I want to start by recognising Jane Adshead-Grant. I truly feel that my ability to listen, deeply and generativity, to others and myself, has transformed since training in Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment with her at the end of 2019. One of her most graceful acts is offering invitations for people to think for themselves, as themselves. As such, the title of this piece should be take your own invitation, but I will leave it with advice for now as I have given out a lot of advice pre-my education with Jane!
01202 XXX XXX.
I have learned to know that number over the past 6 weeks. It was Bournemouth hospital.
Heart rate increase
Before even listening to the voicemail, I checked my Fitbit and I had leapt from a resting rate of 50 to a not so resting rate, sitting down, of 68.
The voicemail & call back
As the phone dialled into the voicemail my heart rate pushed through 75 and by the end of the call, I sat in my chair with a heart rate of 81. I shared previous my journey throughout suspected testicular cancer (see Article below) and this phone call was a call to confirm that it was indeed testicular cancer that I had removed on March 19th.
Lots of clever medical words were shared, with a struggle by the lovely urology nurse Carly, but in summary, I had some rogue cells in my right testicle that had ‘literally’ gone nuts (yes, I did just do that!) Carly kindly confirmed that the CT-scan did indeed show that there has been no spreading so it looks like it was an isolated issue which will require some follow-up blood tests and some surveillance/monitoring.
I thanked Carly for all she and all of the NHS / nurses team are doing at this challenging time to which she said thank you. I asked if she had received my feedback and praise for how amazing they have been and she said “yes, that has been passed around the team and thank you. So, few people offer positive feedback to us.”
That frustrates me but will leave that for another day.
Taking my own advice
I write and talk a lot about sitting in our emotions.
As my heart rate shot up, I sat down, breathed and asked myself what was going on. Curiously, I did not have an answer at first, but as I sat there, it was the unknowing. The momentary fear of maybe I have chemo or radio to go through and if I do, that is ok, I am just nervous.
The momentary fear, again, of could this be the start of the end.
Notice the momentary heart rate rise was all in the moment overthinking taking hold, yet remarkably, by sitting in it and letting that rise then go, none of it latest more than 2 minutes, despite just being told I did indeed have testicular cancer. Cancer is not causal to my experience of life. It is a data point, like our emotion, which I wrote about previously. I could let it consume me completely and take me down a permanent rabbit hole of fear, but to what end? The end probably.
Truly sitting in, acknowledging and letting go of our emotions I have truly proved to myself today, is one of THE key wellbeing tips of our time.
I can’t take credit for this insight. Multiple people hared this with me as part of the Have Courage summit that I hosted earlier in 2019, but to experience it, personally and deeply, is really quite profound.
I have three main hopes:
- That nurses, shop workers, bin collectors, financial analysts, doctors, teachers, salespeople, lawyers, government officials, presidents, CEOs, indeed every single human being on this planet realises and acts like we are all equal in our right to live out our human and humane experience of life, together and collectively
- That the macro systems, globally, realign to value most societal and collective contribution and that we move away from the all or nothing, scarcity mindsets in all walks of life that have prevailed for far too long – NOW is the time for us ALL to step into our power and into this conversation/action
- Finally, I truly hope that my wife Jackie and I do celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary together in 24yrs and 2 months’ time
As I type the last words of this article, 30 mins after the phone call with the hospital, my heart rate is back down to 55. I sit here grounded, grateful, hopeful, and with one less testicle than I had 3 weeks ago!
Today’s experience will be another that will help me fuel the writing of my first book, ‘Change Is An Inside Job.’
My invitation to you reading is do you agree with this, or would you disagree? No judgment, just a question.
We all have the ability to sit in and process our emotions and I invite you to do so more often. No advice here, just an invitation.
I can confirm that it is rather freeing.
Garry You nailed it, Box it up and send it express. Thank you for sharing
appreciate your feedback and sentiment Larry, thank you. Be well and have a good weekend
Garry, I agree wholeheartedly.
Your wisdom here reminds me of Philip Martin’s book, The Zen Path Through Depression. In a section devoted to fear, he writes this:
“We can make pain the object of our attention, rather than a monster to flee from … We can examine the qualities of the pain, notice how it really feels … Then we can look more broadly at the ways we respond mentally … We also frequently complicate that pain through our attempts to get away from it … When we stop running from our depression, we can begin to examine our pain, and give loving attention to ourselves and to it … when we can soften to our pain, and fear it less, we may find that we can begin to let the world back in again.”
In this post and in “A True Test of Mind Over Matter”, you examined your fear, your emotions, and your responses to them. You softened to them and let us in to share the experience with you. That’s as generous as it is courageous.
My hat is off to you, my friend. Thank you.
thank you so much Mark, that is a powerful reflection to help hold the mirror up
Garry, thank you for this share. You’re an inspiration. I’m so appreciative of your current prognosis and of the wisdom you shared here.
Bless you thanks Jeff