January 21st, 2006

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my experience -

I am again awake in the night, listening to the rain. I am in extreme discomfort. I don't even know how to describe it, which is why I realize the doctors can't describe it either. It is very challenging to be in unrelenting discomfort. I feel like I tried everything today. I read Eckhart Tolle, listened to Thich Nhat Hanh, and no matter no much I try and focus on my breath, I can't escape how I feel. My body bends inward. Perhaps I can image myself as Kokopeli playing a flute. It is hard to imagine how, in this moment, I would recommend chemo to anyone. Maybe if their life were in danger, but how does one know? Bodies change. Life changes. Maybe tumors go away. It has happened, spontaneous remission, unexplained by science. Anyway, it is lovely to hear the rain, and it is a surprise. I didn't realize more was on its way. I try to use the sound to calm my soul, but this with my legs, my bones, is hard to ignore. I try and image that good things are going on, that my body is firing back at the damage, but living as a battlefield is not much fun. I can't seem to find a way to relax with this, to accept it, to find some purpose in it. I know that this is this moment, but it has been a long one, several days now. I imagine people worst off than I am, burn patients for one, people who have lost a limb. I try and imagine that, to give myself some peace, and I still can't sleep, and so it is. I cannot sleep, and so, it is. I'm awake in the night and I hear the rain. That truly is a treat.
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twirl the rain -

I find myself listening to the rain fall, and I want to twirl it, to give it a whirl, like on a carousel before it drops to the earth to commune with the worms. I think of how delighted the worms must be with all this rain, so much mud to tunnel through, ingest, and turn. Can I think of this aching as tingling, as worms creating new earth in me? Can I swirl all the water running through me? Can I splash in it, like birds in a bath, like frogs in a bog, like butterflies on a freshwater marsh, teasing nectar through a probe that is long?
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Suffering -

Suffering is wanting things to be different than they are. In the night, I wanted the rain to have a more exciting trip as it came down. I wanted loops, fireworks, and curls. Talk about suffering! : )

Perhaps, it is the hopping and popping that continues in my legs and feet, that makes it so hard to settle into the simplicity and ease I normally love and cultivate.

Perhaps I was wanting to hold the rain from the grave. I wanted to give it time to frolic and play, and maybe that is what chemo is seeming like to me, some interference with the natural path my life might take. Am I adding curlicues to the span of my life, delaying the end? Am I missing the natural fall that leads to the earth and emergence with all?
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and now -

Steve and I went out to breakfast this morning in Sausalito. It is so quiet with the clouds and rain, and the Anchorage had only a few people, all absorbed in their morning Chronicle. I had to smile, as I had already read the news on-line, and yet, there is something so wonderful about seeing people with their morning paper, coffee, and eggs. It is such a lovely ritual. I am grateful for life, and thankful for existence, and I am over my flopping around like a fish out of water, trying to find the sea in the raindrops. The nausea has subsided, and breakfast tasted really good, and I was able to walk over and savor the smoothness of the morning bay, always a special treat. All is well with me, and I hope, also, with you.
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Letting go -

The anxious student asked the Zen master how long to enlightenment. The Zen Master answered a long time, at least 10 years. The student said, "Well I will work twice as hard." The Zen master said, "Then it will take 20 years." "No!" said the committed student, "I will work three times as hard." "Well then," said the Zen master, "it will take 30 years."

And so, it is. Today, I sink into a smile, and hope that is enough, for now.
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thoughts -

Another Jane sends me these words from Jack Kornfield this morning.

Live in joy, in love,
even among those who hate.

Live in joy, in health,
even among the afflicted.

Live in joy, in peace,
even among the troubled.

Look within, be still.
Free from fear and attachment
know the sweet joy of the way.


She, too, was restless in the night, and truly, doesn't it make sense?  The night is when we are safe to open to feel, and when it is raining, our eyes provide the starlight, the probes that web the lens.   There is much to reflect.  I question sometimes how I pay back all that is spent on me now to prolong my life, and I trust that the way is shown, that all of you are showing me my way, that you hold a container in which I lie like a baby, and begin again to understand what I always knew, and, in that, I toss a rattle of understanding between me and you.  


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quote by Hannah Arendt -

“The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be

removed without changing life itself; they are the modes in which life itself,

together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt.

For mortals, the “easy life of the gods” would be a lifeless life.” —Hannah Arendt
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Poem by Emily Dickinson -

The Veins of other Flowers
The Scarlet Flowers are
Till Nature leisure has for Terms
As "Branch," and "Jugular."

We pass, and she abides
We conjugate Her Skill
While She creates and federates
Without a syllable.

    Emily Dickinson, #811 (c.1864)