Thursday, August 21, 2014

cherish yourself, cherish all beings

"As you breathe in, cherish yourself. As you breathe out, cherish all beings."
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

figs, no one can eat just one. Can they?

As all fresh fig lovers should know, there are two fig seasons each year. There is an early summer fig season and a late summer one. I speak only of N. California.  I don't know the fig growing patterns elsewhere.

Every time I see fresh figs on sale, I buy a pint. As I do so, I resolve to eat just a couple at a time. Figs are loaded with carbs and they spike my glucose levels, even if I inject insulin. One problem is I inject enough insulin for three figs and then I eat the whole pint.

I love love love fresh figs.

Dried figs. Meh. I pass on dried figs.

Thank goddess the second wave of this year's fig season is almost over.

I just gobbled what might have been the best basket of figs I have had this year. I am so glad I did not buy two pints yesterday. Then again, I am going out tonight and I will be walking. I am always taking detours to walk more, to get more steps on my Fit Flex. I could easily detour, before my dinner meeting, and pick up more figs.

I feel my glucose spiking in anticipation.

No one can eat just one fresh fig. Can they?

I just thought of an excuse to buy more figs today:  I have never tried any in my raw green smoothies. I always add some fruit to improve the flavor. Fresh ginger, cinnamon and a fruit, plus greens and water. Yum. I know fresh figs will be awesome in a smoothie, although I am not sure the figs will last until tomorrow. I won't be making a smoothie when I come home from dinner tonight.

Figs. Figs. Figs. The incredible, edible fig.

curly hair, People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck

Recently, hot curlers popped into my thoughts. Do people still use hot curlers?

As a child, my mom was determined that I have curly hair. She put my hair in bobbie pins every night, before electric hot curlers and curling irons (do they still exist too?!!) were around. At least around our world in Irish Southside Chicago. Every single night, I had to stil on the floor in front of my mom and let her pins tight curls in my hair.  Every morning, she pulled out the pins, criticized me if any had loosened in the night and styled my curls.

The curls would not last until I had walked the few blocks to school. I moaned, groaned, begged and pleaded to escape mom's determination that I have curly hair but she never relented.

The habit became so ingrained in me that by high school, I put my hair in curlers, altho not yet electric ones, every single night. Again, the curls would have fallen apart by the time I go to the bus stop, not even lasting until I got to school.

Then hot curlers, the kind that came in boxes, each roller sitting on a hot tiny stick that heated the curlers, which, presumably, held more metal. Those curls would last awhile.

In M. Scott Peck's book, People of the Lie, in which he posits his theory that evil should be a psychiatric diagnosis instead of a judgment on a damaged, supposedly 'evil' person's values and morals.  I like the idea of seeing evil as an illness and not a state of being.

I bought and read People of the Lie because I had gotten a lot out of Peck's book, The Road Less Traveled.  I didn't really know what it was about. Once I started reading it, I read it straight through, staying up all night, in spite of the fact that I had a child to get to day care the next morning and a court appearance to get to by 9. I could not put the book down.

At the time, I was in the midst of an ugly custody battle from a physically and intensely emotionally abusive man. Our PhD marriage counselor said my wasband was the cruelest person he had ever met. He said "Most people have a certain threshold beneath which they will not sink. As far as I can tell, and I have been a psychologist 20+ years, this is the cruelest person I have ever met. He seems to have no threshold. He has done things to Tree that I have had a hard time believing but which definitely were true."

You better believe a book about evil kept me up all night. It was like reading my life.

It took some years before I associated some of Peck's anecdotes with my parents.

Note:  I have not read the book since 1983 but I remember it vividly. One of the saddest anecdotes was the story of a little girl born with blonde hair to an Italian mother. Her mother dyed the child's hair black throughout her childhood because the mother had wanted a dark-haired Italian daughter. That mother ignored who her child was and tried to impose a different persona on her.

Another example I will never be able to forget:  Peck once treated a teenager, not the parents, of a boy whose brother had committed suicide with a shotgun that the parents had given the brother for Christmas. The next Christmas, the parents gave the same shotgun that Peck's patient's brother had used to kill himself to the son.

Dying a blonde haired girl's hair black throughout her childhood is evil, in Peck's view. Giving your one surviving son the shotgun his brother used to kill himself as a Christmas gift is evil.

Something was wrong with my mom. All her children were very damaged by her.  For a long time, I thought I was the only one she was cruel to, for I was the only girl until I was fourteen and my sister was born. I thought my sister got favoritism as the baby in the family. And my sister did get treated a bit better than me. But I gradually learned my sister also felt mom had been emotionally abusive. All my siblings feel that way.

And my mom, I totally believe, did not wish to be so hurtful to her children. Like just about all parents, my mom wanted to do her best for us. She did do her best. Her best sucked.

Shaming me my whole childhood for having straight hair may not have been evil but it dismissed who I was.

Mom also took me to get permanents a couple times, in her relentless quest that I have curly hair as she had. Mom's hair was softly wavy, not tightly curly. And mom wanted my hair to look like hers.

My hair is straight as a stick. So is my daughter's.  My daughter doesn't look much like me. When we used to be seen together, more than a few people asked me if she was adopted because she does not look like me. She got my very straight hair but she is a brunette. She got her coloring from her dad:  big, dark brown eyes, a light olive complexion that tans well, as opposed to my Irish light tone that burns burns burns.

The curly permanents literally washed out of my hair. After the first fail, the beauty shop gave me a second permanent. When that one washed out of my hair, which was too fine to hold the chemicals, the shop refunded mom's money and refused to try again.

The beauty shop accepted that I was not destined to have curly hair. My mom never did.

I am wondering, just now, if mom's curly hair obsession is analogous to that woman who dyed her blonde daughter's hair black.

What did Peck say?  he said that people of the lie, people sick in darkness/evil, can be surprisingly unfeeling, unaware of the darkness of their behavior. He talked to the parents who gave their livng son the same shotgun his brothe had used to kill himself and those parents could not grasp what might be wrong with having given their surviving son that shotgun. The Italian mama who dyed her blonde daughter's hair black throughout her childhood could not grasp what was wrong with doing that.

I know, for certain, that my mom never wished to harm me. Well, except for the time when she pretty much lost her mind and brutally beat me 100 times with my father's leather belt.

I see that my writing skills are improving. Altho I had not edited what I have written here I see instantly what I should edit out, see how I lose the thread of my piece, take to many side paths and diminish the power of my story.

Was my mom evil?  Only in the sense Peck used the word evil. She was sick.

Growing up with such a damaged mother, I seem to have failed to develop, until now, radar to detect people who are heedlessly unkind to me for no discernible reason. And, until fairly recently, such people would be the ones I would become desparate to earn their love and approval. If someone was angrily abusive to me, their anger was like a gravitational pull, compelling me to dance like a circus pony hoping to win their approval. And such people are always delightfully charming. If I were a devil, I would be very charming.

Lucifer, after all, entices humans into sin with light. Lucifer is all charming delight until you are enthrall to him and then he hurts you. That Broadway play, 'Damm Yankees' captured the lightness of Lucifer's lure brilliantly. My sister once played Lola in a high school production of that play, so I have read it and watched the film, supporting her vicariously.  I remind anyone reading:  Lucifer makes a delightful, enticing, seemingly light-filled offer to the ballplayer who wants to win a World Series. Lucifer promises him he can win a World Series but then his soul will belong to Lucifer. And Lucifer enchants also with the 'light' of Lola's sexy luring.  Lola is part of the 'light' Lucifer uses to get that ballplayer to sell his soul.

Many people sell their souls to evil, although not in overtly negotiated contracts.  Oh no.  Humans slide into darkness one small step at a time, one angry outburst, one blast of verbal abuse. Step by step.

I have been in thrall to darkness a few times. I think I have finally figured out how to avoid darkness or evil. Kindness. Compassion.  Empathy.

And most importantly, at least for me:  I never, ever forget that how other people behave is never about me. Never.

I am kind and good. Trust me to be kind and good and I am. Filter me through a lens of negative expectations and I falter. I make mistakes. I lose touch with my goodness and slip and slide in the slime of darkness, of evil.

I do not use the world evil here the way most people think of evil. I use it to indicate some darkness in a person that crops up in how they behave towards others, towards me. If anyone ever treats me with disregard of my feelings, wants or needs, I consider that darkness. Or evil. And I flee.

Fortunately, once I earned this understanding, my whole world shifted. Light started streaming into my life. New friends. Love. Kindness.

I think I will always be vulnerable to Luciferic charm. I pray I have learned some lessons that have staying power.

I was glad those permanents washed out of my hair.  I never wanted to have curly hair.




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

young black males often tell me I am white racist bitch

When young black males, mostly in my apartment building while all I am doing is waiting for the elevator, tell me I am a white racist bitch, I say nothing and I send them love rays. Usually the young men are bristling with anger and it is not anger over anything I have done. I don't know them. I don't even know for sure if they live here. I just know they are waiting for the elevator near me, they don't have a security fob to get onto the residential floors and it angers them when I won't let them up. This particular scenario plays out constantly.  I also don't let up white people without a security fob.

If someone is actually visiting someone who lives here, it is up to the person who lives here to let the visitors in. IF I admit someone, they could be here to commit crimes. And crimes do happen in the building. Regularly.

Anyway, I feel love and empathy when young black males, unknown to me, angrily bristle and tell me I am a white racist bitch. I really do. I know young black males are too often mistreated in this country.  I know young black males live in a harsh reality I do not know, and an unjust one. I know their anger is justified, although not justified being directed at me. I send love rays and hope my smiling equanimity heals them.

Recently, I had an unusual angry black male encounter.

I went into Walgreens, a store I never shop in, to put some money on my Clipper/transit card.  I was going to take a bus somewhere and my card was low.

As I entered the store, I heard someone speak softly. I couldn't make out the words so I assumed the speaker was not addressing me.


Then the speaker, an angry young black man who I believe was also some kind of high, tapped me on the shoulder and said "Can't you at least answer me?   I asked you to give me some money."   I said "No thanks", the lame phrase I usually use when panhandlers panhandle me. It seems friendly than "Sorry, no". Then I entered the store.

There was a very long line to check out. There always is at Walgreens, yet another reason not to shop there. But it is the only store around here that puts money on clipper cards. I could have gone down into the subway station and put money on by machine but my bus stop was in front of the Walgreens and I thought I'd save a little time. I thought that before I saw the line.

The kid who asked me for money, and he looked like a kid, no more than 16 or 17, rushed to get in front of me in the line. It was a little unfair for I had gone in first and he had kinda rudely squeezed in front of me. But I let it slide. My instinct told me he was high and maybe troublesome.

He was troublesome. He kept haranguing me to give him money.  I said "I am poor. If I give money to all the people who ask me for it on the street,  I would run out of food money a week into each month. I have no money to give you."

He persisted. He said "You are standing in line, that means you are going to buy something so you have money."

I snorted and said "Yeah, I'm spending money. I am putting a couple bucks on my Clipper card."

"So you got money. Give me some."

When I still resisted his demand, he told me I was a white racist bitch. And this kid was very, very angry. I was nervous, fearful that he might become more erratic.  So I called over the security guard and said "This young man keeps demanding I give me money and now he is calling me a white racist bitch. Does Walgreens want panhandling going on in their store? Does Walgreens want their customers harassed?

The security guard, also black, said if we both didn't stop fighting, he'd kick us both out. I said "I am not arguing. I am just standing in line. He won't leave me alone." The guard reiterated his position and walked away.

Then the kid said "I have money. I have a job. I have a credit card. I don't need your money."

"Ah ha," I said, "The plot thickens. I am a bitch racist because I can't give you money because I am poor. What are you?  You said you needed money for food and now you are bragging about job, money and credit cards."

The security guard moseyed back to us and said "I warned you to. Shut up or get out."

Then the kid darted out of the store. I don't think he had ever wanted to buy anything in there. I think he went in believing he could get some money from me. I think he made some poor judgment calls because he was high. And I don't  think he was planning to use any money that evening for food.

After he left, many in line voiced sympathy for me. Some commented on how it wasn't fairfor the kid to have kept telling me I was a white racist bitch just because I wouldn't give him money. One white man said "If I see him when I get out of here, I'll hit him for talking to you like that."  The line was slow and I was sure he would not see the kid. I was appalled that the guy said he would pop the kid. The guy making that threat was no spring chicken. He was at least fifty.

Violence. Anger.

I think our culture is roiling just beneath the surface. Our oligarghic overlords need to dial back their totalitarianism and give us more breathing space. And share the county of our commons, Mother EArth, more justly.

I was impeccably polite to that kid. He was rude, angry and verbally abusive. And high as a kite. I felt love for him, too, but I never got to the point of remembering to send him love rays.

Next time.

bonding w/Ethiopian, Indian and Iranian neighbors

Chatting with two neighbors in my building, during the building garage sale which resulted in almost no sales but kept our community room open all day Saturday. It should always be open on some regular basis. It is like our town square but it is always locked.

Anyway, while chatting with two neighbors who happen to be Ethiopian and black, the same topic comes up that always comes up:  noise from the David Brower Center, which is an event center with its outdoor space placed adjacent to our building. Even without music -- and they always have music -- a crowd of thirty people drinking booze keeps everyone awake in the fifty bedrooms overlooking our shared courtyard. Property management is not working at night. Berkeley noise ordnance says it is illegal to make noise that intrudes into residences after 10 p.m. The David Brower Center disobeys this rule steadily and the cops usually let them.

Another neighbor, from India, said once she called at 1 a.m. Her apartment is on the same level as the DBC outdoor party space so she gets the worst noise. The cops came out and then told her "let them have their fun", completely ignoring the law.

The Ethiopians shared similar tales of how the cops ignore them when they complain about late night noise.

The cops never ignore white me. Of course, not only am I white, but I speak American without an accent. I have personally witnessed cops treating the India woman poorly while being gracious to me.

So we're having the same old gripe about noise, blah blah blah, when suddenly I say "I think the cops listen to me because I am white."

One of the Ethiopian women raised her eyebrows in surprise and said "Not really? Are you kidding?"

I shrugged. It is patently obvious that I get better results than the nonwhites and accented immigrants. It's not cause I'm beautiful. The only explanation for the cops shutting down late parties when I complain is because I am white. I am also articulate, tis true, but so are these women. The Ethiopian women barely have an accent in English.   The Hindu woman is exquisitely beautiful and I am surprised her beauty doesn't score a few points.

I was quite surprised that these black women from Ethiopian seemed surprised that I get treated better by the police just cause I am white. The Hindu woman knows I get treated better. She has seen it live and, pardon the pun, in color.

If the community room was open regularly, like maybe for a weekly potluck and several hours just to hang out so folks can come and go as their schedules allow, we could get beyond griping about noise and cops and learn about one another.

I have not told any story about the Iranian. She has some kind of mental illness and it can be very hard to communicate with her.  I once asked her why she left Iran and she said she left for a very sad reason and teared up.

the Luciferic vortex: heaven & hell

The other day, I started to write about my experience in a Luciferic vortex. I got sidetracked, pulled off course.

I am reminded of a story someone I know wrote on their blog a while back. They wrote about having an intention, back when they were in college, of studying for a test. Then this person became aware that this person was washing the windows in the apartment and this person had not been conscious of when this person stopped studying and started washing windows. Dissociative behavior. Unconsciousness. All humans are unconscious sometimes. Being sometimes unconscious is tricky.  Like the Trickster in some Native American legends, the unconscious mind pulls humans places the human does not consciously choose to go. But is the unconscious mind motivated in positivity?  or negativity?

Well, if you need to study for a test and your trickster self lulls you into washing windows instead, maybe your unconscious mind was being Luciferic, lulling you into acting against your own best interests.

But sometimes, tricksters being tricky, the unconscious mind is protecting you. Perhaps my unconscious mind stopped me from writing about my Luciferic vortex to protect me from something.

I have to admit that it is very hard for me to approach my thoughts about this Luciferic vortex.  It's not just my trickster mind, my unconscious self, who feels a need to insulate myself from danger.  I am very conscious that the relationship I want to write about is dangerous. Dangerous for me.

When I first knew the Luciferic vortex -- howabout I refer to the person in question as Lou so I don't have to keep writing "the Luciferic vortex". For the purpose of this blog post, "Lou" stands for 'The Luciferic Vortex" and when I refer to "Lou" I am referring to a toxic relationship in my life that has damaged me. Having Lou in my life has been like Superman living with a crate of kryptonite stored in his sub-basement, only Superman doesn't know the kryptonite is down there. And maybe the kryptonite is in a sealed container, maybe lined in lead? Is there any material that might protect superman from kryptonite?  I don't know my Superman mythology so I don't know how, or if, Superman can protect himself from kryptonite.  I just remember how kryptonite weakened him and he had to get away from it. But was there some way to block the negative power of Kryptonite?

I have been a moron with my Lou, my nickname for Lucifer and for my Luciferic vortex person.  I say this because when I met Lou in 2006, my inner voice told me, bluntly, "This is a Luciferic vortex. End this friendship. Take care of yourself."  My inner voice could not have been more clear or specific.

What did I do?  I laughed. I thought it was being very hip, erudite. Hell, I thought the phrase 'luciferic vortex' was fucking genius. It is a cleverly phrase to describe an attractive nuisance, to capture how humans can be enticed into self-destructive behavior by deluding themselves that they are not being drawn into negative patterns of behavior.

Does this sound like gobbledegook?  I bet it does. Am I writing anything coherent?

I had borderline personality disorder, but I am now recovered.  Still,  I feel like I don't have a right to say this:  I think Lou also has borderline personality disorder. And I think Lou is fucking brilliant.  Lou offloads his smelly shit onto me, blames me for smelling of shit, and I not only allowdc Lou behavioral choices towards me to lead me into pain and suffering.  Goddess help me, I welcomed some of it because there is a part of me that believes I don't deserve to be treated well.

I have been thinking about my dad in the past few weeks. I recently had some post traumatic stress triggered.  I definitely have post traumatic stress disorder.  I have had some sucky things happen to me, like everyone, but I have had a couple things happen that really traumatized me. Big deep wounds that I cannot seem to heal. Cancer would be a good metaphor for my PTSD.  Imagine surgeons going in and trying to remove all the cancerous cells. I have had much therapy to heal from the traumas that left me with PTSD, digging out all the cancerous cells. But then, years later, the PTSD can come back, the way cancer sometimes does.  My PTSD goes into remission and then something happens, Lou comes along and shits all over me, and my PTSD gets triggered.

I am either getting better or getting worse.  Of course, I hope I am getting better but this is Lou we are talking about. When I am dealing with Lou, it's all trickster energy. Lou as in my own private Luciferic vortex.

What's that old joke about turtles all the way down?  Or old saying.

Some days I fear it is only hell all the way down for me. Some days I believe I am kind, loving and good and deserved to be shown kindness, love and goodness.

Today is a half and half day. Heaven and hell together.













Fuck the police state: a fact-filled, great video


Ferguson, MO haunting me today

I was pretty young in the sixties and did not do any activism then but I remember that many referred to cops as pigs. Militarizing them exacerbates their piggishness and violence. The military equipment seems to dehumanize them.

I was a kid in Chicago when the first Mayor Daley ordered his pigs to shoot demonstrators at the Democratic National Convention. I was in high school when pigs killed demonstrators at Kent State, all peaceful demonstrators.





I am not defending the horrible escalation of violence caused, imho, by the pigs in Ferguson. I hope Ferguson inspires this country to take away the military toys of the police but I don't think it will. I believe the power elite have very strategically militarized the police so when food and water become scarce, the elite have all they need and the militarized police will stop the masses from getting water and food.

Having said the above, however, I also want to say that, imo, society asks quite a lot from the police. And I have never heard of any police department that has programs to nurture cops, to work with them on a regular basis to be reminded of their humanity and their mission to serve and protect the people, not the oligarchy.

I also suspect police departments could do better jobs screening candidates for the job of being a cop.

If we are all interconnected, we are all interconnected with the human beings dressed in cammoflage, pointing weapons at peaceful demonstratiors, tear gassing citizens who are not commiting crimes, arresting journalists, denying the citizens' right to assemble and express their opinioins.

I am sickened by what is happening, and by the steady rise in cops killing blacks for trivial and nonexistent reasons. Here in the Bay Area, a BART subway cop killed a young black father who was already face down on the floor with his hands behind his back. Oscar Grant was uttering insults to the cops, angry that he had been arrested without cause. But some cop killed him. That cop spend a little time in jail, was convicted of something.

Something else that greatly disturbs me about Ferguson is the way the Ferguson power structure is building a narrative to protect a cop who cold bloodedly murdered a young man for walking in the street.

The Justice Department asked the Ferguson police to not distribute the photo of the petty shoplifting Brown allegedly had done. Wilson, the killer cop, did not know about the shoplifting. The Ferguson police disregarded the justice department.

It seems clear to me that no Missouri power authority, including its Democratic Governor or the oreo State Police officer appointed to manage police action in Ferguson (that guy talked a good game for, what, a day? and then authorized more tear gas?) should be allowed to manage what is happening in Ferguson.

Why doesn't the federal government step in and take charge? Maybe even bring in National Guard troops from other states.

It is unfortunate that some people, no longer able to believe they can trust the system to provide justice (I don't trust the system to provide justice). I wish the agitators that are showing up and throwing things at the cops and have looted stores would chillax, even stay out of Ferguson and let the people of Ferguson, hopefully with some great lawyers and other powerful leaders helping them, work out what is going on.

The cops on the ground clearly cannot maintain peace. Clearly the cops are drunk in their perception of their power.

self compassion beats rumination

how_self_compassion_beats_rumination

This link takes you to a good article the Greater Good Center at UC Berkeley. They do a lot of great work on how to be happy, empathic and loving.

I'm good enough, smart enough & people like me

When someone flat-out rejects me, erasing me completely from their life, I have interpreted their behavior as being a condemnation of me.  It is not about me when someone rejects me. It is about them. And it's okay for someone to reject me. We are not all destined to be friends with all.

It hurts to be rejected by someone I love, like my daughter. It hurts like hell. Yet even her rejection is about her, not about me.

I was a good, devoted mother. I made too many sacrifices for her, gave her too much. In the process, I think I showed her that I had less value as a person than she did. Paying for my mistake has been painful.

the love of true friendship

"Once you give your love, it must be forever. Not because you want to be near that person, but because you want perfection for that soul. To wish for perfection for the loved one, and to feel pure joy in thinking of that soul, is divine love; and that is the love of true friendship." - Paramahansa Yogananda

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ferguson, racism and my disbelief

Horrifically, the murder of Michael Brown by a cop in Ferguson MO is not all that unusual. I read somewhere that four black men have been killed by cops in the past month along. And we in the Bay Area all know that Oscar Grant was killed by a BART cop while lying face down on the ground and his hands behind his back.

The overt racism that primarily black males experience from police is sickening.  Even more sickening is seeing what the crazy police forces in and around Ferguson do to escalate the tragic situation.

I have read many articles, by scholarly writers, and that includes the police chief in Seattle at the time of the WTO riots -- that former police chief candidly admits that how he directed his police force to treat the protestors escalated the situation to become violent, that the protestors were nonviolence and only became violent when proboked. A major police chief says that.

Yet the whole country watches, most, I pray, in horror, as the out of control militarized cops in and near Ferguson, go on treating the situation in Ferguson with callous disregard for human life.

As an attorney, I gasp to keep reading that the cops boast that they will go on arresting journalists. How can that be?

And how can it be that no one is moving to stop what the militarized cops are doing in Ferguson? How can it be that the lunkheaded Ferguson police chief and other police types in MO are setting the tune?

When a lot of white men with loaded guns confronted federal officers in the Clive Bundy case, with Bundy a known tax evader for 20 years, stealing from the country by refusing to pay his cattle grazing fees on federal land -- he owed millions? What do we think would happen if a group of armed black men confronted any police force, of any color or level of militarizatioin? Those armed black men would be mowed down like bowling pins but the white militia caused the feds to stand down.

How is it that the country is allowing the cops in MO to continue to behave in overtly racist, hateful ways, escalating a situation? The Ferguson police chief defied the FBi and the justice department when he disclosed video tape of that alleged cigar shoplifting. Clearly that police chief, like that lunatic Sheriff in Arizona, believes he can do whatever he wants.

How can it be that the situation is allowed to continue day after day?

may all beings be happy, including me

I am grateful to feel happy.  I had something that I was holding that left me feeling bad every time I thought of it.  I thought of this 'something' a lot, usually as one of my first thoughts upon awakening. Then, throughout each day for the past year, if the situation came into my thoughts, which it did steadily, I would feel bad.

I didn't blame anyone for my pain.  I just couldn't let go of the pain, as if I was keeping something by holding onto it. And I guess I was. I was keeping pain that I could simply release, let go.

I never read that book, by Eliabeth Kubler-Ross,   about the stages of grief. I just heard about it, it was a bestseller I think. The stages, as summarized by Wikipedia are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
Kubler-Ross initially applied her model for grief for persons diagnosed with terminal illness but expanded it to other losses, such as the loss of a friend. Here is how Wikipedia applies Kubler-Ross's model in an overview of the stages of grief over the loss of a relationship:

Grieving a break-up of a friendship

Denial
The person left behind is unable to admit that the friendship is really over. They may continue to call the former friend even though that person wants to be left alone. Instead they may deny their feelings and not admit that they are upset about it at all.  NOTE:   I never denied I was upset and I did continue to phone this former friend intermittently.
Anger
The partner left behind may feel angry for the pain the leaving partner causes them. The partner left also might blame himself/herself.  NOTE: I felt anger towards the former friend and anger towards myself. I blamed myself, took all responsibility for the failure of our friendship to thrive. I was really unkind to myself.
Bargaining
After, the anger stage, the one left behind may plead with their former partner by promising that whatever caused the breakup will never happen again. Example: “I can change. Please give me a chance."  NOTE:  I have never believed the friendship could be restored but this former friend once agreed to have a state of grace conversation with me. It's been a year since he broke off our friendship. He ignores my many requests for one state of grace conversation.  I thought if I were cheerful, upbeat and persistent, he would keep his word and have one peacemaking conversation. Accepting that he would not do something he agreed to do was as hard as accepting the loss of his friendship. Maybe even harder.
Depression
Next, the person might feel discouraged that his or her bargaining plea did not convince the former partner to stay. This may send the person into depression causing disruption to life functions such as sleeping, eating and even daily bowel movements.  NOTE: only the loss of my daughter has prodded deeper depression in me. I had truly believed this friend loved me. He had said so many times, once writing that he felt unshakeable love for me.  It was so hard to accept that he would not have a state of grace conversation. I think it was harder to accept this refusal than to accept his decision to sever the friendship. I was unhappy in the friendship, too.
Acceptance
Moving on from the situation and the person is the last stage. The person left behind accepts that the friendship is over and begins to move forward with his or her life. She or he may not be completely over the situation but is weary of going back and forth, so much so that they can accept the separation as reality.
Praise goddess, I have accepted it's over and, and this has been very hard, I have accepted that he will not have a state of grace conversation. His refusal to do so is actually a kind of gift. His refusal shows me he does not love or care about me. Why keep investing my emotional energy in longing for someone who won't even give me a state of grace conversation?

Now, when he comes to mind, he quickly leaves my thoughts.

As I accept the loss of his friendship is irreversible, I feel lighter, happier and joyful.  The pain I felt over the loss is remains. I believe I will always feel a little hole, an emptiness, where I will always believe our friendship could have found a home in both our beings. Every aspect of my highly empathic and intuitive being still is sure this man is an important karmic relationship. Accepting this loss is irrevocable is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. And I haven't fully accepted it. A teeny, tiny flame of hope that he will shift his rigid rejection of me flares up. But it flares up less and less. Progress?

I cut all ties to my ex-husband. He was so abusive to me that our marriage counselor, a PhD psychologist, testified that my ex was the cruelest person that doctor had seen in 20+ years of marriage counseling.  I cut all ties to my wasband because I knew there was no shared grace between us.

This friend that dumped me is a graceful, loving, delightful man.  It has been very hard to accept that he does not consider me valuable enough to work through the challenges that came up.  But I don't know his reality. I don't know what he is deainng with. We are all dealing with hard challenges.

I have finall found a state of grace regarding this former friend. A one-sided state of grace.

I found peace. I am happy, joyful and sad as I finally, after a year of struggling to accept this loss, to have accepted it. Goddess, it hurt like hell to lose him. It still does.  He's gone, like a sunny day goes away when the sun sets. Gone for good. The sun still shines on me, praise goddess. For awhile there, I didn't think it could without the light of his loving friendship.

Praise Goddess. May all beings, including this former friend who has rejected me, be happy. Including me.

you have to love yourself


me and Yosemite

Last fall, I was headed to Yosemite with a friend. Then the federal government shut down and closed national parks. By the time the park reopened, it was too cold for camping, at least for me.

This year, I made plans to go near my birthday, again with a friend.  We were going next week. And maybe we still will. The park is being evacuated because of all the fires.

I guess I am not supposed to see Yosemite, at least not this month.

when someone criticizes you . . . . .


Monday, August 18, 2014

the right person loves you always


neuroscience on empathy

brain-hacking-our-way-to-world-peace-the-new-neuroscience-says-it-just-might-be-possible/

A hint of a way forward, beyond greed and violence. . . . .

play, laughter, joy


Strange Fruit and Ferguson MO


This song was written by a Jewish, white high school teacher in the Bronx, in the nineteen thirties. First he wrote the poem, then the melody. It was courageous of Billie Holiday to sing it in the thirties. The ugly racism, especially the killing of blacks in this country, was rarely openly acknowledged."

Ferguson, Missouri is still bearing this kind of strange fruit.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

yes she's going to a party, party


first to forget is happiest



I wonder:  does severing ties with someone and forgetting all about them count as forgetting them? In the scenario I am reflecting on, the person severed all ties to me in an email and has maintained that position for a year. Does such behavior count as 'forgetting' in the context of being happy? Or is it denial, a fear of actually talking about one's relationships in emotionally mature ways?

today's farmers market was hot

It was hot in more ways than one.

I was promoting Tony Thurmond for State Assembly. We got several folks to agree to lawn signs. That was hot-ish.

It was wicked hot in the sun. I see why all the regular vendors have canopies.

And I was hot with feeling sick. My volunteer partner kept urging me to go sit in the shade. I would. But as soon as I sat down, I felt better so I'd return to promoting my candidate.

And it was hot to learn how many people know about him, like him and told us they would vote for him.

And there was a wicked hot band next to us, which diminished our efforts considerably. Mad Noise is their name. They were selling CD's and I wanted one. It would have made a nice gift to myself. By the time I saw they were selling CD's I was packing the campaign stuff up and genuinely anxious that I might pass out.

Diabetes is unpredictable.  I can sail along feeling well for weeks and months. Then, out of no where, it seems, I have a miserable day. I was oozy, as if I might faint.  I may have forgotten to take my nighttime insulin. The night injection is a 24-hour, delayed-reaction insulin that gives me a baseline of insulin all day. Without it, my glucose spikes wildly. I can't inject it now, because then it would throw me off. So I keep injecting the 'fast-acting' which takes a couple hours to kick in.

My volunteer partner asked "Why don't you keep a record so you don't forget?"  I do keep detailed records but when one forgets, one forgets.





Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to you
Every day we are born
Every day we are free


This happy song is great sung in rounds.

Today is my actual birthday. I am 61.  Happy birthday to me.

a ruby embedded in granite

You are a ruby embedded in granite.
How long will you pretend it’s not true?
We can see it in your eyes.
Come to the root of the root of your Self.
--Rumi

This reminds me of lines from e.e. cummings:  the root of the root, the bud of the bud
Everything rooted in love.

Friday, August 15, 2014

a heart broken open: Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Clarissa Pinkola Estes: Persons called to this work typically feel relentless sensations of broken-heartedness about the state of the world, but also carry an unshakable and inspired hope for humankind. There may be anger as well. The seemingly contradictory but powerful forces of the broken heart commingled with hope are the enduring underpinnings for effecting ongoing and positive change.

Interviewer: You are saying that the social activist has a broken heart?

Clarissa Pinkola Estes: Yes, a heart that is broken open -- and stays broken open -- a soul alert to its calling.

Telling the Bees, part two


Telling the Bees

Telling the Bees

Deborah Digges, 1950 - 2009
It fell to me to tell the bees, 
though I had wanted another duty—
to be the scribbler at his death, 
there chart the third day’s quickening. 
But fate said no, it falls to you 
to tell the bees, the middle daughter. 
So it was written at your birth. 
I wanted to keep the fire, working 
the constant arranging and shifting 
of the coals blown flaring, 
my cheeks flushed red, 
my bed laid down before the fire, 
myself anonymous among the strangers
there who’d come and go. 
But destiny said no. It falls 
to you to tell the bees, it said. 
I wanted to be the one to wash his linens, 
boiling the death-soiled sheets, 
using the waters for my tea. 
I might have been the one to seal 
his solitude with mud and thatch and string, 
the webs he parted every morning, 
the hounds’ hair combed from brushes, 
the dust swept into piles with sparrows’ feathers. 
Who makes the laws that live 
inside the brick and mortar of a name, 
selects the seeds, garden or wild, 
brings forth the foliage grown up around it 
through drought or blight or blossom,
the honey darkening in the bitter years,
the combs like funeral lace or wedding veils 
steeped in oak gall and rainwater, 
sequined of rent wings. 
And so arrayed I set out, this once
obedient, toward the hives’ domed skeps 
on evening’s hill, five tombs alight. 
I thought I heard the thrash and moaning 
of confinement, beyond the century, 
a calling across dreams, 
as if asked to make haste just out of sleep. 
I knelt and waited. 
The voice that found me gave the news. 
Up flew the bees toward his orchards.

James Broughton riffing on Victor Hugo


Ho Chi Min (sp?) Park in Berkeley

I am volunteering for a local political campaign. Mostly I canvass registered Democrats that more seasoned volunteers select. The process of deciding who I try to talk to is called turf cutting. I have no idea what the turf cutting criteria is. It seems to me like they choose houses with the most steps to the front door. Gosh, why do Victorian houses in the Bay Area have second-story front doors and stairs stairs stairs?

I owned a three-story Victorian in Minneapolis. The front door was at the front porch, about four steps off the ground. What's with this high 'first' floors?  It's a stairmaster workout.

The canvassing works well with my Fit Flex obsession. On canvassing days, I get tons of steps in.

There is a cute, small man who is the main coordinator for the pocket of volunteers I work with. Everytime someone, at a meeting for volunteers, mentions Willard Park, he corrects them and says it is actually Ho Chi Min park. He insists the actual, legal name of what every one calls Willard Park is Ho Chi Min Park.

I love it that this guy corrects everyone. I also love the moment when most in the room mumble their agreement. "Oh yeah, it is Ho Chi Min Park" many mutter.


I say it again: let go

It's very hard to grow, because it's difficult to let go of models of ourselves in which we've invested so heavily. --Ram Dass

We have to let go of who we are in order to become who we are supposed to be. -- Tree Fitzpatrick

tumeric: self love daily

If you don't like the taste, you can buy it in capsules. I have grown accustomed to the taste and add it to savory, low-carb breakfast muffins with no gluten.

I've eaten some tumeric daily for a few years.  I have been able to stop using high blood pressure meds. Now my blood pressure is always in a healthy range.  My bad cholesterol is now low and my good cholesterol is high and even my triglycerides are in the target range. As a Type One diabetic, my insulin needs are lower when I eat tumeric. I take it reasoning it can't hurt and it might help. Tumeric helps the body metabolize food and it is the #1 medicine in Ayurvedic medicine for Type Two diabetes. 

Eating tumeric sometimes reminds me of something my mom often said when her children did not like a new food she introduced us to. She would say "It is an acquired taste." Then she'd go on to say if you eat it awhile, you will like it. Tumeric fits mom's criteria for acquired taste. I have acquired a taste for enjoying tumeric.

Here is a link to an informative article on the 14 drugs tumeric can replace.

science confirms: turmeric as effective as 14 drugs

love is a risk, do it anyway