Am I'm Dying?

An essay on how to love this moment

I wrote these lines in August of 2011:

A year ago at this time, I was ignorant of the fact that the walls were about to close in. I felt bad enough to finally make a doctor's appointment (having not slept for more than a few hours for at least a month, and finding myself almost unable to eat due to pain in my mouth), but not bad enough to think anything was really wrong. I had a bump on my jaw that I would half-joke to myself was cancer, but even that didn't alarm me particularly. By Thursday of this coming week I will know that I probably, most likely, have leukemia. I will sit on the grass in the sun in front of my house in a hallucinatory daze, weeping in fear and in joy and in confusion. I will realize I don't know anything about leukemia. I will spend the coming weekend trying to smile, waiting for the results of my biopsy, and trying to figure out how to treat myself and how to avoid chemotherapy.

The world will become very small, the slant of light thin and blinding; the periphery will disappear. I will spend most of the September that I had so looked forward to, that golden child of the calendar, in a series of small, white rooms in an aged brick building downtown. I will spend the rest of it trying to rebuild myself from inside ninety-two pounds of flesh, behind sunken eyes, under a shaved head. The rest of the fall will look much the same.

Sometimes the moment is so big that you can't climb out of it even if you want to. Sometimes the sky falls so far that you find yourself sitting in the clouds.  Sometimes, somehow, gratitude and fear are the same.  

I had so many things I wanted to tell you tonight. I am grateful, so grateful, that I will have another day in which to tell them.

There was a moment the year before, between the day I received the diagnosis and the following week when I surrendered to it, that I was driving to a doctor’s appointment and I felt a bird fly out of my chest; clutching the steering wheel I heard myself say, through streaming tears, “I am so grateful.”

This was not gratitude for what felt good, but the opposite: something inside me knew that this pain was a gift and a portal to everything I wanted. All I had to do was survive the journey in the dark.

I didn’t.

I died, and was reborn.

I had little choice, and that was the treasure I was offered. How much more difficult is it to choose to let the old self, the one that is clinging to the familiar, but increasingly unworkable, story that this moment should be different, die? If I want change, shouldn’t I grapple onto that belief?


The only way life goes through transformative growth is if I accept that this, right now, is the most perfect, miraculous, opportunity I could possibly receive in becoming the person I wish to be. I don’t have to stay here, but I have to choose to be here.

Sometimes, the best way to love this life is not to like it very much. Sometimes, the best way to live is to die.

You know you want this. You know that you desire, deeply, to love this moment with effusive joy. But it’s scary to die, and yet, that is the only path forward. If you choose it now, right now, without reservation, it may not be easy. It may not be fun. But it WILL open the door to the life of your dreams.

I can guide you through this darkness; I cannot travel your path but I can mentor your journey through the wisdom won upon my own. And more than that, by going with you I get stronger, wiser, richer. When we choose to heal, the world is healed.

If you'd like to Heal Deeply, Without Drugs, let's talk about what that could look like. Schedule your FREE call.

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