A Doorway to Deeper Understanding

deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I’ve heard several women share that they viewed breast cancer as an inconvenience and chose to not give it any power. It’s like someone backing into a car door and having to take the car in for extensive work. It’s a pain; it costs money, time and energy but its just life so it has to be taken care of. I’m sure there are more layers to their journey and this is merely one nugget they wanted to share in an effort to ease my mind but I must say it did not resonate with me.

I’m choosing to view my cancer as a doorway, an opening to deeper understand and healing. My friend Laura quoted Rumi the other day, “the door is wide open, don’t go back to sleep.” That resonates.

I will take care of the cancer by removing my breasts but then I still have to do the work. I find when I don’t do the work my basket gets full and the ideas become toxic and start sloshing around between my ears. Then I become crabby and angry, so I have to drive myself up to sit by the river so I can fill up a journal of thoughts and creativity. Then all feels right within me again.

feet in river deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

This is what I wrote today at the river.

I know this cancer came to me for a reason so I can’t ignore it by going to surgery and coming home and continuing on in the same manner I have been living. I believe this cancer developed from the deluge of toxic thinking that I’ve been swirling in for the past several years that wasn’t allowed to flow. I held it in and its energy has to go somewhere. Lucky for me it tucked itself into a few tiny ducts in my breast so that I could easily remove the toxic hairball of energy and go on living my life.

This is what is calling my attention right now and anything that catches my attention becomes a doorway to my deeper self. It’s really no different than a pinecone floating down the river or the dart of cerulean blue outside my window as a Stellar Jay flies by. Those are all doorways as well. Perhaps because of the gravity of cancer though this feels like a much deeper, broader doorway.

It feels as if it carries more weight than a fast floating pinecone buoyed by the flow of the river. But wait, another pinecone floats by. Perhaps there is something here trying to capture my attention.

pinecone deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

Pinecones are seedpods, capsules of new life, yet these have already spread their seeds and moved into crone-hood. They have fallen from the branches onto the soil and somehow found their way into the river. Their outstretched wings have already released the seedlings into the air with the hope that their floating offspring would find their way to soft embracing soil and grow to be as large as the tree in which their mother grew and fell from.

Oh the places that crone of a cone will travel. The things she will see as she makes her way over mossy rocks and by tall riverbank grasses. She is finally free and her next adventure is just beginning.

Hmm I’ve fed my babies with these breasts. Is it now time to shed them for a newer sportier version that will allow me to jump into the river of life and begin a new adventure. Perhaps its necessary to shed these toxic hairball filled breasts in order for me to step into the fullest expression of myself.

Oh the wisdom of a pinecone.

river log in deschutes river bank by Katariina Fagering

Duck Medicine

duck feathers by Katariina Fagering My heart was hurting yesterday and I just wanted to walk alone. The river was calling me   so I walked in that direction. It’s a short distance down rows of cottages, through the park with the pirate ship filled with laughing children, over the wooden foot bridge and into a quieter park where I found a patch of straw-colored grass under a fir-tree along the edge of the river.

Deschutes River by Katariina Fagering

I sat in the grass connecting into the earth below me, feeling Her supporting me, rooting into my own body and allowing the water drifting by to smooth out my heart ache.

A single Canadian goose glided up the river honking repeatedly. Then from the opposite direction several dozen ducks appeared from around the river bend. They sputtered, flapping their wings desperately before gracefully setting their little bodies in the cold water. I watched quietly feeling surrounded and supported by these ducks who seemed to have appeared at this very moment just for me.

ducks by Katariina Fagering

I pulled out my iPhone and googled duck medicine. Lin’s Domain says this about duck medicine:

Emotional Comfort

Ducks are connected to feminine energies, the astral plane
and emotions through their connection with water.
Ducks remind us to drink deeply from the waters of life.
Find comfort in your element and with those of like mind and spirit.
Ducks teach you how to maneuver through the waters of life with grace and comfort. Psychologist and therapists often have Ducks as a totem,
assisting them to help others move through emotional tangles.

four ducks by Katariina Fagering

My suspicions were confirmed when I read this. They showed up just at this particular moment for me, to help me let go of my sorrow and be comforted by Earth, Water and Ducks.

A friend asked me later that day why water energy was feminine. I told him that ancient Chinese practices believe in the balance of masculine and feminine energies. Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine). Yin is soft, slow, relaxed, diffused, moist, passive and quiet. The rhythms and essence of feminine energy are the softness of water, the mystery of the Moon, the blackness of rich soil and the deep silence of the night. It also shows up in the feminine’s ability to express emotions – emotions are watery by nature. Yang is fiery and direct like the sun. It’s steady and protective like a mountain or rocks. The masculine is laser focused unlike the elusive ever shifting watery nature of the feminine. (some of these ideas found/borrowed/learned here: The Yin and Yang Theory)

ducks on deschutes by Katariina FageringThe two are complimentary and we all carry both energies within us. When I need to get something accomplished I call upon the masculine part of my psyche and when I am hurting and need healing my feminine shows up to be tender, gentle and nurturing. Lately, It seems I rarely have time for introspection or solitude unless there is some crisis or dramatic disruption, hence my walk on this day.

I am asking the masculine side within me to allow my feminine voice and vision to be heard, seen and taken seriously. Like a big brother who has always gotten the attention, I ask him now to take a step back and let his little sister have a turn while he supports her. I ask him to take her for a walk down to the river’s edge on a regular basis just to see who shows up, to be still and listen.