For vs. To.

A friend came by this morning and shared a story with me.
Back in New York, she was acquainted with a guy she didn’t
like very much. He would brag about his work, and generally sound superficial
and as if everything was amazing in his life.
One day, he came and shared that he’d just gotten laid off.
And what he shared from this she said was, to her, the first time he’d ever
simply been genuine:
“I have to ask myself, Why is G-d doing this for me, instead of Why is G-d doing this to me.”
I walked around the enclosed veranda here at the hospital
with this, and a note from a friend in Chicago, in my mind. Her note read: What
questions does my heart need answered?
As I meandered, still feeling pretty amazing, since I’m only
in the beginning of this treatment, I held these questions.
Perhaps it might sound Pollyanna to want to try to turn
cancer from something happening TO me, into something happening FOR me, but as
soon as my friend said this, I felt something shift in me. A perspective shift
I don’t know the why is this happening to me, but what can I
take out of why this might be happening for
Already, I’ve noticed that my most basic desire, front
and center as it is usually receded in all of us, is I Want To Live. With this desire as my
touchstone and the epicenter of my purpose, other things have taken a different
tenor. Mostly, I see that I’m not dismissing my talent any more, whether that’s
for writing or for art.
I Want To Live translates for me as I Am Awesome. That I
have so much to do, and so much to give. I have never been able to feel an “I Am Awesome” before. It was always tinged with
doubt and perfectionism. But as I begin to ground myself in my will to live, I
see the development of a place inside me that can hold the space for I Am
It has never mattered how many accolades or compliments
someone may give me, no matter what it’s about – if I don’t actually have a place to match that sentiment
within myself, then it falls on deaf ears – I can’t hear it. Without a place
inside me that will recognize the truth of who and how I am, any external
validation can never settle, make sense, be truly appreciated or absorbed.
In addition, starting to see myself perhaps a little more
clearly, I am beginning to notice the places where all this external love makes
sense to me.
It was so overwhelming and seemingly unusual to have this
outpouring of love and support when I found out I was sick. I simply didn’t
know how or where to put it all. But, on Sunday, two friends came over to help
me clean my apartment while I packed. They didn’t quite know what I needed, but
they came to help, and I sheepishly said, well, my kitchen and bathroom really
need to be cleaned…
And. They were on it. One of my friends said it was like
being in camp when we had chore day, and each girl was doing something. These
girls got on their hands and knees to
clean my apartment with and for me. I was astonished. Why are they doing this?
Is this too much? Are they going to get resentful that they came to hang out
with me, and I handed them a bottle of Lysol?
No. They did it because they love me, and because they want
to help. But, again, back to the “where does this fit in my cosmology of self?”
I considered one of these two friends, who recently moved to a gorgeous house in
Berkeley. A few months ago, while I was unemployed, she needed help with her
yard. I spent an entire day with her ripping up ivy, baling mulch. I did it
because it made me feel good. Because it gave me something to do. Because I
care for my friend and wanted to help her in a way that I was eager and happy
to get dirty and sweaty to do.
I wasn’t resentful. It wasn’t too much. I remembered this
after my friends left on Sunday. I realized that they are like me, they did
because of reasons like mine. Because
they have generous souls and love me and want to help. Because it makes
them feel good.
I began to settle into acceptance of their care. I began to
recognize that I had a place where that fit within my cosmology. They, are like
me. I have this place in me, and when they show up, it’s because they have this
place in them.
It began to make room for the kindness of others as I began
to recognize I have that impulse in myself.
What questions does my heart need answered? Perhaps that there
are places inside me that have been closed and closed off to the truth. Perhaps
my heart needs to learn that opening to my own truth allows for the influx of
love and care by others. 
Ultimately, that opening to my own truth and my own
acceptance of self allows for intimacy with others.
Why is G-d doing this for me? Where is alchemy in this? Can I allow my will to live to be my
lighthouse to a new phase of myself?

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