Thursday, February 18, 2010

Living With Cancer - Bonfires on the Shore

Yesterday (2/17/2010) I received this story from my friend Forest, who gave me permission to share it. It is so beautifully poignant.  __________________

Today, my cousin's partner Janine celebrates 45 years of life. I passed along her words about "living with cancer," not "dying from cancer," last summer. Now at a moment of great challenge, she has given us a message which I’m [sharing]. May it give you inspiration!

The other evening as I was feeling sad and scared about my life and my body, I was thankfully able to take it to prayer. My image of the water keeps returning to me, morphing and adjusting according to what I need in the moment. I again saw myself standing on the edge of the lake with the brilliant night sky overhead. Again I was summoned to come into the water. Over and over, I feel myself invited (no, summoned feels more right) to walk into the water and let myself fall back into a floating position. It all feels part of the letting go, trusting in the water to hold me up, to embrace me, to carry me. This time, though, as I laid back on the water, feeling rather alone, I began to see not one bonfire, but dozens of fires along the shore, surrounding me. I had this overwhelming sense that I may be alone out here on the water, but hundreds of people were camped at these fires, their bodies facing me, standing and sitting in silence, holding vigil in my name. It was a sacred moment that reduced me to tears, and reminded me (again) how much I am loved, how many there are of you holding me in your loving thoughts and prayers. I am not alone. I am not alone. I am not alone. I am grateful for each of you for filling me with your presence. 

So on this day, this anniversary of my life’s beginning, I am both grateful and sad. I stand in the space where life is both sweet and bitter, joyful and sorrowful, strong and vulnerable. And here I find the Holy. Here I find love. Here I find life.

I belong to an international prayer organization. From time to time people ask me to add their friends and family members to the prayer list for these people from all over the world to pray for. A couple of years ago some local friends asked me to include prayers for their friend Tom, who had cancer. A year or so later I had the privilege to meet Tom, who was doing well. He told me that he had felt our prayers coming to him in waves of energy. His experience was similar to Janine's story, above.

I am praying for all people who are facing a major health challenge or some situation in which they feel alone and perhaps are afraid they won't be able to find a successful outcome to that challenge. I am visualizing lights of consciousness all around those people, like bonfires on the shore, sending love and light to all who are suffering.

Shakura Cathryn 
May All Beings Be Well
May All Beings Be Happy
Peace, Peace, Peace
~Buddhist Blessing
Picture from

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