The End of a Phase

Today marks the end of a phase of my recovery. Tomorrow, I begin a new “career,” which I have been looking forward to since my son got well. Finally, I have the courage and the opportunity to do something about educating people on how to make appropriate decisions for their medical care. There were times today that I found myself jumping up and down with excitement.

It was mostly an eventful day of work, as I solved a serious problem. In the evening, we went to the Center for Attitudinal Healing. It seems that a lot of people were jumping up and down this week! It was a wonderful meeting, and I was really happy to attend. I found myself really paying attention to the guidelines and principals, as if I never heard them before. Also, it was easy to listen to people’s stories with compassion and understanding.


The Healer’s Healer

I had four remarkable experiences today! The first was sending off my wife and my younger daughter for a day by themselves, and they didn’t know where they were going or when they would be back. It turns out that they spent the night in Gualala, on the Pacific Coast.

The second thing that happened gave me the most pleasure! I went to see Gail Teehan for a Feldenkrais lesson. She began working on me and paused a few times without explanation. I asked her what was wrong, and found out that her right shoulder was hurting her and she had difficulty working. I asked her to trade places and proceeded to do a “zero balancing” treatment on her. I spent quit a bit of time with the treatment, and she was healed to the extent that she could continue working the rest of the day without a problem.

The third thing occurred during my visit to Dr. Gullion. I think he felt a little hurt that I didn’t include him in my list of healers in the article, but I explained that I was just writing about “alternative” healers. So maybe I ought to write a letter to the editor to explain my lack of mention of the physicians that supported me during the Shipley protocol. He also mentioned that I was doing very well and didn’t need to come back for three months!

Finally, I felt very sad at the Center for Attitudinal Healing because we lost another member. It was someone I liked a lot, and was just getting to know. Several other people were experiencing great difficulties. It was such a heavy night that the good news that I had to share lacked the spark that I wanted to offer to help healing. However, many people were very pleased with the article.


Upsetting the Apple Cart

Once again, I felt a lot of pressure from work this morning, and I started about 5:15 A. M. I felt okay with this, as I anticipated a massage from Gail Teehan. My wife had it in her mind that I should cancel my massage and spend time with my daughter. She went off for the day and was so attached to this idea that she gave me no peace. No matter what, the massage was wonderful! Gail is so kind and understanding that she helped to relieve all of the tension I felt from my wife. She even gave me good advice on how to behave with her when she got home from the wine country.

Because of earlier problems, I did not go to the opening session of Psyhchotronic Healing with Patricia Frisch, Ph. D., and Ruth Scott, both long time students of Nicholi Levashov and psychic healers. Instead, my wife and I went to visit Dr. Gerald Freedman (no relation!), a friend from the Center For Attitudinal Healing who lost his beloved last Monday. We brought candles and were really very touched by the atmosphere in his house and the other visitors. The candle light added a feeling of holiness to an already sensitive environment. Gerald has written many beautiful poems and haiku in connection with his wife’s illness, and has given me permission to publish them on the web site.


Another Busy Day

I began my day by trying to solve a problem at work, and I’ve been at it almost all day, except for my consultation with Michael Broffman and my acupuncture session with Marty Rossman.

The meeting with Michael Broffman produced some unexpected results.  In the first place, what my wife has been saying about my diet is true. Michael told me to eat a low fat, high fiber diet, which eliminates many of my favorite foods, such as prawns and muscles. He is going to provide me with details about what I should avoid and what I should eat. Secondly, I had the startling realization that I’m not through with my disease. I still have a long way to go and the test procedures are not fun! I felt depressed from these two realizations, and I have been having difficulty dealing with them.

Since my wife took my appointment with Leslie Davenport, I took the opportunity to take a walk in the Cascade region of Mill Valley. The path leads to a waterfall, which is very nice, even now that it is not gushing with water. I spent about forty-five minutes there, practicing mindfulness and listening to the sound of the waterfall.

During my acupuncture treatment, I felt a burst of energy, and this gave me enough energy to continue working on the bug I’m trying to fix. Now I’m exhausted, but I continue to push on.

In the evening, my wife and I went to the Center for Attitudinal Healing for our respective groups. I spoke about my diet changes and feelings about not being finished with my disease. I also spoke about my wife’s difficulties. The group was really supportive in a unusual way this evening.



Today was another day of healing. I spent the morning working, but then went to see Marty Rossman at 1:15 for acupuncture and Dr. Halberg at 3:00 for a follow-up visit. The emotional impact of the acupuncture treatment was unsuspected. I have had acupuncture before, but today I really felt the presence of someone who I know loves me as well. He worked on the kidney meridian with needles for just a short time and then he applied moxibustion to the same meridians. Moxibustion is “the burning on the skin of the herb moxa.” In these days, they have sticky ends that you place on the meridians. Marty gave me a week’s supply so that I could apply the moxibustion to myself in between visits.

We had to wait an hour to see Dr. Halberg, but it was not so bad except for the fact that I had to reschedule my eye exam. She was her kind, caring self, in spite of being an hour behind schedule. I felt that she really paid attention to my physical and emotional needs, as I try to understand the effect healing on my life. She didn’t think anything of the lump I discovered last Friday, and said that it should be watched. She outlined my program for continued treatment, which consists of a chest X-Ray, complete blood count and blood chemistry, and cystoscopy every three months for the first year, every four months for the second year and every six months for the third through sixth year. I feel comfortable with this schedule, and the first thing I have to do is get the X-Ray, probably Thursday.

In the evening, my wife and I attended our respective groups at the Center for Attitudinal Healing. I was very touched by the stories people told, and I guess that’s why I keep coming back. I spoke mostly about how much love was coming into my life and how much difficulty my wife is having with being my primary care taker. The latter idea was picked up by some of the other members of the group. I really felt a lot of compassion for care givers. Remember, I was in that role when my son was sick 21 years ago!


Voices of Healing

I woke up this morning feeling a lot better than yesterday. I had spent much of the night doing mind stories and metta meditation. The metta meditation is a loving kindness meditation from the Buddhist tradition. I’ve adopted mine from several sources and it goes like this:

First you shower yourself with loving kindness by saying to yourself with feeling:

May I be at peace.
May my heart remain open.
May I know the beauty and the radiance of my own Buddha-nature.
May I be healed.
May I be happy, truly happy!
May I not cause anyone to suffer.

Then you shower the loving kindness blessings on someone you love, substituting “you” for “I” in the above rendition. You then shower loving kindness blessings on someone you are having a problem with and follow with showering loving kindness blessings on the whole world, imagining the earth floating in the vast emptiness of space. I practiced this meditation for several hours and woke up feeling fine! It was really important to shower the loving kindness blessings on myself first, so I could feel good enough about myself to shower the blessings on my spouse and other people I love in my life.

In the afternoon, I went to a meeting of Voices of Healing in Mill Valley. It turned out to be a support group much like the life threatened group at the Center for Attitudinal Healing. I was touched by people’s healing stories.

After the meeting, I received a massage from Pauline from Anna Halprin‘s group, and I’ve added her name to the resources list. Pauline is also living with cancer and continues to study with Gabrielle Roth. She was gentle and prayerful as she gave me an Eselan massage. The massage was excellent, and the mood was enhanced by the Tibetan music in the background.

From there I went to a session with Leslie Davenport. I needed to see her again this week because I felt in crisis with the thought of resuming my life as it was prior to the cancer. I felt and still feel that if I allow those conditions to be re-established, I’d be really susceptible to a recurrence of my disease, and this made me panic. There were other issues that came up, especially how much love if flowing into my life from many sources, but I was in the middle of a severe doubt attack.


The Tail of the Kite

Today was one of those days that started out being very stressful, as I was under pressure to solve a bug and chauffeur my kid around, and it also ended with a lot of stress as a result of negative thoughts that entered my mind after attending the Center for Attitudinal Healing.

After delivering my daughter to the shopping center with her friend, I went for another healing massage with Gail Teehan. She worked quite diligently on my shoulders and abdomen, and remarked that the effects of the chemo seemed much less. I also felt a strong healing coming into my body as she massaged my abdomen in a tender and loving way. This was the first time I had a massage at her house and we sat down for sushi afterwards. So I was feeling pretty good when I left her.

From there, I went to a session with Leslie Davenport. As I brought her up to date with all the wonderful experiences I’ve been having since our last session, I began to cry again, as the full extent of the emotional impact of the events hit me again. We talked at length about the opening of my heart chakra. During the guided imagery, she was trying to ground the energy so that my heart would stay open. While I was there, it seemed to work, but when I got home, I really experienced the fear of being hurt when I was so vulnerable. I spoke with her later on the phone and expressed my fears. To this, she once again emphasized the importance of grounding the energy rather than closing off.

All of these experiences led me to go the Center for Attitudinal Healing, even though my wife was taking the night off. At the Center, I shared the heart-warming events since last Thursday, and felt good about being open again. But then someone shared some experiences that made me start to think again, and I became lost in the fear. I began to doubt my love for myself, as I had most of my life. I felt like I was about to lose it and then the session was over and I could retreat into myself. I tried to explain what was going on to my wife, but wasn’t able to compete with the TV.

So what started out stressful due to performance and duty wound up stressful due to fear and doubt. All of these characteristics can be explained through knowledge of my point on the enneagram. Point six, as I’ve mentioned before is the position of the doubter, and fear is the passion. It looks like I’ve allowed my old personality to rear up again in the face of stress. And then I wonder, how can I alter my path of recovery so I don’t wind up in the same place I was when the cancer struck. If I do, there will be no real healing, as I must heal my aching heart.


The Enneagram: Know Your Type! Awaken Your Potential

“Let My Heart Fly Open, Let Me Come To You”

I was speaking with Joe, one of the facilitators of the Life Threatened group at the Center for Attitudinal Healing the day before yesterday to find out what went on in the group. There was one person who wasn’t given much of a chance of returning, and yet she did. I had been thinking about her the whole time I’ve been recovering from the treatment, and couldn’t wait to talk to Joe about the person. As we were speaking, Joe told me the story of his illness and work with the Center, which I can’t repeat here, except to say that he had had an experience of moving out of himself to the other.

Helen Palmer speaks about a similar experience. Our first line of work in the enneagram is to know ourselves. This we do through self-observation practice which corresponds quite closely with mindfulness meditation that I often write about. In fact, the self-observation practice that Helen teaches is to pay full attention to the breath in the belly, following the inhalation, the pause, the exhalation, and the return. This is the full cycle of the breath in the belly. As bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, plans, memories, and fantasies enter into the mind, the are swiftly moved away, like a fallen leaf drifts slowly down by the effect of the wind. She teaches that when one becomes still in this way, one begins to get feelings that come before you know what you will feel, and that these feelings can be of the other. This process leads to the second line of work, which is to know the other as they know themselves.

When I spoke about similar matters with Leslie Davenport at our last session on May 29, I asked her what she thought was going on with me. She said, that in Sufi terms, she felt the I was changing “macoms,” which she described as “place.” I had heard about macoms at the First International Enneagram Conference three years ago, but I still don’t know much about them. She had said that one man’s macom is another man’s ecstasy. Apparently, as one moves from macom to macom, one becomes closer to the divine. My interpretation is that I am experiencing a great opening of  my heart, which probably began in the spring and was furthered by my experience at Anna Halprin’s studio on May 28.

The quote in the title is from a Sufi song that cries out for the presence of the divine. From this sparse information, I gathered that Leslie thought that I was moving into a new state. In this state, I personally feel a transformation from thinking mostly about myself to thinking about others. I’ve always thought a lot about my children and my spouse, but now I am thinking about other people a lot, especially the ones in my support groups.

So, today, when I had a massage, followed by a Feldenkrais session with Gail Teehan, I could only think of this song. Her loving hands seemed to strip the chemotherapy of its grip on my healthy cells and, as she massaged my feet, I felt the unwanted cells leaving my body through my shoulders. Her work on my lower back, shoulders and abdomen was the best massage I’ve ever had in those particular areas. I felt so cleansed by the whole massage that I began to cry when I sat up to change over to the Feldenkrais lesson. My heart was singing, “Let my heart fly open, let me come to you!” I had never cried before after a massage, and I had never felt so touched by the divine. I’ll never forget those feelings. It was like yearning for the divine and receiving grace. Throughout out my whole emotional experience, Gail was there with me with her loving presence and guided me to a safe space for us to continue with the Feldenkrais work.

The Feldenkrais lesson was shortened, due to the length of the massage, but it was excellent. She worked on my shoulders and my spine, and I really felt great! Then I gave Gail a shortened version of a Zero Balancing treatment, which I think she enjoyed. Nonetheless, it’s up to her to write about it!


Another Step

Today was a little better than yesterday and the day before, but I didn’t feel well enough to go to the Center for Attitudinal Healing, as my wife did. I worked part of the day, and sent a manuscript of Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves. I think this effort was a little too much for me, so I spent the rest of the day in bed, mostly following my breathing, but I did listen to the tape of my session with Leslie Davenport from May 29 again. I still don’t know who I am or where I am going! I know that I want to spread the word about self-healing and remembered wellness as far as possible. If that’s what I’m supposed to do, so be it!

I continue my mindfulness meditation as often as possible, coupled with frequent imagery sessions about healing my bladder. I’ve stated to re-read The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanaponika Thera to support my mindfulness practice. I highly recommend it!


he Heart of Buddhist Meditation: Satipatthna: A Handbook of Mental Training Based on the Buddha's Way of Mindfulness

“There’s Always Things We Can Do”

I started chemotherapy and radiation again today and it was “no piece of cake” (tomorrow is my brother’s birthday!). I had to be stuck four times before the i. v. took. In addition, the oncology group seemed to ignore the request of the radiation group that I be downstairs for my first radiation treatment by 12:30. So, Dr. Gullion cleverly sped up the protocol to grant their request, and I don’t know if this is good or bad, so I won’t pass judgment on it right now.

I was fairly wiped out after the chemotherapy and listened to a tape of Helen Palmer. There was so much good material in the tape that I easily fell asleep two or three times! I guess I’ll try to use this tape rather than sleeping pills. Some day, I’ll write more about what’s on the tape.

L. C. took me to the second dose of radiation. During our trip in the rush hour traffic, I was telling him about my daughter’s paper, Zen Buddhism: Its Beliefs and Effects on Society, which she is presenting tomorrow night. In spite of my so-called weakness from the chemotherapy, I experienced that her opening statement,

A special transmission outside the Scriptures;
No dependence upon words and letters;
Direct pointing to the soul of man;
Seeing into one’s own nature.

was true and felt a wave of ecstasy move through my body and focus on my bladder.

My wife really needed to go to the “Care Givers'” group at the Center for Attitudinal Healing tonight, so I went to the “Life Threatened” group. It was the best experience I ever had at the Center! I was moved so much by many of the opening statements that I felt the desire to speak first. I shared the difficulties that I was experiencing with my wife, and then the beautiful experience I had at Anna Halprin’s studio last week. Then I told the group about the email I sent to the Dalai Lama, which I quote here:

Dear Your Holiness:

I have been a practicing Buddhist since 1985.  I have been invited to the Tibet House Reception at the home of Ingrid and Reuben Hills in San Francisco next week, but I am unable to attend because I am recovering from bladder cancer and the requested donation is a little too steep for me.  However, I have inspired many of my wealthier friends to donate to Tibet House.

If I were to attend, I would ask you the following question:  I know that Padmasambhava is known to have said, “When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the world and the Dharma will come to the land of the Red Man!” I want to know, first of all, how authentic is this quote?  Secondly, I want know how he could have foreseen ALL of these developments back in 828 A. D.?

Thank you so much for your response.  If you have time, you may want to visit my web site, “Yellow Stream” to see just how much mindfulness meant to me on my healing journey.

I love you and adore the Tibetans I’ve met.  In 1975, I visited Bodh Gaya and the Bo Tree of the Tathagata!

Thank you so much.

I raised the same questions with the group and everyone was touched! I also shared my experience in the car on the way to radiation therapy.

The other members shared so much valuable experience that I felt honored to be there. Because of the guiding principles of the Center, I feel bound not to reveal their stories except to say that one member’s significant other had made the above statement when news that was not so good was revealed. I offered that member and two other members who touched me deeply by their stories to do guided imagery with them if they wanted. In addition, since the Center is having financial difficulties, I felt moved to offer a workshop called, “Zen and the Art of Healing,” with all proceeds going to the Center. The two facilitators I spoke with about the workshop were wonderfully supportive! At the end of the group, I passed on the healing stone I received from Anna Halprin and passed around the group at the Center to one of the participants who I felt needed it more than I. The person was extremely grateful and said, “Do you mean I can keep it?”