This is going to go deep. You need more than your left brain to read this.
It is about cancer and death. And life.
Up and down and up and down she went since she was diagnosed with cancer eight years ago (I knew her intimately for a brief while a decade ago). Up and down she went dealing with her death sentence, given by doctors repeatedly for eight years, up to the point that the cancer spread all over her, all into her – into her bones, out of her skin – a huge ugly neck growth threatening to kill her magic voice. And her.
Some years ago, I wrote her a letter telling her (while thinking how real and wise this was) that I, for one, have made peace with her death. That she would be no more. I came to this point after a conversation with another friend who told me that she has lost four loved ones in this way: a slow, inexorable process of diagnosis, debilitation, the most devastating pain and gruesome dying. She saw this close up, felt it, accepting the tragedy of it. I gave her a description of the condition of the Golden Voice and she said with a sighing darkness in her voice: a few months at best. That was four years ago.
I had, like with my father’s death at 35 – also from cancer – my own theory about the psychological origins of the disease (because this is no virus, no external attack on the body, no accident. This is one’s own cells going haywire. It is born from within). My theory was that the golden voice, even though a voice famous on big stages, never really sang. Big stage productions employ voices and put them in a very regimented straightjacket to perform the same stuff night after night, to feed a very big, over-arching commercial enterprise. That is no singing. That is voice utilization. And the Golden Voice knew this. Deep down she was revolting against it. And because she knew it, she was more than a star. She had real spirit on stage. But the machine was killing her. She wanted out.
She wanted out to do what? To sing for real. To sing because she cannot help singing. To sing because of a spill over of life that is alive within. To sing because there is space around to do so. And ultimately: to sing as an act of creation. She wanted to create. She wanted to be a plant on stage, not a tool. She wanted to become whole. But the cancer got hold of her first. For too long did she keep going back for a new contract, for too long did she shield herself from past pains, unresolved relationships. For too long did she put her child in a shut-up cage.
And her body struck back. Just like mother nature is beginning to do with the cancerous human species on the planet. Striking back. Enforcing a process of become whole again.
And that, my dear HA!News subscribers, that is what cancer is. It is not a death sentence. It is not a disease that can or cannot be ‘cured.’ It is the whole of the organism – you, me – breaking all artificial edifices down to open up the root of a structural dis-ease: the disconnect between body and mind.
Why did I start on all this? It is because the Golden Voice is going to sing again and has asked me to arrange a song she is writing about miracles. For she is a miracle. Again, last year, I thought I am saying the last good-bye. She had death written all over her strangely coloured and bloated face. Her voice was low and crackling. She broke out in terrible fits of coughing. Some nights she saw death’s door, literally. She could hardly walk anymore. She had to seriously start using the strongest of pain killers. To most, this would have been the symptoms of cancer having won, of unavoidable death at any moment. Few dare ever to still have hope at this point.
Yet she lives. When I saw her a month ago, something radically changed. She was standing outside talking to a friend. She was spirited. She.. sang! She sang! We had a jam together. We made jokes. I told the Golden Voice that, looking at you, I can NOT believe that you should die. And she did not know either what was happening. It was the first day in a long time she did not take her pain killers. And she did not have pain. But there was more to it: something in her was connected. Still, I remained open to receive news that it was only a brief window of merciful happiness..
I did not hear from her until now. When she called, I was shocked. Deeply overcome with shock. She is planning concerts! Listen carefully: she is PLANNING concerts. And not only that, she is CREATING songs to sing. Songs about miracles.
HOW DID SHE DO THAT!??? How did she confound all the wisdom and beliefs of our world including my own very “mature” acceptances and turned the corner? (she actually did turn the corner!) How did cancer change from being a terminal disease to a process of.. Of what?
Let it be noted that she did not sit still on this. For eight years she searched, she changed, she communed with fellow humans all over the planet who are prepared to dive deeper than the newest medical therapy. She addressed diet. Lifestyle. And.. her inner life.
Through all her researches and conversations and experiments, she concluded that cancer cells – cells that have lost their inhibitions that makes it possible for them to as part of a collective – 1. hates heat, 2. loves stress, 3. hates oxygen, 4. loves acid. And finally, at least in her mind, she realized that the root cause of cancer is a lack of integrated life, emanating from within. A life that is not creating anymore, but being created – often clinging to notions of human depravity, relegating all true creativity to an external reality. She realized that a miracle is no shortcut supernatural occurrence, but the reconnection of that which you cannot see with that you can see.
But the turnaround did not come until only a month ago, when mysteriously, deep down, that connection was re-established, helped on by eight years of refusing to believe what the world believe. And even though she has certain convictions of a supernatural reality, she did not allow any belief in a “life after death” to provide an escape away from what cancer really intends: to heal life within this life and prevent an unnatural death. (This is what she told me: cancer is not the disease. It is the body’s way to address a deeper problem. To find a cure for cancer is to miss the point: it is again, as we so like to do, treating the symptoms and not looking the real causes in the face).
My father fought in a similar way for four years. Changed his diet, worked on reducing stress and building his body. But the work of digging into your inside and finding the roots of disconnection did not go far with him. He was a minister who taught heavenly hopes to his flock. And since he left his diet discipline, took on a stressful job situation and decided that faith alone would take care of his fate, he was dead within a year. Can we do better than that? Do we want to?
It is the year 2012. a great party (again) of apocalyptic theorizing and “learned” proclamations. This is what we are good at: finding refuge away from our deep dissatisfactions in visions of “all’s going to end anyway.” We’ve had these end-of-the-world predictions and visions for the last three thousand years and more. But these days they are coming on more frequently and with greater urgency. It is simply because our collective cancer is at such an advanced stage (what other metaphor to use for a species that have ballooned in numbers so out of proportion the last two centuries – the last two decades!) that the burden this places on the planet now threaten all life on earth. Indeed, a real unnatural death is staring us in the face and is stirring all sorts of panic, escapism and fantastic ideas.
But 2012 will come and go with no happy intervention to give us a quick exit. We are, like the Golden Voice and my father, stuck with an inner life that is screaming out for healing; screaming out to feel itself truly again, screaming out to be able to think and act creatively again, something that children still have, but soon lose as they are kicked through the consumerist machine and/or dowsed into faint assurances that the god of technology or any other god will save them, no worries.
Let the year 2012 rather be the year that we kick the bubble on anything the Mayans or the stars are presumably saying, to finally, like the Golden Voice, take up responsibility for what we are doing to our bodies (our environment), look at the crazy competitive race we turned life into, and seriously and hilariously address this: how to recapture the natural breath of living creatively from within.
The shock the Golden Voice gave me, was this: hope. She has defied every reason – for me, ja! – not to hope. It shocked me to realize that cancer is a radical intervention of our own bodies to break you down right to the prime problem of disconnection. Without all that dis-ease, the pain, the deadly fears, you will never be able to see through the layers in time. And this is exactly what mother nature is pulling on us now: allowing us to bash ourselves against the wall so the wounds can bleed us into maturity.
I have long since abandoned various forms of escape. Spontaneous performing gave me – and many others tapping into it – a vehicle to breathe my inner world, has healed me in many ways and given me an inner confidence that I could die a natural death. Yet looking at our world, I still could not move beyond seeing us as a terminal patient who’s adolescence has gone wrong. Silently, like with her, I prepared myself for the worst.
But I cannot do this anymore. Not since, at the beginning of the year 2012, I was shocked into hope.
We can turn the corner. We must thank global warming, driving us to this edge. The difference between a real threat and prophetic stories of apocalypse, is that a real threat can be approached creatively. A real threat can be turned around.
We need to dig down and reconnect with our inner, collective child: our wild and primitive origins. We did not fall from the air. We were not assembled together in some heavenly factory. We are birth lings from this earth, all mud and rot included. Healing is not to regress back to that primal state. Healing is to connect that state (our bodies) with all that we have accomplished as the most precocious form of life the earth has ever seen (our minds). It is IN that reconnection that creativity is born. And it is through creative acts that builds up from the cell level – from each local community on earth – that we become able to relate to all – including the Unknown – in a way that does not end in tragedy.
I would so much like if you throw me with tomatoes (they are healthy) or express your feelings on what I wrote here. Let us talk. I have no final answers. But I do feel when something moves not only my mind, but my heart and body too. And this is what happened when she called.