Friday, 15 October 2010


DAY 104

 Today, I awoke at 5am, my mind , a hustling, bustling shopping precinct of thoughts. I lay in bed fighting for breath, shaking like a leaf, attempting to recite lines for the part of Irish guard Michael Bowe in My Boy Jack, in which I am suffering from a debilitating condition called shellshock. Shellshock, was not recognized at the start of the war, but incapacitated men as their mental faculties became muddled like one of those little glass balls that you shake up until they are filled with flakes that look like snow.
  I wrapped myself in a blanket and sat cross-legged in the space between the bed and the door, took a few deep breaths and quietened the mind attempting to explore the hardness in my belly. Fear of dying. Fear of living. Fear of letting go.

‘In our fear of death, what calls out first for examination is not death but fear itself. We need to explore this hardness in the belly that is so much a part of the armouring over the heart.’

I sat quietly listening to the rise and fall of the breath and gradually the hard edges began to soften and fall away.

I met Elloa for a cuppa at the local garden centre with the intention of chilling out before dress rehearsal. Unfortunately, she was having a bit of a wobbly day and threw a tantrum. My ego was immediately offended at this untimely outburst, especially since I had just discovered that I had only 104 days to live! I had arrived expecting an empathic response, the gentle sound of harps playing on the café radio, and angels hovering lovingly near the rose section in the garden centre. Instead, I was faced with a girlfriend whose head was spinning furiously at 365 degrees, and wanted to murder me! For a while my brain became muddled due to the sound of heavy enemy shelling in my ear. I had just discovered that Elloa is a doppelganger posing as a girlfriend and mighty companion, sent from another theatre company to sabotage the show and wreck the dress rehearsal!( A doppelganger is a is a tangible double of a living person that typically represents evil)

Shit! I could really have done without this inconvenience. How can I play the man whose brain has become scrambled eggs without the support of my beloved Elloa? Its only been half a day and I am well and truly fed up of dying. Maybe it would be kinder for everybody concerned if I just call the experiment off, at least until Ells head stops spinning and the snow settles in the glass ball.

Then, a small voice inside my head reassured me that everything was unfolding perfectly. Regardless of the size of the tantrum the little girl was crying out for help. I decided to lay down my arms and respond with kindness This created a safe space for both of us to explore our mistaken beliefs and with spirits help release them back to the nothingness from where they came, and in their place plant new thoughts, that are positive and loving.

Only Love is strong because it is undivided' ACIM

That night at dress rehearsal I was able to embrace the vulnerable child within me and  fuse the words of the character with real emotions. The strength of my performance centred around my willingness to hold the space for this broken man, reassuring him  that regardless of the size of the problem only the love is real.


  1. Oh Nige! Thank you for sharing my Linda Blair moment on the car park...

    I was like one of those records that if you play backwards, you can hear people devil-worshipping - if you played my tantrum backwards, the angels and the harps were playing softly, inviting you into a gentle and nurturing space. Honest, they were!

    So glad you're doing this experiment - not because I want you to die (!) but because I want you to LIVE, and I want to live alongside you.

    As Guardsman Bowe, you give a (sergeant?) major gift to the world. I am grateful for your acting, for what it gives you, and for the integrity with which you approach it.

    Your beloved always, Elf xxx

  2. I can't help but think that through these characters you are playing, you are being given vast experience for your soul. I've often heard that any experience that fuses with our experience is just as valid, even if it isn't really happening.

    I'm so glad that you showed your process of choosing love when it was hard to do. It is so beautiful that you decided to open up a loving space for the both of you.

    I love what Elloa says in the comment, that if you played her tantrum back, it would be angels and harps playing softly. I will remember that when I feel it is the opposite. I think it is this is true for everyone. I will remember this for myself too.

    Thank you for sharing this experience. I can't wait to read more!

  3. Hi Nige. Thanks for reading and commenting on my Adventures Of A Year To Live blog. The journey has been full and ripe with beauty, healing and clarity for me. This is the second time I've worked my way through Stephen Levine's book and at least the 5th time I've experienced a symbolic death. It is a journey well worth the taking. Only once in my life have I experienced an actual near death... I wish you a full and ripe experience of your own. The Angel of Death is surely a powerful ally to have in life. Love!