Loss and Gain

Life never stops throwing stuff at us. Well, until it does.

Paldywan drifting off in his seat

Here you can see photos of a man who is 60-70% dead. Though in another way, I’m very much alive. Let me explain.

In our society we’re addicted to defining death as clinical death, when the heart stops. But actually, dying is a gradual process where the psyche, you or me, leave the body we used for becoming incarnate on Earth and we move into another existence. Most people are only 10-20% dead – that is, mostly on an unconscious level, only a small part of them is in touch with the otherworld. This sense of connection might increase at special moments such as being present at a childbirth or at the death of another person – part of your psyche goes over to the other side with them. Especially if you let it. But when near the end of life, you edge gradually closer into dying, often in stages and down-steps. Social attitudes tend to make this a secret process for many people at the end of their lives – no one wants to talk about it.

The black patch on my beard is a staphilococcal infection – neither hospital nor holistic treatments have worked thus far

You can see it in my eyes – there’s more of a once-removed look in them than there used to be, if you knew me some years ago. It’s because part of me has already gone over. This is partially because I came close to dying two years ago and then came back, and partially because I’m more or less okay about dying, so I’m not blocking myself from slipping into that kind of space and awareness. I had a near-death experience at age 24, which made me more easygoing about dying – and having a Buddhist background helps too.

Since I contracted cancer in late 2019, life has been very much a day-to-day, uphill grind, an effort, where I have had to apply myself to the art of living much more decidedly and in a much more focused and mindful way. It can be wearing at times. In that context, when you’re growing tired of staying alive and you’re dying, whenever and however it comes, it is likely to be a relief. After all, for me I shall be going home, where there will be no more gravitation and bodily constraint to deal with.

For now I’m okay about being alive, for there is something quite remarkable about this end-of-life phase. There’s a certain clarity to it that comes from a simplification process in the psyche – my capacity to handle complexity, or even my interest in it, is reducing, and this simplifies things. Complexity, human guile, head-trips, hidden agendas and evasions become rather irrelevant. There’s a deep realism to it. For me, it’s a time of honesty with myself, in the knowledge that if I don’t process truths now, I’ll have to process them at death. I’ve been thrust into this state by cancer and relative disability, with a fair dose of isolation thrown in, and having had quite a life over the last seven decades, starting my life in a completely different and distant time of history, I have plenty to reflect on. There’s quite a lot of past and not a lot of future left for me, at least in a bodily sense.

Even now I’m having deep, earth-shaking learning experiences, and I talked about what’s been going on for me in a recent podcast, ‘When it all gets too much’. Growth never ends – it isn’t the domain only of the young and able. One tricky issue I’m facing at present is that I’ve been fucking up. Life is proving too complex, I get out of my depth and I’m not functioning with the same intensity as most people – life’s intricacies get to be a bit too much. So I fuck up. This complicates things and I find it difficult to deal with.

I seem to be managing though. I don’t have enough life left to get really tangled up with things as I used to, and complexity boggles me. One of the drugs I’ve been given, the steriod Dexamethasone, seems to have exaggerated my Aspergers tendencies – in one sense an incapacity to deal with human headtrips and manipulations, with complexity, and in another sense a rather inspired genius, creativity and deep seeing – the Aspie blessing that brought us the Theory of Relativity, the computer, the iPhone and the Tesla. Though in my case it concerns ancient sites, geopolitics, astrology and other weird subjects I’ve given my life to. I don’t have time to hang around resisting life as it presents itself and feeding my fears and neuroses. This isn’t an avoidance: it’s more to do with zeroing in on the really important, fundamental, underlying stuff, the tough, abiding truths, and leaving the complexities to sort themselves out by themselves.

The next bit I’ve thought about long and hard. I’m not seeking to make a public discussion about this because it concerns two real people who are fine souls and deserve good treatment. Also because, in writing this blog, I undertook to tell you my cancer-and-life story, and I cannot genuinely omit this development. This isn’t about taking sides or making judgements. It concerns something that can and indeed does sometimes happen for some cancer patients and for those involved closely with us.

The biggest challenge I’ve recently had to face was a big shock when it came – the sudden ending of my relationship with Lynne. She had good reasons – it had been really difficult for her when I tipped into cancer and went through big changes, including in my personality – and then I fucked up in January, really upsetting her, and suddenly it was all over. It all became too much for her, and suddenly it was over. For me, I could both empathise with her situation and pain and also feel my own loss and inner bleakness. The next month or so was a deep and dark struggle, with emotional and health issues merging into a churning journey that seemed to last a thousand years. Later blood tests revealed that a key cancer indicator (paraproteins in my blood) had gone up – not a good sign since they’d gone down over the last year and more. When I mentioned this emotional storm to the haematology specialist she said, “Oh, that won’t affect anything”. No, she’s wrong there. I’m amazed how a doctor can say such a thing and believe it.

Leaving a cancer patient is difficult. It can lead to public judgement and that’s not fair. So I honour Lynne for being brave at this time. It is not right for a person to feel tied to another, by force of circumstance. She has a life to live too, and perhaps she’s done her bit.

Around spring equinox I started rallying and reviving – the warrior in me kicked in. Falling helplessly into the great cosmic plughole isn’t really my style – well, not for long. I’m going to try to make my cancer readings go back down again by working on reintegrating myself and getting my life-energies pulsing better. This might or might not work. If it doesn’t work, the haematologist wants to change my cancer drugs to Lenalidomide (a new word for Thalidomide) which my mother happened to take for ‘morning sickness’ when I was inside her before birth – I was lucky not to be born severely disabled, and I’m nervous about taking this drug now since I anticipate that it could worsen my Aspergers symptoms yet more or it could affect my spirits, my core medicine-source.

I go up and down on different days, getting to grips with this strangely new chapter of life and letting myself feel and experience everything that comes up, so that these experiences may evaporate into the vastness of things that never were and things that are best forgotten. But it’s hard work. As always, I look for the gift I’m being given in life, and undoubtedly, through Lynne and her absence I’m being given a gift of truth and reality. My homoeopath prescribed me Pearl 1M – pearls are created as an outcome of irritation and ‘things going wrong’. Thanks, Helen.

I wish to thank Lynne from deeper than the bottom of my heart for all she has been and done with me. She looked after me and saved my life two years ago, and her kindness and love were exceptional, a life-changer. Not many people would be able to do that, nowadays. We’ve been such good companions, lovers and soulmates. I sincerely hope she too has benefited deeply from what I have offered her. My going down with cancer wasn’t part of our plan and we’d been together only three years by then – she didn’t really get enough of the me that I once was. I wish her well, bless her. She’s been such a shining soul in my life. Also she’s a very gifted astrologer, and I miss our discussions. I’ve been difficult for her and she has been really good to me, in the last two years. It’s funny and also tragic how life goes, and what we humans do to each other, even when we don’t really mean to. So now we are both ‘free’. I sincerely hope life works well for her and miss her enormously.

Now it is time to move on and make good use of the life that I have. It will take time to repair, yet I need to keep moving forward. It’s time to do the best with life as it presents itself, to uncover the TLC within my own heart and to let myself receive what support life will provide, as if being carried in the open palms of the Goddess. After all, our existence is all about two things that aren’t entirely connected: life as it factually presents itself and life as we choose to see, experience and respond to it – and in the latter lies our power. But it’s true also that it’s really strange encountering an experience such as this at my current stage of life.

One thing I’ve learned is that separation and aloneness do not mean I have to close my heart and block off, just because I find myself on my own or in an emotionally barren state. Love is something that resides in our hearts, in the core of our being – it generates its own warmth and inclusion without having to be dependent on the closeness or the absence of another soul. Though, this said, I must admit that I have to really work on that, and it really is nice being enwrapped in love! Talking to and caring just for myself isn’t quite the same. After all, even as a crippled cancer patient I still love looking after others to the extent I can.

And I still welcome hassle-free, relaxed visitors, and bring your knitting – I serve really good springwater tea.

Life is all about change. All that starts comes to an end. It really does. This is the nature of life on Earth. The Talking Heads once sang that heaven is a place where nothing ever happens, and there’s some truth in it but not a lot, since life goes on everywhere and the progress of the soul on its long evolutionary journey continues wherever we are. Different forms of existence offer different openings and opportunities. One difference between ‘heaven’ and Earth is that, in ‘heaven’, as in your dreams, you experience what your psyche is capable of tuning into, and it often manifests pretty quickly, while on Earth it’s a lot more complex (and we humans make it even more so) and there’s a much bigger gap between possibility and fulfilment. In heaven you can rebuild the bombed cities of Ukraine in an instant, but on Earth it will take decades and it will involve lots of complications and the future just won’t be the same as the past.

I’ve been thinking about my blogs and podcasts. There will come a point where I can’t continue, so the whole series might not conclude in the same neat way as a fiction story. So in the next few weeks I’m going to write and record a final blog and podcast in advance, for my son Tulki to release when the time comes. The funny thing for him is that I’ll be leaving next to nothing in terms of property and money, but he and his sisters will inherit a load of digital assets instead! The list of passwords and digital details I’m leaving is far longer than my will.

But there’s another question too, that I haven’t resolved. I hope and intend to communicate after I’m gone, at least with folks in my family and inner soul-circle, and I’m wondering who will actually have their receptors open and their antennae up when the time actually comes?

Lots of love from me. Paldywan Kenobi.

You’ll find my podcasts here and my website is here and my forthcoming book is here.