"The Chemo Is Not For You"

I had the huge privilege of attending a women's conference in Boulder, CO this weekend called Emerging Women.

I went because Brene Brown was speaking and I knew I just had to go. It was a huge treat to see her, and a night I'll never, ever, forget. The Universe also had some other blessings in mind for me as well. Among them, Elizabeth Gilbert gave a great talk on embracing all the magic that is available to us. She emphasized the importance of curiosity. Many speakers got standing ovations. But one speaker left the whole room weeping and speechless: Eve Ensler.

I wish I could re-create the experience for you, TWBP readers, but even trying would be a disservice to Eve. However,  I wanted to share with you a story she shared about her experience with cancer. If you don't know Eve's story and her amazing work in the world, it is worth learning about. Although her childhood was full of abuse, rape, and incest, she has beautifully and powerfully become a resilient healer, leader and an unstoppable force for good.

Eve shares her journey with cancerin her new book "In the Body Of the World". Her cancer was quite advanced at the time of her diagnosis. She underwent a major surgery, and she shared with us the memory of waking up with tubes and drains everywhere. She said that in that moment, she was truly in her body for the first time.  Once she recovered from her surgery, she was advised to undergo chemotherapy.

What she shared next was so profound. Her friend Sue came to visit her. Sue said she was going to be going with Eve to her weekly chemo appointments. Eve hadn't been planning on getting chemotherapy: she didn't want that poison in her body.

The following is an excerpt from her book describing this conversation between Eve and her friend, Sue. Eve read this to us this weekend. Her voice powerful, authoritative, and full of emotion.

In the Body of the World, by Eve Ensler, Pg 113:

I tell her that I am very afraid of having poison inside me. And then she does what I call a Sue. She gives me back the same information I am giving her but with a genius spin, a way of seeing things that immediately and spontaneously unlocks the neurosis. In this case, she gives me a way to reframe the entire chemo experience. She says, "The chemo is not for you. It is for the cancer, for all the past crimes, it's for your father, it's for the rapists, it's for the perpetrators. You're going to poison them now and they are never coming back. Chemo will purge the badness that was projected onto you but was never yours. I have total faith in your resilience and the magical capacities of your body and soul for healing. Your job is to welcome the chemo as an empathetic warrior, who is coming in to rescue your innocence by killing off the perpetrator who got inside you. You have many bodies; new ones will be born out of this transformational time of love and care. When you feel nauseous or terrible, just imagine how hard the chemo is fighting on your behalf and on behalf of all women's bodies, restoring wholeness, innocence, peace. Welcome the chemo as empathetic warrior". ---In the Work of The Body, by Eve Enlser, pg 113

Empathetic Warrior.

I've never thought of chemotherapy as a warrior on anyone's behalf. I understand this paradigm may not work for all, but I also know it will be helpful to many people who have cancer or who have those they love with cancer. Seeing the chemo through new eyes, Eve shared that she couldn't wait to start her treatments.

I appreciate the power of a woman. I appreciate the resilience of humankind. I learned an important lesson this weekend: Sometimes a re-framing of what is is all it takes to experience a miracle, a transformation. Sometimes it's all it takes to transform a poison into an empathetic warrior, fighting on your behalf.

--Niki

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