Have you ever gone to visit a landmark, all excited to see this marvel of architecture in real life – and then been disappointed when you arrived because it was shrouded with scaffolding?
It is disappointing, but would be even worse if no-one ever maintained or repaired the building and it crumbled away. Because scaffolding detracts from the experience of visiting a building, you would hope that builders would only put it up when necessary and remove it as soon as it was no longer needed.
The metaphor of scaffolding came to me the other morning when I was meditating. I am a beautiful old temple. Parts of needed replacing; years of gunk needed to be cleaned away and my structure needed reinforcing. Life experiences helpfully came along and pulled out the worn sandstone carvings and rotting beams and replaced them with new ones. Circumstances sprang up around me like scaffolding to allow life experiences to reach me and help me change and improve. It was an ugly, awkward process. Things got worse before they got better. But eventually the major changes were made and I am now stronger and better than before.
It is now time to remove the scaffolding; it no longer serves a purpose and is only obscuring my unique architecture. Cancer set the stage for an intense learning period. As horrible as it was, I am grateful for the experience. Ironically, it probably saved my life. But is is time to let that situation go completely. I went to an appointment with the oncologist the other day and he said it wasn’t necessary for me to see him again. I felt weird leaving the Cancer Centre for the last time. I’m glad, so glad, so grateful and relieved. But I also must have taken on the identity of a cancer patient. For a period of time, my life revolved around the Cancer Centre. It was the backdrop for so many intense emotions. I took on a new social circle based on our common condition – one that has since dissolved due to our lack of anything else in common.
Everything is ‘back to normal’, but so far from normal. I am not my ‘old self’. I don’t want to be my ‘old self’ and I am physically barely recognisable (which is good). I feel I can start again. But start what? I’m not sure. I feel alienated from my old friends and my interests have changed. I see everything differently now. I feel older. I feel younger. I take some things more seriously and many other things so much less seriously. And the more I change, the more I come home to who I truly am.
What structures do you have around you that have served their purpose and need to come down? You don’t have to continue to identify with the divorce, redundancy, car accident or any other trauma. You can take the learning, integrate it and then cast off the scaffolding of these experiences. It’s time to reveal your magnificence.