Saturday, December 29, 2007


What an extremely difficult, draining night.

I had a great chat with one of my bosses at a diner before he began his shift at the paper this afternoon. I had some Buddhist statuary and a few books I wanted to give him. I also wanted to express in person what a pleasure and privilege it has been to work with him for the better part of a decade.

Then I stopped at the paper for a brief visit to say goodbye to colleagues who work irregular schedules or only on weekends. Toward the end of the visit I was overcome by weakness and lightheadedness. What made it scary was the complete sense of helplessness that coursed through me. I met a friend for pancakes and bacon, of which I ate practically nothing.

When my father's 95-year-old sister lay dying a few years ago, her mental faculties were stunningly sharp. My mother remarked, though, that she seemed to be floating between worlds, that she was aware of but not absorbed in the circumstances of this one. She was waiting to let go.
And that's precisely how I felt tonight.

My cats are being given a new home tomorrow.
Things are moving along.


gniz said...

These posts of yours have left me pretty much speechless.
But i have to comment just to say thank you.


Marie Rex said...

I'm glad you are getting to say goodbye to people. I think that is important.

I'm sorry about your cats. I understand well the need for them to have new homes, but I know how much comfort a pet can be.

Mike Cross said...

Again, Michael, I really relate to this.

We fear helplessness. And yet utter helplessness is another way of saying total liberation.

Now it is you who is preaching the backward step.

Matt K. said...

I'm thinking of good things for you, Michael. I applaud how you're shedding the material and finding what's truly important. I strive to do similar, sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

your cats will adjust well i'm sure. they are such curious and in the moment creatures and how cool that they have each other! sending you love and peace

farmwife said...

I really am at a loss for words as well.

I was thinking of you this morning while I was sitting with my goat herd. I was sitting with my eyes closed, just floating along with my thoughts when one of my oldest girls came and laid her head on my shoulder and closed her eyes as well.

I hope you could feel the well wishes being sent your way.

Michael said...

Thank you, one and all.

Tara said...

I'm new to your blog. I wanted to share with you how touched I am and how privileged I feel to read your posts. I wish you peace and support as you continue on your journey.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of love, you have a lot around you.
Your aunt Bea is very excited to be mentioned in this blog and in such an admiring way.........

Suzannah B. Troy artist said...

Michael you are surrounded by love in the most immediate sense and globally by people following your blog.

I am so tired I wish I could "let go" but I am here. Your dream was a very rich gift, your inner landscape...freedom.

Here in the physical world people have drained me with their negative. I just bought a gold leather bracelet that answers my anger, "what goes around comes around" and it repeats itself and wraps around my wrist 3 times and it links together with a circle that says LOVE.

If I die right now I want to die with love in my art (oops my typo), heart and in the frequency of love, compassion and peace.

Love, compassion, peace Michael.
Surrounded by love, inside outside,

Michael said...

Yes, it's all about love.

Stolenswan said...

what lovely, touching reading this evening. i'm not sure exactly what to say, except thank you.

Michael said...

And thank YOU.

goingRAWr! said...

i've just found your blog via noimpactman and just wanted to send lots of love and good vibes. it's so beautiful that you are dealing with this the way that you are.. with grace and trying to find peace in your soul with what the universe has thrown at you.
i just wanted to ask if you have looked into any alternative therapies to help with the symptoms.. like acupuncture, kinesiology or meditation practice. i am a western medical doctor but believe in the power of alternative therapies especially in oncology.
i'd also like to suggest that you try a well balanced raw food diet.. i have met people who have prolonged their lives with good QOL on raw food diets after cancer diagnoses.
i hope i'm not being too forward in these suggestions.
much love and peace

Suzannah B. Troy artist said...

Thanks for the love Michael...while you are moving towards one ascent with love and compassion -- writing and read your thoughts and other responders helps me to constantly redirect my thoughts to love and compassion rather than the toxic thoughts that drain and exhaust the "toxic mode" I am not "alive". Being here on your blog helps me to cope with "my living" being alive. Thank you and best to you. My favorite Zen saying is live each moment as if you hair is on fire!" Meaning give each moment your passion. I want to do so with love and goodness.

It is ultimately finding the "love frequency".

I think of the books and films I have seen on climbing Mt. Everest.
All the best,
Peace love and compassion

Doug C said...


I'm glad to hear you plan to come into work Wednesday, if only for a few short conversations. It will be good for me and others to tell you what you've meant to us. I'm amazed you're finding the strength to continue writing.


Suzannah B. Troy artist said...

7:00pm and I am feeling happy in a way I could not imagine and it is from blogging with you and feeling the love and support of others and giving love and support.
Wishing you and your family a blessed Happy New Year and love, compassion and peace.

Jean said...

Thinking about you often, Michael, with love and gratitude for your clarity, strength and honesty.

Anonymous said...

Silent Illumination
Silently and serenely, one forgets all words, Clearly and vividly, it appears before you.
When one realizes it, time has no limits.
When experienced, your surroundings come to life.
Singularly illuminating is this bright awareness, Full of wonder is the pure illumination.
The moon's appearance, a river of stars, Snow-clad pines, clouds hovering on mountain peaks.
In darkness, they glow with brightness.
In shadows, they shine with a splendid light.
Like the dreaming of a crane flying in empty space, Like the clear, still water of an autumn pool, Endless eons dissolve into nothingness, Each indistinguishable from the other.
In this illumination all striving is forgotten.
Where does this wonder exist?

From "Silent Illumination"
by Master Hung Chih

Michael the Sangha is thinking of you. Jim F.

Suzannah B. Troy artist said...

so powerful how you keep touching people with your thoughts, words and energy in the most uplifting way even as you face death.


I struggle living to keep resetting myself to focus on the positivity...that is my goal an ascent...

so powerful how you keep that dynamic energy to goodness going Michael...

Michael said...

Thanks, Jim. I hope to see you all Sunday.

Suzannah, PLEASE stop making this blog into more than it is, and my efforts into more than they are. PLEASE. I am tired, scared and in pain, and it's weirding me out.

Michael said...

I uderstand how you feel and I appreciate it, but these messages feel like nails being hammered into my coffin. PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

Back in college when I was feeling particularly anxious, a buddy of mine used to say a phrase to help me relax. The cliche is "big breaths", as in "take a big breath", but this guy would look at me and smile and say "big breasts! big breasts!".

Big Breasts, Michael!

take care,

east village idiot said...

You know I am an unenlightened idiot, but I'm still out here pluggin' for you.

I'm deeply sorry you're in pain and so tired. I hope the move to your brother's house gives you the sort of nurturing and rest that brings back your health. Loving care and a change of scenery can do that for a person.

Michael said...

Thanks, EVI.

forestdweller said...


I don't know you, nor you, me, but I've been happily reading your blog for a bit...

I just wanted to say that I'm thinking of you, and that your blog has enriched, fascinated and entertained me.

Thank you for sharing yourself as you do.

Many long-distance hugs from me to you, if you would like them. *grins sheepishly*

- Raevyn

Michael said...

Thank you.

Michael Bennett said...

Hi Michael, I too admire you from afar. I picked up the link to your blog from No Impact Man and have been following it for several days. I send cheers from frozen Canada. With the greatest of respect and the highest admiration, Mick

Pierre Turlur said...

I have no words left. Just would like to give you a hug really. Love.

Michael said...

Thank you, Mick and Pierre.

tamarika said...

Dear Michael,
I am reading you and holding you in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

You are such a beautiful spirit.

nick said...

I watched my father die of cancer three years ago. Since then i've found myself often pondering my own mortality and how I will face it when the time comes. I wonder how afraid I will be. I Have been a spiritual/philosophical seeker since I was a teenager. I have been studying buddhism and practicing seated meditation for about nine months now. I am enjoying a more zen outlook and attituide concerning life, and believe that I am grasping better and better the idea of seeing a world without the ego; a world richly painted with beautiful contrasts. I think to myself that maybe I will be able to see my passing as yet another color to the beautiful painting that we find ourselves in. Maybe my concept of death doesn't have to be every piece of nightmare that i've made it out to be. Obviously it isn't pleasant, and is scary, but I hope that when it comes I will experience it with the dignity of focusing on life and the moment, rather than the boogieman of the unknown. Reading your blog is inspiring to me, and fascinating. Thank you for posting.

Jesus, My Best Friend said...

God Bless you! You will be in my Prayers!