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  • Julie Humphreys

To Tell the Truth



Hmmm... Here I am again—the page staring at me. My feelings are all over the place. Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait—stomach tense. Focus is becoming ever elusive. Agitated. A struggle to find words. As a woman with many thoughts and feelings, I am surprisingly quiet on the page as of late. A rarity. Writing has always been my refuge. When I am scared, I write to bring myself back to me and feel safe. When I am lost, I write to find my way back home. When I am angry, I write to feel calm and gain perspective. When I am happy, I write to help raise the vibration.


But for some reasons, many reasons, lately, that hasn’t happened. So now I sit here and try again. I try to identify each emotion that causes discomfort and makes me feel ill at ease. Then I look at why that emotion is the one that surfaces. Under what circumstances am I feeling this way or that? How does this take form in my life? What can I do to get back to ME and live my best life, divinely guided, filled with love? Then I figure out how to move through these feelings by welcoming them, integrating them, or sending them on their way because they no longer serve me.


On a larger scale, I see all this living and suffering as a blip. That is my first thought when I try to center back on myself. Time is infinitesimal and yet finite. Love is easy yet complicated. Anger is a catalyst, yet when misdirected, toxic. This never-ending paradox has, at times, made me feel like a Tasmanian devil, stopping and starting, sound effects and all. To tell the truth, it’s exhausting. And not necessary.


I don’t want to live like that. So the better question to ask me is, what can I do to better accept life on life’s terms? Life is a series of changes, and my family is no exception. We have enjoyed six wonderful months of cancer NOT dominating our lives. Basking in the joy and security of shrunken, contained tumors, no chemo, hair re-growth! and energy, we took full advantage of my husband’s improving condition. As we do, we took to the woods to ground, be present with each other and enjoy what Mother Earth gifts us all if we pay attention. Everything seemed manageable at that point. See, we told ourselves, we can live with this unwanted guest that walked through our door 21 months ago. It’ll leave. It will disappear. Then a cough and a scan later revealed the news we were expecting but still hoping we wouldn’t get. Growth. OK, we can do this. We’ve been doing this. There are so many brilliant people and innovative and cutting-edge science and clinical trials out there that Stage IV cancer doesn’t have to be the Giant in our life anymore. Instead, it becomes a mosquito inside the mosquito net that slipped in just before you put it over you for the night. But I want better than that.


I remember, many moons ago, falling in love and feeling invincible.

I remember, not so many moons ago, I felt defeated.

I remember today that life is lived one moment at a time.

I remember that I am never alone.

I remember that gratitude is everything.

I remember that Grandmother Beech Tree has weathered more than this storm we live in, yet she continues to flourish.

I remember I signed up for this.

I remember I made my choice, and I have no regrets, only lessons learned and Goddess-willing wisdom.

I remember being held in love and gratitude by someone who held space for me.

I remember holding someone in love and gratitude for whom I held space.

I remember a star-filled sky on a cold crisp night.

I remember the sound of crickets and mysterious animals chatting in the night.

I remember my kids being happy to have their dad with them, really with them.

I remember being wholly disappointed and disillusioned. Never meet your heroes.

I remember forgiveness is the key to having a lighter heart.

I remember finding new sisters, friends, and support out of loss and disappointment.

I remember that I am exactly where I need to be.


That last one is a kick in the pants to settle in with. But, for me, it works. I’ll say it over and over and over in my mind or out loud until the vibrational truth of that statement washes over me. In my heart of hearts, I believe that to be true. And when the outside world's distractions pull me away from that truth, as happens, this mantra helps bring me back to my soul, spirit, and connectedness to all that is.


Connected with this thought is that I cannot take cancer away from my beloved, but I can support him, love him and share the journey with him. I remember our wedding vows included something like we are not a part of each other, one does not make the other whole, but rather, the two of us together make us stronger as individuals. My husband and I are a great team. I’ve written about this before, but this time around is different, and I need to adjust my position on the playing field in that I’m actually ON the field, not yelling instructions from the sidelines. I can’t do this all on my own, as I previously tried to do.


This time, I lean into more of the uncomfortable truth instead of trying to shape (aka control) its outcome. The uncomfortable truth is that I cannot shield my kids from the pain that comes from having a parent with cancer, from bullies, or the feeling that they don’t belong among their peers. I can’t force my ideas and opinions on them to feel in control of things I cannot control. They need to feel what they feel, and I need to watch and hold them in my heart. Each soul experiences various initiations in its earth-bound body. Including me, so I need to honor that for all of us.


I can love them unconditionally. I can love myself and remember that my needs also need tending to. I can tell them every day how magical they are, how loved they are, and what incredible energy they add to the collective. I can hold space. I can give my husband leeway for cranky days as I remember it is not my body that is having the conversation with the disease. I can BE AS NICE to myself as I would a friend. I can prioritize my feelings, recognize my frustrations, and go back to the basics of my spiritual practice to RE-member who I am.


I know I am on this earth to do the work I am doing as a mom, partner, lightworker, and writer, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t get tripped up sometimes.


My practice is an ever-evolving landscape. I remember that my life is divinely led and that I can continue to do great things even when facing challenges. Life challenges don’t show up as a way to hurt us; they show up as a way to show us our strength so we can re-discover what we’re made of.


I am a work in progress. And that makes me stronger, more grounded, and therefore more helpful to the people around me. I love the work I do, and I am so grateful for every day I can do it. I love the children I have been blessed with and offer gratitude for their blessings every day, even the eye-rolling and sass! I love my husband with every fiber of my being, and I have no regrets about choosing a life with him 17 years ago.


Putting myself in that frame of mind and bringing more love into my thought process and that feeling into my body is when life’s blessings and flow happen.


Recently I had the experience of driving to Boston Logan airport at peak morning time to catch a flight to an unlikely place. Having lived in the Boston area for 20 years, I wasn’t entering unknown territory, just territory I wasn’t super excited to go through again. So after a missed turn, significant traffic congestion, and an eclectic array of curse words, I realized my teeth were clenched, and my stomach was a churning pit of fire and ash. I said out loud, “Wait! I don’t want to feel like this!” I took a breath, unclenched, and let go of the moment's frustration. “Angels! I call you in! Please guide me safely to central parking at the airport! I surrender and allow for divine guidance!” With that, I realized I could gently make my way to the U-Turn lane and quite literally had a very smooth entry to the airport after that. I was in awe. And remembered, of course, this is how it works. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Then when I missed the turn for central parking (side note, I have made an eye appointment upon returning from this trip!) I asked, “Angels, I call you in again (not like they ever left). Please let me see what I need to see to get back to the garage in a timely fashion!” There I was again, making an uneventful circle around, to where I was given another opportunity to get into the central parking lane for the parking garage. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


After driving up 3 or 4 floors, not seeing a single free spot, and departure time getting closer, I asked again, “Spirit! Please guide me to a well-lit parking spot in a timely fashion!” Boom. There it was, a spot at the top of the ramp, equidistant to 2 elevators. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Going in circles works sometimes!


Keeping it simple has me moving in the right direction. Ask for help, accept life on life’s terms, show up, and give thanks.


Thanks for listening.


Love,

Julie.



In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved,

How gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. -Buddha









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