I'm laying in my bed, awake, staring at the ceiling. The sun is up and peeking in my blinds. I want my book to focus my mind on something, but it's on the desk. I don't want to disturb the dogs by getting up and getting it.
To want. The implication of lacking or needing something outside the moment, that the moment is not perfect and to accidentally instill a cycle of dependency.
"I want to feel better."
"I want to be healed."
"I want that book."
"I want my mind to be still."
It is perfect, however, this moment. Everything is how and where it should be right now, right here, right in this moment.
I decide to meditate instead of want the book. I lay on my back and tuck the pillow under my knees slightly and place my hands at my sides and close my eyes.
Starting with the top of my head, I think: my mind is still, I am healed, I am healthy, I am open to all possibility, My mind is perfect in this moment. Then I notice my mind starts to wander. It wanders to the way my shaved hair feels under my hair. It notices its own wandering and mirrors that up against the word 'healthy'. It begins to dream imaginary things like my elderly neighbor in the back with the long white braid down her back shoveling dirt over my chain link fence in the notorious corner of my back yard. It is notorious because the ground has seemed to have eaten the fence line here and only two feet of the four foot fence peeks from the dirt, the only illuminated corner of the yard. My mind wanders to the imaginary need to clean the hall bathroom - which in reality was just completed during the past few days - but my eyes look down into the rings in the sink and bathtub. My awareness begins to come back to my body. I notice my forehead, face and nose are relaxed and my skin is cool.
My awareness drifts to my throat, neck, chin and mouth. I feel a lump in my throat. A lump that is becoming more and more familiar to me. I worry, then I think: I am healed, I am healthy, I am open to all possibility, My throat is perfect in this moment... I am healed, I am healthy, I am surrounded by love. My mind walks though its thoughts like a child at the edge of a forest with many paths. It sees the little bowl at the base of my throat where my clavicle meets each other. It feels my esophagus and communicates with the cells that they are loved and happy. It travels up my esophagus to my tongue and my mouth and my mouth remembers so many wonderful kisses. Kisses so luscious like taking big bites from over ripe peaches or nectarines, but so much better. Kisses like connection that embraces your whole self both in this world and in outer space - where your cells expand and contract and you become one with everything. Soft, lovely kisses.
My mind drifts down to my shoulders and collarbone, which I had broken just 19 months ago. My thoughts carry an apology to my collarbone which holds no screws and went under no surgery, but instead found its own way to reunite itself and still awkwardly yet discreetly protrudes upward slightly. My mind focuses it's thoughts: I am healed, I am healthy, I feel good and strong. I am healed. I am healthy. I am thankful.
My abdomen begins to call for attention and my mind drifts to the area around my stomach: I am healed, I am healthy. I feel the same knot in my stomach as I did in my throat. I am healed. My stomach is perfect in this moment. My stomach is healed, it is healthy. My mind wanders off to the conversation I had with my friend last night. I had said I needed to lose twenty pounds after returning from the ladies room at the bar. While I was in there, I squeezed all the fat on my waist. About two inches, I gleaned. Ten pounds per inch, I thought. I gained weight. All the beer probably. Man, I love good beer. I've been eating pretty well, however: lots of vegetables and smoked salmon and tofu. My lifestyle has changed. My body is transforming. My friend says, You do not need to lose twenty pounds! I need to lose ten pounds, so you do not need to lose twenty!
My mind becomes aware of my hips. I feel my mind say: I am healed, I am healthy, my hips are perfect in this moment, this moment is every moment, every moment is now, I am healed, I am healthy, I am present. My mind sees my body riding the bicycle and walking the dogs and jogging and streeeettttcccchhhhinnngggg these hips in yoga class. My mind searches the veins for rapid circulation and speeds it along. Then to soften the muscles in my legs and rear to allow opening, relaxation and good health. I remember the dance floor. I hear the blues grinding on the axe. I am shuffling around, twisting my hips. The lights are blue and purple. The music is good.
I go into darkness for a little while. I dream. I float. When I emerge, my awareness goes to my knees. I say: My knees are healthy, my knees are healed. I travel inside my skin under my patella and fluff the cartilage like a pillow. I press the circulation to bring oxygen and vitalization to my knees.
I feel my calves from my mind with a gentle scan. My legs are healed. My legs are healthy. I am thankful of my legs.
I scan my feet. I feel my arches and my joints and the pads of my feet. My feet are healed. My feet are healthy. My mind produces my lacrosse ball to roll around in my arches. Thumbs press my pads. Hands wrap around and squeeze these feet that carry me everywhere. There is no want. There is only this moment. This moment all the time. What am I doing in this moment? I reflect is what I need to ask to check in with myself. All the moments are connected, as I am connected to the moments.
It is many moments later.
Now that is in the past.
Now, I have my books here at the table with me and I am ready to read. The dogs are up. I have my coffee. My body which contains me feels good. Want is a choice and there is no want - only connected moments to pay close attention to.
I am sitting at the table outside listening to the birds as I type and the dogs are keeping a mighty eye out for squirrels in the single large oak tree that sits in the middle of the yard that is so large it shades me, shades the house and shades the whole yard - minus the one notorious illuminated corner.
May 19, 2017
I'm realizing as I sit here how it is time for a shift. Maybe it's going to sound selfish or petty or obvious, but I am realizing how I need to be strong for me.
It's isolating to say that, but at the end of the day, we die alone. Honestly, I feel alone anyway so I might as well work on me cultivating the things and person I want to be. If I look at myself and my habits again, am I happy with where they are? Am I treating people well? Am I as elegant as I want to be? Am I versed in the things I want to know about? Am I growing spiritually and intellectually and am I sharing that with others in a loving way? Am I drinking too much? Am I eating enough vegetables? Am I exercising enough?
For so long and yet still I care for others. I hide a lot of the work of that from others as I think we all do. But that has been my primary work for the last twenty some years. When that shifts, for you see my youngest son is graduating high school and my mother just died May 10th, I have to ask myself who I am and do I like it? Believe it or not, I don't like confrontation. I feel I have been polarizing in many instances in my life especially in the last ten to fifteen years, but I don't like confrontation. I cannot even imagine being a politician where that happens all the time - where you have to fight to be heard and you become the target of so much ridicule.
I say this, yet I long for positive change in society and in myself - yet it often defeats me. The world violence, the societal prejudice, the quiet domestic abuse, the lack of respect for life (animals and the wilderness is very much included here), the unbending opinions of pontificators driven by politics and religion, the self abuse, the addictions, the short sightedness, the greediness - it all overwhelms me at times.
Well, I am here now to validate for anyone who feels this way - it is overwhelming. Some people ease the feelings of being overwhelmed by suicide or smoking or drinking or some other addiction. The term "having fun" isn't fun at that point. I saw it in people close to me - and that is why I had to leave.
June 3, 2017
So this is the first time I am sitting at my antique claw foot tiger wood desk in my new home - a home not a house and a desk I haven't sat at for about two years. I'm looking at the title of my entry: in lieu of flowers. When I first wrote that, I wrote it because in lieu of flowers, what my mother and I want is for you to be good to each other and to be good to yourself. Just be self aware enough to listen to those healthy choices always. Sometimes, it is not easy. And for some, it's not natural habit - but trust it will be habit and it will become natural. Just stick with it. I have had some people ask me about how to change habits - because that's what it's all about right? Living the best life ever right? Then, suddenly, you realize you're caught in habit's web. A friend of mine I met climbing accidentally ordered two of the same book called Vertical Mind - As I read it I realized there is much more in there than just how to retrain your brain for climbing. And that's the thing, isn't it? A great sport - or maybe great athletes in the sport - provide this depth, these metaphors and useful wisdom for life not just the sport. I've read Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald which is also good, but you have to glean the psychology and same with Push by Tommy Caldwell which isn't a training book at all, but rather a really great story that is just raw and honest. Through watching Caldwell obsess as well as soften and make the various changes, I aspire to push also more than I would have had I not seen his struggles and how they were overcome.
All that said, I still have moments where I'm sad my mom couldn't have come here with us. You see, I'm emerging from a two year darkness which I didn't know I was entering into at the time. I have flashes of memory of sitting at Potter's Place having a conversation which would be the start of witnessing a fluidity of bourbon and pills and self denial. It caused such a rift in myself to be so physically close to something I could not change and could not help. The lack of influence I had on the huge amounts of wasted restaurant food from random take outs or styrofoam in the fridge not to mention the shock I felt when I saw the boxes of bleach and round up ... from someone who claimed to be a 'no excuses' environmentalist. Then there was the drunken hovering over me ranting hot breath in my ear while I tried to watch a tv show or movie. Just stop. Couple this with an aging demented mother who eventually would break a hip and require 24 hour help. At least she was so thankful and sweet ... even if she did yell at me because the water IS cold when you first turn it on. But it warms up. Doesn't it? Then it's okay. I did what I could to keep my cool. In the end, it was ten thousand square feet of hell. There is SO MUCH MORE crap (haha literally .. as in dog and cat) to tell, but it's time to move on. Just goes to show, you can take an insecure, twisted human to money, but you can't make him rich. Prayers to St. Jude, patron saint of the hopeless. May this experience humble me and leave me thankful.
The fun little things that have happened since being here is watching my dogs completely adjust and my son become an accidental cyclist. There are so many things that I just take for granted having all the thousands of miles riding around Illinois and Wisconsin and a few other places. Being a bike commuter in Austin with my son means carrying a backpack a lot, possible rainy rides, keeping computers dry, bike cleaning, keeping a chain clean, minor tuning adjustments, keeping eyes on the bike lane of the road which isn't always swept, teaching non verbal communication, definitely wearing eye protection and learning new territory. It's good hot sweaty fun and I am sleeping better than I have in a long time.
Have to say I had a very smooth and easy move down here despite my worry. The first weekend here was full of friends and family and was just lovely. I feel like we got so much done not only for the household, but filled ourselves with soul food. I was so glad my daughter could be here and also that my lovely sister in law and my children's great aunt. It was really a special time.
One of the things I love is the idea of getting up and out regardless of the weather. I am loving the heat. I guess there was a reason I was at a hot yoga studio for five years. I am also loving the cacophony of birds all day every day and the smells of the jasmine or honeysuckle or whatever weird plants I walk past. Sometimes there's a nasty smell - I mean it is a city. And sometimes it can be dirty or unorganized in some places. But I kind of like it - and my neighbor has chickens and ducks and a pig and I can probably grow vegetables in the one small patch of sun in the FRONT yard if I wanted to .. because, you see, there are HUGE oak trees in the front and in the back yards which keep us a little cool in the shade. I still have much straightening up to do inside and out and I have way more stuff than I'd care to admit to, but it'll all get done. Right. After. This. Run.
Drinking more water. Drinking less coffee, beer and wine. Eating less quantity, but more quality. Being honest and outright. Exercising more. Sending loving vibes and being kinder - to myself and to others. Forgiveness. All these things are coming together now along with your daily tasks and errands. Lastly, my mothers ashes arrived in the mail yesterday. In lieu of flowers, be good to yourself and to others.
The Biology of Belief, report for curriculum
The Biology of Belief is a book about cellular healing and manipulation by the mind by Bruce Lipton, PhD. Lipton explains how our thoughts can trigger healing - or illnesses - in the body. He received his Ph.D. in developmental biology in 1971 and taught at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and St. George’s University of Medicine and from 1987 to 1992. He also was a researcher at Penn State and Stanford University Medical Center. He has several published works on this including white papers and essays on cellular biology and epigenetics that have appeared in Nature magazine, the University of Wisconsin, Stanford University and many others. He has written four books on epigenetics and the power of belief to change your health and to change your mind. He has lectured at conferences such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences conference and made guest appearances in films and on television shows regarding the impact of love and fear on your body. In 2009, he received the Goi Peace award for his work in the “New Biology”.
Despite all of Lipton’s awards and accolades, his work is still often criticized by skeptics which you can sense pays a toll on his own psyche. He mentions in the Biology of Belief, which was republished in 2015 as a ten year anniversary edition, his awe and disappointment in a more recent publication on epigenetics in Nature magazine where they repurpose his words and findings without siting him and his article written years earlier. These ideas are not new - that of healing the body with our thoughts or even that of channelling energy from what is known as God for lack of a better word - but what makes Lipton different is his tracking of cellular change using the scientific method. Today we have the technology to see and track changes in the body more so than ever before. Lipton has documented the cell changes in amino acid behavior due to signals generated in the mind to create behavior (healing or dis-ease), much like what Masaru Emoto has done with talking to water crystals and photographing the result as evidence (see Masaru-Emoto.net).