For as long as I can remember, menses has been a time of torment. There was never a painless cycle in my life. I was 15 years old (the same year that I started my period) when I was first diagnosed with acute endometriosis. I was 20 years old when the doctors started talking about hysterectomy. For those of you that understand the mind-body connection, this will not come as a surprise because of my history of sexual abuse. And it will not come as a surprise because I grew up in a cowboy culture in the Western United States where it was better to not be born a girl in the first place. Menses was never a time of sacred feminine power, of renewal and of introspection. Instead, it was re-traumatizing. Every month, the kind of pain and bleeding that induces delirium and sweats and nausea and an immune system nose dive that no amount of medication (alternative or mainstream) could relieve.
I spent 22 years exhausting all options for resolution from acupuncture to laparoscopic surgery to energy work to traveling to find herbal "cures" from all over the globe to insane diets to hormone therapies to electric devices that prevent pain signals from going to the spinal cord etc. Until I spent an entire year in a women’s circle doing feminine processes and shadow work with this as my primary focus relative to personal expansion and healing. When you look at a problem square in the face, dissecting every layer that goes into it, it is no longer a mystery why you have had no success solving it before. When I did this, every layer of the problem and every solution that it pointed to, led to the same thing. In order to heal my womb, I would have to change my life. I would have to change it so that I could finally be in conditions that were conducive to femininity. It sounds straightforward at face value. Until you realize that the entire life I currently lead is not conducive to femininity; most especially my career. And so, I found myself at a crossroads. All core health crises are like that. They put you in a choice point.
This entire story could be the length of a bible or longer. But here is a summary. I have spent my entire life trying to straddle two roads. Each road leading to two separate futures I have dreamed of. The left-hand path which is in alignment with my feminine needs. A path of a woman, a wife and a mother. To give you an image of what I mean, on this left-hand path, I have married a man because I am in love with him. It is a man who contains and provides and protects and in response, I am feminine and soft and nurturing. My life is smaller than it is now, but it is both warmer and sweeter. Because of all of this, I can blossom and my womb wants to bring forth new life.
And on the other side, the right-hand path, which is all about my purpose. The deep knowing of what I am and of what I am meant to be in this life. Destiny. The pursuit of achievement. To give you an image of what I mean, on this right-hand path, I am on stages across the world. I am a leader. I belong to the world instead of to a traditional family. I have chosen the people that I keep around me according to the needs of this purpose. My partner possesses entirely different qualities than the other man would. My life is very, very large. But it is a path that is much harder.
For years, I did what any woman would. I tried to have both lives. But what no woman wants to admit to is that if you choose to have both, you must have less of each than you could achieve by committing all of your energy to one of them. If you are going to dedicate yourself to career life and to family life, you will have both. But less of both. For some people, that is right. For some people, a degree of both is exactly what they want. But the more successful I became and the more dedicated I became to my purpose, the more I suffered. Because the reality is that we live in a world made for men by men. A place not conducive to femininity, most especially if you are in pursuit of greatness. The choices I needed to make to continue to expand down the right-hand path, were completely juxtaposed to my femininity. And so, I had a choice to make. Was I going to choose a different life? Was I going to do what it takes to my life so I could experience what I knew would heal my womb? Consider what the impact of me making that choice would be on you. And the hypocrisy of thinking I should choose any differently, while at the same time benefitting from the content I produce on the right-hand path.
The day I made my decision, the decision to choose the right-hand path, I went on a walk in the snow. I passed a dead fox (my spirit animal). It was an omen that a part of me would die. In February of this year, both the feminine and masculine polarity within me dissipated. Each offered those qualities of itself that could stay with this incarnation in this life and on this path I have chosen. I laid the dream of the alternative future I could have had on the left-hand path to rest. And I did so knowing that by choosing this path consciously, the very problem with my womb that I had been desperate to solve for 22 years would get worse. I did so knowing that it meant that I would have no more children. I did not play a zero-sum game when I did this. All parts of me found alignment before I moved forward, including my own womb. And I decided to take a step that I would not recommend for women in general to take. As a result of this extreme process of integration, on March 24th, I had a hysterectomy. It was one of the most physically and emotionally painful experiences of my entire life. It was also one of the most significant chapters of “The Making of Teal Swan”.
I arrived at the decision to go through with hysterectomy on a spiritual, mental and emotional level. But at the time of surgery, to the total surprise of the surgeon, the endometriosis (which extended all the way up onto my diaphragm) was not my only issue. As it turns out, I had ascending salpingitis that had created 3 fallopian tube cysts. The surgery was medically necessary. There were so many poetic synchronicities that occurred during that experience. Things like the surgery taking place in a city called Phoenix, which is the symbol for personal re-birth. And opening the door to the home in Phoenix (the home that we rented during the procedure) to find it completely decorated with paintings and images of Frida Kahlo, whose own womb was impaled by an iron handrail in a bus accident. To a visitation by a scarlet red cardinal; the symbol of a departed loved one coming to visit you.
I was not even remotely healed from this first surgery when the Deep End TV series was released. And the amount of pressure and pain and stress that slam series caused is worthy of its own novel. But that’s one of the terrible things about the elements of the right-hand path. It has no respect for what is good for you or whether you are healed or not. In fact, your adversaries prefer you to be vulnerable. Despite all of this, I decided to go through with the planned European Tour.
After Basel in Switzerland and Prague in The Czech Republic, my manager Matthias decided to take myself and the team to see his old homeland. We took a detour on our way to Budapest, Hungary and rented a house in Schliersee, Germany. And the day after we arrived, misfortune struck again. I experienced a rare complication called a cuff evisceration and dehiscence, where the suture line they make at the time of a hysterectomy tears open, and the intestine protrudes through the tear; which is a serious medical emergency.
I was taken to the hospital and within the hour, I was back under the knife. All my newly healed abdominal laparoscopic scars had to be cut through all over again. Everything had to be put back into place. And I had to be completely re-stitched and then put on intravenous antibiotics for several days. As a result, instead of being on stage in Budapest, I found myself in a hospital bed in Germany. The German doctors and nurses were both exceptional in their craft and also caring. Still, there was nothing empowered about this dehiscence experience. It was incredibly traumatizing. It was the kind of experience that makes you insecure about your own body and its ability to heal right. It makes you feel as fragile as tissue paper and adds even more pressure to what can’t take any more pressure to begin with. Now, I am back at square one and I have to attempt the healing process all over again, which is very hard to accept. But there is no other choice than to accept it. And commit myself to the process all over again. For I have chosen the right-hand path.
It seems only fitting to end this blog with the poem I wrote about my hysterectomy, on the day that the cardinal visited me...
The Death and The Bloom
Maybe you were asking in the way you cried,
where it has gone to,
where it has been.
Sometimes a flower cannot bloom
for lack of adequate light.
All its sweetness
all its luster
all its feminine warmth
will never burgeon to be seen.
The question is...
when the unrelenting grasp of that darkness
quells its hope for life,
where does that latent flower go?
Maybe you were asking in the way you cried,
where I have gone to,
where I have been.
The answer is...
I am all around you.
Death can have no edict
where energy can neither be created
I am converted.
So do not stand at my grave and weep.
Faith is a thing with feathers.
It sings at the break of day.
It finally flies free.
And I am a bird now.