Saturday, June 24, 2006

Saturday, June 24: Advice to Someone with Cancer

Breathe. More. Breathe consciously. Breathe outdoors.

Take walks. Every day. Sense each foot as it touches the ground. Best to walk on dirt or sand or grass. Sense each foot touching the earth. Sense your breathing. Look around. Get lost every day in walking that is touching the earth and touching your breath and touching with eyes and ears the sounds and sights of the world.

Take breaks. Maybe to meditate. Maybe to sit and do nothing. Maybe to sit or lie and listen to music. Maybe to sit and breathe.

Play with moving. Use the various exercises in this book. Make up your own. Roll around on the ground or floor, with the freedom from gravity that permits. Experiment. Enjoy. Love and learn about yourself.

Now comes the harder parts. Examine your life and see what part of you is deeply dissatisfied. I mean really dissatisfied, as if wanting to die. Ugh. What a thing to think of, but thinking is something people are deeply disconnected from, real thinking, not the usual bungling around with words to prove they are right. Real thinking in this case means turning a beacon of truth inward and admitting what parts of your life are so annoying to you, that one way to get rid of them would be to get rid of life itself. This could be boring conversation, obligations you are sick of, burdens of perfection you put on yourself, old guilt, old anger, on and on. Find it.

And then think some more. How could I get freedom from whatever this crap is, without going to whole hog of dying. This isn’t so far fetched. Many of the advantages to dying are exactly the advantages to going to sleep: all the problems and worries and strains of the day disappear. Some people get drunk for the same reasons, then they are “feeling no pain.” Well, what is the pain, and how can you get out of it without ducking out of the whole ball game?

Much of this book has been about ways of undoing unhappiness and increasing your love of life. So we don’t need to mention the various ways here. I’ll just make another ugh suggestion and this is it: clear up all your relationships. The one with your spouse or mate, if you have one. There is, in my totally intuitive understanding (i.e. no proof), usually a relationship component to a serious disease, a message that it being communicated in a sloppy way. See if you can find what that message is and communicated it clearly and above board.

Also, all those other relationships, especially with parents. So what if they were assholes and creeps? Do the work of Byron Katie and get so you can smile and laugh and feel filled with love even as you think of their most awful moments. Of course, if they are still alive and still giving you a hard time, then 1) you know one reason you want to die, and 2), you have a chance to really do the inner Work. Come to love them in all their awfulness and come to be able to say No, when the want to come visit and you don’t want that, or want to talk and you don’t want that, or want to tell you what’s wrong with you and you don’t want that. This is not defending yourself. This is not "setting boundaries." This is getting clear on how you want to spend the next ten minutes. This is huge.This is being happy, and saying things like: “I’m sure you are right that there is lots wrong with me. In fact, I’d love for you to write up a list and send it to me. But right now, I’m in the mood to go listen to Mozart, so I’m going to get off the phone. Bye.”

In other words, you can love people and still not be interested in being their toilet. That’s their business if they want to take a dump on you, and it’s your business to laugh this off and find a way to divert them so you can have your life for what you love.

And what do you love anyway? Make a list. Let that list make you happy. Do the things you love with lots of breaks and walks and breathing and slowing down in between. Being over obligated and always in a rush is no way to live. Doing lots of things that excite and please you, with breaks and breathers and time to dream and be in peaceful solitude in between. That’s more like it.


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