This is a note I posted on Facebook in response to feedback about this blog.
Thanks everyone, for your comments. While the compliments are heartening, what I find most interesting is the variety of ways my blogs go ding and clang with different readers in differing ways. That’s just fascinating.
With these blogs I don’t really have a clear intention. I’m just trying to record things that come up along the strange path of being a cancer patient with twiggling antennae and a lot of time on my hands to reflect, look at things from one step back, and to use my wordsmithing skills to try to squeeze them into written lines of verbiage.
Believe me, when I was young I struggled hard to write down my artesian aspie thoughts, and it took a long while – decades.
This is one of those things about living on Earth – stuff doesn’t come easily and we have to work at it. We have to serve time, slogging through loadsa shite to get really good at things. This is a key part of our soul-honing process and one of the big reasons why each of us chose to come here.
That’s what I’m trying to do. So I have cancer. So my challenge is to get good at cancer, to exploit its openings. Writing this blog is part of my medicine.
I don’t pre-think it. I’ll just sit on it until, one morning, I wake up with a nugget, a starting place – it kinda fizzles – and it comes out of the present. Which is how sometimes you’ll hear about my toilet challenges and other times it’s about meta-cozmickle panoramas.
Thanks for being with, and I’m really glad that the stuff that gets dredged up here brings insights, connects a few things together and reminds you of what you already know – though perhaps put differently so that it can be seen with another optic.
As someone said here, who knows if I am right? That doesn’t matter. What matters is to bounce things around because it helps our seeing, helps us see things from other angles, and it loosens us up.
Actually, I’d be quite glad and relieved to find out I’m wrong in many of the things I say and write, but I’m not sure whether I’ll be allowed that privilege. We shall see.
This blog ranges around a spectrum of things. At present it is covering something I never thought I would land up writing about: my experiences as a person with cancer. Bone marrow cancer or myeloma.
The account starts in late 2019 here, but most people read backwards in time from this page.
The blog is about my cancer story, and the podcasts announced here are about things that interest me – and perhaps they interest you. The full range of podcasts is here.
Perhaps there’s someone you know who might benefit from finding out from you about this blog.
I’m glad you’re here. Best wishes, Palden.
I live in West Penwith, Cornwall, in southwest Britain. In Cornish ‘Penwith’ means far beyond. It really is. Look for the red marker on the left – that’s where I live, on a hidden-away organic farm. Far beyond. That’s where these notes are written from.
I’ve had good news. I talked on the phone to the haematologist at Treliske hospital in Truro (about 40 miles away) and she seems pleased with my results. Although the readings from blood tests are slowly rising – this is to be expected, but I could be worse than I am – the PET scan I had a couple of weeks ago, to see whether any further damage was being done, turned out well. So I do not need to go back on chemo right now. I’m glad, because I’m tired of getting poleaxed by medication and fatigue. I need to revive before the next round.
But that’s not what I want to write about.
As promised, here are my thoughts on the next ten years or so. There’s a combination of a historian, futurologist, astrologer and seasoned observer coming through here, and long hours in bed have meant a lot of time to ruminate on these things.
I think the 2020s are going to be both difficult and more encouraging than the 2010s. Covid is the beginning of a process, and there are more storms to come – that’s the difficult bit. It’s going to be an uphill grind. Or a different kind of grind than the one we had before.
Looking more longterm, this process started around 2008-12, when the overall balance of global trends tipped critically, and it has been ramping up over the last ten years: the world crisis is no longer a thing of the future but it’s now present and here, in all departments of life and coming at us in waves. We have entered the inevitable period of price-paying for the profligate lives we’ve led in the rich countries and the destructive aspects of the world system we’ve created. Some of us saw this coming way back in the 1960s, but the majority didn’t agree or want to look.
During the 2010s we needed to be given gritty, distressing challenges to get us engaged, to grind us down and prepare us for what happens next. It was in many ways a dispiriting decade, but a lot of good things bubbled underneath. Many revolutions failed, but many people were changed by them. Covid is in a way a climax of that phase and the beginning of the next one. It’s a punctuation point.
The issue is this: since the world has delayed action on necessary human and planetary issues, there’s a lot of catch-up to do, and a lot of damage has been done. We’ve lost fifty years, and things can’t wait. Events are taking over. This is no lnger a matter of opinion.
There’s a long way to go before we find the full range of solutions – it will take the whole 21st Century. To progress, we need to be accelerated into a process of change that will take us out of our comfort zones and confront us with hard facts. Humanity needs to get itself mobilised. Now it’s a time of consequences, imperatives and seeking solutions.
Though a few might think it’s the only option, an all-out catastrophe would not help. Catastrophes hurt, disable, stun and set people back, and they are not the best recipe for change. We need to make big choices and get behind them – even if we’re arm-twisted by events to do so. What’s needed is a deepening series of crises that tip us incrementally into change-processes, forcing us over a succession of thresholds and pushing us to get really real about our situation and its many details, nuances and implications.
It’s especially about human society. Without substantial changes in our group psychology and behaviour, we will not get through the century intact. This concerns cooperation and sharing, and it brings up collective emotional issues about identity, power, who decides, and how much we really care about nature and human nature. It concerns Us and Them.
So people across the world are variously cleaving into progressives and resisters, new tribes and old tribes, and this is the new politics. Ultimately, humanity has to realise it is one tribe, but this will come clear only when Ronald Reagan’s late-1980s Reykjavik Proposition comes true: humanity will unite when it realises it is not alone. But without humanity cooperating as one planetary race, there will be insufficient resolution of environmental issues, tech hazards and the wide range of potentially fatal issues that face us now.
So we’re being accelerated, and it is reasonable to expect further crises ahead, and particularly multiple crises happening at once, or cascading crises with proliferating implications – as Covid is with the social and economic issues it has precipitated. The urge to restore normality is an unconscious reaction to this acceleration, part of the process of letting go of the past. Normality will not be restored, no matter how many dollars and scientists you throw at it. But there are still options. It’s just that the new normal is going to keep changing.
The 2020s are likely to be very different from the 2010s. The shit will increasingly hit the fan. But something else has been bubbling up underneath to meet this and change the equation: a growing surge of new ideas, perspectives, attitudinal changes, technological advances and challenging situations that nevertheless prompt progress and positive developments – as in ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.
Astrologically, an interesting and rare configuration is approaching in the later 2020s for which my best description is ‘cultural florescence under duress’. This will not be easy because we’ll be battling with more crises. But the difference is that the tide will be flowing more strongly then, and this loosens things up. It allows creativity, innovation, new ways of seeing things and new reality-configurations. There is likely to be a battle of ideas, perspectives and loosening positions, and a generational change in which Millennials will be coming to power (and my own generation will be dying off).
One of the big questions will be, do the people exist for the system or does the system exist for the people? Questions of systemic control, the rights of the individual, the needs of the collective and the balance of the three.
This will not be the old workers-and-capitalists battles of the 20th Century: it will be between progressive people and ideas at all levels of society, and resisters, some of them indisposed to change, some victims of change, some of them vested interests, and many who are older, marginalised and disoriented. These too need to be considered, because this isn’t any more about my side or your side of the argument, it’s about the complete outcome of all arguments, for all people and in all areas of life.
So we have come to a need to rehumanise society. Another issue concerns social willingness to cooperate. If change is imposed, and if governments and those at the top of society fail to act in people’s overall benefit and society fails to come together to cooperate, then resistance, exceptionalism and non-cooperation will ensue, complicating things terribly – this issue has been tested in the Covid crisis.
So we’re likely to get an escalation of both problems and solutions, and we’ll be challenged to see when solutions are actually solutions. If we judge events on the basis of past norms, there will be a plethora of problems, but if we judge them on the basis of the possibilities they offer, they become a solution. Much hangs on this. In the Covid crisis, from which everyone is so anxious to escape, we have been given multiple solutions but we fail to see them – we choose to focus on the problem side, on what’s being lost. And yes, things are hard.
This year we have wobbled over a tipping point, toward rehumanising society and making the world more fit to live in. Millions of people are thinking deeply about their lives and about life itself. The rich world is at last starting to become aware of its consumption patterns, which need to reduce radically. And the developing world needs to find new ways of developing from those that have existed before.
Then there’s ‘mental health’, a term based on the presumption that conventional normality is good health. Chaos has broken out in people’s lives, and for many people it’s really hard work. Many, including me, have also had to face being very alone. But calling it a ‘mental health crisis’ avoids the main point.
We’re in a rather necessary spiritual crisis, affecting everyone in varying degrees and ways. For some, this has been really tough – the bottom has dropped out of their universe and many people are flailing. It’s all about facing our demons and fears and, as individuals, communities and societies, we all need to face them. Old values, expectations, judgements and preferences are becoming obsolete, and there’s a lot of grasping at straws, blame and escapology going on. This is a transitional inner growth crisis for many, a time of what disaster professionals call ‘epistemic insecurity’ – confusion over what and who to believe.
In the later 2020s, specifically around 2024-2028, we’re coming into an avalanche period, a torrent of events and issues – but I don’t think it will be as blocked and struggly as the 2010s were. There will be pain and also increasing relief – relief arising from a cumulative adjustment to and acceptance of what’s happening. But the pain often comes first and the relief tends to follow. We’re in the pain bit for now.
Conservative forces from the top to the bottom of society are beginning to realise that things are changing anyway – and this applies also to that part of ourselves that prefers our comfortable routines, habits and security. The part that wants to be the exception. The part that says, ‘I’m up for change as long as it doesn’t affect me’.
There’s a rule in geology: the erosive power of a river increases as the square of its volume. That is, when volume of flow increases three times, erosive power increases nine times. That’s what we’ll see in the 2020s: the erosive power of events. The flow and volume of change is increasing, and it’s eroding anything that gets in the way. Whether we like it or not, it’s coming at us.
But the good news is that a flood also clears out the channels and generates energy. The challenge for us all, for individuals, communities and nations, is to get used to living and operating in a far more tumultuous and challenging world.
What is the gift in that? It will make it easier to face the 2030s and 2040s. Because things are not going to slow down.
But there’s an extra issue here. Whenever the world fully accepts change, things will progress faster but it will still take time. Forests take half a century to grow. People need time to adjust and sort things out. Innovations need trialling. Cities take years to redesign. Soil takes time to reconstitute. This means that, even when the big decisions have been made, it will take decades to find out whether it will actually work. By the 2040s this could raise world neurosis levels to a peak – or it could bring a new kind of sanity. This is new territory – we’ve never done this before and we don’t know what will happen. So the decades following 2030ish could be a nail-biting period.
To put a time-perspective on all this, the two big dates of the 21st century are these: 2048 and 2065. The changes we’re in now are operating in a time-frame from 2012 to 2048ish. I won’t go into that now (my book Power Points in Time tells all), but it’s worth flagging up here.
The 2020s are part of the run-up to 2048 – astrologically a Uranus opposition Pluto. The conjunction, the beginning of the cycle, was in 1965-66, and the square, the growth-crisis, was in 2012ish. So 2048 is the climax of all that started in the 1960s. The 1960s were a time of dawning awareness that all was not well on our planet, and that we faced daunting times. Times that we now are in.
2065 I would call the beginning of the start of the future. The time of nail-biting might well be over, and we’ll know the facts of our situation – the crunch-time is likely to have been around 2048, followed by a rather shell-shocked post-crisis period following it, dealing with pressing realities and taking stock. By 2065 I would imagine that, whatever the state of the world, we’ll have a clearer sense of what comes next. It’s a Neptune square Pluto, the crunchpoint of a cycle starting in 1892.
So Covid has upset the apple-cart. The starting gun has been fired. And, to be honest, even though things are hard, do you really want normality restored? Do you really want to go back to the way things were before? It’s strange to say this, but in some respects, since cancer took over my life a year ago, it’s been coming clear that it’s the best thing that could happen to me. But I do also choose to see it that way – not just in my head but in my bones.
Well, that’s what I think anyway. Whether my prognoses resemble the reality to be, we shall see. None of us can presume to know the big answer. That’s quite amazing, really.
The deed is done. I finished writing my book Shining Land. Been writing it since December. So now it will go out to a few readers for checking – I present quite a few radical ideas, and I want to make sure they make sense. It’s all about the ancient sites of West Penwith and ‘megalithic geoengineering’. Phew, so that’s done. Now I can pay more attention to family, friends and people.
After my cancer treatment in November to March I landed up with a lot of fatigue and brain-fog, so in the last six months I haven’t been very functional. I’ve been alive and active for only 6-8 hours each day, with a need to do my daily tasks, cook food and run my house as well as write the book and live a life. All in a slow and doddery way.
I’ve had a lot of trouble with making decisions, complexity and problem-solving, and yet, when I’ve been clear enough to write, my brains have done well. Obviously it concerns different parts of the brain. But one advantage of the fatigue has been that, when I go to bed in the afternoon, lying there in a strange heavy stupour with my leaden body totally flumped, my psyche floats around the subtle worlds in a hypnopompic, dreamlike state, and in that time I’ve mulled sluggishly over things and given each proposition and paragraph far more thought than I’ve done in the ten previous books I’ve written.
It’s strange, writing books. You can’t show anyone until long after it’s finished. It’s hidden away in a computer file, and I can’t hold it, prod it or wave it around. As far as you lot are concerned, I’ve been quiet, seemingly doing nothing. But I’ve been doing lots. It’s now ready – apart from a final review after a few readers have vetted it.
Lockdown hasn’t been a problem. Every time I write a book I go into lockdown, so I’m well practiced. When I did The Only Planet of Choice in 1992 I was locked down for 18 months. The main difference has been that, usually, people think I’m being antisocial. But during Covid I’ve suddenly not been antisocial. Nothing changed for me – it was others’ attitudes that changed! But if ‘normality’ returns, I’ll be antisocial again, haha.
Meanwhile, healthwise I have been improving 5-10% each month. As Victoria, a nurse heroine, warned me back in March, I won’t return to the same place where I was before I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. Back at winter solstice I felt like a 95 year old. Now I feel like an 80 year old – getting younger! But I don’t think I’ll get a lot younger. My body is getting older – I’ve just reached what my old friend Sig Lonegren, the dowser, called the Big-Seven-Oh. He reached it ten years before me.
You ought to see all the supplements and remedies I’m taking. Most of them are capsuled in those funny plasticky capsules, and I don’t want to swallow 15 of those every day. So religiously I break open these dratted things, mix them together, add a dash of top-grade local runny honey, let it soak in, and then I take this superpowered spludge on a teaspoon. I’m no longer on pharmaceuticals, thanks be.
One of the weird things has been that, during my treatment since November, only one doctor has actually touched me – that was a poor registrar who had to stick his finger up my bum to see whether I had prostate cancer (I don’t). It has been ‘bloods’, x-rays, PET scans, CT scans and MRI scans and, sure, they’re amazing. But not a soul has actually listened to my heart, looked at my tongue or touched me. This is modern medicine.
So when I went to John Tillyard, a brilliant chiropractor in Hayle, he actually touched me, and it was amazing! His hands were so firm, and he was so good at what he was doing – he hit me on the spot first time and every time. Three treatments and I was standing and moving so much better. Bless you, John – you’re a good man. Soul-sister Miriam has been giving me remote healings on Zoom too – I am much blessed.
My back will never return to its former strength and straightness – I’ll probably be using sticks for the rest of my life. It’s useful having four legs though. I can stagger around the house without sticks for up to three minutes, and that’s it. Three vertebrae in my lower back collapsed a year ago – that was the first sign of the cancer. My bones have lost substance: I click my back in at least five places when I lie down. You can hear it – it’s quite shocking first time. Bone marrow cancer erodes your bones, and though this has been stopped by the chemo treatment, my bones aren’t what they were.
For astrologers out there, guess what, I’m on a Neptune opposition Saturn right now, and it’s all about bones. Bones that have lost their firmness. I’ve had teeth falling out too. But I’m still here and, despite this, when my energy is up I can walk a mile or two – slowly and dodderily – especially in inspiring places, of which there is no shortage around here.
Thanks be to three amazing ladies. First is Lynne, who cares for my heart, spirits and soul, second is Penny, a fine soul who cleans my house and does tasks, and third is Karen, a Brummie angel who does my shopping each Thursday. I am held in the hands of the Goddess. Also Helen, my homoeopath, who gave me a radioactive lanthanide Curium 1M remedy recently, and that really pulled me together. Oops, was it legal to say that?
The doctors are happy with my cancer – the readings are good – but they think I might have lung cancer. I don’t. When I said this to the specialist I could see her thinking, “Uh-oh, he’s one of those”. She politely called my response ‘conservative’. Then, just this morning, a lung cancer nurse rang me, following a recent CT scan – a really nice chap – to tell me that the suspected lung cancer has not got worse and might even have got a bit better. They’ll test me again in a year. I told him that, all my life, I’ve been something of a healer, especially in my humanitarian work, and this is a case of Healer, heal thyself. “Interesting attitude”, he said. “You might be right”.
I’ve been rather shocked though at the extent to which the NHS hasn’t been caring much for me – and I’m glad I have holistic treatments and practitioners to resort to. But there’s a problem with both doctors and holistic practitioners: they are all specialists, all stuck in silos. It’s a completely non-integrated system, both in the NHS and the holistic sector. No one except Lynne is watching my overall condition. I’ve even had difficulty getting advice and appointments from my GP. When I ring them they take copious notes and… nothing happens.
That’s weird. I understand their situation with Covid, but I’m feeling ignored. But then, that simply means it’s for me to self-manage and do whatever I feel best, and that suits me fine. Kind of. I’d appreciate more knowledge and advice, especially (here comes a pipedream) from someone who understands both pharma and holistic medicine.
So now I’m a seventysomething. I never thought I’d get this far. In my life I’ve had at least ten opportunities to die, and I’m still here! Hello world. I’ll live until my angels decide it’s no longer worth keeping me here, and I get the feeling they have a few more tasks lined up. The book I’ve just written was the first. Since having cancer I’ve moved into a new archetype within – which many might see, for better or worse, as a ‘wise old man’ archetype. I’m becoming a voice calling from the far beyond (well, down’ere near Land’s End, it does feel like that). That’s what ‘Penwith’ means – the end of the beyond.
The ancient name for this Land’s End area is Belerion – the shining land. And it does.
Some time ago, when fire-walking was all the rage, people nagged me to join in and I just wasn’t taken with it. Perhaps they thought I was weak-willed – me, with Mars in Scorpio? No, if you want a test of the will, try cancer. It’ll get you where expensive new age trainings just don’t reach. It’ll confront you with all your fears. It’ll give you the biggest choice you ever made. It’s gloriously unromantic. It’ll truly test your will to live. It will hone your spirit – if, that is, you choose that route. It’ll prepare you for joining the Ancestors. It’s a bizarre kind of Gift of God. I don’t recommend it, but if it comes to you, do your best with it.
I’ve done acid, been with Tibetan Lamas, swamis, shamans, sheikhs and so many wondrous people, I’ve communed with ETs and transdimensional beings, hobnobbed with magnates, hippies, monarchs and Gazans, and cancer is another stage on that enlightenment path. Before any of us came here, we were, after all, warned that it was not going to be easy on Earth. We thought, “That’s okay, I’ll manage it, and besides, I want the chocolate”. And here we are, on this Earth – and you ought to find out about the crimes, injustices and near-slavery that are involved in providing you with that chocolate too.
This is the time and the future is here, now. This is it. Forget returning to normality: too much in this world needs to change and we can’t afford normality – it’s a killer. Normality is eating out the heart of the Mother.
Now that I’ve finished the book, I might muster up some further utterances on the state of the world, as I see it. Might even do some podcasts from stone circles and clifftops, far beyond, with not a surveillance camera in sight. We shall see. One day at a time.
And bless you all for being you. Thanks for reading this.
I keep on falling into eureka-traps. This has been a lifelong blessing and a bane. They usually come late in the evening and, from that moment on, I’m compelled to pursue them. It starts with a brainwave, a prompt to look a things through a certain optic, often to overcome my own resistances too, and then it relentlessly unfolds from there. Currently fuelled by rose congou tea, interspersed with sips of a homoeopathic remedy made of potentised lava from the Hekla volcano in Iceland.
Or perhaps it came when Lynne and I recently visited Bosiliack Barrow, a late-neolithic chambered cairn. That’s a great place for fetching insights. Sometimes it’s as if the spirits of the place almost want to blurt them out, excited that at last they have a receptive ear. Many of my archaeological revelations have originated there, and Lynne seems to ‘get’ stuff too, and she’s always glowing afterwards. I struggled along on my sticks, with Lynne patiently following, to ensure I wouldn’t fall – but having four legs is pretty stable, to be honest, even when the world is wobbling.
Anyway, I’d been resisting this because I somehow knew it would open up a line of work that would proliferate endlessly, and part of me is tired of these eureka moments. I love them too, and it’s my life, but I’m on a major Neptune opposition Saturn transit at present and I’m feeling the weight of it. Feeling the weight of my patterns. Feeling the weight of my back – it hurts continually – and I’m gravitationally compromised.
This new project started actually because I realised there was a gap in my book concerning sacred geometry. I’m not good at it, you see. I’m good at visual pattern recognition but not at numbers – azimuths, angles, proportions, pi and phi ratios. So I was holding back, putting up a prayer that a geometry expert might appear – and they didn’t. Spontaneously, last night, fullmoon as it happened, I sat down, shrugged shoulders and started playing around on the map.
Within two hours I had a load of significant geometric triangles. It was quite a shock, how easily it came. Now I have to measure angles and distances and try to figure out the meaning and significance of all this. The 1% inspiration bit is over and 99% perspiration bit is yet to come. I’ve just started this map and it’s unfinished, an experimental draft map at this stage.
This’ll probably provoke a torrent of e-mails, messages, YouTube videos, most of which I can’t reply to, and requests to make maps of Northumberland or Essex, to which the answer is No, please do it yourself and show me what you come up with!
You see, I might sound vigorous and in good shape, but I’m not. Recently I’ve been labouring, achingly holding myself up, experiencing difficulty looking after my house and cooking, and I get terrible fatigue. My former neighbour Penny has just started helping me though, which is an immense relief. I’m a domesticated Virgo who usually runs a good house, but I can’t keep up now. My bathroom is spotless and she’s attacking the kitchen next.
Never in my life have I expected to be cut down like this. I never knew what fatigue or cancer could be like until I started experiencing them personally. Early on in my cancer treatment I felt I suddenly aged to about 95, and I assumed I’d grow back down again to my current bodily age (70 in September), but it’s hardly happening. Well, perhaps I’m 88 now. I’ve got chemo side-effects to deal with, such as arthritis (aching hips) and neuropathy (feet filled with chilli-pepper, it feels like). I can no longer tell how much I’m young at heart and how much I’m a grumbly old codger.
At least in body. I’m such an incorrigibly positive fucking optimist, and my heart, mind and soul are doing just fine, in a way – if anything, cancer-riddled self-examination has been a gift, an uplift amidst the grinding pain and the threat of early death. But I have my down moments, and recently I’ve been wading around in the underworld, dredging my fears, grinding my stuff and talking to myself too much.
I let it out through the keyboard. Only some of this is visible to you folks – much of it is accumulating in the book I’m writing, hidden away on my computer. It’s not available except for a sample chapter and contents list for publishers. Or it’s longterm projects that emerge gradually, like the Meyn Mamvro archive. I spend endless hours on these things.
I get dual feelings. I love my work yet I’m tired of keyboards. Been a keyboard-slave since about 1964, when I started annoying my mother by using her clackety old mechanical typewriter. By 1971 I started out on the world’s then fourth largest computer: it had a memory of 64k! It was all Fortran IV, punchcards and dot-matrix printouts.
This said, with the last of the money that you people on Facebook kindly donated to help me in my cancer process, I’ve bought a new computer – a laptop called a Toughbook (military grade, no less). I got £350 off the price! My old computer died, after 11 years’ stalwart service in deserts, airports and on Cornish farms. I’ve also bought a studio quality sound recorder (£150 off). At some point podcasts will emerge through it. I used to do radio in the Seventies and Naughties, so I’m no stranger to it.
This is the kind of thing I’m doing with my new life. I can’t travel, hobnob, teach, agitate or organise things, so I’m keyboarding a lot, doing that blessing and bane business. At great length. There’s nothing much else to do – I’ve been locked down since November, when I was diagnosed with cancer. But then, half of me is a hermit, and I live in a lovely place, so I’m okay about that.
And the fool on the hill sees the sun go down, and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round…
One of the banes of astrologers is that we’re always asked, “What does a Mars square Jupiter mean?“. Well, at least that’s better than being required to guess some stranger’s sun sign, as if that’s a test of how good an astrologer we might be, or as if getting it wrong constititutes proof that astrology is a load of bunkum.
Here in these words you’ve had an exposition of what a Neptune opposition Saturn ‘means’ – the kind of issues that can come up. In one sense it’s a time of uplift and in another sense it’s about carrying that weight.
The doctor has suddenly remembered I’m here, and tells me that she thinks something more might be wrong with me. They want to fill me with radioactivity and do a PET scan, in the back of a truck in the car park at Trelliske hospital in Truro. I have strong reservations. About the scan, not the truck.
Staying alive takes on strange twists and turns. But at last it’s raining, and nature is drinking it up. Yesterday we had multiple rainbows – perhaps somewhere in the world a great being was being born.
Amazingly, life continues another day.
Please forgive me for (mostly) not answering e-mails and messages. You see, I’m not as active and capable as most people, and if I spent time chatting I wouldn’t be getting on with what I’m called to do. Like the above crazy map-making.
Today I reached a point where it was down to thinking up the final humdinger of a paragraph for my forthcoming book ‘Shining Land’. It’s nearly there.
The great thing about this book, my eleventh, is that I’ve given a lot of time and consideration to every thought and proposition while lodged in the cosmological cocoon of my bed, looking out over the fields and woods at the jackdaws, swallows and buzzards.
With plenty of timespace to think. The book is all about time, space and consciousness. It’s going to annoy the hell out of some sceptics and rationalists, not least during this triumphal period of all-embracing Science.
Now I must review the whole 100,000 word manuscript again, submit it to two ‘expert readers’ to check through the ideas, compile the online appendices, enter the illustrations and maps into the manuscript, and it’s done. Phew. The book will come out, regardless, in digital format: the main issue is whether it comes out in print (the costliest and most complex option).
Then it’s two months of sitting around, kinda fallow, thumb twiddling, wondering what to do with myself. The creative vacuum creeps up afterwards. It does give time and space for things I ignored before, and for dwelling on nothing in particular.
Writing books is a self-imposed lockdown – most of the time an anti-social activity but now transcovidated into responsible self-isolation and social distancing. I’m doing the same thing as before but not, this time, anti-socially. Apparently. These twists of judgement are always strange for Aspies to get our heads around.
I’ve been on lockdown since mid-November, when diagnosed with myeloma. Approaching six months. So there was little change when Covid slunk in like a voracious Neptunian mist, taking over everyone’s lives and tenuous sense of reality. I just carried on – out of my head on chemotherapy and steroids.
It gets a bit boring, this lockdown, even though I have stuff I can get on with, in my slowly ponderous six-hours-per-day, wiped out, struggling way, stumbling around like a 96 year old. I’ve been on my own quite a lot throughout life and get a bit fed up of myself, my own cooking, my repetitive, stuck Virgo patterns and ossified daily methodologies. Why people want to prolong their lives and achieve immortality beats me. But then, ‘You were a strange little child’, my mother once said, and ‘You’re not like the child I brought up’.
Tomorrow, I am appearing on an Indian social psychologists’ online conference on the overall social effects of Covid, giving them a prescribed ten minutes on the psychodynamics of accelerated social-cultural change. Me, a global health expert, hobnobbing with people bearing doctorates…
This is one of the unexpected outcomes of having cancer. Lots of things have changed. Here’s one. People who want to hear me are now predominantly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, not Europe and America. Growing for years, suddenly it shifted critically, recently. My last book Possibilities 2050 I wrote with them in mind. I made it available for free, so that expense and availability would not be barriers. They can read it on their mobiles, and it uses little bandwidth. Now I’m hearing from really interesting folk in Gambia, Malawi, Uganda, and Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bangladesh, Tuvalu and Cuba. Magic.
What I like most about this is that, if I’m delivering something people really find useful, it draws something out of me. I’m quite accustomed to being part of something that ought to be much bigger than it is, but it’s good having people gladly soaking up this stuff – and making it their own, doing it their way. Fuck the royalties and getting famous – I just want to get on with what I’m here for before I no longer am here.
These people are not emulating the West; they’re overtaking us. They’re the world’s future and the majority are under 30. Many ideas coming from the back-alleys and the underground in the West have become useful to them. They’ve seen the impositional side of us but there are fertile outpourings from the unofficial culture in the West that are invaluable too. Permaculture being one. Talking stick. Herbalism. Astrology. Holism. Homoeopathy. Anything interesting, stimulating and new.
We Westerners need to listen up. Our majority culture has become sclerotic, stuck in a groove, constrained by its vested interests and comfortaable habits. Yet it has much of value. Especially a lot of the things we haven’t given enough attention to. We were too busy making money, or trying to.
We still want to be the leaders, the teachers. The mission to civilise is still alive and well, as is the hypocrisy. No, we’re the minority and being outclassed. Declining without appropriate grace. But most of us are goodguys and mean well – that’s our asset.
It’s time for us to rejoin the human race. Exceptionalism no longer works. Wanting to be the leaders blocks the flow. Lecturing obstructs hearing.
Yet, as a cancer experiencer, I’m so fortunate to be undergoing treatment here in UK. I have access to the best of conventional and holistic medicine, healers and advisers, people praying and reiki-ing me too, and I’m grateful for that.
I’ve offered myself for research and observation, having had some of the best results seen for years. But no, no interest. Oh well, it saves me being poked, prodded and sent to London!
The Management has recently been doing a little fixing. Normal service is unlikely to be resumed. Apologies for the disruption. Please recycle all used containers and clear up your litter after you.