"Within You Without You" ~ George Harrison

A friend sent me the following quote a monk has hanging on
his wall:
Who am I?
A child of G-d.
What do I need?
What do I have?
In this time of upheaval, my ideas about G-d have been …
well, let’s just use the term “Shifting,” to place a mild spin on it.
What is the difference between a stubborn, will-power backed
assault, and a calm (or even a fiery) self-assured knowingness?
Does knowledge come from within or without? Is G-d something
in me, or outside of me?
Sometimes when I pray, I address “Higher Power, Inner
Strength,” as I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. However, sometimes,
like now, it’s hard to know if my Inner Strength is such, or if it’s simply an Inner Stubbornness.
To be unvague, I’m talking about my decision to go with or
without bone marrow transplant as a treatment option. Yesterday, I met with my
oncologist again, and I told him I was still thinking about going with chemo
instead of transplant, and he looked at me pained. We then proceeded to look up
a bunch of medical research articles, and the articles report that transplant
has a higher “long term survival” rate (if only by 10 or 20 per cent).
I am tired of people telling me I’m going to die. I’m tired
of listening to, This is the preferred way. I get that. I do. Am I being stubborn, afraid, or simply intuitive?
How can I know? I can meditate all I want, but it’s
impossible for me right now to completely know. Is the decision that I’m making
based on the purity of consciousness and understanding of myself and belief in
the beneficence of the Universe? Or, is the decision I’m making based on
avoiding the path which leads to total body irradiation and irreversible organ
Um, you make that
choice, huh? Who can?
Am I simply being stubborn, or am I simply believing in
I don’t think it’s clear or clean either way. I think,
ultimately, it is both. And can that be okay?
Of course, I don’t want to make a decision based on fear. I
want to account for the facts. And the facts are these: in the end, the chances
according to medical science are the same.
But, fuck medical science. It’s not as if I’m being the hippie who says, Oh forget all these white-coat, white-hairs; I will now go cure my
cancer with herbs and full-lung breathing at the 3/4 moon. Those methods
have been suggested to me by a few friends, and sure
there are results on that way too. But, no. I am choosing to continue on a medical path
which itself has no guarantees, has its own drawbacks and uncertainties. And,
in the end may.not.work.
But what does that mean? It may not work. Every time I think
of phrases like this, it licks away at the resolve, fortitude, and demeanor
(and demand) that I have that I will be alright. I mean, when you look at it
plainly, one route says you have about a one out of two chance you will die.
The other one says you have about a one out of two chance you will die.
STOP TELLING ME THIS. I am not going to die. It’s just not
what’s going to happen. Yet I’m not intending to be or needing to be some kind of a miracle baby
either, having brazened against the odds. I don’t need to be some kind of a
pioneer, by going without a transplant – this is NOT to teach anyone a
lesson. Except maybe me.
Stop telling me about my death, please, and thank you.
I am a child of G-d. Whomever, and wherever that source may
be. There’s a phrase in some literature that states that what we once thought
was a flimsy reed (of faith) turned out to be the branch of a mighty oak. I
believe I am connected to the mighty oak.
If I’m “wrong,” if this means death at some point, death
from cancer – it won’t be because I made the “wrong” decision. It’s not about
right or wrong here. I mean, the chances are ultimately the same. It’s not about statistics. I just don’t feel it is.
Am I stubborn, or am I spiritual?
Are the two compatible? … Rarely – take a look at the middle
east right now…
But, guys, I just feel it. I just feel it’s the right way. I
acknowledge that it isn’t a clean decision. I acknowledge that I have fear of
irradiating my body and unforeseeable side effects – even if the point and the
outcome is cure. People have told me that it’s about risk tolerance – how much
risk am I willing to tolerate?
I am willing to tolerate the risk that by maintaining the
current course, it may not go my way. I am willing to do what is necessary to
maintain and improve my health so that I have the best chance of staying in
remission. I am willing to live in the uncertainty, and willing to admit that I
am not willing to step willingly into a nuclear chamber. (like all those
willingnesses?) 😉
I am willing to maintain the course of my soul. I am willing
to admit to you what I feel, and work out those parts that are still gummed up
with resentment or straight, obvious stubbornness. I am willing to learn,
here, and more willing to ask for help, which I have begun to do.
I am willing to show you more of who I am. I am willing to
cry in public, and yell Fuck Cancer at the same time.
I am willing to acknowledge that the inner strength I have
is not some imagined, indigestion-inspired whim, but rather a strength and
knowledge that comes from something much more rooted, connected, grounded, and
wise than I am. I am willing to listen, but I am also willing to say, Stop
predicting my death. Because, doctor, I trust you, but I’ve got something a
little bigger going on. 

2 thoughts on “"Within You Without You" ~ George Harrison

  1. Thank you, Molly, for sharing your journey with us!!

    A story from my past…feel free to delete it if you'd rather it wasn't posted here…I'll understand completely!!

    Ten years ago this month my friend Ed passed from pancreatic cancer…he had been sent home to die as peacefully as possible. He asked me to run his hospice. The one thing I impressed on everyone who visited him was: Ed Is Still Very Much Alive…please don't talk to him as if he's dying.

    You have not been sent home to die, but to rest so as to continue receiving treatments that will help you live…and you are indeed VERY much ALIVE!!

    And I love what you posted about self will…its something I've been watching in myself for the 30 years I've been paying attention to such things. G-d, the universe, great spirit…whatever…gave us free will. The question is not “how do I repress my will” but “how do I align my will” with that of whatever spiritual entity I believe in. I believe that prayer is when I ask for help and meditation is when I listen for the answer.

    Problem for me is there are usually “many” answers…and I am left to choose one and see how it works out. I believe there are no “wrong” choices…there is something of value to be learned with each choice I make…if I didn't need a particular lesson, I wouldn't be faced with a particular choice.

    I don't know…maybe its the choosing that is the whole point…when I meet G-d I'll be sure to ask 🙂

    Go with your heart Molly…its a good one!!


  2. Thank you, Molly.

    I think as medical professionals we forget or take for granted that those we care for know what is best for themselves, whether it's the choice we would make for them or not =). We live for stats, research, new technology and procedures, forever trying to make it “fool-proof”. Thank you for the gentle reminder that healing happens on so many different levels, and as you pointed out, there is no right or wrong answer here.

    Love you.


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