Crisis and Life Purpose (Part1)

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I never gave much thought to my death, until I considered committing suicide. It seemed that sometimes bad things just accidentally happen to good people; or do they? What if everything that happened to me was according to a plan decided upon before my birth and accessed from a dream? Could my crisis be part of a misunderstood Life-purpose?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Boo- you have cancer are not words you want to hear. Yet, so many of us do. What is to be done? Is there an answer? Perhaps it is in your dreams.

It all began with a lucid dream message from three Saint Francis of Assisi looking, Franciscan monks. If that sounds crazy to you reading it, imagine how insane if felt to me living it. I’m not even Catholic.

I had just hung up the phone from a call with my oncologist who confirmed a second set of tests showed a 9X11 cm life-threatening tumor in my left breast, not the right one where my first breast cancer and been found five years earlier.

A tumor of that size is pretty much the kiss of death.

So the question facing me was, “Do I want to die the slow painful death I had watched my mother suffer five years ago when she was diagnosed with recurrence? Or, do I want to take my life into my own hands and end it painlessly, here and now, before the situation became too grave to control?

My mind was pretty well made up from the memory of mom’s words when she had receive a similar call and had fallen into my arms crying, “This cancer is going to kill me.” She had fought the recurrence for four months. The last two months hospice became involved. My mother’s treatment shifted from fighting to waiting; painfully waiting for Death. “That will not be my ending,” I said to myself and wondered how many bottles of Oxycontin were left from my past surgeries and treatments over the past years. There had to be enough to do the joy.

My head felt like it was splitting from my headache, the result of nonstop weeping after the phone call from the doctor. Perhaps a nap would help. But, would my brain stop its incessant chatter long enough for me to fall asleep? Meditating at night helped calm me enough to fall asleep without pharmaceutical-aids. Meditation was my natural medication so perhaps it would work now to stop my mind-babble.

My on purpose aha-moment happened with a lucid dream during a nap.

Lying on the bed, eyes closed, tears soaking the pillow, I focused on my breathing while I imagined being encircled by a mirrored bubble filled with golden healing light, and only allowing that which was of the highest and best to enter the bubble. Everything else was reflected back from wherever it came. Within seconds I mentioned to myself that I was finally falling asleep, a sign my lucid dream had begun….

Movement beside the bed made me open my eyes and search the room for an intruder. Peering down at me were the three Franciscan monks who had been my saviors and guides through my cancer treatment for the past five years. They all looked like Saint Francis of Assisi in their brown hooded robes with huge sleeves and knotted rope belts. They were back.

“Look, I know why you’re here,” I said looking up at them. “I’m dying. I got it. But, you may want to warn God that I am coming before I get up there to Heaven because I have some really big bones to pick with him. There is nothing I did in this lifetime or any other lifetimes to deserve cancer once, let alone twice. So, please go warn Him I’m on my way.”

The hooded monks remained motionless, but one answered, “Kat, don’t you remember?”

“Remember what?”

Before you were born you told us you wanted to come down onto the earth-plane during a time when God, Higher-power, Spirituality, Inner-guidance, and angels were being locked away in the closet of life and Science, which is a gift from God, was being worshiped as a god. You wanted to show the world that Science goes so far and then comes God. We told you we’d be with you every step of the way, and we still are. You’re not going to die, now.

I stared at them in disbelief and exclaimed, “What the heck was I smoking up there when I said that?”

The monks laughed and walked out of my dream.

I woke and looked around the empty room. The conversation had been a dream.

The words, “Thy will be done,” escaped my lips. They must be meant for me because Peter is still in the other room, dealing with the crisis in his own way. I repeated the words again to be sure I hear them right. It was me voicing my ultimate leap of faith. A sense of calm flowed over my body. It began at my head and spread over my feet, like warm air from a heater. My racing heart skipped a beat and then began to slow to a natural rhythm.


Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing


Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos
Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos
Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos is the award-winning author of Surviving Cancerland, and co-author of Dreams That Can Save Your Life. She’s a three-time cancer survivor, and co-publisher/editor of WEBE Books Publishing. Her dreams diagnosed her illness as seen on Dr. Oz, Doctors, NBC News, American Express Open, in Newspapers and magazines. She’s a Contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, TV/Radio Host/Producer- Dreaming Healing on DV7Radio/TV Network, Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod™, Kat Kanavos Show, Internationally Syndicated Columnist in BIZCATALYST 360°, Dream Columnist in Positive Tribe Magazine, and Desert Health Magazine, Keynote Speaker, Performance Coach who taught Special Ed & Psychology @USF, and Lecturer who promotes patient advocacy and Spiritual guidance. She is co-author to the inspiring books; Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change and Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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  1. Frank Zaccari, you make so many important points in your comment, especially that better people and better times enter our lives when we choose to move forword. Being aware of our life-purpose allows us to pick ourselves up when we are knocked down rather than sitting alone and licking our bruises. And again, you are right, the title of OUR book, Crappy to Happy tells stories about how we all have crappy times in our lives, like many of us do right now with COVID19. If humans are nothing else, we are masters of The Art of the Comeback. Frank thank you so much for your comment and kind words.

  2. Kat,

    I love this story and how you have inspired so many people to regain control of their lives through the use of dreams. You are the quote you used from Ralph Waldo Emerson – The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

    As the title of your new book Crappy to Happy tells us, everyone has crappy times in our lives. The question is what are we going to do about it. We all have a choice. We can choose to fall apart, or we can choose to pick up the pieces and start moving forward. Better times and better people enter our life when we choose to move forward.