Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Releasing the Shackles That Bind Us.

Passover has always been my favorite holiday growing up. It's a time for family, friends, acquaintances and strangers to gather around a highly ritualized home cooked meal, to retell the story of the Jews tumultuous exodus from slavery in Egypt, to victorious freedom in the Land of Israel.

As the story is slowly recounted in a pragmatic, and reflective way, participants have the opportunity to examine how both the Egyptians and Israelites endured extreme physical, spiritual and emotional trials and tribulations, for excruciating periods of time.

While the Jews and Egyptians personal circumstances and roles in the story may be strikingly different, both groups experienced a state of ultimate bondage.

Trapped by historical circumstance, forced to question and reevaluate their ideologies, priorities and  moral compasses- the Egyptians and Jews were in a state of purgatory.

In anticipation for this year's Seder, I was concerned that the spirit and meaning of the holiday that I love and cherish would somehow become silenced by the whirling checks for vitals, the beeping of my chemo machine, and the inevitable slowed cognitive functioning that I typically experience towards the end of my five- day hospital stay.

Instead, this year, the Passover story resonated with me in a way that I never would have anticipated. The words leapt from the page quickly and forcefully, slowly entering my heart, embracing my spirit, and enveloping my mind.

 It was as if I was reading the story for the very first time.

For the past 5 months, my family, friends and loved ones have been shackled by Cancer. Some of you have become completely deeply entangled in my journey, whereas others of you, are watching and learning from afar, trying to understand what it may be like to be bonded at the age of 29 by a disease we simply don't understand.

No matter how you are experiencing my struggle, whether intimately or from a distance, your desire to better understand my fight and my journey, perhaps is also about your desire to better understand your own.

You don't have to have Cancer to feel trapped. You don't have to have Cancer to assess your values and priorities.  You don't have to have Cancer to reevaluate your life.

While I have spent the past five months, watching my body evolve into a somewhat unrecognizable state,  my internal world has strengthened and transformed in ways I never thought possible. As my body continues to weaken, my mind, heart, and spirit have taken the lead, working tirelessly around the clock to release myself of my own personal shackles.

During this Passover holiday, regardless of your religious or spiritual affiliation, I hope that you will take the time to think about what binds you. What holds you down, discourages you from moving, and prevents you from taking that leap of faith to live brighter, bolder, and in this this moment.

There is a passage in the seder that says " When I passed over you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you: "Through your blood live!"

As I continue on this timeless journey to break free from the bondage of Cancer, I hope to always remember that the answers for really living are there in my blood.

My wish for you in the days to come- is that you experience reflection, understanding, and perhaps some release from the shackles that bind you in order to better understand what it means to really live.

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