Speak to Me Stillness

By on December 23rd, 2015 Categories: The Breast Cancer Journey

Since my first cancer diagnosis in 1993, I have practiced meditation. Nothing fancy, just following my breath. I was initially breathing myself away from the loud speakers in my head suggesting that I work harder to get well or do a better job, in general.

Many years later, I am able to follow the breath for an hour. But every practice, no matter how short, helps to quiet the frenzy. There is another great value in Stillness. Sometimes when I get really quiet (inside and out), I have an idea for a story to write or a problem offers its own solution.

Then in 2014, I go to a Monastery Chapel, where I often sit in the stillness. I have not been feeling well for years. An often overwhelming fatigue has settled in. Doctors can’t figure out what it is. I am not thinking about it on this day. I have been following my breath for about 15 minutes, and suddenly I hear a voice say, It is your heart. It could have been God, but I think it was my wise inner voice finding an opening in the quiet.

It takes many visits to my doctor (because I have no visible heart problems) before I have an EKG and then a 6-week wait for an echo cardiogram. It shows that I have fluid around my heart. They drain it to make sure it is not cancer or another disease. The fluid comes back and keeps rising with each echo cardiogram follow-up. I need a second opinion.

After the second opinion doctor sees me, I have two emergency life-saving surgeries.

There is no reason anyone should believe I heard a voice. But, I did. And I say, thanks to both the breath and the stillness. I say thank you to the timing that saved my life.

For more information on how to meditate using the breath technique, see my blog “The Healing Breath” on this website, September 10, 2014.

Pamela Post-Ferrante is a cancer survivor, writer, teacher, and workshop leader. She taught in Lesley University’s Graduate School of Expressive Therapies from 2003–2011 and leads sessions privately and in Boston-area hospitals for cancer survivors. She has been published in several books, magazines, journals, and heard on NPR. She wrote Writing and Healing: A Mindful Guide for Cancer Survivors to help others. Learn more about Pamela, her book, and starting your own writing group at www.writingandhealing.com or on her Facebook page.

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