Friday, April 29, 2011

White Tulips opening & INFUSION # 3

video


My lilacs begin their perfuming, as the white tulips planted 15 years ago arise and open- they are double petaled and we've never seen them bloom before, yesterday on my dear god-sister Cordelia's 50th birthday, in the brilliant sunlight and heat of the day, they began to open…  !! Happy Birthday dear one!


Today my wonderful and true friend Joan accompanied me to the 3rd infusion and we had a fantastic time. Such is the depth and compassion of true friendships where one watches their friend drinking in poisons that will sustain many growing seasons to come. 


In the infusion/chemo suite, it was quiet. Some persons there for serious bone-marrow infusions, and these people look very weak, pale, slow, and papery, and yet there words are full and strong and they say they are "good", and they ask about the nurses, and then there is the same man i saw have his first treatment three weeks ago and already his hair completely gone,he nods to me as he wheels his metal caddy toward the bathroom, and he looks relieved and so much more peaceful than before, he's going it alone doesn't bring a partner, the nurse asks him about his pets. The nurses are so kind, and have many tricks to soothe the worry, and their touch is very refined—I can't hear the man responding, his voice so soft, Joan and I on the other hand, laughing an carrying-on! But i send each person including the nurses peace and warm loving waves of softness, and I remind myself to look directly in each person eyes, and when I do, they smile- people love to be seen, like I'm looking through the camera at these flowers and I see there eyes, and hearts and they smile back- here they are, may they make you also smile to see them. &


May we grow old into these gardens of our lives with the same magic and defiance as these perfect petals from ancient tulips bulbs planted so long ago. Old roses, lilacs, carnations, lupines, and peonies—so much greening, and today my teacher tells me: "You are the perfect person to have cancer." I take this as a high compliment, and thank him!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SUNLIGHT


Light • 

it's free——fill your tank with it, your tank, meaning your body. The thing that carries 'you' around, at least that is the way we have agreed to think of this bag of vessels, and sinew, skin, hair, bile, blood, piss, bone and a multitude of various kinds of tissues, all coming from the same source materials, same elements that are inextricably related to LIGHT- Using language conventionally because if we couldn't agree to invent a labeling system, like language to I'dentify ourselves with something in common, like bodies/language, how else could we get along? So calling you, your 'tank', I'm stretching the linguistic boundary only a little, because most of us are also moving around in something we have created just as conceptually as our 'tanks' / bodies, only this body is vaguely more removed in the conventional sense, a little faster, sharper, harder, but never-ever shinier, called an "automobile".  ones own movement.


Auto/from the greek: αὐτο- auto- "self, one's own"


I'm thinking of how we have this SUN on our side. I'm thinking of the word:  




"Corona"

I'm also thinking of my meditation this morning.  As we sit… contemplating…calming the body formation which is dependent upon the breath…absorbing into the breath deeper and deeper, more peace, more stillness, not for peace or stillness sake, even tho peace and stillness are really really nice - the calming is a precursor to LOOKING. Looking at what? Exactly! what ever you THINK you see, is not it. 
Continuing…to sit means becoming, Still like a mountain—Peaceful like a sleeping baby—Alert like a sentinel. 
Then very slowly arising, an understanding  more or less of freedom coming through this morning of my recent stressful relationship to this tank/body, in that I keep thinking this body actually belongs to me. It belongs, if  to anyone, then it's to the SUN. I've simply borrowed it, for a second. The ego is a curious little phenomena, it is for all intents and purposes nothing more than a thief. It knows it doesn't have anything of it's own, and so it goes around appropriating ALL things as it's own. In fact, that is one of the ancient teachings, maybe not so far as to identify the ego as a thief, but that one must be on the alert, able and willing to apply mindfulness, and use mental pliancy to catch the self appropriating ones spiritual practice even, with selfishness. Nothing is more concerned with it's sense of self than ego. 


Metta like a mountain and where the first drop of water condenses on the granite wall and lets lose into gravity's fall, joining with the next and next until a stream of likeness forms a cascade into a pool, and from there a spring travels under the wide frozen glacial field to emerge in the wood and continues down through gravity's marsh emptying into a lake, and spilling its bank to form a river, before melting into the delta and feeding all manner of industry, waterfowl, micro-organisms, plant-life, reflecting high above the white streaming clouds on their way back to the mountain top. Then effortlessly gathering momentum the delta widens and finally the shaping earth cuts a channel toward the bay and one can sense the rising and falling of the breath like the distant surf, and tidal surge, the tidal receding, the ocean calling the water , the sun and moon calling the ocean. Other-worldly… and all the while the water is METTA, for every living cell, no longer held in check with boundary of the body- cellular, stellar, and shelter all in one. Until you look deeper and you see, there is no "out-there", there is no- "in-here". What death then? Evaporation, condensation, the mountain, the river, the delta, the sea, THE BORROWER, who always gives back what has been borrowed, with interest, fill your tanks with the freedom of the light, give yourself back it's ALL free-(dumb), as in not really speakable.


Cancer treatments with LIGHT-photosynthesizing cancer


what Eye•dentity   •  
what dualism?


And now, I head out to physical therapy. to work on un-freezing my shoulders. Isn't it just hilarious to think of the body as a body after being a mountain, river, delta, ocean, sun? But non-the-less, today marks exactly 6 weeks, the smack dab epi-center of my CURE. Tomorrow high-noon, (SUN at it's apex) the 3rd of 4 infusions begins up in the SKYLINE/Franklin Kaiser Permanente building the very one I am looking at out my studio window this bright sun-filled morning.



May you shine today like the free solar-power of the sun that you have never not been, and may your dazzling light be reflected back out through your borrowed auto-mobile in perfect brilliance! 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Befuddled—Betwixt—Bemused



Today is my grandmother's 104th birthday. She was 50 when I was born, and died the day before I turned 40-this post is in memory of her

I'm in between the first half and second half of chemo infusions, 6 weeks behind (almost) and six more weeks ahead before I'm finished with it. There is a befuddlement to my concentration of words, and thoughts, as if the chemo erases new hair cells emerging along with synaptic cell fibers in my brain, [???], indeed 'they' do talk about a side-effect called chemo-brain, and here is the nitty-gritty link that describes it unflatteringly for any of you more than acutely interested. 
Take heart any of you out there with chemo-induced mental impairments, the causes for diminished thought capacity are common enough for non-chemo populations, that all would be served to at least look the list over with its common-sensical causes that might best be avoided by everyone, in/out or never to be in chemo-land. 



  • Stress
  • Low blood counts
  • Sleep problems
  • Infection
  • Depression
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Hormone changes or hormone treatments
  • Anxiety or other emotional distress

Take care of yourselves people, life, remember is fragile and short, get some rest, eat better, drink ONLY one, OR LESS glasses of wine per day, yadda-yada-ya… but do it, SLOW DOWN. Use your dominate hand less, i.e., put the dishes away; pet your dog/cat; answer the phone; brush your teeth with your less dominate hand, or try making the bed, getting dressed, butter your toast with one hand—and for God's sake, drink MORE WATER!

It's interesting, the word 'bemused' means both bewilderment, and thoughtful, or held deeply in thought…not really opposites but certainly bemusing to consider the word at all. BEMUSED as opposed to amazed, which can also mean bewilderment, but more usually amazed means wonder. I digress, and thankfully have chemo-brain as an excuse. A weak one but …

I feel upon the cusp of a returning to strength, and yet this time next week, I'll by all accounts, feel weaker and further removed from life than heretofore experienced, that is the drain of the cytoxan and taxotere seeping into the cell walls of my bone marrow. What penance? and what faith? is necessary at this point? 

It is routine, and maybe just human to view illness as punishment, but my teacher offers, 'nothing to blame', for is there actually 'something'? that can be at blame when looking at things from the view of no-self? But this gets way into the higher principles and teachings on dharma and not appropriate here, still i want to relate the cusp of where a profound faith is now in order, the understanding of faith from buddhist perspective being that I have complete confidence that the Buddha in fact attained enlightenment, and by his teachings, and my practice of his instruction,  therefore, I will also.  Here is where it gets really really difficult, for as any one living in Colorado, or who has ever attempted a summit trail, the last few steps to the very top are the most treacherous, difficult and easily lost, and require the most inner faith and determination. As for my own enlightenment, it is rather like Martin Luther King's speech: "I have seen the promised-land, I may not get there WITH you, but together we as a people will get to the promised-land."

Here's the catch, all 22 of them, no one "gets" enlightened, the IDEA of enlightenment is the only thing that gets enlightened, at best one can find the nothing there is to find, and be enlightened by that simple uncontested moment, no thing to "get". Look around at the view it looks just like your living-room, only you can see through it, it looks just like cancer only you can see through it, it looks just like your kids, your spouse, your job, or good book, only you can see through it. You wouldn't believe it, you couldn't have found the faith, which is TRUST/CONFIDENCE to see through and through unless you went all the way to the top unless you climbed those last few snow-slick sheer icy steps unless you sat for just that long- (how many years?) in the cave of your own heart looking and looking, and now you see all the way through it————no thing to see, nada, ALL of it cusp and no cusp

and now what? Smile, be exceedingly glad, nothing can harm the one who sees through it ALL. beloved, becalmed, we live on this planet, at this time, in this moment, with these lives, precious and transparent, like no thing before and no thing since. We know — no thing and yet all is clear, kindness, seen in this light, is all the enlightenment we'll ever need, it's all we'll ever get. Nothing ever looks quite the same as when seen through kind "seeing-through-it-all' eyes. 

Remember, as with Rilke's long poem: perhaps we are here just to learn to say one word in such a way as the thing itself has never existed so completely as in the word itself. [?]

We don't and we can't know for sure, But one thing that seems obvious, the folks who are being kind and helpful toward others seem to be the happiest, seem to be the most secure, on top, those busy even in the smallest ways truly helping someone else, being kind, the simple kindnesses, sometimes attributed to manners, and the biggest kindness, Mother Teresa size kindness, any kindness will do that is where you can see the light- IN LIGHT MEANT / (means) WE ARE SEEN THROUGH and we can SEE through, the LIGHT OF OUR OWN KINDNESSES, and you see it first from within, … Bemused, betwixt, BE KIND. 
—moving forward gently up the slope with……… faith.




Thursday, April 14, 2011

mi ritrovai per una selva occura

"…I  woke to find myself in a dark wood…" or I refound or re-discovered myself. Dante's Inferno reference from the book for my birthday Dark Wood to White Rose. Many readers undoubtedly familiar with this, but I,  having awakened only recently in the darkest of woods, bleary eyed stand amazed and blinking as if at a neon sign of my not-self, shuddering against a velvet night with distant STARS somewhere in a future summer hood shining, but today in a wooden body frame, more course each day.


I post a home-made photo booth collage of Aubrielle and I—( she is my constant sidekick, my clown and jester in waiting)- before chemo began 5 weeks ago and today in all distorted glory. for your eyes to not deceive- it is true a calcification, and metallurgic effect is taking hold of my cellular being, but the spirit moves like a black cat on the steps of purrrrGATORY. 


Exactly 2 years ago today I went to work after I had the most amazing dream! I dreamt I had been taken down to the basement of the AAHA office building, where a gaggle of young women proceeded to take my shoes off and give me a pair of PINK SLIPPERS to wear instead. They took me into the basement bathroom which was fitted with an enormous spa quality soaking bathtub complete with jets and sauna. I was anxious to get back to work, and thought these pink slippered girls might be overstepping their lunch break, but when I tried to find my way back to my office in the upper levels of the building I just got further and deeper into the HVAC system until I awoke, kind of startled.  DREAM vanished, but, when I got to work that day April 14, 2009, I was given a literal PINK SLIP!! No joke- no fooling, no shit. No more AAHA! No more graphic design position, or video production, or beautiful office overlooking the continental divide with views to the heavens, and no more state-of-the-art computer graphic station with bells an whistles, and no more security of a position I had essentially created from scratch and grown completely as a second skin for 6 whole years- longer than any work related commitment in my entire life- Done no dough- nada! No more two-income family, first kid in first year of college and yet, I had 401K, and benefits continued because they "didn't have anything against me or my work, it was all just restructuring the work flow", (I thought I saw for a moment, pink fluff around their ankles peeking out from beneath their stiff corporate trousers?). 


AAHA SHOCK SYNDROME! True I wasn't happy at all with personnel changes and department upheavals for the past 18 months and I knew financial health of the publishing dept. was in constant scrutiny, still I'd just produced and won a top national video award for my work, and only received very positive work reviews -I had no conscious idea this would happen- and certainly not the way it was going down! I was well liked, had made my mark as a very hard worker and loyal employee, I thought I'd be there for 20 years! I often told people I had died and gone to AAHA! I couldn't believe the pain.
No place, even the American Animal Hospital Association is without Machiavelli elements and I had made some strategic enemies over the past year since my direct boss got pushed under the bus the year before, so I was full of paranoia and shame. The sharks came forward- both of them apologized to me before I left, tipping their hands for all to see, What could they have been apologizing for if not some cunning design to do away with my bold/public defiance of their petty power-tyrannies? Hum? 



I didn't panic tho- I had had at least a 12 month meditation practice on a daily basis and I just went through the grief process of clearing out my desk, and computer files breathing in - and breathing out. I got in my car drove home changed my work shoes for something much more comfortable and slipper-like, drove to Namaste Hospice and volunteered on the spot. The volunteer coordinator spent an hour and half just in friendly conversation with a get-to-know-you informal interview as she signed me up for the next training to begin that same week-end. I NEVER mentioned I'd just lost my job. It never seem relevant.


I was handed a SEVERANCE "package"- I would sign some document that said I could never sue AAHA or my bosses for wrongful termination for any cause, and they would hand me my wounded pride and a check on a wooden platter. I thought about it for a week, and signed, this gave me essentially 4 months of a fully salaried cushion in one lump sum ( I immediately paid off a credit account I would no longer be able to pay monthly on)- So much more than anyone at the time was typically being offered. And today, it happens I've had a all of 4 official job interviews and must collect emergency unemployment because the rate in Colorado just climbs by the week. 9.3% today! I have no idea how long this social safety-net can continue, but with the cancer- what a god-send??? 


Ask, how do families do it without this net? The stress and suffering is not manifold, it happens on a human scale one individual human being at a time. It is from the perspective of statistics composed and refined by the banker-mind set that we recoil and numb ourselves at the accumulated surplus of despair- Don't be fooled, your suffering isn't any more or less than the tsunami survivor. You can only lose your life, lose a limb, a job, your home, or breast or child one life,job, limb, home, child, breast at a time, a human scale loss. Don't be numbed by the numbers.
and yet i forget this at times too- I am overwhelmed when I stand in the unemployment lines- it is a lesson in the greatest humility and compassion, I think, so many thousands have it so much worse than me- Guilt sets in, but then I redouble my commitment to helping out at hospice- the food drives what ever I can, and I remind myself of the pain and loss in my life without pity the long hard look at our connectedness outweighs the depletions, just look at any hospice patient to be clear about this. I remind myself to commit to Loving-kindness, patience with myself when I just want the Flex pay account call woman to tell me if the fax went through or not, not their obligation to the IRS or querying me on my expenditures I don't think is any of her business! May ALL beings be happy, safe, well, peaceful and at ease.


Today I practice metta each and everyday for my former colleagues and the firing 'bosses' at AAHa, it has softened and healed my heart, it has shown me the mysterious ways working through the dark wood, and I hope my letting go, my metta continues to lighten their loads. Forgiveness is the critical step in any healing modality. I do forgive myself for becoming sick, for all treasons imagined or invented, real or ridiculous. I hope to encourage with this writing the art of your own forgiveness practice. Take just one slight annoyance this week, maybe an impatient customer-service provider, without a good night's sleep, or the tone from a co-worker, or the heinous hand-gesturing of a hostile commuter on the freeway. What does it take to feel the heart soften and the mind give the benefit of the doubt? Feel it for this 'other', then turn it right around and send to yourself. Healing - on a global inter-stellar- cellular level.


Yesterday,  I attended the volunteer breakfast at Namaste and felt buoyed and completely supported by staff and fellow volunteers. I am proud of the 11th hour vigils I attend, the long-term care giving of companionship and deep spiritual friendship I have sustained with patients and staff for these past two years. I could not be more grateful- for this "aha! moment" It could not have been a more fortuitous dream that slipped me into the PINK!! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Reverie for the second infusion

video


This is an experience of being on the inside of an envelope. I know it is hard for my friends and family to remain as they must on the outside. But the love and gracious kindness and prayers and thoughts and gifts and food and flowers and cards keep me in my interior place warm, not dry and supple. 
I have very little energy but had recorded this Elegy of Rilke's (the 8th), back in early December —before the reality of cancer, but somehow I heard a faint premonition, a forwarding in time and hope in this recording today - that seemed fitting, and timely and so I offer it up with some of my images that I worked with this past year, to say to each of you- thank you for holding the envelope of me in your own hands…and be amazed by the day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

100.5º a new transparency


That is the temp target for the emergency room- and the temp I had on Wednesday morning- by the time the nurse returned our call at 1AM the temp had gone down to 100.4 so we didn't tell her it reached the emergency threshold because we knew it would cause more problems and sure enough with in half an hour it had settled at 99.8. It is weird how quickly it moves around and how bad a few points of degree can make you feel. Still I think the worst is behind and the predominate experience for now is a simple tiredness.

Since Wed., the temps still come and go bouncing around from 100.4 - 99.8 to 100.1, and then normal most of the day. Only seems to come out at night- So the nurses said, I spoke to two over the several days, that this is the trough of the therapy and is expected —this is the worst of the side effects but it also means the drugs are doing their thing. My hair is shedding by the hand full, tho I clipped it down to 1 inch this means I'm shedding like a short haired dog in June. Still a long way to bald, but by the trough of the second round, I expect to look very alien-like. I just made a drawing a loose interpretation of myself not so much what I really look like more a feeling portrait. The transparency is key- I feel very transparent.

Reading several books concurrently- one on cancer, one on qi-gong, one on dharma, one entitled, Science and the Akashic Field, An Integral Theory of Everything. By Ervin Laszlo. Akasha another sanskrit word means ether radiation and brilliance. In Indian philosophy was considered the first and most fundamental of the five elements making up the entire universe. For reference:
The Akashic Field Integral Theory of Everything
Also, you can listen to him speak with this link below on how he preposes things relate together——a very sweet voiced person- enjoyable. copy paste this text and the mp3 ought to show up it's on the wiki-site  as well. Ervin Laszlo MP3 audio - Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything from The Great Rethinking: Oxford, sponsored by The Prophets Conference
"Communicate beyond the range of eye and ear... In the laboratory also, modern people display a capacity for spontaneous transference of impressions and images, especially when they are emotionally close to each other... transpersonal contact includes the ability to transmit thoughts and images, and ... it is given to many if not all people... this is the finding of recent experiments... Reliable evidence is becoming available that the conscious mind of one person can produce repeatable and measurable effects on the body of another... [also] Intercessory prayer and spiritual healing, together with other mind- and intention-based experiments and practices, yield impressive evidence regarding the effectiveness of telepathic and telesomatic information- and energy-transmission. The pertinent practices produce real and measurable effects on people, and they are more and more widespread. But mainstream science has no explanation for them.
What I like most about his words are the thoughts that science is finally or seems finally to be cycling around to embrace the immeasurability of immeasurability- how something like meditative states can set the condition for receiving new in-formation - and new potential creation-ship. Nothing ever being lost - holographic existence means we  will disappear as individuals, but the traces of our consciousness can and will inform the future- this is interestingly compared to 'prayer'. A mystical/scientific medium that is descriptive of something dynamically shifting impermanent, again, a description of being with a capital B. So, I'm interested in the phenomena of myself as I come closer to a transparent self- the curtain lifting up- after all what good is having cancer if not to investigate the greater insight of myself.  Lucid dreaming, yogic and transcendental mysteries form, stars, diatom, energy cellular truths, the body the body the body of matter, this body- yours mine- the gross dross level of being- coming and going- breathing in breathing out breath bodies of breath pure potential chords like waves potential for creating meaning out of chaos. Understanding chaos of cancer like maybe the body can be thought of like an orchestra, (cancer) maybe a few major chords being played out on instruments slightly out of tune- the C-cells themselves operating on frequencies out of rhythm, out of sync. Sour notes. Chemo - a kind of tuning and re-tuning. Anyway stellar and cellular investigation continuing to intrigue me and carry through this re-tuning imagine the sound of a great MAJOR C.


I pray each of you are peacefully happy- enjoying the stars the snow, the sun, new greening outside your window- the touch of light on your cheek, that light that has traveled across the universe just to land specifically there, and when the light touches us it like the connection you enjoy on your computer to mine- our interconnectedness is a blessing we could never have dreamed of a few years ago, but which we must have imagined in our deepest dreams! I dream of a chinese box opening an inside is an envelope of a little child which opens up and there is laughter- really and the lucid dream voice announces "This is sweet"… bless each and all for your interest in my words, my plight, my rambles and thank you for the love coming through the and across the Akashic Field.