In an odd way, cancer—even the hint of it—has become my passport to living fully. That is, I have permission to move through known and unknown territory without restrictions or the need to take conditioned routes. Expectations about “doing the right thing” in terms of promoting myself and moving personal or professional agendas forward have dropped away.
I am reminded of what Anita Moorjani had to say about cancer in her book, Dying to Be Me. In her in-between life and death journey she was able to see how she had created the cancer by living her life to meet other people’s expectations. I highly recommend the book.
I’m all for valuing myself and being willing to offer my services. I just haven’t known how to define my offerings according to what I was told is marketable. The stumbling block I keep kicking over and, then putting carefully back, is my conditioned story about what constitutes a payment-worthy profession. Fundamentally it’s a question of essential value. However, there are certainly enough people doing unorthodox things and getting paid very well for it to break any perceived mold. A unique business I saw the other day was a 57-year-old dominatrix who charged men $150 to clean her house. Wow, what bold creativity!
But besides my own conditioning, there is also a shared view of what is legitimate paid work.
As a society we haven’t learned how to support people who are contributing to the collective good on an energetic level. Social workers, teachers and others in helping capacities are classical examples of undervalued contributors. Beyond that, what if we assigned a monetary value to those who are general up-lifters, reminding us of our higher capacities? I think about people like Nick Vujicic, the man born without arms or legs who, hasn’t let that stop him from leading a full and joyous life. Instead, we reward those who find the cleverest way (albeit sometimes also a useful way) to distract ourselves from what makes us unhappy.
Given that the statistics are moving toward 1 in 2 people getting cancer, the field is ripe for reassessing what we make a priority. I want to shake up the Etch-a-Sketch where we established the playbook of life and start a fresh screen with a self-guided journey. The lines might be squiggly at first, but who cares? Straight, consistent lines are boring.
Anyone else willing to play?