Tuesday, May 4, 2010

sister stumps

"We cannot intentionally create unless we are able, first, to imagine." Geneen Marie Haugen

Within a month my sister was diagnosed with fallopian tube cancer, had a hysterectomy and was looking at the potential of receiving chemotherapy. Because this process was so 'fast-tracked' to prevent the spread of the cancer, she had little time to turn inward and assimilate how this process was resting within her 'spirit-body.'

Last week when we were walking in Lynn Canyon Park we came across the two stumps that seemed to her to be like sisters, like us, on either side of the trail. At that time a spontaneous dance ensued and it wasn't until we were walking back, did we realize how much symbolism was within our dance and within the location.

And so today, one week later and two days before her chemotherapy, we returned to the stumps to do a dance with those symbolisms in-mind. Although I was a participant in the dance, I really wanted it to be her dance - her dance of her personal experience of facing cancer and the post-recovery.

The following words are her insights:

Last week, I was initially struck by the symmetry of the 2 old sister stumps, like two ovaries, standing on either side of the path. They stood like sentinels, proud remnants of the old growth forest that had long ago spread their seeds, giving birth to the magnificent forest that surrounded us, before they were logged. Just 2 weeks before, I had a hysterectomy and felt, I too, had been severed from the natural process of fertility and that there had been a forced and premature death of that part of me responsible for letting go of my seeds.

Physically my ovaries and other female organs were gone now. Gone too was the potential of what those seeds/eggs could have become. Even though early on after the birth of our first I felt that one was just the right amount for me, I now felt, energetically, a loss that my ability to create had been lost and that these 'seeds of creation' were gone. My first reaction was to hurry and try to somehow retrieve all the seeds I had lost at the time of the hysterectomy. On second thought, when the voice of experience spoke up, I realized it would be more important to retrieve only the ones that would be useful / inspirational /or the ones I felt I had a longing for a deeper relationship with.

I have yet to go in, to feel, to see what I can or desire to bring back or bring forward to keep alive, to work with, and examine, to choose... How will I choose those that will give meaning to my life now and in the future. Do I choose or will by just looking and listening the seeds ccome forward and choose me? What parameters will I use? I wonder how exactly will my life be unfolding without the measured monthly cycle marked by blood.

My fallopian tube was twisted and swollen and had undifferentiated cancerous cells. What does it mean that the initial passageway was unable to deliver or carry the seeds of life to the uterus to the workshop where if fertilized, all the work goes on before the birth? I have often felt like I have no shortage of eggs/seeds of creation/potential and have often felt I could not get these ideas to the workshop/studio to be worked on and formed. And because these ideas could not be worked on they sadly did not, many many many of them, get born. Now that I don’t physically have the seed cases, the ovaries, or the fallopian tubes, the channels to the uterus workshop, energetically will I still be receiving the creative inspiration?

How can I ensure that these seeds do not get stuck, or ensure that they get worked on and grow so that they can manifest and be born? I think I already know the answer and that is, for me, to make sure I keep the channel open, that I have a creative practice that keeps the flow going so there is no stagnation or back up, a practice that lets the insignificant shedding to pass and the fertile ideas to flourish and take shape.

The path that went between these old sister stumps was symbolic of the journey I was embarking on with post hysterectomy, and chemotherapy on the horizon...

I loved how this dance spontaneously bubbled out of us - our connection to one another, our dancing with the energy arising from our aged ovaries, the creation that comes regardless of the 'barren-ness' of the ovaries (my completely unexpected 'hat pregnancy,' and the beautiful young huckle-berry tree rising out of the 'nurse-log / stump'), and our final gathering inward of all that shakti energy from the 'womb' between the two trees into the 'birth canal' path that we took with us into the world...

This was a profound and enriching dance for both of us that brought our souls and sister-hood close together in a meaningful way - beyond the limitations of words and our mind's constructs.

I have so much love and admiration for my sister, who has no dance background, but has been following my daily dance blogs for many months and felt inspired to dance with me during this time in her life... I feel immensely moved and grateful that I have this practice that I have been learning from my butoh mentor to share with her...
Thank you for viewing and reading this journey of living with the experience of cancer... we hope there may be inspiration here for you...

Bev and Lee

"As we enter a future where humans and the natural world are more intimate with each other, we will surely be powerfully influenced by this new guide into the mysteries of nature and psyche." Thomas Berry

Please click the photo below twice to view it on the YouTube channel so it won't be cut off on the right hand side.
Music: Satowa
Filmed by Path
Visit my butoh mentor's beautiful blog here: Maureen 'Momo' Freehill


  1. what a lovely and courageous way to express this time in your lives.

    i am deeply touched and inspired.

    thank you.

  2. Wow....how generous articulate beautiful and empowering. I am in awe. thank you for your courage and openness bev.. i am pretty much speechless. your continued recovery, insights and creativity are in my heart and prayers. . love, momo