January 24th, 2006

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Morning -

I go to bed early, and wake before two, wide awake and refreshed. I further explore two books a friend loaned me at the beginning of all this, "Rituals of Healing, Using Imagery for Health and Wellness," by Achterberg, Dossey, and Kolkmeier, and Martin Rossman's book, "Guided Imagery for Self-Healing." I peruse both of them and realize how valuable it is to read these books when one is well, and so, I offer them to you as possibility.

I am hoping, since I am feeling well in the moment, to use the imagery more intentionally now, and when this is over. The tools are here. I sometimes forget, and that is okay, but, in this moment, I am aware that there are ways to ease my path. Perhaps it is time to pick up a hammer and nails, a chisel, sandpaper, and saw, and hone a bit more consciously the raw materials that are mine.
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Serenity Prayer!

This is with me this morning.

Serenity Prayer

 God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
                the courage to change the things I can,
                           and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

I sit,
like a pyramid
of incense,
lit from above,
with scent,
for those,
I love.  

 

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A Poem by Denise Duhamel!!

Noah and Joan

It’s not that I’m proud of the fact
that 20 percent of Americans believe
that Noah (of Noah’s Ark) was married
to Joan of Arc. It’s true. I’ll admit it
Americans are pretty dumb and forgetful
when it comes to history. And they’re notorious
for interpreting the Bible to suit themselves.
You don’t have to tell me we can’t spell anymore
Ark or Arc, it’s all the same to us.

But think about it, just a second, timeline aside,
it’s not such an awful mistake. The real Noah’s missus
was never even given a name. She was sort of milquetoasty,
a shadowy figure lugging sacks of oats up a plank.
I mean, Joan could have helped Noah build that ark
in her sensible slacks and hiking boots. She was good with swords
and, presumably, power tools. I think Noah and Joan
might have been a good match, visionaries
once mistaken for food-obsessed and heretic.

Never mind France wasn’t France yet
all the continents probably blended together,
one big mush. Those Bible days would have been
good for Joan, those early times when premonitions
were common, when animals popped up
out of nowhere, when people were getting cured
left and right. Instead of battles and prisons
and iron cages, Joan could have cruised
the Mediterranean, wherever the floodwaters took that ark.

And Noah would have felt more like Dr. Doolittle,
a supportive Joan saying, “Let’s not waste any time!
Hand over those boat blueprints, honey!”
All that sawing and hammering would have helped
calm her nightmares of mean kings and crowns,
a nasty futuristic place called England.
She’d convince Noah to become vegetarian.
She’d live to be much older than nineteen, those parakeets
and antelope leaping about like her children.

   Denise Duhamel
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Morning Thoughts on Hair!

Hair, once considered glorious, Begone!!

I am from the days of the 60’s when hair was considered a political statement. Men thrilled to the chance to have wind raise and lift their hair in waves of freedom and autonomy. Now, I have a friend whose 25 year old son is distraut at losing his hair. Mine is gone due to chemo. At first, I suffered a bit at having no hair, and now, I am happy to toss a hat on my head, and that is it as to grooming for the day. I rarely carry a purse. My credit card and money fit in my pocket. I don’t need a brush or a comb. Of course, I have the option of a wig, but what I see is that people still like me, find me attractive, perhaps, even more interesting without my hair. I am exotic this way. I am having fun. Plus, I can see and hear better without hair blocking my eyes and my ears.

How to explain this to a young man who thinks no woman will look at him because of his lack of hair? What happened to the premise that bald is sexy? My dad’s hair was thinning in his 20’s. No woman seemed to have a problem with him, certainly, not my mother. I was proud of my handsome father. Is it the media that makes the difference, every man staffed with his toupee or transplants? Do we not see bald heads as we used to? Shouldn’t they then be unique? Aren’t we attracted to what is different? What happened to Captain Jean-Luc Picard? His bald head shone forth with strength, leadership, and sexiness. Even Kojak with his lollipop seemed to do just fine.

Advertising is set up to push products. Imagine the money spent on hair in this country put to a better use. Imagine if we all shaved our heads. We would have time and money. A bald head frees up a quantity of time, and there is nothing to worry about. There are no bad hair days. There is always a different hat, or the feel of the sun and the breeze, a caress as soft as a bed. I say bring back the bare head. Hair is messy, unsanitary. It flies about, spreading into food and across floors. Give it to the birds for their nests, and let your head gleam. Stand in the sun with a friend. You won’t need a mirror. What could be better than that? Feel Free!! Be clean!! Begin! The pageant is here. Celebrate Your Head!
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Jane's Morning Poem!!


After the dinner party, we went to bed.

We¹d washed the dishes and silver, left the wine glasses.

Remnants of communion settled onto the table top.

The night house shimmered in the fissured moonlight.

From the places lips had met glasses a new verity was born.

Words are merely skillful means and cannot indicate truth.





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On such a day -

Today is exquisite. All the windows in the house are open, and within  is as fresh as without.

My brother commented on the beauty and inspirational quality of Jane’s  poem of January 16th,  without realizing it was inspired by a “real” person.  When I posted the poem, I debated talking about him, but, I wanted the poem to stand on its own.   Today, I asked Jane to write something about him.   I give you her words.   We both wonder if they are necessary, and I think that through this other form, we are give another peek into a commendable human being.  Each time I read the last line, I feel chills.  How true it is for us all that we don’t “have a lot of time.”

Jane's words:

 
My husband Jim has had a company of three partners for thirty years. For most of that time they leased a building in San Francisco. During the dot com boom they were evicted from the building they'd been in for almost 30 years because the landlord wanted to make more money. After a long time looking they found a space in a wonderful old and historic building in Berkeley with a beautiful clerestory and original brick walls that had been a clock factory. The landlord is a man of integrity, married to an artist. He's been a Berkeley denizen for most of his 90-some years. In spite of his age and infirmity he hasn't turned the building over to a property management group and takes personal interest in his tenants, renting to people/groups who, to me,  all seem to have pursued "right livlihood" in some form or another.

When the rains came this winter, the building flooded (it's in the lowlands of
West Berkeley
.  ) Jim and his partners noticed on the day of their holiday party that water was squishing under their carpets. They notified the landlord and were told by his wife that he was very ill...he has cancer ...and was in a lot of pain. Nevertheless, the landlord called people to go to the building and assess the damage and deal with repairs.  Then just a few days later the landlord met with Jim and the people he'd hired to manage the repairs, reviewed what they'd done, made decisions about the next steps and wrote out the checks needed to cover the work. As he left, he said quietly to the people he'd hired to do the repairs, "Make sure the carpet repair happens quickly. I don't have a lot of time."



Here is Jane’s poem from January 16th again. 

 


The old landlord was sick the day the rain began.


By the third day water had flooded the clock factory.

It rose up through the floor.

It seeped through the doors.

By the fifth day the water receded.

The old landlord rose up out of his sick bed.

He went to the clock factory and assessed the damage.

He sat at his desk, wrote checks for the needed repairs.

Everything you need to know about the landlord is here.

 


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children and chemo

There is an article in the SF Chronicle today on children going through chemo. I have no complaint. They receive a bead after each treatment, and they have many. Their survival rate is fantastic, but what they go through is unbelievable, and it sounds like they feel they have been chosen because they are strong. They sound up-beat, and, so it is. Today, I live the up-beat, not the down.
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Evening -

Well, it is January and so the house was opened up for about an hour, but now, the house and I are again bundled up. It is a cold and wintery night. Sleep tight!!