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onceacurmudgeon

To all the pages I've read before

Currently reading

The Wisdom of No Escape: And the Path of Loving-Kindness
Pema Chödrön
River of Smoke: A Novel
Amitav Ghosh
Alif the Unseen
G. Willow Wilson
Half of a Yellow Sun
Taoist Qigong for Health and Vitality: A Complete Program of Movement, Meditation, and Healing Sounds
Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh
AyurVeda: The Science of Self-Healing
Medicine Buddha Teachings
Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: The Spiritual Classic and International Bestseller
The Fault in Our Stars
John Green

Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber

Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life and Death of Treya Killam Wilber - It is right there in the title, you know it is coming, Treya's death. You are pretty sure you will be ready for it, but it hits you like a typhoon, and you can not even stand for a long while after you read it. You know if it was a real typhoon, you would have drowned. SO yeah, this is an intense book, a very meaningful, intense book.And before I sing it's praises, I must say I recommend this to anyone with a chronic illness or those caring for someone who has one. If this describes you: MAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS.And if you are at all curious about confronting the fears you might have towards death: READ THIS BOOK.In one of the late chapters of this, they (even though this is credited to just Ken Wilber, it is written by both he and his late wife Treya, and at times it is hard to tell whose voice is speaking) relate to meditation as practicing for death. I can not argue that in the slightest. And this whole book is both a love story between two people who obviously love each other more than the characters do in all the romantic comedies you have ever read/seen combined, but it is also practicing for dying. And this is really something to read. Something you clearly do not see much, if any, of in other books. Imagine 10 days after marring the man of your dreams, starting chemo for the breast cancer they discovered. This is Treya's story. Rather than sunning herself in Hawaii she has her breast removed and begins a rigorous round of chemo. That seems a pretty remarkable story in and of itself, but she uses "cancer as a prompt to 'change those things in your life that need changing.'" And this is where the real story of healing and growth comes from.As you can tell from the title, here healing is not the same as being cured. She never fully expels the cancer from her body, and it finally consumes her, but... she makes it extremely clear that cancer did incredible things for her, helped her grow and become a more fully realized person. A complete person.And for anyone that may say her healing was incomplete, she confronts that very well: "I sometimes feel that those around me will judge my success or failure depending on how long I live, rather than on how I live. Of course I want to live a long time, but if it's short, I don't want to be judged a failure." And she certainly was not a failure, in her five year battle she begins to practice something she calls passionate equanimity: "to be fully passionate about all aspects of life, about one's relationship with spirit, to care to the depths of one's being but with no trace of clinging or holding, that's what the phrase has come to mean to me. It feels full, rounded, complete, and challenging."And while you read about her embracing the joy all around her, even as tumors are causing her to go blind and when she can no longer walk up the stairs or even stand, you know there is something remarkable about this healing. It may not have been perfect for her body, but it sure was for her mental and emotional health. As I said before, this was an incredibly hard book to get though. The passages about the chemo forced me to walk away quite a few times. But by the end of the book, while I was sobbing at the pitch of a flash flood, I was far more able to read and be present with her death, as I took away some lessons about passionate equanimity from her. It is a horribly sad story, but she and Ken embrace it with such joy, even the darkest hours.I would love to be doing this better, and I think I may be just a bit too close to this illness to, so just read it instead.