Friday, March 28, 2008

With Ears to Hear

I have been asked to lead a women's writing circle next Thursday for a woman who is dying of a rare form of cancer which has lodged in her sacrum. She's undergoing a final operation in two weeks which will remove her right leg and her pelvis. There is a 15% success rate with this surgery. One of my yoga teachers is part of this women's circle. She called on Monday and asked if I'd come. The woman has asked to have writing re-introduced to her life, and she wants to write with women. I said of course I'd come, and I've been spending much of this week figuring out what on earth I'll do.

My "always have a plan B" self is desperate to plan out 2 hours of activities. But there's another part of me that is whispering, "Don't plan anything. Just go there." The woman cannot sit on the floor. She cannot do many movements. She has colostomy bags and IV drips and oxygen. But she wants to write. I think I need to hold a space for listening, and then let the women write. I can bring a series of prompts, but I'm not clear that's the right direction. My first instinct when I heard about her condition was to focus on the belly. She's going to have very little belly left in two weeks. Her cancer is lodged in her root chakra. It's in her seat of groundedness; it's in her home of creativity. The woman who invited me to come said her friend is not wanting yet to work with approaching death. She wants to work with life.

What is writing but listening? What is writing but going deeper inward and listening to the small voice inside you that is still wanting to be heard? Writing doesn't come from outside the self. It comes from the part of you that will still remain if you lose a leg, a reproductive system, a pelvis. It's the part of you that will still have something to say on days you cannot talk or even chew solid food. And it's the part of you that will blow out when you take your final exhale, but not one moment sooner.

I'm grateful for this opportunity. I will show up on Thursday and listen. And then we will sit, hands on bellies, for as long as it takes until the voices speak. And then we'll write.

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