Observations from Both Sides

Bridgesburning Chris King:

It is always flattering when a post generates a desire by others to share

Originally posted on bridgesburning:

I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. – Groucho Marx

Types of clubs vary in design, purpose, function, and level of formality.  The earliest ones are informal and naturally occur when two or more children engage in routine play.  I suppose some psych type person out there will say the earliest club is the one formed between a mother and or father and a newborn.

Some clubs of youth include Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and various other themes and are ‘joined’ by the participating person.  In school there are clubs to join or not depending on your wish or desire.

There are other clubs no one wants to join but we find membership when circumstances outside our control force us into them.  Stepping into membership is a foreign experience and it takes a bit of time and consideration to figure it out.  It isn’t…

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On Waking Early Ridiculously Clear of Mind

‘It seems to be an age thing, this waking up at 1:45 am, all rested and bright and mercifully doesn’t happen every day – yet.  However there seems to be a certain creativity in the hour or is it merely misguided perception, or I guess really, misperceived perception?

Laying very still listening to thoughts on free range you might say before the presence of the day cages and labels them .. these were this morning’s treasures….

Thoughts-

What do Judge Judy and Liam Neeson do for us? (Honest honest this was the first thought.)

What if your world changed in a blink?

Are you capable of looking after yourself?

What am I not seeing in this moment?  And why does it take decades to be able to look back and wonder why we could not see what is so obvious now?

‘Decisions we make today

The things we do or do not

Temptation to evil is less glitzy, glamor and noise

Heralding its arrival and intent –

And more the quiet seductive luring and alluring procuring

It is not the roar of cannon fire warning of danger danger danger

Giving time to suit up, armor up, prepare

But the barely heard snake like slither sliding, guiding and twisting into our minds and hearts

Mindlessly following, allowing, plowing past caution.

The nonsense of consequence easily dismissed ,

Until we see the collalteral damage of broken hearts, broken children, broken homes, broken futures.

Broken us.

Now where did that come from? Guess I should go tackle that Judy/Liam thing now cause I think my mind has reached the deepest it is going to go for the day.

Search On

Bridgesburning Chris King:

Some mid January inspiration

Originally posted on Eric Tonningsen's "Awakening to Awareness":

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Hope
  • To be inspired
  • Discoveries

These were three of the most frequently searched words/terms in 2014, according to Google. Personally, I am encouraged by this news.

Permit me then, if you will, a somewhat disjointed post; one which makes sense to me though it may not be entirely clear to you.

Fresnel Lighting of Pigeon Point Lighthouse

What else might people be searching for beyond these three foci? Could it be around:

  • Forcing breaks or sealing cracks?
  • Being a puppet or pulling the strings?
  • How to act on one’s dreams?
  • Possibilities
  • Swimming with or against tides?
  • Being part of a cure or part of an ongoing disease?
  • How to be more open to exploring?
  • Calling
  • Could it be…

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Observations from Both Sides

I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. – Groucho Marx

Types of clubs vary in design, purpose, function, and level of formality.  The earliest ones are informal and naturally occur when two or more children engage in routine play.  I suppose some psych type person out there will say the earliest club is the one formed between a mother and or father and a newborn.

Some clubs of youth include Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and various other themes and are ‘joined’ by the participating person.  In school there are clubs to join or not depending on your wish or desire.

There are other clubs no one wants to join but we find membership when circumstances outside our control force us into them.  Stepping into membership is a foreign experience and it takes a bit of time and consideration to figure it out.  It isn’t just an alien environment.  In many ways it is like an alternate universe (not the least like that proposed in theory by science, but similar enough to warrant the title, Alternate.

A normal life as you have come to know it exists as it always has, but now you are included in another normal, another life, and the awareness of its existence moves you to the core until you are able to define the duality of your personal existence.

I remember a line from a very old western I watched as a child.  I hated most westerns in those days except for Annie Oakley but when you have two brothers and one television either westerns or hockey night in Canada won out.  As I remember it a family is travelling across some dusty plain in a covered wagon when another wagon approaches.  Two hardened frontier women are introduced to a newcomer who is quite lovely and one woman bitterly remarks to the other something about, ‘Her skin may be all soft now but just give her a little time in the elements and she won’t be so lovely.’

The line took me by surprise first because of the sincerity of the bitterness and secondly the understanding that yes the elements and hardships would naturally have turned women into something other than they started out when settling in the new world.

Now you may exactly how do clubs and western settlers come together?

On one of my first of many visits to my neighborhood cancer center I was fresh faced, well as fresh as you can be at sixty-seven, feeling pretty good and healthy in spite of diagnosis, surgery and dealing with some unpleasant physical changes.  See that is the thing; many of us when we are first faced with The News still feel pretty good.  So when we begin our long line of appointments with surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and all that accompany them we still have a spring in our step, an optimism I guess you would say.

My first appointment in Clinic G, as I was given instruction and information I found myself replying, ‘Thanks so much.’ In a pretty cheerful voice, and the first time it happened a number of heads rose up and seemed startled at what I had just said, and the feeling of surprise at the reaction immediately brought to mind that very line from the movie.

‘Her skin may be all soft now but just give her a little time in the elements and she won’t be so lovely.’

The point I am trying to make has nothing to do with skin really but more about being on the inside and knowing what is about to happen.

I was sitting in that very same waiting room a few weeks later head down like everyone else, not quite so peppy when I heard a young woman, probably thirty, speak out in a clear cheerful voice, ‘Great, thanks so much.’  And our heads flew up in surprise and in a flash of time our heads went back down and I thought. ‘a little time in the elements.’

Stepping through the doors to ‘my hospital’ on a daily basis for radiation I see how quiet the environment is.  Not depressed or even sad but quiet and I think filled with expectation and hope.  I say expectation because that is what the whole club runs on.  Not necessarily good or bad expectation but an understanding that there will be change.

It’s not a club I want to belong to.  In the beginning I thought I could ride it out because I felt good in spite of all.  Now weeks into radiation that has left my breast with burns on top of scars, and nearly constant discomfort I still wouldn’t give up my membership because in a way, despite a ten inch square radiation burn, fatigue at times, all of which I am pretty sure will pass, I have met the bravest of the brave, patient and family, enduring, surviving one way or another for as long as possible and still able when we meet daily in our allotted alcove to laugh about some silly thing we came across.  We see the wife, exhausted by her husband’s care, the husband or friend boosting and lifting his dear one.  We hear the good news and cheer; we hear the bad news and comfort.  There is an underlying support of love in our club.

Our membership is worldwide and every individual is different.  Even the same cancers are different in each individual.

I hate my club.  I love my club.  I give thanks that this is my club for what I am learning, have learned far outweighs the nicety of being that young girl with the fresh skin, so cute and so untested by the elements.

7 Reasons Why I Could Never Be a Real Girl

  1. As a child I had no interest in dolls.  Yup, when all my friends played with their ceramic, stuffed or plastic family, combing, washing, feeding, changing, burping I watched and thought ..ugh.  I had my share of these, even one as tall as me, in a wedding dress, Walking Doll, and found their company boring.  I envied my brothers their Meccano Sets with the nuts and bolts and wrenches.
  2. At about three I had a miniature tea set and table and chairs and my grandmother would visit and we would have ‘tea’.  It was a good way to learn proper table manners but I remember my three year old brain wondering why anyone would pretend to pour tea and pretend to drink it.  No satisfaction there.
  3. Books were my big interest and instead of imaginary friends I daydreamed of being in the far east with Pearl S. Buck’s characters, thinking I would make a pretty good missionary or geisha girl, or working as a nurse with Dr. Tom Dooley in the jungles of Africa healing the sick and stamping out disease.  I also lapped up all information on martyrs and considered that like Joan of Arc I could go out in flames.  I just knew martyrdom was my destiny (that goodness I was wrong on that one).  For a long time I was an archeologist having adventured with Howard Carter in finding King Tut’s tomb and the curse of course.  I wasn’t that crazy about Nancy Drew but could not get enough of Trixie Belden.
  4. I had crushes on boys but not in that sighing lovey way, I wanted to be on their team while they skated in our backyard in the winter and dove on the high diving board in the summer.
  5. As an adult when at parties with other couples I had no interest in sitting with a group of women chatting about style, hair, or gossip.  I wanted to be swimming, climbing, laughing with the boys/men and I usually did.  When visiting in England once, following tea the men said, “Well we are off to the pub.”  I don’t think my female hostesses were too pleased when I jumped up and said, “Great! I’m going too.”  And I did.
  6. I am not a shopper and it seems almost blasphemous to admit it when I have dear friends and loved one who LOVE  to shop and will do so for hours at a time.  My SIL calls it retail therapy and can even go for hours, not buy anything and come home feeling satisfied.  I just don’t get it.  If I need something I shop and hope the stars and the universe are aligned so I can find what I need quickly and painlessly.  I do have to say I envy their results in finding great deals but everything I like at a particular moment is not on sale.
  7. This one I think is probably the biggest sin in ‘girl world’ and I hope none of you scorn me for it but…. I just cannot see what the fuss is about purses, handbags, pocketbooks, bags… well you get the idea.  Now I know men can carry them too, but an inner voice keeps telling me they must have been invented by men to keep women subservient and dependent upon their protection.  With our arms full we cannot defend ourselves or move freely. Think about it, men generally walk free, while we tote a thing, which to my mind slow us down, weighs us down, and stops us from freedom.  And why do we want to subject ourselves to that?  You can imagine my horror when women began craving not only the dreaded purse but bags that cost hundreds of dollars.  Just to be able to say the words – Coach Bag.
  8. coach handbag***I have given in somewhat to purses large enough to hold my computer or tablet as these are definitely important but oh my I do feel like a genetic outcast because I cannot embrace ‘The Bag’

It is What it is OR Is it?

It is What it Is

Or

Is it?

Lately it seems I am hearing the statement, IT IS WHAT IT IS more frequently than ever before.  Perhaps I am just sensitive to it because for some reason it rubs me the wrong way.  People interviewed on TV are saying it, people around me are saying it.  Something about it just doesn’t sound right.  So I have to ask why.

I guess most would mean it to sound like a situation or circumstance is real, and there is merit in that but somehow it is, to me, an incomplete thought.

This is what I hear when that sentence is spoken:

It is what it is – finality

It is what it is – therefore nothing can be done about it

It is what it is – so suck it up

It is what it is – nothing can change it

It is what it is – and like the proverbial leopard unable to change its spots neither can we change this

It is what it is – so give up

It is what it is – accept it

This is what I want to hear when that sentence is spoken:

It is what it is – but what can it be?

It is what it is – but how can we change it?

It is what it is – and we will change it.

It is what it is – but we still have hope

It is what it is – but nothing is impossible

It is what it is – but we will not stop trying to improve it.

It is what it is – and we will change it!

Simple – Drama Free – Natural

Simple – Drama Free -Natural

 

On October seventh, two thousand and fourteen at ……wait, wait, wait! This is not a report filled with dot dot dot facts closely documented and devoid of feeling, it’s a telling, of an experience. So I start again.

In the fall of this year; not late September, or early December, and certainly not November I had an experience so simple, drama free, and natural feeling I find it difficult to talk about it.

It seems to me that we have been groomed by media, government, world leaders, teachers, purveyors of life and wisdom, to respond to enhanced drama. It’s what sells. Hamburgers, cars, life styles, attitudes, beliefs, politics, religion, acceptability – all sold as a big WOW!

Is it age or is it developing maturity of mind and soul, not age related, that leads me to conclude that the very basis, the very core of our existence lies in a quiet place untouched by human interpretation?

Certain recent events have me playing with ideas and questions that appear elusive and difficult to nail down. Not disturbing in an agitated way.

I had an anaesthetic for an aforementioned problem. I’ve had them before on occasion for some routine matters probably three or four times in the last fifty years and sometimes I remember the odd recovery room event but generally the PACU (post anaesthetic care room) experience is at best pretty foggy.

This one I remember, the experience, clear as a bell as if it happened moments ago.

My first awareness was intense. I felt myself breathing, or really not breathing. A distant part of me felt as I exhaled my last breath and it seemed such a pleasant easy thing to do. I was aware of being at the head of the stretcher and seeing myself lying before me. No, unlike other stories I have heard on this I was not floating above anything looking down.

I was first aware of lightness, NOT the light at the end of a tunnel thing, just feeling very light. Not airy, just aware, young I think, and my only conclusion for thinking that is what I was aware of. For the first time in years I had no pain. No sensation of pain. No sensation of weightiness.

I looked around the large recovery room and was aware of five stretchers along a far wall most with 2 staff at each. The colors were vibrant. The walls, sheets, nurses, machinery.   My stretcher then a vacant space and then another stretcher against a far wall perpendicular to the long wall with the five stretchers.

I felt amazed at how perfect my sight was. Everything was absolutely clear. Then I became aware of my hearing. I could hear everything, distinguish every word spoken softly by staff at each station. And its not like conversations going on at the same time, a muddle of noise. I could hear the exact words of each conversation as though I could just zero in at will to each one. I remember thinking I must remember to tell a nurse across the room something related to her vacation she had just returned from.

While I was so clearly attuned to everything around me, in the distance I could hear something clanging, buzzers going off and some sort of activity I felt quite removed from but which seemed to need my attention.

One second, or millisecond I said, “Am I dead?” as I grew more amazed at all around me and at the same time more aware of the kerfuffle going on with noise and activity in my more immediate area. No fear as I recall, more a question of interest.

That’s when it occurred to me that perhaps I should try breathing and at the same time had a flash of wonder at how I was going to get inside this body of mine.

It all seemed to happen in a flash. One moment I am free, unencumbered, weightless and pain free and the next I found trying to take a breath difficult, with a great belt of pain around my body and aware I should call for help, and trying to raise my right arm and thinking that bodies especially arms are so weighty, so heavy.

Finally I could make a sound and kept trying to say, “Pain, high epigastric….” – Thinking to myself that is often symptomatic of cardiac problems in women.

When I opened my eyes the anaesthetist and what seemed a large number of people were around me. A nurse to the left of me was injecting something into my IV and saying to the doctor, “ I am injecting dilaudid now and have already given her oxycodone.” I remember thinking first that I did not know either of those drugs could be given intravenously and second that it was a lot of medicine to be giving to anyone.  The anaesthetist told me my EKG was normal.

It worked and my whole body relaxed. I drifted off to sleep now and then for the rest of my recovery room experience and remember a couple of times remembering how nice it was that last breath had felt. I had enough awareness to hear the alarm go off as my oxygen levels lowered and one nurse starting at my bedside saying to another, “its okay, just watch, she will correct herself and start breathing again.” And I did. It took some effort but I did.

I related this story to someone whose immediate response was, “Is that because of the anaesthetic because I don’t believe in religion.”

My immediate response was that this was not a religious thing, it was an energy thing and I was surprised to find myself saying that. I realized also this was not what some might call a Near Death Experience. If it had to be labeled I think it would be more an Out of Body Experience.

This does not negate in anyway religions, believes, or afterlives. This was something that happened that was more immediate more personal, more intimate than can accurately be described. And my fear in trying to write about it that I make it sound more shallow than it was.

Was I afraid? Not in the least.

When it appeared for a short time that I might require more surgery I fussed to myself about the idea of having another anaesthetic. It took a bit to define just why. In this consciousness I am aware of all I would be leaving for a time. Family, friends, love.

The feeling of being unencumbered – the closest word I can find to describe the indescribable, is tempting and I am not sure that with the next occurrence that I would have the strength or desire to come back.

It was nice but even with pain and distress and life in general this is an existence I do not want to give up too readily.

**As a little catch up –after much investigation further surgery not necessary, chemotherapy not necessary, – radiation starts sometime in next couple of weeks. Medication I have to take for next five years is decidedly unpleasant, but I must count myself lucky and blessed.

When You Are Six

The greenest snow angel
The greenest snow angel

Sunday morning there was a sprinkling of snow and a little bit stayed on the ground.  The air somehow always seems purer as though those first flakes filter the world’s impurities making each deep inhalation seem cleaner and more energizing (but at the same time makes me suspicious of the resulting ground cover).  When I was a child the key was to not eat yellow snow, but now I wonder just what toxins may cling to white flakes lying aground.

When you are six and you see those first few flakes falling first thing in the pure morning sunlight, regardless of what else is happening in the house, the city, the world or the universe, there comes a call to suit up and get out there.

That’s what happened Sunday morning.  I was pouring my morning coffee, the family sat in comfy chairs reading newspapers or whatever held their attention on this wintery day, when I noticed a bubble of energy all dressed in the season’s first wearing of snow pants, hat, mitts and boots, standing by the front door barely able to contain himself in excitement.

My inclination was to say ‘later’ and I think I actually did say it, but the thought of  ‘six’ and ‘pure joy’ overcame my natural tendency to shield myself from the elements and I found myself saying, ‘I’m getting dressed, lets go play!’

It was a lot of work to scrounge up enough snow for a snowman but we did it – all 12″ and no play is worthwhile without a snow angel that removed that fine layer resulting in the greenest snow angel ever but oh boy, it was worth it.

Oh and today is minus nine, real feel minus seventeen and yes if that boy wants to play after school we will!

The biggest snowman we could make
The biggest snowman we could make

Rebeginnings

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”  – Friedrich Nietzsche

Beginnings can be difficult, the difficulty for some being that nervous flutter laced with excitement in the pits of our stomachs.  For others it is a downright gripping paralyzing fear that may have more to do with failure and a host of related psychosis stemming from childhood, adulthood, or whatever hood our minds allow.

Rebeginnings can be even more difficult and may stem from a fear of goshcanidothisagainitis.  Getting back to blogging belongs here and the well known procrastination crutch thrives in any rebeginning.  Tomorrow, tomorrow, is more than a song from ANNIE, that wonderful story where tomorrow is about hope of better things to come, whereas tomorrow for us procrastination prone folk is more about delay.

Eventually a trigger occurs and for some reason it just seems right to fire up the beast, sit in the cold chair long abandoned by a warm tush, turn on the screen, find your link to WordPress and wonder if you have forgotten your password.

I have long embraced Nietzsche’s statement about facts and perceptions.  In fact I spend a lot of time thinking about it though those wondrous thoughts never see the light of day in written word.

I have been off my game for many months and it is not so much that problems have been resolved as much as I seem to have found my footing, my sea legs.

A few months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, had surgery, and soon will start radiation.  Ah now don’t cringe or moan.  I am fine and seem to spend a lot of time reassuring others.  In all gratitude I am blessed.

The cancer hospital feels like it has become home, because believe me, too many days a  week are taken up with appointments for one thing or another, and I see so many others facing worse challenges and they are my inspiration, as I want to be theirs.  My goal once my treatments are done is to volunteer at this very place.  One nurse told me that most patients say this very thing, and then she stopped and looked down and in the pause the unsaid words hung -but many don’t make it.

This is not about bravado.  The fact is that there are many kinds and stages of cancer and I drew one of the luckier kinds.  Too many are not so lucky, but I must say that since a similar diagnosis and surgery seventeen years ago a lot of progress has been made.  There is much work to be done but we have come far.

This is the last I will speak of my situation and hopefully my screen will stay on, WordPress will become my daily companion again and this chair will be warmed daily and I will have lots to say on other matters.  But I know better than to make promises and perhaps that trigger will continue to inspire.

Oh yes, what  was that trigger yesterday?  Why it is our old friend Kathy McCullough who is always reinventingtheeventhorizon.wordpress.com

I will try a proper link here just to see if I can do it. Oh my will have to spend sometime reacquainting my self with WordPress.

I’m Your Man

 

I’m Your Man

There is a truth in fiction that can never be found in most non-fiction save those factual by measure or geography. As I write that sentence I wonder how many exceptions may exist, but generally. In my mind anything biographical or autobio is suspect.

Why? Perception. To perceive something, even that experienced by self, is flavored by condition, circumstance, past, belief, and personal understanding.

Fiction has always been my preference but the wisdom of age encourages me to widen my knowledge base. Seek new things, learn new things, do new things. My friend Joss Burnel who is one Crowing Crone Woman of Wisdom leads by example in stepping out of one’s comfort zone.* I can’t link for some reason so Joss can be found at crowingcrone.com.* I am not sure there is much bravery or adventure in broadening one’s reading preference as she now travels the world having really stepped out, but it is a start.

My own perception of age is changing from a youthful belief that old age is a time to take it easy, a well-earned rest, to one that continuing to change and learn and work is vital. To stop learning, to stop changing is to stop living and all of a sudden having reached the sixth decade and soon to see it in the rear view mirror of life, the ability to learn seems crucial. Now when I check out of the library every few days I include at least one non-fiction in my haul. Included are several bios and autobios as well as books on religion, politics, sciences, well, almost anything that catches my attention. Almost all autobiographies are difficult reads, presented in very two dimensional slices with gaping holes big enough to qualify for the Swiss cheese designation. I have read biographies that seemed to have way too much of the author’s persona imbedded too deep to recognize resulting in a ‘barely there’ subject leaving me feeling too much has been glossed over. How much do we really want to share about our lives anyway? How much should we share?

I have made several starts at a family history, something I think my children might value. Part way through it occurred to me to question exactly how much information should I be passing on? We are all entitled to privacy I think and I believe our paths are very private. We all make mistakes and that is how we grow and learn. Do we need to hang out all the dirty laundry?

Celebrities and the over exposure of their lives make for great entertainment, at least as far as the public is concerned. God knows every magazine and entertainment show knows this and they reap mega bucks in the revelations. Mind you some so called stars beg for the exposure and then whine when lines are crossed.

The thing is, people tend to believe what they read. Good fiction makes you feel the possibility. Do you think that is true? I mean look at those who so wanted to believe Dan Brown’s story The Da Vinci Code that they now believe. Of course that is why I love fiction – I, you, any of us, can make it real thanks to the wonder of imagination. The greatest skill, the greatest gift in any work of fiction is to make it real.

Is there any truth at all in biographical non-fiction? Probably about as much as there is real milk in some so called dairy products? Does it matter? Perhaps not. One recent book of biography was a welcome refreshing exception to my perceptive bias. And a bias it must surely be since I have not read every bio ever printed so can only judge on very limited experience.

I’M YOUR MAN: The Life of Leonard Cohen

Sylvie Simmons was a new author to me and of course the initial draw to the book was the subject, Leonard Cohen, someone to whom I would declare complete and total admiration. Why? I guess because he did it his way with no apology. Did he do it right with no regret? Of course not. Are there any of us who have no regret? I’d sure like to hear about it if he/she is out there. Without dissecting the content I would just say it is a good read that felt more honest than most.

Thoughts- may be Profound, Mundane and perhaps laced with a bit of Wit

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