When Breathe Becomes Air

‘When breathe becomes air‘ by Paul Kalanithi, is a neurosurgeons tale, of his experience as a doctor turned patient who is diagnosed, and then struggles with lung cancer. It’s interesting that I chose to read this book during my Thanksgiving holiday vacation, while visiting my family on Maui. Only a few weeks ago was I on a late night mission with my friend at Target, searching for the perfect planner. He grabbed this book. As we stood in line waiting to pay, I picked it up to read the rave reviews on the back, pouted my lips, and so naturally my friend handed it to me to borrow. Thanks.

Just moments ago I lie in bed with joy and sorrow, not sure which to feel as the story comes to an end.

The attending physician stepped in with strengthening words: “Paul, after you die, your family will fall apart, but they’ll put it back together because of the example of bravery you set” … “Go in peace my brother.”

Yes he dies, which is what this book acknowledges. It’s the journey not the destination, as the ole cliche states.

“We are all going to die,

but not all of us will live” 

How so? In a sense, I don’t think many are fairly aware of what they want, from their subconscious wild dreams, to their most basic needs. In all honesty, there’s a lot I am still trying to figure out myself. In my own process of self growth, I have learned to step back and observe, no words to give, just thoughts and no thoughts. At times one can think nothing of something and other times we can think everything into exhaustion. But where do these two ideals meet, or do they? I suppose these are the thoughts you may endure after reading a book of this nature.

Realizing now, I have read a few familiar titles, such as ‘Tuesday’s with Morrie,’ and ‘A long way gone.’ Stories as such will inspire you to reconsider your own values, for humanity, your lifestyle, your wants and needs as well as the wants and needs of others.

Please do excuse me for my rant.

I’m triggered.

Similarly, my auntie came home yesterday from her exotic and breezy bike ride to our local library, with two magazines in hand. One is the current ‘Modern Luxury Hawaii magazine,’ The arts and philanthropy issue. The other is ‘Cosmopolitan,’ featuring model Chrissy Teigan on the cover. My auntie mentions of the latter, ” I saw you eyeing this at food land, and they were free at the library.” Good ole donors.

So I concurrently read these magazines alongside this book, and I get to thinking. I’m stimulated. The magazines prize high end designers as they sprinkle in a few minimal philanthropy stories, and I’m wondering why they claim to be covering stories of philanthropy on the cover? All I see are ads on top of ads, in which they are promoting the improvement of appearance with fashion “art.”

And who’s to say they are wrong or right ? Now I’m pondering upon my own soon to be released bikini line. I’m justifying the fact that I’m about to take up two schools at once in January. Nothing I can’t handle. I always tell myself this. I’m shooting for my masters with a focus on nutrition, alongside a degree in fashion tech.

Fashion + philanthropy

“Is this truly my calling?,” I ask myself as I sit in silence staring at the ceiling. I’m certain we all question our existence, and purpose. If you haven’t already done so, this book will ignite you. That I promise.

But I digress.

What’s your soul purpose?
Do you know?
What would you do if money was not an issue?
If you could wake up each day with nothing but open space ?

Photo by Angela Tomiye

And so in a sense, I will admit that for me I feel a connection to ‘When breathe becomes air,’ as I have lost my own father to cancer, two days prior to my birthday in August of 2015.

I won’t go into too much detail, but I will admit it was a very gory and heart breaking experience. Ensuing watching my dad wheeze until his last breath while in hospice, I have flashbacks as Paul Kalanithi tells his last moments connected to ivy for rehydration as well as oxygen for life support. He clings to each moment for his last breath, until it becomes air. I just want it to be over. Is it over? I’m so over it!

So with that being said, I did submit myself to therapy. The thought that my own daddy died of such a tragedy, was just way too much for me to handle. I was devastated. So hurt.

“The strongest drug that exists for a human is another human being.”

It’s true. In a way, we are slaves to each other. So my therapist says “cream rises to the top,” and that she is sure of. No matter what is to occur, the best will come of the worst and we must make peace with the universe. We must make peace on earth, peace with ourselves, peace with our health, and peace with our neighbors. We are all in this together at the end of the day. When our time has come, we’ll look back and say, “what was or is most important?” All in all, I hope you tie loose ends now (before it’s too late), and make peace with your vows.

It’s such a blessing to share such sacred thoughts with you! Blessings to you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate this holiday!

Recommended readings:

When breathe becomes air 
Tuesday’s with Morrie
A long way gone
The Magic
The Success Principles

Mantra: Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu

Translation: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

Please subscribe to my blog for deep meanings and all things beautiful.

Author: mikhailachristian

I believe that if you desire to achieve optimum health and co-create a sustainable planet, then living a conscious lifestyle is a must.

3 thoughts

  1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. I read this book too and it was amazing but I was triggered by it as well. I lost a dear friend recently, my sister two years ago and my beloved grandfather three years ago. It may sound strange but I took comfort in Paul’s ability to embrace death as an integral part of life. It’s not something our society does well.

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