April 3rd, 2006

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Good Morning!

There is soft rain today, and a further ripening of green. I am feeling pretty well, until I think of going to radiation and then I feel less well. It seems I am not used to it yet. I have an 8:30 appointment today, so will hop into the shower and soon be on my way. I am allowing an hour to get there, just in case, with the morning traffic. A beautiful April 3rd to All!
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2 down - 31 to go -

Good Morning.

I left early enough this morning to get to radiation early, and I actually snuck a 20 minute walk in between showers. I felt prepared, and I felt a bit apprehensive. As they said when I left today, it is nerve-wracking. The preciseness needed in my breath is a bit disconcerting, and they tell me I did great. I, who have studied the breath for so many years, find it curious to need now to be so absorbed, so precise,  in mine, and surely, it is a good thing.  I leave feeling better than when I go in.  Of course there is relief.  Another one down, and fewer to go.

I am, however, feeling a bit discombobulated, and I think it is because I didn't have time to fully process my dreams this morning. I had a wonderful dream where I was at my friend Jean's with my book group, though it wasn't quite her house as is true of dreams, and it was Christmas which I love, and I bought a beautiful white chocolate wreath, and a red and white plate filled with Christmas cookies. Then, battleship after battleship came sailing into the bay. I couldn't figure it out, but there they were, and I could see the sailors on them, lazing about with nothing to do. Now, I think the dream was about my white blood cells having a rest, so they can wrap into white chocolate wreaths, and Christmas cookies, and the battleships are coming home, because the battle is over. I think I wanted to stay with the dream, and so having to get up and scurry about, I felt a bit down, and yet, I sat and listened to the rain on the roof of the car, and looked at the red arrow at the traffic light,  and saw it as a sign that the cancer is gone that-a-way. No more. Maybe I am just absorbing all of that, this change. 

In the waiting room today, I perused a book called Vision Quest by Kate O'Connell Mayfield. It is a book of quotes and wonderful photographs. I copied down a few to share.

The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

       Minquass Proverb


Nothing on earth
Is more gentle and yielding than water;
Yet nothing is stronger when it confronts a wall of stone.
Gentleness overcomes hardness;
The power of water prevails.

       Tao 78


Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth unseen,
both when we sleep and when we wake.

       Milton


To develop the power of water,
you need to be fluid, trust the moment and trust where the moment leads.

       Mary Elizabeth Marlow


All plants are brothers and sisters.
They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.

       Arapaho proverb


Let us put our minds together
and see what kind of life
we can make for our children.

       Sitting Bull


As you walk, the leaves and flowers feel drawn towards you.
Once you have passed by, all of them turn in your direction.
Bathed in luminous energy, they are coming alive ...

    Masahis Goi


You need not do anything.
Remain sitting at your table and listen.
You need not even listen.
Just wait.  And you need not even wait.
Just become quiet and still and solitary and the world will offer itself to you to be unmasked.
It has no choice.
It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

       Franz Kafka


I have trouble deciphering the word "roll" above.  My handwriting is not as precise as my radiation treatment.  I google the quote and discover this web-site, which is quite lovely indeed.   Enjoy!

http://peacefulrivers.homestead.com/Quotesmain.html
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Yeat's Poem "Slouching Toward Bethlehem"

Slouching towards Bethlehem

W.B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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William Rivers Pitt!

An Average Joe's Spectacular Lies
By William Rivers Pitt


Monday 03 April 2006

Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.
- Edmund Burke

Page four of Sunday's Washington Post carried a story titled "The President as Average Joe," which described how George W. Bush is trying once again to cast himself as a regular fella so as to boost his anemic poll numbers. "As he takes to the road to salvage his presidency," reported the Post, "Bush is letting down his guard and playing up his anti-intellectual, regular-guy image."

Most of us, presumably, know enough "Average Joe" types to fill a room. Most of us, presumably, don't know a single "Average Joe" type who could pull off a trick like the one reported by the New York Times last week. The issue centered, once again, around a memo that was drafted before the invasion of Iraq.

"During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003," read the Times, "[Bush] made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser and reviewed by the New York Times."

"The memo indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable," continued the Times report. "Mr. Bush predicted that it was 'unlikely there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups.' Mr. Blair agreed with that assessment. The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, or assassinating Mr. Hussein."

Quite a nifty trick for an Average Joe, yes? This was from the same regular fella who ever-so-earnestly told journalist Helen Thomas last week that he didn't want war, because no president wants war. Here we have merely another lie, an accent in a symphony of lies. If Bush did not want war, why decide upon an attack despite the absence of the public motivator for attack, the weapons of mass destruction? Why try to goad Hussein into a fight?

Remember when the administration made that humorous little video of George searching the Oval Office for the weapons of mass destruction way back when? It was truly an "Average Joe" moment that, in light of the revelations afforded by this pre-war memo, brings the yellow bile up the back of the throat.

Seven more American soldiers died in Iraq over the last few days, bringing the total to 2,332. It is difficult to count the number of civilians who have been slaughtered in the it-isn't-a-civil-war-not-really violence of the last several weeks. It takes a special kind of "Average Joe" to get so many people killed in so short a time thanks to lies of such width and breadth. Most "Average Joes," after all, lie about sex or fishing or their bowling score from Saturday night.

Most "Average Joes," likewise, enjoy being considered straight-shooters. They don't hide from hard truths and expect to be able to handle whatever comes their way. Mr. Bush, it seems, would rather be massaged with pleasing fictions from his staff, and is perfectly happy to have his handlers encase him in bubble-wrap to protect him from the aftershocks resulting from astonishingly bad decisions.

Reporter Murray Wass, writing for the National Journal, wrote another essay last week that exposed more of the lies that were used to trick the people of this nation into supporting the unnecessary and criminal invasion of Iraq. "Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser," wrote Waas, "cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. Rove expressed his concerns shortly after an informal review of classified government records by then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley determined that Bush had been specifically advised that claims he later made in his 2003 State of the Union address - that Iraq was procuring high-strength aluminum tubes to build a nuclear weapon - might not be true."

"The pre-election damage-control effort in response to (Ambassador Joseph) Wilson's allegations and the broader issue of whether the Bush administration might have misrepresented intelligence information to make the case for war had three major components," continued Waas. "Blame the CIA for the use of the Niger information in the president's State of the Union address; discredit and undermine Wilson; and make sure that the public did not learn that the president had been personally warned that the intelligence assessments he was citing about the aluminum tubes might be wrong."

It is disturbing enough to encompass the hard fact that there has not been, at any point, an element of "incompetence" in the process that has left us in such a deranged state in Iraq. Virtually every item on the Bush administration's wish list has been obtained in the last four years, thanks to the invasion, occupation and conveniently subsequent mess that has followed. Objectively, one must know that a barrage of falsehoods was required to create such a situation. To see these lies exposed one after another, like a long line of sausage links, would seem to be beyond tolerance.

Sadly, our collective ability to absorb and discard such terrifying information appears to be without limit. The revelations offered by the New York Times regarding Bush's pre-invasion decision to go to war no matter what, and his decision to goad Iraq into a war whether or not they posed a threat, passed through the waters of the mainstream media with nary a ripple. The same went for Mr. Waas's report; the information he provided in such scathing detail was met by the mainstream press with a thunderous nothing.

It is almost amusing. The pundits and politicos are justifying each other's vapid and useless existence these days by carrying forth an empty debate as to whether or not Mr. Bush and his people lied us into a war. Yet when hard evidence of these lies is presented in stark black and white, the response is a whistling silence.

The duality is astonishing; if you are callow enough to subject yourself to the dreck that passes for news on television, you might actually see someone acknowledge the existence of the evidence of these lies before turning on a dime to claim that no one lied about anything. Maybe, just maybe, you'll see someone claim the administration is "incompetent."

No one who lies so often or so effectively can be described as incompetent. This kind of thing requires nimble skills combined with an utter absence of conscience.

"Iraq is becoming a country that America should be ashamed to support," reads a chilling New York Times editorial from Sunday, "let alone occupy. The nation as a whole is sliding closer to open civil war. In its capital, thugs kidnap and torture innocent civilians with impunity, then murder them for their religious beliefs. The rights of women are evaporating. The head of the government is the ally of a radical anti-American cleric who leads a powerful private militia that is behind much of the sectarian terror."

Not a bad day's work for an Average Joe.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.
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Poem by Mary Oliver -

Song of the Builders


On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God -


a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside


this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope


it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.


Mary Oliver
from Why I Wake Early (2004)
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Whirlpooling in the river -

We are rather like whirlpools in the river of life. In flowing forward, a river or stream may hit rocks, branches, or irregularities in the ground, causing whirlpools to spring up spontaneously here and there. Water entering one whirlpool quickly passes through and rejoins the river, eventually joining another whirlpool and moving on. Though for short periods it seems to be distinguishable as a separate event, the water in the whirlpool is just the river itself. The stability of a whirlpool is only temporary. The energy of the river of life forms living things ~ a human being, a cat or dog, trees and plants ~ then what held the whirlpool in its place is itself altered, and the whirlpool is swept away, reentering the larger flow. The energy that was a particular whirlpool fades out and the water passes on, perhaps to be caught again and turned for a moment into another whirlpool.



~Charlotte Joko Beck
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My experience -

 

The book "A General Theory of Love"  by Lewis, Amini, and Lannon concludes with requesting an honoring of the limbic brain.  “Emotions reach back 100 million years, while cognition is a few hundred thousand years old at best.”

“Limbic resonanace, regulation and revision define our emotional existence; they are the walls and towers of the neural edifice evolution has built for mammals to live in.  Our intellect is largely blind to them.  Within the heart’s true edifice, those who allow themselves to be guided by Reason blunder into walls and stumble over sills.  They are savants who can see too little of love to escape painful collisions with its unforgiving architecture.”

We are learning that intellect does not run the show.  Blaine Pascal wrote, “Reason’s last step is recognizing that an infinity of things surpass it.” 

This book encourages, insists upon cultivation of the connections our limbic brains demand.   We are advised to listen to our heart, and to the hearts of our children, all children.   We are neural organisms.  Resonate there, in the beat of the heart, one heart, all hearts.  Live there, and let reason lend a hand. 

Art and science are “metaphors through which we strive to know the world and ourselves;  both can illuminate inner and outer landscapes with a flash that inspires but whose impermanence necessitates unending rediscovery.  Carl Sandburg once wrote that poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what was seen during a moment.  The most we can reasonably ask is that science open a door of its own from time to time, and allow us to spy for a fraction of a second the bounteous secrets inside.”

 

I sit with all this today, as I feel a bit stunned by my fulcrum right now of the medical world.   I sit on the fulcrum, radiated by a machine that moves me and turns around me, and I try and find my center and feel my petals expand.  I struggle in my own balance of science and technology, and the livingness I feel, the wiggle of the eel, brought from water to sand.  

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Poem of Gratitude!

Somehow I couldn't let the dream of this morning go.  Here is my poem!

Chemo Over

 

I dream of a line of battleships

returning from the ocean

to the bay.

Sailors loll on deck,

with nothing to do.

I buy a wreath of white chocolate,

a red and white plate,

overflowing with Christmas cookies,

red and white. 

The blood recuperates now,

rests and dreams of sweets.

My dreams are sweet.

Red and white will never be the same. 

These red and white blood cells of mine,

worked harder

than Santa

delivering all those presents

in one night. 

The gift is my life.  

 

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Neutrality -

I read Cindy Sheehan's comments to Congressman Jack Kingston, a Republican from Georgia, who called her a "nutcase" on his blog. In her reply to him, she repeats all the information we all know, how Bush and Cheney did not serve, how this war is fought without cause. She goes on and on, and her anger is palatable. I read it, and again, see what I have learned in my own battle. The point is to be neutral, balanced. That she would let Kingston bait her shows her vulnerability, and she is vulnerable. She is grieving her son. She is lashing out in her grief, and that is where the balance comes in. I read recently that cancer can not thrive in an alkaline environment. We can monitor our internal environment as to acid and alkaline, by noticing what we eat, and I believe we also have to notice where we let ourselves go. I was angry about the politics of Bush, and I let that anger fester. I think it is important for each of us to notice and cultivate our own peacefulness, to be as Gandhi says the peace we want to see in the world.

My heart goes out to Cindy Sheehan. I want to cradle her and let her cry and cry and cry. I feel sad that she let Kingston get to her with his lies. She needs to be so clear, so crystal clear, that the lies can't touch her, and, then, her message will even more clearly rise.

I pray for Cindy Sheehan today, and ask you to do the same. I want her to put her head down and cry for the loss of her son. I want her to have her grief, just for a little while, and then, she can go back to her brave attempts to save the world as she sees it. May grace pour peace upon her head, and give her rest, today, and tomorrow, and for the rest of her days. I pray she stays well.
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Progressing along -

I was trying to find a quote I thought would help Cindy Sheehan and I came across three haiku Chris wrote when he was in second grade. He wrote them in a computer class I taught where the children were prompted by the computer for words. Here they are:

California shines
Like the golden bright sun,
Living, Loving good.

Sun and the Earth
Two marbles spinning in space
Earth, Sand Grain; Sun shore.

Sun chugs fire and heat.
Earth chews sun's energy,
Joined in happiness.



I don't find what I'm looking for again, but I do find this quote by Federico Garcia Lorca.

"To go wisely through life, never forget that the frog is always harshly critical of the delirious flight of the lark."


How about this? Goethe said, "Every object well contemplated creates an organ for its perception."

And these:

James Thurber: "Let's not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness."

Van Gogh: "There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people."

Emily Dickinson: "To live is so startling, it leaves but little time for other occupations."

Socrates: " A tyrant ... is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader."

Plato: "At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet."

(I am now off-message, but I can't stop. I sail in joyful realms.)

Robert Bly:

       I sit down and fold my legs ...
       The half dark in the room is delicious.
       How marvelous to be a thought
       entirely surrounded by brains.  
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Lao-tze

The seed of mystery lies in muddy water.
How can I perceive this mystery?
Water becomes clear through stillness.
How can I become still?
By flowing with the stream.

- Lao-tze