This Friday, in just two days, I am undergoing major surgery.
I am having a complete hysterectomy, in addition to having my bladder put in a sling, in addition to having my pelvic floor filled with wire mesh, in addition to having my cervix anchored to my sacrum. The procedure has a name longer than a truck, but my doctor referred to it as “the da Vinci Blue Plate Special”. (I must admit, I love that code phrase. Made me laugh the first time and still gives me the giggles, every time.) The da Vinci is a surgical robot that is frighteningly similar to what people who’ve been abducted by aliens describe seeing looming over them when they wake up on the UFOs.
This has been the hardest year of my life.
Last weekend, I holed myself up in our sanctuary and started making peace with this whole thing. With finding out about having prolapse. With the death of my dream. With my spiritual crisis. With walling off my heart (or wanting to, even if I don’t). With never again having children for myself or for anyone else.
I spent 6 months avoiding healing with every cell in my being. I wasn’t ready. I was too angry, too hurt, too upset, too betrayed.
But finally, in my own time and in my own way, I was ready. Ready, at least, to begin the journey of healing.
There are four external things that helped me the most.
First, Havi’s post about dealing with loss. She talks about naming things – the things she can see – and how that helps bring her back to here when she’s out there lost in the pain. I was transformed by this little golden nugget. I’ve spent the past 2.5 months naming everything constantly, touching things, breathing deeply and reminding myself of where I am, right now, in this moment. This is most helpful when I’m feeling nervous, anxious, or worried – I can’t feel those things in this moment right here right now, and Havi’s technique brings me from that place of fear and worry into the right here right now moment. So wonderful.
Second, Jen Louden’s video about the Lost Times. She gave me permission to be lost, to not know what to do – and that was again transformational for me. I was trapped in beating myself up whenever I was lost, getting angry and upset when I didn’t know what to do. Jen says, in her loving and gentle way, that being lost is just part of a journey, and it’s okay and normal and natural. This helps me the most when I’m feeling lost – Jen’s loving self reminds me that it’s okay to be lost, that it’s okay to have no idea whatsoever where I’m going… and at a time when I’ve lost so much, I feel lost a lot. So perfect.
Thirdly, Goddess Leonie’s Creative Goddess School. It’s a six-week course, but I did it all in one intense weekend (which I do not recommend unless you’re insane and pressed for time because you’re having major surgery in two weeks). I nearly set my house on fire working with Kali for transformation, and I wept at least a month’s worth of tears finding my own inner Healing Goddess. This course provided me with a framework for my magickal weekend intensive, and was vital to my journey. This is most helpful when I feel spiritually disconnected – there’s a forum full of other Goddesses doing the same work to whom I can connect, and Leonie’s meditations bring me back to my own Spirit, even when I’m feeling extremely disconnected. So magickal.
And lastly – but most importantly – knowing that I have the support of my loved ones and taking them up on it. My best friend and my wife have been there for me every step of the way. I’ve called my best friend from a parking lot when I was hysterical because the nurse told me lots of things could go wrong in this procedure, and she made me laugh and calmed me down. I’ve talked to Pace about my ovaries until I’m sure she was ready to burst her own eardrums just for a reprieve. My mom has been there to comfort me when I was sobbing about having to go through this. I’ve had wishes and love and support from people across the internet, too (new friends and old, near friends and far) – and that has really kept me going, all the time, through this entire process. So amazing.
The internal things are harder to explain.
But they’re there, and they’re every bit as important.
I had to be ready to heal. I’m still not 100% ready, but I had to be willing to at least open the door before I could begin my healing journey. Honoring my desire to avoid healing was important – if I’d pushed myself into healing before I was ready, I wouldn’t have made progress and I would have wound up hating myself.
I had to know myself. I had to figure out what I needed so I could articulate those needs to my doctors, my family, my friends. Every step of the way, I’ve had to make hard decisions. Without knowing myself well, I might not have been able to make solid decisions that are right for me now and in the future. I mean, I’ve had to decide things that will affect me for the rest of my life on a very physical level – all in less than a month. It’s been hardcore, but being rooted in self-knowledge has made me feel confident in my decisions.
And, in the end, I had to learn to open up and trust again.
Opening up and trusting, when I was so angry, so sad, so betrayed? I’ve never done anything so hard in my life.
But you know what? Spirit doesn’t come from outside in. Spirit comes from inside out. If I shut myself away, no one else will break down my walls. If I choose to fill myself with hate and fear, no one else can fill me with love. No one else can. I am the only one who can save me, and I am the only one who can open myself up, and I am the only one who can trust in Spirit for me. Me and me alone.
And if I’m going to get through this whole, if I’m going to come out the other side and still be someone I love and respect, if I’m going to find peace and healing, that’s exactly what I’ve got to do.
So, here I go.