Please don’t be alarmed – I wrote this in 2006! All is well. I just found this writing as I was sorting through some old papers. I can see that my awareness has changed a bit since then, but I was happy to see some of the same ideas about space were active in my mind at that time. Now all I do is think about space! You might also recognize Kate Bush in the title…
A friend has described me as “one of the best gut-barer”, and I may be about to prove him correct. I have just been diagnosed with a 19cm ovarian cyst which I believe has grown in response to a long-term suppression of my desire to make art again.
In my favourite image of the Hindu deity Hanuman, he uses his hands to pull his chest wide open to reveal that what is inside him is God. Hanuman reminds us that we’re meant to have space–in us, around us, for the divine to flow. So perhaps I come second to Hanuman; what is inside me can only be revealed once I let go of a few things.
My surgeon’s name is Art. The irony is not lost on me. After all, art and life should not be separate. It is difficult for me to accept that I cannot un-do the cyst myself. That realizing the value of my expression will not counter the inner manifestation.
Why do the events of life occur as they do?
In India, rivers are sacred. The river is a symbol for our soul’s journey. Water flows to wherever it finds the least resistance. If we were able to do the same, without judgment or fear, I believe we would be almost purely spiritual. The river is also seen as feminine. Like the river, I suppose the fluid of my cyst flowed to where there was space–a space not respected enough or filled by my own creative expression–and I did not resist it. My cyst grew in the place where a women’s biological ability to create begins, my ovary.
Art, with scalpel, will carve out space within me; space that I was not able to protect for myself, with my solitude and care and expression. As a yogi, an advocate of all methods natural and alternative, my body, my thoughts and my emotions are my own laboratory. I believe that I both cause and cure disease. How did I not notice that I was being over-filled? A vast pool of anger, hurt, fear, and pretending to be what I am not.
Why does the river flow where it does?
All we can ever do in life is take the path of least resistance. That’s what a path is, something that is cleared for us. Sometimes we recognize this space only once it has been filled. Our spiritual practices can empty it. Our care, our health, our meditation. What kind of yogi am I? What kind of natural health practitioner am I, that I accept the knife? I have never for a moment believed that a knife can heal, however I am faced with having to trust the ebb and flow of life, and hoping that if I allow him, Art can create the space that I was not able to.
I thought I could heal myself by a mixture of Chinese herbs and by giving attention to each of the truths that I’d carefully concealed from both myself and others. The old feminist motto, “the personal is political”, altered slight by my practice of yoga is now more like, “what’s in me is likely in you too”. We are all one. I am ready to have all of the things that I concealed about myself exposed and their wounds excised. I desire to bare my guts, as always, however there is a new awareness of love brimming in me. I now open my heart and the most beautiful and inappropriate moments. I tentatively express this–drawing a big, pink flower of a heart with wings.
I imagine myself like a drop of water on a leaf. In time I will move down the leaf’s spine and as I near the tip of the leaf I must gather courage and allow for that leap into the river to join, to merge. At the moment of the surgery, I will fall silent like the drop of water. We cannot force the elements after all, despite our best intentions. Perhaps in life there is a natural movement towards space. In our silence and acceptance of what is, an endless expansion.
I don’t know exactly how to prepare for my surgery, my leap from the leaf. My belly has grown swollen, tender. I decide to prepare as if I’m pregnant, opening my hips and quieting my mind for the old life that is about to pass through me–yet hoping to return home with something new and, like Hanuman, with a little more faith in the flow of life.