Friday, January 30, 2015

moved this blog: if you want to find me


if you are would like to look at my blog, write to me privately by posting a comment here. You may ask me in a comment on this blog for my new URL, give me your email address and if I decide the request is from a real human, I will send you the url of my blog.  I deleted the url using my name to shield myself from anonymous online stalkers who harassed me, discussing where I live and making it clear that they were stalking me onine. Anonymous assholes frighten me, esp when they write online about stalking me online.
 

Comments do not get published on this blog unless I authorize them. I would not make such a request public, of course. I respect others privacy as much as my own.  So if you want to find me, just ask in a comment.
 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

For awhile, I sat a lot of ten-day silent Vipassana retreats. One year I sat six and served on five. When one serves, you can talk a bit to the other servers but it is still being on retreat.

On the penultimate day, all the students can talk during meal times, although not during formal meditation hours. They invite people to talk to they begin to acclimate back to the world outside.

There were, typically, many more young aduts than older ones.

At the end of one retreat, I had fun talking to a bunch of early twenty-somethings.  The young women talked about feminism.  I mentioned that my daughter used to call me a feminazi. Before I could say more, one of the young women said "I bet you loved that."  I did love it and was pleased she had noted my pleasure. It was not a compliment in my daughter's eyes. Rosie thought feminism was over. She thought women were equal and I was obsessed when I voiced anything that did not accept, like a doormat, the status quo for women.  I thought Rosie was young, naive and ill-informed, although I did not say so. I just sucked up her 'feminazi' slam and secretly enjoyed it.

Another young women told me, on that talking day, that she had moved back home to Montana to live with her parents because she was struggling with bulimia so much that she could not work. She had no insurance so she had no access to treatment. She said she had sat the retreat mostly to be away from food for ten days, to only be able to eat at meal times.

When she disclosed her bulimia, I told her Rosie had been both anorexic and bulimic. Many think of these illnesses as separate but they are the same illness, on different spectrums. When an anorexic starts eating again, she (or he) typically binges, moving into bulimia. That, at least, was what Rosie did.

When I alluded to having a daughter with an eating disorder, the young woman with bulimia at the retreat blanched.  She was upset.  She asked me many questions about Rosie's eating disorder, especially questions about when I first knew.

"I lived with her. I bought all the food that came into the house. I knew right away. If I brought home a box of fig newtons and they disappeared overnight, obviously Rosie had eaten them. If I brought home her favorite foods and she ate nothing, I knew she had not eaten. I knew because I lived with her."

The young woman panicked, asking me "Do you think my parents know I am bulimic?"

"Well", I said, "When Rosie is in a bulimic phase, she might eat every bite of food in the house, sometimes even eating dry pasta. How could a mother not notice?''

Everything I said made the young woman more and more anxious. She had been living under the delusion that her parents did not know she was bulimic because they said nothing.  I wanted to say something to soothe her but I could not. All I could think to say, and did not say it, was that if she were binge eating tons of food at night, her parents either didn't want to know or did not dare say anything. I could not say, but thought "If her parents don't know she is binge eating, they don't want to know."

I suspect that is what the young woman was thinking. She was quite upset, kept poking at me with questions seeking more detail of how I 'knew'.  Finally I had to say "I don't know about other parents but for me, being the only adult in the house, living with just my daugher and being the only person who brought food ito the house, I knew right away.  Plus first the gained weight and then she swung into anorexia and lost a lot of weight fast. I don't know how a parent could not know."

When Rosie first got sick with an eating disorder, she binged. Not a whole lot. For the first tie in her life, at age fourteen, she would scarf down an entire box of cookies in the middle of the night. Of course I noticed.

I didn't say anything at first, but only for a few weeks. Before I spoke up, Rosie had shifted to starving herself. I noticed that too, of course.

Rosie had been in therapy for a couple years when she developed her eating disorder. Paul. She had said, when she started to see Paul, that she would only see him if I agreed that Paul and I would never talk about her therapy, that everything she said to Paul had to be confidential between them. The lawyer in me, and the lawyer's daughter in her, knew that I had legal access to all her therapy notes and access to talking to Paul. She started seeing Paul when she was in the fifth or sixth grade. She had been incested when she was five and not seen her father since. She was very intensely obsessive compulsive and given to frequent panic attacks.

I agreed to her conditions about seeing Paul because, I reasoned, my daughter needed to confide in an adult. I believed seeing a male therapist might be good for her since she had serious issues with her father. I agreed to her condition, which I sometimes regret now but never regretted back then, because I believed she needed to trust some adult and if that adult wasn't me, I hoped it might be Paul.

I met with Paul once to do a family history. She had not told him about the incest. I don't know how he handed my disclosure of it, if he ever told her. I never talked to him about her again, not until she ended up hospitalized for anorexia.

Rosie spent a whole summer in residential treatment, ostensibly to get her to gain weight and learn about healthy eating. I guess she learned some of that. The real takeaway lessons however, came from the other girls. She learned new tricks to hide what she was doing, like water loading before a weigh in or making herself vomit after eating. 

I liked the weekly family therapy group. I was grateful for our weekly private family therapy with an eating disorder specialist. The first thing that guy said was "Eating disorders are a lot like alcoholism, you live with it for life. You can get healthy but it never really goes away."

When she enrolled in eating disorder treatment, she had to give up Paul. Our insurance would not pay for two therapists. So I had to go to Paul's to get her file to deliver to the new therapist.  When Paul gave it to me, he said "I am surprised she had to be hospitalized. I never thought she was going to go as far as she has, never thought she would seriously starve herself, then I watched her shed weight seemingly overnight."  In that moment, I wondered if Paul and I had developed a relationship related to Rosie's needs, if we might have made a good team for her.  Because I had never believed she would keep starving until hospitalized.

I took her to her pediatrician a few times that winter and spring. He had told her repeatedly that if she did not stop losing, he would hospitalize her.  She did not stop losing, began to pass out. Once in a dance performance she collapsed on stage. Every time we saw her pediatrician, which we did more frequently as he closely monitored her weight loss, she lost more.

She lost over 30 pounds in about two months. At five feet six inches tall, she had started out weight 130. Losing 30 pounds is a lot at any pace. I had to follow her doctor's advice and hospitalize her.

In our first visit after she was hospitalized, once we were in a private visiting room with the door closed, she cried and whimpered like a baby, calling me mommy for the first time in years. "Get me out of here, get me out now, I can't stay here, I promise I will start eating, stop starving myself."

I was surprised by my reaction to her pleas.  I was completely unmoved. I was more concerned about keeping her alive than her passing emotional distress. I said "If you want to get out of here, after we warned you this could happen for months, you are going to have to get yourself out."

"How?" she asked, her tear-filled brown eyes looking wild, panicked. "How do I get myself out, Mom?"

"You eat."

That young woman at that Vipassana retreat tugged at my heartstrings.  She seemed to be worse off than my daughter, in relation to their eating disorders. Her parents and she seemed to be in deep denial. How could parents not know if their daughter, living with them, was eating all the food in the house day after day?

Rosie might not have appreciated my clarity about the onset of her eating disorder but on some level, she had to have appreciated being clearly seen, getting help. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

J. M. W. Turner

The DeYoung has moved a lot of European art to the Legion of Honor. I dislike the building that is the Legion of Honor, altho it is a spectacular setting. When I was at the DeYoung yesterday with a friend, I asked where the Turners are now located. I was told they are all at the Legion of Honor, with 'all' the European art. So we looked at a few galleries.  I try to only spent an hour in any art museum, unless I am traveling and unable to see the museum regularly. I saw several European artists, as well as an interesting contemporary (and monumental) piece by a Nigerian. I went back to the staffer who told me all the European art was at the Legion to inform him of the European artists hanging at the DeYoung. Then I said "I think you moved the more famous European painters to the Legion to generate more traffic at the Legion of Honor. I hate the Legion. I hate its formality, its tiny galleries and, for the most part, it's collection does not interest me."

I am primarily interested in 20th Century art and later, although Turner predates the 20th Century.
After that exchange about Turner, for my main motivation in going to the Legion of HOnor yesterday was to see the Turners. But there weren't any Turners at the Legion of Honor.

Someone at the museum told me the DeYoung is doing a major Turner retrospective in 2015, with art that never leaves the Tate.  I'll be there.

this blog has moved

Most of the posts from this blog are transferred over to my new blog, treefitzpatrick.com.  I have not double posted every single post in the past few months. I hate to lose the many clicks I get on this site but I am going to focus on treefitzpatrick.com.

So come on over! ! ! 

treefitzpatrick.com

awesome protein cookies

2 TBSP ground flax seed
9 TBSP warm water
mix the above and let stand 5 min

2 c. nut butter.  Recipe original called for peanut butter. Peanut is not a nut, it's a legume. I use almond butter.
1/2 cup chia seed.  Recipe calls for less but I love to add chia seeds: high in protein, high in fiber and high in omega-3.
some stevia, altho these are tasty with no sweetener. Original recipe called for 1 c. sucanat which is just fancy sugar. I don't do sugar. Maybe I'd use applesauce and some banana to get some sweet?
2 tsp vanilla
I would add two TSBP cinnamon because I love cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda -- between the flax seed, warm water and baking soda, you can make these w/o egg! But you could use an egg and baking soda. Up to you.

Then the recipe says to mix well and roll into about 3/4" balls and flatten with fork, bake 12-14 min at 350 degrees, cool on the cookie sheet.

I am going to add 2 cups sweet whey protein powder, probably add no stevia and bake in a brownie pan to cut out bars, protein bars.  If it doesn't seem substantial enough, I'll add some coconut flour. Coconut flavor enhances anything, imho. With the whey powder and flour, I'll need two tablespoons cinnamon and probably more vanilla.

And I'll probably add some chocolate, one of the times i make this.

Commercial protein bars are all loaded with crap, chemicals, sugar, poor quality ingredients. I can make super nutritious, healthy protein bars.

Not only are peanuts legumes, but virtually all peanuts, even organic ones, have a mold on them. The mold is highly inflammatory so I don't eat peanut butter anymore.

Sometime, when feeling free with money, maybe I'll do cashew butter protein bars. Yum.

I want to have some protein bars for my five hour flight to Minneapolis next week. Protein, an apple, some nuts and water and I will sail to Minneapolis on healthy food. Frugally, too.

Monday, January 26, 2015

writing poems: James Broughton


Love's Assault

LOVE’S ASSAULT

by Antoine Moore, a new friend.  Obviously he owns the copyright to his poem.
(Dedicated to V.A.M.)

Nothing more distressing than to feel
the world’s suddenly gone nuts
But only I
keep coloring inside the lines of crazy

Nothing more daunting than to feel
like I am fighting alone
One person
versus an army of never ending

It’s nearly more than I can handle
Devastation cracks open my wounds
scrambles my inner compass
I was shell-shocked
lost and
tittering on the edge
Once sat humpty dumpty
but had a great fall
but none of the king’s horses
and none of the king’s men
could prevent my sunny side up
from oozing out of me

Tumbled like Alice
down the rabbit hole
into ruins and broken pieces
Landed face down in a desolate demolition zone
My mind is crumbled walls
my esteem is collapsed foundation
my emotions are jackhammered beyond repair
I have knocked down any plans
of further building up my future
since sinkholes are unstable ground for new construction

How to make sense out of the senseless?
Like that
it was your passing
but my death
Your cremation
but my burial
Like that
my everything has changed
yet the world moves on
as if nothing has changed at all
It feels            so surreal

Out of nowhere
I was attacked the day you died
in the thick of night
when I was left alone and unprotected
He thrust himself on me
without my consent
and beat me sad and blue

He forcibly pinned down my strength
tore a whole in my defenses
rendered me a deformed shadow of my former self
He then drowned my ache in a bucket of ice
so I could no longer feel my soul

I cried out for you
my comfort, my solace
but mercy was not to be found
Holding myself
I sat rocking chair
and stared blankly up at the sky
Twinkle, twinkle little star
How I wonder….       
    What you are to me
is a mind-altering dose of morphine
Nothing settled my nerves quite the way you did
As long as I had my drip, I could tolerate any pain
but my tolerance sack has dwindled to empty

If only you were here to
help me catch
this bandit of spirits
this predator of dreams
this executioner who left me with only half a heart
Help me solve the riddle
of this unconscionable attack
Support me to survive
this vicious violation

Your staggering absence
keeps me forever thinking about
our love which
surprisingly
presents the biggest clue
to the greatest crime
I have ever known

What does love have to do with it…?

EVERYTHING

coming to consciousness: Carl Jung

There is no coming to consciousness without pain.  People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul.  One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
-- Carl G. Jung

Vision in Indigo by Darren Bresale

in Indigo Visions; my Mind drips Magenta
resisting three sixes since the Placenta.
no Sun Shining Haloes, just Poetry Flows,
didactic WordPlay born outta my Soul:
a plantation creation, my bloodline is deep.
genetically tainted but gifted to speak.
Praising The Most High, my first obligation,
my oath's for The Way, towards Purification.
cross-legged I've zoned into Deep Meditation,
spittin' at satan in correct combinations,
my destiny's written, in my estimation,
I was born to enlighten without compensation.
like poor righteous teachers, comparisons drawn,
from projects to prisons to mountains at dawn.
impregnanting minds with Proverbial Wisdom,
like Beautiful Nubia fighting for Freedom.
callin' on Martin & Malcolm & Marcus,
as greed turns Africa into a carcass.
She's bleeding profusely like who really cares,
as from wii to blackberrys you live unaware,
that African soil possesses the means
in creating these toys, now we see in h.d.
in this digital age where airwaves are controlled,
satellites are now watching you do what your told.


stop looking at me like I'm speaking in tongues
just a Poetry Shaman when I spit from my lungs.
speaking Love to Power with the beat of the drum
'cause the future is now & it's where I come from,


the 5th Realm of the Sun!



I see you really don't get that this new world is now,
meaning all who resist will be forced to bow down,
through subliminal vibes, turn off your t.v.
we're caught in a matrix we can't even see.
programmed by nonsense that aint even real,
revealed in a blueprint they've tried to conceal,
so the streets won't rebel against bilderburg plots'let them kill over colors refusing to stop.
being micro reflections of global dissensions,
where usury's causing the glocal recession,
deceiving the poor through bilderburg plans,
they planned the election of "Yes We Can"
placting the masses just to distract,
from the real politricks so stay mentaly strapped,
'cause pop mainstream finds us spiritually blind,
time to open Your Big Eye & read all the Signs.
discovering gems for mind transformation
like poetry flowing with an African cadence
in the 48th law towards a new prototype,
spiritually conscous, mathematically tight
like Indigo Visions where minds drips magenta
resisting three sixes since the placenta.
no sunshine haloes, just poetry flows,
didactic wordplay born out of the soul.

quit looking at me like I'm speaking in tongues
just a Poetry Shaman when I spit from my lungs
speaking Love to Power with the beat of the drum
'cause the future is now and it's where I come from,

the 5th Realm of the Sun!

-- Darren Bresale, wrote Vision in Indigo in  09/2009, revised 2/17/2011.

[1.  The color of the sixth chakra is Indigo. The name of this chakra is
Anja which means "to perceive".  It is associated with the "Third Eye" as well as the Element Light and relates to the psychic faculty of deep inner seeing or insight.  It opens us up to the beauty of the inner world, the symbolic realm of archetypes and dreams, and the awakening of a guiding vision.  This chakra is strongly supported by meditation.
2. Indigo is the color of perception, imagination, illusion and the ability to see patterns.
3.  The Number 5 is the union of an odd and even number (2 & 3)  [Or 4 & 1 TF].  It is called equiliblrium, because it divides the perfect number 10 into two equal parts.  I was born 07.24.1963, under the Sun Sign, Leo. My birth date equals 5]
4. The 5th dimension is in the realm of Thought. . .
5.  A Thought is Power

I've decided to be happy


I am enough

I am full of love, empathy, compassion, joy and humor. I want to make the world a better place.  I love well and practice kindness.  I am not afraid of the truth.  I am loyal, adventurous, supportive and surprising. I am a lot of fun to hang out with.  I am a woman.
I am enough.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

be mindful of self talk





This was posted on Wake Up World Facebook page. 
Be mindful of your self talk, eh?

we have lost our center

 Geez, Anaïs Nin was alive quite some time ago, yet she knew humanity has losts its center.

Friday, January 23, 2015

slogging along

Today I had strong resistance to doing my laps but I valiantly made myself put on my swimsuit, throw on some clothes and walk over to the pool.  My membership card didn't work and the counter attendant said the computer indicated it had been cancelled as of Jan 19th. On 9th, I had paid for this semester. She let me in, telling me I could check with customer service which I did, and that problem was resolved.

The pool was closed!

So I removed my swimsuit and took a hot shower, turning the water off several times to conserve water as I soaped and shampooed up, put on hair rinse, etc. I feel so pious when I do that. The drought in N. Cali is still very serious. Ah, we squander our water supplies for fracking profits, we destroy the fertile soil that sustains our food system and we pollute our food with chemicals and genetic modifications. I have read that wheat is far less nutritious than it was 100 years ago.

I think water and food wars are going to come along, that competition for increasingly inadequate survival needs is going to get uglier than anyone, at least anyone I know, wants to contemplate.

Did anyone reading this read about the gagillion gallons of oil that spilled into a pristine river in Yellowstone National Park? An oil train derailment. More of that shit is coming at us and I don't think it's going to stop, at least not until things get a whole lot uglier and then, if fortune smiles upon this greedy, rapacious and, perhaps, undeserving race, maybe things will improve.

Not in my lifetime.

So why do I eat so carefully, exercise a lot.  I would be just fine if I died in my sleep tonight. There really isn't anything I want to do. I go through the motions.   My health discipline runs on autopilot. As a friend recently pointed out, I take care of myself so if I do get very old, I will have a more enjoyable quality of life.  I'm not sure about that kind of thinking.

I refused my annual mammogram in 2013 and I let 2014 pass without getting one. The second miss was an oversight. Now I am thinking maybe I'll stop mammograms.  Right now, some of my health care providers are focussed on my latest thyroid test, wanting to do another biopsy of my thyroid. I had a biopsy two years ago. I've had the nodules on my thyroid all my life.  What if I did get thyroid cancer or breast cancer?

Sometimes I think about folks on the Paleo diet. I eat somewhat Paleo but they don't eat legumes and I love my lentils, cannellini, navy beans, etc.  Anyway.

It seems illogical to me to attempt to recreate what contemporary humans guess was the human diet in the Paleolithic era yet submit to modern allopathic medicine.  Paleolithic era humans did not have biopsies, or insulin when a pancreas stops making insulin.

Is insulin okay on a Paleo diet?

Once day, somewhere in the not too distant past,

friendship for a healthy heart

This link takes you to The Atlantic's story on friendship being integral to heart health.
friendship-for-a-healthy-heart/

love the people you meet


it will happen if it happens


Thursday, January 22, 2015

King Tut

King Tut is in the news today. Part of his gold-plated burial mask was broken during cleaning. The cleaning staff, apparently, hurriedly glued the broken bits back on with epoxy, further damaging this revered relic.

I saw the King Tut burial mask, his burial chamber and lots of relics from his tomb at the Chicago Museum of Natural History.  My dad took me, my younger brothers and my baby sister to see King Tut during a college break. I think it was at Christmas time.

There were huge crowds. Back then, selling admissions to museum galleries at fixed times was not common. Plus, no one sold tickets to museum shows online in the early seventies, which was when I was in college. People showed up and waited in long lines that snaked down the many stairs of the museum. I think there were three or four stories of stairs. The line to see King Tut snaked down the stairs and around the museum, almost going all the way around.

My dad took one look at the unanticipated line and told the big kids to keep an eye on the little kids. Then my dad rushed up the stairs to the ticket window.

He soon came back down with tickets for immediate entrance to the King Tut exhibit. He had told the ticket seller that he had a son at the bottom of the stairs in a wheelchair. This was also before all museums had wheelchair ramps. Dad had told her he didn't want to carry his son up unless he could be sure he would get tickets. The ticker seller sold my dad tickets and told him to bring his wheelchair son right on up.

Us kids were embarassed. We imagined that everyone standing in line might somehow know how unjustly we had gotten our tickets.  "But dad," someone said, "When we go up, the museum staff will see there is no kid in a wheelchair."  Dad said "No way. The place is a zoo, the staff won't know when we hand over our tickets how we got them. And they are all overwhelmed by the crowds."

Dad was right.  We all ran up those stairs, entered the museum and saw King Tut.

It was, I acknowledge, a fascinating show. I had read about King Tut's tomb several times. It was nice to actually see such amazing antiquities.

I carried the sting of mild shame for a little while but not too long. The exhibit was so interesting that I forgot about the dishonorable way my dad had gotten us to the top of that very, very long line.

my rock is still rollling

"There is no sun without shadow and it is essential to know the night." Albert Camus on Sisyphus.

"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart." Albert Camus on Sisyphus.

"The rock is still rolling." Albert Camus on Sisyphus.

My rock is still rolling, I thought as I lay in bed this morning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

no separation when we love w/heart & soul

Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes, because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no separation.
~ Rumi

Rilke: love your solitude

“Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away... and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast.... be happy about your growth, in which of course you can't take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don't torment them with your doubts and don't frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn't be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn't necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.... and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

W.B. Yeats on magic

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our sense to grow sharper.

-- W.B. Yeats

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

love is better

“You can never know anyone as completely as you want. But that’s okay, love is better.”
-- Caroline Paul, in Lost Cat

hold the gate open

It seems counter-intuitive to romantics and those who feel ready to partner when someone walks away from a beautiful love connection. But some people can only handle a half love because whole love shines a light on their dark places. Real intimacy requires real presence, and if someone isn't ready to be truly here on an individual level, they will find it very difficult to manage all the triggers that come up when real love comes. Only a small few can hold the gate open when profound love enters. A blessed and courageous few.
-- Jeff Brown

the field is self-transcendant


can a compassionate person eat goat cheese?

Can a compassionate person eat any cheese?

A few months ago, I helped organize a series of conferences at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Fort Mason is a relatively affordable conference space.  It has added a few, very small, cafes to its mix of residents. If you want everyone in your conference to stay in dialogue groups over meal breaks, you need to cater meals.

There were four conferences, serially, in the same week. First one from Stanford, which ponied up for breakfast, lunch and snacks and it was great food. The middle one decided to have its members go out to lunch, ignoring advice that there are no restaurants nearby and the few small cafes on the grounds cannot accommodate several hundred people descending on them all at once. The third conference, whose food I chose, followed my advice and brought in box lunches.

Box lunches delivered 30 minutes before lunch time keeps your group together for lunch dialogues.

Sure, people can leave Fort Mason in cars and drive to restaurants. They can also walk, but there is no where within a short enough walk to get lunch, eat it and get back in an hour.

My advice of box lunches as good advice.

So all the participants were sent an email and given a chance to order, and pre-pay, for a choice of box lunches.

what you hold in your heart you see in the world

"A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart."
-- Wolfgang Johann von Goethe

Monday, January 19, 2015

people w/greatest potential move slowly


abstinence


My friend Stephen co-directed the documentary about James Broughton, Big Joy. Broughton was a brilliant filmmaker and poet who influenced contemporary art and culture far more than he was given credit for in his lifetime. I believe he was overlooked a bit because he was gay. Watch the film and you see he had great influence with many artists, of many mediums. And the film is great . . and, last time I checked, streaming on Netflix.

true nature of others

"When our awareness opens to cosmic perceptions, we can more clearly see ourselves in ideal relationships to our world and others.
Small-minded, self-centered, grasping or possessive attitudes and behaviors are unworthy of us as spiritual beings; they are nurtured by egoism, insecurity, self-righteousness, and inclinations to demonstrate personal power and control over others and circumstances.
Life is whole; there is a right place in the universe for us, and for everyone and everything that contributes to the overall good.
Compassionate behavior is spontaneous when we clearly acknowledge that the true nature of others is identical to our own; that we share a common foundation-source in God and a common destined awakening in God." 
~ Paramhamsa Yogivah Giri 

you always have choice

 I have been softened and made kinder by my suffering. Blessed be human me.

MLK, Jr was the man


H, who the anonymous fuck are you?

I discovered several comments posted to my blog, on long-ago posts. At first, this anonymous 'H' complimented me. Then 'H' criticized me regarding long-past events in my life that I have written about over the years. 'H' went so far as to tell me I should not write about my childhood so much.

'H' is anonymous so I can't respond, can't write to 'H'.

'H':  fuck you.

not a cat person

When I was a child, I spent several summers on relatives' farm in rural Indiana, just a few hours from my South Side Chicago home. My mom's sister had married a farmer. Auntie "M", Uncle Charlie and cousin Joy lived in a farmhouse that actually belonged to Uncle Charlie's parents, who had bought up several farms that surrounded their first one, where they (the grandparents) lived. Rosie and Lem were their names. I loved the names then. I love them now. Rosie, not Rose, and Lem.

I loved the time I spent on Rosie and Lem's farm. Rosie treated me like one of her own. Rosie and Lem had something like 13 kids. I guess they bred kids right along with the cows, pigs and chickens they raised to feed their families.

So my uncle Charlie had a sister just one year younger than me, Maggie.  Charlie and Maggie also had a brother a couple years older than me, Frankie. Frankie was a kind of blonde James Dean. He wore his hair in a ducktale, quite avant garde in rural Indiana in the late fifties/early sixties. And he did bad things, like smoke cigarettes and sneak beer.  I can't be sure, because as a city kid I knew very little of the mysteries of those farms. It wasn't just one farm. Like I said, Lem and Rose had bought up several. Each farm came with, at least, a farm house. And most of the farms also came with barns, fenced in areas for animals, kitchen gardens, water pumps, fruit trees.

The house Joy, my uncle Charlie and my aunt Margaret lived in had a towering mulberry tree.  That mulberry tree was so big and old that it was almost impossible to reach any of the berries. I spent quite a lot of time trying to jump up and grab berries. I would get some, gobble them, and stain my hands, face and clothing. Then get yelled at. My aunt would yell at me to stay away from the mulberry tree but I could not. I think it is unnatural to tell a human to stay away from such bounty.

I have always been a swimmer. For years, while living in Minneapolis, I swam at the Uptown YWCA, which had a paid parking garage adjacent to it. Skint sometimes, I would park on a sidestreet near by and then walk through houses and then businesses that were across the street from the Y.  I would trespass, walking through what we called, in Chicago, the gangway between houses. The gangway was the space between each house, typically paved in Chicago. Not always paved in Minneapolis. The 'gangways' of the house I owned in Minneapolis  were not paved. One side was well landscaped and I filled the ground with snow drops, daffodils and tulips, competing to have the first bulbs. I loved it when a snow drop would appear through the snow crust in January. Who wouldn't love that?! A miracle.

Anyway, when I parked on this free street when headed to the Uptown Y in Minneapolis and Rosie and I trespassed through a couple yards to take the shortest route to the Y, we came above a row of mulberry bushes. These mulberry bushes were behind a retail business, in a line between two scruffy back-of-businesses parking lots. I was pretty sure no one harvest the mulberries. Today, with all the trends in urban foraging -- there are foraging clubs!! -- I bet someone gathers those mulberries but back then, the ground would get covered with crushed mulberries so I was pretty sure no one harvested them. So sometimes I did. At the very least, I always tried to park on that street during mulberry season so Rosie and I could eat a few coming and going. This embarassed her, as all things I did embarassed her, but she enjoyed the berries.

Seattle is full of blackberry bushes. You wouldn't know this unless you knew Seattle. Many of the parks have lots of blackberries. And on Whidbey Island, which is mostly rural, most of the roads are lined with blackberry bushes. They spread like weeds, or like nature intended -- freely. Nature wants to feed us for we are part of nature. I am pretty sure corporate farming is wrong

Where was I headed?  Cats.

Joy always had at least one cat, sometimes two. Her oldest cat was Puff. Both Joy and my aunt doted on Puff and so did I.   I played with those cats a lot. Sometimes we dressed them in doll clothes. And we did things with them just to see what would happen. Like once we put one cat in the oven. The oven was not on, of course. We did not do it to be mean. We did it just to do it, to see what would happen. At first the cat did not mind, accustomed, I guess, to our shenanigans. But when we did not open the oven soon enough, the cat began to caterwaul, as cats do. My aunt, who spent most of her time in bed -- she was seriously disabled, crippling by very serious rheumatoid arthritis and probably other things no one told me about. All's I know is she spent most of her days in bed, ordering us to tidy the house, fix her lunch. We didn't have too many chores and we were mostly free. And we mostly played with cats.

That farm had an old, small building that used to be where the farmer stored milk until it was picked up by a diary. There was a cement tub that, when the tiny building was used for milk, would be filled with cold water, then gigantic dairy cans placed in the water to keep them coolish.

I came up with a plan to spend the night in the old milk house. That tiny white shed enticed me. It had the cement tub for the old milk cans, a tiny floor space, just enough to open the door, enter and get the milk cans. Why not spend the night in it? It was, maybe, twenty yards from the house. We would have been safe. Nowadays, people in the tiny house movement build whole homes as small as that old milk house.

I was told it would cost money to tear down the old milkhouse no one was going to get rid of it. And I spent  a lot of time trying to repurpose it.  I argued that it could be our playhouse. Why not?   It was near the house, near my adult aunt in bed who had a phone at her side for safety. What could possibly happen to us if we played in that house?

We did play it in, happily, for several days, dragging lots of dolls out there and building an imaginary life in the milkhouse until my aunt found out and forbid it.

I think it was after that summer that she asked my mom to send my brother Joe instead of me. I think it was that summer that my uncle molested me the first time. My cousin, now, is still angry that I accused her father of molesting me but he did.  I slept upstairs and sometimes he came upstairs late at night after he got home from his factory job. My uncle and all his brothers worked the family's many farms but they still didn't earn enough money to support their families. They all worked at factories.

After he started creaking upstairs to molest me, my aunt decided I should sleep downstairs in my cousin's room, which was adjacent to my aunt and uncle's bedroom. Come on. She put me downstairs to stop him molesting me.  it did not stop him. He would come into my cousin's room and I remained as quiet as he did, so as not to disturb Joy.

Then they bought their own house, moved into town. Once again, I was given the attic bedroom and my uncle molested me up there. Just once.

This really happened.

My uncle was a perv.

But what happened to cats?

I loved cats as a child. Nowadays, I don't mind cats. At least most cats.  But one of my best friends had a cat I did not like. Sometimes she would fly me to Seattle to catsit. She even hired an interspecies communicator

after someone dies

In the late eighties and early nineties, I ran an intensive personal development training business with a business partner. She was the main facilitator but she often remarked that she thought I could also facilitate the work we did. She was right. I was not ready. I believe, now, that was the kind of work I was supposed to do. I wasn't read then and I don't know if I am ready now. Maybe this whole lifetime (of mine) is about readying myself for a future life. Who knows?  No one, that's who.

A deformed dwarf named Cheryl came to our workshop. Like everyone else, she loved Lynn. I referred to Lynn, often, as 'the love goddess' because everyone loved her and few loved me. Now I see that I could have been just as loved. I didn't love me, that was the problem.

I know, for a fact, that I was very important to Cheryl. She told me that talking to me on the phone about doing the intensive, which was called Inroads at the time, had made it possible for her to attend. Many folks said similar things:  the intensive intimidated many and I was brilliant as assuring them, that whatever concerns they raised. Cheryl loved me.

I still remember that first phone call, which must have happened in the late eighties, maybe around 1988, cause my daughter was six. I tend to remember the distant past based on Rosie's age. Rosiewas six when I started doing Inroads and Cheryl came soon after I got started.  Cheryl's big concern was (1) having her electric wheelchair lifted up the non-wheelchair accessible stairs. Her electric wheelchair weighed about 300 pounds. She said when men would help her, they were always surprised and moaned and groanded about the weight. (2) When men would lift her, they would also moan and groan about how much she weighed, thoughtlessly shaming her. Most folks 'saw' a child when they glanced at Cheryl. Few people really looked at her because aren't we all taught to not stare at freaks. And Cheryl was a freak. In another era, she was the kind of person who might have made their living in a freak show in a circus. Not only was she a dwarf but she was a deformed one and she had an extremely rare genetic disorder, Morquio Syndrome.

Her arms and legs were not proportioned to her torso. Her head was a normal human size but her body was tiny. Her arms were too short to be able to reach for things so she could not, for example, prepare food. She just couldn't reach a countertop, or reach into a fridge. She had a private care attendant 24/7/365.

I promised her that I would talk to some of our regular participants, males, to get her and her chair carried up the stairs. I would make sure no one would remark on the weight of her chair of her body.

Most people would just glance at Cheryl, see a child-sized body, and when they picked her up, they expected to lift a child. Cheryl was completely sedentary and an adult. So although she wasn't exactly fat, she was not thin.  I never tried to lift her but I know she weighed a lot more

my daughter used to call me a feminazi

My daughter used to call me a feminazi. Usually when she called me a feminazi she followed up by telling me that feminism was over, women had equality and my, as she put it, obsession with feminism was passé.  Sometimes I would spout some feminist response, decrying her suggestion that women had equal rights and feminism was over. Sometimes I just sucked up her negative characterization.  It did not really charge me that she called me a feminazi. I actually liked it, liked being seen as a feminist.

Once, on the penultimate day of a ten-day Vipassana retreat, when they let everyone talk, I was talking to a bunch of twenty-something women and mentioned my daughter used to call me a feminazi. One shrewd young woman looked at me closely, took a long, pregnant pause and said "I think you are proud that she called you a feminazi." She was right. I was. So I admitted as much to the young women.

My daughter is very different from me. She is gorgeous, very attractive to men (and women, for she had her female flings). She's very thin, curvaceous, stylish and very beautiful.  I am not ugly but I don't have her flair, her thinness or any concern about style. I am, as a guy once put it, in a compliment for him (and it struck me as a compliment), a plain chick. This guy wrote that he always preferred plain chicks, women who did not wear make up or obsess with clothing. Be still my heart!

Hell yeah I liked being called a feminazi by my kid, even when she meant it as a slam.

I wonder how she views feminism and women's equality with men after ten years or so in the business world. I wonder if she received equal pay. I wonder if she is respected first and foremost for what she knows and does. I am sure she is valued for being beautiful and I imagine she likes that but I wonder if she has a bit more insight into the fact that prioritizing women's appearance for their value undermines women.  I have no idea what she thinks, what her experience has been since 2001, the last time she talked to me.

I hope she is happy. I hope she is a feminazi but, somehow, I doubt it.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

endless horizon

I'm from what some uninformed West Coasters' refer to as 'flyover country'.

A guy I went to law school with was from Arizona.  Sitting in class in Minneapolis, he had no idea where Wisconsin was. Wisconsin is, at most, a 30 minute drive from Minneapolis.  Even as that guy was giving away his ignorance he blithely mocked the Midwest for being boring.

I was born in South Dakota, but never lived there. My mom had me in Chicago but when I was two months old, she, my 1.5 year old brother and I returned to our home with our father in Chicago. I'm from Chicago.

How can any uninformed or snooty person from either coast dismiss Chicago as flyover country? Or Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Denver, St. Louis, Louisville, Kansas City and the breadbasket that is the Great Plains.

Not to mention the Great Lakes.

Deep in my being, I live on the endless horizon of the Great Plains.

visiting flyover country

I apologize for referring to the Great Plains of the Midwest as 'flyover country'.  Lots of folks on the West Coast, and probably the East Coast, who don't know where all the states are reveal their ignorance by referring to 'flyover' country.

I was born in South Dakota but my parents lived in Chicago when I was born and my mom, 1.5 year old brother and I landed back in Chicago when I was two months old. I guess it counts as going back to Chicago for baby me because I had lived there inside my mom, right?

I went to college in Wisconsin.  I went to law school in Minnesota. I have also lived in Nebraska and Michigan, visited virtually all states except Hawaii and Alaska.  I can even identify all the southern states. Do you know where Arkansas is?

I haven't been in the Midwest for some time.  I am visiting Minneapolis.

Then I am darting down to Chicago.  I hope to see all three of my Chicagoland brothers but I will definitely see my baby brother Dave. He is taking days off from work to hang with me.  Dave was my first baby.  I heavily contributed to his care from the day he came home from the hospital.   When I wasn't in school, I was taking care of Dave.  I haven't seen him for too long.  Plus he hopes to arrange a visit with our other two Chicago-based brothers.  It would be lovely to see my brothers, even lovelier to see my nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews. I have lost track, a bit, about grandnieces and grandnephews.  And all my nieces are not in Chicagoland these days.

I am enjoying the anticipation of all the great art museums in Minneapolis and Chicago. I am also enjoying the anticipation of spending some time with my friend Lana's granddaughters. 

used be a bigger dope

I used to be a much bigger dope than I am now. I don't think I am a dope at all.

In 2001, when my daughter disowned me, I wanted to move back to Minnesota, where I had gone to law school, raised Rosie and lived the longest of anywhere.  I grew up in Chicago but have not lived there since I left home for college at age 18. Minnesota feels like home to me.

I moved to the Pacific Northwest instead because my daughter had told me I could never move back to Minneapolis because she might return there to live after college. And I, mickey the mope, let her demand control my life choices. First, I pleaded. I pointed out that living in a metropolitan area with millions of residents left plenty of room for Rosie and I to live in the same place and never have contact.  I pointed out that once she finished college, and she was a sophomore in college at Cornell at the time, she could end of living anywhere and I should not be limited in my own life choices because she might want to return to Minneapolis.

She did not return to Minneapolis to live. She spent a few years in NYC, then moved to Chicago, which is where I grew up.

Having written the above, I acknowledge I always felt a draw to the West Coast. I applied, and was accepted, to a couple law schools on the West Coast. That time, I let my dad's bullying keep me in the Midwest. There were something like 12 law schools in Chicago. I did not apply to any law schools in Illinois. I wanted to get away from my toxic family.

I guess my daughter considers me toxic and that's why she has so assiduously avoided me since 2001. WTF did I do?

And WTF did I let her bully me into not moving back to Minnesota, where I had the deepest social network.

Shoulda woulda coulda.

I like living in Berkeley. I like not having frigid winters.  But I lack a sense of family and of groundedness. I notice flickering thoughts, rare ones, of returning to the Midwest.  I don't really want to move back to the Midwest but I want a chosen family of friends. I don't have that anywhere.

Rosie was wrong to insist I could never live in Minneapolis in case she ever opted to return. I was wrong to capitulate to her demand. And, yet, I am glad I spent time in the Pacific Northwest and I like living in the SF Bay Area. I like Berkeley.

I have yearnings to live in the countryside, in a small community, in a small house but those are inchoate longings with no grounding. I think such longings reflect my low grade discontent, not a true desire to move.

the real revolution

Yes.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

a brief, lovely encounter

As the ferry arrived in SF, I ran into two friends, who both knew my friend Kenoli.

Pam is in my writers' group. Her wife Maryann was a facilitator at a tgroup I attended at Pajaro Dunes.  Pam had met Kenoli at some gathering that was likely focussed on the group community at Stanford.  She remembered exactly when she had met him.

I rarely run into people I know in the Bay Area. It allows me to feel nested here, at home.

A brief but lovely encounter, a lovely day all around for me.

ai weiwei

I had a lovely day going to the Ai Weiwei show on Alcatraz. It was my first visit to Alcatraz.

I was glad to see Ai Weiwei's pieces but they did not blow me away.

I think I can see why Ai Weiwei who has been denied the ability to leave China since 2011 presented a major piece showing prisoners, political prisoners, from all over the world.  The pictures of the faces of all the political prisoners included in the biggest piece in the show are based on photos but shown in legos.  I disliked the use of legos, which made it hard to see the faces and hard to read the names. Maybe that was part of the piece, demonstrating how easily overlooked political prisoners are.

I would have preferred photographs with short bios giving where the person is or was imprisoned and what the allegations were. Instead, I saw lots of unrecognizable faces on the floor, an overwhelming number of them, and they made no sense. I do see how my comments are metaphoric commentary related to the unknown-to-most-Americans sufferings of political imprisonment.  For me, the piece would have been more powerful with photos and bios next to the photos, also on the floor.

Ai Weiwei had his collaborators position books on lecterns along the sides of the piece with brief bios of each person whose lego-portrait was on the floor. It was confusing and challenging to match lego faces with the bios.

I liked his beautiful Chinese dragon, which had some sections with quotes on them.  I really loved the Chinese dragon.

There was another piece, a bird made out of these somewhat saucerlike things that some Tibetan people use to cook food. The saucers capture heat from the sun, which is used to cook things. Tibet, of course, has been wickedly oppressed by China.

Another Ai Weiwei piece used a few cells in the now-long-closed prison. There was a stainless steel sitting stool in a cell and music played. One sat and listened.  It wasn't just music. One cell played a Martin Luther King Jr speech, not one of his most famous ones.  Many don't realize MLT Jr. said the world had to move beyond racism and civil rights and fundamentally alter how humans go about being. We had to take genuine concern for one another. The speech in the cell was about changing how humans show up in the world and with each other. 

I wasn't particularly moved by listening to music in cells. Each choice of music represented repression, political repression.

I think the show was more conceptual than visual. And I like visual art to be about what I see.

Maybe the setting got to me. It is a prison.  Maybe the crowds wore me down.

The show did not impress me. And, true confession time, I have thought for awhile that Ai Weiwei is about flashy showing off.  I think setting a show in a closed prison on an island in the beautiful SF Bay, all of the show created remotely in China, is the work of a huge ego. Then again, it seems that one has to have an enormous ego to become a big-deal artist in the Western cannon of art. Even though Ai Weiwei is Chinese, his art has nearly always been directed to the West and its male-dominated museums.

Few women artists get the chance to create art on a monumental scale.  I'm so tired of male domination.

I had a nice time with my friends and their family.

I hugged a nine year old girl today, the first child I have hugged in a long, long time.  That matters to me more than Ai Weiwei.

I loved seeing the two teens in our group. On their smart phones almost nonstop, until they lost their charge. Then they mostly existed in their teen cocoon, walking alongside us adults but not quite with us.  It was nice having them around, even though they didn't talk to me much.  Last time I hung out at all with teen girls was when my daughter was still in my life.

Friday, January 16, 2015

just because you're mad . . . . .


evidence coconut oil has medicinal qualities

13-evidence-based-medicinal-properties-coconut-oil

I don't eat coconut oil every day and I eat small quantities.

Gosh, this article suggests eating two tablespoons a day could facilitate weight loss. I can't imagine how I would use two tablespoons of coconut oil a day but chocolate bliss has a lot of coconut oil. There's justification to make my healthy chocolate bliss!

I tend to blur coconut oil and coconut milk.  I use coconut milk in my daily mugs of my custom blended chai. I use coconut oil for some cooking.

I love all things coconut.  Good to know there is evidence it is medicinal.

Alcatraz . . here I come. . . .

I am going to see the Ai Weiwei installation that sprawls throughout Alcratraz. Ai Weiwei is highly regarded in the Western art world. He is also a dissident. The Chinese have forbidden him from leaving China since 2011. He designed the Alcatraz show, which has themes of imprisonment, freedom, and more I am sure, from floor plans.

Friends of mine saw the show before Christmas and liked it so much they are going again tomorrow. And treating me!

I have never been to Alcatraz, even though it is a popular tourist destination. Even when I visited SF for pleasure when my daughter was young and we were, more or less, on vacation, we opted to ride the ferry to Sausalito and back instead of going to Alcatraz. We saw the island of Alcatraz. I have seen it severeal times since. I can see it from my building.

When I was in Spain, I spent a long stretch in Madrid just to see art. As a Spanish major, I had studied both the literature and culture of Spain, including art.  While in Madrid, I went to the Prado every day. This was before the internet, before I could do a quick google and learn what else I might see.  The host at the place I stayed kept encouraging me to see the royal palace, but that held no interest for me. All I cared about was seeing art.  Now I know, mostly from the internet, there was lots of art to see that I didn't see, like at the royal palace!

Rambling.

The Prado was a prison before it was converted to an art museum. It had a bona fide dungeon. In 1975 when I was there, the basement/dungeon was then the cafeteria.  I would go daily, spend time in front of the most famous pieces of art. Daily, I tried to go down to the cafeteria. It was down a gigantic staircase made of stone, with a turn in the staircase. I would get down to the landing where the stairs turned to go lower, where I would begin to feel lots of pain, as if the pain were emanating from the walls. A few seconds here and there, I actually thought I could mentally hear the cries of pain and suffering from the Prado's prison days.  Prisoners were tortured and maltreated in the basement.  I could not get past that platform on the stairs going down.

I wonder if I will feel the unhappiness, pain and suffering of prisoners on Alcatraz from the past. 

I'll find out tomorrow.  I hope the art distracts me from such energy.

If I sound a little crazy/woo-woo, that's okay with me.  I am a nonconformist. I don't give what most perceive as conventional reality the kind of power many in thrall to conventional reality do.

pants falling down

When my daughter was in the second grade, her teacher had all the students in her class write daily essays. The minimum was two sentences and Rosie mostly wrote the minimum. The teacher would give a theme or a question each day and the children had to write.

When the theme was "write about your most embarassing moment", Rosie wrote "My most embarassing moment was the time my pants fell down in a food store."

Her pants did, indeed, fall down in a food store when she was four or five. I was amazed that she had been so embarrassed that she wrote about it at age seven. At the time, I was unaware she had been embarrassed, primarily because we were in a wing off the regular grocery aisles, a kind of bend. Her pants fell down in the back of the bend, no one was within our sight so no one saw her. And she pulled her pants up so fast I barely saw them down.  It had enough energy for her that it became her most embarrassing moment a few years later.  Maybe she could not think of anything embarrassing.  Maybe she really was embarrassed when her pants fell down with no one around but me.

My pants once fell down in public. In 2006, shortly after I moved to California. I lost a lot of weight that year. I had just bought a new pair of smaller jeans two days before they fell down because they were too loose. I was standing in line at SFMOMA to show my membership card and get a ticket to enter. And, poof, my pants slide down off my hips. Of course I caught them before they fell further. It was not embarrassing. It was thrilling. Having new pants fall down after only owning them two days because they had gotten loose since I bought the was a lot of fun.

A few days ago, walking home from the swimming pool, a dazed-appearing, homeless-appearing man was swaying on the corner immediately in front of my building. I concluded 'homeless' because he was carrying a sleeping bag. He appeared completely out of it and was staggering in a small space, as if he was unsure where to go. I faced him as I crossed the street to return to my building so I saw him as I walked across Oxford Street. Half way across, he dropped his pants. He was naked under his navy blue work pants. I don't think he was flashing. I think he needed a belt.

I went into my building and asked my property manager if she thought I should report the guy. Not to get him in trouble, but, perhaps, get him some help.  He sure seemed to need it. She and I peeked out to see if he was still there before we called and he was gone.

pants falling down.

watched fog roll into SF

I had a medical test at UCSF today. The building I have gone to, thus far, is on top of a hill and has 8 or 10 stories. All the offices I have gone to have windows overlooking Golden Gate Park, with the ocean, the Golden Gate, Marin, Mt. Tam, downtown SF and the general beauty that is SF.

It wasn't exactly sunny when I arrived ninety minutes early for my appointment. I had gotten the time of my appointment wrong, at least that's what they thought. I ended up having to wait almost an hour past my actual appointment time to have my test so I was able to watch SF change. I watched the fog roll in, then sink down.  Gradually, I saw less and less of the ocean, the GG, Marin and, eventually, I could hardly see anything but houses directly below my perch.

After the technician finished, I had to wait a long time for a doctor to do more testing. I actually fell asleep during the long wait for the doctor. When I awoke, I was surprised I was not at home. I had been completely out.

So I left the spectacular views around 4 p.m. By 4, the fog was thickly dense and came right up to the windows. I saw little but fog.

When I took the elevator down to the N-line light rail, I learned it was lightly raining. The fog had appeared to dense high up that I could not see rain. The rain was mostly mist but I am enough of a Californian now to know that mist is counted as rain.

One appointment took up most of a day, including travel time. The travel time seemed fleeting compared to the hours spent waiting with that amazing, shifting view.

It was pleasurable to see the fog actually roll it. It looked exactly how I have imagined it all along but I had never actually seen it before.  I've seen fog roll in before, but not in beautiful San Francisco. Being on a high perch, with panoramic vistas above the hills, bridges and the tall buildings downtown was lovely.

ubuntu

UBUNTU, in the African Xhosa culture means: 'A person is a person through other people'.  Ubuntu strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. It is a demand for a creative intersubjective formation in which the ‘other’ becomes a mirror (but only a mirror) for my subjectivity. This idealism suggests to us that humanity is not embedded in my person solely as an individual; my humanity is co-substantively bestowed upon the other and me. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am. The ‘I am’ is not a rigid subject, but a dynamic self-constitution dependent on this otherness creation of relation and distance”.
from Wikipedia

Thursday, January 15, 2015

no failure in golden tunnel

The golden tunnel is my word for those times when I am happy and everything upon which my eyes glance is embued with radiant light.  I love the golden tunnel.

I am casting about for a name for my current experience of happiness. Perhaps I only need to reframe my golden tunnel.  As I grow more calmly equanimous, more mindful, my happiness is calmer, more secure.  I believe having grown deeply mindful about eating might be my most powerful mindfulness practice. It took me several years to truly ground the habit of only eating healthy, nutritious foods.

I wonder why so many humans, at least humans living with easy access to food such as we have here in the good old USA, eat crap. Oh, wait a minute. I know why. We Americans eat crap because we mindlessly let the corporate world tell us to eat crap.

Mindful eating begins at the market, be it a farmers market or a grocery store.  If you don't buy processed food, you can't eat it at home.

I guess what I am getting at is that I am happy.  There are many things I would like to change in my life.  I am not into mindless positivity so I can't allow myself to think that I can change all the things I wish were different in my life. I have learned that I can be happy even when there are things, many things, that I am unhappy about. Am I making any sense?

Dwelling in possibility makes me happy, but so does accepting failure. Failure can shimmer. Who knew?

forgive often


can two empaths become close?

I used to know someone who was regularly upset with me because he felt my pain. He wrote, via email, that I was supposed to keep my pain on my side of the 'net' and never sully the table of friendship with it.  Sometimes, I acknowledge, I offloaded pain when emotionally hurt and not being mindful of both the fact that I was triggered and then acting out by offloading my pain.  I don't know anyone who has not done this, including the man I refer to who demanded, yes demanded, that I take responsibility for his experience when I was in pain. I was in pain over my stuff. I've never had a friend, and I don't want such a friend,  who thinks I am 'going over the net' for revealing honestly what was going on with me.  I don't want to hide who I am, giving up who I am as the price of knowing someone else is a price I don't think anyone should ever pay.

I think this person and I are both high empaths, which means we tend to feel a lot of the energy of others.

Gosh, I was in my forties before I realized I am an empath, before I realized that quite a lot of what I felt was other people's stuff. I was much less able to remain grounded in equanimity when I was unaware that I felt other people's energy as keenly as I do.  I've become more mindful over the years, more away of where my energy ends and the energy of others begins but it is ongoing work. Mindfulness work, I guess, although I am a little uneasy with the sudden hipness of mindfulness. I was meditating for thirty years but now it's all about mindfulness. Whazzaup with that?

I think two empaths who feel attracted to know one another closely would have to do a lot of work together, work which can only be done by spending lots of tie together, sensing into one another to know where one person begins and the other person ends. Almost a high wire act but work worth the effort.  The rewards, in the relationship I have alluded to, would have been awesome. Both he and I are, as he once put it, such very special people.

Special people need special people. I need someone like him, as sensitive and brilliant as he is, but someone who loves me back unconditionally. I deserve it and I will call such a man in.

heal ANY relationship

There are days when I wish I could erase all the horrors that I have witnessed from my mind. It seems that there is no end to the creative ways we humans can find to hurt each other, and no end to the reasons we feel justified in doing so. There is also no end to the human capacity for healing. In each of us there is an innate ability to create joy out of suffering, to find hope in the most hopeless of situations, and to heal any relationship that is in need of healing.
--From The Book of Forgiving by Desmond and Mpho Tutu

on trust

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."
- Ernest Hemingway
 This quote is truth. I trust easily and I am only rarely repaid with distrust. When someone says to me "I don't trust you" they are telling me they are not trustworthy.

topics to write about

meeting maggie, chatoyance

couple on a date, use that syrian dinner with marc, the dinner as sex metaphor, the soup suggestion

that scene for my birthday, the Billy Collins book of poetry, then talking about a project we had agreed to do.  I suggested we talk a bit about my version because we had talked a lot about his, never about mine. Then I said "I think your vision is very male and my vision is very female."

I was going to go on to suggest that our visions complimented one another. I wanted to get what I wanted to get out of any work we did but I wanted him to get what he wanted. blah blah blah

but he interrupted me and said "Stop right there. You are crazy if you think I want to hear whatever you were going to say next after an introduction like that."

Taken aback, she said "It is not pejorative, what I was going to say."

"I don't care," he said, anger in his voice. "I don't want to hear what you were going to say."

She lapsed into silence, started to cry

kicking Pete in the heart

A few days ago, I kicked my friend Pete.  Accidentally, of course. All swimmers tap other swimmers from time to time.  Pete and I have been swimming next to hear other for a year and a half, we know each other's rhythms and we rarely touch in the pool because, I submit, both Pete and I are fairly tuned in.  Everyone, of course, tries not to touch other swimmers and everyone, of course, occasionally does. When someone you don't know gives you a tap, you mostly let it go.

When I kicked Pete a few days ago, it was a sign of our relationship, our friendship, that he waited at the end of the pool to tell me about it. If Pete didn't know me, he would have forgotten all about it.

The reason he stopped to tell me was because I had kicked him in the heart.  He wasn't worrired about his heart. This meant that I was way over.  I went past his limbs, getting to his body's center.  He stopped to tell me as a courtesy, to let me know how far I was 'over the line'.

When he said this, instinctively, (this will reveal to you how much I have shifted about touching, I think), I reached out and put one hand flat on his chest, over his heart and my other hand flat on his back, behind his heart. It was an impulse of love.  I can tell you what I thought/felt:  I thought Pete is such a nice man, he has such a fine heart, I am so sorry that I kicked it. It was really nice, actually.  When I had the impulse to touch him, I was feeling tender and loving but nothing at all sexual. 

And then, this was very fast, the whole thing took seconds, I became aware that I was touching a male, touching his bare skin.  This was the best part. I realized I felt completely safe touching Pete like that and I also realized Pete liked it, I am fairly certain Pete perceived my touch accurately, as friendly and nonsexual, and a soft loving.

I withdrew my hands, adjusted my goggles and resumed swimming. After two strokes, i stopped and turned back and said "I am so sorry, Pete, you have such a fine heart" and he said "what a lovely thing to say".

I don't think my touching Pete fits into any of your three categories.

I don't think most people perceive most touching as sexual, although lots of people do.

I could write about getting the time out sign for Hugh.

Arnie & Al . . . see email I wrote to marc with subject 'arnie & al' or arnie and al

xmas shopping at walgreens

slack tide

Joel & Mary Ella, Joel hitting on me, fat white destiny

african american buddhist rinpoche anointed by HH, with a fake braid woven into the back of his hair, which is too kinky to grow. the fanny pack

trekking to UCSF tomorrow

I no longer see a doctor at UCSF but my current endocrinologist asked me to return to UCSF for this test. She says having this test done at the same place so the results can be compared with the last test is optimal.  My Oakland-based endocrinologist seemed surprised when I agreed to go.

My secret:  I always go to the DeYoung when I make the trek to UCSF.

One of these days, I am going to spring for the privatized gardens in Golden Gate Park. SF residents can get in for free but some rich folk hired a lobbyist to sell the idea of having a private company manage the garden, keeping out the riff raff of non San Francisco residents. SF is not a gated city. Not yet. Some of its amenities are gated.

The whole Bay Area region contributes to making San Francisco the desirable destination it is.  I am surprised a city allegedly as liberal as SF privatizes any public assets.

Tomorrow, I am going to go to the Syrian restaurant I ate in a couple years ago. I still haven't managed to recreate their great, spicy, lentil soup. I am going to ask the owners to talk to me about how they make that soup. What am I missing?

politics & walgreen dream

working on campaign, who gets the contract for drugs for medicaid or something on ballot, Walgreens wants something, a guy supporting other side.

I naively waded in and then was expertly used by a consultant type, PR or political consultant.

Dream fading. . . .

I got fed some wrong information, trusted it, moved quickly to, I thought, use the info to benefit my side.

after it all blew up, I went to to my friend, apologizing. He is devastated but not very angry with my character.  He sees how I got used, knows I acted innocently and with best of intentions, but he wants to go home and be with his family, which, for him, comprises his male partner.

I go to the people who used me, one by one. some eagerly acknowledge they use me, some were innocent of the way I was used, some about as upset as me.

going home in bleak midwinter: brrrr

I have two homes. I went to law school, then raised my daughter in Minneapolis. Minneapolis really feels like my energetic home.  I miss it. I consider moving back to MN all the time, although as I knit myself into Berkeley, I feel at home here.  Sigh.

I am going to stay with an old friend, try to see my few remaining friends who still live in the Twin Cities. I'd like to see the new Waldorf Schools. Both of the Twin City area Waldorf Schools have had permanent homes a long time. I've never seen either of them.  If I go to Rosie's old school, at the end of the school day, of course, I'd love to say hello to her teacher but I believe I would cry about Rosie if I talked to him.  I might not have a way to get out to the suburban location.  We'll see.

I keep studying all the great art museums in Minneapolis, seeing what exhibits they have, when they are open, how to get to them on public transit.  I can't wait. The Walker Art Center and its awesome sculpture garden,  the Weisman and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Then I am going to Chicago to see my brothers, hopefully all three that live in Chicagoland. 

I'd also love to see my nieces that still live in Chicago and my grandnephews that I have never met.

I'd love to see Rosie but I don't think I will find the nerve to ask her to see me. Hearing her refuse might kill me. Maybe I will.

Visions of the Chicago Art Institute, the Chicago Contemporary Museum of Art, the National Museum of Mexican Art which is in Chicago and said to be exceptional. I tried to see it last time I was in Chicago and it was closed. The Oriental Institute, if I can get to Hyde Park easily on public transit.  And Chicago has lots of public art.

I remember being very proud of Chicago as a kid when Chicago put a Picasso sculpture in its civic center plaza.

It will surely be frigid in Minnesota and frigid to my California acclimated self in Chicago. Brrrr. Fortunately, I kept winter coats, wool hats and thick mittens. I am going to buy one pair of warm pants and take all my wool sweaters, which is not many since moths killed most of my warm sweaters.

I am going to meet a friend's grandchildren.  I have worried in the past about seeing friends with adult children who knew my daughter as a child, friends who also knew Rosie, and especially concerned to see grandchildren.  Suddenly it feels okay. I have been sending two little grandgirls books for a few years now. I feel like I know them. I have taken to addressing the books with their names, the girls are learning to read. When my last book arrived, one girl cried out "It is a book, it must be from Tree!"

I hope to go out for pupusas with the girl, compare the pupusa scene in the Upper Midwest with the Mission.  I imagine lots of Bay Area folks would scoff that flyover land could have great Latino food but many places in the Midwest have a lot of Latinos. Latinos, mostly Mexicans in the old days, were migrant farm workers and some stayed.  In law school, I volunteered for a while at a Latino community center, doing legal work for Latinos because my Spanish was good.

I am heading to the Midwest in freezing cold winter because I have flight credits that expire on Feb 12th that I don't want to lose.

Anxious -- about my emotional welllbeing.  I have been back to Minneapolis since losing Rosie but I went for a conference and saw no one who knew me as her mother. This time, I will see people who knew her and loved her and will ask about her.  Maybe I am moving into a new layer of healing over the loss.

I'm going.  I had to spend some money. My credits did not cover the whole trip. I'm in.  Now that I have the tickets, however, I am on pins and needles, my stomach queasy.  My Rosie wound is much improved but going to Minneapolis is going into Rjosie territory, where I raised her.

Do I dare to eat a peach?  Do I dare take this trip?  Yes.  I choose to be happy, loving and kind, especially to myself. 

I'm more anxious about what I will feel about Rosie in Minneapolis than when I am in Chicago where she now lives. I did not live there with her, my roots with her in Chicago are shallow. We visited Chicago, typically a couple times a year, to visit family. But we never lived there together.






Wednesday, January 14, 2015

quinoa "fried rice" w/shrimp & vegies

I like my fried rice a bit spicy so I splash it, at the end, with hot Asian oil.  Again, I don't tend to use recipes.

Begin by sauteeing an onion and few minced cloves of garlic. Then add your vegies. Tonight I'm adding snow peas, carrots, regular peas, some finely chopped cauliflower (because I have it on hand) and, finally shrimp.

After the onion appears clear, add whatever veggies you care to use. Proportions of quinoa and veggies are up to you. I tend to make largish batches so I have leftovers. Leftovers means I don't have to cook another day to have a real dinner.

At the very end, splash some tamari (gluten-free soysauce, hot oil, whatever spices mean "Chinese fried rice" to you) and a couple beaten eggs.  My shrimp are precooked so I am just warning up the shrimp, which should take about as much time as the eggs need to cook.

I try to avoid soy. The only soy I ingest is gluten-free soy sauce. I love using soy sauce as a flavor. I don't think the very occasional splash of tamari is going to harm me.

The quinoa.  Most folks who use quinoa regularly cook largish batches and keep it in the fridge to have on add to add to things.  Next time I make a finely chopped salad with kale, other vegies and some kind of fruit, I'm going to add some quinoa.

I guess I could sprinkle some chia seeds into my fried rice tonight. I sprinkle chia seeds on my salads.

I'm eating well these days. Glory be.

sugar-gluten-dairy free candy: chocolate bliss

You need a very good blender with a powerful motor.

Begin with about 2 cups of coconut flakes. Blend/puree/whatever until it is all warm and melded. This is identical to expensive jars of coconut butter or, as it is sometimes marketed, coconut manna. It is much cheaper to buy bulk quanities of organic coconut. I also use my bulk coconut to make my own coconut milk, mostly to avoid the chemical additives invariably added to processed foods.

When you have coconut butter, add 1/4 pound of raw cacao butter. This is the stuff used to make white chocolate. Blend the cacao butter until it melts into the coconut butter and the stuff in the blender is warm and gooey.

The add about 1/2 cup raw cacao powder. You can add more if you like very chocolate.

Then you can add a tiny bit of stevia. I no longer use stevia in my chocolate bliss.  You can also add some cinnamon, if you like. Also a dash of vanilla. And you can try cayenne pepper if you like your chocolate with a little kick. I don't do the cayenne.

After blending everything until its all warm and pourable, pour it into a jar and chill.

I used to add almonds into the blender with the chocolate bliss and get a blend of almond butter and chocolate bliss but it is hard to dig the stuff out of the blender. Now I chopped my almonds and add them when I pour the chocolate bliss.

You can pour chocolate bliss into molds. Ice cube trays would work.  You can add nuts to eat mold.

I keep my chocolate bliss in a glass jar. You have to chill it or it's liquid-y.  It is hard to eat at refrigerator temperature so you usually have to bring it to room temp to eat.  an advantage of using serving-sized molds for the candy is you don't have to warm up the whole jar.

My amounts are approximate. I rarely follow recipes. I make things up as I go along.

Now I am wishing I added a little stevia to this batch. But it's too late.

open to that primeval cosmic night

"The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens to that primeval cosmic night that was soul long before there was conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach."
-- Carl Gustav Jung

I am an incest survivor

When I was seven, my dad started staying up late, as he told my mom, to watch the news and then Johnny Carson. Dad really did watch the late news. He also read the paper cover to cover daily, and influenced me to read the newspaper daily by age six or seven.

With the rest of the house asleep - Mom, my then-three brothers and, supposedly me -- Dad would watch the news, and then, my young self believed, he watched Carson for a few minutes to be sure everyone, especially mom, was asleep.

My bedroom was just across the hall from my parents' bedroom and my sleeping mother, but kitty corner, not directly across. Dad could enter my room from the dining room. There was a glass French door separating the dining room back the back of the house. Dad closed the French door, ostensibly, so mom would not be disturbed by the TV.  Even back then, I believed he closed the door so she would not hear anything, including him coming into my bedroom and molesting me.

His molesting was quiet. I sure kept quiet. I had no idea how to behave. I did not cry out for help because my parents had conditioned me from the first weeks of my life not to cry out. Seriously.  Before I was thinking with language, I have memories of 'thinking' with feelings mostly and some imagery, thinking crying out because I was hungry or wished to interact with my parents was wrong.  My parents had managed to convey to me, that early, that I was a burden to them and they did not want to help me.

Actually, my dad was more into baby tending than my mom. My mom did not like taking care of babies. She drafted me into servitude around the same time my dad molested me. My third brother was born when I was seven

The time is always right

"The time is always right to do what is right."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

an unrequited crush

Around 1991, when my daughter Rosie was nine*, I developed an intense crush on a guy.  He was attached to a woman; otherwise I doubt I would have allowed myself to feel the deep attraction I felt.

I told him how I felt, making room for him to know that I knew he was in a relationship.

A close friend of mine at that time was a PhD psychologist.  She kept warning me that I was being too open, leaving myself too vulnerable. And my refusal to pull back on showing my feelings challenged her.She came from a place of genuine concern for my wellbeing but her thinking was grounded in the mental health field, a field I do not award much of my respect.

So I shared my feelings, enjoyed flirting with the guy and having intense exchanges with him. And then he drifted out of my life.  I was not harmed a bit.  He had never suggested he felt romantic interst in me.  He was a fun, safe way for me to break out of my long-time fear of men. All in all, he was very nice to me, just not interested.

I think I emerged unscatched from that fantasy crush because both of us were honest with one another.  It helped that I lived in MN and he lived in TX. Distance is not optimal for developing a relationship from an unrequited crush.

He was so kind and gentle when he had to 'let me down', so kind that we remained friends. I wonder how he is doing. I've lost track of him. He used to live in Santa Rosa but then he moved to rural Texas.

do you have courage to take risks in love? I do. I am fearless.



what spring does w/cherry trees

What does spring do with cherry trees?  I don't know. I like this little ditty without understanding it. My undergrad college required a senior thesis. It had to be a substantial demonstration of scholarship rooted in our major.  I wrote mine on Pablo Neruda's prose poems, so Neruda has a soft spot in my heart. Retroactively, I am appalled that I was to lacking in feminist consciousness that I did not find a female Latin American writer to write my thesis on.

Live and learn, eh?