Scars and Imperfections: vulnerability and courage

ovarian cancer scars

For a long time I have been embarrassed by all the scars I have on my belly. I have actually felt shame that I didn’t have the super flat and amazing abs that I had all my life, pre-cancer and that we see in so many pictures. Last night, as I was watching a video of myself doing yoga on my paddleboard, I saw my scars and imperfections for what they truly are: beautiful, and a deeper healing is setting in.

I wouldn’t be alive today if these scars weren’t there.

These scars are an ever constant reminder of the hell I went through as a stage 3 ovarian cancer survivor, getting a 5 pound tumor removed, then 50 tumors removed, then a hysterectomy, then a hole in my colon, getting an infection, then being attached to a vacuum for 6 weeks, then a 12 hour surgery to remove more tumors and organs, then an ileostomy bag, then, and finally, freedom. These scars show the story of hardship and trials, pain, and tears of not only me, but my family and friends. I have wanted to get as far away from those memories as I could, for a long time. I have slowly faced them as I have been able. This is my next step in the journey: showing them, being vulnerable and open, facing fears, and inviting in even more healing.

I have prayed for them to dissipate. I have tried all sorts of creams and wraps and detoxes and exercise and yet, they are still there. The mountains and valleys, the craters, and holes, the lumps of fat displaced from all the surgeries, the crevices of stiff scar tissue that try to hold me back.

Today though, I am making the choice to see that these scars also tell an incredible story of hope, of courage, of the power of prayers and support of family and friends, of medical staff who were creative and revolutionary; all these people who believed. These scars do tell of the ugliness of cancer, the evilness of disease, the destruction of surgery, and yet, there is a beauty in them: the power of human ingenuity, God’s miracles through our work, that our thoughts of limitations are only in our minds, that truly anything is possible, and that there is beauty in imperfection. These scars show the story of where I have been, who I am today, and in my story, I wouldn’t be where I am, doing what I do, without them. So, I embrace them.

I know that I will continue to walk out this journey called life, every day. Today marks a new one though, and I’m setting up a marker.

Hope exists. Nothing is impossible. Keep moving forward. Fail a lot. Have the courage to stand back up again, and maybe, just maybe, we can change the world through our courage.

Thanks for reading and loving.

Namaste.

Bali Yoga Video Day 10: Puri Bagus Candidasa Resort

It’s the end of Monday, December 2, and I’ve just come from a really great, fresh, coconut drink, sunset, and conversation with the 2 birthday girls, Betsy and Claire, and several amazing others. Among the highlights of the day, were a nice break from Vinyasa Yoga class for a time of observation (which was AMAZING! I have learned so much from Basil and his skill as an instructor. My students back home are going to love it. ☺), I just had a great conversation with Nicole and Claire about blogs. Shout out to all you lovelies, btw! One of the things that stuck out to me about our conversation are concerns over who will read our blogs? What I shared with Nicole is that that really isn’t my concern. What I know can happen is that we get stuck with this thought and wonderment of “Oh, but what I write about is ‘trivial,’ who would want to read it?’ and this can actually paralyze us with inaction! I have no idea who will read this, if anyone actually cares, but this really isn’t the concern or the point. There are several reasons I am writing this blog: 1. I know deep within, that I should be doing this and I feel overwhelmingly compelled to be doing so. Of course I could not do this, but I make the choice to every day. 2. I want to improve myself and writing things down and recording them is a way to do that. 3. Blogging is forcing me to be very vulnerable and open it is helping me to rid shame. Shame that has tried to hold me (and us all) down, and keep me from being free. 4. I want to better the world and even if my blog is for no other purpose than tonight’s conversation about getting rid of shame, I am bettering the world through it!

So, enjoy this blog. Enjoy the video tour around some of the buildings here at the Puri Bagus Candidasa Resort and I will chat with you tomorrow, hopefully having encouraged you too to live a courageous life, following your dreams, living out loud, and encouraging others as you do.

Namaste!