Recently my emotions have been really close to the surface. I quite easily burst into tears over the slightest thing – a piece of music or even just a feeling of simple gratitude for being alive. Meanwhile, I’m being presented with lists of things to do, while beset with ‘chemo-brain’ and feeling unready to do them – sometimes this feels like an overload bringing up more tears! My immune system, close to zero as part of my cancer treatment, seems to bring an emotional permeability too.
I’m fed up of being unwell, and tired out, of spilling things, missing the toilet when peeing, of early morning aches, being so bloody helpless and dependent. Sometimes I can’t handle it any more and it’s more wet cheeks.
I’ve felt the grief of my parents’ and grandparents’ generations, from two world wars. Grief from the ‘wrong’ deaths I have seen and helped to deal with in the Middle East, in my humanitarian work. Regret over an avoidable incident I was involved with in 2014, killing 200-odd Syrian villagers, that deeply hit my humanitarian instincts. Grief over two previous lives in which I have been a general. Grief remembering my chronologically last life, ending in Austria in WW2 – the memory of an aristocratic altruist in such a ridiculously big humanitarian crisis in war that only small acts of goodness could be done, only some people could be saved, and only some good sense could be inculcated into the madness.
I’m back home on the farm in Cornwall. It feels safer down here, pandemic-wise – for now. The farm is quite isolated. I was supposed to return to Devon next week for a hospital consultation, blood tests and new medication but I’m staying here – we’ll have to fix things in other ways. The farm is the best place to be: I’m fortunate to be here.
Lynne is at her home in Devon, picking up the pieces after the enormous task of caring for me for the last few months. Bless her: she has saved my life and gone many extra miles for me. I was lucky that someone like her saved me in my time of need. It’s good now to give her space, and for me to sort out the details of living independently – we might not see each other for a while. As an astrologer she has clients and students to deal with, and teenagers at home.
I’m used to a hermit’s life and can look after myself most of the time. I’ll need a local helper for an hour a day, and it will take time for me to build up strength and establish a new normal. With the crowd-funded money you people have kindly donated I am kitting myself up with necessaries: the first items are a fridge, a new work chair and a mattress.
The ‘care crisis’ in Britain and similar countries derives particularly from the death of the community and the extended family. A Palestinian family of forty could take in a person like me with no great change to its routines. Often the old people sit at the centre of the compound, with the kids playing around them and people coming and going, though ‘social distancing’ – something that East Asians and Westerners might find more easy than Arabs – will prove difficult there.
An old friend from Leeds, Sian, is with me for two weeks. She’s heading home on Thursday. We used to work together in the Hundredth Monkey Project in the mid-1990s and the Flying Squad that followed after it. These geopolitical healing projects used group process, meditation and other pressure-cooking techniques to work with events and trends in the world. It’s good to spend time together again since we and the others in the group spent a lot of time pressure-cooking, and it bonded us as souls even though we’ve now closed the project – we could not find new recruits with sufficient commitment.
On Saturday we went to Boscawen-un stone circle, which is 4,500 years old. We did the usual things you do, circumambulating, visiting the stones, being quiet, and sitting by the quartz stone drinking tea. After a while a couple came along. We started talking. Before long I was undergong a profound healing given by the woman, who spoke in tongues, looked me straight in the eyes, grasped and shook my hands, bringing through a very strong energy from beings that seemed to be definitely of the not-of-Earth kind. I let them examine me from the inside. They told me that shadows of grief were around me. I felt energy rippling through me – I was being energy-massaged and manipulated. Since then I’ve been leaking tears by the gallon. Thank you Estelle, whoever you are, for bringing a gift of God in a stone circle.
Cancer opens a doorway to karmic clearing, pattern-changing and a sharpening of life-purpose. Amongst cancer people I have met, a proportion seem particularly to be taking on a deep challenge of the soul. In my own case, there are shadows of the past to clear, murky things I have touched, errors I have made and things I could have done better, but this soul-challenge now seems to come more from the future than from the past.
Being dealt a bucketload of uncertainty is one of the ways this inner challenge reveals itself. I don’t know how long I’ll live – it could be just weeks. This issue variously faces everyone, but cancer has a way of bringing it to the surface, reminding us how vulnerable we are as humans. We need to talk about this more, to address a cultural taboo around death: one of coronavirus’ many gifts is a reminder of our mortality and insecurity. We need this.
Ironically, I’m on this vulnerability-trip at a time when the whole world is suddenly wobbling with uncertainty. Whenever this pandemic ends, things will not go back to normal. Values are changing. Everything that was safe is now questionable. We’re being levelled out. The consequences of this shared mass experience are far greater and deeper than anyone can see. Society, community and the human family are on the mend.
Here’s a simple rule that they don’t teach in university: when the economy rises, society falls, and when the economy falls, society rises. The next crisis, or the one after that, will concern ‘sovereign insolvency’ – government bankruptcy. That’ll be a shock – gilt-edged guarantees going belly-up. Our current economic crisis in 2020 is, I reckon, the first of three or four to come.
The good news is this: these are mechanisms by which the global economic system is correcting and adjusting itself. To function, it must reflect the ecological and human needs of the time. It’s overdue. Capitalism is plummeting into transformation, stumbling from a competitive, exploitative model toward a cooperative model of operation. Is the system here to serve the people or are the people here to serve the system? This change will be painful. You might have to clean your ass without toilet paper. But working together and looking after each other is the societal model of the future.
Here we go, into the unknown. Saturn is entering Aquarius, heralding a period lasting until 2043 where the emphasis is on society. Not the economy and markets. Not gizmos. People and society: the social contract, its freedoms, benefits, controls and responsibilities. The capacity of humans to live and work together. Exceptionalism. Solidarity. New politics. Equality. Justice. Many hands make light work. These are important because the other major issues of our time will not progress well if social-political issues fail to progress. It’s all a question of human willingness to do whatever it takes to change the world.
The ill, the old and the infirm have been forgotten and sidelined in recent decades. There’s tragedy to this inasmuch as, now and in future, we might have to accept being culled by circumstances such as coronavirus. In wealthy countries we’ve had the luxury of long lives and medical support for the ill and disabled, and this won’t be as possible in future. The therapy for this is to address the question of dying, and the meaning of life. It’s easier to pass away if you’ve fulfilled at least some of the reason why you came – the contract you signed up to before birth.
For Death is lurking on our streets and fear is the wrong response. Coronavirus brings us a taste of reality. It brings gifts: a chance for society to reconstitute. A new political expediency that cares more for people. A need to cooperate and care. A change of values regarding consumption, production and the true worth of many social and economic activities – is arms production really what we want? Are cruise holidays, throw-away fashions, flashy cars and sumptuous restaurants really necessary? Is it more important to earn money or care for our families? And how will we deal with the subterranean rage that lies in the collective psyche?
If you don’t hear from me again, I’ve probably kicked the bucket. In which case, stay tuned and you’ll hear from me sometime, from Upstairs. If this happens, it releases me to help out on the other side – a humanitarian’s work is never done! I’ll be wherever I’m most useful. If I stay on Earth, I’ll write again in due course and keep you posted. Bless you for being with me on this journey.
May you be safe and well. I wish upon you something that the Palestinians have mastered: making the best out of a bad situation and staying happy under duress. When a Palestinian smiles, it shows that they have not lost and cannot lose the war, for they retain their humanity and live to see another day.
If misfortune strikes, ask yourself ‘Where is the gift?‘ – and therein lie answers and avenues of progress. The world is changing and, amidst the tragedy, good things are unfolding – humanity is coming back after decades of cruel, destructive economism with far more losers than winners. This nightmare is beginning to end. But it will take time and many crunchpoints.
Everything is okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. We all came here to bring light to a benighted world, and we’ve just been given a big opportunity.
Greetings from West Penwith, Cornwall, the shining land of Belerion.
Love, Paldywan Kenobi.