Stepping Out of the Darkness
By Michael Kovarik
Edited by Barbara Bigelow
There are times while living with MBC that a darkness slowly settles over many of us. For me it silently approaches conquering my being holding my spirit, my soul prisoner. It seeps within like a dreary mist swallowing all in its path while making itself at home. I am engulfed, restrained and imprisoned in its heavy presence.
This darkness is an intruder stifling my sense of being. I lose my inner sight, my inner balance. My voice within – usually one of hope – is silenced. It is now tinged with despair. The place where trust resided – now is filled with fear and anger. With my inner eyes firmly closed I am unable to see the light within. My heart, soul and spirit frantically search for a way to reconnect. This is a time I lose my desire to live fully, to connect. It is a time where I lose myself.
This darkness first took hold following my Stage 1 diagnosis in 2007. In time with counseling, reading various authors/teachers on healing and the support of friends and family I worked my way through this intruder’s presence. Over the years I approached these times of darkness and depression with, “What do I need to know and learn? What is the message I need to hear?”
In 2015 with a diagnosis of Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer the darkness and depression was empowered. Its existence was more intense haunting me deeper, but with time I was able to summon the strength and confront this stronger, unwelcome visitor. I did not want to live in fear with whatever time I had left.
For many of us living with MBC this time of desolation is collateral damage. It has evolved into our new reality. Since the spring of 2019 I have been dealing with occasional times of darkness and depression. Each visit seemed to emerge as I was coping with the loss of friends from this dreaded disease. I knew I had to confront the anger, the rage, the pain and sorrow that was consuming more of me. I had to truly hear my inner voice’s cries of determination, “It is time, Michael.”
It is time to acknowledge the rage I hold with losing so many gentle souls who had graced my life. It is time to allow myself to deeply feel the pain, the anger, the hurt of each death. It is time to recognize the personal fear – the fear lurking deep inside that each loss, each progression, each failed treatment, is personal.
I began to struggle with carrying out the duties and responsibilities of my commitment to METAvivor. I no longer had the drive or interest to be part of meetings and discussions. What once was an important and passionate part of my days was now becoming a chore. Where passion once resided – now disinterest and resentment were moving in. As I sat and took part in these duties, inside my spirit was screaming, yearning to be outside planting in my gardens, releasing my anger and pent up fears by ripping up grass to create new spaces where I could add more plants. Where I could grow more life around me since I could not stop the dying that was surrounding me – following me everywhere.
I became aware of what was transpiring and began to meditate on what I was feeling and hearing from my spirit. It was then I knew I must give all of me and my time to heal myself. I had to put me first. I could not live MBC 24/7. I desperately needed to reclaim a balance. To step out of this darkness I needed to step aside from my responsibilities with METAvivor. It was not fair to the Board, to all of you who support this organization or to myself to continue in this robotic manner. Once I made this difficult decision I felt lighter. It was at that moment the path of taking care of me was created.
In the days since leaving METAvivor to embark on my healing, I have been focused on me – my fears, my sense of urgency, my pain. I have immersed myself in my gardens surrounding myself with the beauty and peace of nature. I meditate, am developing a more consistent yoga practice, have time with friends (social distancing of course) and time with a counselor. On this path I am learning to love myself – no matter what emotional space I may be in. As I travel deeper within the glow from my inner light grows stronger, my inner balance more present.
But most important is that in my heart I know I am reclaiming me.