A year ago today as I took a walk on the morning of my 26th birthday, thoughts raced through my mind worried about what the future had in store. One surgery done, radiation still flowing in my veins, my body and spirit feeling broken. This birthday was different than any other, not only within myself, but outside. A light rain fell that morning, not the weather I had ever experienced on my mid July birthday... I felt like the sky was crying those tears that wouldn't come for me. Walking along I heard a rustle in the bushes, as I turned to see an owl flying out, moving in a circle around my head and then heading off into the distance. As a metaphoric person that I am, I felt that this was significant but couldn't be sure what it meant. During the year that followed, more surgeries, pain and worries came, along with my mindfulness practices grew deeper as a way to be with all of these new struggles. Through many guided imagery practices this owl showed herself to me again and again, along with the owl most always stood my nana, an amazing woman who had left this world just a couple years before. This was not entirely surprising as my nana most often was the source of much wisdom in my life, much like the symbolism of the owl. Messages and love were offered during these imageries, but still not feeling confident about what the overall message was.
As I stand one year from that day I read a quote from a 13-year old who just before losing her battle to cancer writes, "this cancer journey has brought me so many benefits, it has been amazing, but every journey has to end. Having cancer is a gift, but it's a horrible horrible thing..." I look at all the gifts I have recieved: amazing friendships, an ability to communicate my needs, passion about helping others along their journey, memories of very tender moments with my family during treatment... Yes cancer is a horrible disease and I would never have wished for it, but if I could speak for the owl that morning one year ago I believe she would've said, " I once was trapped in a body that brought me so much pain, look as I know I'm free to fly around and deliver hope and wisdom to those I love. Do not fear my sweet girl, for you too shall transform in many ways this year. See the burdens as gifts in disguise because there is far more magic in this journey than you now know." Thank you nana for continuing to bless me with your wisdom... Until we meet again I love you ten times.