It’s fascinating. I’m in a state of positive shock. Six months ago I was in the lap of darkness, falling, flailing, falling… and it has all completely reversed.
This is weird, and I wasn’t quite ready for this! It has happened so fast and completely. So I’m making some big adjustments. This is one of the things about cancer – as least, for me – since everything impacts so much more than it did BC (before cancer). I’ve become more permeable, more affected and vulnerable, in all areas of life. This has its good and tricky sides. At times in the last month I’ve been overcome with pure joy, rather childlike and overwhelmed – I break out in tears so easily nowadays. Perhaps I should hire my services to a water company to help them restore the water table.
Some months ago I asked myself what I would have been doing if I hadn’t contracted cancer. Answer: just carrying on. What has happened since cancer joined me? I’ve been living each day quite intensely, in a very here-and-now way, and the difficulties I’ve had have given me a completely new focus. It’s now all about staying alive, staying happy, living life fully and resolving the loose threads of my life as best I can, while I can. In a bizarre and at times painful way, that’s called ‘a new chapter of life’. And I’ve been given it.
This is where free will comes in. Free will is not about Toyatas and Volkwagens, or left-wing, right wing, or this or that. Free will is all about how we deal with what we’ve got and what’s in front of us and, particularly, staying true to the root reason why we chose to come into life in the first place. Because we did choose. No one is here by accident.
This then leads to the question: what kind of life am I setting out to live? Well, the issue with me is that watching TV, eating, socialising and carrying on with a routine don’t tend to lift me up – I lose interest quite quickly. That’s an aspect of life on Earth that doesn’t do much for me. I have this strange obsession with having a deeply meaningful life. Some or all of you might suffer this syndrome too.
I can’t sit around waiting for something – though much of my life has involved a lot of abiding and patience. And strangely, at times when life has been most difficult, I get deeply motivated to do things. Not necessarily about the problem at hand, but more about some sort of strategy that changes the game more than it changes the situation. I seem to be at it again. Strangely, it took the cancer experience to really get me fired up. Or perhaps sufficiently desperate that I have no alternative! Free will is sometimes about making a choiceless choice.
I wake up with instructions, sometimes. Well, it feels like that. Something fizzy is inserted in my psyche and it starts fermenting. Before long, a whole picture of possibilities has formed. But nowadays, I’m wise enough to know that, first, I must put it on the ‘perhaps’ shelf in my psyche, to let it sit there for a while. This will show whether what I see is solid and feeling dead right. If it isn’t, it fades away or changes, as life progresses. But there’s a central issue or motivator to it, an aim and strategy which, if it is solid, can form the core idea or axis or pattern of something that could take shape in the next few years. Here’s the rub: the intended fulfilment date is around 2050. If I’m incarnate at that time, I’ll be a young’un. I get the feeling I’ll return a bit later, but that’s not entirely my own choice, and it’s subject to review.
There’s an interesting twist to this. I have a limited shelf-life. I do know this. Some people will try to dissuade me from such ‘negative, deathist thinking’, but often they need to learn something about acceptance, surrender and the otherworlds. Here’s a riddle: we do not and cannot choose the time and manner of our dying, yet, in another way, we can. Sort of. Particularly through attitude and power of spirit, though also with the helping hand of medications, supplements, healers and so on. However, ‘the hand of God moves in strange ways’, and when facing death we do need to hand ourselves over, to accept our progressive loss of control. Why? Because such acceptance leads to another kind of control. Metaphysically, it’s the control of a slalom-skier, where you have to lose control in order to gain a new kind of balance. It’s not fear-driven, though it’s one helluva ride.
This happens in life too, and many people stand on this precipice at present – it’s the Great Unknown, gaping at us and shaking us out of our comfortable stupours. Yes, folks, shit’s happening and there’s little we can do about it. We’ve been in ‘good’ times, and now it’s going to be ‘bad’ times. Many people resort to complaining – that’s unwise and gets no one anywhere. It’s necessary to get real, make it simple, focus on what’s essential, stay happy and look for the gift in this evolving situation. Do this, and you’ll survive. Dig in your heels and trouble’s coming.
However, when the economy rises, society declines, and when the economy subsides, society rises. So what is our choice here? What do we really want?
I too must square with this one. My cancer immunotherapy (Daratumamab) comes in a little refrigerated phial once a month by special delivery, and a nurse comes to administer it (Janice or Nicola – they’ve been really good and helpful). This phial costs £4,500 each month. I am privileged to live in a country where this is possible – elsewhere I would be dead or, if so blessed, rich enough to pay ridiculous sums for treatment. During my life there is a possibility that the state support I receive will dwindle or disappear. Yes. One of the existential risks we face that no one talks about, is ‘sovereign insolvency’. Government and national bankruptcy (it’s happening in Sri Lanka). Caused mainly by debt, by excessive public and private borrowing on a rosy future that didn’t happen.
That’s life. And it’s okay. I don’t have money but I have some social cred and survival instincts, and I’ll manage somehow – worse has happened, and I’m not in receipt of incoming mortar shells. A number of us will have to go – as was the case with Covid. Some might think it’s Big Brother pulling this off, and there’s a smidgeon of truth in that, though not as much as some might like to think. But are we going to sit around blaming others for our plight, or are we going to rise up and come out to help our fellow humans? Sorry to be blunt, but it does come down to that. That’s one reason I live in Cornwall – we do this down’ere.
I have a limited time left – current estimate, 3-5-7 years. When I’m performing in public I brighten up and come alive, so that’s not a truly accurate read-out of how I am overall. I go down too, megaflopped, with gravity running double-heavy and systems creaking along on three cylinders. Though, on average, I’m doing much better now than some months ago, and things are looking up. I no longer have to strive for hope or optimism: it’s coming at me in torrents! This is the positive shock I mentioned earlier. I guess I’ve fallen into a kind of miracle zone in which, at first, you have to go right down into the depths of The Pit before revival kicks in. Revive I did. It might be true to say that conventional medicine has kept me alive, but healing from so many people and from ‘friends upstairs’ has given me a new life.
In early May a message was dropped into me which said, ‘We have one more thing we’d like you to do…’. Part of me said, OMG, not again, leave me alone, and another part sparked up and was fascinated with what might happen and what exactly this might be. I have some starting notions and I’ve twigged the core objective, but this must unfold in its own time and way. Next we come to the earthly manifestation bit. Thing is, since I most likely have only some years to play with, anything I do, unless it’s something brief, is to give to others to take forward. I need to sit on that and mull it over, and some of those others might need to do so too. It’s necessary to let various things take shape, which will serve as indicators from Real Life that there’s support for it in all worlds and that it has some chance of actually working. I have a wee bit of experience in that matter, and I’m a ‘sensible Virgo’ (I am told), and nowadays I look before I leap. But I don’t tend to sit on my hands and hang back either.
One of my weird gifts is a capacity to articulate things that people already half-understand, or things that are coming up for them that they hadn’t quite ‘got’ – and also to make connections between things people hadn’t quite seen before. Such as the relationship between humanity’s psychospiritual condition and climate change – think about it. I tend to look a bit further than the next horizon and the narrowness of short-term fixes. Thirtyish years ago I realised what this was about, for me: I came here not exactly to bring change, but to bring suggestions about what comes after that change.
As a former revolutionary (we lost), I’m now dedicated not to bringing down the old but to bringing up the new. This is what I told young Syrians and Egyptians in 2011 in Amman, Jordan, as their revolutions were failing… Yes, you lost, but, Allahu akbar, God is great, history is on your side and, look guys, I’m still here decades later, still at it, so you do that too. It’s hard and it takes a long time, but real change does take time, and that’s no reason to give up. They got it. I told them to tell their friends.
The Nine once said something interesting, that the revolutions of the late 1960s were meant to bring social-spiritual change but, instead, in the 1970s, they brought personal change to a relatively small number of people. This did lay the foundations for future developments, but it was a slower path to take. The social change is yet to come: a big opening for this starts in 2024, as Pluto enters Aquarius, accelerating rapidly through the late 2020s, and the complete process continues for a few decades. (For more about this, try here: https://penwithbeyond.blog/2020s/ ). It depends, of course, on what we humans do about it, and a wide range of issues, problems and solutions will come up. We shall see both the wisdom and the madness of crowds. The questions of social trust and care and also good leadership are biggies to sort out.
On my recent trip upcountry to England, I was really happy to meet many remarkable people, and impressed with the quality of those who attended the two magic circles. Attending the OakDragon camp was like a turnaround for me, rather like reaching the top of a high mountain pass, suddenly to see the vista on the other side. I felt welcomed, included and valued, and it was warming to heart and soul. At the magic circles, it felt as if people were right there, and they definitely seemed to understand what I was sharing. Also, I survived the magic circles myself, better than I expected (after all, it’s 5-6 hours), and I’m up for more.
If you’re the kind of person with the connections in your area or network to organise one, you’re welcome to get in contact – I go where invited! The next Magic Circle is in Buckfastleigh, Devon, on Saturday 24th September (see palden.co.uk/magic-circles.html). I’m really looking forward to that.
In Devon we’ll have a little music from Galen and Jahnavi, two musicians coming all the way from Portland, Oregon, to join us. As I wrote this they were stuck at Heathrow, waiting for the plane to Newquay, Cornwall. Such are the ways of this world. Penny is picking them up – they’re staying in a bell tent in the Field of Dreams, our wild-camping field here on the farm (thanks, Jo!). An old friend, Kevin, is here too – he’s an old Flying Squad member, and he, with Sian and Sarah, three core members, came to the Avebury circle. I was so happy and moved to see them – we’ve been through so much together, for so long. We’re realising in a new way that perhaps we prototyped something more valuable for the future than we thought at the time (flyingsquad.org.uk). So we’ll have a campfire in the field and share dinner together. Guess who sorted that out? The Rt Hon Dame Penny Cornell MBE, haha.
Lots of good stories have happened for quite a few people in recent weeks, and I’ve met with new friends and old. Bless you all for that, and thank you to Bruce, Ivan, Pia, Lily and particularly Rebecca, with a host of others, for lighting up my life and helping me on my way.
If you live in Glastonbury or within easy reach, I’m giving an evening talk at the Assembly Rooms on Friday 9th September – called The Tipping of the Scales. It’s for Glastafarians of all generations. A Glastonbury veteran (1980-2008) returns to his old home to meet the folks. I’m coming up the Michael Line with some messages from the end of the world. (Info here.)
I need to hobnob with people through doing talks, magic circles, blogs and podcasts because, as a cancer patient, I don’t have the energy it takes to meet so many people except in EM-free groups. I love you all, but I can’t get round everyone. Yet magic happens too, and I’ll get round everyone who somehow matters – whatever that means.
The EM-bombardment my dearest friends give me, even if accidentally, makes meeting you extra tricky. It takes three seconds to be infected and two days to get back on balance. What proportion of the population has electroesensitivity? One hundred percent. It’s just that only some people notice it, and I fear for the rest.
Recently I’ve been talking about dying as a gradual process. Here’s a quote from the website of my root Lama, Rangjung Rigpe Dorge, the Sixteenth Karmapa, about his death of cancer at Samhain in 1981, in a research hospital in USA:
“The hospital allowed the body of the Karmapa to remain in the room where he had died, because it was obvious that this was not an ordinary death. Even though he had died, for three days he remained in the Tugdam, a state of meditation. This was clear from signs such as the area around the heart remaining warm and the body remaining supple. The signs were witnessed by the medical staff present.” (karmapa.org/life-16th-karmapa/)
Though the quality of my meditation isn’t anywhere close to his, I don’t believe only Tibetan lamas or similar can work with their death process in this way. But we shall see, won’t we?
Love from me. Palden.