December 13th, 2005

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Good Morning!

I wake this morning from a wonderfully vivid dream where I am cuddling a sweet little round baby boy, and another little boy is sitting right next to me, and we are being served just the right food by friends, and then, I bounce around the room. I am able to jump up and touch the very high ceiling and hold onto a beam, and lift myself up and look and float around.

I woke this morning feeling how grateful I am to be alive. I realize that is how much of yesterday was spent, just feeling aliveness. I feel my heart pump, and my eyes move, and I am in awe at the joy of being alive.

Someone sent me an article yesterday on possible alternatives to chemo, and I read it and sent it out to others for evaluation, and once, again, we all came to the same conclusion. I want to live. I will not risk my life for anything. I want to know I am doing absolutely everything to ensure I am here to play with my grandchildren.

Chemo may be primitive, and even brutal, but it is what we have right now. I have to take advantage of what is available to me right now.

Sometimes this is tough. My head continues to feel like a burning bush with a stubble of furry leaves, and so, I imagine it as a full head halo, freshly aglow.

I am willing to risk this. I think when it comes right down to it, the desire to live is much stronger than we ordinarily realize. It is much easier to think 5% is not so much, unless it is your 5% and then it is everything. In this morning moment, I think and feel I am making the right choice for me. I am grateful I have this choice. I am grateful to be alive. I wish I had words to describe how much I love being alive. Tears come to my eyes. Perhaps those are my words, warm wet ones, smacky, rich kisses from the inside of my body to the outside of me.

Each one of us is a miracle. I see that so fully now, the miracle of this uniting and connecting to breathe in and out, you and me. Celebrate today. Light candles in every cell, and hang a holiday wreath. Place stockings over your inner fireplace, and fill those stockings with marshmallows shaped like your own personal versions of Joy and Peace!

Yesterday morning Jane wrote a poem where she spoke of the "young light" that is coming. She didn't feel it was ready for the blog, so I requested she ready it for the Solstice, and she agreed, so there will be a wonderful welcoming back of the light poem from Jane in only eight days!! Enjoy these deepening days of darkness, for soon, we will again be welcoming "young light."
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Erich Fromm!


I would say that what people really mean by happiness is unlimited consumption. We are a society of consumers. I think if you ask people what their concept of Heaven is, they would say, that it is a big department store with new things every week, all the money to buy them. Actually we are the eternal suckling, the eternal baby who wants the bottle.

Happiness should be not an aim in itself but something that accompanies intense relatedness to many things - to man, to nature - a relatedness that does not exclude deep sadness, because one cannot remain sensitive and responsive to the world without often being deeply sad.


Erich Fromm


I received the above from Candice this morning.  I sit with that second paragraph.  I woke at midnight.  I am affected by living in a state that executes a man.  I pray today for a new awareness of relatedness that makes education our highest priority.  Imagine what this world could be if our military budget were turned over to teachers, therapists and somatic workers.

In Sweden, juvenile delinquents are given massage training.  It makes all the difference for them.

Ah, Imagine!!   And so I do!

May your day be rich in relatedness, and may this state, this country, wake.


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Narwhals -

There is an amazing article on narwhals by William Broad in the New York Times today. Check it out!

Narwahl tusks, which can be up to nine feet long, and were sold as unicorn horns in the past have been discovered to be amazing sensory organs. They have ten million nerve endings "tunneling from the tusk's core toward its outer surface, communicating with the outside world." What is really amazing is that these nerve endings are sensitive to the cold as we know when our gums recede. Dr. Nweeia says, "Of all the places you'd think you'd want to do the most to insulate yourself from that outside environment this guy has gone out of his way to open himself up to it."

Wow!! Now, that is inspiring. Be like a narwhal today, sensitive and open to your environment. Taste this precious world in your core.

Since today has already been declared "Imagine Day," imagine a sensitive tusk, nine feet long, probing and checking out the weather and activities of the day. Reach!

Be a unicorn, a narwhal, a pirate, a fairy, whatever you want, today.
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Dreams -

I am considering on my morning dream, remembering now that, in interpretation, we are everyone in the dream, so the chubby, naked baby I was holding is also me. Steve loves my head, thinking it looks like a baby's head, with its soft tufts of fluff. I am usually less charitable in my interpretation, though I am realizing that I am starting to look and feel like a soft, chubby baby, and so, perhaps, this truly is a rebirth, and I am meant to enjoy now, and then, one day, start crawling, then, walking, and shed my baby fat.

I am on the type of chemo where people usually gain weight, a most strange thing I think, and yet, so it is. At least, I can snuggle in, in my winter baby fat, into the winter womb of warmth and rebirth.

I'll poke my head out in the Spring.

Happy savoring all the Holiday Treats!
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the miracle of life -

Ellen sends this to augment what I realize I'm trying to say today.

Appreciation of life itself, becoming suddenly aware of the miracle of being alive on this planet, can turn what we call ordinary life into a miracle. 

Dan Wakefield





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Elaine searched on-line for comfortable hats for people going through chemo and brain surgery and found B. Coole Designs. It turns out they are locally made hats, Santa Rosa, and mine arrived today. I have a cloud sitting upon my head, comfort, ease, and I look spiffy too. They are like floppy artist's hats, sort of a loose beret style, and my head is covered and comfortable for the first time since it started falling out. Wool is warm, but not so comfy on a newly shorn head. I am happy with my hats!! If you know anyone going through chemo, which I hope you don't, I suggest these hats.
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an additional hat note -

As I moved about, the hat kept flopping into my eyes, and I have a big head. She sells a bathing cap style hat to wear under the hats, and that keeps them anchored, so I see that the $6.00 under hat is an essential part of the system. I also see that the "bathing cap" will mean all of my hats stay more easily in one place, and be more comfortable. You don't realize how much your hair does until it isn't there. So, today, everyone give their hair a big, cuddly hug, and say thank you for keeping your head warm, comfortable, safe, and anchoring your hats.
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Serpentine is the state rock of California. When you walk around, note how beautifully it shines right now, how lovely all the rocks are in this winter light. Lichen is splendid too. Happy nature viewing to you!
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more than anyone wants to know about hats -

I thought about deleting the whole hat scenario, but then, it is not so easy to do so, and so, forget the hats. Just forget everything I said about the hats. They flop about, and Steve really likes my head, and, so, there, it is. To make up for all of this, I am going to pretend it snows where I am in California, and give you a poem that makes my heart spin. Once again, we have the amazing Billy Collins.

Shoveling Snow with Buddha

    by Billy Collins

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over the mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm and slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside the generous pocket of his silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck,
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.