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  • Mer Monson

Riding the Fear Wave


My sister has started to joke that I should go around wearing a T-shirt that says, "I have cancer, how can I help you?"   It's become apparent that some people's response to my news is largely about their own fear and the gift of an opportunity to let it go.  I know I waded through oceans of it when I first heard the news. There were several mornings early on when I would lay in bed and physically feel the waves of fear move through my body over and over again.  As I make my own way out of the enormous consciousness of fear that's floating around out there about cancer, I find myself more and more often holding a space for those who are ready to do the same.  Last week at my mammogram and CT scan I found myself therapizing the 20-something mammogram tech through a total meltdown (I mean all-out sobbing) which spontaneously erupted in response to "my story."  She was aware enough to actually speak her real fear - that she just couldn't digest the thought of getting stage IV cancer with young kids at home and her whole life ahead of her.  I felt for her.  As I reassured her that she was okay no matter what, and I was too, I felt the truth of it and was grateful I could be there to help let a little of the fear go in both of us. Wanna know my secret?  When the fear shows up, lean in.  Don't try to resist it, fix it, change it, understand it, heal it, transform it, or make it go away.  "Just let it be there with you in your circle," as I once heard an old Indian chief put it.  With a healthy dose of unconditional attention, it'll shrink and move on all by itself.  Because the fear isn't us, you know, it's just in our circle for a while. This is my secret to all emotions, or different kinds of energy-in-motion. I've discovered (through lots of banging my head against the wall) that if I don't let myself experience one emotion, I deny myself of all of them, even the so-called "good" ones. The better I get at making friends with each feeling until the insight is received or they're ready to move on, the more easily and often I fall back into my natural state of joy and love (which is so yummy when its not forced). My heart says this is where we'll all fall as we learn to hold a space for and then let go of all those years of old emotions we haven't yet let ourselves feel.  Just think of the latest baby you met; they're experts at it :)

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