So when a neurosurgeon sits down with you and says ‘you have an inoperable malignant brain tumor’ there are a number of things that might go through your head. Like, you might think ‘that sounds like a one-way ticket to Hades’. And then he says ‘and there are treatment options’ you might think, oh, it’s a negotiable ticket, so like, if you drop me of in Thebes and I kill a Minotaur, then like I could just go on to Alexandria and catch up on my scrolls and such…?
But unless you’re really dim, you are going to grasp that you have just been handed one world-class cocktail party pick-up line.
“Hi I’m Michael and I have an inoperable malignant brain tumor, How ya doin?” ☺
Such a message from the universe is a classic chance to size up your situation, both personally and socially, and of course cosmically. Because the ultimate objective view of the life you have lived in this here and now, is the view from the done and dusted, the gone and forgotten that lays ahead for us all.
Let’s start socially. The above recent news, placed by me in my Facebook page, will indeed be news to most who know me and are finding this out now because, well, here I am saying it, and (amazingly coincidentally??) saying it like a week after a series of FB posts about the five years I spent wrestling with mortality during my early twenties – I am like, sixty now, and I got this news four days ago.
So of course you are going to get a lot of love, prayers and encouragement, humans are like that by nature, and that is as it should be, imperfect beings as humans are, we all understand that, unless we are having a bad day.
So I will make a statement right off the bat, like the kind of thing I would say at that cocktail party if someone took up that conversation. Like, if you wish to console me, or comfort me emotionally, psychologically or creatively, you might want to check which of us more appropriately needs such expressions. Sending money, of course, is always appropriate!
To be specific, here is what you would be stacking up.
Born to just, kind and loving parents, the first 13 years of your life were spent in a remote fishing and logging village of 60 souls on the grandeur of the British Columbia Pacific Coast, with two weeks a year for Christmas in the city, then back to Nature and Community of the most ideal sort for fertile creative, emotional and mental unfolding. No road access, no TV, no church, one-room schoolhouse travelled to by boat every morning, picket fences and work for whoever wanted it, in the forest and on the sea.
Then, boom, at 13 five years of traditional English boarding high school in Vancouver with blazers, ties, sons of ministers, industrialists and all sorts of mid-sixties tensions, leading to release into full-on West-coast hippiedom in the Led-Zeppelin, Jimi, Cream, Love and Hash generation, blasting onto the Pacific sailing with Greenpeace to face the Russian whalers. Then, with three months of forest work able to finance a year of travel, spend your entire twenties on the road, half of that in France, half of that in Paris. Immediately meet a colleague of Carlos Castaneda, the translator of all his books into French, deeply learned in European esoteric history and a PhD in glaciology, and team up to spend those next ten years traveling together as seekers, chasing girls, wisdom and the mystery. Halfway through those ten years, join fellow seekers to found Hollyhock, the Hogwart’s School for Post Graduate Hippies with a vision and a task. Go back to college for a year to study musical therapy. And halfway through those ten years meet Uber-Yoda Alexandro Jodorowski teaching in Paris and focus on him for five more years, workshops, encounters and blow-mind insight. Near the end of the ten years travelling, through study and experience with Jodo you have penetrated and integrated a five-thousand year-old spiritual tradition that runs unbroken from Sumeria, Assyria, Babylonia, Phoenicia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Judea, Medieval, Renaissance and Modern Europe. Recognize you have established a spiritual foundation for yourself which is based on your own culture, and upon which you know you can build for the rest of your life. Then at the very end of these travels meet a young French Goddess who chooses to graduate from the best art school in Paris to come live married to you on the wild coast of British Columbia. You then spend the next five years joining an 8,000 year-old tradition of humans who have renegotiated our relationship with other animal and plant species from that of a hunter-gather relationship, to a domesticated relationship, by domesticating successfully for the first time Pacific Salmon. You have three babies together who turn out at the time of your conversation with the neurosurgeon to be young adults that any human would be proud to call their own, knowing they will all be fine without you. And your bride and you live a devotion and adoration with each other that never dims or ever will. And some twenty years after beginning these travels, your chosen artform, acoustic guitar, finally opens and delivers what you have come to understand as the goal of approaching any creative art as a spiritual practice – art which is a perfect expression of how you actually feel about existing. And the composing will now clearly never stop at this level until your last finger stroke. During the 30 years of post-travel you dig and dive into social politics, science and psychology and decode and decipher the vested social interests and the cowards and bullies and the wounded warriors to the point where clarity is not so elusive, and compassion is not unfamiliar, yet you find no discomfort in being entirely alone in a conviction about the way things happen. And following the Hogwart’s School vision with a task you remain focused on helping your community with your arms around your friends and foes, heavingtowards a better future for all, grinning eagerly the whole while.
So that person above, if your instinct is to offer consolation and comfort to such a person, rather than wonder how the f**ck anybody could be so goddamned lucky… well it is certain you have lived a full and meaningful life for which I could only offer congratulations and blessings. If it all sounds too much, watch the video again, or send me anemail and ask me if I am bs’ing !! ☺