Dr Rosy Daniel

Dr Rosy DanielDancing with Cancer, and how I learnt a few new steps is quite simply the most beautiful and spiritually intelligent book I have ever read about the cancer journey. Diana Brueton is a brilliant writer, drawing us in from the very first page into the multiple realities that her diagnosis, challenges and choices create.

It is powerful, passionate and deeply poignant, taking us with her to the very edge of life and death. We hear her very human voice struggling with the unfairness and fear one minute and then in the next feel her spirit soaring into the still point in the eye of the storm where lies complete peace and the transpersonal perspective.

I am filled with love and admiration for her bravery and beauty and celebrate her outstanding ability to simultaneously take hold tightly of the life she loved and at the crucial moment let go lightly into full acceptance of her soul’s destiny. Congratulations Diana on this astonishing record of your journey and God Bless you Chetan for standing by so closely through all watches of the dark night of her soul.

Dr Rosy Daniel is the Founder and Medical Director of Health Creation and author of The Cancer Directory.

Cygnus Review

Looking into the deep azure blue of the Mediterranean, Diana Brueton wondered if she would be granted enough time to write this book. Having just been diagnosed with cancer, her life was turned upside down and she felt as if it had been taken out of her control. How she took back control of her life, wrote her book, and mastered the devastation of cancer, is her story. She pulls no punches; she tells it as it is. Diana had never been ill and on diagnosis she stepped into a parallel world of waiting rooms, treatments, and the ever-present shock of her condition. And yet she shows how, even when it delivers a blow of such magnitude, life yet supports and sustains us and sees us through, and even begins to shine with a new light of grace and love.

Osho News

Osho NewsPrem Diana (aka Diana Brueton), a sannyasin of 32 years, left her body on 14th March 2012. A writer, a teacher and art therapist she had worked for the BBC and also The Bristol Cancer Help Centre (now renamed the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre). She began journaling shortly after being told, at the age of 55 that she had terminal colon cancer.

To read her account, Dancing with Cancer, and how I learnt a few new steps is to appreciate why some regard the experience of illness as analogous with the mythological ‘hero’s journey.’

Over what was to become a 4-year process Diana passes from a life of activity and fulfilment through shock, pain, joy, hope, despair, anger, anxiety, witnessing, acceptance, catharsis, sadness; ‘the wobbles’ as she calls them; not-knowing, hurt, disappointment; outrage, trust, love, fear, centering, doubt, insight, gratitude, vulnerability, celebration, empowerment, peace, fear and humour (not necessarily in that order) to the final let go.

Awesome to read of the unremitting challenges she faces – some anticipated, others out of the blue – and of her determination to be present to whatever is happening and find the lessons inherent along the way. Happily, not only is she rich in outer resources – notably in the unwavering, loving support of a wide circle of friends, of her two siblings and of her husband Chetan – equally significant is the reservoir of inner resources she calls on. As an art therapist she appreciates the value of expressing her feelings through the medium of painting. Her dreams, which are plentiful, illumine and direct, and enable her to make sense of what is happening.

Clíona O Conaill

Clíona O ConaillDancing with Cancer, and how I learnt a few new steps is a compelling, beautifully written and very moving account of one woman’s journey with cancer. Despite the difficult subject this book is a page-turner.

Diana Brueton’s intimate diary extracts and unflinchingly honest account captivate the reader from the outset and lead us from the traumatic discovery of her terminal cancer, through her feelings, her separation from the NHS and the alternative healing methods she used, to the impact of the disease on her partner and friends, and her eventual, graceful acceptance of the fact that she would die soon. Yet it is as much a book of joyful living as it is about graceful dying.

This is a powerful and absorbing read and is both full of heart and it is heart-wrenching. As readers we walk side by side with Diana as she confronts her fear, anger, rage, grief and her joy, love and gratitude for every moment of living. As the story unfolded Diana began to feel like a dear friend although I barely knew her in life.

This book is food for thought for anyone who can relate to that feeling of always needing to do more, which got in the way of Diana relaxing – I certainly can. It seems to be a symptom of living in this Western society today and Diana believed it was one of the causes of her illness.

It’s also a manual for anyone trying to come to terms with their own impending death. Diana reminds us how out of touch this culture is with death and dying and illustrates how it could be instead – peaceful, accepting and filled with grace. She is a shining example of how I would like to go into my own death.

The book has a strong spiritual element that sustained Diana throughout her shortened life and went with her across the threshold of death. So the book is filled with apt and beautiful quotes and poems from spiritual teachers. Diana’s writing is so warm and so full of heart that twice after reading it I was filled with an overwhelming sense of love inside and surrounding me.

Diana is as much an artist in her paintings as she is in her writing and the words convey the awfulness of her situation with such ‘meatiness’. There is a succulent juiciness to her story that captures her presence and the totality with which she took the finite steps of her life’s journey.

As a reader, I gained so much from reading this: I was humbled, my life is not so difficult. I became more grateful for this gift of life and the things I normally take for granted and I try to remember this. I learned what it is to accept the inevitability of your own death and prepare for that with as much honesty, love, compassion and grace as possible. I also want to make meditation a more integral part of my life.

I’d recommend this book to everyone – it’s about a loving way of dying.

Clíona O Conaill is a freelance writer and co-author of Green Guide for Christmas.