Cannes, 6 October 1994.
I wake up not in my bed. My French love Pascal invited me to his house. It was the first time, and we had a beautiful romantic dinner.
Fish soup, excellent wine, really fabulous view of the bay of Cannes at night. We've been together for just over a month, and we're in love.
Finally, we have finished 'the season,' he as night manager, I was a singer, both working in a prestigious Hotel near Cannes, on the French Riviera.
I wake up. It's 4 am. Not bad in my bed - so not alone! - because I have a dagger-like pain in my left shoulder. The most unbearable pain I have ever felt up to that point in my life. The fright immediately mixes with an ever more precise and faster awareness. "It's too serious," I tell myself. "This pain is too sudden and too strong without warning. And then why? What is the cause?"
While we wait for 7 am, Pascal's family doctor's clinic will open right next to his house, I for 3 hours, struggle between fainting and the need to vomit. I can't walk, move, I don't know how to sit, I don't know how to lie down.
Emotions follow one another, first of all, fear and also feeling lost, at the mercy of a mad pain that I cannot manage.
I'm 34 years old. I had never done any surgery for anything. I had only one infectious disease as a child, and in my life, until that moment, I suffered from a little toothache, point. Until recently, I was a perfectly healthy person.
Finally, we go to the doctor, who gives me injections of painkillers and heavy antihistamines.
The memory of the following days becomes blurred. I remember that I went to a rheumatologist who gave me some healing and chemical drugs.
Despite the heavy doses of medicines, the pain remained, moving from the left shoulder to the right shoulder, to the back like extreme sciatica.
In the meantime, my right knee became very swollen, and sleeping with sheets over it was impossible. The only way to rest was by putting my legs as a right angle down the bottom of the bed.
To the pain, it doesn't care about anything.
Years later, I have understood why, in some spiritual paths, the illness represents the highway for enlightenment or at least an occasion to embody a change of awareness and consciousness.
It happens immediately, and by instinct, that the perception of your life changes and forever. The vision of your living becomes fragmented in moments, and you begin to live moment by moment, necessity after necessity. You can't do otherwise.
There is no longer the future that you imagined. There is a wall of questions, real uncertainties about your body, vulnerability, and loneliness, and planning disappears.
At the age of 34, you touch the transience of life. You enter a gap, a pause, no longer those dreams and expectations in the future. The priorities change. You hope to get well, better, to heal. The rest is no longer so important. You no longer feel your strength because you are no longer able to do those daily routine actions that become painful, like unscrewing a toothpaste cap or entering the shower.
Everything goes away. You need to figure out how to go about not feeling pain in making that vital movement, like sitting, washing, or cooking.
Most of the time, you have to be in the "here and now."
'There is no goal of life. Life itself is its goal. It is not moving towards some target. It is herenow, it has no future. Life is always in the present.'