ASSETS

In coming out of my mental slumber, or on the awakening part, of my journey (laughing), I finally found the good sense to review, beginning with assets. What/who in my life was helpful to me, who/what was I helpful to? I put into practice skills I developed through meditation, taking inventory without judgment was a start. This, more than other skills, may ‘unstick’ you, move you forward in ways you never considered.

Rather than annoyance or anger at situations and folks, I assessed. If you have people close to you: relatives, partners, close relationships who aren’t (or haven’t been) supportive, don’t go to them for support. K-n-o-w that, and move on. You don’t necessarily have to confront or leave them. We all have strengths and limits. You – look to your strengths PERIOD. Refuse to rehearse old stories. Do what is skillful, helpful, useful.

Consider, first and foremost, you are your best emotional support. Learn how, get counseling, read, ask, research. Put together a plan that depends on you. The world does not alter, nor stop, because you have chronic pain/illness and you don’t want to be one. Family and friends are living, too. Situations exist and occur in their lives, too. No matter anyone’s commitment, love and support, they aren’t responsible for you. Consider that with chronic pain and illness may come the consequence of occasional self-indulgent thinking and behavior, you can change that. Do not act it out on those you love – well, on anyone. Again, assess, consider, change.

The more you are willing to find resources within yourself to meet your own needs, the more you are your own best comfort and, surprisingly, to others. You will find yourself connecting in ways that build and strengthen, endure and contribute. I found that gratitude thing, it gets stronger, as well.

May you have eyes to see, ears to hear. . the heart to change. Peace to you, Lilie.

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POETRY

For Friday, I offer some poetry.

AWARENESS

Blood

on your. . .

on many hands

Ring the bell, sister

Ring it over

mountains

waterfalls

blue sky nights

no moon shines

on too many

Ring the bell, brother

gateless gate

open wide

make the sign:  hold the lotus

she blooms in mud

dense

dark

elements of all our lives

frog

on a lily pad

shares your skin

Ethiopian, silken, dark face

an empty bowl land

get out of your

mercedes,  the congo. . .

Agni’s coming, a hot wind blows

Ring the bell, my mother

my father

hold out your hands

cooperation is riches

compassion made an ocean,

deep and wide,

every drop – none lost

every living thing has eyes

Ring the bell, Thay

We are listening

Lilie Allen

Aug 29, 2013

CHANGE

I’ve wanted to write this for a long time.  Haven’t quite gotten it to gel in my mind, so many loops to follow with this discussion.  Many years ago, the relationships in my life were, well let’s put it nicely – unsatisfactory.  At least, exploitive, if not downright abusive – and some were abusive, including physically.  Why, why did I have these relationships, these friendships?   With meditation, I began to feel and then to realize what my part was in all this.  I had accepted it.  I didn’t deserve it; wasn’t being punished; but, in some sense I was attracting this.   And, I realized I wasn’t good friend material at that time myself.

The first barrier was the past.  As it is with way too many of us, I grew up in a seriously psychologically and physically abusive environment.  The code of the family, then, was  that it was ok to hurt me – physically, emotionally, psychologically, and especially if it benefitted others.  I was expendable.   I didn’t ‘think’ then.   I agreed.  And, I was a child, so it wasn’t like there was much in the way of choice, at that time.  As I grew up, I still didn’t  ‘think’, didn’t review this attitude, or challenge its validity.  I did not act in my own best interest.  When I did question what my life had been, the reply was basically to suck it up, that was a long time ago, forget about it, or the really original – your past doesn’t affect your present, or your future – uh huh.

Using the traditional religious model of forgiveness, I failed miserably and was in turmoil.   With years and beginning a regular meditation practice, I realized it wasn’t about forgiveness it was about the truth.  The truth was, that I now had an accurate view of what my life had been and the present and future would be up to me, with regard to my choices of people with whom I would associate.    I decided to accept what was, as what was, and to practice discernment from that point on.   You don’t have to hate people for what they were  (or are), nor do you have to continue in the same dynamic.   Your forward movement in your own life, your investment in a more confident, skilled you concerned with healthy interaction to be the person y-o-u intend to be will draw you in other directions – away from what was.

With continued practice, I began to see what my strengths and interests were, and what my participation in my situation had been.     I applied myself to my strengths and interests.  I invested in me:  developing my mind and abilities.  I had the added incentive that I was now coping with constant pain.   During this part of the process, I experienced times of  being worried that soon, very soon, some of these relationships were going to come to a head and have to be dealt with.  I so did not want confrontation.   But, I was changing.  Interestingly, the more I came to know myself, invest in those insights that supported me, I noticed that my efforts at enhancing me were helping others, and connecting me with others in a very different dynamic.  Now, those dysfunctional relationships tended to drop away – no longer any interest.  I was no longer attracted to dysfunction, and dysfunction was no longer attracted to me.  No confrontations, no ugliness, those relationships just seemed to move farther into the background.   Is it always easy?  No.  Sometimes, you might have to speak up and separate yourself  and that does make most of us anxious.  I have also learned, if you continue in a sincere, disciplined practice, you will feel more confident in handling communication in difficulty.  And, you understand more fully (and accept) that you can’t control how the other person will receive or react.   In refusing one thing, you make space for another.

Rather than dwelling on what was, turn the image just a bit, see it from the angle that you have choices and you can begin making them.  A whole different dynamic based on who you want to be can happen now.  Pursue that.  It is worth your thought.  Thanks again for reading, for stopping by.   A day of choices awaits.  Lilie

THE ZEN KOAN: GOOD NEWS/BAD NEWS

Many of us have heard some version of the Zen koan dealing with what constitutes good or bad news.  That has been a delight and a stronghold for me.   To me, news is news – the good and the bad, you must sort – and you will.
So, the news.  Since September, when I took the first of two serious falls, I have had trouble with my legs – extremely painful and limited in walking.  Normally, I have pain in my left leg and some trouble walking due to post-herpetic neuralgia of the L5-S1 nerve roots.  In March, I fell and broke my right leg.  It healed well.  When it healed, they wanted to take another look at my spine (I’ve also had two spinal surgeries – for a different problem), to make sure my fusion, and no other structures, had been damaged.  Then, we would form a plan as to how to deal with this increased pain and limitation.  It is good to know, no damage to structure.  It is a challenge to know that this is the result of the virus attacking another nerve root – this is now L4.   And, nothing can reverse this, at this time.
Among the choices, I have chosen to accept using a wheelchair at this time.  This way, I can still go on ‘walks’ and ‘hikes’ and camp-outs and all the things I love to do, without worrying about keeping up, and it’s such a good feeling to get out and not be isolated.  That’s the killer – the isolation.   I’m opting for a wheelchair, crutches and a scooter.  I am thankful that my insurance will help with some of this.  I am also thankful for incredibly gifted and compassionate healthcare workers and for those friends who stuck with me.  I know they have busy lives with challenges of all kinds of their own.  The visits, the calls, and the concern, keep you going – we all know that.  Not being excluded because you aren’t ‘the same’ anymore, keeps hope alive.
And in respect for honesty, that has happened to me and I’m being honest with myself about the grief and hurt it did cause and getting past it to the wonderful things that await.  It hurts to be rejected.  It hurts to find out those you thought friends, were otherwise.   Tell the truth, grieve it and realize what’s right in front of you.
I will have stronger arms, good thing – my orthopod once called me “Olive Oyl” lol!   I can’t be anything but happy.  It’s a door opening, a way around, a new chapter.  Zen koan:  Good or bad news?  Honey, it’s always going to be what you make it.
Again, thank you so much for all those who continue to visit though my posting is very erratic.  I enjoy your posts, your words and wisdom, as well – so keep up with that.  May you be present in every moment, may your challenges open to you new ways, new friends – new life.  Be there for each other.  Community can be present where you are.   Lilie

MOON IS MOON

Moon

is

moon

 

in the not yet blackened

southeastern

clouded sky

 

this night breeze

faintly moves

branches

illumined by

porch light

near midnight

 

coffee cup

in two hands

as darkness

brings

hot day’s relief

 

all this

moving and still

moon

is

moon

in night’s

same place

the one before

and before

 

breathing in

coffee’s pleasant vapor

and

thoughts of kindnesses known

 

breathe out

kindness

to all those names

known and not

 

may there always be kindness

 

raindrops spatter

one by one

their sound gathering

more density

in the plip-plop patter

on  aluminum awning

 

knitting and book

tucked beneath arm

coffee cup in hand

heading for dry house

 

pull back the curtain

turn

for one more look

 

for all this

moving and still

moon

is

moon

 

who

am

I?

WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

Yesterday, I checked email, looked at facebook, got caught up on internet stuff, and I looked at a political comment made on a site, I won’t mention which one.  It started out ok.  Then, of course, it turned into personal attacks.  I was just about to start tapping in a comment, and caught myself.   Hmm.  What’s this about?  We don’t know these candidates.  If you met them, you don’t know them – you just met them PERIOD.  So, why the personal remarks? You may have an impression of someone, but that’s not knowing them.

It made me think, again.  What in this speaks to me?  Well, it’s about that ‘person I want to be’ thing.  What do I want out of a president, a leader?  Honor, courage, wisdom, patience, compassion.  And, on my part, the recognition that a person can possess those qualities, and they are still human – still have frailties, faults and are subject to making mistakes.  Also my responsibility:  pay attention to the best of my ability, research and understand issues important to self and others, and choose the one I feel best qualifies to address those concerns.  I don’t need to argue, or force my opinion, I have the right to read, listen and vote – those will do.  Things that I am passionate about, I can give money or time; I can volunteer; I can be creative in my ways of expressing support.  And, still I don’t have to call anyone names, degrade or abuse anyone’s reputation – I will make a difference and pass on something better.  What affects one area of your life, encroaches on others.
As always, thanks for stopping by.  May your needs be met, may you be the one who meets another’s need.  Lilie

WHEN IT’S TIME TO GO

Today, my husband retired.  He’s a few years short of retirement, but he has MS.  I haven’t been able to tell anyone outside of family and some very close friends because he would have lost his job.  He is in good health, has been on MS meds now for about five years, (has been diagnosed for 20) but he worked in construction and doesn’t need to be doing that any longer.  So, it’s a time of transition at our house.  Fortunately, we have each other and some good tools we’ve both learned.

It’s a time of excitement; it’s scary and there is some sadness.  We think of all others in similar situations and we send our intentions for all to have their needs met.  And, it is our intention that we may always be ready to meet the needs of others in whatever way we can.

We are very grateful for all we have:  friendship, love and support – particularly.

May you be well.   Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie