I’d long contemplated this question abstractly, as it concerned others who entered the journey of “C.” Now it was real for me to contemplate. Success in overcoming this adversity I sensed from the outset would require more of the therapeutic work I’d engaged in for a long time. The empathy I practice personally and professionally, as it were, was now to be given a major new twist of meaning and purpose. Where had this HPV type of “C” come from? Unlike most others it’s origin was not a chemical breakdown in the body’s weakest point to environmental or genetically inherited traits. This distinction is medically crucial to understand, as I was to learn.
I learned very quickly it is a virus that enters the body, from outside, through bodily fluids or mere contact. The doctor told me it enters through body contact in sundry ways, non-specific, and that often the contact may be of the nature of sexual activity. I was told the virus lodges itself in the body system in the period of life most people become sexually active in ages 18 to 30. And then the virus lies dormant, asleep, for years or decades or forever. Or … the big conditional phrase — it pops up – at any time, cause unknown – as in my case in my throat, at “base of tongue,” or mid-pharyngeal in my case.
The ugly lemon ensconced in my body flowered genetically in my throat. It felt close, not foreign, not far away, even intimate from the beginning. It was in my mouth and neck and head arena, behind my teeth and tongue. It doesn’t get much closer than that.
It mattered not when and exactly how it entered my system. Yes, I had been sexually active in that age range. I’d lost my virginity at age 19, a college freshman, late by my teenage libido’s impatient expectations. Hah. And I turned 21 in 1969, the year, as I recall of the flowering of the media-dubbed “Free Love” movement, among other Boomer social phenomena we college kids made popular then. We discovered out bodies and indulged our senses. Oh yes. But….
What mattered was its nature and how to contend with it, how to respond.
But I am not speaking of medical resource. It is the spiritual nature of this “dilemma,”shall we call it? That was how I quite autonomically reacted to the news of the uninvited guest. Not for a moment did I cry or cry out in lamentation or incredulity, let alone self pity, the gnashing of teeth or the wailing of tears. I felt the opportunity of it, odd as that may sound.
I knew where I had to go and what I had to do right away. Into my Inner room I went. I’d had a visual place within myself since age 19 when I was taught a simple and effective way to mediate in the Jose Silva “Mind Control” technique over a Fri-Sun weekend. It was in June 1967, following my freshman year in college. The mentally imagined space I’d created then had remained unchanged for four decades. I went their often and in sundry way. Much of the remainder of my dealing with my Uninvited Guest would take place in this heart center of my mid/body unity.
The language here changes form medical to spiritual. The universe of this malignant phenomena split in two within me at this point: the doctor’s regimen of treatment on the one hand, the internal world of my heart and mind, my shaman spirit, on the other. The meaning of this serious illness had shifted. The doctors, medical technicians as I call them, had their perspective and protocols to follow and ruminate with. I had mine, and mine were to be disciplined in this new life to which I am called.
I was going to investigate the origin of my HPV my way, to discover its emotional/cognitive or spiritual purpose in coming into me, claiming a life for itself, and distracting me, to say the least, to its Presence. This is my way of me. I shall coach myself. Many will be the images I will share here in how I enter and use my Inner Room. We all have one in a manner of speaking. It is but for us to capture it, enter it, or let its space capture and enter us. The Self it is called, and the Self is a marvelous and magnificent mystery and joy.
Good coaches go there often, FYI.