June 1st, 2006

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Good Morning!!

I'm wrapped in pink this morning as the sun hits the fog, foaming my world in rose-colored cream.   Quite the treat!

I had an acupuncture session yesterday which again left me fatigued, and my pulse showed weakness in my lungs.  She said she sees that in women like myself who had radiation where they had to hold their breath to protect their heart and lungs.   The fear of making a "mistake" is still there, so I am practicing breathing exercises to see if I can break through the fear in my lungs, and find a fuller, calmer, more energizing pace.  My breathing is very shallow, and "trying" to deepen it right now seems to be a challenge.  I have also been experiencing a bit of frustration as I struggle between having more energy, overdoing it, and then, feeling extremely tired.  There is so much I want to do.  I feel like I'm let out of the gate, rarin' to go, and, poof, the energy is not there to support it. 

I never realized how many levels of fatigue there are.  I feel like I'm on an elevator, hitting all the floors, most of them down.   A puddle of reserve is beginning to build, but, for the most part, I am struggling  to accept that often, it is time to rest.   I am also struggling with knowing this struggle is not presence.  It is suffering, wanting things to be different than they are, so then, I beat myself up about that.  I'm sure you can see that a little acceptance is in order here.      : )  

My brother has suffered through two major illnesses, so he understands this need for rest.  He points out that I was running on adrenaline those last few weeks of treatment, and, so, now, my body is trying to make up for that,   too.   He is an understanding conduit and support for this need for rest.  He says if you sit in a chair and fall asleep, well, then, you must need the sleep.  Otherwise, you would pop back up.  Since when I sit in my cozy, comfy chair, I do fall asleep,  today, is going to be a "kinder, gentler" more accepting day of myself.   I'm now into chair therapy.

Also, the acupuncturist read me the pathology report.  I guess I had never understood quite how bad things were, and I'm not sure I appreciated hearing it, but she is very matter-of-fact.  I appreciate the care that my doctors took to work with my desire to get well, and not what I was needing to get well from.

I spoke with Diane Brandon, one of the main support people for those with cancer at Marin Cancer Care, and she told me of her experience five years ago.  She signed up for a workshop at Esalen for those who had finished treatment for breast cancer, and the teacher was all set to lead them in exercises and discussion to get over and release their anger at their doctors.   They all said, "What anger?"   I don't know how one would find anger at Allison, Jenn, or Francine.  She wants me to write my experience, because she feels it is an unusual one, the care given there, and I agree.  It is a new approach, and this with the acupuncturist showed me just how careful they are with language, and how supportive they are  of what my attitude means to my healing. 

I am reading a wonderful book, Reality, by Peter Kingsley.  He goes back in and looks at the writings of Paramenides, Empedocles, and interprets what they were saying in a new way, in the way that he feels they were written.  In his opinion, the Stoics changed what they were saying to the logical writings we have now, but, his interpretation is quite Buddhist, mystical, and fascinating.  He also, puts the soul back into the writings, something that was definitely lost at the Council of Nicacaea, and even before. 

What is interesting to me is that he says both Paramenides and Empedocles went through an "incubation" period, a technique of altering states of consciousness, to give the experience of coming back from death.  That rings a bell.  It seems like part of the chemo process, incubation, and that dip into the feel of death, as cells die like crazy, and energy is something one can't even imagine as one is overcome with deep sleep.  

I sit now  with what I learned, and wonder why I  struggle in the humanness of my life, rather than feeling more of the divine, which is here, in PRESENCE.  It can be so simple, and yet I am struggling.   And just writing that, something releases, and here, I am, back with the fog and the moment, and a full breath.  May we all experience a day of peace, joy, acceptance, and ease.   BREATHE!!   It is the gift of presence.  I smile with the gift, and release. 
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energy -

Yesterday Diane and I spoke about the delivery of pathology reports.  Allison, my surgeon, informed me over the phone that the cancer was in the lymph and I would need to have chemo.  Jeff was here, and I flooded into tears.  Oddly, a florist was delivering flowers at the front door at the same time, and called, then, to say they were there.  Somehow, in the shower today, the memory comes back of how it felt to hear that.  We were so sure it was confined, and would be a simple treatment of radiation, and I would be done in time for Christmas.  I realize I don't need to dwell on the past, but there is also a place to release, and I think something let go today in the shower that was important for me.  I added a little salt to my wash.  I bathed in the sea.

Off to the dentist I go for a cleaning.  Oh, joy!  And somehow it is.  I am grateful to have teeth that need to be cleaned, and my dentist is a woman, with an office full of women who get excited whenever they see me.  Somehow, I am a celebrity there.    : )     And that is probably how all their patients feel.  : )   Good for them!
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"An Inconvenient Truth"

As everyone probably knows by now, the movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" is now out in theatres where we can all see it.   I am hoping to squeeze it in soon.   My days seem full of late.  

I used to dread having my teeth cleaned, but, now, I see what an honor it is to have someone who has carefully chosen this profession clean my teeth for me.  We had a lovely discussion this morning, and my dentist is recently back from Guatamala and thrilled with her volunteer work there.  What she appreciated most?  She could do dentistry all day with no paper work and fear of being sued.  How sad it is that ridiculous lawsuits have taken away much of the joy that brings people to the medical profession.  She just wants to do dental work and help people, and in Guatamala she can do that, and the people are thrilled.  I place that in the slipper of my  day.
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thoughts on hair -

My hair has come back wonderfully, and I received a multitude of compliments on it today, but I realized something else.  Normally,  I think we don't look carefully at people.  Perhaps, it would be seen as prying or not polite, but I am an open book right now, a curiosity.  I am like a baby.  People always smile at babies and go goo-goo.  They touch their heads.  It feels like a benediction.  I think there is something similar in this, and I am so happy to be alive and well that I am beaming. 

I am grateful to be able to go to the dentist.  I am grateful for life, and that is reinforced even more strongly when I am with people who have been pulling for me and following my path.  It is a good feeling, and I am hoping to keep the openness that I gained in this.  Diane and I spoke about connection yesterday, that we think the gift of cancer is the connectiveness we now feel, and the urgency to do what is ours to do.  So, today, I celebrate the gift of this year.  I think my shower tears let all this through.  I walked through the waterfall, and now, I am viewing it from the other side, and it is so beautiful with color and sparkle as I look through with eyes that thrive.  
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Poem by Gary Young -

I watched a snake crawl onto the lily pads that cover the pond.  A fish
settled against the leaf, just beneath him.  All that afternoon, they never
closed their eyes.  They barely moved.  I still may lose my disaffections
and impatience with the world.  I may rest.

    - Gary Young

It is a noble goal.  I see the snake and the fish, resting, still, awake.  May I be the same.
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Depression -

I am feeling well tonight, so am opening various books to see where I want to alight.  I open James Hillman's A Blue Fire to this paragraph on depression.

  "Yet through depression we enter depths and in depths find soul.  Depression is essential to the tragic sense of life.  It moistens the dry soul, and dries the wet.  It brings refuge, limitation, focus, gravity, weight, and humble powerlessness.  It reminds of death.  The true revolution begins in the individual who can be true to his or her depression.   Neither jerking oneself out of it, caught in cycles of hope and despair, nor suffering through it till it turns, nor theologizing it - but discovering the consciousness and depths it wants.  So begins the revolution in behalf of soul."

    I sit with that, since the book Reality is also about honoring the underground, and cultivating soul.  The evening is so lovely I almost feel tears, but not quite.   A wonderful bird sang to me the last few nights, but not tonight.  I wonder if he has found his mate, and now, they are safely tucked in a nest of love.   The moon is resting gently among soft clouds.  The night is warm, unusual for here, and still.  I reach within for a napkin of understanding.  I desire to tuck this luscious evening in a basket,  and picnic on it in my sleep.  
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this poem comes -

Response to hearing of the very rough day of a friend.

Have you seen the lovely crescent moon?

Perhaps we could each

place our troubles in her curve

and watch them absorb each night

in the rapidly increasing light

as it burns - cool light

like lightning bugs.

Fire flies.