My Wake Up Calls

At first she whispers softly in your ear. Then the voice gets louder and more emphatic. If I still do not heed it, it becomes a tap on the shoulder, a slap on the face and then a two by four to the head. And although it is easy to think that it is happening to me, it is actually always happening for me….for my wakeup. So went my journey of wake up calls to the fact that my open heart is the source of my power.

It has been ten years since I got my first wake up call – at least the first one I was aware of. I was on a spiritual journey with my yoga teacher – Saul David Raye, and a Mayan Shaman – Miguel Angel, to experience ancient Mayan ceremonies and philosophy among the ruins of the Mayan temples and sacred sites in Mexico. At the end of each ceremony, the Mayan shaman would ask me to pick a card from a deck and each time, I would magically pull out the same card – and he would look deeply into my eyes and say “Open your heart!” A gentle tap on the shoulder – the first time I heard Source telling me (in not so many words) that my true power comes from my heart.

My second (and more emphatic) wakeup call started in mid-2009 when I started feeling heartburn when I went for my morning walks with my wife. It started as a slight burn in my chest and throat and as the months progressed, it got worse. It was aggravated by food, it was aggravated by cold weather, it was worse if I lay down after getting home. At its height months later, I had trouble walking to the mailbox without severe heartburn coming up. My body was not happy and I didn’t know why. I had gone to doctor’s office and had an EKG and the doctor had declared that it wasn’t my heart. Antacids and acid blockers didn’t help. I could no longer enjoy the things I loved – walking, cycling, actually anything that required exertion. The worst part was its unpredictability – at times I could go for a gentle walk and at others I couldn’t do much of anything.

My friend Todd, a chiropractor and clinical nutritionist, thought he may be able to help. On my first visit, he suggested doing a complete blood panel before we started any treatment – thank God! Like it was yesterday, I remember the call where he wanted my wife to come with me to hear the results of the test and talk about next steps. It was clearly something serious because of his unusual request – and yet, I had seen a doctor about this, and he was my chiropractor – how serious could it be.

My third wakeup call (as Source speaks louder) came in February 2010, when my friend told me that I likely had Chronic Leukemia. My cousin’s husband had barely survived acute leukemia after undergoing arduous treatment – what the f*** was Chronic Leukemia. I learned that Chronic Leukemia is something that is normally asymptomatic until it progresses to its acute phase, at which point it is generally fatal. Todd said that caught in its chronic phase, it was the best kind of cancer I could have – if there is such a thing. He had the care to speak to a medical doctor and give me a complete picture – rather than leaving me with a mystery diagnosis and a suggestion to see an oncologist. The bottom line he relayed – this is the only cancer where they had developed a targeted therapy treatment for its chronic phase. The targeted therapy was FDA approved 3 years earlier, before which, the life expectancy was five years after first onset. “Go find an oncologist to work with, but know that it isn’t as bad as what you are probably thinking right now”, is what I heard Todd say.

After going through debilitating treatment to kill off the over-abundance of white blood cells that made my blood soupy-thick and impossible for my heart to pump effectively (hence the heartburn) and going onto the targeted therapy (take a pill or two a day for the rest of your life), the heartburn symptoms got a lot better – only bothering me when I went for walks right after eating. But the cancer would not go away – its purpose was to wake me up and I was not yet ready to stay awake.

In 2012, when the targeted therapy medication was not eliminating the cancer, as it does in almost everyone else, my oncologist – in collaboration with one of the foremost world experts on Chronic Leukemia – suggested I switch to a new form of targeted therapy, which had horrendous potential side effects including heart damage. So my heart became the focus of increased scrutiny. Meanwhile, as I was desperately gripping for control in a situation where I had no control, other than saying “No”, I watched Oprah interview Wayne Dyer about how he was healed from Chronic Leukemia by a healer in Brazil that people call “John of God”. In the interview, I heard that anyone can go ask JofG for anything and Wayne Dyer spoke about this state of blissful love that he remained immersed in after his healing. My first (and best) thought was, “heck with the cancer – I want persistent blissful love”, not realizing that it was in actuality the same thing. My heart is the source of my power! Remembering what the Mayan shaman had said, I kept saying “I want my heart opened”. Not knowing what I was in for, I made plans to travel to a small town in Brazil to ask JofG for my heart to be opened.

They say the work starts as soon as you say “yes” and they also say “be specific and careful in what you ask for.” In late 2012, as the new medication caused my lungs to fill with fluid (another ugly side effect), my oncologist referred me to a cardiologist and down the rabbit hole I went. As I talked with the cardiologist about doing a stress test, and mentioned its timing relative to meals because of the heartburn that I had been experiencing for 3 years, he started to get curious. For every reason I gave him why I thought it was heartburn due to acid reflux, he told me it might be my heart itself.

My last wakeup call on this segment of my journey (this time a 2×4 to the head) came on December 21, 2012 – the end of the Mayan calendar – I had triple bypass surgery to fix two partially blocked arteries and a 100% blockage of the lower anterior descending artery – commonly called “the widow maker”. By all accounts, I should have died – because for someone my age (49 at the time) – 100% blockage of the widow maker causes a major and fatal heart attack.

At first she whispered – probably whispers I missed because I did not have enough attention at the time. As the whispers became louder, they included a Mayan shaman telling me in the jungles of Mexico that I must “open my heart”, then louder still as heart blockage that helped me discover the impending-fatal and asymptomatic cancer growing in my bone marrow and blood, and then the cancer that helped me find the “should-have-been-fatal” heart blockage. And at 49 years old, I was once again given life – so I can finally wake up to the fact that my heart is my source of power.

As write this, I feel awe at how Source works and how thoughts that “I know how things should be and therefore need to control them”, only limit the magic I get to experience.