratitude is immeasurable. Everything appears new to me: the beautiful blue sky, the sun-lit clouds, the deep green of the bougainvillea, the sparkles on the pool water, the small birds at the feeders; everything is alive with the new life I feel.

    I am also experiencing the release of what was under the surface during this month of not knowing what the diagnosis might be. I watched myself let go a little. I had delayed writing projects. I slowed to a crawl. I boxed all my hopes and tucked them aside. We have the catís claw vine growing in the garden. As it spreads on the wall it puts out powerful tiny "claws" and grabs hold, rooting itself. My experience of my psyche was that I pulled the "tiny claws" of future tomorrows just slightly away from the wall of life, in case I needed to let go. I was close to the wall, ready to fully reconnect at any moment, and still very much alive and invested in life. At the same time, I wanted to sit loose enough so that if my spirit was calling my body to a transition I would not have to struggle with the weight of sorrow, fear, disappointment, panic, etc. Now, I have lain my vine fully against that wall of life, albeit lightly, and I am investing myself once again in the creative process of unfolding in consciousness.

   On the same day I found out that I would probably need a biopsy, I picked up the mail to discover that my agent had returned the novel I had written and I was going to have to do major revisions. While I was disappointed about the agentís response, I realized very quickly that that entire subject was of miniscule importance compared with the life concerns I had on that same day. I trust I will remember forever more that creating upset and uproar about all the minor blips on the life screen is a complete waste of energy and precious life force.

There is only this now, and blessed is this moment


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