Emergences

So what about dying, then? Living too.

Whatever lifts you up – bumble bee paradise, in this case.

Sometimes a comment spontaneously written in an online discussion can say it in ways it’s difficult to think up most of the time, and this morning I had one of those. I was commenting on a FB post by a fellow Myeloma patient who had just had shocking diagnosis news, and she was reeling from it – her fears were overwhelming her. So I wrote this to her, and it sums up a lot for me, as a cancer patient. Might be useful to a few of you….

You will pass away when your heart and soul feel the need to give up, or when your angels decide to take you out, or when it’s time and it is good and okay. You’ll have your own way of seeing and defining this.

But this kind of idea brings more control back to you, and it places an emphasis on keeping your heart and spirits up, as a primary focus. In this sense there is a perverse gift in cancer: it prompts us to monitor, be aware of and look after ourselves like never before, and to look at some of the more fundamental life questions that previously we avoided. It’s even arguable that some of those avoidances can be seen as a psycho-spiritual cause of cancer.

Without cancer we are nevertheless prompted by life to learn and grow, but with it the stakes and the issues are amplified. One of the big lessons that has come to me since diagnosis has been this: if it lifts me up, I need to do it, and if it weighs me down, I need either not to do it or I need to reassess. Psychological de-burdening.

Amongst other things it is an opportunity to redesign our lives to make them work better, for us and those around us, prompted by the tightened parameters, disabilities, fears and challenges myeloma brings.

It’s still not easy though.

Joe Biden Syndrome

It’s all about the ins and outs of coming out into the world again.

Mayon Cliff Cairn

I haven’t written a blog recently. Some of you might be wondering what’s happening. Well, it’s classic for a cancer patient, and also it’s happening for some in connection with Covid. It’s all about the ins and outs of coming out into the world again.

I’ve been getting busy. Sometimes a bit too busy, and then I collapse. My brains are less befogged than last year and I’m less fatigued, and also there comes a point where I get fed up with resting and intense self-care. One problem is, people start thinking I’m ‘better’ – no, I’m more good and less bad.

Also I have lifelong hyper-proactive patterns and a dose of Joe Biden Syndrome – the knowledge that this is your last chance and you need to dance your last dance before you go. That’s quite a motivator. I can understand the struggles teenagers and young adults go through when they look at the world and think, OMG, what kind of a mess is this that I’m walking into?. Well, at the other end it goes, What kind of a mess am I leaving behind?

So my book is being edited and produced (hopefully for publication in September), and I’ve started doing podcasts, and I’m doing some online talks on astrology, prehistorics and geopolitics, and I’m getting a few more visitors… and thus far I’m managing to keep it together, but I have to work hard on training people to understand I’m not ‘up to speed’ and cannot match their timetables, lists, agendas, complexities and demands, and helping people solve their problems is not as easy as before. Though sometimes magic happens anyway. My memory is poor, my capacity to multitask is near-zero. After 4pm my energy droops a lot – and that’s when many people come online and want to talk.

On the plus side, the effect of a death sentence, chemo treatment and longterm isolation have given certain advantages. I’m seeing things differently, a level deeper. This can be uncomfortable for some, and I’m getting some crit for it. That’s a bit off-putting but it’s part of the game if you stick your head over the parapet.

It sounds terrible to say this but, in a way, I don’t care any more. This is a part of Joe Biden Syndrome. I don’t care so much about what people think or whether my output earns me brownie-points, fame or money, and this frees up loads of things. Though bizarrely, I’m more sensitive and permeable than ever before, and this part of me really cares.

The ‘council space’ at Bosigran Castle

I really appreciate insightful feedback, though when it is reactive, prejudicial and poorly thought through, it sometimes hurts. Often it’s powered by projected frustration. That’s difficult, because I’ve spent my life working to raise the level of people’s understanding, and this small matter seems to have gone backwards in recent years.

Some people might feel my writings can be harsh or scathing. They might be right. This might perhaps be an issue about understanding Aspies though (Greta Thunberg, Elon Musk and Bill Gates can be seen this way too – kinda suspect). But there’s one thing that’s important to me: I never insist on readers believing me or doing what I say. Or if I do, I don’t mean to. I add things to the pool for your consideration and I might be right or wrong, and seeing this and my own process might perhaps help you in your own process. That’s my approach.

So, in the end, I get over crit and am committed to avoiding the censorship of public judgement. Which might even be a worse censorship than the one people usually moan about.

I did write a blog a week ago about ‘weltschmerz‘ – the pain of the world. I got a bit stuck on it though, precisely over this crit. But I’ve kept it and might work it over again. I’ve moved on for now, giving more attention to the G7 summit that’s happening this weekend a few miles away from me, here in Cornwall.

This represents an interesting twist to the geopolitical consciousness work I’ve been doing over the years (with my friends – see below), usually from quite isolated and insulated places. Well, although distance is no object in the innerworlds, this time they’re coming to me, haha!

Actually, I think the real big guy who’s coming to the G7 is Mutti Merkel. One can disagree with things she’s done, but she has done really well – an examplary politician in a difficult political arena, and a sensible and well-informed hand on the tiller. Now she’s retiring, and that’s right too – times move on, and she knows it. Good luck to her. As Mikhael Gorbachev found, politicians and public figures are dispensible, and history eats them for breakfast.

Carn Euny iron age fogou

I’ve been facing some stuff. I found out that my back problem is likely to become a slow physical degeneration – an increasing incapacity to hold myself up. Myeloma slowly eats away at my bones and they’re already rather thinned out. I click my back into place about once every hour or two, and if a stranger hears it they find it a bit frightening! This degeneration issue has been a big thing to confront and accept. It confronts my get-over-it kind of character.

It’s a test of a key philosophy of mine: to look for the gift in all things. That’s what cancer and similar ailments are: a soul-driven test of our psycho-spiritual resilience and openness, a test of our capacity to actually do it, and not just to believe it, or to hope unproductively.

I’m still on chemo but it’s getting milder. The nurse came yesterday to take my bloods and shoot me up with Velcade and Dara, and I took Dex and two other things too, as pills. It’s weird, and Dex gives me stomach issues and a difficult steroid-driven feeling for two days, but the myeloma itself is in retreat and I’m ‘coming back’. The killer will either be toxicity from the stomach problems or bone degeneration – side-effects of myeloma (they vary for different people).

This brings up a further issue and challenge. I have decided to die by decision and when the time is right – or perhaps when my ‘angels’ choose to take me out. They have helped me so much through the cancer process and, in a way, I’m dependent on them, as well as on doctors and other humans, near and far.

I’ve recently made a re-commitment to a certain kind of work I’ve done in the past. It came to me a few weeks ago and gave a new sense of purpose I didn’t know was there. It’s a renewed contract with those ‘angels’ and I guess that, if I get things right, whatever that means, they’ll keep me going until it’s complete. A contract is a two-way agreement, and each party needs to know they have a reasonable chance of fulfilling it.

Hella Point at Tol Pedn Penwith (Gwennap Head)

This re-commitment feels right, but we’re feeling it out before starting. Besides, I need to get Shining Land published and a few other things done and clarified first. That’s my reality, and they have theirs too.

People sometimes ask me whether I believe in God. I say, “No”. Then I say, “In another way, Yes”. Muslims give Allah 99 names and they leave the last one open – good idea. Belief is simply a guideline, a choice of a way to construct our reality, a direction to head in. It’s more a matter of knowing, not believing in, ‘God’. Or, as my old soul-friend Sig Lonegren might say, gnowing. We’re challenged to really gnow. In order to grow, we need to gnow. This is what brings a turning in the deepest seat of consciousness. Believing takes you only a certain distance. And Goddess bless you Sig, because you’re facing these same end-of-life questions.

So that’s where things stand right now, and the story unfolds. I got up at 6am with a sudden urge to write a blog, and now it’s time for breakfast and to take my second dose of Dex. Was I hearing someone out there, in my circle of soul-relatives, wondering what was happening with old Paldywan? I’m still here. And there you are too. Gratitude for that.

Thanks for being with. Love from me. Palden.


Geopolitical innerwork: www.flyingsquad.org.uk
An article about consciousness work, 27 years old and even more relevan today: www.palden.co.uk/consciousness-work.html
Podcasts: www.palden.co.uk/podcasts.html

Pilgrimage

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Jupiter and Saturn have been sailing majestic and low in the sky around midnight. Jupiter is the really bright one – at its brightest right now at the time of the sun’s annual opposition to it – and Saturn is the less bright one about ten moon-widths to the left. During the Jupiter-Pluto-Sun-Saturn period of conjunctions back around January, the whole Covid thing started lifting off, and now we are at a junction point where things could get better or worse, or different for different countries and people. Plus the wider reverberations that arise from all this which, in a way, are more important than Covid itself – there are social quakes coming, as we grasp the full emergent implications of all this.

Later, at winter solstice 2020, we’ll have a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. That’s to say, the process we’re in is going to continue and normality won’t return. Longer term, in a 5-10 year perspective, things are hotting up for major shifts and changes, and we’ve already, since January, seen the starting symptoms of an escalating lanslide of issues that will unfold in the coming decade as things accelerate. This is not just about Covid – which historically is but a catalyst – but it’s about the wider and deeper social-economic-ecological changes afoot.

The issue that drives this, really, is ecological, and the way it is now reaching into human society. Covid is caused by human incursion on nature, and nature is coming back at us. Other things are going on too – just yesterday Lynne and I were down in the field below the farm, and the quietness, the lack of insects on a balmy, warm summer’s day, was noticeable. This is big. And that’s just one thing.

But this ecological starting point then reverberates through the social and economic realms, this time through the agency of Covid, but in future it will be other catalysts. They will be unpredictable even though foreseen – anything from megastorms and droughts to invasive species, extinct species, toxic events, social or political madnesses, or anything. I’ve covered the full range of foreseeable issues in my Possibilities 2050 report. These will impact on us in multifarious and intricate ways, just as Covid has done.

Here I’ve been, locked down in the far beyond, watching. ‘Far beyond’ is the literal meaning of the name ‘Penwith’, where I live. But in another sense I watch from the far beyond, listening closely to things more than people. I watch and listen for the underlying threads, and in my long hours wooning in bed in my fatigued post-chemo stupours, it moves around in my psyche, turning over and, occasionally, out comes a big ‘Aha’. If I had time I would write it down or record it, but my plate is full already, and I’m active and serviceable only 6-8 hours each day.

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This is how you make love with a bronze age menhir

Besides, most of my focus is on finishing the book I’m writing. Home stretch now. I’m being careful with it, trying to make sure everything I write holds up, because I’m saying a lot and it will rattle a few cages. Most of my books are about three books in terms of density of ideas. This book, Shining Land, is both about the ancient sites of West Penwith (which has more per square mile than anywhere in Britain) and it’s also about ‘megalithic geoengineering’ and its relationship with consciousness. I reckon the people of the neolithic and bronze ages knew how to engineer consciousness, how to build it into the mechanisms of their civilisation and how to work with the inner component of nature in ways that we, in coming decades, need to learn more about.

So, I’m making good use of the situation I’m now in – leaving behind some ideas while I’m still here to leave them. Which goes to show, there can be virtues in having cancer – or in anything we customarily regard as adverse. It has been hard over the last month or so: things have been changing but I am not, overall, getting better. I seem to have cracked the myeloma itself, at least for now, but my back and bones are not good, and I have achey, naggy arthritis. At least, I was told it was arthritis, but I am not sure, and no one is giving it attention.

What’s most troubling is that I do not have overall guidance and supervision from any doctor or practitioner who is knowledgeable in both conventional and complementary medicine. Someone to help me understand and assess the whole picture. I have loads of disparate specialists, doctors and practitioners, bless them, each saying their own bit and recommending their own strategies, and some of the things they get excited about are not my most pressing concerns. So I have to think and feel my way through all this very carefully, and I get an interesting conflict sometimes between what I am told and what intuitively I actually feel. Hardly anyone actually touches me, looks in my eyes or listens to my heart – it’s all remote. It’s MRIs, CTs, PETs, or I even have a radionics genius in Canada or another on an E-Lybra machine in Devon.

The paradox is that, throughout life, I’ve had good health, so few doctors and practitioners actually know me. This is tricky because I’m a one-off odd-bod, and I don’t seem to conform to the normal rules of health and medicine. So doctors and healers take a while to figure out how this guy works. I’ve had several instances in recent months where I have healed or responded far faster and easier than was expected. I do seem to have good medicine-buddhas. But I have also paid a high price in after-effects from some of the drugs I’ve imbibed in the last six months. And I’m the sort of person who can’t easily be shoved through the system in the allotted forty minutes.

Tomorrow I’m going to a chiropractor. He knows me from the time before I was diagnosed with cancer, and that’s a great advantage. He’s also very experienced. I’m in such a state skeletally that I’m not sure how much even he can help, but I need to have a new template for my twisted bodily frame to align to. I’m working on my posture and movements but I feel so out of sync that I need re-setting, to have a design or standard to work to. My bones click on an hourly basis, and when I lie down on my back at night (it’s painful at first), I can click myself in four or five places. It’s a relief to do so, but it’s troubling to be so flexible and frail.

So the doctors think my biggest risk is lung cancer, while I think that, if I’m going to kick the bucket anytime soon, it will more likely be from complications arising from broken bones. My bones have been eaten away by the cancer, a blood and bone marrow condition, so I am susceptible to impacts, and I am yet to find out how many such instances I can take before it’s better to check out.

So things are progressing, and also they aren’t progressing, and it’s a labyrinth to stagger though – walking sticks flying as I totter my way through life. Yesterday we made pilgrimage to my favourite place, Carn Les Boel. It was a mile each way and we took it slowly. Pity the poor person who walks with me, but Lynne said yesterday that she’s observing small things in nature that she didn’t give attention to before, because we walk so slowly. This is one of the gifts of doddery old age – you see and bear witness to things others don’t!

I’m not that old – hitting 70 in September – but my body is around 85 and my psyche has had to change to get used to that, to become somewhat like the psyche of a distinctly old man. It’s easy to get annoyed or upset over things I can no longer do, but what’s the point? It just makes life more difficult, for me and for those helping me. The gift here is that being threatened with death makes me very grateful for each day, no matter how low things go. And no one is bombing my house, and a hurricane isn’t on its way: some people have to face stuff like this even when they have cancer, and in this I am lucky. People ask me how I am, and mostly I say, and really mean, “I’m still alive“! Problem is, apart from this, my answer can change hourly, depending on what’s happening right then. Sometimes I’m glowing and sometimes I’m like a lead weight.

palden-carnlesboel-55437Yesterday, at Carn Les Boel, I was glowing. I love looking out over the ocean, and the spirit-beings on the carn are ancient and benign, like old friends, holding me in their upstretched hands. My soul grows and I get stronger in spirit, and this lies at the core of this process. I asked for healing and wholing and offered up my life, to be where I’m most needed and to do what best I can do. I listened to the linguistics of the waves, visited infinity and felt my way round the world, blessing people I know and people I don’t. It was a holy day, and certainly a good change from the rather quiet, shut-in life I’ve been living recently. And God bless Lynne for making this pilgrimage with me – and it’s her pilgrimage too.

Planet Earth is a strange yet beautiful place, and humanity is in such a mess yet so full of promise. I feel so engaged in my heart yet so distant from people and places. I wish I could return to Palestine, to be with old friends there – they are really going through it, both with Covid and with current politics (Palestine’s annexation by Israel and indifferent sabotage by so many countries, including Britain), and their economy is stumbling more than it usually stumbles, and they really don’t deserve this.

palden-carnlesboel-55445I’d love to go to Mali to visit Tinzibitane, the Tuareg village I’ve worked with since 2014. Talking of which, I’m going to try to organise a whip-round to support them soon, so please consider scraping together what you can. In general, the village has been doing well, but Covid has drained their finances. They want to do more to sell their crafts abroad, since tourism in Mali has collapsed. They’re perhaps 70% self-sufficient but when they interact with the wider world they need money. They now have no capital to invest in materials, so I want to try to help them get capitalised so that they can start work on this. More about this soon.

Even here on the farm, far from the madding crowd, there’s a sense of things hotting up around us. The prop planes that take off for the Scilly Isles have been flying in and out. Go out on the roads and the big, black, shiny cars of the English are here. There’s more of a buzzing in the air. But it’s motors, not insects – and one consequence will be fewer birds, like the swallows and bats that swoop around outside my window, who feed on flies.

Bless you all. All will be well. But so much of the secret lies in the way we see things. Life is a problem or life is a gift, and the choice we make about the way we see things is where our free will truly lies – whatever our situation.

Love, Palden

Powers That Be

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Gurnard’s Head, West Penwith, Cornwall

There’s a lot of conspiracy stuff going on right now. In my estimation, some of it is more or less correct, and quite a lot is projection and a rather paranoiac interpretation of life, history and geopolitics.

In a way, conspiracy thinking is useful. Divide and rule. Polarise the debate. Analysis paralysis. Release some useful information, knowing that some people will interpret things extremely, then rubbish them. This is partially deserved because of many conspiratorialists’ deficient sense of historical and political proportion. Shit does happen, yes, but a lot of what looks like shit isn’t really.

Nothing is as black-and-white as we might wish. It’s not just smoke and mirrors: reality is like that, a matter of perception and interpretation – Buddhists, the world’s first psychologists, have been teaching us that for over two millennia.

There’s a selectivity to conspiracy theories: it’s easy to rail against things we hate and resent, but we fail to go the whole way – conspiracy buffs still love their mobile phones, oppress women and believe whites are in charge. Some have a strange way of adopting populist right-wing politics.

I was a victim of conspiracy at age twenty, persecuted as a dissenter and dealer. The masons did it for me and I landed up in trouble, eventually seeking refuge in Sweden. I learned something from that experience: my oppressors lacked true intelligence and they were on the wrong side of history. I felt sad for them.

They are victims of a virus, an emotional-mental virus driven by fear, a narrowness of spirit that believes that self lies at the centre of all things. A fear of the vastness, of ‘God’, of the other inhabitants of the universe.

Here we come to Covid. I’m going to say something strangely controversial: Covid is a great gift. It represents a solution, a breakthrough, a relief, the beginning of a great healing. By saying this I seek not to deny the dead and the suffering (I’m getting my fair share). The best medicine does taste bitter. But Covid is saving us from far more deaths and much more suffering later on.

How so? Covid is accelerating change and bringing forward issues we need to face. We were too busy deluding ourselves, avoiding the big questions. It’s significant that Black Lives Matter is coming up right now – black people are beginning to assume their future role as leaders of humanity, following after the Chinese by the end of this century.

They raise a bigger question on behalf of all of us: is the system here for the people, or are the people here for the system? Thanks to African-derived people for bringing this up: their frustration is sufficient to actually rock the boat.

We’re being saved from a bigger catastrophe. We’re being let down slowly in an incremental series of shocks. Though some are dying and having a hard time, these shocks are saving us from a bigger, potentially terminal, catastrophe. The soul of humanity is in a process of redeeming itself. It’s a shock even to archangels as they watch a world die, and they debate how they might save eight billion hurt, damaged and excarnated souls from a destroyed Earth, who risk infecting the wider universe with their anger, ill-will, corruption and pain.

On the news, as I write, in a shocked tone they are announcing that the UK economy shrank by 20% in April. Well folks, this is a gift. It has long been needed. The economy will have to shrink yet more in order for us to achieve sustainability. People have had a revelation through Covid: a realisation that the lives they lived were not the lives they feel best living and giving to their kids.

Now we shall see who has the guts, the necessary despair, to follow through.

Problem is, there are conspiracies. And some things look like conspiracies but they aren’t. Covid was not caused by conspiring humans – that’s too narrow and reductionist an assessment. But, given that Covid is happening, power-holders indeed are making use of Covid as a way of increasing social control, reinforcing fear, making money and pursuing their agendas, driven by a fear of losing power, of facing their naked truth. But it’s not a neatly simple conspiracy, and there are also rivalries at the top.

Some things look like conspiracies but they are often coincidences, fuckups or groups acting in concert since they share interests – there is an ingrained, conditioned tendency amongst humans to act in self-interest and we’re good at it. Also, conspiracies, even the great Illuminati themselves, even when advised by the greatest of professors, do not have all the answers or exercise their full intelligence, because they are limited by fear. And as white men, their time is ending.

And as an educated, relatively privileged white man, my time is over.

Conspiracies rarely work properly. They can jog things in certain directions to an extent, but look more closely at the main issues that have been labelled as conspiracies in recent decades. Most were screwed up, or circumstances overrode them, or they’ve created unintended consequences. Oil interests did not succeed in the Iraq war. The British empire fell, and badly. PNAC, the Project for a New American Century that devised 9/11, is producing the opposite result longterm to what was intended. Organisational systems are clunky. There are wild cards. And the world system is inherently flawed and self-destructive.

If Covid was indeed thought up by a conspiracy, then they needed to think further. It wasn’t a good plan. They could have done better. The mobile phone and EM conspiracy is far more effective than Covid, though fortuitously Covid has given it a lift. No, if Covid was devised, it was devised by nature and higher powers, as a perfect awakening plan. Shake up the humans, twist their arms, put a spanner in their works – give them a revelation exposing where power really lies.

Besides, are you not part of a conspiracy? If not, why not? People think Big Brother is the only show in town – this is a father/authority complex that obscures clearer vision. No, it is not the only show. History is on the side of the conspiracy that has thus far been suppressed: the people, nature and the ways of the universe. The Unconscious always wins because the Conscious and the Ego are but concepts, complexes. However, they’re strong, and people sincerely believe in them. If in doubt, head for the nearest security – we all do it.

This concerns competing viral thoughtforms. There is the Logic of Destruction and the Logic of Life. We’re all being faced with another layer of a perennial question: which side are we on? The battle for the hearts and minds of humanity is hotting up, and our children and grandchildren have come here for it. There’s more to go.

There’s also a further truth hidden behind this. Life is a movie, a phantasm, a fiction. Everything we have ever experienced passes. There’s light and dark within all of us. Light shines awareness on hidden things, and darkness gives meaning to light.

Both levels are true. This paradox doesn’t make sense, but rationality is a construct, an explanation, not a reality. So, listen more clearly to things than to people. The fear of death that so dominates the Covid crisis arises from a fear of facing a deeper truth: the unavoidable truth that life is like a fart in the Void and we’re all forgotten. Everything that starts comes to an end.

So give thanks – we live in blessed times. The curtains are being opened, stage by stage. The main problem is summed up by philosopher Edmund Burke: for the triumph of evil it is necessary only that good people do nothing. And that the goodness within all of us remains dormant, withheld, concealed unless we let it out.

So yes, be aware of hidden dynamics in our society, of where the power is believed to lie, but get on with your life while you have one.

Follow your truth. Be willing to self-question and re-evaluate. This way, the evolution of humanity is accelerated. This way we avoid disaster. This way, we teach our children well, conveying a lesson they won’t be taught in school. To qualify as humans we need to pass the tests of heart and soul. Pass this, and we qualify for the next stage.

Well, that’s what I believe, at least. With love. Palden

Hang on a minute…

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Being wiped out from cancer like I am is strangely political. Pls let me explain.

You who are ‘healthy’ and ‘normal’ are busy rushing around doing things you ought to be doing, according to your lists and timetables. You’re time-poor and living with guilt. Doing things because you feel you should, ought or have to do them, for this, that or the other reason. It’s really sensible and responsible, that. Or is it?

This is a political issue. How? Because, if you’re busy rushing around, shopping in supermarkets, using the internet and doing so many other things, you’re also busy not doing what you came here to do. You’re living distractedly. You’re busy doing things that go against your own core beliefs.

I’m not recommending you get cancer to be like me and other cancer patients. But the lesson of Covid is that we need to slow down and pare everything down to essentials. We need to be human for each other. Restoring normality is not the solution.

So, pls forgive me for pointing this out, but while I might be unwell, there’s something happening for me that is very healthy. I’ve started being 100% human, and cleaving to my true path as a result. I recommend it! And this is what will change the world.

If there is one single thing that will change the world, it is this: everyone needs to start getting on with what they truly cam here to do, uncompromisingly, without too much hedging. Take risks. Follow your calling. The only efficiency and productivity you really need to worry about is that with which you are pusuing your life purpose. All else is secondary.

I’ve needed to learn this too, and cancer has helped me with it. A key reason why I contracted cancer is that I’ve rushed around for the whole of my life. They were worthy things to do and they created on the whole good outcomes, but I got cancer as a result. Not because I did them, but because of the speed, the manner and the in order to learn this lesson. Please: learn it now, voluntarily, without needing to invoke misfortune.

With love, Paldywan

Back down on the Farm

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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.

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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.

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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.

Coming up for air

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I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My cousin Faith visited recently, bless her, pointing out how my life has become one of super-concentrated uncertainty. It’s funny, when you’re caught up in the intricacies and subjectivities of your own life-bubble, how a simple observation like that really helps see things more clearly.

I’m on cycle five of a planned six cycles of chemo and steroids and am expected to plateau at a stable level when all the intense treatments I’ve been having end in April. My readings are still improving.

At the three-weekly meeting with the haematological specialist, Deborah, I asked whether there would be follow-up drugs and she said No, none at all. That was a surprise, but it now frees me up to design my own myeloma self-management regime, so it feels like a release. But into what? Swimming in a sea of uncertainty, hazard and possibility.

It’s a challenge to maintain a good state of being and spirits. There will be periodic blood checks to make sure my myeloma levels haven’t risen and, if they do, I’ll go back on chemo and steroids if necessary and if it feels right. I hope to delay that through good self-management – and we’ll see how that pans out in real life.

Bone marrow cancer doesn’t go away – you just get minimisation. Myeloma or a related issue will eventually do me in. If I’m one of those unfortunates to catch coronavirus and kick the bucket, then there will be work to do Upstairs with others who die, who are perhaps struggling, unready for death-transition – helping them get their relationship with their soul sorted out. So all is not lost.

But then, every one of us gets done in somehow, sooner or later. So, when Life does you in, do it well! It’s one of the great breakthrough opportunities Life gives us. Screw the workshops, trainings and books – this is for real and it comes for free.

I’ve treated this bone marrow cancer as a spiritual challenge, but it’s very much a human one too. I’ve been digging around in all the fears I seem to have, and they’ve been digging me out too – there will be more.

Mercifully, I don’t get depressed. When I was young I had terrible dark depressions until I realised, during an inner journey, that there’s always a lump of gold down there in the dark depths. I met the dragon guarding the treasure, knowing it would annihilate me if I were afraid. Yet somehow my depressions had made me more fearless, making me give up on many customary defences and attachments since they seemed to do no good. Suddenly I saw depression as an asset. Since then, things have been different: depressions have transformed into times of interiority where I go quiet – unsociable and shut off to some – and it’s often a creativity-cooking period. A time for meta-processing, preparing the ground for breakthrough.

This chemo-induced tunnel I’ve been drifting through recently has been weird and difficult. I would have been depressed if I were inclined that way. Fatigue, spaced-outness, a kind of dementia, feeling I was getting nowhere, feeling of lack of progress and perspective… but the end is now coming into sight. When this intense phase of chemo ends in April or May I shall move back down to Cornwall.

And start again. Again. Much of my preceding life has been zeroed, and now I need to find a new level that works, for whatever time I have left. A life-redesign.

Guess, what, after that down period, my body has made a breakthrough. I can now stand unsupported for a longer time and walk short distances. It’s like going back to toddlerhood – the moment when you start standing up. It’s not a gradual process – it’s a sudden overnight activation of circuitry that allows you to do all the necessaries to make you stand and walk. It’s suddenly there, as if you’d always been doing it.

Talking of uncertainty, I’ve been thrown into it and now I’m watching the world getting pushed that way too. Despite the best efforts of those addicted to the status quo and striving to preserve it, things are slipping out of control, and this is symbolised by the coronavirus outbreak. We’re helpless whatever we throw at it, in the hands of fate. We actually need this – collectively at least. Blessings to those individuals, particularly doctors, nurses and helpers, who pass away – they make this sacrifice for us all, though it is meaningful only if we actually change and learn lessons.

We need this loss of control. There’s too much feigned certainty in our world and it’s a defence mechanism, a wall of groupthink denial. It needs to melt and break up faster than the icecaps of the Arctic and Antarctic. We need to lose our fear: and the fear epidemic is growing larger than the coronaviral epidemic. Fear, guilt and shame: in these three big blockers of global progress, the personal and the collective interlock through groupthink.

But we humans… we have a determined need to stage a “Final Clearance Sale – Everything Must Go!” orgy. It’s a perverse unconscious wish for what Mahatma Gandhi called satyagraha, truth force, the power of consequence, of inevitably, unavoidably changing facts. Something to stop us in our tracks, giving us an epiphany opportunity. To get through the 21st Century, we need this to go viral. It needs to rock the hearts and souls of billions, at the same time and with one underlying, shared thought and priority. That’s how the world will change.

Some of us have worked with this question for decades and we haven’t yet pulled it off. How it will happen has, in the last decade, looked more difficult than it did in, say, the late 1960s or around 1989-93. Another window opens in the later 2020s, driven largely by a younger generation – whom my generation would be well advised either to assist or to get out of the way of. We oldies have to get used to less comfort. We don’t actually need chocolate and holidays in Tenerife to be happy.

The astrological conditions of the late 2020 (a mutual sextile of Uranus in Gemini, Neptune in Aries and Pluto in Aquarius) could be given the description ‘florescence‘, a flowering of ideas whose time has really come and an overdue rising to the surface of what was underneath. The past suddenly becomes visibly obsolete. This could go either way – toward social control or mass-empowerment – but there’s a window of opening soon.

It’s getting rehearsed right now with coronavirus: the issue here is firm, appropriate, good governance and leadership under conditions of duress, and the key issue is public trust, discipline and intelligent behaviour. Accountability applies in every direction – we must give leaders the power they need while we, the human crowd, retain the power to determine key issues. But we must do it wisely, pulling power back also from extremists, spoilers, corrupters, fighters and advantage-takers. Public wisdom is the big question.

It’s rather like that toddler standing up for the first time, as if it were a habit that always had been there. It will be like that. We saw it in the Velvet and the Arab revolutions – remarkable acts of crowd bravery, discipline and good behaviour. It was damaged and corrupted only by the tear gas and bullets of the authorities – and this can be stopped only when satyagraha, the truth-force of what is really happening, overwhelms the habit of repression.

Dare I say a politically unwelcome truth, we have a well-habitualised addiction to being repressed – the threat of loss of this addiction gives us our fear, the fear of being unable to pay our bills and so being exiled from normality and security, all alone, shunned, helpless and wrong, a sinner who failed.

It’s in those darkest times that the buildup of truth-force happens – and that’s the meaning of our time. The Trumps, the conservatives, the warmongers, the toxic males and rampant capitalists have won. But they haven’t. They stand on precarious ground. It’s in the balance, right now. Something is building up.

When I was young, I made a vow that I’d do my best to help bring the world to an irreversible tipping-point of change in my lifetime – only then would I feel ‘mission accomplished’ and the release it brings. Since around 2000, growing older and seeing how the world wasn’t really, fully changing, I let go of this, transferring my efforts to work that might bear fruit posthumously.

But while I’ve recently been facing cancer a glimmer of hope has revived in my heart. It gives reason to stay alive. I want to see it and contribute to it. An ageing old crock of a dissident can do it just as well as a youngster. Come brothers and sisters throughout the land, the times they are a-changing.

An old friend and soul-sister, Sian, is taking me home to Cornwall next weekend for nine days, on a reality-testing mission to see how well I cope on the farm. Lynne can have a break from me. Sian and I have worked together for over 20 years in a tight group called the Flying Squad, doing ‘world work’ – consciousness work and group process to work with the underlying issues behind world events. We’ve been through a lot together, and her offer to take me home and through a reality-initiation is a magic initiative.

That’s what happens next. In gradual jumps, I’m coming back to life, returning from the bardo.

Thank you all so much, who have sent me healing and good vibes to help me on my way. I really appreciate that. Thanks also to Tomten the cat, who has slept dedicatedly on my bed, at times lying on my most painful parts and acting as an amazing pain reliever. Thanks to the amazing nurses and doctors in Torbay – remarkable people working within a very complex and rather screwed up health system.

Above all, thanks to Lynne, who has busted a gut for me, borne a heavy load and worn herself out looking after me. That’s amazing. She has been a star. Something like that can never be repaid. There’s an enormous life-lesson in that, for both of us.

With love, Paldywan.

Another Fullmoon

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It was the nurse Victoria who delivered a valuable truth. When I asked the doctor about my prospects – and whether and when I’ll get my brains back – he fudged. But Victoria, sitting behind him, came in to say I shall return to a new level and it will be different, and I must accept this. It will take a few months after completing chemotherapy for my brains to return, and they won’t return to what they were before.

I’ve been getting a secondary wave of realisation that my life has really, really changed – and the extent to which this is so. It has brought a sense of loss, but something else has been coming up in its place. I’ve made a decision. I’m taking life in my hands, and I’m going to take on a self-management strategy rather than have a stem cell transplant – the default treatment that seems to work for many people, mainly younger than me.

In my own case, a strong intuition tells me a transplant will either not work or it will bring no advantage. After such a transplant – where they take stem cells from your bone marrow, clean them and pump them back in – it also involves 3-6 months of dependency on relatively intensive care to get over it. In many cases it gives some years of remission. In my case I don’t get the feeling I shall have that payoff. Some people just get six months, and some people die from the procedure. Besides, I can’t realistically manage up to six months of dependency on care – I want to get on with life to the extent that I can.

So I’m choosing another route, an integrative medical route that is partially medical and partially holistic. This has its risks, but so does anything, and it seems to me I can do at least just as well with it as with a transplant. It will be a challenge to monitor and look after myself, drawing healing through my soul, and to be willing to go back on chemo and steroids if necessary.

Few people take this choice voluntarily. Most people take a self-management route only if their condition prevents them from having the transplant.

I have between one and ten years to live, I guess. I want to die well, whenever and however that happens. I’ll stay around until my useful life is done – and then I shall go in grace, inshallah, if life permits this! Since shit also happens. But I think my chances of doing this are greater if I take life in my hands, and it will be my own choice and responsibility.

I shall not be returning to where I was before. For both Lynne and I, my contracting bone marrow cancer was not part of our plan, but it has happened anyway. Facts have overruled everything else. To some extent this is harder on Lynne than on me – it’s really hard being a voluntary carer and there is little support for them.

But I now have a new life: it brings new possibilities amongst the constraints I’m served with. Not least the threat of death, of accepting the Great Unknown like I’ve ever accepted it before. But that opens up possibilities. The edginess of mortality sharpens life’s issues, making every moment a bit more poignant.

Life is a preparation for the moment of our passing.

This said, I’m becoming a bit more capable every few weeks. It’s a long, slow process. My back still cannot support me for more than a minute – enough time to get an item of clothing over my head before I need to hold myself up again! It’s amazing how an experience like this renders small issues, such as going to the toilet, into a big event. It has made me feel grateful for small things – a biscuit, a walk on the moors, a close time with Lynne, a phone chat with my son or hearing about what’s happening with my faraway daughters and their families.

My readings are good. I’m not sure exactly what these mean, but my light-chain readings have gone from 2,000 to 350 to 134 to 103, and my paraproteins have gone from 13 to 7 to 4.9. So in haematological terms, I’m doing well. But the hospital is tending to ignore the other aspect of my condition, physical disablement – this side-effect of myeloma derives from the collapse of two lower-back vertebrae. Unless stopped, myeloma eats up your bones, and this is what has happened. Luckily, I have a really good cranial osteopath, Simon, who is helping me with my back.

I’ve been learning about fatigue. I just can’t manage sometimes to follow through on a conversation. I can shower myself but drying and clothing myself is a step too far. I have new limits. I get totally worn out. There comes a point where I just zone out with exhaustion, having crossed that limit. There’s nothing much I can do about it. It’s a big lesson in acceptance.

My goal, to be able to walk to my favourite power-point, Carn Les Boel, over three miles of rough though inspiring clifftops, might never be achieved, but at least I have a goal to aim for. It’s a place where, as the Yaqui sorcerer Don Juan once said, I could dance my last dance, with the ancient spirits and the Atlantic winds as my witness. But I’ve been there enough times to be able to dance that dance by inner visualisation. I’m still determined to get there though.

It’s funny how, in some respects, I learned everything I need to know in my formative young-adult years as a young hippy and student revolutionary, aged 16-23ish, reading books like Carlos Castaneda’s about Don Juan, forming profound values and making life-decisions that have enacted themselves ever since in the karmic threads of my life.

Everything that has happened since then has simply illustrated the point, testing my capacity to integrate the lessons I learned – on acid trips, particularly – and to manifest those learnings in real, workable terms. Life has been a series of clarifications of lessons learned then, which have remained generally true over the spread of the decades. So do we really learn much as life goes on? Well, yes and no.

I’ve succeeded in some things and not in others – and this is what life on Earth is about. It’s a place to manifest our dreams, knowing that only some will be permitted. We as souls came here to learn such lessons and to make a contribution on the basis of what we have become. I think it was Jefferson who said, ‘it’s not what you get for doing it, it’s what you become by doing it’.

Isn’t it an amazing planetary situation we find ourselves in? Life is a predicament, yet a path of light leads through its intricacies. We’re challenged to stay true to the indwelling spirit within. Falling asleep, the default human pattern in our time, is so easy. But in the end it is the difficult path, a path of self-destruction.

As the 18th Century philosopher Edmund Burke once said, ‘For the triumph of evil it is necessary only that good people do nothing’. This sums up our global situation today. The world is sleepwalking into a big crunch of its own making. A great awakening is due. It has taken longer than my friends and I foresaw fifty years ago. And what and when is ‘too late’?

I’m thankful for the gift that cancer has given. The looming challenge of death sharpens life’s contrasts, offering an opportunity live a bit more fully. My relative disability presents a challenge but it’s doable, and I still hope I’ll be able to walk reasonably freely sometime soon. This will enable me to go home to Cornwall, and I’m so much looking forward to that.

It’s time to go – my energy is flagging, even though I’m writing this in bed. Bless you. Thanks for reading. See you again.

But then, who knows? Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

Your friend, Paldywan.

Nearly Went

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I did wonder whether I would make it through the night. In the 1990s I was editor for a publisher called Gateway Books, and we did a book called Today is a Good Day to Die. In the middle of the night, struggling for breath, it felt a bit like that. If I really had to go, this would be a good night to do it. But then, in the deep dark of night, sometimes it feels like that.

I had caught one of the throaty infections that are going around at present. With my immune system suppressed, as a necessary part of my cancer treatment, such an infection could kill me.

During the week I had been labouring. My spirits had been subsiding. Indistinct feelings, hovering between hope and despair, were bugging me. I had been looking ahead to the possible years to come where keeping my spirits up, no matter what, would be a key issue. If I felt bad or were faced with too much adversity, my health could deteriorate rapidly.

I was concerned about money, going back home to Cornwall, care and support issues… and one big, inevitable question. What kind of plans can I make? “Take it one day at a time”. Well, yes, but people and authorities want plans and timetables. When can they visit, when can I do an astrological session, can I take them on an ancient site tour next September? Um, the answer is, I really do not know!

In the morning, when Lynne came in, she was really worried. I was ‘out of it’, wheezing for breath and a shadow of my former self. Poor Lynne – I’m putting her through such a lot. She called the hospital. Anticipating possible sepsis, they called an ambulance. Bring him in. Quick.

The ambulance guys were great. They exuded competence and calm. One of the paramedics was in training, and I was impressed even with him. They listened to my lungs, took blood pressure, asked questions, tapped on their rather amazing mobile computer… Then the main paramedic decided it would be safer, given the infections that are rife right now, for me to stay at home rather than to go to hospital. Indeed, that made sense, but it was a bizarre truth too. There I was, ready to get whisked off to Torbay hospital with blue lights flashing, dressed in my Arabic jalabya and slippers, and suddenly I was back in bed again!

I was prescribed antibiotics, which Lynne later got from the local pharmacy. I don’t like antibiotics. But they are an integral part of the cancer treatment, counteracting the immuno-suppressant chemo and steroids. It’s a brutal system of medicine, but this is what was available when I was diagnosed, back in November. There was no holistic GP or hospital to turn to.

This sad fact goes back to the 1970s, when wiser heads could have adopted an integrated medicine approach to healthcare rather than suppressing complementary medicine and denying it facilities and funding. Had they done so then, we might not have the health and social care crisis we’re having now. It concerns money, politics and social control.

A holistic approach to myeloma would interest me but, in my current condition, I’d need proper supervision from someone who really knows their stuff. I’d need to pay lots for it and I’d need an emergency fallback system, as was needed yesterday. Also, if it involved fasting, forget it, because I’m already down to 60kg (9.5 stone) – there isn’t much of me left to detox! The only person I’ve found thus far who has specific knowledge of bone marrow cancer is Chris, a homoeopath who also has myeloma. But he’s going through the mill too, poor chap. Meanwhile, being treated remotely online without examination by someone in Oregon or Germany doesn’t quite give me confidence.

The paramedics left, and there I was, back in bed, with the fullmoon about to rise behind the hill outside the window. Quite a humdinger fullmoon lining up with Saturn, Pluto and Mercury for a hard-facts, gear-grinding, seismic few days of intensity that are part of the larger Saturn-Pluto conjunction happening at present. Not an easy time – except perhaps for viruses and their propagation needs.

I had a privileged glimpse into the dying process last night. When you approach the moment of death, the world narrows down as if like a funnel to squeeze through, and all the ten thousand things we normally concern ourselves with evaporate into irrelevance. The issue simply becomes taking your next breath. That is, until that ends too. You step through, over the threshold. Suddenly, a big, wide space appears – light-filled if you choose to see it that way. There can be feelings of relief and release.

It’s easier than you think and it’s important not to struggle against it. I know this because, when I was 24 I had a near-death experience. I went to the Pearly Gates and the Guardian told me, “Sorry, not your time yet”, but he took my friend Mike. So I came back, minus most of my childhood memory. I had been unconscious for nine days.

Life is precarious for the best of us, but cancer has brought me closer to the edge. I’m in a myeloma Facebook group where new entrants join, saying they were diagnosed just last week. But also people leave. Their carer comes online to announce that, sadly, their ward died two days ago, so they will now leave the group. It must be one of the more profound Facebook groups around. The solidarity is immense.

Yay, I’m still here! I’m more ‘with it’ today. Lynne was able to leave me alone (with tea and flapjacks) in order to go out shopping – and I hope she finds a friend to hang out with. She is so good to me, looking after me so caringly and tolerating me. It takes its toll on her. A sign at the hospital says that unpaid carers like her save the government £18,000 per year. Well, that’s good. But she is getting zero support herself for doing so. If she pulled out, the price-tag for professional carers and other issues would sky-rocket.

More another time, inshallah. ‘Inshallah’ is a useful word. In secular English it means ‘with luck’. In Arabiyya, the Middle East, it means ‘if it is the will of God’, and whenever they make a statement about anything, they tack the word onto the end of the sentence. It’s a statement of realism. It acknowledges the role of the Great Unknown in our lives.

God bless you all. Still your friend, still here. Palden.