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

Advertisements

MASTERY

Some time ago, I went to my meditation teacher for some advice.  I believed I was having some difficulty with a person in my life and just didn’t think I knew what to do.  So, I began my tale.  He interrupted me, not rudely, just asked me, “You have practiced taekwondo, haven’t you?”  Yes, I said.   “And, you have studied and practiced yoga for many years, right?  Vinyasa yoga, even, true?”   Yes.  I have.  “What are your practices like, describe them – taekwondo first.”  I did, in detail.  He said, “The same every time?  Taekwondo and vinyasa, the same every time?”   Yes.   “Are your masters good teachers?”   Yes, very much so, both of them.  “Why are your practices repetitive?”  To master our bodies, our brains with our minds.  To improve our reflexes, focus and concentration.  To improve speed and conditioning.  “Uh huh.  Yes.  So, when you repeat your tale of woe, what does that do for you?  What does it improve for you, what do you master?  Can you recall these wrongs with more speed, and conditioning?”   Hmmm. . .

“Perhaps, when these thoughts come to you, you could mentally practice your taekwondo, or your vinyasa – meditate upon those.  You might quicken something.  You might gain insight and mastery.  When you speak of taekwondo, of yoga, your face is pure joy, and your voice changes like love for a child, do you know this?  I’ve enjoyed the time we have spent.”

Yeah, got it.   Hope it helps you, too.  It took practice, it takes practice, but WOW it works.  Train your mind.  Peace to you, and thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

ANGER


When you feel anger, don’t dismiss it or shame it. Acknowledge anger as the message it is. Emotions send messages, information that we need. Anger can tell us something needs to change; anger warns of injustice. Anger spurred such changes as important as the civil rights movement. Anger in the mind of someone skilled at its interpretation: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So, we can practice being skilled, as well. When you feel it, realize it is a feeling, and that its message is that something needs to change, or to be addressed. Now, use your skillful mind to discern: what is your skillful, contributory approach? Practice, practice.

 

ALL THE STITCHES LINE UP

Again, thank you to those folks who hang in there with me.  The heat has definitely affected me this year, I bet many of you can say the same.  I have to blog when I can and take time out from the blogosphere to regain momentum.

While resting this time, I worked on a shawl that I had been knitting.  I came to a place where the stitches were no longer correct.  I worked the pattern, over and over.  Then, I remembered that definition of insanity:  You know, the “doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result”,  well, that was me.  But, sometimes we do need to review.  We need to go over the steps, see where the pattern is.  Finally, I had to disregard the pattern and just look at what the stitches were intended to accomplish.  I followed that, built my own pattern and it came out correctly, voila shawl done!

We have to follow a path, review, pay close attention to where the patterns are, and what we expect to find in them.  In this instance, I wanted a shawl that had a certain type of stitching.   I got that, but I had to re-think, reorganize and examine.  I decided what was important about the project and how best to arrive at the desired result.  I had to stop trusting the written instructions and work on experience and intuition.

I think living with chronic pain is like that, as well.  We need wise counsel, information and education to form a plan.  And, we need to learn when to make adjustments, what to keep and what to discard.  It’s a process, doesn’t stay the same for long.  It’s been an ongoing lesson in learning how to trust myself.  Learning how to trust myself – even when I’m wrong.  Yes, even when I’m wrong – that I will see I’ve been wrong; be willing to admit I’m wrong (regardless of ego-attachment involved), and that I will regain a path toward positive result.  It’s easy to trust ourselves when the instructions are clear and correct.  It isn’t as easy, when the instructions don’t give the result expected and we must find our own way through.  Trusting ourselves in difficulty, that’s the challenge.  That’s the one I’m presenting to you.  What will you do when your plan goes off course?  Fight it,  or find it?  Here’s that choice thing again.  You can trust yourself in uncertainty just as you can when all the stitches line up.  You have to choose to find it.

I hope you’re taking care, staying as cool as you can.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

WHAT’S YOUR HOPE?

The past few weeks have been busy in a learning sort of way.  I like that, even when that learning comes by sadness.  We need to know we can feel that, and make it known.

First, I noticed on my facebook page that someone had put up a message saying he/she was upset about people who abandon longtime pets at shelters; how cruel it is to leave a pet who has  been with you so long.  That touched my heart, and I felt sad about that, too.  Then, something happened –

When my friend, Jack, was dying, we went to visit him.  In the bed nearest the door was a man who had just been admitted to the care facility.  He was nearly blind, and this would be his last place.  We had brought our dog with us to visit Jack.  He liked her and she seemed to brighten him.   The man in the other bed wanted her to visit him, as well.  So we let her go over to him.  He said, “I had to leave my dog.  I had to leave him.”  He was trying not to cry.  I don’t think I’m going to forget hearing that.   The employee we spoke to said he had no one.  And, as obvious, the dog could not come with him.  We left shortly after that, I was having trouble not crying.   We had a 53 mile drive ahead of us, I cried most of the way home.  I’ve seen a lot in my life, and I don’t cry easily, even when I feel something deeply.  This, well. . .

Do you see the thread here?   So, it’s a good thing there are shelters.  I know, in another situation, an elderly woman had to go to an assisted living facility, her neighbor took her dog and he takes him to visit her.  He had a dog already, but he took this one and they both go with him everywhere.  You see, he saw that need and was in that moment to respond.  Let us hope we will have clear vision, and be in those moments so, when we are able, we will respond to need.  The many ways we can respond to suffering, when our minds are open.

Two things I learned from this:  How easy to judge when we aren’t exposed to a wider story.  How easy to miss a need to which we might have been able to respond.  Oh, that judging thing.  It sneaks up on us.  We have to keep learning and reinforcing, don’t we?  We have to teach others, too. We have to notice our thought life, continually.

Then, just recently, I had my moment of  being judgmental, in nearly the same way without even realizing it.   We are having fires in our area.  I had been listening to the radio about all the machinations that go with fires, including the fact that now animal rescue folks were having to get prepared to receive abandoned animals.  I came into a friend’s home loaded with outrage at people who abandon their animals in evacuation from a fire.  I was angry about that.  I wouldn’t do that.  My friend (she’s very wise) said to me that nobody wants to abandon their animals.  But, animals often run and hide when frightened.  They can’t always be found.  You have to make escape possible, and hope you will find them again.  It took my breath away – thinking about having to go through that – it took my breath away.  I thought about my situation.  I live in town, not out on a ranch, or remotely.  My dog isn’t out in our backyard without someone watching her.  She’s in the house quite often, right where I can easily reach her, but it could happen.

Do you see?  Suffering is already present, and we then add to it with judgment?  We must change.  I am thankful my friend was willing to answer my judgment with information.  It has heightened my awareness; not only to judgments and attitudes I hold, but to wanting to clear those so I can be more present to be of help, to know when I might offer, or respond to a need.

Last one, a person posted on facebook a derisive remark about  those on foodstamps, comparing them to the signs you see in national forests about not feeding the animals because they will become dependent.   That was sad.  I have known people who,  for many, many reasons,  wound up in need and had to rely on gov’t aid.  People whose family members became ill and they had to care for them; people who went back to school to get out of minimum wage jobs; people who had illnesses that became more prolonged than jobs or personal resources could tolerate.  Suffering upon suffering.  Let it not be.

These are my most fervent hopes:   that I will try to continually examine my thoughts;  be surrounded by folks who can “school” me;  that I’ll see and hear my judgmental self when she shows up, and get the point; that I’ll be willing to change; and, I’ll be open to seeing a need I might meet, when judgment has fallen away.

I know you must have hopes, too.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Lilie

De-BUNKING!

I’m going to say some things that are going to make some people pretty angry.    That’s ok.   It’s about time.   You are entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine.

For those who have chronic pain/illnesses who are taking:  Painkillers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety medication, etc.  I hope you will seriously consider doing something else.  Try something else.  I’m not talking about naturopaths, I’m going to make them angry here, too.  Lately, I have seen a whole slew of friends diagnosed with “adrenal exhaustion”.  If  you take just a basic A&P class, you’ll know, that’s not really possible.  Your adrenals don’t get exhausted like that.  If your adrenals are really having a problem, a blood test can confirm it.   Also, colonics – if you like them – well, . . . . , go ahead, but they don’t do a thing for you.  Your body doesn’t need that to cleanse itself.  It is designed for that.  No help necessary.   Baloney on that stuff, stop listening.  They are making money off you.  When the ‘cure’ for that doesn’t work, they’ve got something else.  I’m sick of seeing people taken advantage of because they are desperate.  BTW, painkillers, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety meds, etc., are the western medical protocol for chronic pain/illness.  When you take these drugs, and your body gets used to them and you have to have increasing doses of them, you’ll notice your healthcare provider even more determined to get rid of you.  Yes, because they are being regulated, watched.  When they prescribe too much to too many, they get rid of those patients.  You have to find another doctor. You get accused of doctor shopping, and being an addict – not a good place to be.

Antidepressants, if you have not been diagnosed by a reputable mental health provider as clinically depressed, you have no business taking antidepressants.  They change your brain chemistry.  Your brain stops manufacturing the chemicals itself and becomes dependent on having the medicine to make them.  A state worse than the first you were in.  It is not helpful for chronic pain.  It is a bandaid, a something to get you out  of the office and off the doctor’s schedule, for a while.

The other day, I heard yet another ‘cure’.  Yeah, vinegar, for just about everything.   Did you know?  It makes your bones stronger?  Yeah, really – uh huh.  Oh, you mix it with honey, yeah, because honey is a cure for everything, too.  Well, honey for those allergic to bee/wasp stings, pollens, grasses, etc., can be deadly.  And, vinegar – it is acetic acid.  It doesn’t do anything PERIOD.  It makes a great cleaner.  If you mix it with baking soda, you can make ‘rockets’.   Basic chemistry people, use your brain!!!!  Acetic acid is not a cure for high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, arthritis or anything else.  It will make your windows shine.  Again, it’s a nice cleaner.  I use it for my countertops and windows.

Also, Neurontin (gabapentin) and Lyrica – look up the literature on them – they are about as good as a placebo for pain.  Neurontin is prescribed about as frequently as sugar pills.  Don’t bother.   It can make you sleepy, but if you don’t have epilepsy, it’s really not going to do much for you.  It can make you gain weight, and sweat, but that’s about it.  And, when you do read the literature, thoroughly, you will find they have no idea how it works on neurogenic pain.  It doesn’t.  I have neurogenic pain.  Fortunately, I had a dad smart enough to tell me not to take that stuff.  He said it makes a nice living for the pharmacist, and the drug company; otherwise, again – baloney!!! Yeah, that’s going to make people happy.  Figure it this way, if a doctor is willing to give you multiple refills on the medication, it isn’t actually going to do much for you.  It’s another  ‘here, shut-up, I can’t help you drug’.

I am fortunate.  I was able to avoid some of this crap, because of my dad.  He was a pharmacist.  And, an extremely intelligent man.

Doctors who don’t take insurance and are free with prescriptions for narcotics, aren’t sympathetic, compassionate people.  They are bums.  They are after your money.  They don’t care about your welfare.  A doctor who truly considers your welfare is hard to find for chronic conditions because they don’t make money, and chronic pain/illness sufferers can be a nuisance.   Healthcare providers  can’t often find a cause, and it’s frustrating to treat and to listen to, when they can’t provide anything.

Things to try:  Read as much legitimate literature on your condition as you can.  Take as little medication as possible.  Stay in the best health, at an appropriate weight, with as much activity as you possibly can.  Find a sport, or activity that you can tolerate.  I found taekwondo helpful, and I had to modify that.  Sometimes, I have to stop for a while.  Find something that interests you, and get more interested.  Find something to do that helps others, and do that.   If it sounds like I am not sympathetic, I am.  I am limited by chronic, constant, 24/7, relentless pain.  Sometimes it is very, very bad.  Lately, it has been.  I fake it for a few hours at a time, when everyone else has gone home, or when I can go there, I lie down, and I read or knit, or watch an entertaining program or movie.  I don’t belong to a pain support group anymore, because, when I did belong, all they did was rehearse their stories of woe.  It’s hard not to do that, but it won’t help you.  It reinforces that in your brain.  That’s why I got interested in meditation.  That’s another thing, meditation doesn’t take long to teach someone.  You don’t need to buy special clothes, nor spend a lot of money being taught.  It takes just a few sessions.  If the person teaching you tells you that it will help your pain go away, or you won’t feel your pain – bullshit – you will feel your pain.  The thing meditation does for me, and what I teach other people, is that it gives you the ability to give yourself  an attitude adjustment.  You can look at your pain, your life differently.    In time, after being diagnosed with everything in the world, I did find out what the source of  pain was, for all the good that did.  There is no cure.  It is up to me.

I still have friends, acquaintances, who give me info on the latest supplement, cure, etc.  I try to be polite.  I thank them.  I smile to myself that I’m glad I had a great AP teacher who wasn’t shy about speaking the truth, and a dad who wasn’t either.  Honey and vinegar, won’t cure you, one of them – can kill you.  Acai berries taste good.   Most supplements make expensive urine – if you’re going for that; well, take them then.  We absorb nutrients best from our food.  Eat well, make the calories count.  Fad diets don’t work.  Diets where certain foods are excluded, UNLESS you have a specific illness/condition documented by testing, don’t work either.  I am allergic to dairy.  I can’t have milk, milk-products, etc.  I can eat hard cheeses.  I stick to that, as best I can.  Otherwise, I eat from the groups.

What sounds too good to be true, is.

Live well, and wisely.  Thanks for stopping by.  Lilie

SHENPA, GO HOME!

In Buddhist writings, ‘Shenpa’ is the distracter, that chattering inside your head, always something to say.  This is one idea for coping with ‘Shenpa’.

a nice day, in the mid50s

walking into the early morning

Shenpa begins talking

wonder and worry

and all the other things

mind has to say

gray rain cloud forms a low ceiling

over this valley

to the mountains and beyond

a deer jumps, then sprints into the thicket

chipmunk runs the rails of a fence,

and skitters off

the dam seems quiet this morning,

beaver must have slept in

birds fly out from the bushes

surprised by the sound of footsteps

the sun tries to part the cloud,

for a moment,

with his big, round, bright face

moment by moment

this is what we have

what deserves our attention

let Shenpa get his own ride home!

from the book, A Perfect Blossom, by Lilie Allen

copyright 2010