SAY THE SIMPLE THINGS

Sometimes we’re too concerned with the ‘marketability’ of words and ideas, rather than taking an interest in their substance.  A pet peeve with me, lately.

So, let’s make this short and sweet.  Love yourself.  I don’t mean in some emotionalized, surface, affirmation-spouting demonstration.  I mean the deep and abiding love that seeks the best interest of the self which means the inclusion of the best for others.   The purpose of your life is up to you.  Find what you are good at, what you have interest in and pursue it to the very best of your effort, and go beyond.  Learn, learn, learn, make it a habit.  In whatever circumstances you find yourself, learning can always be part of it.

When you love yourself, you watch your ‘mental talk’.  You begin to make choices where you didn’t notice them before.  And, I have found, you encounter respect from others, often.   Those who don’t treat you with respect get less notice, and seem to drop by the wayside.  This, I have found, is due to the fact that you are managing your time, and you won’t have time for those who are working out their problems on others, rather than facing them honestly and constructively by taking responsibility for themselves.

Love yourself.  Begin now.  Begin tomorrow.  Begin.

May you make respectful choices all day.    Thanks for reading.  Lilie

REWARDS AND RECOGNITION

I see comments like, “you may wait a long time before you see your kindness pay off”, or the medical benefits of kindness listed – as if we must be strung along to that path, enticed – that kindness in itself is not enough.   I don’t want to throw cold water on any of that.  I accept those words as the intention behind them – to be encouraging.

AND,  Kindness is enough.  If you practice acts of kindness, you will become that.  It will be your habit.  Kindness will be your first action.  Whatever else comes (and there are truly many benefits), kindness:  doing kindness, being kindness, thinking on kindness, working at kindness – that’s a most worthwhile pursuit.  It is a reward.

Thanks for reading.  May you be a constant witness to kindness, and its aware recipient.  Lilie

WEIGHING WORDS

When it comes to writing for my blog, I sometimes feel stymied – thinking about the subject that is my interest, well, everything that can (or should) be said, seems to have been.

Meditation is my interest, passion more likely.  And, often, I see that treated as the latest hip, slick and cool thing to do, or to claim one is involved in.  There are all kinds of challenges, retreats, spas, etc., all having the latest take on meditation and very, very expensive -guessing here that this would be the benchmark for how valuable it is – not to me.

Nothing wrong with making a living, but it does seem, to me, these days that every idea, every word that comes out of anyone’s mouth is fodder for a new enterprise.  The first consideration – how much can we charge, how much would people tolerate paying?  How and to whom do we market?  It sickens me.  I see meditation often marketed as an opportunity for greater prosperity – do this, this way and you’ll be a millionaire in a month.  Oh, please.

What about, learn to think, learn to think for yourself what your own thoughts truly are and feel better.  What if learning to think and know your own thoughts allowed you to be more at ease in yourself and in your relationships.  What if you had more of you, a deeper, more centered you in all areas of your life.  That’s the meditation I’m talking about.  I have no concern or intention to turn anyone into a millionaire. Billionaire is the target now, isn’t it?

It’s a simple process, a simple truth – doesn’t require a commitment to a lifelong guru, surrendering your will or identity to another person, which I AM NOT a fan of AT ALL.  For me, meditation was the open door.  It was my way to living a full, open life.  I had great difficulty coping with, let alone trying to conquer, chronic pain.  I didn’t want the current western medical model:  antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs, etc.  I wanted a clear, strong, creative mind.  I didn’t want to watch $$ flying out the window pursuing every silly, snake oil idea out there.

I found meditation.  Practiced, studied, practiced, took classes online, went to classes, studied some more, practiced, read every book I could find and got results.  My results were surprising to me, initially.  The first, I realized I was experiencing moments of inner peace – I hadn’t had that before.  And, then stringing together, more and more spaces of time spent in true happiness – regardless of my current environment or situation.  I just felt enough, equal to the challenge, whatever it might be.  I lost my worry.  I became better at planning, but lost my worry.  I’m not looking for him, either. . .

Anxiety was the next to lose it’s grip.  Oh there still may be triggers, but they don’t get a hold anymore.  They are recognized for what they are, and seem to fade out.  How does that help chronic pain?  Well, my pain did not go away.  But, I have more energy and more ability to manage the pain.  It is there, I’m aware of it, I don’t deny it, but it’s just there period, that’s all.  It is a reality, just like having blue eyes – but you don’t spend all day thinking about your eyes.  I have more success planning and using my energy to its best effort.

I see so much potential for meditation – of course, there have been many cultures who have known this for thousands of years.  I want to see schools able to offer meditation – it’s good for any person, and I think would be excellent for the bullying problem – bullies and the bullied, alike.  I’m not teaching a system, a religion, or even a philosophy – My goal is to teach others what I have learned:  Your mind is your own, and the thoughts you hold are there because YOU thought them, and decided to keep them and make them your subject – it is that simple.  Learn to know your own mind.  Learn who you want to be.  Learn why you allow some thoughts to continue and whether that is useful to you, or not.  Learn that you can change at any moment, and then change again.

So, let’s weigh our words.  Let’s look at the profit in our words as the ‘prophet’ in our words first.  Weigh them in your mind, are they useful?  Are they helpful?  What feeling do they promote?  It’s up to you.  Thanks so much for reading.  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?

SANTA CLAUS, OR BROTHER’S KEEPER?

I’ve been thinking about this, and thinking about this; well, I have to weigh in.  I’ll tell it through my own experience, you’ll get the gist.
Many, many years ago, I was a supervisor in a medical support position at a mental health care facility.  The facility had a locked ward.  I was one of very few support staff who had to make trips to the locked ward.  We had a protocol.  Normally, I followed it carefully.  I believed I was following it carefully this day.  I approached the first door, waited and was ‘buzzed’ into an anteroom.  We were supposed to wait for a few seconds, then the second door would open.  I would look both ways, toward patient rooms, and toward the dayroom, then cross when no one was in that short hallway.  This day, I believed I was being careful.  But, I crossed the hallway and someone was behind me, surprising both of us.  The man grabbed me, from behind, around my neck and above my waist, he had me about two or three inches off the ground.  I was immediately afraid, and then kind of pissed off.

I looked toward the entry to the nurse’s station and there stood a young resident.  He moved into the doorway and began talking to the man who had hold of me.  He spoke in a neutral voice.  Something about this young resident’s expression hit me with more impact than being yanked off my feet.  I suddenly felt terribly sad.  Yes, this man could hurt me, that’s very true, and that didn’t leave my mind.  But, I knew he did not mean to.  As the resident spoke to him, I could feel his fear and confusion.  He was afraid of me.  I had surprised him every bit as much as he surprised me.  He was not seeing me, but some delusion which was, at that moment, his reality.  I was inside that delusion and he was afraid of me.  He was talked into releasing me, and he did so without harming me.  I felt sickened at heart, and terribly sad.  I knew, the reality hit me – no going back.  I knew where I was and what I was witnessing, it changed my entire way of thinking.   This man with promise, hopes, family and friends was betrayed by the very organ we believe defines us, presents our identity to the outside world – his brain.  I could not imagine what that would be like.  To be one kind of person, to think of and see yourself as one kind of person, and become and do things that are not within your experience of yourself.

 
In the following couple of weeks, an incident report had to be filed.  I was questioned, interviewed, etc.  So was the man.  He didn’t really understand what he had done, he knew it was something that he was ashamed of.   He didn’t want to look at me.  I just felt sick about the whole thing.  No, he shouldn’t have attempted to harm me, but that isn’t what he was attempting to do; however, that’s what his action could have resulted in.  He shouldn’t have been in that position.  And, he was going to be put out on the street.  What then?  Didn’t anyone ask that?  No.  Because it was about cutting funding for mental health services.  That’s just a luxury item, right?  We don’t want to pay for that for crazy folk, do we?

Unless you are the one experiencing a psychotic break and/or schizophrenia, I don’t think you can explain it to anyone – I don’t think mental health care providers can.  It’s a terrible and devastating illness, creating destruction all across its path.   There is more hope now for people, but it really depends on a great support system, and money, money, money for care, much care.  That’s not the story for most.

So if you want to demonize, vilify, there it is, you certainly can.  But, if you are interested in the truth, if you believe the truth brings healing and opportunity to educate and prevent, you’ll have to look a little deeper, past the easiest reaction, past the seduction of the media and their agenda to keep a story alive no matter how skewed or misrepresented, no matter that it engenders fear, suspicion and hatred.   There is enough pain here to go around.  All have suffered.

Unless we look at this situation for the truth it offers, and begin there, it is going to continue to happen.  We need to know what our state laws are regarding mental health issues and the reporting thereof.  We need to know how to enhance those laws for the protection of all.  Mental health is not a luxury item.  And, ‘no’ Virginia there is no Santa Claus, but  ‘yes’ we are our brother’s keeper – help comes when we acknowledge and provide it – even if a person can only look at it from the point of their own self-interest.

By no means is it my intention to make less of the suffering of all the victims and their families.  My heart is sick for all concerned.

Thank you for stopping by.  Lilie

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