Steering a course through the Strait of Messina – between Scylla and Charybdis

Scylla & Charybdis(Credit:

Scylla & Charybdis

As a child I was fascinated by mythology so it’s unsurprising that today Scylla and Charybdis sprang to mind while I was reflecting on yesterday’s events and wondering what the future holds.  I’ve been told many times that when I complete something I tend to forget about the effort required to accomplish whatever it was I happened to be doing at the time.  I’m constantly driven to get on with the next item on my list, always in forward motion.  The people who’ve spoken with me about this trait suggested taking a small pause for acknowledgement before striding ever onwards. It’s a fair challenge; I do have a habit of quickly moving on once the matter at hand has been addressed (even if that matter was extremely difficult).

Today’s thoughts pose something of a dilemma.  Part of me knows there’s still a long way to go in the remaining treatment and recovery process. Another part of me is saying move on; forget about the last 9 months, forward ever onwards is the route to take.  Navigating Scylla and Charybdis is tricky.

I’m drawn to forget the majority of last year, at least the bits that involved hospital trips, drugs and surgeries but in doing so will I lose sight of Charybdis?  This monster creates huge whirlpools; she takes ships and their crews to their doom at the bottom of the sea.  Sailing too close to her by ignoring what’s happened and eradicating the word ‘cancer’ from my vocabulary to move quickly on with my life might be foolhardy. I need to remain alert to the dark stranger, it may attempt to drag me into the depths once more.

Pausing to reflect a while longer on 2012 and the effort required to get through it feels like it may be both sensible and hazardous at the same time.  Scylla doesn’t destroy whole ships, instead she picks off and devours sailors one-by-one.  By pausing for thought will I sail too close to Scylla affording her the opportunity to consume some of my determination to move on and seize the day?

I don’t really have an answer to these questions at this moment. I’m told people often face this dilemma once they finish chemotherapy; a period of limbo while the brain attempts to make sense of a past, present and future that were rapidly altered beyond the realms of normalcy. I anticipate the answer lies in sleeping on it rather than trying to seek a solution through conscious thought, logic or balancing up of risks. There’s undoubtedly an emotional and spiritual side to the equation and the maths won’t work if those things are ignored.

The Strait of Messina is likely to be best navigated with a clear mind, one that isn’t full of chemo drugs, steroids and sleep-deprivation. For now I’ve decided to hold these thoughts. I accept they’re here and offer them permission to hang around for a while. This acquiescence comes with no expectation of a resolution one way or the other, I’ll simply let them be and trust my subconscious to work things through once I’m off my steroid high, through the chemo low and able to get a good nights sleep.  I know deep down that safe passage requires equilibrium and quietism. Those states can only be fully achieved when I’m free of toxins so for once I’m not rushing forward.  Nor am I dwelling on what’s been and gone.

I trust my mind to steer me though the Strait without falling foul of either of the mythical monsters. I’ll give it the space it needs to do what it needs to do.