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Down the Rabbit Hole


Gifts of the Season

I never would have invited a season that started with a cancer diagnosis.  But I’ve discovered that, like all seasons, even this one brings its gifts, if only you can allow yourself to recognize them and unwrap them. This article shares some of the biggest ones I haven gotten to open during these challenging times. 


This won’t be much about astrology, but I do want to mention one thing: my Sixth House, the one that represents, among many things, one’s health and well-being, it also carries with it the idea of mentorship. When it is activated…as it is both natally and presently by the passage of Neptune in my chart… you have the opportunity to grow and learn…or teach and help another grow through that kind of one-on-one relationship.  In this season, the gurus and mentors showed up right here in my closest circle, and I realized that they have been with me all along! 


Time in a Bottle


A cancer diagnosis certainly stops the clock, pulls you into the present moment, and demands complete surrender. Decisions must be made, and you have to show up to all the appointments and procedures and treatments…and do what it will take for you to make space in your consciousness for how this life-altering event will impact the rest of your time on this planet. Then, there are the necessary losses.  And like it or not, it becomes virtually impossible not to focus on yourself.  All this is going on in the context of (if you’re me, at least) being stunned that this is happening to you - of trying to accommodate a new core part of the definition of who you are: cancer patient. Unsettling is not the word.  Earth-shaking is more like it. A whole new season has come crashing into your life.


Fortunately, I’m married to Don, my “Guru of the Present Moment.”  An active, sociable guy, he has spent the last seven years confronting a series of health challenges that started with an accident at the gym that compromised his mobility.  He has met each challenge with not only acceptance, but with a calm, positive outlook even as he works hard to maximize the potentials of the new situation.  And he doesn’t spend much time at all on “might have been”. Instead, he makes the most of every day in every way he can.  


For me, whose ‘MO” was more to cram every day full of every possible thing I could get done, including planning for tomorrow…and next month…and next year...and the next five, I was forced by circumstance and inspired by his role model to find peace…yes, peace in the midst of all this uncertainty…by slowing down to savor the moments that were waiting for me after I was done showing up to the necessities of life.  I recuperated from the surgery at our beach condo and took time to sit on a bench and watch the ocean’s colors and rhythms instead of scurrying back to “Business” once the health and fitness parameters of the walk were met; I sat quietly in the chemo chair and wrote in my journal as the healing poison dripped into my bloodstream; I lingered in bed in the morning to watch the rising sun paint patterns on the bedroom walls.  I made time to read books that had been waiting for months or years for me to open to the first page….to explore new ideas and read some great literature.   I made time to go quiet - to get back in touch with the subtle call of my 12th House where my soulful North Node “karmic contract” to spend time removed from the increasing chaos of modern life to get in touch with Spirit.  All this without abandoning the “have-tos” of life. 


Staying in and making the most of the present moment has contributed to my healing and recovery at least as much as the procedures and medicines have.  And when I falter and am tempted to climb back on my horse on the fast-spinning merry-go-round that defined my life “before”, I need only to uncork the bottle of that peaceful time…and glance over at Don. 


Let’s Talk About Love


Oh, I’ve known all along that I am one of the lucky ones - that I wouldn’t trade my family (the one I came from or the one I have helped create) for anything in the world.  Same goes for the friends, the ones that have been with me my whole adult lifetime, and those who came along midstream.  And I don’t want to forget my “Astro-family”, the people I've been privileged to get to know in the context of that immensely important part of my life. Yes, I am truly one of the lucky ones.


But since this all started, the outpouring of love and support of all kinds and at 

all levels has been astonishing - from the nearest and dearest to the most remote, those people I’ve never even met one-on-one.  In the times of this massive slow-down of my once almost frenetic pace of life, I’ve been able to stop and notice and FEEL it and soak it up.  These precious mentors have taught me that I am cared for and supported, and this has sustained and encouraged me, and given me hope.


I thank you all.  But some names simply must be named:  Sasha and Nikki and Don and Claudia and Steve, and Helen.   Describing the love they have engulfed me with and what they have done in these times…and in all times….is beyond my words. 


The Yellow Brick Road


I feel for the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz.” For years, if I’ve asked for anything in the way of petitions to a higher power, it’s been to “find my courage.”  I’m surrounded by people who have demonstrated theirs: my daughter Sasha who left a successful, exciting career as an urban planner to go back to undergraduate school to start the process that would lead to becoming an MD who would dedicate her career to the medically-underserved; and my daughter Nikki who lived a block away from the South Tower and bravely stepped into the devastation to rescue her beloved boxer Zeke the day after 9/11;  and my sister, Claudia,  who dared to start new undertakings, including an advertising agency and a newspaper, and leave a long-term marriage that had outlived its time at a time when women hardly ever did these kinds of things.    And they each have the courage to say “No!” when circumstances warrant it, even if it isn’t popular with those hearing it.


Like the Cowardly Lion, I didn’t know that courage was there within me, just waiting to be called upon and tested.  It took cancer to prove it to me, and I recognized it because of the family gurus who had been showing me all along what it looked like. I don’t know the details of what the future holds, but what I do know at last is that I no longer need to travel the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Wizard.   


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With thanks to all my precious gurus…

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