Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 by Lars von Trier: on Netflix

Nympho V. One by Lars Von Trier mostly bored me but for folks following his career, it's on Netflix. It seems a little surprising to me that it is showing on Netflix. It is so misogynistic and so debasing. Then again, I understand porn is a big deal on the web. I've never seen any porn and certainly never googled it. Nympho is not quite porn. It's art, right?!! Sure it is.

I particularly dislike the actress who plays the lead in Nympho and in several other von Trier films. I don't think she can act. Whatever she does, let's call it acting, she bores me. I don't care about her characters, what they feel. I do wince at some of the degradations (fictional) the characters endure but that is not the same thing as considering the acting of a woman being degrades decent acting.

What's her name?  Charlotte Gainsborough maybe? She always seems to speak with no affect whatsoever. Shes all monotone, no facial expressions.


But if you are interested in Von Trier's work and I was interested enough to see it in a movie theater as soon as I could, it's now on Netflix. Check it out.

Different tastes for different humans.

very short story related to Italy

A former acquaintance's ancestors are from Italy. I think some of his grandparents were born in Italy. Maybe his parents. I never got to know him well enough to learn if his parents were born in Italy.

When I first knew him, he often talked with great pride about his Italian past. He especially loved his grandmother, although as I write that I realize I don't know which grandmother, maternal or paternal. They are both gone.

One of his grandparents, and perhaps one of his parents, used to live in and own an old house in Lucca, Italy. He has visited the home, which his relatives sold when they emigrated, I guess. I know his family no longer owns it.

He told me a charming story about this house. The top step to get to the front door was so worn that it had a permanent dip. That's an old stone step! It was enough of a hollow spot on the stairs that his grandmother, or great grandmother, or some relative, would pour milk in the stair hollow spot for the cat.

I love that image, stairs old and worn down then using the wear practically to make milk available to a cat or two.

I want to own a house with a stair like that.

Such a house seems, at least to me, like it would be a lovely setting for love, maybe magic and princes and princesses going to balls in horse-drawn carriages in exquisitely beautiful clothes. Starry nights. Warm breezes. Water views. Of a Stega, a witch, casting love potions and spells. I could most def visualize Cinderella pouring milk in the top step, milk for the cat. I have no image in my mind of the house, which was likely not a castle if an ordinary family lived in it. I have an image of stairs, stone, flowers, and beautiful views. In the movies, Cindrella always leaves from the ground level. In my imagination, make her Italian and have her descend an old stone staircase under the stars.

I have no idea if Lucca has water views, never having been. My mom spent a couple summers in Lucca. Mom went to paint all summer. She did some beautiful paintings. One was a self portrait she called cappuchino. She is in a blue robe, her ubiquitous ciggie in her hand. You see the smoke drifting up from her hand, steam rising from the cappuchino. And her face looks just like her. My mom was beautiful, even as she aged. As a young woman, she was smoking hot beautiful. As is my sister, daughter and niece. How come I got the ordinary looks?!!

I guess I have a smoking hot beautiful heart. I do, you know.

I am so sick . . and scared

I was just out trying to live my life but, admittedly, forcing myself to do something in spite of feeling really sick. I began to lose consciousness. I was right near a bus stop. The route would drop me off at my corner where I live so I hopped on it. I could barely drag myself from the corner to my building. I rested in the lobby! I felt so unwell, so weak and consciousness was sorta fading in and out that I thought it best to rest before walking across the lobby, riding the elevator and staggering down the hall on my floor to my front door.

My first thought upon entering my apartment was gratitude. I had filled three water bottles and placed them next to my bed while I waited for my friend to pick me up. We were out canvassing for Tony. When I walked in, woozy and genuinely fearful I might pass out, I was so grateful I had plenty of water right next to my bed.

My glucose is sky high and I have no understanding why. I injected insulin according to what I ate but I felt my glucose spike very high. While I was canvassing, I tested but my glucometer wouldn't work, which meant I had no idea what my glucose was so I had no idea if I needed insulin. I might have been feeling so awful for a non-glucose reason.

As I suspected, my glucose was sky high. The meter was working again once I hopped on a bus. I injected right on the bus, I am feeling better.

But I am sick.  I guess there is no reason for be coy here on this blog no one I actually know reads. Since no one comments, on the blog or to me directly, I assume no one I know reads this.

I have something wrong with my kidneys. And I am receiving inadequate health care.

I had a blood test in June. JUNE!!!!! I did not see my doc again until Friday. She had told me in June that as soon as I did the blood test, which I did the very next day (in early JUNE), she would refer me to a specialist. My creatinine level is literally twice as high as the highest end of the safe range. The highest safe score is 95 and my creatinine in June was 195. No referral made.

And when I saw my doc on Friday, she ordered more tests and again said she'd make the referral when she gets the results. It's a holiday weekend so she does not work on Monday. Even if she does look at my lab results this time, before my next appointment on Halloween, she won't be looking until thursday.

In the meantime, I am sick. I've eben sick for some time but get ignored.

I'm sick. I' scared. And I have al ost no support.

My canvassing buddy is a nurse. Her now-deceased husband was a Type I so she knows a lot of useful info. She gave me some guidance on who to call on Tuesday (monday being a holiday) to get faster health care. And she said she'd drive me to Stanford to see my old Stanford doc, something I don't really want to do. I need to see a nephrologist and my endocrinologist.

Oh, speaking of the endocrinologist. I made an appointment with him yesterday. His first opening was in January. So he can't refer me to a nephrologist until January.

I am so angry. I have been describing symtpoms of kidney issues for a couple years, much like I described symptoms of type one diabetes for years.

And nobody loves me.

humanity's ascent

On the physical plane man is but an animal.  On the intellectual plane (s)he is a rational being.  On the moral plane (s)he is a power for good.On the spiritual plane, (s)he is a radiant being full of divine light, love, and bliss. Humanity’s ascent from one plane to another is its natural movement.
(Swami Ramdas, d. 1954)

feeling wicked hungover

I am not hungover. I don't drink alcohol.

Over the 12 years I have known I have diabetes, I have occasionally had periods in which I have awakeaned feeling as I do this morning:  wicked hungover.

In college, I had a few evenings when I went to beer keggers and drank too much, waking up hungover.  I drank so much a few times that I would barf the whole next day.  I backed away from having more than two or three drinks by the time I enrolled in grad school. I drank 'socially' until about twelve years ago. Drinking socially meant that when I was with others who were drinking, I would have one drink to appear socially adaptive, to fit in. Duh.

My dad must have had the same biochemistry I have in relation to alcohol because he never drank. He did not even drink socially. He would take a drink when he was in a social setting where all the men were drinking and carry it around but not drink it.  I guess I got my dad's biochemistry when it comes to alcohol. Just once drink used to leave me feeling hungover, often sick hungover.

Then I started sitting Vipassana. The teacher asks students to not drink, both during the course (who but an alcoholic would sneak booze into a ten-day silent meditation? and would such an alcoholic even go on a ten day sit?) and in life after the course.

On my first sit, one of the things I thought about was alcohol. I realized, essentially my first awareness of this, that just one drink could cause me to feel hungover the next day. I realized I could not drink at all and avoid feeling sick.

As my diabetes progressed, I have had intermittent periods during which I wake up feeling wicked hungover. But I no longer drink. I have suggested to doctors that the sick hangover feeling might be related to my diabetes and doctors shrug it off.

Doctors don't seem to do much independent thinking about illness. If they were not taught that some diabetics feel sickly hungover because of their diabetes, it just isn't on their radar.

With no help from the Stanford internist I was seeing when I began to awaken feeling wicked sick hungover, I gradually figured out that on some days when I wake up feeling sick hungover, I had a period of time during the night when my blood sugar got dangerously low.

My current endocrinologist, at UCSF Diabetes Center, a highly regarded diabetic research and treatment center, wants me to awaken at 2 a.m. to test my glucose, to see if I have gone too low. I don't do this. If I wake up just to test, I raely get back to sleep. And I don't think I have had many overnight lows.  I believe very low blood sugar could cause me to feel sick. There are some serious risks of very low blood sugar. I could slip into a coma. Living alone, it could be days before anyone knew I was lying here in a diabetic coma so I'd likely die.

Now I know that soething else in my body isn't working. I believe this new health challenge, and it is not new to me, merely finally diagnosed, is why I often wake up feeling sick hungover.

Al of this is my longwinded way of saying I feel wicked sick hungover this morning. I feel really, really sick.  I have plans at noon. I am debating whether or not to cancel them.  I am sick enough to remain in bed all day but, geez, if I spent every day in bed that I feel sick, I'd spend most days in bed. Most days, I feel lousy and force myself to move in the world.

Most days, when taking my five to seven mile walks, every step requires extra effort. There is the effort of walking five miles. I also have to expend special effort to move at all whe I feel sick. Staying home in bed does not seem condusive to improving my health. Exercise makes a huge difference in how my diabetes goes. Insulin is much more effective in the body when the person exercises. Usually when I walk, every step hurts because of my arthritis. Plus each step requires meaningful extra effort because I feel so lousy.

All summer I have been forcing myself to move, to live as if I were not sick. That was before I found on on Friday what is wrong. Nothing has changed. I was sick before I had a diagnosis and I am sick now. Knowing there really is something new wrong with me, something I have known for many months, has worn me down in new ways. I am so tired of being sick, of being ignored by my doctors, is nonreponsive health care system that lets lab test results from June just sit in a file for three months with no one telling me.

Now keep in mind that I feel very sick as I write. It is harder for me to be cheerful and update when I feel as bad as I do. I suspect I'll go out at noon when my friend pulls up to my building and do what I have agreed to do today.

I'm so tired of feeling lousy much of the time, lonely most of the time and not having anyone in my life, no one with whom I have an intimate emotional bond, no feeling of family.

Once, in my early forties, I broke my left ankle (for the second time!). I left the house to pick my daughter up after dance classes. The school closes and she would be waiting outside. This was in Minnesota. It was very cold, well below zero. And this was pre-cell phone ubiquity.  I slipped behind my house walking to my car. I screamed for help but it was dark, later in the vening and in the back. No one heard me. So I dragged myself to the car and drove downtown to claim my kid, who would be freezing after the building was locked for the day. Yup, I drove on a broken right ankle handling the gas and brake.

After I connected with my daughter, her girlfriend offered to have her parents come and take the girls to the sleepover I had intended to drive them to. That girlfriend was more concerned about my broken ankle than my daughter was. That girl wouldn't let me go on driving on my broken ankle. Then, not knowing what to do, and it being wicked freezing -- in deep midwinter Minnesota a car does not heat up in a mere ten minute drive -- and climbed back up the stairs to my second story Victorian. I called my sister who insisetd on taking me to the hospital. I remember half wishing she had not insisted on taking me because I had to get back down the stairs. I leaned so hard on the bannister, trying to keep my weight off the broken ankle, that I broke off part of the bannister, wearing it from where it was mounted into a stud. It hurt like hell to step on my right foot but I couldn't get down the stairs by flying.

My sister was kind to me. And she had to haul her baby out on that frigid night to take me to the ER. I don't know what I would have done if my sister had not stepped up and insisted I go to a hospital. I think I would have waited until morning, even though a broken ankle hurts pretty good, especially when you step on it.

Then my sister did something that truly puzzled me. I had been living on my own, with no real attention from my family, for decades. I left home for college and never lived near my family of origin again. I needed distance from them. It never crossed my mind to tell my mother or brothers that I had broken my ankle. Two states away, they could do nothing. My sister, however, said "We have to call mom and Dave to tell them?"  What for?

I was so used to no one caring about me. And my sister's attention was a new, magical thing.  I had made a few trips to the ER for myself and my daughter over the years but it had never occurred to me to tell anyone. There would be nothing people hundreds of miles away could do. What can they do?  Care?

I know that none of us really knows what other's inner lives are like. None of us knows what others' family lives are like. And I know 'everyone' does not live in charming, loving Norman Rockwell scenes of people who care about one another.

I also know that quite a lot of people have people in their life that both care about them and care when they become sick, and actuallyw ant to know and actually offer help, I have never had that.

Even with the broken ankle, although my sis took me to the ER, she did not take me to get a cast put on after my foot had stopped swelling.With all the walking I did on that broken ankle before the ER gave me crutches, it took about a week for the selling to go down enough for a cast to be put on. My sister did not offer to do a grocery run.

I remember calling another Waldorf parent, and this memory puzzles me. I scarcely knew this woman but I called her because I believed she would do a grocery run.  It was only a few days I was immobilized. I quickly got the hang of crutches but in the first few days, the steep narrow stairs to get in and out of my home left me homebound.

I remember, that Waldorf mom sent me flowers. I threw the keys out the window to the flower delivery guy. When he brought them up to my second floor home, I tried to tip him. He thanked me politely then said "nobody tips anymore, you don't have to tip me for being nice to you".

Saturday, August 30, 2014

we are stardust

the bell of being© training

I am preparing to launch a new training business. This will be training in personal, inner development, intensive experiential training. The goal will be to develop our capacity to become more aware of our interconnectedness to all beings, nature and the cosmos and to develop our capacity to listen together: to listen within the bell of collective being.

Whispers, echoes, feelings, knowing . . . when aligned with collective energy, within the bell of collective being, one hears a whole new way of being.

we hurt ourselves when we hurt another: edited

Since we are interconnected, we cannot hurt another person without hurting ourselves.

I have prayed, pleaded, begged someone who was hurt by my behavior towards him to have a state of grace conversation with me. For a year now, he has been silent. Nothing.  His silence hurts me so it hurts him.

I wish to have a state of grace dialogue with him for both our sakes, but, I admit, for self love.  I want to tell him my perspective on what happened between us, to acknowledge my mistakes and acknowledge his fineness.

Having said the above, I can also say, in honesty, that I am also grateful for his steadfast refusal to have a state of grace conversation with me. I have learned so much as I cope with his cold silence.

He dumped me in an email after 7.5 years of interaction. We never had a closure conversation. An email telling me "I feel no need to retaliate and wish you happiness and love" is cold, flat, lacking human warmth. An email is not a conversation. It is unilateral, controlling, maybe coming from fear or maybe coming from a rigidity within this person that he is unable to conquer.

If I am hurt, he is hurt. I know that for certain.

feel what I feel? what to do with anger?

I don't think our health care system is very good. At all. It is dominated by the price-gouging drug industry.

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003.  I did not get diagnosed with Type I until 2012. Yet during that time, I saw prestigious internists that focussed their practice on diabetes, including one at Stanford for two years. I described symptoms of Type I every time I saw any doctor. And I have seen a doc every three months since 2003. Diabetes taking care of themselves need to have a blood test every three months, hence the regular doc visits. These were not the only doc visits.

I kept describing symptoms and docs kept ignoring me. I learned long ago, maybe 20 years ago, that most doctors don't listen to fat people. They are quiet as I speak and when I stop they say "you'd feel better if you lost weight". It is believed over 1,000,000 fat diabetics are wrongly diagnosed as Type II because docs are bigoted about obesity. Docs assume if a fat person develops diabetes, s/he is Type II. The technical protocol for any newly diagnosed diabetic is to refer them immediately to an endocrinologist to ascertain what kind of diabetes the person has. Most docs skip this referral.

I was actually referred to an endocrinologist as soon as I was diagnosed.  That fat endocrinologist, and he really was quite fat, ordered no tests. He asked me "Why are you here?"  I shrugged and said "I am not sure, my doc referred me because I just learned I have diabetes."  He said "you are wasting my time. Here's all I can do for you. You are fat. You have diabetes. You did this to yourself."

In 2012, I asked to be referred to UCSF Diabetes Center, to see an endocrinologist because I knew something was wrong. I knew I ate carefully and exercised daily, did my insulin but I was still always sick. I talked to that endocrinologist about two minutes before he realized I had Type I. He ordered a lot of tests to verify it and waited for the test results before he told me. I knew as soon as I was able to get online and check what the blood tests he ordered were for. They were all to test for Type I.

All those years, good hearted, well meaning doctors disbelieved me when I described how I ate and exercised. All they sat was my obesity.

I was diagnosed with a mental illness I never had, but took a load of serious drugs for it for about ten years. All those drugs had significant side effects, like rapid weight gain, which contributes to the onset of diabetes. Three of the drugs I took for ten years have been sued in class action law suits because they have been shown to cause the onset of diabetes.

Since diagnosed with diabetes, I have had some chronic symptoms that I have reported to all the doctors I have seen. I see a doctor at least once every three months, sometimes more. The diabetes expert in Seattle missed this other illness. The Stanford doc who almost always made a comment during every visit I had with her about how she was a Stanford Medical Doctor. She would say that when I resisted her advice. These two doctors regurgigate the American Diabetes Association treatment advice for Type II diabetes, which I never had. Guess who funds the ADA? The ADA dietary recommendations tell diabetes to go ahead and eat whatever you want, just inject insulin, which is VERY expensive.  Gee, is it possible the drug companies that fund the ADA want to sell insulin? And the syringes, a simple design that doesn't really work very well, are patented so there is no generic syringes. A drug company controls the patent on a simple syringe. That doesn't seem right, does it?

I read a sadly creepy, journalistically anotated article about meetings held between the ADA, drug companies and the American Medical Association in the forties. In these meetings, the three industries discussed how to boost business by treating diabetes patients. Back then, diabetics could be forty percent of all medical appointments. Caching!  Diabetes is a cash cow, not an illness sick humans need help coping with. 

I don't think the average doctor ever consciously thinks "oh, good, this person has diabetes, she will be a good profit center for my practice".  I do think drug company reps lick their lips greedily every time a new diagnosis of diabetes is made. It's like the scene in 'Its a Wonderful Life' where the cute little girl says, at the end of the film, "Teacher tells me everytime I hear a bell that means another angel got her wings." Everytime a person is diagnosed with diabetes, the bells of making money go off for some.

Medicine seems to be increasingly driven by drug company marketing. Drug companies develop drugs, and then promote them by listing symptoms that the drug 'treats'. Docs often don't seem to pay attention to the patient. They match symptoms to drug company profiles. Or so it seems to me.

I reiterate:  I don't think msny doctors consciously treat patients off drug company guidelines. Like just about everyone in this damaged culture, doctors are victims of the culture. They are saturated with misinformation, marketing and profit pressure, etc. And, gosh, doctors are overworked. My doc has four patients an hour. In that time she has to listen to her patient, put it all into her legally required session notes which she does in front of me on a computer, often shushing me so she can type.

Fifteen minutes is not enough time to talk about my very real health challenges. And fifteen minutes every three months is not enough.

My doc had me do some blood tests in June. There were a couple lab results that indicated a serious condition. No one reviewed my lab results until I saw my doctor yesterday. Three months, important data indicating I need new treatment for a condition that is not diabetes sat in my file, ignored.

She gave me an appointment for Halloween, only two months away. So I guess I will find out the results of yesterday's blood tests tomorrow.

In the meantime, I thought I go see my endocrinologist again at the UCSF Diabetes Center, see what his take is on this new health issue that might have been caused by diabetes. His first opening was in January. Of course I took it. Four months wait? Yikes.

Oh, my anger. I have had the symptoms my doc is only now acknowledging for many years. I have reported them, but not every time I have seen a doc. One gives up. I tell all this high and mighty doctors my symptoms, they listen politely and do nothing. Well, they order lab tests.

Think about it. I had some lab work done in June. The work indicated a serious health challenge. Yet no one looked at it or helped me deal with it for three months. And then, I was asked to do more tests and gien and appointment on Halloween. So I will not be treating this condition until, maybe, hopefully, Halloween.

I have been misdiagnosed, then given wrong treatments for about 30 years, for all kinds of health challenges, most of which I didn't have. And along the way, I did not get proper care simply because I was disbelieved.

I am extremely articulate, with superb verbal ability.  I articulate with intense clarity what's going on. Any doctor listening to me, like the UCSF endocrinologist did, hears me accurately describing health challenges. But if docs are overworked, and biased about fat and do not examine that bias and practice mindfully, they fail me.

I am struggling with some anger. I am not angry with my doctor. She is way overworked. She is sweet and loving. All the doctors I have seen, except for the UCSF endo guy, have been sweet, loving and caring. They are victims of our health care system. The UCSF endo man is probably also sweet, loving and caring but he might be the most bigoted towards fat than any of the many docs I have seen. When I asked him for advice on how to use lots of insulin yet lose weight, he wouldn't even talk to me about it. And he conducts nutrition studies as a med school professor. He was so clearly disgusted that I was fat. He was very interested in accurately diagnosing me, but he flatly refused to discuss my weight challenge.

My extra weight causes me suffering. Sure only I can lose the weight but I have needed help. Although I gave up, about two years ago, thinking doctors could help me lose weight.

Misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis. Years, decades, of taking meds I did not need that damaged my metabolism permanently. It just never ends.

I guess I am trying to release my anger by writing about it.

I don't think I am angry about my recently acknowledge health issue. I am angry that I knew something was wrong for years, told my doctor every time I saw her about the symptoms.

I'm angry at the system that allows medicine to be conducted so badly in this country.

Friday, August 29, 2014

alone with illness

I have not eaten anything unhealthy for quite some time. I monitor my glucose all day. I inject insulin in careful calibration with whatever I eat. I exercise about two hours daily. Exercise really improves my body's ability to use insulin, allowing me to use less. It is hard to lose weight when injecting lots of insulin so the exercise is vital.

I have been doggedly walking five to 8 miles daily all summer, even though every step hurts me in some joint. My doc promised in June to refer me to a rhematologist but the referral got lost in the system.

I saw her today and suggested that I think I have another health issue that needs another specialize. She did what she did three months ago. She ordered a bunch of tests, which I had done this afternoon. But the blood tests she ordered three months ago showed some dangerous data, indicating a serious health problem.

There is some reason why I feel very sick all the time.  I am proud of the way I push myself to be active, and take care to eat very well, and take all my meds.  I do everything within my power to feel well. And, of course, most of my health challenges are related to having become obese.

I mostly got fat because I used to do psychotropics for a mental illness I do not have. Three of the drugs I took for over ten years have all had class action lawsuits brought against them because it has been proven they cause the onset of diabetes. And all the psychotropics caused rapid weight gain. When I packed on fat all of a sudden, when I started taking those drugs, I bitterly blamed myself. I never pigged out. I did not eat as healthfully as I do not but I did not eat anything but typical American food. Processed food-like food was common in our larder. Triscuits. Pasta with canned sauces. Any canned sauce means chemicals. And processing denudes most foods of a lot of nutrition. I ate like a typical American but I told myself I was eating more than I was. I even sometimes thought I had black outs when I pigged out, analogous to an alcoholic having black outs. I just couldn't figure out why no matter how much I restricted my eating and swam almost daily, a lifelong habit, I would gain gain gain.

So I need to avoid blaming myself for having diabetes. It also runs on both sides of my gene pool. And now that I have yet another serious health challenge, one I can't bring myself to articulate yet because it is not confirmed and I had not adjusted to having it.

I feel alone, sick,  scared and uncertain. And alone.  I want my daughter to care about me. I want intimate friends. I want I want I want.  I can accept being sick more readily than I am accepting how alone I am with illness.

And I have been telling my various doctors all the symptoms for some time. Only today did the same old story get heard.  And I am pretty sure my doctor only considered this latest possibility because I had matched my symptoms to the problem through online research.

anxiety can kill love. . . more from Anais Nin. . . .

"Anxiety is love's greatest killer. It creates the failures. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangel you with his panic.

Anais Nin, from one of her many, lifelong diaries, February 1947

my hair is being pulled by the stars. . . .Anais Nin

When I discovered Anais Nin in college, I special ordered all her books from Conkey's, the bookstore that supplied all books for our classes but also was a regular book store.

Gosh, in those days, paperbacks cost thirty five cents. And I guess it is true that college kids, at least in those days (early seventies) had spending money. I thought nothing of ordering books that were not for courses, just for recreational reading.

I inhaled all of Nin's work and all the work of many authors. I would discover an author and just buy everything available that was written by them.  Nowadays, I get restless reading a bunch of books by the same writer all at once. I like to change up writers, one book to the next. Young and obsessed with literature, I loved reading a writer's entire oeuvre.

Of course, in those days, I could do all my college homework and still inhale entire novels in a day.

A guy I dated often criticized my speed reading. He said I could not possibly have understood The Brothers Karamazov because I had read it too fast. We were in the same course and I read that one for a class.  Yet when I questioned him about that novel, he did not know nearly as much about it as me. If I read something, I usually remember it forever.

I have all that legal reading I did to become a lawyer seared in my brain, still accessible. It amazes me how much I remember.

Anais Nin. I should get some of her books out of the library and revisit her. She often wrote very sensually and sometimes actually wrote erotica. Some patron paid her by the word for pornographic erotica, she needed the money. Even when paid by the word, Nin wrote gorgeous works.

rebuilding life from within

Thursday, August 28, 2014

being treated to dinner date tonight!!

At a vegan, gluten-free restaurant. Yippee Skip-pee, eh?!!!

I bet there will be sugar.  And it's one of those places where they only prepare one meal a day. Your only choice is large or medium. Already I know I'll order medium. The longer I eat healthy, the less I steadily wish to eat.

I will walk all the way downhill to this restaurant and walk uphill. Think of all the steps I'll log on my step-counting toy.

It is so true:  choose to be happy, choose to be peaceful, choose to be loving and happiness, peace and love pour into your life.

Thank you goddess for this great day.

And thanks, in advance, goddess, for all the rain you are going to send to Berkeley this fall and winter. I just got new, waterproof walking shoes, as a birthday gift, so I can don my raingear and keep on walking. Any day now I'm going to hit 10 miles in one day.

Any day now I am going to fit in jeans' sizes from my high school era, praise goddess.  I want to be thin so more men will want to date me so I will find my man, find someone to love and to love me.

Soon.  I feel it.

In the meantime, I'm being treated to a healthy dinner. And I love to have a destination for my long walks.

Happiness.  Peace.  Love. 

be kind to yourself

tweakers ally in the SF Chron building

Yesterday I went to a wine reception at the San Francisco Impact Hub. I have wanted to join a HUB for some time but felt I could not spend the money. Now that I am launching a new business, I need to be interacting with other social artists and small business entrepreneurs. I need to be in a collaborative environment.

There is a Hub in the office building next to the building I live in. I can see the Berkeley HUB from my apartment, across the courtyard. The Berkeley HUB will be my home HUB but membership in the Berkeley HUB buys me access to the SF HUB. So I wanted to check out the SF HUB.

Yesterday an organization that just took some office space in the SF HUB held a wine reception, open to anyone. I thought it was a good chance to check out SF HUB.

To enter the SF HUB without membership, one has to be screened by the Chronicle security guard and given a visitor badge.

When I arrived at the security desk, an understandably excited young man was describing an experience he had just had. In some place in the Chron building, or maybe just outside it -- I don't know the building well enough to know there 'tweakers' alley' might be, whether it is literally in the alley. The understandable tense young man kept repeating his story, the guard kept asking him the same questions.

And the guard kept me and another woman waiting a really long time. Clearly the guard could not resolve the young man's problem. Actually the young man had solved his own problem. Some high, likely-drug-addicted young man had asked to borrow his cell. The guy at the security desk, the crime victim, said "I am too naive, I guess, I just handed him my phone. I will never give a strange my phone to use, no matter excuse they give for asking to use my phone, I'll dial for them."

The 'high' phone thief just kept the phone, with the victim amiably walking along, initially believing the thief would use his phone and return it. When it became obvious the thief was not going to return his phone, the young Chronicle intern explained to the thief how important his phone was to him and how he really needed to get his phone back. The thief said "I'll give you the phone if you give me $100". The kid said "I am an unpaid intern, I don't have $100." The thief suggested they go to a bank machine and extract $100. The kid said "how about $20?  I think I have $20 in my bank account."

Once the intern had gone to the bank machine with his cell phone thief, the thief took the money but continued to resist giving up the phone. The unpaid intern kept begging for his phone, explaining his need to keep it, his inability to finance a replacement and swearing that tapping him for $20 was a bite for the unpaid intern to absorb.  The thief was obviously high but he must have been, somewhere within, aware he was behaving badly. He was coy with his victim, taking his twenty and initially refusing to yield the phone. Finally he gave the guy back his phone and even said "I won't keep your twenty" but he did.

I listened to the understandably adrenaline filled young man tell this story three or four times, with the security guard clearly incapable of doing anything constructive, like pick up the phone and call the police or take down the victim's contact info so if the Chron security staff wanted to talk to him about the incident, like maybe if they saw the incident on security tapes and could ID the thief.

Finally I said "i will take a few secons to check us in, could you check us in and then keep listening to this crime victim?"

This irritated the security guard so he pointedly took care of the other woman, who had arrived longer after me, before me.  While he tended to her, I advised the kid not to file a police report, which he had already said he didn't want to do. Oh, I think it optimal to pursue such street crime but I know that security cameras are deceptive. They do not provide much security.  Unless someone happens to see the video recorded and happens to be able to identify the thief, the odds of catching that petty thief are extremely remote, while the time consumed by the victim wasting time could be enormous.

After I shared my thoughts, the security guard let me in. I don't know what happened with that unpaid intern's report. That security guard seemed totally clueless as to what to do about it.

I have read many complaints of the aggressive rudeness of the Chronicle's security guards. Apparently the guards are rude to folks who come to the security desk and provide ID but they are not, evidently, trained to deal with actual security breaches like cell phone theft by an alleged tweaker.

Tweakers Ally in the SF Chronicle building or ally. Who would have thunk it?

Note, there is no security presence in the huge ally, where newspaper delivery trucks of old must have picked up paper newspaper for distribution around the bay. Sometimes it is now filled with food trucks. One truck that sometimes shows up there sells awesome fallafel. Expensively priced but it is downtown SF. And not even organic.  I pay seventy five cents apiece for organic fallafel in Berkeley. Non-organic fallafel can be boght for 40 cents apiece in Berkeley. And nonorganic fallafel in Tweakers Ally is ninety five cents.  Still, every time I pass that big covered 'ally', delivery area, for the SF Chron building, I check to see if the fallafel truck is there. Fallafel is gluten free and tahini is dairy free:  good I can eat, healthy, delicious. Add a green salad and I have a perfect antiinflammatory, nutritious and weight-loss condusive meal:  yum.

coconut milk cocoa: yum and gratitude

With the nip of fall in the air, it gets chilly late at night. It seems coldest, to me, just before dawn. I feel that chill, know it will get colder, aware it signals the pending arrival of fall and suddenly, I want hot drinks.

I drink my own custom blended chai daily with coconut milk. That mug of coconut milk chai is one of the highlights of each day.

Some days I need more yum factor than coconut milk chai.

Some days I need hot cocoa. IMHO, hot cocoa made with coconut milk is tastier than hot cocoa made with cow milk. I no longer do any animal dairy. Isn't it lovely that I love coconut milk?

Almond milk would be okay but, for reasons I can't suss, I don't like almond milk. Most almond milk offered in coffee or tea shops has sugar. I do not eat sugar period. One can buy unsweetened coconut milk in food stores but I never do because I make my own.  I often bring a small jar of cocomilk with me when I am socializing, so I can add my own cocomilk.

All of this is a boring explanation of what I am about to do:  I am going to make a large mug of coconut milk cocoa. I will use raw cacoa powder. I have organic stevia and I have used stevia plenty in my food explorations. I will go on using stevia. I am finding that the less sweetener of any kind I use, the less sweetener I want. I now quite like the mild sweetness that naturally comes with my homemade coconut milk. I like the taste of my rich, organic, raw cacao powder added to my warm coconut milk. I rarely make hot drinks with boiling water. The more heat I use, the more nutrition I burn out with that heat.  I seem to taste what sweetness comes  in coconut milk and good cacao powder.

Don't worry about me getting enough heart-healthy almonds. I eat some almond butter daily. I love almond butter. For awhile, I ate raw almonds as a snack but I prefer almond butter. Organic almond butter is expensive so I make my own with the also expensive raw almonds I buy at my farmers market. With my Vitamix, almond butter is easy peasy.

I am grateful that I have discovered the natural sweetness in many foods that I was unable to savor when I used sweetener. Now I use stevia less and less. I have grown accustomed to enjoying the foods I have used stevia to sweeten, learned to taste the inate sweetness.

Another benefit to my evolving eating habits:  carb cravings are a real challenge for me. I am finding that if I do no sweetener, I have no carb cravings. I eat lots more fruit than I used for. For about ten years since diagnosed diabetic, I avoided all but berries, which are a low glycemic fruit. Now I know that fruit carbs are healthy carbs, generally do not spike my blood sugar and are very healthy for me.

I'm all about summer melons. There are so many melons to choose that I often come home with five or six different ones. Then I find some of them begin to rot before I eat them because I bought too many.  I don't like all the various melon varieties but I don't keep track of which ones I didn't like so I sometimes buy ones I don't like again and again. I get carried away. The Monterey Market is my new favorite grocery store. It's cheaper than the Bowl. It's produce is fresher, imho. And it's a nice long walk.

I'm all about long walks to buy melons.

Should I save my coconut cocoa for after my walk or have it before I set off? Do I reward myself before I earned the reward or should I just assume I deserve a treat? And, what the heck, I can have two cups of coconut cocoa, before and after my walk. Today, by goddess, I'm going to get in a full ten miles.

some things I am learning about writing

I am learning that my cultural conditioning has limited from writing what I am truly called to write.

I have learned that I often have many editors in my head, telling me that what I think and feel, and, especially, what I feel moved to write when I am in flow states, is wrong. When I hear such messages, I tend to either stop writing or writing boring dreck.  When I write in freedom, writing from my inner guidance, I often, not always, write great stuff.

I had to work hard, almost fifty years, to free myself of the shackels of my upbringing. I was told I was not good enough, growing up. Whatever I wanted to do, my brothers and just about everyone else were better, I was told, so let others do it.

In college, my baby steps at creative writing were slammed by a vicious English professor who I suspect, only in hindsight, was judging my baby steps by the same standards he judged the classic literature in his courses. Singed by that rigidly unbending English prof, I completely let go of the idea of writing.

I slowly crawled out of having been told all my growing up years that I wasn't good enough to be anything and then seared by that one English prof. When I was 52, I was writing in flow daily. I was beginning to come into myself.

Then I met a man who seemed to believe it was his job to destroy me. He did not limit his criticism to what I actually said. Although he insisted that he and he alone had the right to define what things he said or wrote, he steadily lambasted me, telling me what I really meant to say. Attacking me for criticisms in my words that he had to have projected onto my words because I knew what my intentions were when I wrote. And when I would defend myself and tell him what I really meant, he dismissed my attempt to claim my own words, claim my own attention -- remember, he insisted he always retained this authority over his words but he never yielded that same authority to me -- he would dismiss me by saying "if you don't know that my interpretation is correct, then you must have been unconscious."  This man, I won't call him a friend, once deconstructed a line or two I wrote. Telling me the clearly universal meaning of each word I used and, in his mind only, proving that I had meant what he had taken from my words. He completely denied me the right of voice, of authorship, of intention. And I let him do this.

I got rocked. Derailed. Sidetracked. Crippled.

I do have something to thank this man for. His lessons were very painful. I do not thank him for his insecurity, his constant projection of his own negativity onto me and then attacking me for what were his projections.

I thank him for deciding he did not want to interact with me again. I feel sorry for him for making this choice, which I see as cowardly and a way to dishonor himself. Courageous people work through challenges that come up between them and people they claim to love. Love is often hard, its rewards more than worth the effort.

It is been hard for me to accept the way he severed all ties with me but that struggle was all about me. I am genuinely grateful he had the will force to refuse my attempts to communicate, grateful his silence towards me allowed me to begin to hear myself again.

So thank you, Geo.  You were wrong about me in almost every way you saw me. You were seeing yourself. It is almost flattering that you chose me to run your projections onto but it is also insulting. By projecting your negativity onto me, you avoided doing your own work and your choices both hurt and confused me. Your steady unkindness confused me and confuses me still. Your steady unkindess did not match what I felt you feeling about me. You were battling something that had nothing to do with me. I sincerely thank you for calling a halt, even as I acknowledge my shame that I let your abuse of me go on as long as it did.

I can't help but wonder who you are blaming for your flaws these days.

I can't help but wonder if you will ever own up to who you are, stop hiding and posing your way through life with your considerable charm.  I hope you will. I hope you will break free of the shackels of your cultural conditioning. Once, when I very first knew you, you wrote that your mother had damaged you.  In you I see a messy, confusing blend of messages. I also see you attempting to rise above your conditioning.

I wish you had kept your promise to have one state of grace conversation with me. It would have been healing for me. I am certain it would also have been healing for you.  You don't have to hide any aspect of yourself from me.

developing one's will capacity

It is important for humans to develop their inner will capacity. We've all heard admonitions to exercise willpower when faced with certain challenges, such as weight loss or an exercise goal. Will capacity applies to everything.

Meditation and committing to a regular practice is one way to develop one's will capacity.

Exercise is almost entire an exercise in strengthening one's will. It not only takes a willful choice to get out and run seven or eight miles daily, or swim a mile daily or workout on an elliptical for however much time one wishes, you exercise with your limbs.

It is in our limbs that we exercise all our will. Our legs take us into the future, be that future the other side of the pool or a lap around a running track. Our arms make and create, again our limbs exercising our will.

Any regular practice, done with committed discipline will develop our will capacity. And we all need to have strong wills to create the life we are destined to have, to be happy, to be loved, if to be loved is what we desire. All humans, I believe, wish to be loved. So get out there and grow your will force.

I meditate daily and have since 2002 when I sat my first ten-day Vipassana course.  I exercise daily and have most of my adult life, with a few gaps when I didn't exercise. After my daughter cut me out of her life, I didn't really do anything for a few years. Slowly, excrutiatingly, I healed. As soon as I began to recover, zip, I was back in the pool. I have swum laps most days since I was in college. A lifelong habit.

In recent weeks, I have been walking several miles a day, pushing myself to get up to ten miles a day. I'm almost there. Walking is much harder for me than swimming. Swimming is pain-free. Walking brings out all my arthritic creaks and joint pain.  I will, I suspect, eventually resume swimming daily as my primary exercise practice. Walking six to ten miles daily, however, has rapidly accelerated my weight loss. I have an iron will when it comes to losing weight, to getting down to my high school weight.

As I told a group of new lawyer friends a week or so ago, one of my weight loss goals is to buy a pair of jeans that would have fit me in high school.

It takes a strong will to push myself to walk as much as I have been. Every step hurts me. I am not exaggerating. Occasionally, I am in so much pain my eyes sting with tears and I consider catching a bus home. I push on.

In such moments, when I am experience much pain and I push on with my walking goal for the day, I usually tell myself "you are growing your will force, you don't know where this power will take you but you know you need to grow your will to get where you are supposed to go."

This might sound like nothing to some. Developing one's will capacity is serious business, a central focus in Anthroposophical meditative life.

I am grateful to have the depth of knowledge of Steiner's work that I have. Recently I hear myself sharing Steiner's ideas more and more. I am sometimes surprised by how much of his thinking I retain. I forget that one of my will capacities is an unusually detailed memory.

I don't think I could walk at all if I had continued to eat dairy.  I have tested what I can eat without inflaming my knees. And I slip and eat a little dairy here and there. I see immediate results in my knees. When I eat dairy, my knees scream when I walk. Then I get clean, avoid all dairy and in just a couple days, my knees don't hurt as I walk. My hips, they always hurt.

I used to have a friend who refused to come to my apartment, would only see me in coffeeshops. And when we met in those coffeeshops, he usually rejected my stated preference to score the easy chairs.  I must have told him a couple dozen times that sitting in hard wooden chairs hurts but he must have forgotten. In a weakning of my will force, I would accommodate his preference for wooden chairs and do my best to hide my pain. I should have exercised my will and taken care of myself, insisting on only visiting with this 'friend' when I could sit in soft chairs.

I have some shame around this pain, as if it is my fault my hips hurt most of the time. Maybe it is. I should not have gotten fat, although I am not fat now. I am not longer eligible for weight loss surgery for I have lost so much weight!

Rambling. Tired. Losing focus as I ramble, eh?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

the bainbridge ferry fiction/dream©

©I ran into Geo on the ferry to Seattle from Bainbridge. I had not known he was in the Seattle area. How could I?  He and I had not communicated in several years. What a surprise to see him on that ferry. I usually spend my time, when visiting the Seattle area, on Whidbey Island, which is far from Bainbridge and I knew Geo in the Bay Area, where he lives. What had he been doing on Bainbridge? I had taught a class at Pinchot University on social ecology. There he was, looking beautiful on the windy deck of the ferry.  Like me, he had gone to the top of the ferry and then to the front of the boat  to see Seattle rapidly approaching. It's a beautiful, long ferry ride. Over thirty minutes.  On some of the ferry lines, further from the city, one can sometimes glimpse orcas. Bainbridge is too close to Seattle for much wildlife in the water. One goes up front to look anyway, to see majestic Mount Rainier in the distance, to see both the Olympics Mountain range and the Cascade range, to see downtown Seattle approaching.

All the ferry rides are beautiful in Puget Sound. Water, mountains wherever you look. Sometimes sea lions. And, depending on where you are, orcas. Birds overhead. The sound of seagulls reminding you that you may be in the Sound but the ocean is near.

Once I saw Geo, I forgot about the natural beauty. All I could think of was "How did this happen, running into the man who dumped me because I would no longer let him treat me like shit?" Even as I thought that, there were echo thoughts in my head. I heard my inner voice say "Does that count as him dumping you when you drew the line about his abuse?" Then I told myself, more consciously, "I think I dumped him."  Ridiculous. It doesn't matter who dumped who. It's over. Long over. I shook off, mostly, my anxiety.

There he was. on the Bainbridge to Seattle ferry, 900 miles from San Francisco, from where we had known one another.   I noted that he looked older, then reminded myself that if he looked older, so did I. I almost said "I see there is more snow on the mountain" to reference his now-white hair. I didn't because he had always been sensitive, hurt and angry when I referred to any normal signs of aging.  I had referred to his lightly balding spot in the back of his head as beautiful.And it was beautiful, at least to me. It never occurred to me that he would be sensitive about aging. He is seven years younger than me, beautiful and handsome. And, I had mistakenly concluded, open minded, not caring about appearances. Geez, once he had written to me that he had always liked plain chicks like me. That comment mislead me into thinking he was cool about appearances.

I have never minded being open about my age. I am still surprised it bothered him when I told him, besotted, that I loved his then-beginning-to-bald spot in the back of his head. I said that after sitting in the back of a two-seater sports car, he unchivalrously taking the front seat next to his business partner. I had spent two hours beholding that bald spot and when I said I loved it, I meant it with joyful loving feeling. I loved it the way I could be bedazzled by my baby's tiny fingernails or her elbow.  When I love someone, I can swoon joyfully over little tiny things about them. Heck, I could still swoon over the blue dress shirt he wore until the elbows wore out and yet he still put it on to take me out to dinner for my birthday once.  I loved the shirt. I loved that he wore it until it fell apart. 

On that ferry, I debated whether I should greet him. He had not yet seen me. I could have gone back down the stairs and avoided him. But I had a right to be on that ferry, I reminded myself. He had always acted like everything I did was wrong and suddenly, on that ferry, I was damned if I was going to change my choices to please him. He had cut me off in a fucking email, then shunned me. I was not going to let his past unkindness keep me from being atop that ferry. I always ride Puget Sound ferries at the front, pretending it is my boat.

With that old shirt, I had nearly offered to patch it for him but he was often so prickly. He had been angry about my comment about loving his balding spot in the back of his head for months, writing me lectures via email about cultural norms that 'everyone' knows about. "Everyone knows," he had written, "that it is impolite to comment on a person's signs of aging."  When I responded by assuring him that I had not been impolite, that I had loved his bald spot and still did, he reiterated his norms lecture. Although eventually, and this was not particularly kind of him, he finally conceded that maybe I didn't recognize norms, maybe I was abnormal.  I don't think he caught that he had insulted me by suggesting I was abnormal and I had not pointed it out.

I recognize norms. I do intensive personal training workshops. We spend the first day getting clear about norms and groundrules for the duration of the training. Norms are tricky. There are no universal standards for any norms. It is a common illusion for people to think there are some magical, universal norms.  People tend to, wrongly, believe that what they think are 'the norms' are 'the norms' for everyone.  I learned decades ago that there is no such thing as Ten Commandment kind of universal norms, unless you count a prohibition against maiming or killing other humans and other The only common set of norms that most have heard about is The Ten Commandments and not everyone ascribes to those norms. It is a fallacy, a cultural trick, that many people are seduced by. It is comforting to believe "everyone thinks this" and 'everyone knows that" but everyone doesn't think the same way about any alleged norm and everyone does not all know the same things. Gosh golly.  How could a brilliant guy with a PhD from Stanford believe there is such a thing as universal norms that everyone has agreed to. Yikes, I wouldn't want to facilitate the convention that aspired to adopt a single universal norm, much less a list of norms that applied to everyone everywhere. Geez.  Before such a list had been published, the norms would change. There are no universal norms. How  could a brilliant man with a doctorate from one of the most prestigious universities in the country naively, and narrowly, believe the norms he gives power to comprised universal norms. There is no such thing as universal norms.

Of course we greeted one another on the ferry. We had been something like friends for eight years. You don't ignore someone you were close to for that long, especially when you run into them so far from home, so unexpectedly. I was glad to see his twinkling blue eyes again. I noted, but did not comment upon the many new laugh lines around his eyes. I think they make him more beautiful but the old Geo would have taken offense so I did not remark on his beautiful laugh lines. I loved them silently. I took much pleasure in seeing those laugh lines, in loving them for a few seconds.

We were on the upper deck when we greeted one another.

Then I glanced down and saw Ken, his best friend since his college days, on the lower deck. His best friend since the eighties. The best friend he introduced to everyone important to him but he had never introduced me. I knew what Ken looked like from his Facebook photo and from photos of Ken and Geo that Geo had shown me. I had not met him but I recognized him on the lower deck of that ferry.  When we were still together, I pretended that he did not introduce me to Ken because Ken's visits from NYC were rushed, business oriented and there was no time. I pretended I didn't know he socialized with his other friends with Ken when Ken came to San Francisco. I pretended so much. 

It's called denial.

I realized, with a bit of a start, that it was bullshit that he had never introduced me to Ken because Ken was busy. I had known this, somewhere within me, all along but I grokked it for real on that ferry. At last. I realized I had been in deep denial with Geo all along. He introduced Ken to everyone he cared about. He also introduced Ken to every beautiful woman he knew, even casual colleague connections. He showed off the beautiful women he knew, even ones he barely knew, by going out to dinner with them and Ken when Ken made his annual pilgrimage to the Bay Area. Yet he  had never introduced me to Ken. If Ken called when Geo and I were together, Geo would step out into the hallway of my building, leave my apartment or leap out of restaurants to talk to Ken, not wanting me to hear. I knew this shit and I pretended I didn't. I pretended it didn't mean anything.

True to form, I grokked, when I caught a glimpse of Ken on the lower ferry deck, that Geo wasn't going to introduce me to Ken on that ferry either.  Running into an old acquaintance from our homes in the Bay Area on a Seattle ferry would prod most normal humans to introduce the surprise to whoever they were with.  Geo was still ashamed of me, ashamed to introduce me.  I also realized he had likely told Ken stories about me and one reason he didn't introduce us was the stories Ken heard did not totally align with truth. Ken probably thought I was the emotional monster Geo had misrepresented me to be.

Geo was Geo on that ferry. Warm, friendly, effusive. Funny. He chatted with me just long enough so he could appear polite and even act happy to have seen me. Three minutes. Maybe four. Yet I also noted that he was eager to get away from me, to get down to the lower deck and get Ken out of my line of vision. After all these years, he still did not want to introduce me to Ken. He kept glancing, anxiously I believe, around, checking to see if Ken was going to climb to the upper deck. He so clearly wanted to get away from me before he was forced to introduce me to Ken, his best friend since forever.

It took me a long time to figure out, and I had already figured this out long before I saw Geo on the Bainbridge Ferry to Seattle, that he was ashamed of me.  I knew he introduced many colleagues both to Ken and to his family, inviting any orphan colleagues to share his family's holiday celebrations. Yet I never met any of his friends or family.  I pretended it was an unintentional oversight. I pretended for eight years.

I knew these truths all along. Of course I did.  I knew them in denial, knew them in a muted, diffused way that allowed me to keep what I knew from rising to the surface of truth. On the ferry,  I saw our whole relationship with new clarity. It was one thing to vaguely believe he was ashamed of me. It was another to see him in action, years after we had broken up, yet still unwilling to introduce me to Ken. 

Geo was ashamed to have a fat female colleague, a fat female lover, a fat female anything. In eight years he had never introduced me to anyone in his life. In eight years, I pretended it was just happenstance, that he would introduce me if he could. I believed that until I saw another female colleague of his, Manjusha,  write glowingly on Facebook of her lovely Thanksgiving with his family. There was even a video posted online about their lovely family holiday. She is rich, much younger than me and, sometimes, beautiful. She has a fascinating beauty. Sometimes she appears somewhat homely and in other moments, she appears gorgeous.  She leans to fat but she is very tiny, of Indian descent. a four feet ten inch tall tiny woman can get away with being fat more than a five feet six inch woman can. Plus she had the exotic dark looks going for her. Geo has a touch of jungle fever, drawn to dating nonwhite women.   It must run in his genes because each of his brothers had married nonwhite women, one South Asian like Manjusha, and one Vietnamese.  He trotted her out to show her off, to show off her beauty and his hipness to be hanging with a South Asian in saris. I know this from photos. He never introduced me to her either, although once, when he needed help on a project, he 'let' us both help for free and had to introduce us. She was cold and unfriendly to me. I tried, hard, to be warm towards her. I very genuinely wished to become friends with her. In the same field and then new to the Bay Area, I was eager to make collegial connections, to build my consulting network.

I realized, the time I worked with that woman on one of Geo's projects that he must have said something to her about me, something negative. She and I had never met yet she treated me like dogshit on her shoe.Not having met her before, her attitude towards me had to have come from negative characterizations of me she heard from Geo. I pretended, or denied, that Geo might have smack talked me to Manjusha.

Ken never got to treat me like dogshit on his shoe. Ken is very important to Geo and he had taken great care to keep me from ever meeting him.

For years, years, I pretended I didn't know he kept me from the people who matter to him. I pretended that what he gave me was enough. I had an elaborate, absurd fantasy explanation for what I told myself was his social weirdness. For years I believed he rarely socialized with anyone. That bit of denial allowed me to go on believing he cared about me. I also believed that just around the corner, he would begin treating me as one treats someone they care about, value and love. 

I sometimes sang a song from the Depression era, applying it to our relationship. The song went, "just around the corner, there is a rainbow in the sky, so let's have another cup of coffee and let's have another piece of pie".  I would mentally sing "just around the corner, Geo is going to invite me into his real life, so I'll be patient, trust that he loves me and soon, any day now .  . " My thoughts, my denial, would drift off. I see now, hindsight still being 20/20, that I was protecting myself from the hurt of acknowledging that he was ashamed of me.

It's not like I didn't talk to him about my wish to be included in what I took to calling his real life. I talked about it regularly. He would say nothing. My wish to be loved and cared for would interpret his silence to mean what I wanted it to mean, that just around the corner, any minute, he would begin to include me in his real life. I was such a dope.  I have released the shame I felt over the way I endured his unfriendly, weird interaction with me, the way I blamed myself. It took a lot of hard inner work to let go of the pain I felt but I did.

On the ferry that day, in Seattle, I saw our  relationship clearly. I saw what fat women often see. He loved me but he was ashamed to have a fat girlfriend so he had tried to love me privately, to keep me from his real life.

After we exchanged greetings on the ferry, I began to disengage quickly.  "It was nice seeing you." and I began to move away. When I was a few yards away, I said "I am sure you want to get back to Ken" to let him know I had seen Ken. I didn't say more.  I was already gone. What was there to say?  He had avoided introducing me to Ken when he was in love with me. He was not going to introduce me to Ken now.

Happily, and I write this with gratitude, I didn't want to meet Ken. I didn't want to pretend politely. Feigning friendship when there is no friendship isn't my style.

Ferry rides, at least in Puget Sound, are wonderful. Seattle is often overcast but the sun always dapples the surface of the Sound. You always hear birds while on the ferry. You even sometimes hear sea lions talking to one another. The sound of the ferry whooshing along, the wind, the sun, the gorgeous views of two mountain ranges.  Mt. Rainier. Seattle looming ever larger as you approached it.

Ferry rides make a great metaphor for change. You move quickly from one world to another. The world on Bainbridge Island or on Whidbey Island, or any of the islands, is vastly different from one another and each more different from Seattle. Those ferries are like portals, taking you to different parts of your life and the world.

I moved quickly off the ferry. I didn't see Geo or Ken as I got off the ferry.  I hoped Geo saw me being hugged and embraced on the dock.I hoped Geo saw I am loved and lovable. Just a little. I was also thinking 'fuck him'.

That day, when I ran into Geo on the Bainbridge to Seattle ferry, almost a thousand miles from our respective homes, the sun shone brightly. It was breathtakingly beautiful. And breathtakingly clear.

Clear in the sky. Clear on the water. And clear in my heart and mind.

I got it. And it no longer hurt.  I realized on that ferry that I had long known that Geo  dreaded being known as a guy with a fat girlfriend.  He had made sure no one he really cared about ever saw him with me. What a piggish attitude. I bet he thought he was doing me a favor every time he saw me. No one, not even pitiful people and I aint pitiful, wants pity friendship.

On that ferry, I realized the whole truth, nothing but the truth. He had never loved me, not in any way I wished to be loved.  I had known for a long time that he did not include me in his real life because I am fat. Yet when I saw him anxiously glancing to check on where Ken was on the lower deck, anxiously seeming to calculate whether or not he and I would run into Ken and he'd be forced, after so many years, to introduce me as a friend, his fat female friend.

I spared him. I spared myself. I exchanged brief, fake pleasantries with him. And then I said "you better get back to Ken."  To let him know I had both seen Ken and  also seen that he was anxious to avoid introducing me to him.

Funny.  I had known all the things I realized on that ferry for a long time. I had been in denial. I had told myself Geo did not know what he was doing. I was in denial. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew he invited Manjusha and other women to share Thanksgiving with his folks. He knew he hung out with Ken and Andrea. He knew he took women to parties and even trips to Hawaii. And he knew he didn't take me.  What the fuck had he been doing with me? Pity love? He knew he had never invited me into his real life. On that ferry, I shed my protective layer of denial. I accepted what is. I accepted what I had known. I had hurt myself denying why he treated me as he did. I blamed myself. And I was so ashamed that I blamed myself.  I know too much about the way women respond to emotional abuse to not have known what was going on but I suppressed it into the furthest recesses of my being.

My knowing got sharp and clear on that ferry. Clarity is a universal need.

As the ferry rushed towards Seattle, where friends who love me dearly were awaiting me, I was happier than I had been in years.

The sunlight on the water was so bright, seeming to reflect the new lightness and brightness I felt within my being.

Geo didn't love me. And it was okay. I don't think he ever did. I had wanted him to, maybe he tried to, but he never did.  Why does it take me so long to get such basic deets? I'm not slow witted. Denial is more powerful than a mighty river like the Nile, eh?

I had been on Bainbridge that day to be interviewed for an article in Yes! magazine. Thus far, the piece I was interviewed for has not been published so my fifteen minutes of celebrity have yet to kick in.

I liked not knowing what Geo had been doing with Ken on Bainbridge.  I kept imagining the two of them on a special ferry that took Geo, with his best buddy Ken, further and further away. I imagined them boarding a ship that would take them to Alaska. Lots of folks set off for Alaska from Seattle. I mentally put Geo and Ken on a one-way boat to Alaska.

I liked remembering, as Geo receded in my thoughts, that I was in  Seattle with a boyfriend who loves me, just as I am.  He never pounces aggressively, like a predator, on which words I choose to use. Joe.  I love Joe. I love his name.

My mother often recited a poem about a Joe because I have a brother named Joe. It went something like this:
Dear little Joe
Kind little Joe
He's the sweetest boy
You'll ever know.

My Joe is the sweetest man I have ever known. My dear little Joe. In a way, Geo was my portal to happiness with Joe.

I wish I could describe a 'meet-cute' story about how we met but we did not meet cute. We just met. At a conference.  We both felt attraction for one another.  We hung out a lot at that conference. Then, at the end, he asked for my phone number, like boys did when I was in high school. And then he called and asked me out to dinner.

It grew from there.  Each time we saw one another, things felt better and better.  If we had met in our twenties, we would probably have moved in together within a few weeks. Being in my sixties, I move slower. Plus Geo's crazy, predatory bullying had left me afraid to trust any male.

this includes single economic culture

A classic and important quote:
"Insistence on a single culture shuts down learning. Cuts back resilience. Any system, biological, economic, or social, that gets so encrusted that it cannot self-evolve, a system that systematically scorns experimentation and wipes out the raw material of innovation, is doomed over the long term on this highly variable planet.
The intervention point here is obvious, but unpopular. Encouraging variability and experimentation and diversity means “losing control.” Let a thousand flowers bloom and ANYTHING could happen! Who wants that? Let’s play it safe and push this leverage point in the wrong direction by wiping out biological, cultural, social, and market diversity!"
-- Donella Meadows.

I've lost people, then found them again

I've lost people and found them again. The second time around, things just made more sense.   Honestly, timing has a lot to do with everything. Sometimes you just aren't ready for each other yet.

I am building my will and trust muscle (same thing). I need to practice radical trust.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

anger, deep compassion for another: David Whyte

at its heart, is the deepest form of compassion, for another, for the world, for the self, for a life, for the body, for a family and for all our ideals, all vulnerable and all, possibly about to be hurt. Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for. What we usually call anger is only what is left of its essence when it reaches the lost surface of our mind or our body’s incapacity to hold it, or the limits of our understanding. What we name as anger is actually only the incoherent physical incapacity to sustain this deep form of care in our outer daily life; the unwillingness to be large enough and generous enough to hold what we love helplessly in our bodies or our mind with the clarity and breadth of our whole being.
What we have named as anger on the surface is the violent outer response to our own inner powerlessness, a powerlessness connected to such a profound sense of rawness and care that it can find no proper outer body or identity or voice, or way of life to hold it. What we call anger is often simply the unwillingness to live the full measure of our fears or of our not knowing, in the face of our love for a wife, in the depth of our caring for a son, in our wanting the best, in the face of simply being alive and loving those with whom we live.
Our anger breaks to the surface most often through our feeling there is something profoundly wrong with this powerlessness and vulnerability; anger too often finds its voice strangely, through our incoherence and through our inability to speak, but anger in its pure state is the measure of the way we are implicated in the world and made vulnerable through love in all its specifics: a daughter, a house, a family, an enterprise, a land or a colleague. Anger turns to violence and violent speech when the mind refuses to countenance the vulnerability of the body in its love for all these outer things - we are often abused or have been abused by those who love us but have no vehicle to carry its understanding, who have no outer emblems of their inner care or even their own wanting to be wanted. Lacking any outer vehicle for the expression of this inner rawness they are simply overwhelmed by the elemental nature of love’s vulnerability. In their helplessness they turn their violence on the very people who are the outer representation of this inner lack of control.
But anger truly felt at its center is the essential living flame of being fully alive and fully here, it is a quality to be followed to its source, to be prized, to be tended, and an invitation to finding a way to bring that source fully into the world through making the mind clearer and more generous, the heart more compassionate and the body larger and strong enough to hold it. What we call anger on the surface only serves to define its true underlying quality by being a complete and absolute mirror-opposite of its true internal essence.
©2014 David Whyte
Excerpted from ‘ANGER’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning in Everyday Words
Photo © David Whyte
Persian Ceramic
Detail : From Yusef and Zuleika
Asmolean Museum, Oxford. July 2014

the fault is in the blamer: Rumi

"the fault is in the blamer. Spirit sees nothing to criticize." - Rumi

feeling Irish, or Gaelic, today? I am .

I have felt a deep bond with the land, air and water. I have felt the Earth rocking in its orbit, whorling through space. I have felt the air as it moves through trees, shrubs, meadows and gardens. I have hear many creatures making their many subtle and unsubtle sounds. I have felt the Earth sing, tis true, but it sings in alignment with my being. I feel my bond to the all of everything in such moments.

isn't she beautiful? my daughter

overheard on bus: made me laugh

A young African American woman sat next to me on the Transbay bus from SF to Berkeley. Note:  I have increasingly taken the bus over the Bay Bridge instead of the subway under the bay.  Not having a car, if I always take BART, I get few views of the spectacular setting in which I live. On the bridge, I behold so much beauty.

This young woman talked on her cell the whole way. I did not listen to her. I was reading a book.  I just overheard one snippet. She said "I am now so Berkeley!" and she laughed. Then she said, "Gosh, I'm even gluten free."

I have been going to many parties, occasions to socialize with new acquaintances.  Eating at a restaurant one day last week, I reviewed the menu and noted that the only thing I could eat was the side of spinach and even then I had to ask them to not give me the dairy sauce."Not even on the side?" the waiter asked. Nope, not even on the side.

I turned to the people I was dining with and tried to be a little self-effacing or something. I said "I must sound like I am too fussy." But this guy sitting across from me, another lawyer, said "You are speaking my language.  My life has a million diet restrictions. No gluten for her, no dairy, no sugar and she can't do nuts so no almond milk." Then he and I said together "Coconut milk."

In the past week, no exaggeration, I have been a part of, or overheard, endless conversations about people making the most careful eating choices they can.

Why does anyone eat crap like Doritos, cheap pizza -- especially frozen, Triscuits?

Sometimes I see someone, often a young male adult who seems hungry, stuffing his face as fast as he can with some crappy food-like substance like Doritos and I want to say "You need real food. I can see you are hungry. The stuff you are eating will not really feed you. Eat some real food."  I don't say such things, not even to people I know a bit. It's not for me to tell another how to eat.

I do love finding myself at gatherings where the food is vegan or vegetarian. I love gluten-free parties.

Hearing that young black woman say "I am so Berkeley I am gluten free" gave me a happy lift.

most difficult task of all: Rilke

giving up lap swimming

At least for fall semester, I will not be swimming. I miss it already. Swimming is so kind to my arthritic hips and knees, especially the knees. But I don't have the money to pay for it. It's only $90 a semester for me but I need other things.

I have lost so much weight that I need new everything. Even my underpants have gotten so baggy they fall down. It's okay when I am wearing pants but not when wearing dresses, which I do a lot.  My bras are too big. My pants are too big. The only clothes that fit me are old ones that got too small, so the ones that fit are dated, often shabbily worn out.

$90 won't buy many clothes. I know about used clothing stores and sure I will shop at them but I have had poor luck in such shops. I like to wear very plain clothing. I itch if I wear anything but cotton. Clothing donated to used clothing stores usually appears garish to me. Just to me.

I feel discouraged and overwhelmed when I think about buying new clothes so I keep putting it off. I'd like to put it off longer, for I intend to lose more weight. I am not going to run out and buy anything with my $90 savings. I hope to be able to set that money aside, and slowly save up for a shopping splurge in a few months.

I am weary of being poor.

It's not as bad as I am making it sound. I have decided to start a coaching and training business and basically I am allocating some money to that instead of swimming.

Besides, walking facilitates weight loss much more effectively than my very slow lap swimming.

Losing weight is not only fun but important to me.

Ultimately, I need to earn money. I need more money than I have. The answer:  do something about it.

I am but it's slow starting up a new consulting practice.

Monday, August 25, 2014

fuck pig cops

Maybe they aren't all pigs but police departments seem increasingly uncivil. I know blacks bear the brunt of the brutish, loutish pig police behavior but I had an interaction with cops a few years ago that shocked me. I was shocked by how brutish the cops were to me.

It is shameful that people reward this killer cop with $300K and make comments 'supporting' the way he mowed down a young man who had his hands up in surrender.  It is my understanding that GoFundMe has taken down the page collecting money to reward Officer Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

If Wilson gets charged with murder, and I sure hope he does, he should not be rewarded with $300K and even more.

The cop who killed Oscar Grant in Oakland, when Grant was already lying face down on the ground with his hands behind his back ready to be cuffed serve a few months for killing a young black male father.

Such racist policing practices have to stop.

Something is very wrong with the way police are trained today.

Several years ago, while swimming laps in a public pool in Mountain View, the man sharing the lane with me hit me in the face, on my goggles, cutting the goggles painfully into my face and eye. I had a dark blue black eye for weeks afterwards. The guy was a pig, said it was my fault because I wasn't on my side of the lane. This was not true. I was swimming with my shoulder touching the lane line, so I could be as far away from this guy as possible. It was a 'slow' lane and this guy was very tall and a fast, powerful swimmer. His long arm did not take a tight, straight strong, he may have been unaware of how far his long arms reached. But I was swimming as far away from him as I could get. And he should not have been in the slow lane to begin with.

We accused one another of being in the wrong, then both of us resumed our laps. The lifeguard came over to me and asked me to get out of the pool to tell her what happened. I said "I have two laps, then I'll get out" She insisted. I said "Make him get out, he's the one who hit me. If you want me out before I'm done with my laps, call the police." So the ninny teenager lifeguard called the police. the altercation, such as it was, was over. And I was the one who had been attacked.

When the cops came, I was truly shocked by how they treated me. They would not let me go into the locker room to dress. They kept me there while investigating for over an hour, in the hot sun in a wet suit. I finally put clothes on over my suit to stop my skin from burning.

And the way they talked to me. they talked to me, a fifty-something woman vulnerably sitting in nothing but a swimsuit, still rattles me when I think of it. They spoke abusively, and snarling every word. They were furious with me. And all I had done was try to finish my laps. I did finish my laps, by the way. I was out of the pool and leaving when the cops arrived.

AT one point I asked them why they were talking to me so viciously. They said "Because you are a criminal, this is how we talk to criminals."  I pointed out that I wasn't a criminal unless I was charged and convicted a crime. I said "No one is getting arrested here today because no crime has occurred." This angered them. They were angry, I believe, because I was not intimidatead by their nasty display. They were acting as judge and jury, meting out what punishment they could by keeping me there as long as possible. Three squad cars spent over an hour dealing with this situation.

When they finally let me go, they refused to let me pee in the locker room. I had paid to use the locker room! And I had swum an hour, then stood with the pigs for over an hour. A woman has to pee, you know?

They acted like animals. And I was a white, plump, vulnerable (in nothing but a swim suit) fifty-something. No way they could have perceived me as a threat.

When I asked them why they talked to me as they did, they also said I was being mouthy. I was not being mouthy. I was politely pointing out my legal rights.

One great moment:  they asked for my driver's license. I said "I don't own a car and I don't have my driver's license with me." Then they asked for my social security number, wnating to run a check to see if this fat fifty-something swimmer had outstanding warrants, I guess. I said "Legally I am not required to giv eyou my social and I won't give it to you."  Partly I didn't want to cooperate with them because they acted like such animals.  Partly I wanted to irritate them. And mostly, dammit, I am not required to give them my social when I am not being charged with a crime.

At one point they said to me "We are talking to you like this because of how you are talking to me."  I was impeccably polite to them. It angered them that I knew my rights and understood no one was going to arrest me. I had told them "No one is going to spend money prosecuting me over this situation. No one is going to arrest me. No one is going to haul me to jail, no one is going to charge me with a crime." Is that being mouthy?

They said "you are too being mouthy and aggressive."

I said "If you think I am being mouthy and aggressive, Mountain View must have the most sweet spoken criminals in America. Lucky for you guys. I have only been polite."

They kept on snarling at me and hinting around that I could be arrested for assault. I was the one who had been, inadvertently, assault by that other swimmer. The cops had talked to him and he had no interest in making a complaint. They let him finish his laps, let him use the locker room.

And they acted like judge, jury and punisher. They kept me there as along as they could to punish me for being assertive. Politely assertive.

Fuck the pigs, eh?

Ordering me not to pee. Come on. This park facility had two restrooms accessible from outside the building, for regular parkgoers. I went around the building and peed, hoping the cops would see me and try to make something out of that. They were done abusing and punishg me. I felt like a criminal for peeing where the cops had forbidden me to pee.

I was ao angry at the time. I am not used to being treated like scum.

And I believe black males and, likely, black females to a slightly lesser extent, get treated like scum by cops all the time.

Things have to change. We have so much to heal in human culture.

a cultural and spiritual transformation

"I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation."

- Gus Speth, US Advisor on Climate Change

My new business offers intensives that guide participants to develop their inner capacities so they can live in a new reality. Intensive by intensive, person by person, it is my goal to change human culture.

Love really is the only answer to any human challenge.

we're always home

Home is a place we all must find, child. It’s not just a place where you eat or sleep. Home is knowing. Knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we’re always home, anywhere."
-Glinda, The Wiz

your water/food earthquake readiness

When I rolled into the lobby of my apartment building with my shopping cart full of water, purchased for a dollar at the dollar store*, the maintenance guy laughed at me. When I told him it was for my earthquake readiness stash, he said "You are the first person I have seen anywhere putting together an earthquake stash."

I said, repeating what the earthquake readiness trainer said at the class held in our building, "If we have an earthquake, think how valuable this water will be if no one else has stashed water."

I have long had a couple gallons of water in my  bedroom closet, along with protein powder, nut butter and canned vegies. After the earthquake training, I decided I needed to stash a gallon a day for two weeks. A gallon a day for two weeks might not be enough if the quake is big enough. It could take a long time to restore water functioning if the quake is big enough.

The earthquake trainer also pointed out that if electricity is down, people won't be able to access cash. Water will be better than cash if people can't get money out of their banks.


Water matters.

The earthquake trainer pointed out that people could place a row of gallons of water behind their sofa, along the walls.  The top of the cupboards in my kitchen have an empty shelf that runs about 15 feet. I'm going to line that shelf with water, where there is room. I already use it to store large pots, flower vases and cannisters of coconut.

I just read that many in Napa, where the earthquake from Saturday night hit hardest, are still without water.  I bet all the stores have sold out any water they had in stock.

I don't buy water in bottles for ordinary use. I have made an exception for my earthquake stash.

*The ballons of Crystal Springs sold for a buck at the dollar store go for a buck fifty at Walgreens.  My stah is bought at bargain rates.

next, I am going to add some chocolate protein powder, maybe even pop for a fancy flavor like chocolate caramel. I kow that kind of protein powder is loaded with chemicals but if the big one hits and there is major dsaster conditions for awhile, I'll get tired of the plain. Although, come to think of it, I can still add my raw cacao powder to the plain stuff.

I'm ready to survive a couple weeks post big earthquake.  But that's not the big quake in my life I want.

I want my man to come along. I want both of us to be dumbstuck by love for one another.  I'd give him some of my water for free.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

you appear smarter when you ask for advice

Here is an interesting article. 


the easiet thing in the world to be

"The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position."
- Leo Buscaglia