Monday, June 15

Moving Mountains Day #1

What is faith? What does it look like, smell like, FEEL like? These are among the questions I will be exploring as I, Jungle Jane, slide out of repose for a time and put my archaeology hat on to excavate the concept of faith.

Everyday faith presents herself to me as an opportunity to trust in a higher guidance. For sixty days I will report on instances of trusting faith and the miracles that ensued. These stories may be about a direct experience I have. They also can be instances of the faith of others that affected me in a way that strengthened my faith. These stories will weave together on my journey and I have faith that they will strengthen my picture of what faith means to me. Also, doing something for 60 days in a row will be a challenge to my consistency and my self confidence.

When considering my faith there are three distinct periods of my life. The first one began at birth and ended around the time I was five years old. I have faint remembrances of seeing light and energy around people, maybe their auras. I had heightened senses of smell and taste. I had a strong sense of intuition and acted on it immediately without forethought. The second period, before cancer (BC), lasted from six years old to age twenty eight when I got cancer. From six years into my twenties, I grew increasingly skeptical, fearful, and insecure until it culminated in the biggest fear of all, getting cancer. The seeds of change occurred at age twenty six, when I met Jimmy and had to face the truth about love -- that it existed, that it could happen to total strangers, and that I desired to experience the feeling of open-hearted love for the rest of my life. After cancer, I began to search for a deeper meaning in my life, to question my own skepticism. I knew deep down -- even though I was not yet aware of it in my consciousness -- that my battle was not with cancer but with the incipient fear and lack of faith with which I carried myself.

My report about faith on this day, DAY #1 of my journey, is in my prayers the night I found out I had cancer. I have never felt so scared and isolated as that first night I lay in bed in complete darkness knowing that cancerous cells inside my body were replicating themselves. I became very aware that I could not blame anyone for my cancer. If it had been a car wreck I could blame the other driver, a broken ankle I could blame the uneven pavement. I had no one to blame. I felt empty. I could hear my mother's voice saying to me as an angry teenager, "Oh ye of little faith."

I didn't believe that the HPV virus caused my cancer either. That logic did not hold up for me because there were so many people with HPV that did not get cervical cancer, that had unprotected sex and went on to carry healthy babies to term. During this time I focused particularly on Courtney Love. She was the premier voice of the loud mouthed bitchy sexually promiscuous drug addict yet she did not get cancer AND she had a child. If logistical research was behind who got cancer and who didn't, I reasoned, she would get it and not me.

That night I prayed to overcome the fear that swelled in my body. If it was my time to die, I prayed, to make peace with that. If it was my time to live I prayed for a way to strengthen my belief in a higher source of power. Praying felt silly, it felt forced and self-conscious. It also felt empowering, as if my prayers weaved a blanket that swaddled me to sleep.

Eleven years later my faith has brought me to a place where I have enough perspective on my fears and skepticisms to write about them and share them with others. In archaeology, excavation requires endless hours digging and screening the dirt, and filling out paper work. There are tools -- shovels, trowels, dental picks, maps, and compasses. The more I think about it, yes, archeology is about faith. Moving mountains -- whether dirt, doubt, or fear, happens one shovel load at a time.

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