Why I Shaved My Head

Sky full of clouds, pensive piano notes in my ears, about fifteen minutes from home with all the groceries. She calls me with gravity in her voice, which is rare. I pull over instantly.

Yes, cancer. Yes, surgery, yes chemo, yes radiation. Yes. My best friend. Yes healing. We’re holding one another from 2000 miles away, hugging over FaceTime, struggling to find the words. When I finally find mine, I tell her I’ll shave my head when she does. Together we’ve lived in the same house, studied, played, traveled, had our hearts broken, gotten married, had babies. She’s clearly ready to take on the true healing, though, and that’s what this conversation reveals.

The softening.

Strangely, her softening becomes my own; I can still see I allow agitation to seep into my day, hurling me quietly into anxious reactivity. Over months, I watch from a distance as she becomes more vulnerable, less afraid. I feel her shift and am moved to ease up on myself, to drive more slowly, to listen for the holiness in the voices of those closest to me. It’s still happening.

When we finally shave our heads, I worry the new look might change me, harden my heart somehow; instead I find myself with more time and space to think and feel, to rest and be. It’s as though I can take myself more seriously. Somehow more intentionality is accessible without all that hair, that whole personality. And I can hear the forest outside differently. Witnessing the most fearsome possibility has raised us up, brought us closer to ourselves and our own trust.

This surprising, stunning chapter is still open for both of us

2 thoughts on “Why I Shaved My Head”

  1. That is a remarkable story and amazing gift that you gave your best friend, that is to walk that journey with her. I am also heartened that the act did not harden you but instead brought increased space and rest. Since I follow you Glo, I wondered if in fact you had cancer. Your simple act speaks boatloads.

    My best friend has lived with cancer since 2004, hers colon, and 13 surgeries later, every day she puts one foot in front of the other; she is literally an angel walking on earth. (Alas, she was overradiated but never lost her locks.)

    Blessings to you and your friend. Your book, your teachings are an inspiration. Namaste.

  2. That is a beautiful gesture and a brave one. We are very attached or taught to be to our looks and that our femininity is wrapped up in our locks. It is what is beneath that exterior that makes us the strong beings we are. She is blessed to have you as her friend. You are blessed as well.


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