Imagine you’re sailing on the high seas. A storm arises, and the captain and crew go overboard. Even the ship’s compass is lost. After the waters calm down, you’re free to sail again…but you have no idea which way to go. You have to navigate “home” on your own.
In my last post, that’s how we described being released from cancer treatment.
At first you don’t know which way to turn. You grieve the loss of your medical team, who were your “captain” and “crew”. You wonder how you’re going to manage without a compass.
But you can’t stay at sea forever. Your survivor instinct tells you to start sailing.
You look for any clue you can find. At first they seem random. Then you start to understand the meaning in each clue you spot.
You put those clues together to slowly navigate your path forward. It’s challenging, but over time you notice you’re getting better at it. You’re growing and learning. You’re developing your own inner compass.
The process of relearning to navigate the world after a trauma, like any learning process, isn’t comfortable. You wonder if you’re doing it ‘right’. You feel vulnerable. Sometimes you detour, and wonder if you’re making any progress at all.
As long as you keep showing up, remembering where it is you want to go, and taking a step in that direction every day, you’re right on track. Because with every step you’re learning to trust your inner guidance.
Whether you’re cancer-free or living with cancer, the most important thing you can do to heal is to learn to trust your inner compass.
Life beyond a cancer diagnosis is unpredictable. Some days are smooth sailing. Other days threaten storms, or mess with your sense of direction. The answer is still the same: your inner compass is the most reliable one there is to chart the course that’s best for you.
Does this mean you have to do it all yourself? No. You get to enlist all the support you need. Just don’t assume those who help you are in charge. They’re there to work for and with you.
Does this mean you have to become an expert? No. You don’t have to learn everything there is to know, although you’ll probably learn quite a lot along the way. You get to tap the expertise of others as much as you like. But you also get to own your expertise. No one – absolutely no one – is more of an expert in what’s going on for you, or what’s best for you, than you are.
Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Cancer says it beautifully: “Healing is all about self-reliance.”
As you learn to trust your inner compass, new possibilities open up for you. Your improved ability to navigate means you can get “home” by any number of routes – you get to choose. Even better, you have the freedom to sail in any new direction you choose to go. You get to choose where “home” is.
The way “home” is never smooth. It’s going to have bumps in it. It’s in learning to overcome the bumps that we become all we can be. (You wouldn’t trust a captain who had never navigated bumpy water to sail you home, would you?)
If you’ve got bumps you just don’t know how you’re going to get past, or you’re feeling stuck on the waters, let’s talk. I believe without a doubt that you can get back in charge again. I’ll help you become an expert in reading your inner compass.
When you’re the one setting your course, you’ll experience a new level of calm confidence. You won’t be waiting for your medical team to tell you what to do next. You’ll feel free to make the plans you want and enjoy them wholeheartedly, knowing you can handle whatever may come up along the way. You’ll know that even though you’ve had cancer, cancer doesn’t have you.
You’ll discover that you were the captain all along.
And that’s the ultimate freedom.