January 31st, 2006

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Good Morning!!

Education is my subject of the moment.

Here is a quote from Bill Gates.

"When I compare our high schools to what I see when I'm traveling abroad, I am terrified for our work force of tomorrow. In math and science, our fourth graders are among the top students in the world. By eighth grade, they're in the middle of the pack. By 12th grade, U.S. students are scoring near the bottom of all industrialized nations. . . . The percentage of a population with a college degree is important, but so are sheer numbers. In 2001, India graduated almost a million more students from college than the United States did. China graduates twice as many students with bachelor's degrees as the U.S., and they have six times as many graduates majoring in engineering. In the international competition to have the biggest and best supply of knowledge workers, America is falling behind."

I just ordered Thomas Friedman's book "The World Is Flat." He elaborates on this quote there. Education leads to a richer quality of life. I find it more than tragic that the United States with all its wealth is falling behind.
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Blessings of the Morning!!

This morning I looked out and watched the sky offer broad pink stripes that then settled down over the earth. I felt, and feel, bathed in the healing energy of rose-pink light. What a way to enter the chemo world! I wrote two poems attempting to capture an experience that is held, like grace, in my cells. I am radiated with the healing pink power of light.

I am dipped
in pink
like an apple
in caramel
when the rouged sky
of morning
a coat
of rose
over the view
soft with radiance,
taste -

Like a petticoat,
the rose of the sky drops,
coating me
in pink -
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Jane's Poem for Today!!

Each day before Tai Chi we sweep.

The mulberry tree loses its leaves slowly in autumn.

Even during the rainy season its leaves still fall.

Then sweeping is slow.

The wet leaves resist the broom and cling to the ground.

We don¹t try to clear all the leaves away, then.

In spring, everything is topped in blossom.

We sweep in summer mostly to remember sweeping.

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feeling rather silly -

I feel rather silly this morning, as I see how clearly that my suffering, my wanting things to be different than they are, is no different than anyone else wanting the same. How can I place my wants and desires over those of another? Perhaps, the point is to let go of the wants, desires, and expectations, to just live in the place of "Is that so?"

May I come more fully to that one day. My turmoil and upset seem silly now in this rosy pink light cleansed by the sweep of Jane's broom.

Jane's poem this morning, which I love, reminded me of two wonderful movies. One is "Enlightenment Guaranteed" and the other is "Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall, Spring." Both sweep me clean.
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I was emailed a wonderful drawing today that looks like a frog and when the drawing slowly turns, it looks exactly like a horse.  Today, turn your vision upside down and all around and see what you can see.  Savor the surprise!!
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Six down. Two to go. Yay!!!

Today went well. I met with the oncologist who is a sweetheart. She was happy to see me smiling. I guess that is pretty unusual in her world. My feet and hands are close to infection, so I am supposed to watch them daily, and return if anything changes. I am babying them as much as I can.

On the aching, it is because those white blood cells are fighting so hard. She is just amazed that the body is able to fight back in the way it does. I am essentially being poisoned, and each two weeks my body fights its way back, but that is why the achiness. If it is too much, they can give me a lesser dose shot five days in a row. I am going to try and stand the three or four days of relatively intense pain, and shoot my way (pun intended) through this. It is now time to talk to the radiologist. I am really moving along. Yay!! It is so wonderful to know there is an end in sight. I feel I will be mainly done by the end of May. Yay!!

I am so appreciative of my doctor. A woman was receiving chemo who has a different doctor. She didn't know what odds chemo gave her, or how many more treatments she had. That seems amazing to me. Every time I go, my doctor or one of the two nurse practitioners spends as much time with me as I want or need answering questions and checking me out. I said my feet were sore. She wanted to see them. I am impressed with that.

I learned that Marin Cancer Care is a wonderful place. They charge 1/10 what it would cost if I went to the hospital for the same treatment. There was a man there who was concerned about his medical coverage. He had medical insurance, but he was afraid it wouldn't cover it all, and he thought he might owe $10,000. They said worry only about your health. You can talk to someone and they will set it up, so you can pay whatever you can, when you can, but don't worry about it now. If you pay it back at $100.00 a month, that is fine. I feel good about that. The man is from Guatamala, and has been working and has health insurance. He was trying to understand why he owes money for his medical costs while some of his friends without jobs and health insurance don't. It is a funny system. Everyone in this country should have excellent medical care. I don't mind paying taxes. I am happy to pay taxes, and I want something back - health care, education, roads, parks. I'm easy to please. : - )

It was quite overcast while I was there, and the birds were all asleep until the very end when the sun finally poked through. Then, they, too, flew about. The tree still has no leaves, not even any buds. I feel we are the same, me with the bones of my skull and the tree with its limbs. There was a small, controlled burn on Mount Tam today. It seemed like a good day for that. I pretended someone was enjoying a fire. It seemed more romantic that way.

Today was quick, under five hours by twenty minutes, and relatively painless. They cut the Benadryl dose in half so I was able to rest, instead of feeling jumpy like last time. All is well with me. Thank you for all your prayers, visualizations, and care. It makes a difference for me. Thank YOU!!! Keep visualizing red and white blood cells in the most jubilant joy of renewal and play. They only get knocked back two more times now. We're counting the days, my blood cells and me. : )
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I am wide awake. They put all sorts of things in my drip, so it takes about 24 hours before I feel the effects of the chemo. I have some cramping, but, I am wide awake.

I think part of the alertness is that I go in and sit down and they wrap my arm in an electric heating pad so they can find the big veins. I feel sleepy just from that, and my eyes seem trained to close when I sit down in that chair, and yet, I don't really sleep. I monitor my breathing. I feel the drip as it starts in my wrist this time, and starts flowing through. I listen and notice what goes on around me. I hear the fear in the voices, and the attempts at cheer. I learn that Peets gives coffee to the Marin Food bank. Starbucks doesn't.

I think perhaps though what is most with me tonight are the words of the oncologist. She is so honest about what is happening here. People compare chemo to dying and coming back to life. She essentially said that. We take you as far as we can, and amazingly, you come back. The human body is amazing. I am proof of that. I feel that, and, in that, tonight, is some place of wisdom I touch, something old, some knowing that there is something big going on here, that the shamans know, that our ancestors know, that, I, in my rapidly changing bones and cells, know. I feel honored to be part of this. It is a great gift.

Someone reminded me that people going through chemo are more emotional. I could use that to explain my recent outburst, and yet, I know I let myself feel rejection. I created it. Most "hurts" boil down to three things, rejection, betrayal, and abandonment. I somehow hooked myself on a story of rejection. The only one who can reject me is me. I know this, and I worked in these last few days to understand that, and that is why I worked so hard to prepare myself for this chemo treatment. It is about how I meet it, what I bring to it, and how much I want to live. My oncologist is open about my medical chart. The words, metastasized cancer, glare there. I rarely admit that to myself, that I am dealing with something big, but I am letting myself feel that, so I can fight it. How else can I deal with it, if I don't even let myself feel what is scientifically shown to be true? I can work with this in all realms, and I have asked your help in this, and I am fighting, and I am surrendered. I am fully involved with my healing, and I trust what comes, what always is. I feel great hope, faith, love, trust, and gratitude tonight. May we all sleep well, and intertwine delightfully in our dreams, both awake, and asleep.
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Lou Andreas- Salome

A study of Rilke requires a deep look at Lou-Andreas Salome, an incredibly strong influence on him. Today, I receive a difficult to obtain book, "Looking Back Memoirs, The Intimate Study of Her Friendships with Nietzsche, Rilke & Freud." You can imagine my delight.  Nietzsche said of Salome, "I found no more gifted or reflective spirit... Lou is by far the smartest person I ever knew."   And this book offers me a chance to better know her, to hear her thoughts.  I am excitement.

The book begins with a page with this quote by Lou Andreas - Salome.

         Human life - indeed
         all life - is poetry.
        It's we who live it,
    unconsciously, day by day,
        like scenes in a play,
  yet in its inviolable wholeness
     it lives us, it composes us.
  This is something far different
      from the old cliche "Turn
    your life into a work of art";
         we are works of art -
       but we are not the artist.

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The first paragraph -

Here is the first paragraph from this book by Lou Andreas-Salome.

    "Our first experience, remarkably enough, is that of loss. A moment before, we were everything, undifferentiated, indivisibly part of some kind of being - only to be pressed into birth.  Henceforth a tiny residue of the whole must strive to avoid contracting into even less and less, must stand up to a world which rises before it with ever-increasing substantiality, a world into which it has fallen, from universal fullness, as into a deprivating void."

I have mixed feelings about this paragraph.  On the one hand, I agree.  On the other, I have always thought of death, as a birth, an emergence into a wider, more exciting, open, all-encompassing world.  Also, we now know how aware children are as they are carried in the womb.  They are already part of what is outside.  Many children are not nourished by the mother in the womb.  They have not known a safe place.  Some children were not wanted.  They feel that rejection their whole life.  I have seen that over and over in Rosen.  So, why do I place this paragraph here?   Because I think it is important for each of us to look at what loss means to us.  How else do we deal with attachment and non-attachment?  How else do we happily toss the ropes to shore when we go?