The Healing Power of Love

Yesterday, I felt so so. Cynthia suggested I try some medical cannabis for the queasy stomach. I took too much and got high, but my stomach felt normal.

In the late morning, my friend, Oliver, who lives on the Big Island called to check in. Oliver wants me to fly to Hawaii and stay with him. He even said that my boys can come along. At one point, he had a rental house that he was willing to let the boys and I live in, but he recently sold it.

I told Oliver how uncomfortable I had been, and he offered empathy and support. “I love you, Kozo,” he said at the end of the call.

Then around midday, my boss, Michael Lerner called. Michael is the co-founder of Commonweal and the author of the first book on integrative cancer care, Choices in Healing. “This is has nothing to do with work. I just want to check in on you,” Michael said.

Michael has walked thousands of cancer patients through their cancer healing journeys at the more than 200 Cancer Help Programs that he has run at Commonweal over the past 30 years. He offered some wisdom around setting up palliative care before I need it and trying other forms of pain relief.

I was overflowing with gratitude that Michael, who had just gone through open heart surgery 4 months ago, was taking time on his weekend to check in with me. “It is because I really care about you, Kozo,” Michael said. “I have a deep warmth in my heart for you…I love you, Kozo.”

I am honored to work with a man like Michael Lerner. I am in awe that he would take time out of his over-booked schedule to check in on me. And I feel blessed by the divine that Michael would have so much love in his heart for me.

In the evening, Cynthia Li checked in with me over text. I told her that I felt a little better after taking the cannabis. She texted back, “So glad it relieves the queasiness. Thank God and the angels for tender mercies. I love you.”

Right before I went to sleep my older son gave me a hug and said, “I love you, Dad.” I tucked my younger son in bed and gave him a hug, “I love you,” he said. Then when I was in my room getting ready for bed, my younger son walked in gave me a big hug and said, “I love you, Dad” again.

After a fitful night’s sleep, I awoke early to participate in a Qigong workshop that Cynthia was hosting with over 100 other participants. Cynthia was talking about the healing power of connecting with the chi field when she started crying.

“The tears that I am crying are for my dear friend, Kozo Hattori, who is going through a deep and challenging cleansing. I would like to dedicate my practice today to Kozo,” Cynthia said as she wiped tears from her eyes.

I come from a family where the “L” word wasn’t really ever mentioned. Even now, when I tell my mom I love her, she hesitates before saying, “I love you, too.” Even though my family didn’t mention love much, ever since I was little I loved the word and feeling of love. I was the guy in high school who told girls that I loved them after one dance. I enjoyed writing love letters more than receiving them. I cried freely while watching romantic comedies–“You had me at hello.” In my later years, I became comfortable telling my male friends that I loved them.

To experience so much love flowing my way from such a diverse and disparate group of individuals felt amazing. I feel held by love. Ironically, I have no intimate partner at this time, but I have more lovers than I can shake a stick at. What more can we ask for?


Let Go, then, Let Go More

I had a relapse of the viral infection. It was like a mini-me version of the infection. The first time I was bedridden for a week, this time only 3 days. The abdominal cramps only lasted for 5 days rather than 2 weeks.

I’ve lost a tremendous amount of weight. Last I checked, I was down to 129 pounds from 144 pounds a few months ago. I’ve stopped weighing myself after Cynthia brought up a powerful point: “As for your weight, why don’t you forgo the scale for a while? It may reinforce the deficiencies rather than having you focus on the healing. “

I haven’t been able to do any physical activity. Even walking the dogs feels taxing on my body. I was telling Cynthia how I feel sadness about losing all my muscle tone. It got to the point where I wouldn’t look in the mirror because I couldn’t bear to see how skinny and emaciated my body had become. Then I remembered how Cynthia had gone through a process of truly loving her body no matter what it looked like.

So one day, after undressing, I forced myself to look at the reflection in the mirror. What I saw was the body of Christ on the cross. I could see my rib cage, my arms were spindly, and my stomach was concave. But I stared at my Christ-on-the-cross body in awe. I fell in love with my body just the way it was.

I’m realizing that this illness is forcing me to let go of things that I was still holding onto. I haven’t been able to skateboard, so I’ve felt like I’ve been falling behind the curve of progression (as if there is a curve of progression for 55 year old skateboarders!). But I’ve had to drop all competitiveness. I’ve even had to let go of the hope of ever skating or surfing again. I’m not saying that I won’t return to the park and ocean one day, just that I’ve had to let go of clinging to the possibility.

I’ve also had to let go of many of my spiritual practices. Before this illness, I was doing 100 day gong qigong practices where you practice everyday for 100 days in a row. I had the same streaks running with pranayama and OM chanting practices. But I had to stop it all.

I remember Matt Kahn saying something like disease is your body trying to catch up to your consciousness. I’ve let go of any striving for higher consciousness and focused all my attention on nurturing my body.

I have this image of me and my body being a jet fighter plane in a steep dive. Chasing me are bogeys of infection. I am accelerating straight toward the ground. I feel like if I can pull up at the last second, then the bogeys of infection will crash into the ground, and I will be free to head for the heavens. Of course, if I can’t pull up, well then…

God willing, I will pull out of this infection and begin an upward trajectory of health and spirit. Either way, I am grateful for all the baggage that has been shed. I feel much lighter in my daily thoughts and activities. Life is amazing.

The Only Reason to Live is to Live!

The viral infection I had persisted for almost 3 weeks, so Cynthia Li made an appointment with her intuitive medicine mentor, Martine Bloquiaux. Martine is one of those gifted healers who could scan bodies since she was a child. She has no medical degrees, but her reputation proceeds her and she has clients all over the world. 

An hour and a half consultation with Martine cost $600. Cynthia and her husband, David, gifted me the consultation out of the kindness of their hearts. I have never met Cynthia or David in person, but Cynthia has been treating me since March free of cost. I am deeply honored by their generosity and deep care for my wellbeing. I think about something someone told me when I was first diagnosed, they said, “People will come and help you, and it is usually not the people who you’d expect.” 

The consultation with Martine still resonates with me four days later. She scanned not only my body, but also my spirit, my emotions, and my life. She described things about me that I have never discussed with others. Like a skilled coach, Martine pointed out some very positive unique parts of my existence and also challenged me to look at areas that need improvement. 

After reviewing some infections that I am challenged by, she said,“But your light, as a light being, is…I only have two clients who are as high as you. So whatever needs to happen with you, whether you live or die or whatever, you have a great life and you had a great life already. So congratulations.”

“The other thing is that you have only come into that very recently, which also means that the body naturally cleans out to update the cells. So it could also very well be that you are right at the perfect place to get better. But anybody that comes to me with that kind of level, they have to deal with the rejuvenation of the whole body also. So that is not any different with you. Very, very nice, very beautiful.”

I think I have sensed into this need for the body to update before. I used to carry around a quotation from Matt Kahn that said something like when we have dis-ease it is the body trying to catch up with our consciousness. 

This last infection whittled me down to the bone, not just physically, but psychologically and spiritually. When I do my meditations or qigong nowadays, I can really feel the energy moving because I have no fat on my body or blockages. I still have blockages in my abdominal cavity which is what needs to be updated or rejuvenated. Martine put me on a liver and spleen cleanse which seems to be working. 

I wish I could post the entire hour and a half consultation, but I hope a few highlights will suffice. Martine said that it was good that I didn’t do chemo or radiation because I wouldn’t have made it. She gets a distinct no for both, which coordinates with what I was feeling into. But she also said, “I’m really happy that they operated on you. I really don’t think you would have made it.” 

Since I’m not doing chemo or radiation I need to clean up more. “The number one thing is when you reset you need to learn to feed it again. You can’t keep losing weight. We have to learn to absorb again. So literally and emotionally—literally you have to eat, but emotionally you have to find your reason for living. And I’m so sorry, but if you have no purpose in this life then you don’t need this vessel. Then I prefer you become a big fat angel who comes to help me…I know you want to live, but if you want to live you have got to have a purpose. And I’m not talking an emotional or physical purpose, I’m talking a spiritual purpose—you are still here to learn something, you are still here to contribute to something. It doesn’t matter. It is about you, not about others. It’s about you. You need a diary, you need to sit on the beach. You need to do whatever you need to do, but you need to get your act together on that one more than anything else.” 

Later in the call, Martine asked me, “The only reason to live is what?” I was stumped. 

“The only reason to live is to LIVE,” Martine stated. We are here to live, to experience this life. Nothing more. “So when you eat, you do it because you are fully in the living. You are fully enjoying that apple. Can you imagine where that apple came from? What kind of magnificent tree it must have been? And the laborers that cut it and somebody that put it in the box, whatever. Or just feeling the magnificence of the animal that gave its life for you. Living! Being there while you are eating. Drinking this tea and saying, “Mmmm. I love licorice.” Sitting here and talking with you and saying look how beautiful life is. It is going and walking on the beach or whatever or skating and suddenly realizing that you got to stop immediately because the sun is going down and the colors are magnificent. That is why we are here.” 

As you can see, Martine doesn’t just work in the physical realm. The real challenges she offered me were not the dairy-free, sugar-free diet or the supplements. She challenged me to look into my na’au (Hawaiian for guts) and find the source of my reason for living. She demanded that I embrace this life fully as it is without hesitation or complaint. Lots of exploration to do in the next few weeks. Stay tuned. 

What reason do you have for living? What experiences bring you most alive? Please share.


For the past 12 days, I have had a gastrointestinal viral infection that has kept me in bed and on a liquid diet. One of my energy healers told me to visualize a waterfall coming from the top of my head. He told me to open the gates in my abdomen to let the water flow all the way out of my feet. “Do this, and the virus will be washed away.”

While lying in bed, I tried to visualize the great waterfalls of Hawaii flowing through me, but the water always seemed to stop. As my illness progressed, I couldn’t even visualize anymore.

A week later, the energy healer asked how things were going. “I’m still sick, and I can’t seem to visualize the water fall,” I replied.

“You are too serious,” he said. “You need to make it more fun. When you are happy like a child, you are the most healthy.”

Yesterday, some young children were running around the fountain outside my window. They were laughing and giggling at the silliest of things. It got me to thinking, “What percentage of my day am I smiling, laughing, and/or giggling?” I took it quick survey, and the percentage was really low, perhaps 20%.

My sons are better. They laugh, smile, and have a pretty good time, unless they are doing school work. School and work seem to turn smiles into seriousness, especially now since schooling is online and the kids get no recess to run around and play with each other.

When I drive, I am rarely smiling. I’m always thinking about something serious like how late I am or what is the best route. I never smile when my ex-wife is in the room.

I’m going to up the percentage of my smiling time. Even as I am writing this, I am smiling at the computer screen. Seems silly, but why not?

How do you find laughter, giggles, and smiles in your day?

“Life is too short to be grouchy!”

I have heard many times that cancer is caused by resentment. I first came across this truth while reading Heal Your Body by Louise L. Hay. When I had my first tumor in 2015, I worked hard to heal the resentment I had with my step-father. I learned that I also harbored resentment towards my mother, who in my eyes did not protect me from my step-father.

I had long conversations with both my step-father and mother about the abuse I experienced as a child. I was not looking for apologies: I simply wanted to state what I experienced. I learned a lot from that conversation about the stress and societal confines that my parents were under. I truly believe I forgave them in my heart.

After surgery, the doctor said that remarkably all my lymph nodes are clear. “You don’t need to do adjunctive chemo, just keep doing whatever you are doing,” said the surgeon. I was cured!

Then three years later, the tumors came back. How could this be? I had forgiven my parents. I didn’t have any more resentment towards them.

I am now realizing that even though I don’t have any large resentments towards anyone, I harbor small resentments all the time. If someone cuts me off in traffic, I accuse, judge, and condemn them. When someone doesn’t say hi back to me when I’m walking the dogs, I take it personally and wish they would learn some manners. When my ex-wife tells my sons what a failure I am, I lash back or smolder in my room.

I often feel like a grumpy old man. Even when my sons are in a joyful mood and ask me a simple question, I grunt the answer, annoyed that they even dared to ask me something.

My energy healer said, “Life is too short to be grumpy.” Moreover, a bad attitude causes the body to go into stress mode which releases cortisol. Cortisol causes inflammation. Inflammation cause more pain and helps tumors grow.

Healing is as simple as being happy. I’m learning to sense the grouchiness grow inside of me and counteract it with an inward smile. I always told myself that I didn’t want to grow up to be a grouchy old man. Now that I’m getting old, it is time to make a change.

Happiness is skateboarding with my sons!

This is Me!

I had a conversation with Jolanda in which I told her my whole life story–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Before the talk, I was hesitant to tell her how I had treated women poorly because she is a woman and the mother of two daughters. I didn’t want to jeopardize our blooming friendship with my tainted past.

But Jolanda didn’t judge me in any way. She understood everything I did in my life as a part of me unfolding. She picked out the best parts of me even in the darkest situations. I felt relieved, happy, and honored to be me, perhaps for the first time since I was a pure, innocent child. I could embrace all my trespasses as well as the trespasses of others as a beautiful tapestry woven of light and dark.

This interaction reminded me of Neil Douglas-Klotz’s translation of the Aramaic [the dialect that Yeshua spoke] version of the Lord’s Prayer:

Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.

Forgive our hidden past, the secret shames, as we consistently forgive what others hide.

Lighten our load of secret debts as we relieve others of their need to repay.

Erase the inner marks our failures make, just as we scrub our hearts of others’ faults.

Absorb our frustrated hopes and dreams, as we embrace those of others with emptiness.

Untangle the knots within so that we can mend our hearts’ simple ties to others.

Compost our inner, stolen fruit as we forgive others the spoils of their trespassing.

Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.

Jolanda embraced my frustrated dreams and hopes with emptiness. She forgave my hidden past and secret shames. She helped me untangle my knots within, which allowed me to mend my hearts’ simple connection with others. I felt whole again, almost as if I had been baptized in the river Jordan by Yeshua himself/herself.

A friend turned me on to Zach Bush who talks about working as a doctor in the ER. One night three of his patients died, yet he was able to revive them all. All three said the same thing when he brought them back to life: “Why did you bring me back?” They said, when they died, they experienced a white light of total acceptance for who they were.

“We are beings of light and we are completely accepted at every moment, including this moment when we would rape the earth, when we would kill each other at the rate we do, when we would destroy the entire ecosystem of a green planet in the middle of black space, when we would have that level of hubris, WE ARE STILL COMPLETELY ACCEPTED. And our journey is somehow understood by something more benevolent and more complete than we can see as human beings. What if we all looked at each other in wonder and awe and said, ‘You’re enough. I accept you completely. I want to be with you. I want to live with you. I want to be alive’.”

I experienced this total benevolent acceptance with Jolanda. I felt alive for the first time in a decade. I felt the joy of inhabiting my body, my life, and my soul. I hope everyone experiences this unconditional acceptance at one point in their lives–hopefully, before they die. It is a life-changer, literally. It changed the life I thought I was living. It changed my view of the past, the present, and the future.

A few days later, I was watching The Greatest Showman for the 5th time, and I started bawling when the “outcasts” were excluded from the reception with Jenny Lynn. The marched out singing the song, “This is Me.” I felt like the song encapsulated all that Jolanda had shared with me:

And I know that I deserve your love

There’s nothing I’m not worthy of

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down

I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out

This is brave, this is bruised

This is who I’m meant to be, this is me!

As the singers entered the big tent and a spotlight shown down upon them, the sun pierced through my window and blessed my tears. I felt accepted in the eyes of the divine.

This version of the song made me cry again. “WE ARE GLORIOUS!”

Love you all!

There is a light that never goes out

I have had the pleasure of having a number of intimate conversations with Jolanda Van Den Berg. She has given me the permission to be who I am in all senses. When I told her my life story, I felt no judgment from her, only understanding. It felt like she was inhabiting my life and could understand not only all my feelings and motivations, but also the feelings and motivations of those around me. 

She exonerated me from any guilt or regret. I could accept all that happened as vibrant colors of life expressing itself through me. 

She told my friend, Preeta: “If you can feel love for everything that happened before and not go into story lines, then maybe you can really enjoy being yourself, because that will always be with you rather than what you did right, what you did wrong, whether you were spiritual or not.”

I’m beginning to love everything in my life—the abusive childhood, the emotionally distant mother, the fall from grace, the unemployment, the divorce, the cancer, the recurrence of cancer—which allows me to enjoy being Kozo in this present moment. I told Jolanda that I am happier today than I have ever been in my life. 

I no longer have to be the “good son,” the “cool dude,” the perfect human. I am a unique manifestation of spirit. A deep loving, gentle, compassionate male. Jolanda posted the Smith’s song, There is a Light that Never Goes Out” on her Facebook page. I told her that I loved that song when I was in college. I was that kind of man who would die for my love—“If a double decker bus crashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.” 

I have the intention to be that fully embodied loving man again. I don’t know if this will keep me alive longer, but I definitely know that I will live more fully the days I have left. 

One last quotation from Jolanda to really emphasize the point: 

When you really feel deep whatever story then it always fits with you, whatever story it is. If you can really feel like “Oh, this is me, all that happened and all these people who came in your life, All—that is how life showed itself through me.” The more you feel like all these things fitted with you because it was how you perceived what came in the picture. And it is beautiful that you can see the gift in the drama. 

See the “gift in the drama.” That pretty much sums it up. We all have a light inside us that never goes out; it just waits patiently for us to open the blinds (blind spots) and let it shine.

5 Gifts from Facing Mortality

One thing this new diagnosis has done for me is place mortality front and center in my windshield of life. I’ve always known intellectually about the impermanence of life, but now it seems visceral rather than intellectual. Facing mortality has been challenging, but has also bestowed many unexpected gifts.

1) Slowing Down

This latest prognosis has really forced me to slow down. I eat slower, sleep longer, work less, and try not to get too revved up. I even drive slower. Dr. Tom says that any cortisol in my system causes inflammation which increases pain and causes tumors to grow. Any time I let my emotions get the best of me, I am releasing cortisol in my system.

Lately, I have been really good about staying in a joyful emotional state, and the pain has decreased, my sleep is better, and my energy levels are way up. But yesterday, I let my sons get the best of me and flashed into a fit of anger that lasted for hours, and what do you know, I didn’t sleep well and have some mild pain today.

I recently hosted a webinar with Prakash Shellikeri who survived Stage 4 prostate cancer using holistic practices like pranayama and Mind Sound Resonance Technique (MSRT). Prakash said all yoga is about slowing down. Pranayama extends my breathing out to almost a minute per breath. Toning and sound healing force me to sit or lay down and feel into the resonant frequencies, tones, and pitches of different parts of my body.

I even chew my food more. Dr. Tom suggests that my meals should take almost an hour since I am chewing more and savoring the food. I also try not to eat while standing or watching TV or driving.

Life has been wonderful at this slower pace. On the practical side, even if my life span is shortened, if I slow down, I am living more and longer!

2) Freedom from Consumerism

After I learned about my prognosis, a bizarre thought arose in my mind: “I won’t ever have to buy another pair of jeans again.” The same goes for cars, houses, furniture, etc. It was a bit of a relief to tell the truth.

Fortunately or unfortunately, both my jeans ripped in the knees and I did have to buy more jeans, but it seemed like a privilege to purchase more clothes rather than an obligation or an addiction. Like most Americans, I have wanted more, bigger, and better material things throughout life. I used to dream of securing a house at Rincon Point in Santa Barbara, a new Tesla (a wish that continuously upgraded with each new Tesla model to be released), the newest iPhone every year, a bigger TV, etc.

Now, I’m happy just living life with what I already have, although I did purchase some protective equipment for skateboarding, but I consider that a type of medical insurance.

3) Communing with Others

In the past few months, my life has been full of deep, intimate relationships–and this is during shelter in place! I am reading a book called Angels in my Hair by Lorna Byrne. Lorna sees and has seen angels her whole life. She claims that angels are always by our side. This is what my life feels like right now. I not only have human angels who comfort, guide, and care for me, but also spiritual angels always by my side.

I have also had the pleasure of communing with loved ones and other cancer patients in a number of healing circles. These circles tend to go very deep very fast. No time for chit chat. We got straight to the jugular of existence. (bad pun)

I am blessed that I consider my three healers dear friends. Dr. Cynthia Li signs her emails to me, “Love, Cynthia.” I can’t tell you how many friends, relatives, and acquaintances I have said “I love you” to after a phone call or visit. I have never felt more loved and more loving in my entire life.

4) Awakening the Empath

I was listening to a talk by Judith Orloff who wrote The Empath’s Survival Guide. She said that “healing of trauma and awakening of the empath happen at the same time.”  This healing journey has not only been in the body, but also in spirit, emotions, and relationships. I am releasing traumas that I had no idea I was still storing in my physical, emotional, and spiritual body.

The more I heal, the more I sense into being an empath. Michael Lerner, my boss and dear friend, had to go to the hospital today for an aneurism. Cynthia Li, my intuitive doctor, is also Michael’s friend and doctor. When we heard that Michael had to go to the hospital, Cynthia intuited into the nature of the problem and concluded that the aneurism was stable and no emergency procedure was needed. Today, the tests confirmed that this diagnosis was right on target. I texted Cynthia how amazed I was that she could come up with this diagnosis without even seeing Michael. She texted back, “PS you can do this too!”

I feel like everyone has deep connections with their intuitive self, but trauma, society, cultural norms, and self-doubt obscure our natural ability. Healing my body, mind, and spirit has opened new doors of intuition, empathy, and love. What a gift!

5) Experiencing the Grace of Serendipity


The past few months have been like a real life version of the film Serendipity. But rather than finding my soul mate, I’m being led to my true life. So many mysterious “coincidences” have happened in the past few months. A friend who I haven’t spoken to in 5 years calls out of the blue and tells me he has prostate cancer. I share with him the qigong videos by Master Mingtong Gu. The next weekend he gifts me a ticket to an online summit with Master Mingtong which leads me to purchase a monthly master class on sound healing which includes live “Practice with the Master” zoom calls. In the first zoom call, I notice that Joe Vitale is in the audience. Joe wrote a book on ho‘oponopono called Zero Limits. This inspires me to restart my Hawaiian healing prayer which I do barefoot outside. The next day, another friend sends me The Earthing Movie which is about how walking barefoot everyday lowers inflammation and helps the body heal. The combination of qigong, sound healing, earthing, and breath work have decreased my pain level from 7 to 2 on a 10 point scale.

It seems like everywhere I turn something mysterious is brewing. I have a theory that the more serendipity I experience the more in flow I am with life’s rhythms. Since facing mortality I have definitely tuned into life’s flow on a deeper level.

These gifts have improved my quality of life in so many ways. I have no idea how long I have to live, but I do know that I am surrounded by angels, feeling love more than in the past, and surfing the waves of serendipity.  What more can I ask for?


A Glimpse of the Ineffable

jolandaA few weeks ago, I was honored to host a call with Jolanda van den Berg. Jolanda had a traumatic event 5 years ago that catalyzed a complete awakening from the form into the formless–she saw how her identity was an illusion:

“So what I saw 5 years ago, that the Jolanda character was really never there. That is the illusion of existence, you could say. It defines you, so you can never define the other way around. It is too complicated. It is not only too complicated, it is impossible. Why I didn’t speak for 5 years because it is a story in a story. So if people think that it happened to me, that is not true. Because what you see is that there was never a person experiencing anything. So the words that come out of me are just coming out without me doing anything. But as a person we believe that we are talking, but there is just talking, to say it like that. Whatever that is, is it.”

Being in the presence (over Zoom) with Jolanda was indescribable. I couldn’t really grasp intellectually what she experienced, but at the end of the call, I felt a lightness of being and a joy beyond words. So many things Jolanda shared with us that day stayed with me:

  • For me love means everything that seems to appear. That means love for me. So the one you are with in this moment, the seemingly one you are with, is your biggest lover. That can be a cake, that can be your wife, that can be the sun. That is what love is for me. Or that can be a thought or the sadness of someone you lost that you are still identified with. There is only love for me.
  • From a personal perspective it feels like you have to reach something or you have to change something or you have to be someone or whatever. In my perspective, everything that seems to come in the picture is what I am, you could say. And without that I wouldn’t even exist or even imagine that I exist. It is fascinating. You become the fascination itself.
  • Beauty for me is the same like a feeling. For me there is nothing more beautiful when someone is falling through her/himself. There is the identification as a person and then when someone fall out of identification, then you see the beauty. And that is the same beauty as the light in the trees at 5:30 in the afternoon. And that is the same beauty of seeing someone in love with whatever there is. It is all the same beauty for me. For me it was always nice bringing people together and just being there. No one has to be special or not special, everything is just what it is. And that is beauty for me.
  • Enjoy life. That is the most beautiful thing we can be for each other. Just be open and loving. That is the most beautiful thing you can do. I think everything is perfect exactly the way it is, so I don’t have wishes in that sense.

After the official interview ended, Jolanda stayed on the line with a few of us. I asked her about pain, since I just had a rough night with neuropathy pain. Here is what she said:

Then I would say, your name is pain. How life presents itself in that moment is by pain. And somehow if you see it like that, then you can even be happy– because without that pain you wouldn’t even  exist.

It’s completely opposite of the personal identification. If you can wake up in that pain and see the love in even the pain then nothing in life can pull you from the lightness.

Who is this woman? I felt deep wisdom in this approach to pain. Pain as life’s presence in the moment, so that we might even see the love in the pain. I can’t really understand this statement, but I can feel it. Now when I have pain, I try to remind myself that this is my aliveness for the moment.

Later, another volunteer told Jolanda about my diagnosis. Jolanda sent an email and invited me and another cancer patient to sit in dialogue with her (which we scheduled for July 17th, so stay tuned.) In her email, Jolanda shifted my perspective again:

…I noticed that especially with people who are identified with life and death themes, to call it like that, can use some neutral energy, someone who doesn’t see them as “that person with cancer” but just a person as a story, like we all are. I think there is so much projection on seemingly sickness, pain and death, especially from the people who are not sick. The only thing I know is that I build a whole fantasy world out of fear, without knowing, and that night when it all fell away, you could call it dying, after the first part, hours of extreme pain of a mix of physical and emotional, and then, that last incredible feeling of being taken over like a free fall was the most wonderful feeling I ever experiences ever and worth all the pain, like after giving birth to your child. That was for me like an extra present and therefore its impossible not to feel that, also, when I hear stories about dying, because it feels like they are the chosen ones for me. Like I know the birthday present that is waiting for them because in that very moment of the free fall all comes together where we never really were. And of course I can see also from a personal perspective that pain and dying is quite the opposite. Soooo, Im very honored to meet the chosen ones, which we all are of course in my world of no beginnings nor ends.

So grateful for this guidance and love that has entered my life through the back door. Just another gift that cancer has dropped on my doorstep.

The Stillness That Is Always Available

Today, I ran out of Gabapentin, my pain medication. Surprisingly, I have had little pain, and my urination improved drastically. Dr. Tom, one of my energy healers, said any medication forces the liver to work harder, so when I don’t take the pain medication, my liver can recover.

I told Dr. Tom I had to get to an appointment with a cranial osteopath, and he said, “Oh, I can fix your bones with virtual reality. Go onto the internet and find a picture of a perfect spine. Look at that picture and imagine that that is your spine. You will feel your muscles moving to accommodate the new image.” He gave me a quick example.

“First, turn you neck both directions. Now, imagine you are Gumby and see your neck rotating 360 degrees five times.”

After I did the visualization, my neck could rotate noticeably more.

Then I drove to Portola Valley to see Alistair Moresi, a cranial osteopath. The office was tucked into the redwoods and birds flew all around just outside the sliding glass door. Alistair, who is from Australia, had that relaxed friendliness that I have noticed in many Australians.

When I told him my diagnosis, Alistair displayed a lot of compassion. Apparently, he has another patient with metastatic peritoneal cancer. He laid me on the table and gently held, moved, and lifted different parts of my body.

While he was doing this, I felt a deep release both physically and beyond. I started reciting the first line of the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic–Abwoon D’bwashmaya. Both the cranial osteopath and the Aramaic prayer were suggested to me by Dr. Cynthia Li. My breath deepened as I settled into an awake form of sleep.


When he finished, Alistair said, “I want you to feel what you are feeling right now. You drop into stillness very quickly. The stillness you feel inside is always available to you. In fact, it is the same stillness in this room, and the same stillness that is always present in nature.” Alistair pointed to the redwoods on the patio.

“Try to hold onto that stillness like a barnacle. Things will start to move in slow motion. You will still have things to get done, but you won’t be in a harried state.”

He said that there was a blockage in my liver and lymphatic system right below my rib cage. The blockage went through my diaphragm, which was interesting because my dear friend Pavi had just told me about a mother who healed her son just by helping him use his diaphragm correctly.

I also thought about the tonal healing sounds I was practicing. The liver sound is a hard “T” sound that made my diaphragm and liver jump inside my body. I feel like I am opening up these blockages from multiple angles–weening off medication, energy healing, qigong, tonal healing, and cranial osteopathy.

I don’t know what the results of releasing these blockages will be. I have no idea if it will affect the tumors, but I have to say that the stillness and ease I feel are antithetical to the dis-ease that the conventional doctors diagnosed.


After the appointment, I skateboarded for a few hours then came home and went to bed. That is when the pain came in force. Alistair had said not to be too quick giving up the Gabapentin because pain can release stress hormones that will take me out of the stillness. I was up until 3 am in pain. I finally took three 100 mg capsules of Gabapentin that I had left over from a previous prescription. I then did hip circles and chi ball exercises until I fell asleep. Seems like I’m not ready to ween off pain meds yet.

Alistair had told me to drink a lot of water, which I didn’t. So I might have been dehydrated. After I fell asleep, I slept until 8:30 am when I had to get up to host an Awakin Call with Jolanda Van Den Berg. Jolanda had an experience 5 years ago that allowed her to see a state of no self that abides until this day.  

I asked her about waking up with pain, and she said something like notice the pain arising without attaching any meaning to it. You may even be able to get to the point of realizing that this pain is a gift because it is the reason you are aware of living. You can even see the love in the pain. 

It was a powerful reframe for me. Part of my insomnia stemmed from my shame of having to go back on Gabapentin and thoughts of pain being an indication of a growing tumor or even the need for palliative care. 

I feel a lot lighter now, almost the same stillness I felt with Alistair. Pain comes and goes, but the stillness remains–unless I fall back into a story.