What narrow spots are you facing?

Ruth in the Hourglass


I describe cancer as the narrow spot in an hourglass. I am the sand passing from the top, through the narrow spot and coming to rest in the bottom chamber. Life is full of narrow spots, not all labelled cancer. They represent change and loss. I can go kicking and screaming through the narrow spot, but I will go! After arriving at the bottom, I can stick my head in the sand and pretend nothing has happened or I can keep my head up and look around to see possibilities in my sand’s new arrangement. As a result of the passage, the sand is refined and redefined. I am able to sift through to find interior resources not previously noticed and/or called upon. The secret is not to fight the passage, but to courageously embrace and accept “what is.”

Narrow spots are tools that provide us with life lessons that lead us to compassion and wisdom. Poet Stephen Levine wrote: “There is a grace approaching/,,,It is an insistent grace that draws us/to the edge and beckons us surrender/safe territory and enter our enormity.” Cancer is a narrow spot that has forced me to leave safe territory and look at life with a different perspective, not once, but twice. It has proven to be a very powerful and proficient teacher. I have learned that self care is not a selfish act. The cornerstone of self care is being present: slowing down, breathing deeply and listening to my heart; gently and honestly facing limitations, and either learning to do something a new way, asking for help or graciously deciding to stop and not do that thing.

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