I was pinned into physical stillness by twenty or so slender acupuncture needles. My immobility belied the tornado generated by a recent breast cancer diagnosis. I whirled through my mental calendar, reviewing my ten upcoming medical appointments. As if viewing a mental movie screen, I saw myself in one office after another, in front of one doctor and the next, in the papery gowns, my breasts exposed, palpated, measured, probed by needles, biopsied. I wished I could make notes as I thought of questions to ask about my treatment, prognosis, logistics, but impaled like a butterfly specimen, I remained motionless.
Abruptly, the Aboriginal woman came into focus on my mental screen. She was posed exactly as before, dusty, holding the pouch of herbs. She gazed at me silently.
“My Internal Healer!” Good timing.
She appeared regularly at my weekly acupuncture sessions. I climbed on the table with varying degrees of fatigue, anxiety, nausea and pain, but always looking forward to the next session with my “internal healer.” I relaxed my body, eyes closed, breathing slowly and waited for the healer woman to materialize in my mind’s eye.
For several weeks, she simply crouched on dusty red earth, unmoving, just as she had when I first met her in Dr. Smith’s office. “What is the use of a healer who doesn’t DO anything?” I challenged impatiently.
She then stood upright, naked, her face expressionless in profile. She stood calmly in a completely black void, in what I understood as “space.” Well at least some thing had “happened,” but what did it mean?
Like a tongue exploring a gap in my teeth, I ran my mind over it, again and again. I had asked her a question and she had changed poses. What was the meaning of her change of posture and her location?
For weeks she stood in that position,silently, staring into the distance in a featureless darkness. I knew she was my Healer, but looking at a naked Aboriginal woman staring into black space wasn’t getting me anywhere. What is she telling me? I don’t get it! I thought, exasperated.
Change! She was in the same “space” setting, but she now stood in a hub of light, in what looked like a ring of energy. I strained to make sense of what I was seeing, to understand what my internal healer showed me and to fathom how it applied to my situation, to my healing, to surviving a deadly cancer.