We need each other to survive and thrive. This is obvious. But when you trust your community has your back, miraculous things happen. That message came to me in a loud and literal way recently.
In September four different people asked me the same question in the same week:
"Em, that big mole on your back looks weird. Have you had it checked?"
The fourth ask was during a Soma bodywork session. The mole my concerned client was referring to was normally hidden from sight, located at the point where my bra meets my spine. Since it was a smoldering Indian Summer day in Seattle, my mole was exposed thanks to my yoga tank-top. I was already hot, but after the fourth ask about my mole I was also bothered.
I did my best to remain present during the rest of our Soma treatment, even though my mind slipped into future tripping dialogue between my voice of fear and reason:
If four people in the last few days all noticed my mole then it must be a sign something's wrong.
What's the worst thing that could happen?
I die from melanoma.
Before assuming anything, I'll make an appointment. Then I'll take the necessary steps if it is cancer.
How the hell am I going to afford treatment? I rely on my body for yoga, for Soma, for E V E R Y T H I N G.
Relax, nothing is permanent. Especially this body. Remember that whole non-attachment thing?
I should've used more sunscreen. Is it my genes? My karma? What did I do wrong?!
Calm down. If my mental state impacts my health then stressing about a possible diagnosis isn't going to help. I'll make an appointment right after the Soma session.
That's right. B R E A T H E...
My breath brought me back to my body, into my feet, and aware of my client. As I traced my her back with my elbows I chuckled to myself, 'Regardless of what happens, at least we've got each other's back.'
After the session I rushed over to Zoom Care because my voice of fear wanted to solve this immediately. Unfortunately they don't do mole removals. Bummed, my voice of reason recommended I call my previous mole inspection site at West Side Dermatology. Over ten years ago I went to WSD for a full body scan in response to my college friend who had melanoma after living in South Africa. Since I studied in Senegal I thought best get checked too. I was cleared back then. And now the earliest they could get me in was October 13. 'What?! Over a month to dwell on this. B R E A T H E...'
The month passed by quickly and I nearly forgot about this back mole, being totally out of sight and mostly out of mind. Then a few days leading up to the appointment I got a cough. 'Uh oh. Has the cancer spread to my lungs? B R E A T H E...'
Tuesday I arrived to WSD at 8:10am and left by 8:37. The relativity of time in situations like this amazes me. Just like in Senegal when my host sister spent hours preparing supper only so the family could devour it in minutes.
My shaved mole was sent off on a field trip to be biopsied. That same morning another client and I wondered who has that job of inspecting bodiless moles? This peculiar conversation brought our awareness to one of his own moles that he's been eyeing. I'm pretty sure he's going to get his mole checked now.
It's the day after my mole and I parted ways. I'm at our Thrive Tribe office waiting for my next client and I'm reading from a book my business coach recommended, The Science of Getting Rich. (disclaimer: that title is still a little embarrassing for me even though I'm devouring it like a Senegalese supper). I was reading this very paragraph when my phone rang:
"To look upon the appearances of disease will produce the form of disease in your own mind- and ultimately in your body. Instead, you must hold the thought of the truth, which is that there is no disease. Disease is only an appearance, and the reality is health." -Wallace D. Wattles
I let the 206 number go to voicemail and then I paused reading. Before reaching for the phone I paused again. My gut knew it was WSD.
B R E A T H E...
The cryptic message said to call back for results. No hints.
Now my gut wrenched. I re-read the above paragraph and allowed those words to sink in. Now was the time to embody the louder message I just received: the reality is health. I felt into that truth. I imagined hearing the dermatologist saying I was fine. I imagined my body being filled with light. I felt into that that truth too. Then I called back.
Ring. Ring. Ring.
The reality is health.
The reality is health.
'Your mole is benign.'
Now I know...well, nothing really. I do know that I'm not immune to death no matter how many times I recite 'the reality is health'. And it's this very reality of impermanence that provides perspective on life. Perspectives are infinite, as are the way we respond to them. I'm eternally grateful for the dynamic perspectives my community offers me, especially when they're beyond my limited sight- in this case on my very own back. Soma and Yoga teaches us to balance on an edge between taking self responsibility for our health and opening ourselves to outside perspectives for areas of growth (pun intended). Perspectives can come from a place of fear, reason, or belief.
From my humble perspective, I believe beyond our limitations of perspective there's place of deepest knowing and love that cannot be seen. It exists in the s p a c e s between perspectives, or beneath the surface of them. In the moments of pause. In the sightless place where one must have faith to be held. One must have faith to trust and know their community/world/universe has their back.
So to my community, my world, my universe, thank you. Thank you for having my back. Literally. Trust that I've got yours too. I love you.
For identifying moles visit: