Cancer, the Pandemic, America at Sea & Buddhism.

In December, 2020, my wife Elizabeth passed away after struggling for two years with pancreatic cancer and stroke. In addition, during this time, the pandemic was raging, and America was struggling with anger, chaos, and political and cultural division, in a struggle to salvage its own identity and survival.

As the cancer was spreading through my wife’s body, political and cultural derangement and the virus were metastasizing throughout the fabric of our nation.

My new book, “Capricorn & Cancer”, is the story of our 50-year marriage together, as well as a diary of our struggle with the cancer, and thoughts on the day-to-day turmoil and insanity afflicting our country.

At the heart of it all, at the very core, is the question of who we are; and on an even deeper level, the problem of death.

As a Buddhist, how could we approach this disease, and how could we approach death? And how could we view with optimism and hope the dark times our country is going through? And, finally, how to keep faith with life, and sustain hope and joy, now that she is gone?

We are in a time of deep transformation. There is no going back. Here in America, we will rise into a new awareness of who we are on this planet Earth, or we will fracture to pieces in a hell of anger and distrust and war.

We are all connected. We are one humanity. Each of us is co-existent with the potential and power of the universe, straining to expand and give expression to the boundless compassionate intent of Life itself.

Life and death, and you and I, dancing about each other, brothers and sisters in eternity.

James Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of eleven non-fiction books

His latest book,“Capricorn & Cancer”, is available online in paperback and ebook format from, and in ebook format from other major online booksellers.

To arrange talks, visit the author’s speaker page.

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