I ever thought about suicide?"
J. Michael Kanouff
August 4th 1998
Symbiotic: A relationship
of mutual benefit or dependence. [Greek sumbiosis, companionship, from sumbioun, to live
A couple people have asked me the big question since my accident. For all that I have gone
through have I ever thought about suicide? I admit the thought was entertained
occasionally, usually at my darkest moments. Two of many things held me back. One, I
couldn't figure out how to do it by myself from a wheelchair without help. Two, it
wouldn't be fair to my family and friends who have worked so hard to keep me going. And
now I have another reason...
A friend just confided in me that he was going through hell and was a moment away from
ending it all, a foot on the gas pedal, the cliff before him. But did not because he
thought my predicament as being worse than his. If I could bear my load, he could bear
his. Living in my chair is easier now knowing that he still walks because I can not.
Others have admired my spirit and frame of mind. Yet I attribute my survival to the
support from friends and family. I in turn, inspire them back. Yes, a nice symbiotic
The First Kiss (Again)
People became fast friends through the intensity of the
workshop. One of the sweetest experiences was sparking with a woman at the conference! We
flirted and kissed. And what made it special was, this was the first kiss from a woman who
only knew me in a wheelchair. The kiss buoyed my spirit and reminded me that my next great
frontier is in the land of sexual intimacy. (OK Mom, stop reading and jump to the next
paragraph, it's going to be that kind of talk.)
I've been close and affectionate with dear friends since my accident but never sexually
intimate. I was scared. The loss of feeling in my body unfortunately included my penis. My
testosterone levels went down and besides, I had to focus on basic survival needs. The
kiss at the I.B.I. conference was like the princess and the frog, her kiss began my
transformation back into a sexual being. I may not get an erection now but I know from my
Tantra training, there is a whole world of intimacy techniques to explore.
I have learned that every part of the body can be a connecting point of conciousness with
another person. I know I can direct my consciousness through my lips, a brushing of my
shoulder or by being consciously receptive to another's touch. I feel like a teenager
learning for the first time how to share love. At least I know I'll be great at
From my First Newsletter: June 1994
My injury changes my view of the sickness on the planet. Rather than
seeing the wars, social injustice, environmental suicide and sexual dysfunction as proof
that we are all doomed, I can see these illnesses as part of the process of Life
unfolding, a new Life struggling through the birth canal.
An Understanding, bubbled up from a deep and quiet place in me. It
whispered in my ear that there was a possible transformation coming from my injury.
Nodding in agreement, a smile breaks across my face. We need to associate with friends who
also have this vision of the Phoenix drying its wings in the fire of transformation. We
can support each other from falling hopelessly into a pit of depression by holding the
vision of a higher process at work. I wish I had chosen a different path, but now that I
am in the fast lane, Ill make the most of it. Wish me luck!
May you all walk with angels.
We are living in magical times,
J. Michael Kanouff
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