Dear travel companions,

I have had the privilege of feeling death very close several times in my life. Not only when my parents and other people close and dear to me passed, but also on the two occasions that I went through the nasty experience of cancer. I call it "nasty" because I do not wish to glorify such experiences, which I would have never chosen, although I do not want to "return them" either. I admit they were great teachers and I believe I proved to be skillful at making them become moments of joy and fulfillment. The greatest thing that illness and difficulty bring is the possibility of overcoming them and turning them into... a party. The best thing about death is, no doubt, life itself.

I find once again cancer in my path. This time is colon cancer, and among all the thoughts that come to mind (lack of enthusiasm before this type of journey, family and friends worrying, relationships with health care personnel, professional uncertainty), I am going to focus on joy. The other ones are also important thoughts that will require my attention, but I am not going to get stuck in them. My determination will be to heal; that, and turning all this into another "party". I would not be Samuel, who I am and whom I want to be, if I did something differently.

¿And who is Samuel, and whom does he want to be? My response is ¿who are you, and whom do you want to be? I am all of you, and you are me. I add my unique and unrepeatable reality, barely a small light, my interests, my wishes, my dreams, but inevitably linked to yours and to the ones of many more that are no longer here and we don't even know or didn't know. I wrote this in the year 2007 after the first episode of cancer, before I started to meditate, such was the clarity of that experience. I called it "Miracles". Milagros, was the name of my mother.

Brothers, nephews, sisters, nieces,

compañeros, friends and girlfriends.
So many that he neglects them
but adores each one of them.
'Cause in a moment of truth
when his feet no longer moved,
they hugged him tight, lifted him up,
carried him and made him dance.

I believe that cancer, and with it the practice of mindfulness and compassion woke me up to this reality and helped make visible what was not visible but it was already there... my strength and my joy is in others at the same time that I am that, I can be that, for them. Others, you, offer the peace and security that my soul needs in this world of illness and changes. And that is why I am not scared by cancer nor by death.

Photo, courtesy of Fernando Cabrerizo at https://cacahuet.es