Reflecting outward…

In good Monday form, my energy today has been moving in an “outward” direction.” What do I mean by that?” I can hear you asking, Charles ;-).

To digress, for you other readers, for a moment; these writings I have begun here are a return in reverence to a project I undertook in 2013 and 2014. The project was called simply “Letters to Charles,” and was an acceptance of my dear friend Charles’s invitation to me to practice writing on a daily basis by sending at least 100 words to him by email.

Charles is a remarkable soul, and among many other things, a well read and accomplished writer in his own right. His daily replies to my letters served as an invaluable source of both encouragement and critique to help me hone not only the discipline of actually writing, but actually to hone the discipline of writing well. I do pray that these lines here reflect that, and not some terrible contradiction of that assertion. 😉

Today, Charles has stepped forward again with promise to read these words that I write and continue to offer some critique and encouragement. Perhaps I can let him off the hook soon enough, simply to pursue these writings and publish them myself to the vastness of space without any promise of readership required.

For now he has asked that I might consider “does that sentence really say anything?”. Indeed, a fine request.

So what do I mean when I say that my energy today has been moving in outward direction?

Take these writings for example. My intention is to publish today’s update to my most “active” website, www.wisdomcounsel.life, and to keep publishing these daily offerings of raw and unedited description and that more public facing platform. In this draft, I’ll refer you to a previous blog site where the eight articles written thus far in this initiative can be found, https://abalancedkosmos.com/2020/01/.

The morning started with clerical tasks largely having to do with others and outside of the house. Telephone calls for car repair, emails for business engagements, and personal conversations for possible creative and public facing initiatives took up much of the early day. A fresh and easy morning with Greg and I found myself in the proverbial saddle at 8:45 AM – anything that early I always find energizing as I draw from it a sense of possibility for the day.

All of those tasks produced positive outcomes, contributing to the sense of an outward and expansive engagement.

As I moved out of the “clerical mode” the phone rang with none other than the great Charles Parcelle (see above) calling to share something of his recent discoveries on the matter of “irrevocable trusts.” This is is a concern I may have some use for and, knowing this, Charles was just calling to keep me up to speed. Fortunately for me, it’s never “all business” with Charles and I got to enjoy a bit more leisure in our time together as we playfully explored the matters at hand in our way of banter and exchange. Definitely an “outward” quality.

Moving from there I shifted gears directly into a conversation with a woman to whom I was directed by the deer and great Miss Cassandra (https://www.cassandrawolff.com), Sian Welch, who runs a nonprofit in the LA area (http://freedomtolive.org) and has much experience – for better or for worse – with individuals in my situation (read quadriplegics with liquidity and longevity concerns.)

This additional “outward” expression was a delightful surprise as I was invited to consider the possibility that this time of transition for me might lead to a more creative and engaged partnership with her work, combining my concerns for housing and care, with possible opportunities to be of service to a wider community of individuals facing similar situations.

I will never cease to be amazed at the ways that the complexities of life (often referred to as “challenges”) so often hold for us the seeds of new opportunity. It truly is a matter of conditioning our own practice to hold our hearts, minds, and wills open to the ever renewed innocence of each successive moment.…

Next it was time for a little coffee on the veranda with Eleña. Our current arrangements have me seeing her only three times a week, leaving me with a greater sense of urgency to enjoy our time together while she’s here. What to say… Today we teased that she is my third daughter (after the one from birth, and another later informally adopted young caregiver) all now about the same age ranging from 24 to 28. Eleña moves now from the youngest in her blood family, to the eldest in her casual surrogate… I think in the interest of time for this little missive I will just lead you with encouragement to find out about and follow her artwork (https://www.etsy.com/shop/SimpleSnailArt).

The rest of the day was spent in various writing projects, channeling my energy towards expressive invitations intended for the world. After inviting a client to my consulting services, I turned my attention on the foundations of a developing Course in Wisdom. This, like the subsequent projects was really less of an in-depth creation and more of an organizing force, capturing the big ideas, for work to come later in the week.

I did capture some more clarity and body around the subject of our MettaCare initiative (which I plan to publish here in the not-too-distant future) in preparation for some more conversations around that, again outward facing, later in the week.

I finished the day’s writing (other than this post), by continuing the autobiographical narrative description of my experience of day-to-day life from the perspective of quadriplegia and paralysis as an intended work to enroll a wider audience in participation with the trials, tribulations, and mostly richness found in that “complexity of life.”

Thank you once again, dear Charles, for your time and generous attention to these words. As promised, I’ll print them in bold text by email to you directly in hopes that that may be found a readable and accessible portal into their telling.


What is meditation for anyway?

I was far too awake at 1 AM today. As much as I closed my eyes, I was not going back to sleep. Discomfort swirling around the uncertainties of my situation persisted, overruling any coherent thought about the situation, or practical matters of any kind. A low-grade and petty distress they refused to give way to rest.

Fortunately, thanks to Dan Brown and his Pointing Out Way, I have options. Sometime near 2 AM I surrendered cheerfully the intention to go back to sleep and turned to using my time for something more productive than the absurdity of niggling worry. Dan has been practicing for many years perfect his capacity to bring terrifically advanced techniques, honed and refined in the East, through translation to the Western mind.

When I first encountered his work, it looked like so much else that I’ve seen over my past nearly 2 1/2 decades of presence to the field of spiritual practice. It looked familiar, and distinctly of high quality. As I attended lectures (remotely) through his website (https://pointingoutway.org) and began to follow along, I began to further appreciate the nuance of what he was presenting.

Eventually I decided to seek direct instruction have been working with the practices he offered ever since. In spite of my doubts that this was anything new, I found myself on distinctly new legs as it were. Those doubts have since long faded and what I know as meditation practice today is like day to night to what came before. To be fair, the many practices I have encountered over those decades – the vast majority of them – have been a very high quality, and delivered by teachers with skill and maturity. I think the key has been “translation.”

Returning to 2 AM this morning, when I decided to shift my energy from restlessly combating a subtle neurosis to a focus on a fruitful practice of meditation, it was as if walking out of one room and into another. Cheerfully, I knew that those worries and confusion would die a quick and painless death, almost immediately as I turned my attention to the meditation. I knew this from the experience gained over the past days and weeks. They did vanish, like morning dew after sunrise; simply re-metabolized into the thriving ecosphere of the world.

In their place, the light and warmth of day. Through following the guided practice and prescription for attention on the breath, I found myself right back on the “elephant path.” (https://terebess.hu/english/oxherd27.html) Happily plodding along, novice as I may be, I had reclaimed time lost to rest, now firmly fixed on growing the precious jewel of awakening.

It might be easy at this point to misplace the purpose of the meditation, assigning it value as a way of clearing a cluttered mind. This would be a mistake. Meditation is not a response to that discomfort, but rather an alternative. Had I allowed myself to indulge that mind wander of confusion, morning would have found me ill-rested and poorly prepared for the day. Instead I chose to USE the unquiet mind as an opportunity to make time for the incredibly important and valuable practice of training the mind.

After about 60 to 90 minutes of practice along with the guided techniques, wherein I experience my own successes and struggles with the meditation, I had reestablished my connection to the foundation of a wakeful awareness. At that point, it was a matter of luxury to turn my attention to the practice of resting deeply. Flowing from there into the early morning gave me the opportunity to rise with a sense of strength and energy for the day. Again, not the point of meditation.

Even as I came into the day; breakfast, to do list, weekly review, reading, etc. combing through files, organizing, and working efficiently – all artifacts of a slightly clearer, and more calm mind – this is not the point of meditation. These hints of clarity, and minor tilts towards efficiency are like raindrops to the ocean of a wakeful awareness that stands aside from time, ever present and ready to meet in perfect harmony whatever it is arising in the moment.

If all of that sounds poetic, it is, aspirationally so. When all of the work has come and gone to do, when the seriousness of life has reached its crescendo and broken on the shores of a profound eternity, there will I stand, arrived at last to the realization of the boundless freedom I have never not known. This self is me. All of this work, the complex situations, the seemingly challenging decisions, hidden opportunities, and acts of effort and surrender, are precious gifts of life and I am grateful to receive them.

So I spent the day, wandering in and out of the halls of clarity and confusion, on pointed this and distracted that, playfully bantering with Caitlin over lunch and the various mundane tasks of connecting the smoke alarm to the Internet, corresponding for meetings later in the week with old friends, and on through the textures of the surface of life. I’m happy for the various little triumphs of getting a folder organized, finding surrender, or having a conversation with my dad to bring him up to speed on the place of my feet in this journey.

Excellence is doing my best, even when I can see that I could be doing better, but all I have at hand is to strive a little more carefully, with a little more effort. Excellence is good enough, until – with grace – I may find myself Awake to the timeless and infinite, boundless and undying preciousness of now.


Four territories of experience…

As I’ve continued to write and publish these reflections on a daily basis, I’m starting to notice the subtle variations in character, intent, and focus of each piece.

On one end of the spectrum, this narrative is a simple reporting of the day-to-day activities of my life. Not quite so well as a detailed journal in terms of a factual report, but generally catching the large blocks of attention, these missive do share something of the gist of the journey.

It’s probable that from there, these reflections fan out into a multi-textured territory covering something more than simply a two dimensional spectrum. They have and will likely continue to wax and wane from the surfaces of my experience to more of the interior feeling states. As the reflection on Community, that I’ve considered to write just today, but have not begun, they may cover territories more abstract, but with some hope to lend to the practical.

As this piece so far, there are those that will simply reflect recursively into the act of writing itself.

William Torbert explores pointing out four distinct territories of experience:

  1. The outside world – that which we can observe with our five senses.
  2. Our inner bodily sensations – both proprioception, and other “inner” senses such as “a knot in my stomach.”
  3. The thoughts and emotions you experience.
  4. Our own awareness of our existence in real time, our presence and that of others existentially. May also be thought of as our awareness of our awareness.

Bill also talks about “Four Parts of Speech” that relate to and draw their timely content from these four distinct territories:

  1. Framing – Attention/Intention/Vision
  2. Advocating – Strategy/Structure/Goals
  3. Illustrating – Behaviors/Operations
  4. Inquiring (and Listening) – Outcomes in the External World
  • These are drawn from Bill’s book, Action Inquiry, one of my all-time favorite books.

Today’s thread is really just a stream of consciousness on the act of keeping up this storyline in a way that more fully reflects my lived experience.

We could say that this entry is simply “Framing” what one might expect, returning to these pages. Of course it is also an “Illustration” of these same constructs as well.

January 11, chapter 2:

I got out of the house again today, in hopes of a haircut. That turned out to be a Lelah as the appointment was canceled by text just as I was nearing the destination. Instead, Caitlin and I just used the time to enjoy the outdoors and playfully each other’s company while including a brief stop at the market for groceries and lunch.

Prior to that I got a little business clerical and financial handled, feeling a bit on top of those things as the days progress.

What I really didn’t want to finish today’s entry without mentioning was the way I spent the afternoon. Thanks to a recent email from Dave recommending, and perhaps reminding, me that the traditional I Ching could be a really useful tool during this period of notable tension and transformation, I ventured down the rabbit hole of a reading reflecting on the question:

“What attachment is this that holds me back from full and gleeful surrender?”

The result was hexagram 42 changing to hexagram 21. I spent about two hours plumbing these depths and found the time to be quite well spent in terms of helping me to wrap my head around my situation, possible avenues, outcomes, and things I might otherwise have had a hard time seeing.

One could easily trace my path through these reflections by starting here: https://cafeausoul.com/oracles/iching

As for now, 7 PM has arrived and Tresa is just popping through the house, so I’m going to go say hello so as not to miss her.


Tearful full moon…

Waking today began around 3 AM. Roughly 5 hours after dozing off, I was awake and ready to meditate.

My mind was distinctly full of the tension of ambiguity yet I knew and found to be true that turning my attention to my meditation practice would shift that sensation from one of discomfort to a well and clear orientation towards awakening.

After an hour or so of sitting practice, I shifted into resting mode again, though this time not to deep sleep. The rest of the morning was a gentle dance between a liminal does and wakeful worry (distracted thoughts attempting to resolve practical issues). Fortunately I was able to return periodically to meditation to maintain some keel of calm.

Nonetheless, rising felt filled with the spasticity of a restless night. Writing this now 10 hours later I can say I didn’t feel too poorly as a result today.

Once I reached out to Ms. Caitlin, rising was smooth enough, if at times emotional. I’ve been experiencing sensations of loneliness through the current process, recognizing the distance I feel from so many familiar faces in my life. I shared this in the vulnerable early moments of rising and I think it set a lovely tone of intimacy that carried us through the delightful engagements of our morning.

While smooth, rising was also quick once we got going and made our way through a banana breakfast and supplements getting out the door in time for a spacious arrival to the auto body shop appointment. Krishna (2017 Tesla model X) had suffered some cosmetic wounding some weeks before when an electrical conduit in the garage was caught in a Rube Goldberg event with a box and tumbled down onto the car. The mark left was slight, but as selling the car is a distinct possibility, becomes something to manage.

Amato’s auto body is a San Diego staple and we were fortunate in the waiting room to happen upon the original proprietor, Paul Amato. Paul is a real character, a transplant from the East Coast and has a delightful ease in his natural environment. After reviewing our case personally with his employee and presenting us with a generous path forward, he sat with us in the incredibly appointed Art Deco lobby and shared a few lighthearted stories of other cosmetic defects from situations past.

His story reminded me, and I shared, of the time I managed to bring the hood of my dad’s recently restored 1971 Oldsmobile many years ago. Overall, the engagement reminded me of the very best of commercial interactions. I would recommend this shop to anyone.

Having satisfied our morning’s appointment we turned our attentions to a leisurely drive up the coast to drop the dry cleaning at my favorite little seaside shop and taken a bit of our precious ocean view. The day was bright and clear, and the ocean – dare I say, perfect. The waves breaking on the beach were not too big, but just right for the handful of surfers splashing about, beyond that the surface of the ocean was a vast flat expanse of glittering diamonds in the sun. The air was cool, but the sun was warm, creating a generous atmosphere to hold the morning’s vulnerability.

We stopped off at a favorite café for coffee before turning south again to make our way towards home. Caitlin had thought to get a little something at the café, but the lines were daunting. Not far down the road she decided tacos were in order and we made our way to the most popular spot on the Encinitas 101. More lines. Nevermind that! Instead we maneuvered inland to a gas station that was purported to have “great Mexican food,” to test the rumors.

There it was, bordering the freeway, gas, carwash, and taco shop with minimart attached to round all out. Caitlin returns to the car triumphant and we made our way back down the hill to watch the surfers and the glistening ocean waves and take in the little lunch. That was absolutely lackadaisical and medicinal to boot. Caitlin was thrilled with the tacos, I found the burrito to be standard California fare, nothing exceptional but quite passable.

After the respite we made our way home just in time for me to catch up to Dr. Mike for our first conversation since my admittance to the hospital one month previous. Mike and I had a great conversation with him catching me up on his exciting new initiative in Carlsbad and how we might here be invited to participate. He, very generously, have been considering my acute situation and in the midst of countless other things have been looking out for possible opportunities to generate some funds moving in my direction. In a sense this really is just the fire under us to get moving on initiatives we’ve been brewing for years now around home care and well-being.

The conversation was invigorating and gave me strength for the afternoon to turn again to my practical analysis of the moment (Practical Concerns 2.docx) and other relevant clerical business.

It’s remarkable to me how at peace I can feel in the midst of my current situational uncertainties, yet at the same time notice certain qualities of persistent distress surfacing like currents in the ocean. I guess that’s it, nothing black, nothing white, everything the rippling, shimmering play of deep depths and rays of sunlight…


Melancholy in the rain…

Today has been an odd day. Perhaps even a little off…

My night was broken up with some restlessness that didn’t feel particularly restless which I filled with meditation nonetheless. In the morning, I wasn’t clear about how many hours of sleep I could count, but I didn’t feel particularly weary. I also didn’t feel particularly sharp.

Rising was a minor general effort, including the catheter change that I’ve done periodically with Greg over the last many years. Greg will be moving on in March regardless of outcomes of the various projects underway and I will need to have a new program in place to cover that particular skilled task.

Our conversation this morning touched briefly on the apparent diffusion of tensions, though certainly not resolution of same, between the US and Iran. We reflected on the tragedy of our leadership today recognizing at the same time our position of privilege to have the education and developmental maturities to critique that mode of being, rather than simply being in it.

On rising I found my computer misbehaving and spent much of the earliest part of my morning, starting at about 9:45 today, troubleshooting and rebooting. Meanwhile the day outdoors was gray and blustery with some breaks of sun and spits of rain. My inner state reflected the moodiness of the weather – not strong, not aggressive, but undertones of fussy.

The red tail hawks I normally enjoy from my window vantage point by the desk sat stationary high in the air today, writing the cold currents of air and observing the valley below. Ordinarily they circle about and drift easily, but today the skies were compelling them to be a bit more practical in their approach.

Coming out of my technical issues, I also found the planned events on my calendar dissolving. One was a meeting with Mike, my osteopath and a creative thought partner for a number of years now. Returning from vacation he was finding himself well under the weather, and in need of a doctor for the first time in 17 years. I’m sending him prayers as I write this.

The other event on the calendar was a review of finances for 2019 and a planned approach for 2020. This engagement seemed a little overly ambitious today given the acute situation of my financial evolution. I’ve been fairly well over what Social Security has to offer and find myself waiting for applications to process to learn what might be done with Medicare and Medi-Cal.

I’ve been enjoying the metaphor lately of falling out of the sky, practicing a maintenance of equanimity as I attempt to build a starship 🛸 with what I have on hand, as well as a crash pad in just the more optimistic effort fails. Either way I won’t know the success of either endeavor until they work or don’t.

With my calendar clear, I could turn my attention to some whimsy. Reading a recent journal entry wherein I appreciated the lighter side of relations with caregivers, Dave suggested overlaying a poem with their image… Remarkably I noted that we have no such image of the group of us together! Instead I decided to play stitch and cobbled together a few words and images into series… https://youtu.be/5asK5Aua3dc

The effort took longer than I expected and I was less happy with the results than I anticipated, but I’ll just talk all of that up to the affect I was manifesting with the day. A personal recipe with just a touch of melancholy mixed with a sprinkle of ennui, blended into a light liquid and poured over a bed of general cheerfulness.

Cassandra came by, and I was unsurprisingly surprised by her arrival, time not exactly in my wheelhouse today. She was able to help me with a few things through my distraction and I enjoyed her skillful hand at a breakfast burrito for lunch.

Following that I attempted to turn my energy to some of the narrative storytelling work that seems important right now. I’ve been writing on the various aspects of the starship vision mandala (https://vimeo.com/382245689) in hopes of creating some surface area to attract the relevant creative partners and resources, from within and without.

Again this ended up being kind of a wash in the afternoon was rather filled with phone calls from friends just reaching out to connect. The pizza (the name this voice typing software gives to Vukica) is now back from her travels in Europe, laid up a bit with a sprained ankle which does thankfully seem to be healing well, and fresh from her pursuit of bigger and better jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. I always enjoy my window on her life as her heart and mind and skills continue to develop and mature. 🙂 With luck she’ll make it by for movie night one of these days.

Just on the tail of that call, Elisa rang in. Back from a successful engagement in Tijuana last week she’s been chasing after the training of her potential successor and had a few moments to catch up while moving between engagements. Both ladies sounded well and happy and chatting with them was a welcome heart space.

I thought again after chatting with Elisa I would focus on getting some work done. For fun I’ll blame the sweet full moon for having other ideas 🌝…

Moments later, Caitlin came in the door, back from her refreshing journey to Sedona. She had Tresa in tow, and the mood shifted to a cheerful storytelling, reunions, and dinner.

I’m just stealing a few moments away from our kitchen cheer to write these words now…


Slowly, the heartbeat begins…

It is with gratitude and no small sense of emerging discipline that I returned to these pages.

Today I have been a writer it seems fair to say. No doubt I will near likely 5000 words on today’s overall count. Which of those words cut time, and which are blown away by it remains to be seen.

Of course Big Time which is the only word, consumes all words eventually, but that is a story long, ever, and now old and beyond telling.

My words today simply report the passing of one moment in small time, if the spirit of poetry finds its way into them, that is another’s doing altogether.

San Diego was a dozen degrees cooler today than yesterday, and cloudy as well. No rain yet, perhaps tomorrow, but I smiled from by bed this morning at the charm of a cold grey day that promised a trip to the offices of the bureaucracy.

After rising and a lighthearted smoothie, Eleña’s favorite breakfast to prepare here, we made our way out the door, bundled up in sweaters and scarves and warm overcoats, to the office of Social Security to see what they might have to say was on offer from their perspective on my future.

Parking was not present so we drove around a bit, eventually settling on the Starbucks lot across the controlled intersection. This gave the adventure some intrigue as it meant navigating a variety of awkward, uneven, and hilly surfaces to make the final leg of the journey. As I said, we were in good spirits so adventure it was.

We laughed as we entered the parking lot of the Social Security Administration, on foot this time. Both disabled parking spots at the front door were now open, and three more spots in the previously crowded lot poked us in jest like familiar friends.

Inside, the process was formal – a welcome sign instructed us to the electronic kiosk where we were second in line, but only for a moment. Filling in the requested information, and the machine printed us our ticket in the days order of things – D 42 – and we proceeded to the longer que to wait our turn at the window.

We dutifully played on our phones under the watchful or perhaps un-noticing eyes of the dozen or two folks patiently seated in the waiting area just behind us. It seemed we were going to a window to be told where and why and how to wait. It seemed a little odd to me that only one window seems to be receiving our line, while about eight more windows sat open.

Open windows, patient crowd, standing in line. This was definitely the place.

As we made our way surprisingly quickly to the front of the line my curiosity grew about the nature of our environment. I could see now that there was another hallway leading to more windows, probably with more clerks behind them. These were serious windows, with only small openings through which to pass voice and various miscellaneous documents. The attendants on the other side seemed well protected from any would-be assailants wanting to make the conversation more personal.

A few moments after dismissing her previous client, Desiree beckoned us forward. She was unsmiling, quick and efficient, and made room for us to leave at our very earliest convenience. I asked Eleña about this later and she pointed out that, in Desiree’s position, she likely saw a lot of suffering and distress, needed to move from one request to the next without getting too caught up emotionally or personally in the matters going by. Also, she was probably on the receiving end of much of that distress as the days turned into months and years.

In any case, her efficiency and practiced clarity paid off well for us. In a matter of probably 10 minutes we were very clear that I had no additional available benefits at this time, at least not from Social Security, and that if my net worth over dropped beneath $2000, I was welcome to return and apply for additional benefits at that time. As for Medicare, she was pretty sure there wasn’t an office where I could meet a person, but encouraged me to call them directly nonetheless.

Very little waiting, no second que, and out the door with solid info. That was pleasant enough, though you’d never have known it from the gentleman screaming obscenities into the air just outside.

We made our way home and I did call Medicare. That too took less time than it might have and I found myself further well-informed and moving forward on other matters that may prove vital in the coming months.

After that, a quick lunch with Miss Cassandra just in the door to spell sweet Eleña whom we will now not see until next week. Finishing lunch I found myself a bit more conscientious of a physical distress and discomfort that had been with me since departing Social Security. I had noticed it in the car as we were leaving, as an all too familiar friend in the moments of my life. In the same moment I think I had written it off to the cool whether and threats of rain tomorrow. In any case I decided to investigate further.

This meant leaving the desk to lie down on my bed for a moment, make sure my clothing was all organized on my body properly and nothing else was out of sorts. Something else was out of sorts.

In the transfer it seems from chair to car on our errands, my catheter tube had become pulled tight to the stoma where it entered the body creating some strain and the accompanying discomfort. Adjusting that was an easy fix, but I stayed lying down for about 45 minutes to recover from the physical stress of the inconvenience.

As I rose I was reminded I had promised my attention to a friend to introduce her and her friend to some reflections on the Integral Community and movement, subject with which I’m familiar now for the last 13 years and with which she was quite interested to align her pursuits for schooling and career.

I knew going in I should’ve recorded that call, but didn’t. As it turned out she drew out of me about a 20 minute lecture, or perhaps recitation is better, on my experience and sense of the Integral movement, both formally and informally over the last 13 a little years. Had I recorded it, I think it would’ve made a nice little offering just to post into the wild for anyone else curious about the subject.

C’est la vie.

For the rest of the afternoon I turned my attention to writing on the story of MettaCare in my journey through having caregivers over the last 17 years or so. I spent about 90 minutes on that and then turned my attention to the related correspondence. All that is recorded in writing elsewhere so I’ll not dwell on it here.

That brings me to 6:45 now and I’ll close here, turning my attention to dinner, shower, and bed.


One week down… Or is it up?

Hard to say right now, down or up. We are seven days into this new year and, at least from where I’m sitting, not a lot looks particularly up just now.

My spirits are up. The bright smiles and laughter I am privileged to share with Cassandra and Caitlin, and Eleña, Greg, and Andrew are up. I am certainly up to a creative engagement, inquiry and pursuit in terms of writing and exploring the possible avenues of my next steps forward.

In the meantime, missiles are going off in Iraq, some fired by the US, others by Iran. The world’s most dangerous submarine, the USS Triton, sails through the Panama Canal today on its way to more saber rattling in the Middle East. Iranian Department of Defense responds:

“We in no way consider the Zionist regime (of Israel) to be separate from the criminal US regime in these crimes,”
“We warn the Great Satan, the bloodthirsty and arrogant regime of the US, that any new wicked act or further agression (against Iran) will bring about more painful and crushing responses,”

“You think Trump would fire the first nuke?” I asked my friend today, realizing I really don’t want to know the answer to that.

As it stands, I’m down for up and up to get down, I hope we’ll hold each other up and not let all of us down.

In the midst of that I spent the morning researching Medicare options for in-home support and completing paperwork to allow the possibility of a Wells Fargo forbearance period to give a little breathing room on the mortgage.

Eleña was helpful busying herself to aid me in the clerical tasks of scanning, organizing, calling for appointments and the like.

Then cheerfully at noon, we enjoyed our reunion with Andrew as he arrived to support me in exercise and weight bearing for the first time in a month. He was friendly and cheerful as usual, with a bit of an excited edge after a busy holiday season and now looking at the birth of his son, Asher due anytime in the next 2 to 4 weeks!

We had an enjoyable and characteristically playful engagement as we worked, exploring in conversation subjects ranging from the delightful madness of familial relations, the practical concerns of life, and whether or not the ignorance of the world was driving us toward World War III or not.

After a good workout and a glass of coconut water over closing conversations, we parted ways until next Tuesday and I turned my attention to lunch with Miss Cassandra and afternoon finance.

Most notable in that arena, aside from the brief correspondence from our friends at the DeepWater (https://www.deepwaterdesal.com) investment, assuring us that things are on track and remain hopeful, was a short email that almost brought me to tears.

Treva Adams, the woman that’s been handling my bookkeeping and taxes for the better part of the last decade sent a short email in response to some technical questions I had offered, and extended the gift of completing my 2019 taxes for me pro bono. Her very short, sweet, and to the point email gave a loving reflection of her appreciation for me as a client and as a person and made the simple gesture that she knew would have tremendous impact in very practical terms.

This was unexpected, though not out of character, and profoundly moving.

After that I turned my attention back to my writing projects, still today giving voice and narration to my experience of living with the paralysis of quadriplegia. The project was less spacious today than yesterday, but still I managed to get a few more words down in a little further in this case, into the day’s description. Over 5000 words now and counting…

Tomorrow we will attempt the Social Security office in hopes of gaining further traction on a number of our inquiries regarding possible sources of support going forward. Then home to further investigate what role building momentum in the practice of MettaCare may have in the coming mandala of engagements and attention.


AutoBioMedia…

What should I call that story? If I am relating in real time some events or duration of my journey, what shall it be called?

I asked Eleña to write this on the blackboard today. I look forward to seeing if anyone offers any playful ideas in their coming and going over the next few days.

She has lovely handwriting, and the creative spirit that always makes it fun for me to ask for her to scribe large (again, on the blackboard 😉 on my behalf. I’ve yet to see what she did today, perhaps I’ll include a photo.

I slept long and late last night. Long enough that on rising this morning I felt a little compressed for time for my morning meditation. Gandhi is reported to have said, “I meditate for an hour every morning, unless I have a busy day ahead, in which case I meditate for two.” I have always aspired to this attitude and disposition. Still it seems to live backwards in my mind. If not Gandhi, I guess I’ll have to be Kabir.

A few hours earlier in the dark, I thought I heard something strange. As Greg entered the room with a shocked look on his face, it seemed I had. Apparently Kitty threw up on the floor by the sliding glass doors. Greg reporting with dismay – “this is the second time this morning I’ve cleaned up vomit.” His dog at home had decided to eat the dry eraser. We don’t have a dry eraser, so I’m not sure what Kitty ate. Greg doesn’t have a dry eraser either, now. Eleña tells me cats throw up a lot, so there’s that.

After briefly touching on the tragic state of American domestic and geopolitics, Greg and I moved to getting up while he regaled me with stories of his life as a ships mechanic and skipper, another world and lifetime ago.

Then to work, the general clerical of the morning, and the tasks of the project I’m calling “Transformation 2020” – all of those things required to address the acute conditions of my current economic system winding down, and to discover/invent/begin whatever is next. Today that was forms for the government assistance programs, some correspondence around possible income generating work and projects, and a little treat of setting up, or rather completing the set up, of my new Holoport – a little computer box I bought about 20 months ago to support an initiative to decentralize the web.

Delivery of the little computer took longer than anyone expected, but in retrospect I suppose building the next web is unlikely something to be anticipated on schedule. I think it was Bill Gates who said “people overestimate what they can accomplish in the year, and underestimate what they can accomplish in 10.” Point taken.

Next a trip to the Social Security office which served the dual purpose of errand and getting me out of the house in the daytime for the first time in over a week. Lovely warm and fresh air and sunshine greeted me and although we met a crowd at the Social Security office and decided to turn away for the day, we did stop for a burrito and I enjoyed a few minutes of quiet simply waiting in the car with the window down, making a phone call to explore possible caregiving avenues available to me, and just taking in the feeling of the outdoors.

I carried the theme a little further when we arrived home, taking lunch outside in the sun. The burrito was a strange twist as the restaurant had decided that it would make sense to cover an otherwise handheld sandwich type meal in a full blanket of Swiss cheese, leaving the guacamole, sour cream, and salsa not in the burrito where I had anticipated finding them, but rather in little cups around the strange little role of cheese.

Eleña and I laughed and made do. After a bit of sunshine which felt exceptionally hot for this time of year, conversation, and burrito it was time to return to the work of the day.

Part of the journey of this Transformation 2020 is determining what stories I need to tell, both for myself, clarity, and for others, transparency. I made a list of these yesterday and started then by outlining how I might craft a daily video log. Today I turned my attention to telling the practical story of “the medical condition.”

I’m not finished yet, but 10 pages in and 4200 words later, I think I’ll give it a rest for the evening. I’m looking forward to the finished product of the first draft in hopes that it will have helped me to really think through this important aspect of where I’ve been, where I find myself today, and where I might go from here.


Birthday Sunday…

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Not sure what had me this morning, but rising felt as if from under stones.

Greg is in on Sunday mornings, and also on his way to an early day at his other occupation, the addiction and abuse rehabilitation clinic (another story). The translation here is that is turned around and out the door by 09:30 with very little wiggle room.

Once Greg is away, I’m on my own till noon – so no sleeping in or dillydallying on Sunday mornings.

Nothing like a little insistence to push through the lethargy.

Lest this sound a little melancholic, let me be clear – if effortful, rising was nonetheless enjoyable. Somehow, the conversation that followed had a familiar tone.

World War III anyone?

As a child, growing up in South Africa, Greg was no stranger to insurgents and infiltration warfare. In the late 70s and early 80s, children were a familiar target and the kinds of tragedies that ensued were a familiar part of his young landscape.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences test (ACE) makes no mention of war; having friends who lived through aerial bombing and domestic terrorism in their childhood, makes me think it probably ought to.

I can’t say how many times in recent days I’ve noticed generally intelligent, optimistic, progressive, and typically mild people I know refer to our current human situation, at the national and global levels with a remarkable sense of fatalism and despair.

Recent events with the United States assassination of an Iranian governmental executive seemed to be exacerbating that condition, at the least.

Talking with Greg this morning, and getting his perspective as someone who both lived through that kind of onslaught, but also participated as a military man, the very real possibilities of the world sliding into a truly unprecedented war gave me the distinct sensation of humanity attempting to wake up, as if from under stones.

Alive in me was the sense that I had to be that little voice urging towards rising to the dawn. Not that I had to be the only voice, or rather the only part of the voice, but certainly that by virtue of my access to optimism, and sense of possibility, I had to find ways to move visibly and perhaps vocally, or maybe just materially in the world toward some alternate outcomes.

What to do about 100 million climate refugees; what to do about the possibility of World War III; what to do about seemingly entrenched divisiveness, fatalism, and the general ennui that brings it all about?

I have to find ways to live an exploration of answers to these questions. I also need to find a way to survive to do so.

I’m always glad to read Fred, so this morning after I weekly 90 minute ritual of reviewing the previous week’s calendar and actions, and organizing my to do list and schedule for the coming month, I was glad to take a few minutes to hear his thoughts on What to Work On (<a href="https://avc.com/2020/01/what-to-work-on/?utm_source=feedburner


The moments of beloved transition.

Bhavana Dee

The other day I received a newsletter in my e-mail. I receive a number of these, mostly having to do with our friends around the world. Often times I will simply scan them to notice any developments and move on. This newsletter in particular was from a group that does grassroots community development through developing the individuals within the community in South Asia. Auroville Village Action is a group that was founded by a friend of mine, Bhavana Dee many years ago.

In the sidebar of the newsletter, I noticed a brief mention. My dear friend had passed away on May 11, 2011. (For simple reasons, I was glad to find on the calendar that my daughter had stayed home from school that day.)

I’m not writing this to say a lot, only that I love my friend, always have and always will. Also, that I want to repost here the blog I found from her expressing herself in the last period of her life where she was writing publicly. There are words of her spiritual insights, commentary on cancer and the nature of this treatment and possible cures, but most of all–the words are simply those of a beautiful soul reflecting on the beauty that it is, and more precisely, the love that it is to be alive together.

Thank you for all your beauty and your love, Bhavana.

And so…

MONDAY, MAY 9, 2011

Note to my friends

5 May 2011

GOODBYE, BHAVANA, Part 1, The Physical Story

In January i was experiencing enough discomfort in my neck to go to an ENT specialist who sent me for tests which showed evidence of thyroid cancer, either medullary or anaplastic. Following up at the Cancer Research Centre at nearby JIPMER (a government post-graduate teaching hospital, second best in India), i was admitted for an operation to remove the medullary tumour on Feb 7th, and that operation was successful, although it showed much more aggressive growth and adhesion than expected and the post-op biopsy showed anaplastic cancer, an extremely fast growing and deadly cancer, and i am now experiencing large tumour growth in my neck. I discovered through a great book, Outsmart Your Cancer, an alternative treatment in late April (much too late really), and it is a race between the cancer and the remedy. The cancer threatens to cut off breathing, eating and swallowing faster than the remedy can kill off cancer cells. So here i sit short of breath, barely able to swallow, extremely weak and low energy… It’s extremely fast, a week ago i was climbing the stairs (albeit slowly) to an airy room for evenings – today i need help to bet to the bathroom.

GOODBYE. BHAVANA AND HELLO AGAIN, Part 2, The Inner Story

But most interesting for me has been the inner journey which this diagnosis triggered. My first reaction was actually, “O good, i will get to prepare for my death and depart consciously.” I think the main factor in this rather positive reaction was that 17 years ago i nearly died of cerebral malaria – coming out of a two week coma, i had a very strong sense that death is really not anything to be afraid of (it’s much harder on the people all around than on the dying/dead person). I wondered how deep that fearlessness was, but i have found that it is sustaining at an even keel during all this period. Also, i am 67 and have had a very full life – so i’m not facing a lot of regrets or unfinished dreams. And i must admit that the 9 months last year i spent with my 92 year old mother in a nursing home in Florida made me open to a relatively early departure before sight, hearing, mobility, etc. breakdown. But i am not inviting death, i was always fully happy to continue on living, and with wonderful support from my community here, entered the course of further tests to ascertain the diagnosis and take the appropriate treatment. I was operated on by one of the best surgeons in India, and a wonderful person also.

Meanwhile, i also began to work on the body of work which has been growing up over the last decades which approaches cancer as a turning point in one’s life (specially that of Dr. Carl Simonton and Dr. David Servan Schreiber, video , and video), and encourages one to look at the stresses which have led up to the onset (the key causative factor they’ve found is not the stress itself but a feeling of helplessness around it and i had two where they only solution was “give it to Mother”, but although the mind accepted, the vital found them intolerable), the secondary benefits of falling sick (primarily that all my friends come and tell me how much they love and will miss me, showering me with genuine care and evoking responsive feelings in me, and also being freed from the daily grind of routine busy-ness), and for the “message” of the disease (in my case, precisely that i was neglecting my inner work and that i should give it priority). This seems just like integral yoga to me, and more and more i found that the cancer seemed like a blessing, acting as Death-as -Guru overcoming my resistances to spiritual progress and goading me into intensified practice.

Look within

The most important of these practices has been listening to Shraddhavan’s reading of Savitri on CD. I find her reading so evocative and smooth, not only do i listen during the day but i sometimes play it all night long, dosing off and then waking to listen. Savitri is mantric, we know, and when listened to has deep effect. One night i experienced Mother coming in – She took my hands and whirled me around , letting me go flying. I swooped and dived and moved around in the air, so happy to be free of the heaviness of ordinary body consciousness. I thought to myself, this is an astral/vital experience not a spiritual one – but that’s okay since i can tell the difference. It was such fun, and i was so grateful i just lay my head on Her thigh, grasped Her hands and cried. Another night, i awoke at exactly midnight and Shraddhavan had just begun the Book of Fate – i was immediately completely alert and listened rapt for 4-5 hours through the Dialogue with Death. During the listening my mind was working at least two tracks, one was understanding what Sri Aurobindo was saying in a deeper way than i had ever understood before, and another was seeing how all the stresses i was feeling in my personal life and in relation to the worsening economic, ecological and political crises on the planet, as well as all my existential and metaphysical doubts about mind and meaning , were being addressed by Sri Aurobindo so precisely. My consciousness seemed to be rising up above this level of conflict, confusion and contradiction to where i could see with bright certainty that every single factor – the conflicts, the reactions to conflicts, the reactions to reactions, everything i could perceive or imagine, was actually moving and changing in perfect order, part of a larger flux of harmony. And then my previous experience with Mother kicked in as i realised that “flying”, that is being able to swoop down and up on different levels of consciousness, would enable me to easily and lightly keep adjusting and maintaining my state of mind above the conflictual levels without denying them – and that developing that capacity to be aware of my consciousness and adjust could be a priority practice.

At this point my attitude toward cancer treatment took a step forward. Before i had been anticipating a conscious departure, now i began to think about getting yogically skilled enough to make a conscious transition to the next life. I found an interesting thing, that i was much more motivated to “pray” (something i’ve wished to be able to do, but always found difficult) for this transition to move on to a next life so that i could continue to serve conscious evolution on the planet, than to pray for myself living longer or dying well. It came so naturally, so strongly. A little later my mind was straying into thoughts of what sort of parents i should be born to, parents who would recognise the special qualities of their little girl and do everything to encourage and develop those psychic qualities in her, and it suddenly occurred to me i didn’t have to change bodies to do that. I could start taking care of that “little girl” (my psychic being, my soul) right now, from this minute.

But quite typically this rush of peak experiences has been followed by the inevitable troughs where the same obscurities, lassitude and incapacities are the order of the day. As the cancer progresses it makes me very weak, energy-less – and that has proved a good direction to follow: spend much of the day in deep relaxation, “just being”. A lot of purification goes on, as well as aspiring for the consciousness i long to be in, and leaving the results to the Divine. And so it is with me right now, endlessly rocking in the cradle between breaking through into a new body or a new life in this one.

GOOD BYE BHAVANA, Part 3, A Note to my Friends

With all this time “just being” so many of my friends come to mind, and i feel the special quality of love which friendship bestows. I reminds me of a dream i had about a week ago – that i was with a friend who somehow had me lying in a lotus radiating love – it was blissful, i felt really good. But then some pain arose in that lotus-reclining body – but still the love was radiating. I began to see that radiating love was normal for a being, whether we are blissful or painful or so caught up in our little lives that we don’ t even notice. We all just radiate love and that’s how the world holds together. There’s nothing special about it, requiring lotuses and bugles. But if we happen to become aware of it, then it seems special. So friendship is something which gives us a possibility of noticing the radiating of love. Friendship comes by grace, there’s just a rapport and chance to notice the love! And each connection so very unique! How amazing is Infinity. So thanks to all of my friends for this privilege of sharing love and appreciation of Infinity! And please forgive me if i can’t answer to anything you write, because it is already quite a painful accomplishment for me to write this good bye epistle. I love you.

HELLO AGAIN, Part 4

If i recover i will write about the medicine and also about the whole horrid story of how low cost natural non toxic (but non patentable) cancer remedies are suppressed by the “cancer industry”. Meanwhile, if you or a dear one are diagnosed with cancer, you might want to read right away, Outsmart Your Cancer, which very clearly describes 21 alternative cancer remedies which have been curing people for up to 60 years, explaining the way they work, their history, giving testimonials, and directions how to obtain them, and explaining “why, if they work so well, we have never heard of them” (suppression).

POSTED BY BHAVANA AT 1:01 AM

Bhavana passed peacefully at 3:10 am Wednesday morning Auroville time.

MAY 11, 2011 5:44 AM