Since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, Laurie has come to see her world from a new and expanded vantage. To start with, she told me how she got past her fears:
I learned that I needed to stop being consumed by cancer fears and move on to other things. I had a lot of living to do and just needed to find a meaningful way to spend my time. Obsessing about what could be was not it. I saw how much my friends liked me and how sad they’d be if I were gone. I didn’t want sadness, as my life has been good and productive—something that’s important to me.
I also learned not to fear death, as it can be peaceful and beautiful. A day worrying is a day not living.
I asked her why she thought some people faced with crises like hers, Joan’s, or Vivienne’s thrived when others folded. Laurie thought about this for a moment and then made a very important observation—that cancer had forced her to explore what was important.
Before cancer, I was a planner, never really present in my body. As I was doing “the thing” I’d just planned, I was busy planning the next thing. Yikes! I now realize the futility of this.
Laurie has thought a lot about why she had to face her ordeal of illness and recovery. She pondered whether she “got cancer” rather than some other malady because it would take away her pressing sense of future—thus forcing her to change her pattern of hurrying on to the next thing.
She has also deeply pondered the question of some sort of higher power at play and commented that, if this were the case, it would imply a divine plan whereby one’s disease or accident might function to bring insight.
It’s interesting to contemplate. Was it just random chance that I got cancer and it gave me wisdom in one of many areas that needed work? I have no idea, but I am grateful for the new wisdom that it has brought to me.
Laurie’s path to a more expanded state of being, like that of so many choice makers, came at a very high price. Why did she not fold during her long trial?
I haven’t a clue. Maybe it was that being scared and sad was just no fun and I made the conscious choice to be happy. Is it this simple?
Indeed, is it?
It seems the challenge lies in our willingness to choose consciously, and that willingness blossoms in its own season from our journey through the jungles of pain, grief, and loss.
From Crisis to Creation, pages 74-75