The Human Experience

Quote from another breast cancer survivor: “My back has been sore lately. I’m trying to shake that irrational fear that it means cancer in my bones……Yesterday I admitted to a friend that I’m scared and she talked about Buddhism. About being in the present. Good advice. However, I did not receive it well. Deep down, for me, it is embarrassing to admit that I have this fear. Advice, no matter how well-meaning, makes me wish I hadn’t mentioned it. It makes me feel alone. Advice is tricky like that. And I can be a prickly bastard. Ah, well, we’re all human. Right?” –

Sometimes we want to ‘fix’ people…its almost irresistible – heck, I’ve done it too…probably still do.  You watch a friend in fear, and you want to protect them from diving down that dark black hole… so you offer something that works for you – maybe it is yoga, meditation, mantras, prayers, religion… or perhaps some pithy saying like “when a door closes a window opens” (please spare me from that one – it may be true since our world is full of endless possibilities, but it is not what is needed).  Someone who is expressing fears, especially after just going through or still going through a traumatic event, needs someone to listen…not ‘fix’.  Now I’m not a psych major (hell, I’ve probably misspelled the word) or therapist, so maybe I’m all backwards here, but I’ve been down these twisty bumpy roads a few times, and this much I’ve learned.

Friends react from their own historical frame of reference, not yours.  Friends have their own fears – and maybe yours just touched a nerve.  Friends are well-intentioned.

So the good news is that although the ‘gift’ may not be an acceptable answer at the time, it is still a gift.  Because over time, you may get to a place where you can receive the gift and it brings something into your life to help you…or not, but you’ve learned something about you, about the gift, and about your friend.

And what of the human experience? The moments we madly plunge from event to event in our lives and all the stuff in between… The strength, the frailty, the good and the bad..  Health and Disease…all part of the human experience.  It comprises the elements of our lives…not to define our lives, but to add to it.  Yes, I would have preferred to remain ignorant about breast cancer, not having a direct experience, but my life has changed because of it…not because of the cancer, but because of the people around me, caring.

Sometimes it is difficult to be in a position where you cannot do the things you had enjoyed, whether it is hiking, biking, kayaking, golf, whatever it is…. due to a physical condition.  It feels oppressive because we have built our identity around it and keep the pain to ourselves.  But it can also provide an avenue for creativity and expansion – to try new things and places during that interim….and that’s difficult for the human experience – we are, after all, creatures of habit (and control… why else would being unable to get our way disturb us?) Therefore, a new opportunity gives rise – of relinquishing control and expanding horizons…. and when you think about it, perhaps that is not that different from Buddism, Yoga, Meditation, Religion and other paths that open the heart……


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Helene Jeanette
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 11:09:43

    I so understand this fear place. It’s like when I SCUBA dive, the irresistible urge to hold onto the downline….yes, I want to descend, but I don’t want to let go either. We want both.

    I’m reading a phenomenal book, “The Gift of Fear.” One of his points is well taken (well many are), if we are feeling fear, what we fear is not happening. (because then we’d be feeling something else)

    Fear can save our lives by warning us, but it’s not meant to be a companion. You are healing. You’ve been focused on your body and it seemingly is controlling your mind. Whatever the path, Buddisim, Yoga, Meditation, the center is in the Mind. We are all given so many opportunities to “let go.” And we need every one of them! It is indeed a human experience.


  2. Cyndie
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 01:15:38

    Your friend is having a human reaction. Of course she is frightened my dear friend….of course you find fear walking along side you, you have just had your world turn upside down. That’s when fear sees his opportunity and takes hold. Fear has a large presence but he is not real and as a matter of fact he is actually quite fragile. He is a bully that feeds off imaginations. I cannot make him go away dear friend but I can tell you I have walked with him several times myself and it is only when I look him straight in the eye and shout loudly ……that I see how fragile he really is…..

    Your entire body has been wounded along with you emotional well being….be gentle with your healing ….and fear will soon become disinterested in being your walking companion. At the moment walk with him if you must but realize he is limited and doesn’t speak from truth… Remember who he really is.
    F alse
    E xpectations
    A bout
    R eality


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