Collaging with Cancer : Being Held by Community
Collaging with Cancer #5
Being Held by Community
Walking a Cancer Journey with Scissors, Glue, & Lots of Hope
By Anne Marie Bennett
Having cancer can be a lonely experience. There might not be anyone in your immediate life who has heard the dreaded words, “you have cancer.” You might feel overwhelmed with the sudden onslaught of visits to doctor’s offices and start to feel like your beautiful inner being is continually overlooked in favor of what’s happening in your physical body. Well, that certainly was my experience when I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in July 2011.
The first few weeks after my diagnosis were fraught with denial, disbelief, fear and anger. I created SoulCollage® cards to express ALL of those feelings and you can see them in my previous columns. Then, after my doctors had created a “plan” for me, I was left feeling lonely and somewhat adrift. Yes, I have a loving husband and close friends nearby, and yes, they were all supportive. But I was in need of something greater to lift me up.
In an effort to balance my aching loneliness with a sense of connection to community, I sent an email out to everyone I knew, letting them know what my diagnosis was and what I was going through. I am fortunate to be connected to a worldwide community of SoulCollagers (mostly via the Internet) and the support that I received lifted and held me throughout the long journey of surgeries and chemo treatments.
I made this SoulCollage® card to give image to the fact that I was NOT alone, not by any stretch of the imagination! And when I journaled with this card, I was reminded ever more clearly that staying connected to others is a huge part of the healing process. Here is what this card said to me when I sat down to write with it:
Who are you?
What do you give me?
What do you need from me?
If you are in the midst of a journey with cancer, or even if you are long past that difficult journey, I invite you to pause for a moment now, hand over your heart, and offer a prayer of gratitude for the people in your community who support and hold you dear. It might be your family, a small circle of close friends, a church group, people from your work place, or any other community who accepts and loves you unconditionally. Staying connected to this love, this sense of belonging, this community, is a powerful step in the process of healing from any kind of cancer or illness.
If this is difficult for you to do because your current community is not what you’d like it to be, you can close your eyes and imagine a group that was important to you in the past, and bring them into the present in your imagination. Their love and support is still with you. Or imagine yourself in the midst of a circle of friends who will be part of your future. •
© 2012 Anne Marie Bennett. All rights reserved.
About Anne Marie Bennett
Anne Marie Bennett is a published author, self-taught artist, and SoulCollage® Facilitator/Trainer with a website dedicated to helping women with any kind of cancer stay connected to Self, Others, and Spirit. More