Friday, March 13, 2015

Ruins Lead to Life

What is a ruin? Or when is something 'ruined'? And why do some cultures embrace and learn from them while others hide, tear them down, and replace them as quickly as possible? Architectural ruins come first to mind. Ruins -- "a human construction abandoned to nature." It reverts back to wilderness, and we find that alluring-- the unknown, the unexpected, the promise of hidden things, someplace 'lost' and filled with elements that will lead us to better understanding.

Many believe that our lives are best lived when they are in ruins. The good times take us nowhere, make us complacent. The 'bad' times ruin our happy lives and take us on dark journeys where we often discover our strengths and weaknesses and new lives.

The treatment of cancer appears to be the effort to leave one's body in ruins -- kill the cancer cells, but also the healthy cells as well. Strip away all hiding places for the tumors and disease, leaving immune systems in tatters and lives teetering on the brink of complete and utter -- ruin. Death and ruin seem to skip along hand in hand, but there is that moment when one lets go of death and returns to life if it is properly timed and all works together as hoped. At this time the ruins are transformed. Not rebuilt as they were before, but made into something different, drawing on the lessons learned, the revelations discovered, and the fears faced. A new landscape opens up in our bodies, minds, emotions, relationships, and life's path. We have taken a turn, traveled through the shadow of disease and death, and find that we are actually better for it.

Not that I advocate getting sick, just that facing the 'ruins' of one's life may be a gateway into an even more fulfilling life and better understanding of self.

I'm only beginning to examine this way of thinking. I was raised to seek happiness, have a happy life, face troubles with strength and get through them -- but not necessarily learn from them.... I'm learning. And one thing I know with certainty -- there's no 'extra time' for one to adjust. Time has a meter that it beats out without pause and we must keep up.

The book: A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit gives me much to consider as I move through an alien landscape of death, loss, disease and rebirth....

Along this journey I learn a few details that might be of use to others along this path. 1. Speak up and make sure you are heard. 2. Follow your gut -- which is much different than giving in to your fears. 3. The healthcare community may think they know cancer -- but it is a surety that they don't know you as well as you know yourself. Make known your needs, wants and dislikes. 4. It is your path and no one else's -- take what works for you and leave the rest.

Oh and drink plenty of water, exercise when you can, avoid constipation and sick people. And find someone you really REALLY trust to walk with down this path.