Sometimes we forget we are whole. I know I do. When I am fragmented with so many different thoughts or when I am fixated on just certain parts of my life or my being, I can forget that I am one piece — and more than that, I can forget that I am complete just as I am.
I love this definition of wholeness: “constituting the entirety of a person’s nature or development.” When we honor our wholeness we honor our entirety — and entirety means everything, total completeness, and even includes, dare I say it, illness.
My sweet cat Mountie has been diagnosed with cancer. He has a cancerous tumor in his nasal cavity behind his left eye. It’s inoperable and the rigorous treatment described by the vet oncologist we saw this last week involves 18 anesthetized radiation sessions (three a week for six weeks). A diagnosis from a doctor, life expectancy numbers, survival rates, and statistics had my head spinning, heart pounding, and eyes watering as I hugged my sweet boy, his stress-shedding fur attaching itself to my black sweater.
What was missing from the appointment was Mountie himself. The oncologist’s job was to give the facts. I kind of wanted him to at least see what long whiskers Mountie has or how a dark patch of hair on Mountie’s forehead creates an “M” shape or how Mountie can comfort you with a simple head-butt or even that Mountie’s “meow” sounds more like a goat’s call. These things, among many other attributes, are what make Mountie whole. These are the things that show that Mountie is not his illness, his cancer.
Nuh-uh, we said to that radiation protocol. Mountie agreed (I asked him). Instead we are trying a different route with low-dose chemotherapy pills, Chinese herbs, and acupuncture with the sensitive and holistic Dr. Kate. Mr. Mountie’s life — and his whole being — needed to be honored.
That picture above shows Mountie’s favorite drinking spot on the bathroom counter. I have placed a note card next to his watering hole that reads “You are whole” to remind him (and me) that even with this dis-ease in his body, he is still whole. He is still complete.
May we all be reminded of our (and our companion animals’) wholeness, especially when faced with dis-ease in whatever form. You are not your illness, your discontent, your anxiety, your depression, your pain. You are you. And Mountie head-butts this computer screen in agreement.