Dancing To Cancer

Classical Indian dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant shares:

At the minute I was diagnosed with cancer, I decided not to focus on the whole thing. The only way I could escape focusing on the cancer was to focus on something that animated me and moved me and touched me. And, I found that in my dance. Dance is really who I am. Dance is really my life’s breath, in that sense of the word. I -- consciously, with a whole lot of visual and mental cues -- pulled myself out of the thought processes that send you into that emotional whirlpool that cancer can push you into. It does that. There were times that I shed tears and times that I was miserable. But, because I had something else to focus on and something else to shift my mind to, I found that I was able to cut this whole thing out of my mindset. Your mind is really your final frontier. I was able to take my thoughts and push them into my dance. I made it so that the cancer was not a big deal. I would go and get my chemo, take the three days rest that my body needed, and then I was back in the studio dancing, teaching class or doing choreography.

Prayer and writing gets me through my HIV as well. You have to own the illness and then own an identity that is so much more than the illness. And tomorrow will be the 17th anniversary of the day I found out. I was griping about getting old the other day, and then I remembered it used to be an ambition of mine.