The realization came to me with perfect clarity, and in an instant I knew... I suppose that’s how life changes – in little, everyday moments. The really big news hits when you least expect it, like driving home, or in my case, doing the dishes.
Things had felt off for the past several months, and though I couldn’t pinpoint it, I had a sense there was something waiting to be discovered.
It had been almost two years since I was in a car accident, and though I walked away from it without major or visible injuries, I was still working through a lot of pain and trauma.
In the world of insurance companies, there is a timeline for how long it should take you to heal based on your specific accident, illness, and injuries. According to them, I should’ve been fine, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t healing.
That deep sense of intuition doesn't really fly as viable reason or symptoms in western medicine, but the sense that something was off was based on more than just chronic pain and intuition – I was having issues and symptoms that seemed to be disconnected and erratic, but also, maybe not?
For a few months I had been in and out of doctor’s appointments, attempting to discover the underlying cause of this unsettled, undetermined issue. Instead, I was mostly getting random, and incorrect, diagnoses that didn’t address the problems; eventually, the doctors would throw their hands up and tell me it was probably nothing, just wait it out.
Fed up with western medicine, I was simultaneously fascinated by the holistic healthcare community I worked in, so I delved deeper into “alternative” care options. I wholeheartedly committed to my Ayurvedic practices, which included daily habits and lifestyle choices, as well as 10-day seasonal cleanses.
When the realization struck me, I was in the midst of a 10-day Spring Cleanse.
One of the basic tenets of Ayurveda and the cleanse is practicing mindfulness, in every thing we do. Mindfulness while eating, mindfulness when thinking, mindfulness of our breathing, and mindfulness towards whatever activity we engage in.
So on that perfectly springy day in March, I practiced while doing the dishes.
Doing dishes can be one of my least favorite chores, but gratefully, because of the strict cleanse diet, there weren’t that many. I took the opportunity to be mindful while doing the dishes – a distraction from my dislike of the task.
I observed the light streaming between the blinds, tinted slightly from the warmth of early spring and afternoon sun. I felt the rough texture of scrubbing a dirty pot compared to the squishy warmth of the sponge in my hand. I noticed the soapy, lavendar-scented bubbles covering everything, and I appreciated the feeling of smooth ceramic as I rinsed each dish clean.
I focused on my posture, skillfully adjusting my stance to be ergonomic and strong. I observed my breath, as it slowed with the thoughtfulness of this activity. I listened to the sound of my breath, like the ocean, and the running water over my hands.
First, I had a random thought that I needed to do a self-breast exam, followed quickly by a mental check when I might've done one last. I couldn't think of a time in recent memory, but I remembered other things that had been catching my attention. My next thought was, this is it. I know what's been going on.
Part of me wanted to forget the dishes until later, to sprint off and start a self-exam, hopefully proving myself wrong.
The other part of me wanted to sustain this moment, taking my time with every single dish, maybe subconsciously savoring what might be my last moments of normalcy. So I finished slowly, doing my best to maintain that same sense of mindfulness that brought me to this realization in the first place.
It didn't feel like a lump, not in the way you would imagine. But more like a... button?
Upon finishing, I walked calmly to my room, sat on the edge of my bed, and methodically performed a self-exam. It didn't take long. I went straight for it, before circling around both breasts again, comparing and contrasting the differences in what I felt.
But it was there. Undeniable and distinct, it was there. It didn't necessarily feel like a lump, not in the sense that you might imagine when you hear that word.
No, it felt more like a... button? There was a harder spot, no more than the size of a dime. Moving outward from it, I could feel some sort of edge but it wasn’t clear and I couldn't quite visualize what I was feeling. Just this maybe-dime-sized spot, that once discovered, I could easily and immediately go back to.
And I wondered, which way did it go? How big was it really? Could it be something like a swollen or clogged gland?? Was I absolutely sure I hadn’t noticed it before???
But deep within, I knew the answers. This sense of knowing was different from fear or anxiety, it felt more like calm certainty; as though I knew anxiety wouldn’t help because I already had the answer. And a (albeit very naïve) sense of what was to come…
Have you ever had a flash of divine insight? Or a moment of discovery in which you KNEW something without concrete evidence? How do you know? What does that certainty feel like to you?
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