A Different Reality
This is my third piece for Those London Chicks about my experience of cancer and I feel drawn to write about perceptions. If I had to name the area of my life which has changed the most, it would be of my perceptions; of everything, including my perception of perception itself. I could write for hours…
Prior to cancer, my world was highly organised. I had neat boxes where I could mentally file whatever presented itself: people, experiences, jobs, my day, were filed into boxes with labels like ‘nice’ or ‘not nice’. If they couldn’t be put away, they went on the to-do list. As long as they went somewhere, I was in control, and I could keep going. I was very good at it, and my busy life necessitated I become even better; it was incessant. But when faced with cancer I balked. I didn’t want a box called cancer. No way. For I knew deep down, to ‘file’ cancer like I filed everything else would be the end of me. Something – no, everything – had to change. And that’s when I opened myself to perceiving life in a different way. I needed a different reality in order to live.
The dramatic nature of my illness provided the perfect avenue for this change. So much became polar-opposite in my perceptive reality: the work which made me feel so safe, became a perceived danger to my health; everything I had taken for granted, became so valuable yet so intangible; my black and white view of the world became a myriad of greys; and the cancer I had feared, became the greatest gift.
The evolving process was both liberating and frustrating. For the most part, I ran with it. There was so much joy and freedom in not having to ‘make choices’, in not having to label anything or anyone as ‘good or bad’, in not ‘having an opinion’ on anything. My world opened like a flower. I became very present, very centred and I fell into flow. In not judging others, I stopped judging myself. But altering one’s perceptions can also be very scary, including for those around us. I feared who I had been, and others feared who I was becoming. As I changed, the world around me changed too…and this took some getting used to.
A change in perception necessitates the process of letting go and acceptance. Two sides of the same coin, and neither easy. Both akin to jumping off a cliff. For with a change in perception, there is no guarantee of outcome, no control; we don’t get anywhere. But I have learned that if we move towards what feels better, if we remain connected and grounded to our soul, the ride becomes so much smoother. In learning to be kind and easy with myself, I became kinder and easier with others.
My journey feels not ‘of cancer’, but one of evolving perceptions. Once we gain awareness that our perception is just that…our perception – that it ‘involves’ no-one, yet we can still love everyone – life becomes a very different experience. For ultimately, it is our perception which creates our reality.