I thought I’d write today to give an update of what’s been going on in my life and to share the beautiful lessons that have come from a time of uncertainty. Throughout my life, I’ve found that difficulty often presents us with the perfect opportunity for growth (though I’d much prefer to learn through joy rather than struggle, but that’s a whole other topic I need to cover soon).
So the past month or so has been all about my forth toe. Weird, right?! A few months ago, I noticed that the tip of my toe was turning blue and was painful to touch. I didn’t think much of it (honestly, I thought I might have picked something up at the nail salon) but when it started to grow bigger, I thought I better get it checked out to make sure it wasn’t anything funky.
I’m going to share A LOT more detail about this in the paragraphs to follow, in case anyone is interested. If medical stuff isn’t your thing or makes you queasy, just skip the italics part and go down to the lessons I’ve learned!
When I finally went to the doctor, I was told it looks like a glomus tumor, which is a benign growth, and that we should just get it removed. So I went in for surgery a couple of weeks ago and got it off. I really, truly thought I was going to be on my feet and able to teach the next day. I wasn’t expecting how long and painful of a recovery it would be and that I wouldn’t be able to walk worth a damn for quite some time, especially frustrating when I teach yoga for a living!
Then a night before I was supposed to get my stitches out, my sweet pup put his paws on my leg to welcome me home and when he landed, it was right on my toe and it started gushing blood. I thought I’d broken the stitches so we went to urgent care. The doctor said the stitches were in tact, but I still had an open wound that they weren’t even able to close in the first place due to the toe being in such a challenging location (basically the stitches didn’t even work). After I got my stitches out, I had a wave of shock and fear as I took in the sight of the open wound and the indented nature looked like the tip of my toe was gone forever.
Around the same time, I received the pathology report, expecting it to be completely benign and good to go. But the report showed that the nature of the growth was suggestive of a certain type of cystic tumor that is usually okay. BUT it’s very rare for that type of tumor to occur on fingers and toes. And when it HAS occurred there in the past, it’s sometimes the top portion of an underlying malignancy. So they suggested that we remove more to make sure there’s not something going on underneath, like it has been for some people.
So I have to go in for a second surgery in a couple weeks where they’ll need to take out even more. Then, they can test it and see if it’s cancerous or clear. They won’t be able to close it up after this surgery, so they’ll have to use pig skin which I really don’t know how I feel about!
My thoughts have been jumping to: What the heck is my toe going to look like after this second surgery? How much are they going to have to take? What if they do find a malignancy? What if I have to get an amputation (as some people with the malignancy have had to)? What if it has spread? What if I’m dying?
The wait and the uncertainty are the hardest thing. And I have to remind myself that all of those scenarios aren’t actually happening right now. Those are WAY in the future and I’m essentially making up stories about what’s to come.
Here are the lessons and gems I have found with this experience:
-Allowing myself to process when and how I need to helps me heal.
In the past, when something difficult would happen, I would resist allowing myself to feel what I felt. I wouldn’t let myself break down or cry or talk about it, perhaps out of some fear of appearing weak or maybe a fear of not being able to handle it if I let myself FEEL.
But I’ve since learned that giving myself the permission to do all of those things right in the moment helps it move through me more easily so that it doesn’t stay stuck in my body and arise years later.
So this time, I cried and cried hard after I got the news I’d have to do a second surgery. I talked about it a lot. I got support from my loved ones and LET them comfort me. I just didn’t add a layer of judgment to my suffering. I let it be and I loved myself through the process. Lo and behold, I felt so, so, so much lighter after I allowed myself to process.
-I can handle anything that comes my way and I am stronger than I realize.
How often do we worry about the future, thinking that we can’t handle it if something “bad” happens? Yet anytime something has happened that’s been challenging, I realize I CAN handle it. Why do I ever doubt myself? I always find a way to show up and breathe through it. Whatever it is, I am strong enough.
My husband has been doing a wonderful job of reminding me that, no matter what, we’ll figure it out and we’ll be okay. If any of those horrible things I mentioned actually happen, yes it will suck, but we’ll survive. Trusting in our own abilities can help us surrender more to the flow.
-I have two choices: resist and fight, or let go and flow.
In every moment, we have the choice of whether we resist with every fiber of our being or whether we let go and allow ourselves to flow with what’s already happening anyway. I’ve been using the image of a river a lot lately. I imagine this river of life that I’m a part of, flowing along, and I can either stand up against the current and fight and exhaust myself, or I can consciously let go and allow myself to float with the current. I imagine myself floating easily and effortlessly down stream, at peace.
We can’t control life so maybe we choose to let go into its natural flow.
-I choose to see this through the eyes of love.
Right now I’ve been diving into Gabrielle Bernstein’s book, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith, and its been an awesome companion lately. She talks a lot about choosing to see things through the eyes of love rather than through fear. So when I go off into my anxious storylines about all the worst case scenarios, I tell myself that I choose to see it through the eyes of love. I imagine the situation from a loving standpoint rather than one of fear. It helps me move back into the flow of love and light.
She also talks about asking the Universe for signs. I read this chapter last night and I chose a bunny rabbit (random) as my sign from the Universe that I am taken care of and loved. Then, I went to watch an episode of the show I’m currently into on Netflix and a white bunny was randomly a part of the storyline for that episode!! Could this have been coincidence? Of course. But I chose to see it as a sign that it’s okay to surrender because I’m supported by loving presence.
-The present moment is my very best friend.
When I catch myself going WAY off into the future, imagining all the horrible possibilities, I stop and say, “Ok, where am I RIGHT NOW?” Then I name what’s happening currently. Right now I’m actually in my bed, in really warm covers, curled up next to my amazing husband who’s sleeping safe and sound. THAT’S what’s actually happening.
When we go off into anxious worry, our body responds as if it’s happening, with so much fear. So the more we can remind ourselves of the incredible magnificence of the present moment, we can ground ourselves back to reality and bring our nervous systems back into peace.
I feel like there are so many more lessons I’ve been learning (it’s like a crash course!), but I’ll leave it as this for now. I hope you all are having a wonderful week and sending you lots of love!
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