February 15th, 2008

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checking in -

In this moment, I feel rather worn out and tired and sick to my stomach.

I am with the question of medical care, and when numbers lose sight of what can happen when one is allowed to be in their own home and surroundings.

The vet and I disagreed last night on continuing treatment for Bella.  They wanted her to come again today and spend another whole day at the vet being hydrated and pumped with antibiotics.   They said she wasn't eating.  I said she eats at home, and explained that of course, she doesn't eat there.   She is in a cage, surrounded by other cats and dogs, and is being poked and prodded all the time.  Who could eat?   The place upsets my stomach, and brings up all my feelings of loss of control when I got caught up in medical treatment.   I was raised with a strain of Christian Science, and so, struggle with the medical world anyway.  That said, my daughter-in-law is a doctor.  

I agreed to bring her back today, so the catheter was left in.  We spend a great deal of time last night and this morning ensuring she ate, feeding her baby food from a heart-shaped spoon.   It is amazing how much I love this cat, and how strong and sweet her spirit.  

I took her down to the vet this morning, with a list of what she had eaten, and I explained how happy she is at home sleeping where she is used to sleeping and having her own house to walk in, so they took out the catheter, and said she could come home with me.    What a procedure.  The bandages were stuck, and they had to cut her fur even more, and she was crying and crying.  They again hydrated her and I will give her the antibiotics.

Now, they think it was a bacteria she picked up.  It is hard to comprehend somehow, but she is well now, and home, and washing herself, and I hope this is the end for awhile.   Life is so fragile.   Her little spirit is so strong.  They kept talking about how confident and independent she is.  Well, she doesn't suffer fools.   She and I are both glad she is home, and, in this moment, I am the one feeling sick, and looking to focus on what was absorbing me before this began.  I realize now I feel a great exhaustion, as I allow myself to feel and believe she is home and well for now.   I may intend to do better with the Buddhist concept of non-attachment, but clearly, I am very attached.

Jane said this morning that she and Jim went up on Grizzly Peak last night to watch the sunset.   Jane set a New Year's vow to watch each sunrise and sunset and write a few words or more about each one in a beautiful journal notebook Jim gave her for Christmas.  The sun set last night, a huge ball, an O over the Farallones, and two jet streams crossed it at the same time, making an X.   She said it was an X and an O in the sky.   Even the sunset threw hugs and kisses last night.

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Endings -

I think most of us struggle with endings, and I think that for the most part that is a good thing.  Otherwise we would be flopping about from here to there.   I bring this up because my friend Ellen commented this morning on ending Breast Stroke, as I said we continue to go through and make changes, and edit and edit again, and I realized that while I was pushing the vet to recognize that Bella was well enough to heal at home, maybe I need to recognize that the book is well enough to enter the world.

It was a curious juxtaposition, and now, I smile.  How funny we are, and entertaining, not only to others, but to ourselves.  

Laughter is my oar for the day, and maybe I'll even find two, and balance out my course.  A little energy returns.  Listening to Bella cry and seeing her suffer at the vet today was really hard on me.   Can't we give pain killers to pets?   Are they any less than we?

When I mentioned at the vet's office, a few days ago, that now Tiger was not eating and I thought it was worry for Bella, the vet's office scoffed, saying animals only know survival.   Well, Tiger is eating now.   We know animals mourn.   We ourselves are animals.   How can we dismiss any being and their pain?

I'm not going to go as far as those who wear masks so as not to ingest what is unseen,  and I don't walk as softly and carefully on the ground as I might, but I do know the sound of pain, and I heard that today.   Bella is here with me as I type.  We both feel better this way.

Tears for grace and love of the delicacy and strength of life.

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Another lesson -

Calenorn's kindness in letting me see, that, yes, of course, I am tired and need to rest, allowed me to uncover another gift in all of this.

Rhonda and I both felt that Mitchell was involved in all this with Bella, that he creates lessons so we can learn.  We found it amazing that Bella appeared on my doorstep five minutes before Rhonda arrived.  That, after her being missing for almost two days.  

I realize now, this morning, that I have been trying to push myself toward a life of less attachment, and I know there is difficulty in translation of Buddhist concepts from East to West, but I still had some idea I could live with a little less emotion perhaps, that I could or should cultivate detachment, but, I realize today that is not who I am.  I am a passionate person.   My blood flows thick and deep. 

I am fiercely loyal to my "tribe."  I have deep feelings.  I care.   Tears come as I acknowledge who I am.

I am attached to life, to my family and friends, to all of you, and I don't even know some of your real names, and yet, I love what I read, what you say, the love, compassion, and intellect that comes through.

Today, I claim my attachment.  I am attached to all of you, and proud of it.  I am not ashamed to say it.   We throw this word "addition" around.  "I am addicted to the internet," we say.   Maybe we are attached to connection, to the wonderful sharing of love and care that flows through our fingers that pump from our heart, great love in our words.

Okay, I admit it.  Maybe I'll start a new type of 12-step program, one with only one step, to shout to the world love, passion, connection, and care.

"My name is Cathy, and I am attached to this beautiful world, and all the inhabitants in it, and I'm not only not going to change that, but I am going to cultivate it even more."     My motto for today,

 "Attachment Ho, and Proud of It!"

Thank you, Calenorn!!


Connection -

My sense is that those of you who started reading my blog two years and four months ago, read only me,  and I still have not enticed you into commenting here, which is more than fine, especially today when everything is fine, but today, I received great support from Calenorn, Dave at Searby, and Joan at jblindsight, and if you click up at the top on my "friends," you can learn from them, too.

You can also read their comments that are at the bottom of the postings, and you, also, don't have to.   You can do whatever you want to do.  Permission given by you!!   Freedom!!!    Breathe!!!

I realize now in this discussion of soul with Searby, and what it might be, it has been important for me in these last few moments, or perhaps hours now to acknowledge my passion, to take my soul like a ball of clay in my hand, and give it organs, veins and arteries, to bring my soul more to life.

Carl Jung built a tower with his own hands.  So did Robinson Jeffers and I believe Rilke may have too.  I need to check that out, but the idea of working with our hands in that way is that we "wrestle the soul into the body."

It is quite an image, and again, I need to remember to whom to give credit.

"Wrestle the soul into the body."

All this with Bella has me imaging her "innards," imaging them well, and imagining how the blood pulses and the spirit dwells.  I saw her stunned and in shock.  I have seen her come back to fuller life.  All of this is my way of wrestling my soul more fully into my body, and what I learn is that I am a passionate being.  I love life and family and friends and animals and rocks and earth and moon and sky.

I am here, and we are here together.  The wonderful image of Matisse, the dancers pops now into mind.  

Hold hands and dance.   Begin to open like blossoms of spring.

robinson jeffers - tor house

The View from the Tower -

I take this from the Amazon review of the book, The View from the Tower, a book I recommend, if you are interested in this subject.  

Book Description of The View from the Tower:

Immediately after World War I, four major European and American poets and thinkers--W. B. Yeats, Robinson Jeffers, R. M. Rilke, and C. G. Jung--moved into towers as their principal habitations. Taking this striking coincidence as its starting point, this book sets out to locate modern turriphilia in its cultural context and to explore the biographical circumstances that motivated the four writers to choose their unusual retreats. From the ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia to the ivory towers of the fin de si cle, the author traces the emergence of a variety of symbolic associations with the proud towers of the past, ranging from spirituality and intellect to sexuality and sequestration.

But in every case the tower served both literally and symbolically as a refuge from the urban modernism with whose values the four writers found themselves at odds. While the classic modernists (Eliot, Woolf, Hart Crane) often singled out the broken tower as the image of a crumbling past, these writers actualized their powerful visions: Yeats and Rilke moved into medieval towers in Ireland and Switzerland, while Jeffers and Jung built themselves towers at Carmel and Bollingen as secluded spaces in which to cultivate the traditions and values they cherished. The last chapter traces this perseverance of the ancient image through its heyday in the twenties and into the present, where it has undergone renewal, institutionalization, and parody.

The corner gives you a photo from Robinson Jeffer's Tor House in Carmel.  He built it himself, using rocks from the beach.  

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The dog, the cat, and the rat -

I receive this email and post the words and link here.   This is a must-watch, sweet and inspiring!!

This is a video of one of the homeless in Santa Barbara and his pets. They work State Street every week for donations. The animals are pretty well fed and are mellow. They are a family. The man who owns them rigged a harness up for his cat so she wouldn't have to walk so much (like the dog and himself). At some juncture the rat came along, and so no one wanted to eat anyone else, the rat started riding with the cat and often, on the cat. The dog will stand all day and let you talk to him and admire him for a few chin scratches. The mayor of Santa Barbara filmed this clip and sent it out as a Christmas card.