- The process, power, or function of seeing
- The act of looking at or beholding
- A mental view or spiritual perception
- A thing regarded as worth seeing
Intensely scanning words that made up dictionary definitions was not a regular pastime for me cancer or no cancer. Nevertheless, “Sight” was on my mind and it was definition number 4 that set fire to a multitude of questions shooting off into the cosmos. Supersonic rockets seeking confirmation and connection.
- How do we see other people beyond that which our eyes tell us or past experience will have us believe?
- How do we see ourselves?
- What mental view have we created? and
- Who gets to decide our worthiness?
I was alive with curiosity and deeply nervous that the answers I wanted may never return.
Being seen and allowing ourselves to be seen is something with which we humans play hide and seek. Dipping in and out, never quite sure if the environment is right for us and always super cautious to avoid the rocks of judgement that may be thrown our way if we stay seen too long.
Feelings of being truly “seen” are dream-like, a trip we take to fulfillment land every now and again, a place where we get high and drunk off of its delights and yet never really trusting that the spell will not be broken. So instead we retreat back from the world and to some degree ourselves. And yet I wonder, in this hiding, are there carrots to be found and eaten? and will they able us to see both in the dark and around corners?
Seeing round corners
I would love to lay claim to not playing this game of hide and seek and yet, like others I do, most recently following my cancer diagnosis.
You see, at the beginning of my cancer journey I started video blogging. A public display of my travels through the unchartered & at times, murky waters of cancer. It was my way to keep my family and friends updated, to offer fresh perspectives on Cancer and to offer myself a cathartic way through when times got tough. Underneath all of this, there was also the conscious choice to vlog so I could hold myself accountable to surviving cancer. On the off chance I did not survive, I had hoped, I would at least leave behind remnants of who I was, what I stood for and what I had learnt.
With the first couple of videos, the process was enjoyable, the response fantastic and there I was, being seen in a way like never before.
So why was it only a couple of months into the treatment, there was nothing I dreaded more than the thought of putting myself in front of a camera and talking with the world. Best intentions of making myself seen and accountable throughout this journey had died a death all too soon. Was this a sign from the universe there was no future for me?
Seen & not heard
Niggling questions kept cropping up - “Was I worthy of being seen? Who got to decide? & What was I really looking for in my quest to be seen.
It was the end of May 2017 and both Episode 1 and 2 of “Cancer is my Gift” were live. I had wanted to get at least 2 more episodes out before finishing chemo and yet resistance constantly rained on my parade.
Chemo hit hard and my physical body had expectedly weakened. I looked different to how people had first seen me. For starters, I was now bald, had no eyebrows, my face was bloated and my skin was akin to that of a ghost. Was it this that I was worried about? Had I entered the shallow waters of vanity?
I’m not going to deny I didn’t feel at my prettiest, nor will I deny that there isn’t 2% truth that I was hiding from the world because of this. However, my mind would not settle and the deep desire to keep questioning signalled to me that something of worth was hidden in the shadows. Why could I not get this show on the road? What was the wisdom that was heard but not seen?
Seeing is believing
I was tired, fed-up and couldn’t stop crying. Thoughts that my next video would usher in waves of applause at my so-called “vulnerability” gold-dust did nothing to jump-start me into action.
What was even more puzzling to me - How was it, I could so easily acknowledge the great courage, strength and worthiness in my clients who considered themselves less than at their best but I could not locate this in myself?
Writing down thoughts on being seen made me curious. What did others think on this subject? My research didn’t get very far, it didn’t need to. I typed a bunch of keywords into google and low and behold, the first article I stumbled upon instantly shifted my perspective.
Italian women don’t withdraw—they own the space they’re in. They believe they deserve that space. They believe that they're worth the gaze of another person’s eyes; worth being heard by another person’s ear; worth being admired by another person’s ego. They believe they’re worth being seen.
There it was, I wasn’t so out of touch with myself afterall. In taking a back seat from video blogging, I was in fact honouring a deep and important ‘value’ I committed to as part of my cancer journey. By simply scanning and reframing the words into new questions I was able to stop counting to 10 in the game. I re-focused my eyes and saw those rockets land safely back on planet earth.
I asked myself - What was I owning in my darkest hours?, What did I feel I deserved in those moments?, Who did I want to be seen and listened by? and Who was I looking to be admired by?
The answers to all of those questions were and still are “ME”.
Cancer catapulted me into the journey towards self-love and self compassion. It was in my silence from the world, in my hiding, I was in fact seeking myself. Was it the right thing, absolutely! I chose myself in those moments. I raised up my being to say I matter and this is what is important to me. I made a choice from a truly seen place for myself which i hope is of service to others.
Over to you: -
When life is at it’s hardest and you feel like you’re not at your best, when you are being called upon to move beyond resistance, What and where is the wisdom you need to seek out before coming to choice point on whether to play or not play Hide and Seek?
Check it out:
I did finally upload Episode 3 of Cancer is my Gift, It was recorded on my last day of chemo and so the mood is both celebratory of this milestone and the learnings I was taking forward. Check it out here on my website or on YouTube
#InToMeYouSee Gathering 2018
Join Amanda Devine and Tara Scammell for their deeply powerful 7-day Yoga and life coaching retreat where you will be guided into a higher state of consciousness and awareness through a daily yoga, life coaching and ceremonies including cacao and full moon release. Explore each day the wonder of the wisdom that lies inside, as you move past old stories, unravel your greatest resistance and seek out your hidden potential. For more details see the retreat page