Collaging with Cancer: A SoulCollage® Journey
By Anne Marie Bennett | Updated September 8, 2018
When I was diagnosed with cancer (both times), one of the things that kept coming up was a prolonged feeling of helplessness. It’s bad enough to be told I have a deadly disease inside my body, but the fact that I’m not going to be able to get rid of it alone, is much worse. Knowing that I would have to depend on a legion of doctors, physician assistants, nurses, lab techs, and oncologists, left me in a state of powerlessness that is hard to describe.
At least when you’ve broken a leg, you can do exercises to get your mobility and strength back. When you have a splinter in your finger, you can grab the tweezers and pull it out. If you’re pregnant, you can push and labor and scream until the baby comes out. With cancer? I had no power on my own to do anything about it.
As I was gathering magazine pictures to make some SoulCollage® cards at the beginning of this second cancer journey, I came across the images you see in this card. They seemed to belong together, I thought, as their energies were all similar: rebelling, talking back, protesting loudly. So I glued them together on this card and was delighted when I heard what they were saying:
I Am the One Who stands up and talks back to cancer. I Am the One Who says “Nah nah a nah nah, you can’t get me!” I Am the One Who is bold and proud and fierce. I Am the One Who says “Take that!” as I kick poor cancer in the shins.
I Am the One Who is strong and fierce and determined. I Am the One Who is shadowed by an angel’s wing.
I Am the One Who IS NOT going to stand by and let cancer take my life. I Am the One Who is standing up to this deadly disease. I Am the One Who is going to do what I can to cleanse my body, mind and spirit of this deadly disease. I Am the One Who isn’t going to take any CRAP from cancer this time around.
My gifts to you are power and determination and strength. I give you the irrefutable fact that you have a CHOICE here. I need you to remember always that you have a choice. You can lie down and take it or you can stand up and say NO THANK YOU. NO. GO AWAY. NO. I AM NOT GOING TO LET YOU ROB ME OF MY PASSION, MY JOY, OR THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS I HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL FOR.
If you’ve read my previous columns, you may have noticed that part of the journaling work we do with our cards involves allowing them to tell us what gift or gifts they bring to us. You might want to go back and read my columns on collaging with the anger and the fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Are you surprised to see that even the harsh emotion of anger and the fiery threat of fear had gifts to give me? Don’t be surprised! This is true of every difficult thing we come across, every dark feeling and every shadowy, hidden part of us. They all have gifts to give us. Even cancer comes bearing gifts, and I’ll get to that in a future column.
For now, I’d just like to point out that this card gave me the very precious and formidable gift of not feeling powerless anymore. As I made the card, I was imagining myself inside the energy of the images. Yes, I could stand up to cancer too! In this way, I was able to tap into my own inner strength that had fallen by the wayside during the initial avalanche of feelings that attended my diagnosis.
It’s also important to note that I made this card intuitively, not even knowing that I had this same rebellious energy inside of me. Also, I wasn’t able to tap into this energy until after I’d made the cards having to do with the more prevalent feelings of anger and fear. The process of SoulCollage® meets us exactly where we are, every time, no matter what is happening in our inner and outer lives.
©2012 Anne Marie Bennett. All rights reserved.
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. ...