The sun was rising over the mountains as I hiked up to the Muir Beach Overlook to center myself and ground into Mother Earth before a full day one-on-one session with one of my Visionary Mentoring Program clients. The ocean was serene, still and waveless, after many stormy days of high winds. The air was silent, pregnant with promise. A few weeks had passed since my mother had been diagnosed with an “incurable” kind of stage 4 cancer, so life had been heavy for some time. Yet something about this morning felt light. A calm quietude fell over the sea.
As I shared with you yesterday, my beloved mother was just diagnosed with a rare and aggressive kind of leukemia. (If you missed it, you can read about our shock and our magic stories here.) When life throws you a curveball, advice is often the last thing you need. You need permission to be emotional. You need room to be with what has happened. You need . . . whatever YOU need. It’s so individual. That said, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that help me when life throws me curveballs.
With my mother’s permission, I want to share with you all the curveball life just threw my family. A few weeks ago, my healthy 71-going-on-55 year old mother started feeling palpitations in her chest, a fast heart rate, and some shortness of breath. She thought something might be wrong with her so far always healthy heart, so she went to Urgent Care, where they found a healthy heart but severe anemia of the macrocytic (big blood cells) variety. We thought she might have a B12 or folate deficiency and hoped the treatment would be as simple as a vitamin supplement. But the next day, the doctor called me. Her blood smear was just reviewed by the pathologist, and it didn’t look good. It looked like leukemia, but the only way to know for sure would be to endure the painful gold standard test—a bone marrow biopsy.
Stuff hurts right now. A lot of stuff hurts. If you’re not feeling at least some pain right now, you’ve probably numbed out with an addiction, psychiatric medication, dissociation from your body and your emotions, or maybe even some form of spiritual bypass, like meditating to transcend your human pain. If you’ve numbed out, that’s understandable. You’re human. That’s what humans do when they don’t have the emotional resilience to handle a broken heart. Whether chemically or emotionally, you’ve closed your heart, so it doesn’t have to feel so much pain. But it also cuts out your capacity to feel joy, to play, to love, to laugh, to feel gratitude, to cry at the heart-opening beauty of a sunset.
Dressed in rain gear, prepared for a downpour that never came, I gathered with 60,000 of my sisters (and the men who stand with us) to choose love. I started crying from the first moment I encountered the crowd. I was so touched—by the beauty, the passion, the fear, the anger, the love, the frustration, the intimacy, the humor, creativity, the raw, pure humanness of 60,000 of us gathered together in our messy, human glory.