April 28th, 2006

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Good Morning!

I have felt this blog as my own personal journal, a place to keep what matters to me, and share it with you.

This morning I received a notice that someone posted on the blog. This is someone I don't know. When I typed in the web address for Angeles Arrien, it must have triggered her web-site in some way of notice, since she has a competing one. She has her view of the Tarot. My interest in Angeles Arrien has not revolved around the Tarot so it is interesting to read this other web-site while also feeling a bit invaded.

I have realized that I barely keep a private journal anymore. Everything goes here. I am happy to share, so why do I feel unsettled this morning knowing someone has read it who I do not know, and I know that is true anyway, as friends have passed the address on, but I still had or have an image of who is reading it. Anyway, I suppose I had to know it would open up. This isn't China with censorship of the web, right? I was just a bit unsettled this morning to see that someone I don't know has posted on the blog. I do have the ability to close it to just those I want to read it, but I don't want that. The point of this is openness, and so, it is.

Also, many of you do not like the word "blog." My friend Vicki calls this journal "Cathy's Heart." Perhaps, that is more user-friendly.

My thought for today is this. Thich Nhat Hanh says, "A tiny bud of a smile on our lips nourishes awareness and calms us miraculously. It returns us to the peace we thought we had lost."

If you are feeling troubled today, curl your lips into a smile. Any trouble will be cuddled, then fall away.

My dream this morning was of a wonderful baby boy who knew all the answers in a most succinct and astute way. I honor the emerging wisdom of my animus as it joins with my anima today.

Great love and care to you all!!

I have a full day, so will return this evening full of fresh air, good conversation, more radiation and horsey smells.
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Variety -

Variety is the spice of life, right? We all love 31 Flavors and more.

Yesterday, it was reported by IJ wire services that "the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, and two other newspapers are being acquired by MediaNews Group Inc, which publishes the Marin IJ and several other Bay Area newspapers. The Hearst Corp, publisher of the SF Chronicle, is also involved in the complex deal, which still needs regulatory approval."

The concern here is that many newspapers owned by one will only send one reporter to events, so we will get one set of eyes, ears, and prejudices, instead of the many we are used to.

There are many versions of the Tarot. You may not even be interested in the Tarot, but I think it is important that we are open to the many versions, to the many versions in reporting, in the Tarot, and in ourselves.

I have learned in this cancer experience how much help I need. The image that came to mind one day was that different friends caulk different holes. You each have different gifts. I have different places to receive. It works. Celebrate diversity today, and open all borders to immigration of all kinds.
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Horse Time!!

It was quite a day and I am tired. I'll start at the beginning.

At radiation today was a suggestion box. I realized there is nothing I can suggest. There is only thanks. They do all they can to make it a pleasant experience. Each morning, I look out at the Wellness Garden and drink a mocha I make from the coffee and hot chocolate mix. Kirk feeds the fish. Steve passes through with warm robes. It is a peaceful way to begin the day. Then, we have fun with the machine.

I go to the post office in Larkspur, then, the Marin Art and Garden Center in Ross. I sit under the trees. I sit near a rock that looks like a gorilla. We survey.

Jeff and I meet for lunch at Bubba’s in San Anselmo. It is always a delight to see Jeff, and Bubba's is a special treat.

As I drive, I hear the discussion on gas prices. I am amazed at people who have innocently been driving giant cars now saying they will have to trade them in. It is like they have never heard there is not unlimited gas. This country has insulated people, and rewarded the purchase of huge cars. I am amazed. I thought they just didn’t care, but I see they are unaware. One interviewed guy said he was going to trade in his truck and buy a Toy-o-ta. I think back to the gas lines of 1974, the year Jeff was born. How do people forget?

It is warm in San Anselmo and Fairfax. I need my new sunproof, lightweight jacket to protect myself. I feel the sun beating through and affecting my breast. I am grateful for the protection, though surprised to return home to gray and fog. It seems we have moved into the foggy days of summer with only a few days of spring.

I am tired today by the time I get to the horses. Gisela suggests I dip myself in white light in the morning by visualizing myself diving into and swimming in a pool of milk. She wants to know if it helps. I’ll see. She has been through many medical procedures, and had three operations in one year, so she says she knows some tricks.

We work today with the horses without a rope, just using our body, gestures, and energy.
We work with the three steps, Ask, Suggest, Promise. (I thought the third one was Inspire, but it seems to be promise. We promise we mean what we ask.)

At the end, Jim compliments us and says we do better than people who go out and spend half a million dollars on horses and equipment without understanding the basic way to work with a horse.

He asks us to consider two questions. What surprised us? What did we find out we didn’t know before?


What surprises me is how well the horse obeys when I know what I want.

Also, I am learning to use my energy, to raise and lower it slowly like a dimmer switch, to communicate with the horse, to make sure I am where the horse can see me and respond. I am learning to respect what the horse needs while also staying aware of what is mine to convey. I didn’t know how to do this before. I didn’t even have any awareness around it, since I had no horse experience but I see how important it is in everything we do. This isn't about horses. This is about how we use our energy, how we convey, and ask, suggest, and promise and inspire.

When we want the horse to come toward us, we not only step back but we exhale. The horse wants to fill that space where our energy was. Our exhalation pulls the horse toward us. I find that fascinating.

Cindy says the horse program began in Montana. There are no males in Montana that don’t have horse experience. She is trying to get more funding, so we will be part of a survey to say what we learned and how we were affected by this experience. We will be interviewed for 90 minutes privately to document what we have gained, or not. There are places with money. Is this a worthwhile experience for people with cancer, or who have survived it? I think it is a marvelous experience for everyone and should be in every school.

When I got there today, a young woman of 33 was working her horse in the arena. She made it look beautiful but she said it is work. Perhaps, that is what is also interesting in this. My experience of horses is mainly watching them glide in movies. It is not quite like that. There is a lot to the world of horses, and it is rewarding, and it is important, I think and feel, to learn the ropes, so to speak.

I thought, at first, it sounded strange to say this experience would be empowering, but, I am finding that first it is fun, and second that I can do it, and it doesn’t matter if I don’t. There are no mistakes. It is empowering to know that. The system is foolproof if you pay attention, which is what you need to do. You pay attention to the horse, and often, the horse pays attention to you. It is really fascinating to feel the response, to feel my energy, and to feel the horse respond to my energy. It is also fascinating to feel and see how different each horse is. You don’t go in with a timed plan.

Jim talks about being on horse time, slow to medium time. Most people today are on fast time, he says, and when nature is on fast time, it is a disaster. Listening to the news today, it would seem we humans continue on fast time. Take some time this weekend and settle into horse time. Simmer slow, and roll on your back in the dust.
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Read a poem -

Here is a poem to inspire by Harvey Shapiro.

The Uses of Poetry

This was a day when I did nothing,
aside from reading the newspaper,
taking both breakfast and lunch by myself
in the kitchen, dozing after lunch
until the middle of the afternoon. Then
I read one poem by Zbigniew Herbert
in which he thanked God for the many beautiful
things in this world, in a voice so absurdly
truthful, the entire wrecked day was redeemed.

Harvey Shapiro
The Sights Along the Harbor:
New and Collected Poems
Wesleyan University Press
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quote from Winston Churchill -

"I do not resent criticism, even when, for the sake of emphasis, it parts for the time with reality."

I think these words of Winston Churchill, though somewhat funny, are most wise. I take them for my counsel, even while, I hope and prefer, no criticism comes my way. : )
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Before meditating, or in lieu of, to consider -

From Meditations and Rituals for Conscious Living by Nancy J. Napier and Carolyn Tricomi.

                Stillness is the ground of being from which all else emerges.  It is within and behind every breath, every thought, every action.  It is my starting point, my resting place, the home base to which I can return again and again.

                In stillness I notice how time and space disappear.  All there is is the present moment and my willingness to listen …to allow the stillness to speak.

                The stillness takes me into a realm of conscious awareness that transcends my identity as body or mind. Stillness offers an experience of being and a recognition that my being …. my essence …. is a part of all Being, all Essence.


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Bush breathing in the air -

Let Us Now Spit Upon The Earth
You can do it the old way, or you can do it like Bush -- with smirks, mountain bikes and oil
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Friday, April 28, 2006

Look, see those tire marks? That ungainly footprint? Feel that breath of humid doom upon your skin? Yes, the president was just here. Up in Napa Valley, riding his official Trek Mountain Bike One over the rocks and down the trails and through the cool California mud, a small army of handlers and Secret Service agents and emergency medical personnel by his side and/or rumbling along behind him in big black SUVs. It was very cute, in a fingernail-yanked-with-pliers sort of way.

It was Earth Day weekend. The president talked about how mountain biking helped him "settle his soul" and "burn off excess energy when you're living life to its fullest," which apparently means blindly running your nation into a bloody flaming wall at full speed like a drunk NASCAR driver on Ambien. He talked about how he enjoyed mountain biking because it had such minimal impact on the pristine, wild surroundings. Shockingly, lightning did not strike him dead on the spot.

Later on, the prez talked up the need for wildly implausible hydrogen-powered cars to the California Fuel Cell Partnership, a group who, if they had a drop of integrity and brains among them, didn't believe a single word he said.

Bush on Earth Day. It's like Satan talking up the joys of Easter. It's like Paris Hilton chatting about treading the planet with humility and grace. It's like Jerry Falwell gushing about his love of Brokeback Mountain, Eli Lilly extolling the virtues of meditation and green tea. It is, in a word, embarrassing. Humiliating. Intellectually bludgeoning. And hypocritical in a way, and at a depth, that is as nauseating to stomach as the testosterone levels at a Duke lacrosse frat party.

This much we know: Bush is, it has been widely noted, the worst environmental president in modern America history. He has done more to eliminate protections and pollute the air, sell off national forests, whore the waterways, drill for oil and eviscerate pollution regulation than any president on the books. His environmental record is abysmal, shameful, and includes installing two of the worst secretaries of the interior in history, the abominable Gale Norton and now her male counterpart Dirk Kempthorne, who have turned around and reduced protections and sold off more forestland to private concerns -- oil, timber, coal, you name it -- since the Harding administration.

And of course, we are the only "enlightened" nation in the world to publicly spit upon the Kyoto Treaty, a landmark global pact to reduce CO2 emissions that is still only considered the first baby step in tackling the very, very dire problem of global warming.

Bush is, after all, a failed oilman. He has done all he can to ensure we will be dependent on the black death for the next two decades, minimum, which is, not surprisingly, the average remaining life span of his favoritest CEO cronies in the oil business. Serve the masters first, the Saudi sheiks second, the American people about, oh, 157th. It is the BushCo way.

No matter. Up in Napa, the president talked about connecting with nature, about getting his heart rate up by getting out there and challenging himself against the rugged terrain. Nature, of course, was unimpressed, sort of neutral on the whole thing, Bush just another animal scratching tracks on her incredibly resilient skin. Nature has a Zen-like quality about such things -- or perhaps more like Vishnu-Brahma-Shiva, creator and preserver and destroyer, watching it all, shrugging, sighing, taking the long view. If nature could talk, she would tell Bush he will be worm food very soon, and by the way, the worms are furious. She would then go back to watching the baby giraffes play in Africa.

There is no beauty in American political policy toward the Earth. There is no poetry or grace or true heart in how politicians -- especially Republican politicians -- view our natural commodities, no respect unless it is based on fear, unless it is begrudging and resentful, like when a hurricane makes a mockery of the president's feeble and unconvincing attempts to prove he cares. Has it always been this way? Maybe. But some leaders are far, far worse than others.

This is perhaps the most frightening thing about the Bush visit, about him having the nerve, the sheer vulgar gall to discuss the quality of his soul while biking through a natural habitat his administration so violently works to defile. It is this: He actually meant it. Bush was probably genuinely heartfelt about enjoying his ride through our troubled trees. He thinks he is attuned and connected. He thinks nature is nifty and calming. And, simply put, there is no more dangerous a leader on the face of the earth who, in every policy and every law and every action, abuses and distorts and molests the world around him, and yet who can turn on an ideological dime and calmly glorify that very thing which he helps destroy.

Recall former Spokane Mayor Jim West, big scandal just recently, an outspoken and homophobic über-Republican on the outside, a guy who helped pass anti-gay legislation in Washington state and railed against gay rights in public, but who happily turned around and for over 20 years solicited 18-year-old boys in gay chat rooms at night and offered them free candy, T-shirts, sex, jobs. Bush is just like that. Abuse your issue openly during the day, screw it at night. And worst of all, give not a single thought to the brutal dichotomy.

Are there levels to hypocrisy? Degrees? Rings of hypocritical hell? It would appear so. After all, there are the common varieties of minor hypocrisies most of us live with every day, like claiming a deep concern for the planet but still using plastic bags and shopping at Target and enjoying a long summer drive. Like swooning over super-cute animals but never considering giving up our cool leather jackets and smokin' snakeskin boots. Like loathing obnoxious cell phone users but never thinking we might actually, you know, be one.

Hypocrisy is, verily, the American national pastime. It is part of our national character. But there is a point where hypocrisy takes a turn toward the abusive, toward the spiritually debilitating. It becomes less like livable hypocrisy and more like a mental condition, a barely functional psychosis.

And right now, we are, it seems, living smack in the middle of a decade of just such madness, led by a bumbling and confused, tepid little devil himself, happily biking through the trees as the forest groans.
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quote -

George Eliot from Middlemarch -

If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrels heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence.