“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen Paulos
I was in shock for about ten minutes after hearing the news, afraid while lying on the procedure table, and relieved when it was over.
Six months ago I had a mammogram. My checkup was supposed to be for a general mammogram—the one you get when you turn forty—but when I got there and told the technician that two days ago I had discovered a small bump in my right breast, the prescription was changed to a diagnostic one.
After some time waiting, the doctor came back and said that the small bump in my right breast was benign, but she had found calcifications in my left breast, and that another series of mammograms would be needed in six months.
Earlier this month I went for my six-month follow-up. After several uncomfortable mammograms, I was told that I would need to have a biopsy (sampling of tissue removed) to determine whether the calcifications were benign.
It turns out that in 20-30 percent of the population, calcifications are an indication of cancer.
After the initial shock wore off, I decided I would get a burrito to eat and not worry about it. I knew that this was an opportunity to grow and I was determined not to miss it.
Instead of using the two weeks before my biopsy as time to worry, I chose peace and serenity. I spent the time in reflection while de-cluttering my home and focusing on gratitude.
I was at ease in the space of not knowing whether the calcifications were benign.
I got the biopsy on November 19th. Two days later, at 12:00pm (the day before Thanksgiving), I received a call with the results of a negative report. Not only was I ecstatic about the results, I was also pleased with how I handled the uncertainty of the whole ordeal.
What this experience taught me was:
Limbo is not a bad place.
Instead of getting yourself all charged up about how a situation may or may not turn out, get comfortable in the space of not knowing. If you are someone who likes to know or control everything, this may be difficult to do—which is perfect. You now have an opportunity to see how good you can become at handling uncertainty.
Try not to worry.
Worrying is useless. It serves absolutely no purpose. The only time you can make a difference in your life is now. The past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet. Don’t use your present time worrying about things you can’t control.
Make no mistake, planning is not worrying. Planning is when you lay down the steps needed to create a desired future. Worrying is when you stress out about something that has happened or hasn’t happened yet.
Instead of worrying, meditate, practice gratitude, become still, listen to your soul, and surround yourself with love.
Nothing is permanent.
Nothing is permanent! Days become nights, the fall becomes the winter, babies are born, elders pass away, and wounds heal.
Whether you are sick, have a broken heart, or are just not in life where you want to be, know that whatever your predicament is, it will pass. Your life is not falling apart; it is falling into place. Your job is to take the pieces and put them together in a way that fulfills the highest expression of yourself.
It is okay to be afraid.
It doesn’t mean that you are weak. It takes a strong person to admit their fear. Sometimes acknowledging your fear can help you move past it enough to take the next step in your process, whatever that may be.
Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to go back to school. Maybe you want to confront someone. Maybe you want to forgive them. Say “I’m afraid” and then get about the business of creating the life you want.
Surround yourself with love.
Let those close to you know what is going on in your life and how you feel about it. There is no need to carry the weight of a challenge on your own. Sometimes hearing others talk can shed light on what would otherwise be a bleak situation.
Take care of yourself.
Rest when you need to. Cry when you need to. Talk when you need to. Pray when you need to. And laugh when you need to.
You are always going to be okay.
As long as you know that you are more than the stuff you own, more than what you think, more than the physical body you reside in, you are going to be okay, whether the predicament ends in the way that you want it to or not.