My journey of finding spirituality via mediation + knitting
Finding spirituality has been hands down the most complicated part of my journey over the last 4 years of living with my body in an active cancering process (AKA stage IV cancer). Knowing the deep importance for my overall wellbeing, I persevered and here is the story of unfolding... it continues to bloom.
Spirituality & Cancer
Dealing with our mortality and the mortality of everyone we love is not a comfortable space for most of us. Sitting with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis, while having a 3 year old daughter, it was definitely not a comfortable space for me. But as we are all born, we also all die and what happens to us after we die? How do we truly LIVE in the immediate awareness that we are in fact dying? Shouldn’t that make it easier to focus? Isn’t everyone actually dying? Why does this awareness create such a crushing blow?
I like to believe that God is simply, my highest and absolute best and most beautiful self. I also like to believe that what we create on this planet, who we create, how we live, and how we choose to make our exit is what lives on when we are gone. It lives on in anyone and anything we had the opportunity to touch in any small way.
After my stage 4 cancer diagnosis, I dove into a deeper meditation practice as a way to help myself deal with the stress and anxiety. For months, I sat in my space, trying to meditate but mostly crying, asking for SPACE! Space to understand what was happening, why I had to lose the baby we’d tried so hard to conceive, why I had to have this diagnosis, and have so much medical intervention just to live!? Space had become the highest and most valuable commodity for me as I continued to suffocate under the stress, fear, and anxiety for the future.
One day, while meditating, about 6 months into my practice, I suddenly found myself inside of an enormous gourd! Yes, a gourd, like the bell-shaped, pumpkin-like fruit you see in the fall at pumpkin patches and in grocery stores. I was in the belly of this gourd on a saucer swing, swinging around in perfect synergy with the edge of the gourd, suspended by a fishing line. Round and round I went with a growing smile on my face. I had DONE IT! I had CREATED SPACE! It was inside of ME all this time!! I became wildly obsessed with everything this meant. I began to surrender into my meditation practice to always find myself in the gourd and even move my body in a cylindrical pattern as I meditated skimming the circumference of the inside of my gourd on my swing. I started drawing gourds for the next few months, turning them into women, then pregnant women. Thinking deeply about the continuity of this analogy that I’d stumbled upon, ovaries live in the belly of humans and seeds in the bellies of gourds. And, these seeds, these ovaries eventually become NEW LIFE and new life eventually makes MORE NEW LIFE. I shared this meditation experience and obsession with a very good friend of mine who studied the bible. After much discussion, mostly me emphatically expressing my gourd meditation and the artwork that was accompanying it, she later shared this passage with me:
John 15:4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.”
I became obsessed with this passage, and googled it, reading it in many forms and versions with accompanying imagery and interpretations. For me though, all that stood out were the words, Live in ME as I live in YOU. This.Was.Truth, these were the words I was seeking to describe this obvious continuity of life. Life was, in fact, like a russian doll, nested, continuous. We’re nested deeply within one another. Even my daughter can say that my mom (her grandmother) carried her for a few months because my ovaries developed in-utero at 4 months gestation so when my ovaries and eggs developed we were both inside of my mom, I had been inside of my maternal grandmother too! These words ‘Live in me as I live in you’ echoed through me, echoed through my gourd. Having lost my dad just months before my diagnosis, of course he was living inside of me! Inside of all of us that knew and loved him deeply. This was how life continued after death, this is how I would continue after death.
About a year later, my obsession with the gourds, the continuity of life, and the mediation were still evolving, still ever present but now, I was also knitting. Knitting became a salvation, a working meditation, a place that I would go to, a place I would escape to, a place I knew I could find myself and what was hiding inside of the grief and the anxiety. And just like I suddenly realized that I had created space for myself inside of that gourd, inside of myself, I suddenly realized the beautiful continuity of knitting and how we BUILD our knits stitch by stitch not unlike how human beings are built cell by cell. As I knit to create a new stitch, I would recite, “live in me”, as I lovingly and purposely wrapped my warm cozy yarn around my needle I would say, “as I”, and as I pulled it back through, I would say, “live in you”.
I built my knits, stitch by stitch with this mantra and imagine all of my cozy knits keeping so many people warm (and of course fashionable) long after my time on this earth ends. I will live with all of these people, long after I pass because they will remember me, my spirit, and my love for them every time they hold and wear my loving knits. So, I say Live in ME as I live in YOU. Let your loved ones, Live in you. As you. Lived in them.
As everything must start somewhere, this is the start of my official blog. Within this blog, I will write about my experience of living with my body in an active cancering process, more popularly known as stage IV cancer. I will talk about healing my body, mind, and spirit while being in this cancering process by creating rhythm in all areas. The primary modalities I indulge in include, but are not limited to:
I look forward to learning more about anyone interested in my experience, thank you for your time.