Outbursts to the Universe
A couple of weeks after being (mis)diagnosed with ALS, I was driving to Wellington. The journey takes just over an hour and the first stretch skirts alongside the Tararua Ranges in the Wairarapa. I was alone in the car and I was aware that I needed to get something off my chest. I slowed the car down and checked to make sure there were no cars behind me and none coming towards me. The last thing I needed to add to my life was a car crash!
Then, with explosive volume, I shouted so loud I just about busted a lung,
“Do not take me away from my kids! I’m not ready! I’ve got stuff to do!”
Whilst I couldn’t control the strength of this outburst, I managed to control my car through a minor swerve… it was over as quickly as it had begun. I felt better. Until that point I hadn’t felt any need for such an outburst, or perhaps I was reserving it for the right time and place. For me it felt like a very clear way to express my absolute disapproval – i.e. fucked-off-ness at the prospect of vastly shortened life, (strong language apology).
My default mode is to shoulder my challenges and navigate through them without any emotional explosions. As a leadership coach I also understand that a person’s ‘strengths’ develop through personal challenge, which means there’s a level of richness contained within an experience of pain. Put differently, it’s a little like thinking; ‘I know this is shit, but I’ll learn some good stuff from it!’ This is a vey real pattern of development, only with a terminal illness there’s not necessarily the time available to benefit from any personal strengths that it develops.
Still, in this situation – the hardest of my life – I needed a volume-loaded outburst that was not so much releasing any crushing anxiety, but was specifically directed at letting the Universe know that I did not want to die and did not want to be taken from my kids. Looking back, this is now interesting to me. I can’t tell you about the cosmic-forces of the Universe because I don’t know about them. Inter-connectedness makes sense to me and we see it revealed constantly in various forms of science -ecology, systems theory, neuroscience – but I can’t say much more about it… So perhaps it was quite bazar that I had the Universe in mind when sending this message. Nonetheless, it felt useful.
With your own diagnosis, succinctly and specifically, what’s your message? If there’s a conversation you need to have with the Universe, God or alike (whichever suits), what do you need to say? How do you need to express it? With anger or without? Publicly or privately?
About these strategies
Welcome. These strategies are for people who’ve been diagnosed with a terminal or life threatening illness. If that’s you, I’m sharing them because I know something about what you’re going through, they helped me and so maybe they can help you too.