Last night I dreamed I was talking to Jerry Orbach at a workshop and telling him about the first time I ever sat through the credits of something to find out his real name. A young man kept trying to interrupt and would not stop when I motioned for him to wait just another moment for me to finish. I finally turned to focus my attention on him and he started berating me, telling me I communicated poorly and needed to expand my vocabulary. I lost it. I mean, really lost it. How dare this kid in gangsta gear, who couldn’t figure out that a waist band goes above the ass (not below), tell me in words so broken they were almost unrecognizable as English that I communicate poorly?!?! He towered over me but I grabbed him by the shirt and pulled his face down to mine then just started screaming like a banshee about having breast cancer, going through treatment, chemo brain, losing my home, just everything. I was so shocked by my own behavior I bolted upright in bed, startled awake.
Anyone who knows me understands how much this dream would bother me. I do not lose my temper much. I tend to stay very level and controlled. I rarely raise my voice in anger, much less, scream in rage. Logically, I understand exactly what the dream was about, and what inspired it to some degree. I’m not sure I can explain it completely without making this an unbearably long post. From 2007 to present my life has gone through so many major changes. I went from being as happy as I thought I would be allowed, quitting my stressful job and taking a part time job from home, an amazing trip to Burning Man with my husband, to returning home only to discover in the 5 weeks between my 40th birthday and 5th wedding anniversary that my partner needed to “leave or die”. Those things were closely followed by being laid off, then the breast cancer diagnosis a month later in April of 2010, surgery, chemo, the disappearance of people I thought were friends and, loss of my home in November of the same year. It was a lot to process and was complicated by the fact the poisons used to treat me turned my brain to mush. I could not think clearly or communicate. I used to write daily but my vocabulary was gone. I was feeling so many things but could not even put them into words. Luckily for me, with a lot of help from my friends, when I hit rock bottom I bounced.
What they don’t tell you about chemo brain is that it can take months, or years, to really recover. When I finally broke through that heavy veil in the spring of this year my head was so flooded with words it took months to sort out the constant inner chatter of processing my experience. By then I was pretty sure no one gave a damn about something that happened so long ago and I was overly self conscious about writing again or sharing my thoughts and feelings. Somehow, I had gone from being a strong and confident woman to being a terrified wallflower. Healthy but not yet healed. I’ve never fully talked to anyone about the “elephant in the vardo”.
Yesterday I was truly inspired by a woman I have always admired but have been out of touch with for quite some time. Her name is Sarla Nichols and I met her as the instructor of Sunday morning yoga classes before my entire world fell apart. Her class was always the highlight of my week and during all of these challenges I have craved that peace and calm but could no longer afford to go. My image of her was one of complete togetherness, balance, accomplishment, and serenity. Anyway, I was up early as usual yesterday and happened to be on Facebook when she shared a blog post. It was a beautiful reminder that we never know what goes on, or the struggles, in the secret lives of others or how sharing might help reignite someone else’s faltering flame. For me, it was another click of the tumblers unlocking a new level what I refer to as the Perpetual Lesson of Letting Go. I have to thank her once again for being an inspiration and adding to my courage bank. I have to thank her for reminding me why I end all of my posts with “Namaste & POLO!!!”. I am not alone and by sharing my voice I let others know they are not alone.
Thank you, Sarla! Thank you, Universe! Peace and light to all…
Namaste & POLO!!!