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

Willful Ignorance

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The Church of the Nativity and the Omar Mosque, Bethlehem, Palestine.

Not many things make me angry, but some do. Working with conflict has, strangely, helped me come to peace over many things, mainly by forcing me to face facts.

And anger transforms. I’ve got a deeply smouldering Mars-in-Scorpio righteous kind of anger. I get steamed up over indifference, mindless groupthink-compliance and willful ignorance – sadly flourishing syndromes in our day. Mercifully, society’s covidisation process is seemingly beginning to change things.

Groupthink indifference gives rise to all sorts of situations. Here’s one. It’s the very British ‘perhaps you should…‘ hyper-suggestion syndrome. It appears helpful but actually it is obstructive, a discreet withholding strategy. I get roughly five requests for financial help every week, mainly from Asia and Africa but even from Britain. These sincere requests come from people who genuinely are hungry or destitute, right now, and feeling it. Many of them don’t deserve to be in this situation – they were caught on the hop.

In many countries the lockdown is weighing heavily on people lower down the pile who, in turn, battle with their self-esteem and dignity over asking for support. When you’re hungry, patience is not easy and the end of your life lurks before you like a stealthy ghost that’s coming to take you away.

I have cancer and sit in the needy and vulnerable group that everyone makes so much fuss about. And, in the default Western way, my friends, who do genuinely care for me, recommend me to pull back from helping people and to ‘look after number one’. Well, yes, I agree. This isn’t news to me!

But there’s a problem. If I step down, few step up to take over. The consequences are systemic. It means that a person like me unwittingly takes on a responsibility: the burden of consigning a person to possible death by saying ‘No’ to them. Because I’m busy ‘looking after number one’ and doing what most people do. The burden doesn’t go away by ignoring it.

And, a footnote. I’m not so hot at fixing money, but I do always try to assist a person magically, if I can. In many cases it’s a matter of helping them overcome fear, or fixing them a good contact, or helping them go through an inner change that unlocks solutions, or dropping them a quick tenner for some food. It’s necessary to do something – not just to turn away. I’m much better at magic solutions than fixing funds. But it does require sticking with people in spirit, praying for their souls, giving them full attention, standing in their flipflops. In some respects, such solidarity of the soul can be a greater boost than money.

Server syndrome has subtle ways of presenting itself. In Syria in 2013 I had one of my premonitions, waking up in the night with a feeling that a neighbouring village was in danger. I reported this and was told, “No chance – that village is safe – don’t worry“. I raised it again next evening, getting the same response. So I did my polite Englishman bit and went quiet. Next week, back in Jordan, I heard that around 100 people were killed in a regime attack on the village.

It was the biggest humanitarian failure of my life. Yes, I know, everyone will say, “It wasn’t your responsibility – don’t take it on yourself“. True. In a way.

But if I had made more noise and fuss, those people would probably be alive today. I landed up an inadvertent killer. We do this. We commit crimes against humanity through simple omission.

Even in the pursuit of good intention, things can fuck up. Here’s another issue that sets me smouldering. In Bethlehem, where I’ve spent a lot of time, the world’s Christian churches have been rescuing Palestinian Christians. I would not begrudge a Christian the right and need to move to USA, Sweden, Germany or Chile (their main destinations) and I completely understand their reasons for leaving. They want to get a life!

But this has consequences. Bethlehem is increasingly binary-polarised. A century ago it had three faiths and now it has two, Judaism and Islam, with a wall between them. This is fatal to basic peacebuilding. Bethlehem’s Muslims are lovely, hospitable people, and they don’t want the Christians to go either. The Muslims keep the Christmas Pilgrimage going, not only to swell Christians’ numbers and keep Bethlehem on the map, but also because Jesus is a prophet of Islam.

But in all their intended goodness in rescuing Christians, the churches are sabotaging Palestine and the multifaith, multi-ethnic nature of the Middle East. The Israelis exploit this as part of their longterm takeover strategy. Europeans and Americans aid and abet it, quietly supporting the Israelis partially out of WW2 guilt, partially to control the oil-soaked, geostrategic Middle East, partially to keep trouble and refugees at arm’s length, and partially to create a market for armaments.

I really think the Christian churches should look long and hard at their part in this. This said, I support and admire the brave and radical work of a small number of activist Christians – Italians, Irish, Basques and Greeks particularly – who go to Palestine to rebuild demolished houses, accompany women and children past aggressive settlers, minister to refugees, help on farms and run services for the needy.

This is not a blame game. It’s a serious collective issue that we all need to own up to and change. We avoid facing such moral dilemmas by ‘looking after number one’.

As it happens, I do reject most appeals for money support. It’s a fact of the game and the philanthropist’s nightmare – we have to say ‘No‘ 90% of the time. Why? Because money and energy are finite and everything always takes twice as much and twice as long as first reckoned. You can’t just scatter funding and support everywhichway. Aid is karmic and, to create positive outcomes, everything must be carefully engineered and monitored.

I learned this from Richard Branson in the early 1990s. I asked him for funding for the Hundredth Monkey Project. He wrote back, saying “Looks interesting. Do it. No time. Good luck“. Just like that. It said it all. And I did find a way forward, utilising an algorithm called going forward in faith.

But the main problem here is that giving, sharing and helping are done by insufficient people insufficiently. So it falls on those who have large dollops of the necessary empathic foolishness to carry the world’s load, sometimes at risk of criticism, jail, bullets or, at minimum, continual admonitions to ‘be sensible’.

The big paradox here is that the best way to pursue self-interest is to practice altruism. But for the energy to circulate, everyone must do it.

This is why we have extremes of wealth and poverty on our home planet. It’s societal, national and global, not just personal. It’s ‘one planet, different worlds’. In Britain, even benefits claimants are in the world’s wealthiest 30% (on GDP terms).

The power lies mainly with the affluent: a country like Britain needs to reduce its consumption by a whole 60% to achieve some sort of sustainability. But the drift of Covid events is suggesting that we relatively rich gits are likely to make this change more by necessity than by choice. Unwise, but that’s the way it goes here on Earth.

In the end, such a reduction of consumption will properly be achieved not by regulation and decree but by a psycho-emotional transformation across society. It’s a matter of the heart, and how to catalyse such a change has vexed progressives for centuries.

Reduction of the desperate need to consume. Reduction of the need to cushion our pain through avocados, ice creams and indifference. Discovery that a simpler life brings a smile to our faces and a dawning relief in our hearts. Revelation that things will work out okay.

To achieve this, we need to share. That’s what lies before us. The agenda concerns cooperation and sharing as a pragmatic response to evolving events.

Greetings and love from The Lookout.

Paldywan

Rejoice

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I managed to walk about 500 metres on Sunday. We drove up on Dartmoor on a bright, cold day and I staggered along over the close-cropped grass with my walking frame. I didn’t expect to reach my goal – a gateway over the field – but I got there, and back too. That was a great achievement!

It’s funny how a susceptible and weak state like mine can produce a sense of immense gratitude for small things. Afterwards, Lynne and I sat in the car with tea and blueberry biscuits and I was happy to be alive – though my back was aching and I was thoroughly shagged out. This morning, sharp stomach pains brought up leaking tears of vulnerability and, grasping Lynne’s hand, I felt so grateful for her presence at that moment. It must be worrying for her to see me in this state.

At present, as far as ‘getting better’ is concerned, it’s ‘mixed signals’. I’m in a long tunnel, experiencing complications and drug side-effects. ‘Perseverance furthers’. Only ten days ago I was struggling to stay alive, with an infection. As part of the cancer treatment my immunity is by necessity reduced, and one kind of generosity I don’t want is free donations of infections! Especially from the lax teenagers living in and visiting this house, who see the quarantine restrictions placed on them as an infringement of their rights and freedoms.

On the other hand, my medical results are good. Para-protein levels, 40 two months ago, are now down to 7, and light chain readings, 2,000 two months ago, sank first to 350 and now to 134. Don’t ask me what those terms mean, but it’s encouraging. The aim is to stabilise as close to zero as possible.

The cancer specialist I’m with said something interesting: the average family doctor meets up with only two or three cases of bone marrow cancer in their whole career, so they can fail to diagnose it. A week ago, when visiting hospital, in the corridor I saw the Indian doctor who had been called in by a junior doctor when I was first taken into A&E in November. He had stood there looking at me thoughtfully, then saying “Test his blood for myeloma”. This was an act of inspired intuition, considering that my main symptom was a lower back injury. When we met in the corridor last week I thanked him for that. Good man: he had zeroed in on a rare condition that wasn’t easy to spot.

After stabilisation comes another phase. I’m inclined not to go for a stem cell transplant, the standard procedure for most myeloma patients, though I’m not fixed on that yet. It doesn’t feel right, and I trust my intuitions. I don’t get the feeling that the price – a few months of debilitation and sickness – will yield the benefits some people get from a stem cell transplant – a form of remission that, for younger people at least, can last a few years. One successful transplant graduate on our myeloma discussion group said he enjoyed not having to take endless pills after his transplant and this indeed is an incentive, but I still don’t feel quite right about it.

Bypassing the transplant means taking on a challenge to monitor myself and maintain a good condition, with the chance that I might have to return to bouts of chemo and steroids if things worsen. It’s the low-points that are crucial. However, my advantage is that I’m starting from a different starting place from many cancer patients – I’ve had a different life and I haven’t fought against myself as much as many people do.

paldenShipleyBridge-45573Sure, I’ve beaten myself up with fear, guilt and shame in my own way, but generally I’ve learned and moved forward from there, whatever my resistances. This does pay off. Yet I’ve still been hard on myself, workaholicky and living intensely, and now I have bone marrow cancer.

Radiation exposure (nuclear and mobile phones) seems to be a key cause in my case, but there will surely be deeper roots to it. It’s also a matter of how we choose to see things: is this cancer something wrong with me, arising from lifestyle or toxicity issues, or has my soul given me a late-life gift by forcing me into a fundamental spiritual and emotional initiation? The best answer is probably both, and it’s what you make of it that matters.

In my life I’ve been close to death a number of times, in illness or in risky situations in conflict zones. Each time, coming to rapid acceptance of the full situation has turned something around, deep inside. It has allowed my will-to-live to take charge if I am ill or, if I’ve been in a dangerous situation, to help me stay calm and simply get out of danger. These edge-treading experiences have helped me deal with my current tenuous situation and I’m grateful for that.

It’s remarkable how life prepares us in advance for challenges it brings us later on – as if it knows something. As if the past, present and future are not as linear and sequential as we like to think. “Spirit has a plan“, my old humanitarian friend Pam Perry used to say, “but the conundrum is seeing it“.

In choosing to have no transplant – in which they draw stem cells from me, clean them of cancer and then pump them back in to stimulate a revival of the blood and bone marrow – I’ll be taking on a challenge to maintain health and spirits. I’m not 100% there yet in terms of commitment to this path, but that’s the way I’m going unless persuaded otherwise. I must get myself totally behind this strategy if I want it to work.

There need to be good motivational reasons for staying alive too. This process has already started. I’m writing a book about the ancient sites of West Cornwall, where I live. I’m suggesting that the subtle energy engineering the people of the neolithic and bronze ages engaged in, building quoits, stone circles, standing stones, barrows and sacred enclosures, had a corrective effect on the land, climate and themselves that we need to learn about today. These ideas aren’t entirely new but I’m taking them much further. There will be opposition, yet I feel it’s necessary to present the evidence and state these ideas without hedging, in the hope of jogging the discussion forward.

So this is stage one of a new life-strategy. The next quandary concerns my humanitarian work and the extent to which it can continue. Much of it is done online nowadays but there can be intense moments, worries, costs and issues nonetheless. I miss friends in Palestine and would love to visit the Tuareg village in Mali that I’ve worked with, but such travel might be beyond me now. I might just have to come to terms with this. But I’m open to surprises.

Big ideas, insights galore, loads of pills and a good dose of back pain – a strange combination. Slowly getting stronger, I’m shocked at the extent to which my muscles have shrunk and my body is frail. When I was 15-20 years old I was an ace mountaineer and cross-country runner! Was that in another life? We think of our existence as a continuity, as one life stretching between physical birth and death, but perhaps it is not. I could count at least five lives since I was born back in 1950. The life I have now is so different even from just a year ago when I could still roam the cliffs of Cornwall – something no longer on the agenda.

Rejoice, rejoice, we have no choice but to carry on…” sang CSNY decades ago. Just gotta keep going. That is the way of things. Treat each day as if it’s the first and last day of your life‘ – I used to try so hard to observe this maxim, but now it’s becoming easier!

Love from me, tapping on my laptop here in bed… Palden.

Knowing

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That ‘little town of Bethlehem’, today. There is room at the inn for you to go visit it.

It’s funny how we know things.

A few people have remarked how Lynne and I have been comparatively unfazed by the discovery, just one month ago, that I have bone marrow cancer. Well, both of us indeed were fazed and deeply shocked – this was not on our roadmap – but, in another way, neither was it a total surprise.

The first concrete symptoms came up in late August when I cracked my back while gardening. I went to an osteopath and this helped, but soon I deteriorated. A soul-sister, Miriam, a psychic surgeon, successfully sorted me out, and this lasted some days and then I got even worse. Then Simon, a cranial osteopath, helped a lot, but there came a point where, perceptively, he said that something more was wrong than he could fix. I went to hospital for tests and that’s when the diagnosis eventually came.

But we knew. The first signs were back in January 2019. I was labouring, struggling, melancholic and lost. Nothing specific was wrong except my money situation, but my spirits and inner resilience were losing ground. With an ominous feeling of dread, I felt unable to lift myself out of a mud-bound feeling of stuckness – sandbanked though not quite on the rocks. I was going nowhere except down.

By May 2019 things got worse: I had an increasingly sinking feeling – one of those where, the more you try to raise yourself up, the more you seem to sink back into a hole. I live on hope and have considerable resilience, but this was getting at me in a deep place.

There’s more. With my prehistoric research, I knew I had to assemble more evidence. This detailed, meticulous work just had to be done before I could progress with drawing conclusions from the research. From May to August I slogged away on mapping the ancient sites of West Cornwall. I was driven, doing long hours. I did get it finished – just one week before I damaged my back. Something in me had known that, if I didn’t get the work done, it wouldn’t get done. I didn’t know why – I just knew. It was a relief to complete it.

When the cancer diagnosis eventually came in November, I was deeply shocked and yet, in another way, relieved. Relieved because, suddenly, I knew at last what the problem was. The cancer had been developing for some time, unbeknownst to me – and yet somehow I knew this.

There’s a lesson to draw from this. We modern, socialised, educated Westerners have had the knowingness drilled out of us. We override our instincts and intuitions with reasons, rationales, analyses, plans, excuses and science. We do what we’re told, for the reasons we’re given, even when we know it’s better to do otherwise. We do this even when giving birth to our chidren, even when it hurts, even when it harms others or ruins our world. The over-consumptive institution of Christmas provides a very good example of this kind of willful self-destruction.

It took until I was 42 to give myself permission to open up to the knowingness within me. That’s a long time: over-educated, it took twenty years of painful experiences, crises and inner work before I got it. I can’t call myself proficient even now but, since then, I have followed a simple rule, and I commend it to you for your consideration. Here it comes. It’s dead simple.

If it lifts you up, do it. If it weighs you down, reconsider. Reconsider really seriously. This is no joke. It’s not a spare-time activity. It isn’t actually even an option. It concerns our life-purpose and whether or how much we will fulfil it. It concerns our and others’ happiness and the success of any venture we undertake. It’s a methodology, not an ideal.

We do know things. Events or the words or actions of people put it in front of us, full square – but we often know the truth before this happens. So it’s helpful to pay attention, because it helps us get the message life is telling us. I knew I was going downhill nearly a year ago. And the bizarre thing is, when I was given the truth, the diagnosis, it was a relief.

Which goes to show that, for growing souls like you and me, with a glimmer of awareness, the buildup to a crisis is bigger, worse and more threatening than the crisis itself. When crisis really comes, we can pull out the stops and go for broke – 100% commitment to facing the facts.

This gives hope for the future. Because we humans, here on Earth, have a big one coming. When crisis really hits us, miracles become possible. We can break the rules and change the game. Live or die, this is what I am now setting out to do. Somehow I knew I was approaching point like this. And now the chips are down.

Your friend, Palden.