It was my turn to speak on Palm Sunday. I began my talk with a bit of context, sharing that my take on Holy Week was that the Easter story is about our own personal transformational journey. Every facet of the story, beginning with Jesus’ so called “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem, culminating with his crucifixion and resurrection, and including the disciples’ ordeal, can be looked at through this lens.
It is also about a very specific aspect of transformation that includes acquiring a difficult life situation through no fault of our own, that looks and feels like we’re headed for our own personal crucifixion experience. A part of us not just dies, but goes through a dying process, not unlike the emotional suffering that Jesus and the disciples experienced.
Nonetheless, it leads us to a reckoning between letting this experience define us by eclipsing our awareness of who we are as Source, the One, and Presence, or seeing it as what we are having as our experience. Acquiring a life condition that necessitates the differentiation between who we are and what we are having is integral to the transformation process. And what ultimately can prolong or derail this process is mistaking ourselves for what we are having. We either use what we are having or what we are having uses us.
I mentioned to my congregation that I would be sharing one such life condition that I have recently acquired later in the talk.
Most challenges are not a direct path to Golgotha. Many difficulties arise and pass away in the context of our evolving personal reality. Yet, from time to time and at least once in a lifetime for most of us, we may acquire a life condition that is so challenging, in human terms, that we are compelled to bring forth the felt sense of a higher part of ourselves. This higher part is what I call my More Than Enoughness. Our More Than Enoughness is what our Divinity feels like. As this felt sense becomes elevated and sustained, it develops into the context I bring to my dying process—seeing that what I am dying to is a belief that I am not enough.
When I consider the Palm Sunday story, I can imagine Jesus knowing what awaited him as he approached Jerusalem, taking in the crowd’s triumphant overtures as innocent naivety, totally oblivious to what Jesus foresaw as his transformational journey. I also imagine R.E.M., the rock band singing in the background as Jesus rode into the pending bedlam. Here it is for your listening pleasure:
If Jesus knew that the end of his world was near, he also knew that his process, whatever that would become, would result in evolving humanity’s consciousness. And for us, this story can provide insight into the transformational process, its aim, and the effort that is required.
When we are faced with a life situation that has the potential to take our plans, dreams and personal goals, and shred them to pieces, when these “crucifixion” circumstances take the form of a loss, critical illness, abuse, abandonment, suicide, terrorism, misfortune, or any other perceived evil, we have also arrived at a portal, the gateway to our own emotional healing and spiritual awakening. And, yes, we may have to literally die in order to receive such a treasure.
Before I shared my story, I wanted the congregation to know that, now that Jane and I have been at the church for nearly a year, and after having introduced and spoken each Sunday about our year-long theme, The Art & Practice of Living with Nothing and No One Against You, we have arrived at a tipping point in our church culture. The majority of our spiritual community knows that they are Source, the One, and Presence unto their life, and that being More Than Enough is what their essence or Divinity feels like.
Using the Q Process™ has become part of the culture – we get triggered, discover an underlying limiting belief or shadow quality, choose to shift how we are being with what we are having, and apply persistent, and systematic effort to living into a new way of being.
What’s more, we can now apply transformative teachings more effectively because our minds are spending less time focused on what we are having and more upon who we are being. For me, this means that the congregation is able to receive my narrative as my story to tell, rather than giving in to the temptation to make up their own story about what I am having. This is crucial to avoid triggering the family system.
Seven weeks ago, I was diagnosed with cancer, stage 4 melanoma, a relatively rare form of internal skin cancer. Typical skin cancer begins with a mole or blister caused by ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure. Because there is no point of origin, the doctor assumes that a childhood blistering sunburn is the culprit. I have the same cancer as former President Jimmy Carter, and ironically, Rev. David McClure, who preceded us at Unity Spiritual Center. David’s courage and authenticity in dealing with his condition actually prepared the way for me sharing my news with the community.
The plan is to receive the very same treatment, Keytruda, a monoclonal antibody class of immunotherapy that focuses on fortifying the immune system to recognize and shrink melanoma cancer cells. The excellent news is that both President Carter and Rev. David are now cancer free from this treatment. I am in good company. I plan to get it started in the next week or so. Pretty much don’t like things growing inside of me without my permission.
I told my congregation that cancer is a gift because it is taking me into my process of reckoning, sorting out whether or not I am really more than enough. Since this is a gift, I practice gratitude, thanking my body for manifesting something that has the capacity to take me to the next level, whatever that may be.
The second really important thing is that my cancer is what I have. It’s not who I am. Since everything that I have is my abundance, as Source, it is imperative that I use what I have to break the habit of being my not enoughness. How do I use it? By being in the question, what actions do I need to take that value, respect, honor, and leverage what I am experiencing? And then, taking authentic action. This is a question for our heart, not our head. It’s amazing the guidance that comes which simply reiterates what your higher self has been trying to get you to do for years.
I made a list of things to do and things to stop doing. I decided that I didn’t want to feed the cancer or any parasites that might be lurking (most cancer patients also have hidden parasite infestation), so I cut out sugar and alcohol (yes, no Scotch). Jane and I also made a list of the alternative approaches for healing and treatment. Rev. David had shared with me that when I told the congregation, I would get a couple hundred well-meaning remedies immediately thrown my way, possibly ranging from the ridiculous to exactly what is needed. I told the congregation to bring it on! I welcome their caring support.
My oncology doctor gave me permission to explore anything that I could use as a path to hope, empowerment, and engagement. He did caution about “going all in” on any one treatment possibility, including what he would offer. He said I should avoid remedies like putting chicken shit in my ears or having echinacea enemas. Made perfect sense to me. I shared that bit of wisdom with the congregation and it was good to lighten things up. They appreciated the comic relief.
So, by now you have discovered that I am using this blog post to share the news about my cancer. I say “my cancer”, not in terms of creating an identity, but to objectify what I am having. I have a body that has cancer. My body is not the Truth of me. I can be in the experience of having a body in a healing process without being diminished by what I am having.
While its the end of my world as I know it, I feel fine.
To listen to the Palm Sunday talk, Preparing a Place, click here.