Hospice is a Busy Place

by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power

HospiceHow soon will we accept this opportunity to be fully alive before we die?

Stephen Levine, A Year To Live: How To Live This Year As If It Were Your Last

Whenever the topic of near-term human extinction arises, I invariably hear comments like, “Well, if it’s true, I might as well lay down and die then.” I never fail to respond with my perspective that if there is anything we must not do, it is to “lay down and die.” Die we will, but it’s the laying down part that I cannot abide for the simple reason that we have a choice: to die lying on our butts under the influence of some recreational substance that keeps us in a state of mental and emotional oblivion (which does not arise from the same motivation as using medication to relieve pain) or to embrace our dying consciously and with intention. Why reject the former and choose the latter? The following fictional vignette may be instructive.


On a warm spring day, Maggie checked into hospice in a nearby town. At the age of 65, she had Stage Four ovarian cancer, and having refused chemotherapy and radiation treatments, her doctors recommended that she enter hospice as soon as possible. Without doing much research on this particular facility, Transitions, Maggie discovered that it had everything she could possibly want or need. She was accompanied by her son Bennie, age 41, his partner, Jason, and her dog Creature whom the facility allowed her to keep with her indefinitely. Creature was a medium-sized Beagle mix who hadn’t left Maggie’s side for at least ten years.


The rooms at Transitions were much to her liking. A comfortable bed, private bathroom, a small sofa, a TV and DVD player, and naturally, Bennie brought Maggie’s iPod which over the years she and Jason had loaded with a vast assortment of tunes. Throughout her life Maggie reveled in music, and particularly her grand piano. Saying goodbye to it in order to enter hospice was perhaps the most painful farewell of all. But Maggie’s collection of technical toys would not have been complete without her laptop which she quickly set up with Bennie’s help. She brought a small library as well, being careful to have access to all of Stephen Levine’s book, especially her worn copy of Who Dies?


Maggie had lost 20 pounds in the past two months, and most of her clothes were beginning to hang on her body. Doctors were certain that the cancer had spread to her liver, and her yellowing color appeared to confirm their assessment. Maggie, Bennie, Jason, and Creature toured the facility with a lovely nurse, and soon Maggie felt oriented but suddenly very tired, so she said goodbye to Bennie and Jason so that she could nap.


Maggie knew that her days were dramatically numbered. Her appetite had markedly diminished, and nothing tasted particularly good. She ate mostly vegetables, nuts, and fruit dutifully, not because she really wanted to eat anything because she didn’t. And while Maggie was working consciously to accept the inevitable, she also vowed to remain as lucid, vibrant, and functional as possible until the very end.


At dinner that evening Maggie picked and poked at her food, but she was thrilled to meet other patients at the table and beyond. Some were very ill and unable to walk; others had energetic moments and were able to sustain longer conversations and even laugh, play the piano in the lounge, or engage in board games. Maggie had not anticipated having a piano at Transitions, and so at least an hour of her “good days” was spent playing it. But that night at dinner, as she sat with other patients around the table, a man named Earl joined them, and his eyes and Maggie’s locked.


Soon Maggie found herself sitting in the lounge with Earl and listening to his story. He had been there a little more than a month and was able to get around with a walker most of the time. He had stomach cancer and was given only three months to live. Since he had lived one of those months already, his time was short. Maggie and Earl soon found themselves spending several hours together each day—that was, on days when they both felt up to it. They connected deeply and had a great deal in common beyond the loss of their spouses some years prior. In fact, although Maggie refused to write the words in her laptop journal, “soul mate” kept wafting through her mind.


And speaking of her laptop, Maggie spent as much time as possible each day visiting sites concerned with climate change, economic collapse, energy depletion, homelessness, animal welfare, and other issues. While she could no longer protest or help organize on behalf of her favorite causes, she was committed to being a “clicktivist” there in her quiet hospice room at Transitions. When her stamina permitted, she wrote letters and signed petitions and made comments on a variety of blogs and websites. She was determined to resist the corporate death machine until her last breath.


Maggie formed other friendships besides the one with Earl. Sometimes when she felt as if she needed to lie down, another patient would visit her, and they would chat until Maggie fell asleep. Always aware of the needs of others, Maggie often visited other patients, never failing to ask if there was anything she could do for them. Often Creature followed her to other rooms and assisted her in brightening the day of her human friends.


The pain in Maggie’s body was now intensifying, yet occasionally she had days that were almost pain-free. On one of those days she found herself in the lounge with a half-dozen other patients watching “The Bird Cage” for probably the tenth time in her life. Yet it was different this time because she caught herself thinking, “I’m sitting here in a hospice lounge, I have ovarian cancer, I probably have only a couple of months to live, we are all dying, yet we are all laughing hysterically.” Following her afternoon nap, Earl came to her room, and they sat on the sofa and chatted for at least an hour while Creature lay on the floor snoring. They talked about movies, comedy, about laughing hysterically while dying, and the endless ironies of their lives. During their conversation, a nurse peeked in and asked if either one of them would like a massage in the evening before bedtime. Maggie signed up, Earl wasn’t sure.


The following day was wrenching for Maggie. Bennie came to visit for awhile, but her abdominal pain was almost unbearable. She didn’t get out of bed all day and slept as much as possible. As the pain wore her down, Maggie began reminiscing, remembering stellar moments with her husband Bert and the kids—falling in love with Bert, the Christmases, birthdays, graduations; the time Bennie fell out of the tree and broke his arm, and the time that her beloved daughter Vicky had her first her period. Maggie then fell into deep sorrow about the fact that Vicky had moved so far away and hardly communicated with her anymore. (Vicky was working with Goldman Sachs in energy investments and had no patience with her mom’s ranting about climate change and Occupy Wall St). Vicky had two kids in college, and she and they lived far away. In fact, Maggie hadn’t seen her granddaughters for almost five years. They had sent cards and written to her when she was first diagnosed, but she hadn’t heard from them since, and she was almost certain that she would never see them again.


With the iPod headphones in place, Maggie clicked on Garth Brooks singing “The Dance,” and let the tears roll. Eventually, she fell asleep and woke up well past dinner, just long enough to know that she had missed it, then soon fell back to sleep until morning.


Yesterday’s deep reflection on her relationship with Vicky inspired Maggie to compose a hand-written letter to her daughter, apologizing to Vicky for specific ways she may have harmed her. Maggie wasn’t a martyr, nor did she blame herself entirely for the lack of connection between them, but more than anything, Maggie wanted Vicky to know how much she loved her, and she wanted to die knowing that she had reached out to Vicky one more time in a spirit of love and accountability.


In hospice, bad days are often followed by spectacular ones, and the next day, Maggie awoke feeling better than she had in months. Very little pain, even a spike in her appetite–and a desire to see Earl. Later in the day she slowly walked to Earl’s room and found him sitting quietly on his sofa, reading a book. Creature came along for the walk.


“Whatchya reading?” Maggie asked. Earl shared his historical novel with her, and they began another deep conversation. This time, something magical happened. Earl took her hand, looked deeply into her eyes and began telling her how much he liked her and how much their conversations meant to him. Maggie felt a rush of erotic energy pulsating through her body, and she looked deeply into Earl’s eyes, drinking in his tender compliments. Then Earl leaned over and kissed her. Suddenly, Maggie, 65 and Earl, 76 were making out like two teenagers in the back seat of a ’57 Chevy at a drive-in movie. Then gradually, they slowed down and composed themselves. Earl confessed, “My plumbing doesn’t really work anymore, but I’d love it if you just crawled in bed with me and I could hold you.” Maggie couldn’t get there fast enough, and for another hour, she snuggled in Earl’s arms as they reminisced together about their youth. Eventually, Earl fell asleep, and Maggie, quietly crawled out of bed, being careful not to disturb him. She kissed him gently on the cheek, and she and Creature went directly to the lounge where she began playing “Clair de Lune” on the piano followed by a medley of Debussy selections.


Maggie’s next month was a roller coaster of pain-wracked days, followed by days that were relatively pain-free and nourishing. She kept a daily journal and one morning wrote, “I’m dying, and I know I’m dying. That’s why I’m here. I can’t and won’t deny that, but I’m also living—maybe living fully for the first time in my life. My days are filled with wild fluctuations between misery and magic. When I can taste the food here, it’s heavenly. The staff and the other patients are lovely. So much compassion and caring here. For the first time in many years I have time to do nothing really but reflect. The closer I come to dying, the more I want to do that. I have more people to make amends to. I think I’ll spend today writing letters on my computer. Oh, and note to self: Make love as often as possible, not just with Earl but with all beings.”


Bennie came to visit every day, but today he came early. “Brought you a letter from Vicky.” Maggie was doubly surprised because she hadn’t received a letter from Vicky in over a year, and of course, she had just spent some hours pondering her relationship with Vicky and writing a letter of amends in longhand that she hadn’t had time to send yet. Bennie sat with Maggie as she read the letter from Vicky. Nothing profound, nothing containing much emotion at all, but at least Vicky had written. Maggie then asked Bennie if he would mail the letter she had written to Vicky as soon as possible. He promised he would.


When both Maggie and Earl felt well enough, they continued their not-so-secret trysts. On a couple of occasions, a staff member peeked in as they were sitting on a sofa together or as they played Scrabble in the lounge. No one said anything, but everyone knew of their close friendship. It was glaringly obvious, for when either one walked into the presence of the other, they both became as radiant as tenth-grade lovers.


Another month passed, and one morning Maggie was awakened at 4 AM by Creature. Wondering if he needed to go outside, which never happened in the middle of the night, Maggie sat up in her bed. Creature continued to pace. Then a quiet knock on the door. Her favorite night shift nurse, Karen, entered the room. Maggie mentioned that Creature had been pacing and may need to go outside. Karen said she would take him, but that first, she had something to tell Maggie. Oh dear, Maggie shuddered. What now? Karen then told Maggie that about an hour earlier, Earl had passed. Karen sat with Maggie and asked another staff member to take Creature outside. Maggie allowed herself to cry and not to hold back. Karen’s arm around Maggie quietly communicated a strong, nurturing presence and unrestricted permission to grieve this inevitable but wrenching loss.


The next day was not a good one for Maggie. So much emotional and physical pain. She had told Karen to wake her when Earl’s relatives came for his things. Karen fulfilled her promise and brought Earl’s daughter to Maggie’s room. They chatted briefly; however, Maggie’s pain was decidedly worse than it had ever been. “He spoke of you so often and thought so much of you,” said the young woman. “We’re glad that he had you in the final days of his life.”


Nestled lovingly behind Transitions was a two-acre swath of woods. On several good days, weather permitting, Maggie had trudged into them. On this day, as she felt the presence of Earl all around, above, and below her, Maggie walked slowly and contemplatively amid the trees. She was weak, and everything in her body hurt. Yet, she allowed herself not only to weep but to immerse herself in the healing presence of nature. She leaned over and picked up a handful of dirt, inhaling deeply the earthly fragrance. Rubbing the dirt between her palms, she then rubbed some on her face. Birds chirped gently, and the wind softly caressed the leaves of the trees. Although drowning in her sorrow, the words “I came from you, and I will return to you,” began burning themselves in her mind. It was now mid-September, and there was a bit of a nip in the air. A few leaves were falling from the trees. Yes, Maggie knew that she would soon follow Earl in making her own transition, but now she felt in every cell of her body the reality that she came from the earth and to the earth she would return. She knew that this had nothing to do with burial or cremation, but rather the origin of her essence. “The real Maggie erupted from the earth and will return to it,” she thought. This was the most profound awareness Maggie had ever experienced. As death approached, this realization was both life and death-altering.


Maggie had a number of activist and personal friends in the community. Nearly every day one of them had visited her for as long as she had been in hospice. Her pain was now increasing in both incidence and severity. The lounge with its glorious piano seemed like light years away. The possibility of getting out of bed and using the computer was becoming a distant memory. Even reading in bed was becoming impossible. Bennie came a couple of times a day, and Creature never left her side. The staff, ever so mindful of Maggie and Creature, attended to both of them diligently.


On one of the last occasions when Maggie was conscious for a visit from Bennie, she asked that at the time of her death, Creature be allowed to lie beside her in the bed. Both Bennie and the staff assured her that her request would be honored.


Two days later in the late afternoon, Karen placed a call to Bennie and asked him to come as soon as possible as Maggie’s vital signs were plummeting. Bennie immediately called Vicky, then he and Jason arrived at Transitions within ten minutes and stood by Maggie’s side as her breaths grew longer and slower. He gently picked Creature up and placed him next to Maggie on the bed. Creature seemed to know exactly what was happening and lay beside Maggie with a solemn reverence that animals express when one of their own is dying.


At 8:13 PM, with Creature, Bennie, Jason, and several friends at her side, Maggie breathed her last breath. Creature went to live with Bennie, Jason, and their twin chocolate Labrador Retrievers, Betty and Walter. Vicky helped Bennie and Jason create a celebration of life ceremony some weeks later, and at her request, Maggie’s ashes were spread in a park where she used to play as a child.


Indeed, if Maggie were writing this account of her last days, I’m certain she would agree with me that while she may have wanted to live parts of her life differently and may not have described her life as one well-lived, hers was a death “well-died.” One thing I know with certainty is that Maggie never agreed to “lay down and die.” Rather, she stood up and lived with passion, kindness, service to others, accountability, a commitment to creating joy and beauty, and an undying intimacy with nature and other species.


Are most people fortunate enough to die this way? Of course not. But when one has the option to die with conscious intention and a commitment to being awake and aware in the process, who would want to “lay down and die”? Hospice can be a busy place where more of life is lived at death’s door than has ever been lived in life’s playground. Hospice nurses say that people die the way they lived. However, there can be exceptions. It is possible for people who have lived mindlessly to die with extraordinary mindfulness. Maggie is a composite of characters I have known in my life who have taught me that how one lives matters enormously, but how one dies may matter even more. Whatever our fate—near-term extinction or the unexpected privilege of celebrating our one- hundredth birthday, is it not time to practice living as if we were already dead?


If our only spiritual practice were to live as though we were already dead, relating to all we meet, to all we do, as though it were our final moments in the world, what time would there be for old games or falsehoods or posturing? If we lived our life as though we were already dead, as though our children were already dead, how much time would there be for self-protection and the re-creation of ancient mirages? Only love would be appropriate, only the truth.

Stephen Levine, Who Dies?



McPherson’s still in the running for the Golden Horseshoe Climate BS (Bad Science) Award. Read about it and have your say here.


Please limit yourself to two posts daily. Additional comments are welcome at the NBL Forum.


Please join me in supporting our friend OzMan as he literally walks away. Click here for more information.


6 February through 10 February 2014, Full slate events in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Thursday, 6 February 2014, 7:00 p.m., West End Cultural Centre, 586 Illice Avenue at Sherbrook, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, “Straight Talk About Climate Change”

Sunday, 9 February 2014, 3:00 p.m., Book-reading and -signing, McNally Robinson Book Sellers, Grant Park in the Atrium, 1120 Grant Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Thursday, 20 February 2014, 5:15 p.m., Singer room, Eugene Public Library, 100 West 10th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon, “Climate Chaos & Resistance to Ecocide: Talks by Guy McPherson and Deep Green Resistance”

Friday, 21 February 2104, 7:00 p.m., Vancouver Public Library, 901 C Street Vancouver, Washington, “Climate Chaos & Resistance to Ecocide: Talks by Guy McPherson and Deep Green Resistance”

DGR February 2014

Saturday, 22 February 2014, 7:00 p.m., Bellingham Public Library, 210 Central Avenue Bellingham, Washington, “Climate Chaos”

Monday, 24 February 2014, 7:00 p.m., Odd Fellows Hall, 112 Haven Road, Eastsound, Washington (on Orcas Island), “Climate Chaos”

Wednesday, 26 February 2014, 7:00 p.m., San Juan Island Library, 1010 Guard Street, Friday Harbor, Washington

Thursday, 27 February 2014, 7:00 p.m., King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave, Tacoma, Washington, reading excerpts and signing Going Dark (donation for space and expenses appreciated)

Friday, 28 February 2014, 7:00 p.m., Traditions Cafe, 300 5th Avenue SW, Olympia, Washington, “How Shall We Act in Light of Climate Chaos?”

Friday, 7 March 2014, Antigone Books, 411 North 4th Avenue, Tucson, Arizona, reading excerpts and signing Going Dark

The Next Step: Living Courageously in a World of Transition, a 7-day seminar, 24-31 May 2014, Moho Creek, Belize, Central America.

The Next Step: Living Courageously in a World of Transition, a 14-day seminar, 12-25 June 2014, Izabal, Guatemala, Central America.


Going Dark is available from the publisher here, from Amazon here, from Amazon on Kindle here, from Barnes & Noble on Nook here, and as a Google e-book here. Going Dark was reviewed by Carolyn Baker at Speaking Truth to Power and by more than 15 readers at Amazon.

Comments 57

  • Oh, Carolyn,
    that was beautiful. My tears attest to the truth of this sweet story.

    I related on so many levels.
    Having lost a mother to cancer, who denied to the last day that she was dying, made it impossible to share anything of worth with her, or have any deep conversation.

    And then last year I lost my aunt, my mother’s sister, to ovarian cancer, who went into hospice and I visited her there and it was beautiful, and deep, and surprising.

    And now I’m living in a world of hospice and making every moment count.

    Thank you.


  • Probably McPherson should win this prize. I mean, he invites people to actually respond to the data that has been collected. Real scientists don’t synthesize data from many sources and tell society what it means, they just collect it and let society decide what they want to do with it. Think of all the money he made doing just that. Then he turns around and bites the hand that feeds him! Now is definitely not the time to confront issues.

  • I must be into my final quarter, and I’ve certainly been around long enough to have witnessed & experienced both dying modalities outlined here. My own preference would be for the hypothetical Ecotopian scenario, but we’re not all built the same way, and this is hardly an ideal world. Some may well get to the place where to simply lay down and die is actually the most appealing option. That seems to be how the other animals handle it. These otherwise thoughtful presentations would go down a little easier without injecting the “I cannot abide” tone of a hectoring parent.

  • We should all visit a hospice, or three. We should meet the dying, and elevate our own perspective. Like the young Gautama, I’ve been too sheltered, for too long. (One death, seen at 300 yards.)

    We should all go a day or three, a week — or two — not eating, or not very much. How much more we’ll be able to reflect on what is to come.

    We should aim for maximum health, no more ToDo lists, but Done list. Both to facilitate our own mobility, if needed, and to serve and protect others.

    Order those seeds, and this time, PLANT ’em!

    OK, the above was my internal rant of my own ToDos ; I’ll get back to you on it…

  • thank you carolyn. i needed that cry.

  • While I support in general the approach and work Carolyn puts out into the world, a much needed vice in the wilderness, I have a few comments about the framing of this offering and the general ‘Hospice’ approach when we look at NTE.
    NTE will happen to everyone ! Not just the aged.
    Hospice is usually for the end of life stage, but as we know that will expand at some point to include presently vigorous 14-55 year olds as well.
    A framing that shows how these demographics deal with end of life issues would help.
    maybe it has been done in fiction !
    Just sayin…

  • Sorry …’voice’ not vice…

  • Maggie lucked out. When both my grandparents died their last days were nothing but sheer misery. Judging from most old people I’ve known who have died, a decent death like Maggie’s is not that common, sorry to say. I’m not saying stories like this shouldn’t be told, I’m just saying, it doesn’t really paint the whole picture.

  • I would just like to take a moment to note that it has been suggested that the Golden Horseshoe BS Award be modified to the Biggest Methane Vent Award and that it also shall be awarded to an alternate candidate.

  • I agree with OZMan.
    The hospice mentioned in NBL is for younger people, that does not feel or receives any sign of reaching the end of life. I guess that is the real problem. It is a not seen or known kind of hospice.

  • You wanna match wits with me? Feel free, be my guest.

    Take me on. I got no worries here.

    Certainly no worries: backing up a dump truck to NBL and unloading a heap of bluster will bury them, one and all. Too dangerous to let even one escape.

    the philosophical navel gazing contest here.

    The perception which sees navel gazing here is also the understanding that cannot grok the invincibility of hopelessness. Nor will it, as long as it is ensconced in bombast & bloviation.

    Hopelessness is not despair.

    Bob S. Says:
    February 5th, 2014 at 4:56 am

    resistance to trying to survive isn’t the message here at NBL. It’s the strawman RE invented so all the hopium trolls can rush in and insult the regulars at will.

    NBL is directed at posts and discussions about NTHE. It’s not about if NTE is possible, or about fat lady’s singing, or last man standing, or king of the mountain, or any of RE’s hopium rants – there are hundreds of blogs like that, the Diner is just one.


    Sabine Says:
    February 5th, 2014 at 7:35 am
    there are other ways of being which are NOT pathological just because there don’t involve hope.

    You don’t have to be a missionary. And we don’t need a mission statement.


    hoping that you’ll conduct yourself more maturely in the future,


    It’s a meme of capitulation, plain and simple.

    Apneaman Says:
    February 5th, 2014 at 11:27 am

    I see, RE’s overactive presence, aggressiveness and disrespect towards others right to self determine, as exhibiting many of the characteristics of the American Empire.

    Thanks for your insight!

    I’m hopeful that if a few HS can make it through this Zero Point, on the next go round we will do a better job of stewardship of the Spaceship Earth.

    The bluster and bombast belies any claim to being merely hopeful.

    This was the most profound awareness Maggie had ever experienced.

    Perhaps the clergy may have overlooked a detail or two.

    Ramana Maharshi:

    “MOURNING IS NOT the index of true love. It betrays love of the object, of its shape only. That is not love. True love is shown by the certainty that the object of love is in the Self and that it can never become non-existent. There will be no pain if the physical outlook is given up and if the person exists as the Self.

    There is no death nor birth. That which is born is only the body. The body is the creation of the ego. But the ego is not ordinarily perceived without the body. It is always identified with the body.

    If a man considers he is born he cannot avoid the fear of death. Let him find out if he has been born or if the Self has any birth. He will discover that the Self always exists, that the body which is born resolves itself into thought and that the emergence of thought is the root of all mischief.

    Find where from thoughts emerge. Then you will abide in the ever-present inmost Self and be free from the idea of birth or the fear of death.

    Recall the state of sleep. Were you aware of anything happening? If the son or the world be real, should they not be present with you in sleep?

    You cannot deny your existence in sleep. Nor can you deny you were happy then. You are now the same person speaking and raising doubts. You are not happy according to you. But you were happy in sleep. What has transpired in the meantime that happiness of sleep has broken down? It is the rise of the ego. That is the new arrival in the jagrat (waking) state. There was no ego in sleep.

    The birth of the ego is called the birth of the person. There is no other kind of birth. Whatever is born, is bound to die. Kill the ego: there is no fear of recurring death for what is once dead. The Self remains even after the death of the ego. That is Bliss – that is immortality.”

  • Terence Mckenna

  • The Ancient Greeks believed that the study of philosophy was “preparation for death”. When philosophy is taken on as a Way of Life, rather than merely an ivory tower discipline, this “preparation for death” becomes clear and obvious. Then, each day is lived as the last in a loving letting-go to What Is.

    The essay mirrored this reflection of Absolute Reality with clarity and grace. May we all, as the planet continues in hospice, Love like our hair is on fire…..piercing the veil.

  • Izzy says:
    “These otherwise thoughtful presentations would go down a little easier without injecting the “I cannot abide” tone of a hectoring parent.”

    I agree. And if there’s one thing more galling than being told the right way to live, it’s being told the right way to die.

    “we have a choice: to die lying on our butts under the influence of some recreational substance that keeps us in a state of mental and emotional oblivion (which does not arise from the same motivation as using medication to relieve pain) or to embrace our dying consciously and with intention.”

    This idea could be expressed without coming across like a morality crusade against self-medication? Anyway, it could be argued that the only motivation for voluntarily sticking anything in your mouth (or vein) is to relieve, or reduce (personal) pain. That ‘anything’ includes ‘food’, ‘drugs’, or cyanide. Others may have a different agenda when they take over responsibility for what goes into your body.

  • Stage IV Cancer Remission Stories

    ““Certainly the odds of being in complete remission are less than five percent in this situation,” Dr. Thomas said.

    “Five percent means that there’s people in there that have made it. I was going to be one of those people,” Ciganek said.”

    Some folks don’t quit.  In the 5th Mass Extinction of the Permian-Cretacious Period, 15% of Species made it through the Zero Point.  That is a better survival rate than Stage IV Cancer.

    Never Quit, Never Say Die.


    Mike Smith*

    On my Caring Bridge site, my wife captured our journey into the world of cancer and allowed many of our friends and relatives to travel by our side and make the journey a lot less lonely and perhaps even less scary.

    In brief, the situation is: After many months of misdiagnosis, I was finally diagnosed with colon cancer on Sept 18, 2008. Within a week, I went into surgery. A tumor the size of a coke can was removed, metastases discovered in the lymph nodes and liver, and I was staged at IV. On November 6, I started FOLFOX. After two rounds, Avastin was added to the regimen. After four rounds of chemo, the scan on December 23 showed no metastases. However, given the rarity of remission in two months, the oncologist ordered me on another cycle of chemo. In March, after another four rounds, the scans reconfirmed that the liver and lymph were clear and I was declared to be in remission. However, we continued with yet another cycle of chemo. In June of 2009, scans and a laparoscopy and an inter-operational ultrasound confirmed that there were no metastases, and I continue to be in remission. As of today, January 1, 2010: ten months of remission.

    Obviously, I cannot explain why the disease took this path in my case –especially since there are others who have been a similar situation, done most of what I have done to battle cancer, but have had less favorable outcomes. There are those who have seen this and are convinced it is divine intervention. Others believe that there is evidence that the latest chemo regimens are very effective in certain cases. Others attribute this to attitude and changes to my diet. Personally, I do not know. All of the above seem probable and improbable. There is so much we do not know about colon cancer (or any cancer for that matter), that it is hard to tell which parameters are sensitive in a fight against it. Besides, we have now discovered that there are two varieties of colon cancer (the garden variety and KRAS – these are now considered different diseases). They both react very differently to chemo. (By the way, I had the garden variety). But how many more varieties are there? Could there be 600 different varieties, each of which is fundamentally different? Are we trying to treat different diseases with the same treatment? Do some of these varieties go into spontaneous remission?

    Perhaps the path the disease took is partially under my control, in which case I need to share what I did. There were several factors, of which none, some or all contributed to my being in remission. In alphabetical order:

    1. Attitude – for better or worse, I have a skill of not dwelling on negative experiences. Less charitably, that attitude can be described as denial. But in this case, it worked out for me. Every piece of bad news came with a wisp of a silver lining that I grabbed and focused upon. For example, when I was told that no, it was not stage II and instead it was stage IV, since they found small metastases in the liver, I heard SMALL. When 6 of the 33 lymph nodes were positive, I thought of the 27 of 33 that were just fine. It was a much easier journey for me – with stage IV, all I could do was get better – a benefit of starting at the bottom.

    2. Chemo – FOLFOX+Avastin. (I understand that this and FOLFIRI are standard first line treatment for colon cancer. I did not have FOLFIRI)This was not too hard on me. The first round was the most difficult. The subsequent rounds were well tolerated although the post-chemo symptoms became increasingly difficult to bear as the doses went on. We stopped after eleven treatments when I developed Lhermitte’s syndrome. Lhermitte’s disappeared about four months after chemo. The first ten doses were at 100% and the last one at 50%. The neuropathies from this regimen remain with me even today – nine months after chemo. It is a minor inconvenience – painful cold sensitivity on the finger tips and toes.

    3. Community/Support – It has been overwhelming, the amount of community support our family has received during this time. From all the delicious food – made with so much love and caring, the time people spent with us, the shoulders to lean on, the arms and the hearts that were opened up to us, boosted our strength. In my mind’s eye, I felt like that Verizon guy with a phalanx of incredible hearts and minds behind me as I entered the ring at every chemo session to battle my quivering enemy. I imagined the cancer regretting the day it ever entered my body. It was not prepared for a fight against an angry village.

    4. Diet/Supplements – For four months, every day, my sister-in-law Sarah made me fresh juice on a Norwalk Juicer. I would drink eight 16oz. Mason jars of juice a day – 1 gallon of juice – made of carrots, kale, apples, beets, spinach, and celery – each with a teaspoon of turmeric. In addition to this, I stopped eating meat, dairy and sugar. I would eat fish and eggs. I increased my fiber intake as much as I could. In terms of supplements, during chemo, I took AHCC, Vitamin K2 (on recommendation of naturopath), L-Glutamine (to reduce neuropathy), Vitamin D, Curcumin, Green tea extract and multivitamin. Since being in remission, I have continued the multivitamins, curcumin, and vitamin D, and added folic acid (controversial) and aspirin. I also take two glasses of water with a tablespoon of psyllium husk in each. I have remained on my diet of no meat, no sugar and no dairy – I don’t miss them and don’t believe I will ever eat them again.

    5. Exercise – Right before I began chemo, I started on a regular and rigorous exercise regimen, with the goal of running 20 miles a week. Typically I would do 15 miles and occasionally 18 miles. During chemo, I would walk 2-3 miles with my chemo pack and run 3-5 miles the day after chemo. I believe this really helped ward off the fatigue that chemo typically brings on. I also imagined that this pumped the chemo through ALL parts of my body. Since then, my workout routine has been sporadic.

    6. Prayer – There have been numerous people praying for me. My extended family in India offered Novenas and masses and held vigils for me. Prayer groups implored. My brother Mathew laid hands on me in prayer every other day. The love and concern that I received through the prayers were very moving and powerful. The prayer and love that I received was a constant and great sense of comfort. My visitor page at the CaringBridge site listed above was a reservoir or “love-lets” that I drew from frequently.

    As I mentioned, all, some or none of these helped in the fight. But one thing for sure: mounting an aggressive fight against the disease helped me be focused and have a sense of very important and very clear purpose, so I never felt helpless in this fight. That might have been a key contributor to me being in remission.

    The threat of cancer has reduced in my life because of the remission and also because of constant vigilance. The diet continues to be without dairy, meat or sugar. I eat little or no processed food. Food is almost always organic. Supplements continue to fortify me. Household cleansers are nontoxic; cooking materials are mostly stainless steel.

    Cancer has also left me more deliberate with life, a thousand fold more appreciative of every minute I spend with my wife, children, family and friends. I don’t sweat the small stuff as much. And I appreciate people in their variety. While cancer is a cruel disease like all life-taking disease, my experience through it, partly because of those around me, has been remarkable and wonderful. To go to the brink, to realize how short and precious life is, and then be given another lease … I am so grateful!

    *This is a pen name, author chose to remain anonymous.

    Milwaukee firefighter fights and beats Stage 4 colon cancer

    Posted on: 10:20 pm, May 22, 2013, by Jenna Sachs

    MILWAUKEE (WITI) — From fighting fires, to fighting Stage 4 cancer, a Milwaukee firefighter has defied the odds, and Kristin Ciganek’s story has sparked change in the Milwaukee Fire Department.

    When a call comes in, fire officials rush to action. It is a system of urgency, reliance and camaraderie — even when a comrade is missing.

    Lieutenant Kristin Ciganek hasn’t been called to a fire in months.

    “This isn’t what I want out of my life. I still want to be a firefighter. I have always said from day one, I want my life back,” Ciganek said.

    Ciganek’s life took a dramatic turn in August, when she returned from a fire call.

    “I jumped off the rig like I had done a thousand times before and I started having excruciating abdominal pain,” Ciganek said.

    That night, the firefighter of 13 years and mother of three found out she had a four-inch by five-inch mass on her ovary. A few weeks later, her doctor delivered even worse news.

    “You have Stage 4 colon cancer. Me, not knowing much about cancer, I said ‘how many stages are there?’ And he said four. And I thought it my head, that really sucks,” Ciganek said.

    “She really had no warning symptoms at all of this cancer. She was too young to be screened,” Dr. James Thomas said.

    Dr. Thomas says Ciganek was otherwise in excellent health. In the last year, she’d run eight road races. Suddenly, it seemed she had just months to live.

    “Certainly the odds of being in complete remission are less than five percent in this situation,” Dr. Thomas said.

    “Five percent means that there’s people in there that have made it. I was going to be one of those people,” Ciganek said.

    Dr. Thomas put Ciganek on a new, more aggressive chemotherapy regimen at Froedtert Hospital to wipe out the cancer that had spread from her colon to her liver.

    “She got chemotherapy in a pump that’s underneath her skin and goes directly to her liver,” Dr. Thomas said.

    “He told me there was a one in a million shot that chemo alone would get rid of my cancer,” Ciganek said.

    The co-workers she had relied on fighting fires helped her fight through chemo.

    “They sit at chemo with me. They call and see how I am. They send me cards,” Ciganek said.

    Most of Ciganek’s cancer died off quickly, and a major surgery took care of the rest.

    “My cancer is completely gone. They can’t find any of it anymore,” Ciganek said.

    Ciganek hasn’t returned to work, but visits on occasion.

    “It helps so much to make me still feel a part of the Fire Department. I love coming up, but I hate leaving,” Ciganek said.

    “She has been upbeat and positive throughout and I have to believe that`s a great part of her success,” Chief Deputy Terry Lintonen said.

    Even in her absence, Ciganek is making a different in the Milwaukee Fire Department. Since her diagnosis, the MFD applied for and received a $350,000 grant for employee physicals and blood work cancer screenings.

    “Hopefully if anyone else in our department has something like this in the early stages, we can catch it early and get them treated,” Lintonen said.

    Ciganek shot a video, urging her co-workers to take advantage of the free screenings. It has been viewed by every member of the MFD.

    “If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone,” Ciganek said.

    Ciganek’s next goal is to be back in uniform by September.

    “I won`t be happy until I`m completely back to the way I was,” Ciganek said.

  • Questions:

    So what became of Maggie’s faithful companion, Creature? If you have a pet, be sure that you make plans for their loving and perpetual care when it’s your time to die. It’s the least that we owe our friends.

    Why did Maggie have to suffer pain when effective narcotic palliative care is available?

  • Terrence McKenna link

    Thanks for this link. Long but interesting. I skipped here and there due to time pressure, but think I have come away with something valuable.

  • Regarding Cancer, Dr Alberto Marti Bosch, a spanish doctor developed a holistic cancer treatment that is saving people without suffering. No chemo. I have known of two closed persons that have been totally cured after being at Stage IV. Both have been in remission for more than a year.
    Unfortunately there is no video in english. This one has english subtitles, and the speech translated.


    Although we are at hospice anyway…

  • This is a lovely piece Carolyn, and echoes a lot of thoughts I had at the turn of the new year, as I was contemplating my life up until that point in the context of our planetary predicament. In reflecting upon a life well lived, and well died, of a friend of mine, I felt compelled to begin to live as though I know the end is near: with passion, empathy, and a commitment to leaving the world a better place for those who will survive me.

    I wondered if people would find my thoughts morbid, or whether I could inspire others to think and act likewise. So I wrote a bucket list of ways in which I feel I can fulfil my life: http://theoverthinker.org/da-bucket-list/

    The bucket list itself is only actually a small part of that piece. The rest deals with why we should bother living for tomorrow when we may never see it ourselves. Why we owe it not just to ourselves, but also to others (and in that I include all elements of the biosphere, not just humans), to live like each day, week, month or year could be our last. Living with purpose is the legacy I want us to leave, and, if I may seize a grain of hope, our only real shot.

  • Silly humans – if we attribute one outcome to “divine intervention,” then we must also attribute the other outcomes to “divine non-intervention.” If my Father survives cancer – he is blessed. And, therefore, if my Mother dies of cancer – she is cursed. Or, twisted another way, maybe god decided to “bring her home.” Blah, Blah, Blah.

    I’m sure there are many uplifting stories to be found if you wish to be uplifted as well as horror stories if your wish is to be consoled by others’ misfortunes.

    So, we flail around looking for something that is not there.

    It is “mindfulness” that got us here – I would prefer we were mindless animals ruled only by the basic instincts of our animal nature. Like the rabbits in my yard that just sit there most of the day doing pretty much nothing.

    Just sitting on this runaway train, staring out the window.

    The Voluntary Extinction Movement
    Thou shalt not procreate.

    The Church of Euthanasia
    Save the planet, kill yourself.

  • @F. Kling
    The dog went to live with her son.

  • Re alternate cancer treatments:

    Google “Realm of Caring” for info about a group in Colorado that is hybridizing plants to have more of the healing material and less of the gets-you-high material, extracting the relevant oil, and supplying it to doctors. Too late to help my wife, but it might save someone you care about.

  • Pat,

    I guess the issue you address is called causality? It would take a lifetime to get even one such issue right, and we couldn’t even then. Meanwhile there is always following the rabbits’ example. Does what you question come down to free will vs. no free will? One of the many fuzzy areas like photons (or whatever) being in two places at one time? So do free will and fate coexist, depending on where you’re looking? Can you act so as to bring out a blessing in spite of the insubstantiality of the blessing’s source?

  • So what became of Maggie’s faithful companion, Creature?

    Could depend on the stage of collapse. In a certain stage, perhaps even Gaegogi.

    Why did Maggie have to suffer pain when effective narcotic palliative care is available?

    Depends again on the stage of collapse. Or maybe something like RomneyCare or HusseinCare.

    a bucket list of ways in which I feel I can fulfil my life:

    & from another

    I would prefer we were mindless animals ruled only by the basic instincts of our animal nature.

    Among the characteristics of the realised person is the recognition that nothing “needs” to be done: the mind-body complex continues to act as it is programmed to do. The Self, the observer/witness, has nothing to do (no doer-ship) and nothing to experience (no experiencer-ship), as a person watching a movie neither does anything, nor suffers nor enjoys anything in the movie.

    The mindful animal, the mind-body complex, follows its nature, including its culture and instincts. It may even make bucket lists. It may lie down to die, or it may remain active to the end. The problem lies in identifying with it.

    So do free will and fate coexist

    As long as one identifies with the “I” there is a sense of doer-ship and with it an appearance of free will, and an appearance of subjection to fate. Without the delusion of the “I”, there is no subjugation to time, space and causation, and the questions of fate and free will become moot. Before enlightenment, chop wood & carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood & carry water. For those who cannot distinguish between this and navel-gazing, it is best to skip both.

  • @18000days [quote]This idea could be expressed without coming across like a morality crusade against self-medication? Anyway, it could be argued that the only motivation for voluntarily sticking anything in your mouth (or vein) is to relieve, or reduce (personal) pain. That ‘anything’ includes ‘food’, ‘drugs’, or cyanide. Others may have a different agenda when they take over responsibility for what goes into your body.[/quote]

    Indeed. But I think of all the great artists who were druggies and drunks. Not a coincidence. SEEING LIFE AS IT TRULY IS is painful, whether you see because you can’t not see or whether you have come to it after a long journey; it’s not joyful, for the most part.

    Can I find moments of apparent redemption? Sure, but that is cherry-picking. Like the story of “Maggie” is cherry-picking, since—we find out at the end—she is not even a real person, but a COMPOSITE. Sheesh. Yet Pauline cries over how “truth”ful it is.

    Truthiness, more like. Emotional manipulation.

    @sunflower is correct, of course. For every “special Maggie” story in an enlightened and expensive hospice setting, there are a dozen people dying alone in the shitty nursing homes that still accept Medicaid. Then there are the hoarders and the cat ladies, the obese diabetics who won’t quit smoking, in wheelchairs, covered with open sores, the demented oldsters who smear feces on the walls, kick, bite and scratch. And that’s in rich Western countries… Death is probably either more (because quicker) or less comfortable elsewhere. I spend a lot of time reading “AgingCare.com” merely to put my own care-taking duties into perspective.

    Don’t bother addressing comments directly to Carolyn, anybody, btw. She has stated that she doesn’t read the NBL threads, I believe because she doesn’t want to encounter any negative feedback. I don’t see how living in a bubble world making up stories is authentic or truthful or laudatory.

    This post is right along the lines of the “singing for the planet” BS I described in a post about hopium on the NBL forum. It’s designed to make us feel “less bad” about a bad situation.

    I know whereof I speak, being at the intersection, myself, of Ovarian Cancer and Hospice. I see the moralizers: the religious moralizers, the diet moralizers. Everybody is all up in everybody’s business, apparently when it comes to intensely private things like life and death. Pregnant women report that strangers come up and grab their bellies. This feels like that sort of misguided ‘concern’.

    @Pat, amen. The cancer/hospice forums are pullulating with Religious-minded folks who think that suffering has some intrinsic Greater Purpose known to GOD. Or that good things like remissions are “God’s will” but somehow it WASN’T “God’s will” that they got FUCKING STAGE 4 CANCER.

    I had my fill the day that one “lady” (bitch) PRAISED THE LORD because she got some cancer test in 2 days when one usually had to wait weeks. And I challenged her politely: “Do you mean to say that God intends the other ladies NOT to have timely care, rather than it being a circumstance of funding or luck or politics or insurance company greed or what-have-you?” And on this SECULAR forum, MY comment was censored, along with the couple of responses it generated while it was up, by people who were “offended”.

    See, it’s OK to OFFEND people by saying God wants them to die in greater agony than they, but it’s NOT OK to question the logic of hopium-peddlers. The human mind is a dark and festering byzantine mess, not something to celebrate.

  • What a wonderful way to live in the NOW.

  • generally i dislike carolyn’s tone, and revisiting this, i skimmed over the intro and her conclusion.

    lidia, i too was annoyed to find this was a fictional person, at the end of course. i prefer a real life story. however, fiction has it’s uses.

    and yes i agree, everyone who pointed this out, that a lot of people, young and old, die miserable, sad, painful, lonely, and/or violent deaths, without compassionate care, support, family, medicine, a warm bed, etc. so this idealized version seems possibly not respectful or honoring to that reality, to those that suffer and to to those of us who are holding the awareness of so much suffering, pretty much all of the time.

    however…it was when i read about the about connections that the character
    Maggie was making, with people, nature, music, herself, that i found myself drawn in emotionally.

    that is where i find my attention is drawn in my life, where the meaning is, what the purpose is, clearly now, as we witness this end and turn round in our death spiral.

    i cried because it hurt that i can’t seem to reconcile with my own mother, that my parents are as asleep as they are, that i love my husband even though we work so much we are exhausted and, like ships in the night, have a hard time to connect sometimes, how i am grateful that i am reaching out to new and old women friends to make connections and that they reach back, how it feels when i sing my songs to people and to the ocean and the animal creatures and the trees, and then the dolphins come leaping by or the tree waves in rhythm and drops a tiny leaf onto my arm, how i am singing to try to help people to wake up and make these connections too, how we all can laugh and cry together, how good it feels to embrace someone i love, even someone i just met who i also find i love, how i am stretching past my self imposed prison of fear and loving more — because we are all dying.

    all of this connection brings me joy and gives my life meaning, and i had been very heavy with grief since Guy’s last essay… so, being drawn into all of the sorrow and the love, and then having a good cry, allowed me to let go enough to get out of the house and go live and love some more.

    when we make meaningful connections, our broken hearts can be felt and so can all of our love. our tears release some of the pressure built up inside us, as we try to protect ourselves from the pain. when we can cry and we lighten our load and we can feel the joy of life again.

  • Robin Datta

    refreshing to read the words of the great master, Ramana Maharshi.

    I am going to quibble….
    In the next post you put up you wrote:
    “The Self, the observer/witness, has nothing to do ….”
    Are they the same ?
    Is the ‘observer/witness’ the ‘Self’?

    I read the Self-scape slightly differently. The ‘Self’ Is, and all else is the observer position, or arising modification of what IS, no?

  • A new report confirms what most here are very aware of:

    ‘Rapidly growing inequality is worsening poverty around the world’


    A quote:
    “The report, Working for the Few, shows that the wealth of the world is divided in two: almost half going to the richest one per cent; the other half to the remaining 99 per cent.

    The report outlines that extreme economic inequality is rapidly increasing in the majority of countries.

    We’ve created a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population. It’s staggering that in the 21st Century, half of the world’s population owns no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all sit comfortably in a single train carriage.

    Widening inequality is helping the richest undermine democratic processes and drive policies that promoted their interests at the expense of everyone else.

    In developed and developing countries alike, the lowest tax rates, the best health and education and the opportunity to influence are being given to the rich and their children. The impact of extreme inequality is most keenly felt in developing countries where missing out means remaining trapped in the cycle of extreme poverty. But such deep inequality is not inevitable, and it can and must be reversed quickly.

    Working for the Few shows that globally, the richest individuals and companies hide trillions of dollars away from the tax office in a web of tax havens around the world. It’s estimated that $21 trillion is held unrecorded and off shore.”

    Best get started on the Global Cooperative Forum,
    outlined in a recent book:

    ‘Not-Two Is Peace’

    Written by Adi Da Samraj


    “The old moral, social, and political order of humankind is now dead.

    This is the moment when it will be decided what the future is going to be.

    The future is either going to be catastrophic disaster, or it is going to be the turnabout moment in human history, in which humankind will step out of its dark ages of “tribalism” into a new mode of human cooperative order.” Adi Da Samraj.

    There’s something we can all have a go at, you know like Bruce lee once said, (in a film) of his style of fighting:

    ‘Fighting Without Fighting’.

    Help make it happen.

  • Hey folks! My how life moves on. I just went through two days of no power, no water (electric well-pump), & no heat (I didn’t even have cell phone service for a long while) along with about seven hundred and fifty thousand others from the ice storm last Wednesday.

    Thankfully it wasn’t too cold (just below freezing during the day Wed. and today but 20 Wed. night & tonight it’s 10 degrees F outside). Many of the surrounding counties to Philly had hundreds of thousands out of power – gas stations, malls, food stores, and homes all cold and dark. You lose track of time pretty quickly and you have to just get out of the warm bed when it’s time and not mind the chill. It could have been so much worse (original estimates were for 5 days without electric for our area, but crews from Chicago, Arkansas, Canada and elsewhere came in to help out, and worked round the clock).

    So that was a wake-up call to everyone, but i’m sure, now that the power’s been restored, that it’ll just be ignored. One thing that can’t be ignored though is all the decimated trees. Huge uprooted ones blocked major roads while large branches broke off and fell onto wires and littered the secondary roads. The pines took it the hardest with sheared off branches from the weight of the ice and snow, split and cracked trees all over. It’s gonna be an interesting spring.

    I really missed NBL and the other sites I visit regularly because I don’t even know what went on in my absence (no tv or internet).

    Carolyn: thanks for a good read. I went through the whole process with my inoperable brain-tumor afflicted mother not very long ago and this story brought back some of the feelings. One time, my brother was there at the hospice center, sitting next to mom, and she reached out and gently held his hand, palm up, sprinkled something into it and rolled up his fingers saying: “you hold on to these for me.” When asked what she put in his hand she said “memories.”

    i’ll be back tomorrow for more of your great comments, everyone. I gotta get some rest – i’m beat!

  • Wasn’t this bad (yet), but you get the idea:


    February 5, 2014 – SLOVENIA – A quarter of households in Slovenia were left without electricity on Monday after a weekend of blizzards and very low temperatures wreaked havoc on power lines and roads, the national STA news agency reported. Leading daily newspaper Delo described it as the worst devastation in living memory. More than 40 percent of schools were closed and only about a third of those were due to reopen on Tuesday, STA said. It said the power cuts had affected more than 250,000 people, or one in four families, in the country. This prompted the government to ask for help from the European Union’s civil defense team in the form of power generators for the affected areas, the government said on its website. STA said generators were being urgently dispatched from Austria, Czech Republic and Germany. Farming Minister Dejan Zidan said ice and snow had damaged 500,000 hectares of forest, or roughly a half of Slovenia’s total forest area.

  • OzMan and Robin Datta,
    No need for quibbling, just watch this and know the truth about Everything…


    ONTOLOGICA! – A Brief Explanation of Absolutely Everything that is Known about Absolutely Everything :
    Director: Skylar Gordon | Producer: Sinep Sralyks
    Genre: Experimental | Produced In: 2012 | Story Teller’s Country: United States
    Tags: Americas, Consciousness, Cosmos, Discoveries, Energy, Global, Science, United States
    Synopsis: On•tol•og•ica! | änˈtäləjikə! | noun, verb

    1. A film about Everything.

    2. An epic and mind-bending trip through Reality at all levels.

    3. An award-winning independent experimental feature film in which virtually every major area of human knowledge and experience is explored. Including, but not limited to: cosmology, quantum physics, evolutionary biology, spirituality, sexuality, neurology, philosophy, and cucumber-ology. All ideas and concepts are explored in an original, entertaining, and artistic way. You’d obviously have to be a complete idiot not to see this film. It even has giraffes in it.

    4. An experimental cinematic creation that defies traditional categorization. Not to be confused with either a fictional narrative or a documentary film.

    5. An experience unlike any experience that has ever been experienced. Not dissimilar to the act of loading the Universe into a shotgun and firing it into your brain. See also: Mindfuck.

    6. The blissful realization of the True Nature of Reality, the Universe, and Everything. A peek behind the Cosmic Curtain to glimpse the Eternal Truth obscured by the Almost Infinite Bullshit. A bite from the Cosmic Cucumber.

    7. The satisfaction of Hidden Desires for the Unknown Pleasures of Eternal Lust. An Existential Orgasm. No mind shall be left unblown.

    WARNING: this film contains gratuitous sex, uncivilized violence, perverse language, religious blasphemy, cosmic consciousness, truth, beauty, knowledge, reality, and cucumbers. Viewing this film may cause suicidal cravings and/or feelings of Eternal Cosmic Bliss in otherwise perfectly healthy people. Under no circumstances is it safe or advisable for this film to be viewed by anyone, ever.

  • OzMan:
    Drig Drishya Viveka:

    Distinguishing between the seer and the seen.

    The Self, Sunyata, Ain Sof, Void, etc. is self-awareness, as well as awareness that illuminates all mental states of all beings, giving them the appearance of sentience. There is no sentience apart from it.

    All flowers are black on their own, as on a pitch dark night. Any colours attributed to them exist only in the presence of sunshine.

    No need for quibbling

    Never was.

    just watch this

    A very substantial load of male bovine faecal material.

  • Off topic, so apologies.

    Michael Tobis is still undecided on whether Guy should get the Golden Horseshoe award, and has made some further commentsin that regard you might want to read.

  • Who cares what Michael Tobis or Greer or anyone thinks at this point? You either see the way it’s going, LOOK AT THE DATA (and see that almost all of the interpretations DON’T include all the feedbacks, which will make it much worse much more quickly), and accept it or reject it. If you reject it you’re in denial because the predicted effects are already happening all over the globe. If you accept it, which most here do, then you must decide how to act.

    Many (especially those of us without the energy to fight increasingly hostile forces) decide to just live out our lives and make room (when the time comes) for the ones like RE, who think they have a shot (ie. we’ll fight until we can’t). Best of luck to them, sincerely, because nobody wants the end of life on Earth.

    In the meantime:


    British Isles Endure Endless Barrage of Storms: North Atlantic Riled By Human Warming Forecast to Assault UK With At Least Three More Powerful Cyclones Over Next 7 Days

    Never-ending storms.

    It’s been the litany for the United Kingdom ever since December unleashed her fury on the island nation’s rocky coasts. Then, the isles witnessed their windiest month ever in a series of storm events that threw about 100 ton boulders and reshaped coastal cliffs as if they were child’s toys. A month later, the wettest January on record cut off entire towns from road transport while flooding thousands of hectares of low-lying farmland. Now, with 23 straight days of rain occurring in January and with February hot on its heels, it appears that the UK may see its wettest winter in at least 100 years.

    The severe weather tally listed by the UK Met Office just goes on and on. Some highlights:
    ◾December was the 5th wettest month on record. January was the wettest. Combined, the January-December period was the wettest such period for at least 100 years.
    ◾There were more days of rain for January than for any month dating back 100 years.
    ◾For Southern England the period since December 12th was likely the wettest in 258 years.
    ◾Five months (153 days) worth of typical rainfall occurred in the 50 day period from December 12 to January 31.

    This week, according to reports from BBC News, the most recent major storm of February 4-6 had cut off rail transport to a section of southwestern England even as coastal towns were besieged by mountainous surf and tens of thousands again lost power. The endless assault of wind, waves and rain also left buildings damaged, destroyed or undercut even as numerous coastal towns were left awash in the rising surf. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and Dawlish bore the heaviest blows as a massive sea wall protecting these coastal towns suffered severe damage. The rail line, riding along the back of the sea wall, was severed on Wednesday when a section of the wall was ripped out by battering waves and the overlaying rail buckled due to loss of support. A train, stranded on the tracks due to this damage, was battered by waves for nearly an hour before the passengers could be evacuated. [there’s more]

  • A train, stranded on the tracks due to this damage, was battered by waves for nearly an hour before the passengers could be evacuated.

    The most excitement anyone has had in England for ages. :)

  • Please use the web browser “Ecosia” and with each search you will plant a tree in those areas suffering from the worst effects of deforestation.

    It’s as simple as that and you will make a huge difference.

  • Martin,

    Who gives a shit what some has been, lard ass named Michael Tobis thinks. He is a classical denialist with absolutely no relevance to this conversation. Ironically, Tobis is doing us a great favor by helping to disseminate the truth of Guy’s message.

  • RE; bubbleboy

    Why so angry bubbleboy? Why attack Guy? Are you managing your terror by attacking others? Go to the climate-change-summary-and-update and start refuting everything, one study at a time.


    I know it’s hard to handle, but don’t shoot the messenger. If it’s making you real nervous, it’s ok to say, I’m scared.

  • @Tom
    Today has been a sunny dry day here in Southern England (Hampshire, where I live) so I could go out and see how the landscape has changed once more after the last lot of “biblical” downpour. Even more new ponds! Every low lying bit of land seems to be flooded, and we’re about 40 miles from the Channel coast and 100 m above see level. The landscape is heath and woodland. Many ancient trees. It’s a beautiful place. But everything is absolutely sodden. You can literally only go out wearing rubber boots. The tiny brook (creek) about a mile from our village has flooded all the grassland (the original water meadows) and more. It looks like a huge lakes, and the swans and ducks are already checking it out. Here, we don’t have the bare hills so common here in England. The trees are having a mitigating effect, how lucky I am (for the moment).
    Now, that it’s dark, the rain has started again. We battening down the hatches for the next storm, and there’s no end in sight.

  • Sabine: yeah, i’ve been watching how they keep lining up and dumping shiploads of moisture on you, usually accompanied by high winds. Sinkhole occurance will increase as well as erosion to all roads, rail lines and low lying homes and businesses. All over the islands there are incidents of explosions and fires too: all kinds of vehicles, homes, underground electrical substations, landfills, pallet and recycling companies, even garbage and fire trucks and double-decker buses are bursting into flames, not to mention all the crazy accidents with people having some kind of “medical condition” before veering into the on-coming lane, driving off the road or crashing into something. People are just dropping dead too. All this from the hydrogen sulfide pluming off the Atlantic. You’re having one hell of a time over there!

    Here, we run the gamut from drought to snow and ice storms that keep “training” (one after another) with the meandering jet stream PLUS all that hydrogen sulfide stuff happening coast to coast.

    Here, take a look:


    Category: Fires And Explosions

    2014-02-05 – Underground electrical fires break out in Spring Garden area of Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) [<50 mile from me]

    Home destroyed by explosion, other homes damaged, in coastal Clacton-On-Sea, Essex (Britain), 10 injured

    Recycling plant hit by fire at 4:15 AM in St. Paul's Cray (Britain), third fire here in 2014

    Footballer, 20, drops dead while kicking the ball around with friends, in Dukinfield (Britain)
    Quote: "Doctors have told Matthew's devastated family his death could have been caused by Sudden Adult Death Syndrome."

    Note: That's right, they made up a new term for people mysteriously dropping dead, especially young and healthy people. No, it doesn't actually explain anything, but people feel more comfortable if there's some kind of medically-sounding term to wrap their minds around.

    Journalists warned not to touch the water in coastal Sochi (Russia) because it's dangerous

    Each of those has a news link describing the details, as far as they go.

  • Pixie Dust Blues

    Waking up is hard to do. Your bed is comparatively comfortable. The whole thing is a bit like being born. Out there the openness of the world, the thinness of the air demands a self assurance that isn’t always easy to produce. Especially when the air is cold or too hot, or the news is bad. Facing another day full of unhappy fellow travelers and nasty competitors, blasting through with a smile, often a grit of teeth sort of smile – because you have to. Paying the living bills by enduring that lousy job, putting up with that miserable boss, coming home to your unappeasable lover sitting next to your hungry unfed growling dog who hardly knows you. You’re not completely certain its your home. You want to roll over into another dream. Sometimes you daydream and hope no one catches you, and screams: ‘Hey! You’re dreaming!’, and tells you to pull yourself together and deal with these hard times. So hard to beat the hard times. We try. Watch the fantasy du jour on TV or YouTube, probably some insidious whiney voice telling you about that brilliant inventor, who has disappeared, probably dead and gone, probably assassinated by some oily five o’clock shadow force of steal your joy oppression… who really, really did make a car that could drive forever on water and pixie dust. And you want to believe it, and you want one. Then the hard times wouldn’t be so hard. Plenty of water, and uh, pixie dust… unless there’s a drought. Don’t think about it. Roll over on the wrinkled sheet. Go deeper to sleep. Why bother to wake up anyway… you lost that lousy job a week ago yesterday.

  • As I live in South America, and we are now in summer. No snow.
    I can´t investigate by myself.
    But this is weird, some of you may find out.

  • Ha ha, everyone is spinning off on their own tangent, here, their own individual trips. Groovy!

    Here’s a fun quote, from a writer I had never heard of before, Thomas Ligotti (bolding mine):
    …we can tolerate existence only if we believe—in accord with a complex of illusions, a legerdemain of impenetrable deception—that we are not what we are. We are creatures with consciousness, but we must suppress that consciousness lest it break us with a sense of being in a universe without direction or foundation. In plain language, we cannot live with ourselves except as impostors.

    It’s an amazingly frank piece of work.

  • Lidia,

    How interesting that you have stumbled upon that book. I had it on my Amazon wish list for a while, but couldn’t get a copy at a realistic price. Needless to say, I thoroughly endorse the quote.

  • We are creatures with consciousness,

    The delusion is “creatures” and “with”. It arises from the confusion of “mind” (insentient) and consciousness. There is a way to discern the difference.

  • The Embattled Climate Scientist Who Fought Back

    11 min. interview with Dr. Michael E. Mann

  • one more:


    Saturday, 8 February 2014


    Chris Hedges Part I: Crisis Cults and the Collapse of Industrial Civilization

    Abby Martin features an exclusive interview [13 min] with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, concerning areas of extreme poverty that he refers to as ‘sacrifice zones’, as well as the reasons behind the collapse of complex societies.

  • You’re not helping, Robin. 8-|

    We have Michael Tobis staging a classic Groucho trick, “who’re gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes,” in calling Guy a malicious bastard. We have RE condemning NBL people wholesale as quitters.

    In both cases, what is left unspoken is that we humans owe each other in some way. We “owe each other a terrible loyalty,” in the sense that GK Chesterton meant. We should be helping to make some kind of future for the young. That alone must be worth another roll of the dice, right? Or we owe each other the precious truth or, if we’re too inept to find it, at least owe each other not to do as Guy is doing, which is draw away into quietism or hopelessness those people who could play their part in getting humans through the bottleneck.

    But is it true? I suggest that the claim should at least be examined, but for the most part the “my brother’s keeper” bargain is tacitly assumed. And why not? It served us very well through most of human history, when we lived in tight-knit tribes, and it might serve us again if we have the good sense to reclaim our tribal nature.

    But is true today, or is it simply (and often cynically) invoked whenever it becomes convenient to do so?

    That is a big question and I can’t pretend I can answer it — but it is plain to me that it hasn’t formed the foundation of how we live for several hundred years now. Make that millennia.

    Dmity Orlov has said: “How many times can you lose your reputation? Exactly once.” Well, I think the question needs to be asked about humanity, and the answer would be the same. “The terrible has already happened” frequently accompanies a look at the events of the 1940s, the Holocaust, which is often described as the greatest crime. I suggest humanity lost its reputation long before that, but it is harder to discern because it has been so gradual. I mean the collective decision we have taken, almost whenever the opportunity is presented to us, to stick it to the little man, to beggar our neighbours, to help ourselves and damn the next fellow.

    Bundling people into camps and killing them en mass was to render “what we’re really like” into a hideous burlesque, no less awful for that, but, again, though it made visible aspects about ourselves we dare not face, on one level the effort of organised Jewry to keep the Holocaust in living memory has been in vain, because we still won’t look at ourselves as we really are.

    Instead, as Thomas Ligotti says, we are a nexus of fond illusion, because otherwise we couldn’t go on. And the fond illusion is a shared hallucination. RD Laing put the problem slightly differently: “The human scene is a scene of mirages, demonic pseudo-realities, because everyone believes everyone else believes them.”

    The one task that still awaits us is to see ourselves as we really are, but that is what we will not do. And that is because it is so grisly. Let’s look at an example. (To be continued.)

  • I’ve posted a new essay. It’s here.

  • Martin excretes, “at least owe each other not to do as Guy is doing, which is draw away into quietism or hopelessness those people who could play their part in getting humans through the bottleneck.”

    From my perception, I see Guy shouting from the rooftops! Where’s your book, Martin? Where’s your comprehensive study? Videos? Lectures?

    I’ve never had a post actually run down the screen of my laptop and stink so badly that I had to clear the house! And what a pansy-assed way to try to attack Guy, our hero! I don’t know where you learned your manners, but they’re obviously as confused as you ability to look at yourself as you really are.

    So piss off, you scabby little blighter! And stop wasting our time.

  • Kirk,
    While I’m sure we all appreciate you leaping to Guy’s defense, I think you need to read Martin’s post a little more closely. I believe what he was trying to point out was the unspoken inference in the writing of RE and Tobis. Hence his question, “Is it true?”. I agree with Martin that it should at least be examined. I’ve also noticed that Guy is more than capable of defending himself. Peace.

  • Robin Datta

    “We are Consciousness Itself”

    Adi Da Samraj

    I haven’t been able to refute this so far. Can You? Anyone?

  • We humans are no better than bacteria in a petri dish.