What if the body is actually a mirror of how we live our lives?
For as long as humans have walked on planet Earth, they have walked to get closer to their Gods.
As of 2016, the greatest distance claimed for a “round the world” pilgrimage is 41,552 miles by Arthur Blessitt, a man from the USA, who has been walking on a mission since 1969. He has visited all seven continents, including Antarctica, having crossed 324 “nations, island groups and territories” carrying a 12-ft wooden cross and preaching from the Bible along the way.
Historically pilgrims undertook these journeys to holy places because it was important for their faith. If they had committed sins they believed that by going on a pilgrimage they could show God how sorry they were.
The Greeks made these quests, as did the Israelites, the Mayans, and the Chinese. Jesus hailed these journeys, along with the Buddha and the Prophet Mohammad. These wanderings have been around forever. Pilgrims made them in the eons before writing was invented. Believers made them in the millennia during which the great civilizations were built. Seekers follow them today.
Cancer, no matter what the type, stage or degree creates an immediate pathway in our lives, which can either be pushed aside for a simpler route or followed faithfully to its apex, the summit of which can be a deep encounter with healing. Those of us with cancer know that we cannot always be cured, but we can always be healed in the sense of embracing a broader vision of ourselves while celebrating our life and inevitable death with remarkable clarity.
This is our pilgrimage to a place that was perhaps inaccessible before cancer. This becomes our daily mission, to exist side by side with a life-threatening disease while unearthing through a solo safari, all of the treasures that exist in our remaining, cherished days. Living with cancer has often been described as a “journey”.
I choose to think of my own cancer as an “expedition” through which the very course of my life has been changed forever, and by which I am able—indeed eager—to discover something new about myself and my relationship to the universe each and every day.
Author and adventurer Bruce Feiler in his PBS series called “ Sacred Journeys “describes the 6 stages of every pilgrimage this way:
Most notable I think is #6, the final stage where we understand at long last that all of our accumulated experiences, including cancer, are steps in our pilgrimage through life. And all paths lead us home where we are in the perfect place, right here and right now. Even this body of mine, often stiff, easily bruised and perhaps still harboring cancer, is a most remarkable host that holds the heart and the hope that are part of my life-long expedition.
My pilgrimage is internal, as it is for many cancer survivors, but no less magical because of that. Those of us with cancer in our bodies might feel the weight of our burden every day, but we also know that it is only in the journey that we can find stability and stillness—and never in the destination.
So as the month of November blows across my calendar and with the Thanksgiving holiday reminding me that there is much I can add to my gratitude list, it’s with a great deal of hope and a deep sense of adventure that my pilgrimage through male breast cancer continues.
Khevin is a male breast cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with stage one, grade three invasive breast cancer in May, 2014, while completing a year of residency at the Honolulu Diamond Sangha, a Buddhist Temple and Zen Center in Hawaii. Mastectomy surgery followed by ongoing holistic therapy, including exercise, curcumin, laughter and meditation.
Trained as a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and Teacher by Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of the Laughter Yoga movement, Khevin has hosted a daily Laughter Yoga -on -the-phone group for five consecutive years.
Khevin has been entertaining people for 35 Years as a stage magician, Master of Ceremonies, television host, musician, professional cruise ship speaker, Disney performer, song writer and playwright.
Living in Vail, Arizona with his wife, Khevin travels wherever he’s invited to speak to women and men about Cancer.
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