January 11, 2015 Cancer is My Agent of Change

January 11, 2015

In the month since I was diagnosed with lymphoma, I have witnessed so many changes in such a short period of time, that Isometimes feel unable to look forward or back at my life. Though I have always embraced the concept of living in the present, I have only recently begun to comprehend the depth of this ideal. Being fully in the present is currently an effortless, and fundamental part of my life.  My life is not easier, not more joyful, but I feel more rooted in taking an honest look at the way things are. What I hope will follow, is an attitude of acceptance, and ability to embrace whatever comes, whether or not it is what I had wanted or anticipated.

The changes that have happened in my yoga practice are a metaphor for the changes happening in my life.

I am not able to do any sort of an active yoga practice at all, and even passive asanas pull on my “port” (chemo delivery device/line). 

I have been forced to live very quietly in the present, and am exploring the most fundamental foundation principles of yoga: abhyasa and vairagya.  

Abhyasa means practice, as in cultivating persistent effort to consistently choose actions, speech, and thoughts that lead in the direction of a stable and tranquil mind.  Vairagya is non-attachment, as in learning to encounter and let go of fears, aversions, and false identities that cloud us from our true self.

This is enormously difficult work, but it is really the heart of all yoga practice.  I feel like a raw beginner right now, especially when fear and sadness take hold.  I know that with enough patience, courage and discipline, however, I can actively apply these principles to my life every single day. 

Cancer has renewed my motivation to practice them, and I hope that I can abide in these ideas for the rest of my life.