EPISODE #15:

OBSESSED WITH DEATH

 

With: Cal Cates

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Transcript:
Episode #15

 

Paul:
On this episode, I talk with Cal Cates, the Executive Director of Healwell, which is a nonprofit that brings specialized massage therapists into clinical settings. We talk about the importance of massage as part of the dying process.

Cal:

Dear Diary, death has been with me since I was an adolescent. When I was 16 or so, I started obsessing about death and I couldn't stop. I even spent a few weeks in a residential treatment facility.

Cal:
I spent a good chunk of my teens and early 20s haunted by death. It wasn't like the movie Final Destination where I literally feared that death was waiting every time I got in the car or on a roller coaster, I was just always aware of it and I really wanted to escape it.

Cal:
Now, in my 40s, it's clear that death has kind of given me back my life. I don't know what made me decide to spend my adult life working close up with people whose circumstances would bring them face to face with their mortality, but I would never trade it. It feels like that old thing about how if you're having nightmares about a monster chasing you, the nightmares stop when you turn and look at it. The thing you thought was a monster becomes a normal size with features you sort of recognize and who's no more likely to kill you than anyone or anything else. When I stopped to really look at, learn about, and be with death, it stopped scaring me.

Cal:
I feel like death sort of inhabits me now. I'm aware of it all the time because it's always there actually, not because I'm afraid it will be. My awareness of death leads me to do things, say things, and even feel things that sometimes get labeled as brave or bold or imprudent. I have very little tolerance for the superficial or the way things "should be".

Cal:
"I could be dead before the day is out," I think to myself, many times a day, and then I do the thing or say the thing or just let go of the thing.

Cal:
Being with death makes me tender. I don't want to die hard, I want to die open, knowing deep in my heart that I showed up and said and did and felt the things that really matter. I'm not interested in trading the days of my life for money or power. Every moment is an equation, and the ROI I'm looking for is true connection, authentic relationships, big juicy mistakes and strokes of intuitive genius that teach me how to live more fully.

Cal:
Diary, I want so much for every single person to stop living like there's more time to do the important things, say the important things and feel the important things. If we would let it, death could help us keep our eye on the ball in ways that would change the world into a kinder, gentler, more forgiving place.

Episode #15

On this episode I talk with Cal Cates, Executive Director at Healwell. We talk about their obsession with death and end of life care massage.

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