While I have felt to some degree unmoored for an amount of time now approaching two years, I have also in a sense found myself standing on a new emerging foundation, gratitude.
After check-in, the wait was short before a friendly nurse shuffled us to a windowless room with one door for the first stage of our admittance.
Here we are now on Ibis street, Mill Peak, our home of nearly 14 years, in the rearview mirror. If not for neighbors Ron and Bruna, it would be firmly left to the mists in the bend.
Somewhere in this metaphor lives an act of metacognition, some self discovering self, and of that skillful means of awareness, a flow of wisdom love arises and pours forth, nourishing we relative acts of writing, acts of longing, acts of pain, distinction, trust, and surrender.
The metaphor feels strange in light of the clear blue sky, heartfelt conversations of the day, chimes singing in the breeze, and the warmth and beauty of the San Diego spring blossoming both within and around.
The hunt for new care partners continues in a quiet void. Each Avenue I know to travel in search of those new relations lies nearly exhausted. Each day I managed to nudge some new or undiscovered corner with the fullness of its receptivity, which is to say nearly nothing.
Meanwhile I’ve been searching and finding some windows between to do creative contract and collaborative work with partners in the next rings of my orbit. In the midst of it all finding the grace to participate in a variety of intentional practice communities and feeling wildly nourished by those engagements.
I notice the thought in mind bringing awareness to a somewhat amorphous audience – some of whom are indeed happy for the clerical updates of goings-on, while I myself also represent some portion of that audience with a certain preference for evocation and poeticism.
It’s a busy week that has begun and already the unexpected asserts itself before the planned.
The written word feels free, a place to wander like the trickle becoming brook, finding its way down the mountain. Spoken recording, an audio, somehow more fragile, more delicate structure that must be built just so, or it shatters into a heap of meaningless bits.
Perhaps the perfect size, our conversation even wondered to the possibility of purchasing as a fixer-upper. We learned later that in fact the new landlord just closed ownership yesterday and, fortunately for us, the renovations we had postulated ourselves will be getting underway directly.
I caught myself at one point feeling giddy like a child to be playing with others in this territory of inquiry, a bit like rushing down through the forest to the lake in anticipation of a cold swim on a hot summers day.
If I do write, as indeed I am, I will have some substance to share, an artifact a little bit wild. No vast audience, but vulnerable to discovery as it will land on a website and be pushed to social media.
She didn’t ask why it was that way, who I was, she didn’t introduce herself or open a window for exchange of any kind, turning her back in retreat as quickly as she had arrived.
With just a few moments of creative effort remaining in the day I opt to the familiar words on the page to maintain the discipline of calling forth some small offering to the world.
The house went on the market today, and already we’ve got at least six showings scheduled for tomorrow, so that is undoubtedly good news. A number of friends have stepped forward to help in the housing search and it looks like we will start seeing properties tomorrow as well.
I came out of meditation retreat to learn that a friend and colleague had passed recently. Dying in the way she had lived, on her own terms, and with strong relationships sharing the journey. I received the news within an hour of the formal closing of the practice.
In the midst of this, the world feels surreal from the vantage point of Kabir. I am certainly not who I was a year ago, nor are any of my contexts quite the same large or small. Saying this out loud I imagine this is true for many others as well. Things appear definitely in motion, and yet…
I made a final decision on Friday to sell the house and move on to the next chapter of things and the mundane to-dos of this effort have begun.
My intention in writing here is to take more of a reflective approach, to find some way to offer more of my heart into the world, for now, in this moment, I am still transitioning from the more personal journal format.
Out the front, the neighbors homes are close, and all of it held in trees and natural hillside and, by some miracle, silence as if the freeways were hundreds of miles, not hundreds of meters away.
As we reach a tipping point into the next evolutionary wave of focusing on what is likely to be a trans global context, I find myself burning evermore intently to participate in this expanding poly-logic dialogue between ever-expanding self, and ever closer other.
Some years ago I had many of those bitcoin myself, now all I have to show for it is an in-depth financial education. I did buy $50 worth the other day, pretty sure it’s worth about $75 now. 🙂 I’m grateful for the education.
Sleep was a bit offkilter last night, though I did manage to find some rest in the way. I woke brightly enough before dawn and was able to sit and start the year in some good meditation. Stephanie came in before I was finished and sat quietly, company on the couch in silence.
These four contemplations from the Buddhist tradition encourage us to turn our mind towards a state of ever present awareness to the nature of life, and to follow by making our choices accordingly.
I landed at the desk just for a few minutes before realizing the waiting opportunity to get outside into the sunlight for the first time in some ages. Cruising through the kitchen and into the open door, the garage met us with a wall of cold air, but sunlight just beyond.
The sense of limbo is not unfamiliar for these final days of the year, I’ve always found this a puzzling week between such stark bookmarks in my little cultural niche in the world.
At one point I imagined I would be productive from bed. I rarely am. As the day wore on I found the sense of bodily discomfort persistent at a low-grade, but functionally distracting degree.
Glancing out the window, Molly commented at the grey skies and cool air, “this is an average day.” Mentioning subsequently, for this is a term from her time in Australia, where “average” is more a euphemism for something subpar and perhaps even undesirable.
It seems this Christmas morning, we’ve been welcomed by the American version of a Buddhist monk immolating one’s self.
Like the proverbial horse to barn, I find myself this evening quickening my pace with the warmth and hay of the stables in view.
I made out to the office just in time for an episode of low blood pressure to nearly knock me out. I texted Ms. Miller to let her know I would be a few minutes behind. “No problem,” came the reply.
I had hoped to attend the meeting of a global group looking into emergent governance structures, alas better luck next time.
You might say that a couple of my “soaps” are the subjects of Elon Musk and bitcoin. Speaking of contrast, the end of the day, with its gold and deep blue pairing themselves on the horizon and the zenith, such depth with a community of heart, I spent the morning with my soaps.
The news precipitated, as one might imagine, much discussion, even Cassandra, Nova, and myself sitting down later outside for a more formal meeting on the subject. But I will come quickly to the short to say…
Already little blocks of time are starting to trickle their way out of my head and onto the weeks calendar coming up.
Our casual morning respite was interrupted for just such an occasion. And we were off. Covers back, knees to chest, cough, cough, all is right with the world, but no lounging about today…
Here I am six paragraphs in and it sounds like I mean to be writing an essay or something. Really no, that’s just one of the features of my day, noticing this action. I’ve had time on my hands today.
Today felt something of that nature. I made my way outside into the sun sometime in mid morning. The light of the blue skies and air recently cleansed by the raindrops of yesterday, gave the feeling of expansion and openness with toasty rays tingling on the face.
I haven’t updated this campaign page since it went live. Probably would be good to make a new video more current with the times. Perhaps once the aforementioned paradoxes have come a bit more to the still point. But I digress…
By the time I was dressed and ready, the atmosphere was one of collegiate warmth and familiarity, I left the new friends to settle the room, finding my way to the desk to begin the Sunday ritual of review.
I woke late, heavy, from strange dreams, airplanes falling out of the sky, New Year’s Eve, settling into a new abode. Maybe the pizza I ate last night.
That kind of disoriented state where enough is wrong, and enough is in motion that the mind searches a bit frantically for what to do or how to hold on…
Late morning, after breakfast, Nova and Stephanie and I piled into the car, ran an errand to pick up a placenta, and headed south to the island of Coronado. Under sunny skies we rose high in the air across the bridge, vistas of the Peninsula to the west, open seas dead ahead with islands looming up through the slightly moist air, appeared in our view.
My own proclivity tends to run towards crystalline openness, in alignment with my sense of value that the human experience is a rich source, both painful, mundane, and delightful, of wisdom that we are all more wealthy together to share.
Another day where the clerical reigned supreme. Attorneys on four fronts, three of them my own, documents, finance, mitigating credit card fraud, meetings…
I have images, something about being in a limousine on autopilot, driving itself in circles inside some sort of boat that also happened to be in space while I and my female companion danced in zero gravity in the back.
The blue sky, soft baby blue is flecked with hints of white moisture, and down to the horizon where the gold and grey blend in hues of purple. Twilight has set, lockdown begins tomorrow, the freeways tonight a bustling Sunday evening.
I didn’t stir in the evening despite another epic weird dream which did drive me into some of the more liminal territories of wakefulness within sleep, just trying to make sense of why these images were dancing through my brain.
As the morning drifted in I discovered, to some relief, that while the foot looked worse today, the pain had mostly departed. At least as far as the autonomic dysreflexia was concerned.
Well, a sports injury was probably the last thing on my list of expected events this year. Well played 2020, well played.
It struck me how the things that seem to wound us, those things that feel so intimate, so private, so personal, describe something of our relative state in the moment.
For my own affect, I’m not looking for this year to end as a relief, so much as an end to a certain kind of beginning. I really am quite awestruck to anticipate what may unfold in the coming decade.
I just sent a list of questions to the estates attorney after reviewing the first draft of the special needs trust that will play an instrumental role in the next phase of structures to support this unfolding life journey.
I woke to a productive morning, my new much larger phone screen serving its purpose of bringing the office to the bed quite as well as intended. I managed to catch up on the class I’m taking, as well as professional correspondence, email, and a good long meditation.
As a result, now well after dark into the evening, my cognition feels a bit surreal, almost like a Tim Burton movie muted under soft hemp burlap.
I bid adieu to Krishna, our incomparable chariot for the last time today. I woke to news from the bank that the loan was cleared and managed to deposit the final check for payment just at closing time at the bank today. Late in the afternoon, just as the sun was dropping behind the house, Patrick arrived from Arizona, picked up the paperwork, and with smiles and friendly fist pump departed for the road.
It’s a new nature I face today. In my youth I spent many moments of life running down the hill, ducking through the forest, climbing over the rock, and walking out onto the beach overlooking the ocean. This mind, this body, this earth… An increasing sense of harmonic oneness and transcendent awareness. Today, it’s a new nature I face.
Sleep then was heavy and dark. I woke, almost suddenly at 7:30, curious for the silence of the house. Our new care partner was to have begun with us 30 minutes prior. Were she and Stephanie quietly getting to know one another in some other corner of the house?
Not so much a nap really. I wasn’t tired. Instead I called Charles one more time, or rather he called me, or rather both, and encouraged him to regale me with stories of the rich history of his life, today now closing its 79th year.
I pointed out the somewhat uselessness of chasing academic perspectives about the nature of consciousness, self and identity, and death, in contrast to actually…
Dawn wouldn’t be for a few more minutes, and the meager light coming through from the West perfectly lit the odd scene. I invited Nova to find a cup of tea and began more diligently to stir myself to an upright position.
The new mixture of magnesium and melatonin helped me to sleep just perfectly last night after turning in a little early. The early bedtime felt good, giving me some extra time to meditate before sleep. I woke and wrote this by text to a friend:
Wounds on the backside nearly nonexistent. Up, slowly up. By 9 AM we were making our way down the hall and into the day.
I believe I read recently that different dreams surface at different times of the night. The early morning seems to be the place for wrathful dreams. Whatever it was this morning that I cannot remember now, certainly fit that bill.
Somehow I have a copy of the formal documentation, a single sheet, the justice on the top half, two gold stars indeed. The president on the lower half, no gold stars.
On the good news front, both Stephanie and myself have received the all clear from our recent Covid tests. A matter of course for me, however she is still left with the bodily discomfort and symptoms of exhaustion that caught her attention in the first place.
I’m home now. It feels like home, though it is explicitly temporary, this particular lodging. In a sense, the hospital felt like home; 24 hours of hell at the nursing home felt like home; gazing out the window at the last golden light of the sunset, the world, this body, this moment feels like home.
I took my time in the morning, rising to meditate before breakfast. A phone call with David, some text messages with Alia, stefanie, and the neighbor bruna, help from my nursing friends to clean up a bit and undergo elimination, all a swirl of activity by noon, and then quiet.
Palm trees blow lazily in the cooler afternoon breeze. The sun is to my back, so palm trees, pine trees, buildings and faces all reflect it’s light back to me.
The physical therapist offered to get me out of bed this afternoon and down the hall in my wheelchair. Sadly her schedule got the better of her and I did not see her again today.
The”almost settled” Discharge plan has begun to unravel itself, again by forces outside of my control or prediction. The thin thread of hope for a Friday discharge, Friday the 13th I just learned, has unwound nearly completely.
It’s been a tiring Veterans Day in that regard, waves of discomfort ebbing and flowing through, keeping at bay any semblance of continuity or focus today.
Before I knew it, the western faces of the buildings just outside were illuminated by the setting sun.
Meanwhile Sweet Charles went under the knife today. As I write these words I hope you will come out clean on the other side and is resting currently on a swift recovery.
My body is feeling a little stiff and sore from so much time in bed. With luck physical therapy begins tomorrow, in earnest, already my body for the coming work should I receive the blessings to go forth from this place and into the plan…
The pallet on the canvas today has been one of mixed sunshine and rain. Dry streets and cars moving about, stopping for their drive-through Covid test. This alternates with flowing sheets of downpour, quite a spectacle from up here in the air.
The skilled nursing and recovery center I arrive to yesterday evening on promises of the bowel care that functions for me, has reversed their position on the matter.
The Young woman who has been assigned to my case just dropped off a deep red textured blanket for warm, the texture looks almost magical. Swirls and Ripples of patterned fabric give rise to some sheen.
Today was filled with an isolation of meetings and reclining in body care, Right up until meditation class with Dan, the Wednesday night usual.
I have meetings set in the morning with the attorney to discuss the special needs trust, and in the afternoon for a video walk-through of the home with Eugenia to help settle the logistics for showing.
Options continue to dwindle, at the same time, whispers of new possibility emerge as the granularity of the question continues to refine. What are the existing avenues for “safe discharge“ of this quadriplegic?
Yesterday the plan was for discharge today to a skilled nursing facility. On interviewing the director there this morning I learned a puzzling “fact?“.
The simple human creativity that tells a story because it is beautiful and worth sharing. This too must also be recognized as sublime grace. It is ours. We have been gifted it. Within that we have found, For eons, a source of inspiration, aspiration, and growth.
Karma, as I understand it is the cumulative effect of those experiences that our mind, body, or spirit grasp onto and reify as representative of the true nature of being.
Last Wednesday I unexpectedly found myself making a trip to the emergency room, first thing in the morning.
“Let’s don’t overlook the actually kind of miraculous signs of recovery going on.” Says Mike in reference to the new functions of perspiration, sensation in the feet, and apparent return of some function in the lower abdomen and bowel region. This certainly is a poignant note in the midst of the flurry of all things flowing here.
Most of the day today was spent researching the process of selling a car to a private party while there is an existing lien on the title. I find it is not so straightforward as I might have imagined, nor is there any apparent clear descriptions online for the appropriate steps to take.
The afternoon after been a hazy dusting of wet off and on ever since. More than I had anticipated given the reporting, which even now defies my eyeballs indicating clouds but no precipitation.
Just off the phone now with the folks over there at the Patio of Peace, where the atmosphere is very warm indeed. Mr. David in his sweet spot making dinner for lovely souls.
The day has been a bit of a blur in that sense. I was able to rest a while during wound care, the backside looking much better, but not quite sleep. I tried again for a few more moments after getting dressed, but no go, and it was time to get up and meet the pest inspector anyway.
Even so, the edges are much closer than that and I have just a week to muster new care into the fold. With perhaps a few days of grace, the road gets very rocky indeed failing that not slight endeavor.
I went back on the melatonin and kava last night. Slept without flinching for eight hours even. That alone brought a smile to my soul on waking. Again waking to dread – how dare I recall any hopefulness from yesterday – but remembering, heart open, seek generosity of spirit and being for others, gratitude for all that has been given me.
My job, I could remember, was not to deserve some place of high stature, but rather to remember the grace and gift of life and stand firmly in the vastness of gratitude regardless of the path.
Dave wrote recently to encourage my efforts on MettaCare, as I’m emotionally exhausted today, I’ll leave my reply to him as the text of today’s entry. Having seen it already, Tyler mentioned the heartbreak. I will open with my reply to her on that point:
Waking into the fast water, to be honest I probably did lose consciousness at some point, my alarm beckoned me towards the morning meditation and the writers workshop underway just behind that.
Those eyes still fresh in mine, some feeling of natural and easy curiosity calmly one with my being, I looked along the horizon and just as the great bird passed from my sight, the monks of my morning alarm began their chanting.
More physical discomfort today, could be the bruise forming on my back from the new backrest. Will likely be the weekend before we have a technician on hand to make those adjustments.
Yesterday’s meditation with Dan surrounding positive and negative mind states came right in handy as I woke in the most disconcerted and disoriented sense of discomfort that I have in a while. I lay still for about a half-hour just working my stomach out of a knot and my nervous system back to a state of calm.
Against the pine needles overhead and the silhouette of hillside and a river of traffic flowing into the busy valley below, there is a fine art quality to the moment and the view.
The sensation of a paralyzed body, I think stands out in this context, although nearly 18 years later, I’m not sure I remember quite well for comparison.
As a result my company yesterday was limited to skilled support by the lovely Vanessa in the morning, and the generous spirit of Elisa to ensure my hydration nourishment through the day and into the evening. This dynamic leaves me in bed for the day.
Slept well enough last night, but can feel the toll of the time and times. A prophylactic antibiotic yesterday to accompany the catheter change today complements the stress, adding to the spasticity of the body.
Rising, no word from LB, David’s father instead calling, undoubtedly in attempts to triangulate on David. Work flows like water, in and out, as Dana says, does it need doing, is it mine to do, is now the time…?
During the break between the discussion and the meditation, I had offered thanks to one woman who had shared something quite beautiful and profound about her own meditation practice. “Your practice” I had said.
The dream this morning had me moving into a small but elegant home, two stories with a simple Plexiglas platform elevator, myself and a new wife. Still in a wheelchair, the atmosphere was one of a simple and sincere shared commitment to partner in love to serve the world.
The day has been busy, feeling apace, not monotonous or chaotic, yet with a rhythm somehow concealed beneath the veils of things, as if I traveled across theater stage oceans, really just gossamer fabrics waving along the floor. Liminal yet ground.
My stomach was out of sorts. Unsettled across some spectrum of my being, I decided to invite Patience – standing bright to serve – to walk the dog, enjoy some breakfast, and self tending of her own while I tested the feeling of resting a little longer.
Patience and I went out to take some groceries to a friend in need today. Stopping in Ocean Beach on the way home for a quick burrito, we found ourselves driving north along the coast just as the great red ball undertook its final descent towards the ocean below.
There are not many words today. The phone rang this morning, on the way up, podcast paused, David, in Virginia organizing his wits on his father’s care. Text messages chirping here, my brother in Montana, informing the wits of myself and other brothers and sisters of my father’s care.
But I digress, just a story of the week, just the way I found myself focused, not on forward, just on not down too far. For those following the saga, this is not news. Father fragile, friend fallen, feet unstable…
My father’s midday doctor’s appointment resulted in instructions for him to go directly to the ER. I haven’t spoken with him for a few days, but thanks to my brother I’m able to keep up on the events unfolding there in the beautiful mountain state.
It’s all a blur in time, I’ve had a few moments to check in with the brother in Montana to see how things are going on the ground there with dad, Linda, and sweet others. Step-by-step it seems.
My mind is soft for suffering and lack of sleep. The ground beneath my feet, shifting yet again. What will be the new shape of things to come, I do not know, I trust that like so much else, it will change again. It must.
Sitting there watching the great snowy egrets, jumping fish, sparkling water, and grasses growing, I remembered back to times in the Mountain West when an airplane might fly over and I would think to myself – “can’t even get away from the sound of humanity here.”
I made my way through the kitchen, glass of water, out into the sunshine and air. Vanessa followed shortly after with sandwiches. Having eaten I made my way back to the desk thinking of the taxes to be done. Moments later I knew the truth of my situation.
After some fiddling, Stephanie was able to silence the noise. As she returned to the bedside, one more chirping alarm called for attention. The refrigerator had been left slightly ajar. This was more easily remedied. Echoes would persist.
I told her that I too had held a passion for dancing. The subject came up while reflecting on the moving terrain of our world today and how a dancer’s legs will come in quite handy with all that is afoot.
I woke from here… My body tremendously stiff and spastic. I lingered for a few minutes before deciding to make use of the time by sitting to meditate. I did so for about 40 minutes before returning prone to see if I might rest again. Rest I did, sleep I didn’t.
Of course like most things today the threads of those dialogues quickly found their way to the whole sweater of the human condition worldwide.
Hours later, munching a burrito on an overlook in the campground which surveys a wide meadow and mountainside beyond, I was struck at first with the absolute silence, and some moments later by the chatter and chirp of forest critters.
Just about then we arrived at the traffic light, now parked next to our new friends who continued their animated gesticulations. I was starting to realize the woman was likely more talking to LB than to me and turned to see his response.
I was up earlier than has been the norm lately, to the desk by 9 AM even after testing my wakefulness with a period of closed eyes after getting dressed and before rising.
I dreamt last night that someone bought me a motorcycle, someone out of frame. The motorcycle was delivered to me by the Gypsy who sold it, used, a bit old, but in very good condition. The gypsy had a wife it seems, also in frame.
I found myself bobbing back and forth between feelings of absolute mastery and internal blank stares as the ideas, inspirations, and lessons from others wove their way through the process.
The excursion seemed a reasonable wind down after a day of focused financial intensity – taxes, accounting, managing shortfalls and finding hidden medical costs to be paid, as well as a bit of strategy to be won.
It was a treat to see Ron and catch up for a while, as we did. He graciously allowed me to interview him a bit and I learned some about his work in construction and history with that as well as a few tidbits of his travels in the world an interest in meditation.
That’s part of my spinal cord injury condition – no natural temperature regulation, no sweat in response to heat from within or without. The mist evaporated leaving me momentarily cool.
I woke up feeling tired, expecting my alarm which never came. Eyes still closed I heard Patience come into the room for our morning meditation appointment, thinking she was early I remained still a moment longer before I thought to check. 6:59 AM, oh yes, no alarm. Time to rise.
The closing notes reverberated through the day… “One makes commitment to a task, either this task or my life… The task is impossible and somehow, we give our everything and the animals, the spirits, the people, the land, and the ancestors meet us, blood, snot, and tears, to carry us across the finish line.”
Sleep was possessive and I did not stir [much] until the alarm, a beautiful Buddhist chant, beckoned that people were coming and I should be ready to greet them.
I’ve never met Zach, only seen a picture, only learned his name today when Vanessa arrived, not just at that moment in tears but stricken at the sudden and bizarre loss of a man who had been a good friend to she and her husband.
Somehow I have found myself surrounded by five enthusiastic collaborators, in spite of the enormous and continuing instabilities that have covered the last three quarters of a year since the last time I felt any substantial care system stability.
Patience and I practiced together for about 30 minutes and then spent the next 30 unpacking the threads of assumption and frustration that have failed to give her the experience of all hands on deck, moving into coherence, that she had been seeking with her enrollment yesterday.
No actual force of movement presents itself, except the sensation of everything in motion, and not fluid, but intense and with conviction. Like the sprinters body on the block in the second instant while the starting gun still rings in the air.
Looks like we are calling it the Valley Fire and it’s been dumping ash and darkening the sky here at the house all day creating a surreal atmosphere of strange light and dim inside the house. The air conditioner has kept it cool, but the light outside reminds us easily of our protected privilege.
It was all I could manage to almost whisper to my phone – thank Jobs for voice dial – “hey Siri, call LaBradford.” Just the words felt destabilizing.
He and I and the lady P will now be sitting down three days a week in the evening for a Gurdjieff style study group and once a week for a house meeting. All of this means that I will need to attend more strictly to a dinnertime, an artifact that will bring me back in line with earlier meals, likely a good thing overall.
Dragon fruit, passionfruit, grapes, apples, two kinds of figs, and I’m sure I must’ve missed one, virtually filled our little three-person café table, piled high.
I worked for a while and then, in the moment, the little arrow pointer cursor on the computer screen stopped responding in its usual two dimensions. Side-to-side was still a thing, but up and down was no longer part of the function. This happens periodically, it just means the trackball needs to be cleaned. I need help with this task.
The bustle ebbed and flowed, eventually leaving just other Mike and I sitting in the waning evenings temperatures outfront discussing, what had by then become the nuances of self blame, the axis of hope and despair, and the mysterious still point between happiness and sadness.
Like that skipping of mind through memories of moments before, now a present sense of stillness, witnessing the moment and the certainty of nothing but the fierce desire to remain awake and to respond simply and clearly with a perfect depth of penetration.
Better still what if many of us bring this prayer through our hands and feet, our lips and ears, our care for those around us and the close, close world?
Sleep last night was broken and disjointed, even “sleeping” in this morning left much to be desired. Today was a skeleton crew, just LB and myself, Cassandra will be in for a while this evening to lighten the load.
My body is stiff and spastic, discomfort has been with me at a low grade throughout the varied events of the day. Not strong enough to distract, but now I the end of the day, I’m like the horse headed for the barn. Sights set on dinner, then bed.
Today, is it the contrast of cool indoor air and the heat outside, is it some remnant of the catheter change this morning, or the prophylactic antibiotic that accompanied it? Each of these are good suspects, of course it could also just be an artifact of a paralysis grown tired of inaction in the moment…
Tomorrow we will see the nurse again for a catheter change, and Dr. Mike will visit directly. We will meet and interview Vanessa for the position of care partner, and the following day will meet another Vanessa, physical therapist to help us continue to fine tune the wheelchair.
The rest of the corners of the day were filled in with the focus on advancing the MettaCare project through reading, correspondence, and the process of “heaeping” constructs into the emerging PowerPoint corral and sculpture studio.
Sunlight paints soft motion through the pine needles and boughs and onto the wall and desk in the corners of my view as I contemplate and compose.
There is a tingling in the ball of my right foot that has been with me for a few days. The left big toe and inner ball of that foot also seem to share the sensation just now as I feel into my body, past the abdominal tightening and tension in the back.
As temperatures rise I just start to slowly roast, confit, like an unfortunate duck. Similarly, when temperatures drop, I often won’t notice – my body doesn’t tend to shiver, instead it just gradually stiffens until I notice that my hands are ending up in my face as my arms contract, or someone else points out that my knee has become like an ice cube.
Just as I was backing away from the end of that call, the phone rang and Katie’s smiling face shimmered onto the screen. I always feel unreasonably close to Katie, though we speak only a handful of times each year it never appears to me as though we’ve been apart for even a moment when we do.
The morning was spent first in meditative darkness after a good rest, and then in the slow but careful process of rising under the healing hands of Ms. Patience who is with ever-increasing grace and skill caring tenderly and lovingly for my person.
She got me up and out of bed, made breakfast and in parallel continued to organize the house and tackle a stream of tasks… Her help today was seamless and by the time she disappeared in the midafternoon, the house was a glow from her touch.
As the call started and Patience made her way over to the couch with her lunch I was looking over my shoulder in frame noticing LB, Stephanie, Uma and thinking to myself – now this is exactly the kind of creative clubhouse energy this space was made for!
It’s not as hot as it has been, but somehow the day still feels like an oven. If I had been tracking, I’m sure I could notice a measured difference in the humidity. As it is, we are just swimming through the heat of the day now.
The Cooper’s Hawk is circling outside in the evening sky, the temperatures having retreated from their mid-80s hi today, the evening will remain warm and the temperatures will climb into the week, but I digress from my feathered friend surveying the landscape just beyond my “Crows Nest” vantage point here high on the hill…
Rafael, our technician, was on his way. I invited Augusto to take off early and LB and I jumped into the car to put a little advised distance between us and the infrastructure disturbances.
Off to a later start, still settling a household in transition, what was left of the morning was filled with correspondence, scheduling meetings, and organizing payroll records and materials for both those coming and those going.
This watery metaphorical icon came swimming back through just 45 minutes ago as I was lying on my bed receiving an osteopathic adjustment from Dr. Mike. After spending two weeks in bed a week ago Tuesday I was able to rise again and return to a daily schedule when Mike made a similar adjustment.
In other news, the wheelchair tech stopped by yesterday afternoon and made some slight adjustments to the back of my wheelchair which are hoped to alleviate the pressure and bruising on my scapula, as well as potentially energizing my seating posture enough to help reduce the swelling in my back.
Rather than the substantive moving forward of a couple of significant projects yesterday, the day was spent in more broken moments of engagement, getting some things done, getting some sun, and learning opportunities for mindfulness and care for people.
Formally “clocked out”, we spent another 15 minutes in the spirit of neighborly friendliness, and with a wave and a smile and the open front door, sunlight beyond, I’m alone in a quiet house.
I managed to get through my weekly review on schedule for the first time in nearly a month, having been in bed or otherwise indisposed on previous weeks. There was no LVN forthcoming from the agency this morning so after our late evening, LB rose earlier than usual to help me up and out for the day.
I woke this morning thinking of our friends in Lebanon, wondering how they are faring in the aftermath of the devastating explosion. Turning on the news, the first story was that of marches in the streets of Beirut demanding an end to the government corruption seen at fault for both the explosion and grift in the aftermath.
Different scans, different experience – last week a cool breeze blowing through the machine, I was grateful for the extra warm blankets. Today, headfirst into the chamber and I felt like I was in a microwave being heated from within.
We returned home to the afternoon feel and the sparkling smiles and grace of Miss Cassandra who greeted us just moments after our landing in the garage.
For now, extending my legs without leaving the chair appears to provide some reset and relief from discomfort with somewhere in the vicinity of 15 minutes giving me enough recuperation to go for a few more hours before becoming distracted by the “pain”.
This is the second time I’m up today, I got to get breakfast in the garden, again disorienting as it’s been three days since I was up. The hummingbird came to visit new flowers are blooming in the garden.
Awake early and fresh, in many ways a good day. Pray for good luck tomorrow…
The heartbeat of the habit of writing continues, the content not as full as I would like, but the thread, unbroken provide some satisfaction nonetheless.
Writing late today, but writing nonetheless. This time is a crucible, precious, sacred, difficult, painful, ecstatic.
Running a bit low on steam but getting a few words down nonetheless.
More short wordsFrom bedAs we wait forThe first round of news from the MRIAnd tolerateI have functionalTranscription solution.
Still down, but nothing like out. Days away from the action are beginning to blur together as the focus shifts steadily towards questions of”how did I get here” and “how well I turn this corner?”
I’m up late in the day now, just back from an MRI appointment where Elaina and Brian graciously put me through the paces against the backdrop of the Venusian techno music that is the sound of an MRI machine.
Running against the resistance of voice transcription software, I am attempting to capture a few glimpses of my time right now.
An older, unpublished, unedited stream of thoughts on the subject of the masculine and feminine constructs…
So here I am now, late afternoon, the traffic/ waterfall/ chime orchestral choir setting the soundtrack and making my way peacefully into the evening with cheerful new company and multiple threads of friendly words on the text channels.
I like the fellow who will be coming from the agency this evening. Retired Navy, Artist, nurse, wrestling with the identity of being a Filipino American and questions of what next in his life. He brings a reassuring, calm, curious energy and will be with me this evening for the technical bits and tomorrow evening as well.
The day was cooler today, still sunny and a few clouds. As the evening begins to come on, the wind dances with the wind chimes visible from bed, the palm leaves on the porch casting shadows through the glass and onto the wall, movement of the day. Gentle, natural, present.
Once we had both settled our busyness, we sat down to just breathe, smile, enjoy one another and catch up. At that point in the day the discomfort was substantial but manageable.
The ladies are stepping out the door just now for a little morning walk and I will likely find my way into the sunshine in the garden to let the heat and light do its thing and cut through some of the discomfort.
Thinking back to yesterday, the evening hours, I recall some sense of the low-grade discomfort, but not enormously and considering my sense of productivity for the time, I think it was certainly not as distracting as it has been today.
The moment of conflict passed quickly and opened a door to greater depth in our friendship and skillfullness in working together. We finished making our way to tucking me in and lights out to the lovely sound of her daughter down the hall practicing singing joyfully from the heart, passing the time in the evening’s dark.
Of course there’s also the matter of the mounting inboxes that too, like luxury conversations, have fallen to the wayside in the search for care, resource, and a fuller expression of the intended offering of well-being support to the wider community…
Of course with the whole day between us now, I’ll have to think for a moment to recall the feeling… That’s the thing about writing in the evening, the fullness of the day is so present, it’s often hard to pick out the delicate intricacies of things… Or is it?
Time right now has the echoing vibrato of the midnight blue chimes dancing just outside the window in the evening breeze. Seeming to stretch and collapse and weave its way through itself in unpredictable and psychedelic patterns.
After enjoying the butterflies both within and without the garden we directed our attention to the quarterly pond filter maintenance project and I pointed out a few things, locations, switches, tools, and we moved inside to find the manuals and videos.
Lying in bed that Saturday afternoon, I hadn’t quite fully noticed the loneliness I was feeling, but when a friendly voice on the phone said “I look forward to seeing you.” I found my eyes quickly wet and heart broken by joy.
I woke slowly, in part from the herbs, and in part simply for the intention to take it easy and give my body as much opportunity to recover as I might given the ongoing stressors of local and global uncertainty and the incrementally loving, but also systemically incoherent care.
Today she is a many times over accomplished businesswoman with a clear and sincere spiritual practice of meditation, yoga, and discipline in the world. The effects of her 20 years of focus reflect a distinct accumulation of benefit and integrity.
The windchimes echo in the morning air, the pine trees drift gently outside the window, Tibetan monks chanting comes quietly through the speakers in the corner, and the sounds of cooking emanate from the kitchen. The air is cool and fresh, the sky bright and blue.
Patience and I moved to lunch and back into the house to manage any final clerical details of her onboarding process in the formal sense here. The day has been proceeding at a clip and I feel I’m just coming into the calm of the afternoon now.
She and I have been friends now for just about one decade, having met in an interest group surrounding evolution, meditation, wellness and culture that met at my dining room table for about three or four years.
While the systemic shortages persisted, the grace that fills my life in the forms of friendship, love, and kindness from others, saw Faith offering in strong and no uncertain terms to ensure that my day was spent upright and mobile.
Today has otherwise been one of great grace as Faith had offered to come and spend the day with me, both getting me up, through the day, and back to bed this evening. This also gave me the privilege of getting a further introduction to her daughter whom I had only met briefly as we drove by their place on the way to my recent urology appointment.
I spent the day today, starting by supporting sweet Cassandra who had come to support me in rising to prototype her new YouTube aspirations, a delightful engagement filled with positioning of desk lamps, microphones, and cameras, laughter, excitement, and glee.
Katie rang in from stormy Florida to do a little prep work for the upcoming Sunday Zoom Kabir/MettaCare AMA (ask me anything.) That conversation left us both giddy and grinning, for many reasons, but not least of which is the fact that Katie is a consummate interviewer and we are excited for the dialogue and artifacts that will be the likely outcome.
Cassandra reports yesterday that the house seems to be reasonably in order, even with the transient population of support. A shower last night, and more personalized body care then and this morning leaves me feeling a bit more intact, somehow able to settle.
Lying still in the morning dark, strange and unsettled dreams wherein I was battling actual monsters intent on my very flesh reverberating through my mind, an agitated sense of time and presence grasping into the future, externalizing my real need for information and rest, subtlety, but not well or clearly planning some goal state of rising. I was focused on progress, but not presence, not integration of the wealth stillness, completeness, fullness, in that moment.
Both of these endeavors felt deeply rewarding and produced tangible outcomes to which we can sit back and breathe for a moment, enjoying the residual sense of satisfaction at jobs well done.
Did people really just pick up and leave Paradise, setting out for more dire situations? Was there really just one enormous bad decision that a large number of individuals made together, consciously at once to end the good life? What in our nature drives us to create our current challenges and how shall we relate to that aspect of ourselves?
This gentle offer of kindness for something that has been looming on my plate, and is yet so simple given the right experience and tools, allowed me for a moment to appreciate in my body what this kind of spontaneous lovingkindness and care can hold as we move through the beauties and challenges of life together.
Visions of illumination rise up my spine and joyfulness crosses my face. Yes, much is still crappy, much is left to be done, and the state of my nervous system is not cooperating to do much more than sit in the sun and try to bake away the discomfort, but underneath all of that, at least there is joy.
The air is fresh and brisk today, the skies clear blue with wispy clouds floating about the upper layers. The sun is nonetheless intense beating down through my freshly shorn hair, and I do mean shorn. A few moments in the direct light produces a fiery tingling sensation on my scalp.
I started writing just after 10 AM today. It is now nearly 11:30, but I was blessed to enjoy an hour of dialogue with my dear brother David searching the crevices of our longing and aspiration for a better and more caring world.
Today has been a long hot day of intense sun. I have baked under it, reddening my face and forehead. The warmth helped to bake away the damp and discomforting dysreflexia. I must forge a path, or perhaps more properly, be forged by it.
The poetry continued on, I read only that much aloud to the sweet woman on her way out the door from caring for me. She choked behind her mask, tears of love and heartbreak to see such sweetness breaking through.
Personally, my own situation has reached something of a fever pitch on all fronts, right down to the level where my primary research today is to determine whether I will need to call an ambulance in the next 48 hours simply to do a number two.
We are biologically hardwired for defense. Threat analysis is always online, sometimes overactive. Were it not for this evolutionary advancement, our ancestors ancestors would have been eaten long before we might have arrived. Mystics long ago recognized that this default to fear must be overcome in order to awaken the deeper possibilities lying dormant in the soul of all beings.
Even so, I count my fortunes. These words to write, this device on which to write them, electricity to power the communication. The gentle fan on the feeling moving air through the well appointed and comfortable bedroom. The spacious area outside, with nature so close. A friend sleeping in the next room, helping as much as she can in these challenging moments of my life.
Home alone this afternoon and not long ago a piercing buzzing alarm sound asserted itself in the household quiet. Thinking the power had gone out everywhere I shutdown my computer and went looking.
Our friend recounted for us, that even as a grown man, watering the plants that he might make the world more beautiful in his own backyard, he must consider each moment whether it is safe to listen to music while he works, or if you must be vigilant for the intrusion of fear and violence in your own backyard.
At least four of the seven days last week, I spent in physical distress which radiates through both the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects to varying degrees as well. In conversations where I had hoped and imagined exquisite insight and connection, I found myself brokenhearted and shattered.
In the end the blood loss was minor, perhaps 400 mL or so, very little of it fresh in appearance and gradually and returned to my senses from a land of intense waves of headache and physical anxiety.
Greetings, today I am serving as the guest author for Kabir Kadre as he is taking a day of rest, unfortunately not on the beach, but abed and on the mend. He is determined to not miss a day in this realm, so please enjoy this offering.
After Dan’s stories, we took a moment to break and then came back together to be led through a guided meditation of remembrance and realization of the gifts of transmission of this awakened master. From this more luminous place, many students then shared particular memories of events and the indelible impression was left upon them for his presence in their lives.
Something was on fire and burning in El Cajon yesterday when Caroline made her way in for the evening, and the sunset made its way around dark and beautiful layers, I took it for clouds at the time, though now I wonder… Clouds of what?
Preparing for the call, Courtney and I had taken our morning spiced coffee and cacao to the little café table out front with the laptop to bring a little nature and fresh air into the dynamic. Today promises to be very hot; Courtney of course laughed at this as San Diego hot doesn’t quite touch the Florida temperatures to which she is accustomed.
After returning from my recovery, now dressed in my cozy fleece pants, soft shirt, and slippers, I settled back to my desk while Courtney began preparations on her usual special, mixed vegetables and spices in the Ayurvedic tradition for dinner. I recorded on my calendar, seven hours of disruption from discomfort in the day.
Freedom, whatever it may be, and certainly alongside justice and respect, must be honored and its debt paid like a river ongoing. Each new moment, a gift, a privilege, and a debt, not a debt to the past of our particular lineage, but to the future of all beings.
In that view, time is precious and I have but the moments of my life with which to forge a path of clarity, beneficence, and impact. When the wind blows a certain way, and the clouds rolling in the sky seem somehow to conspire and my body, as if out of nowhere, reacts with this physical downward spiral, I can feel frustrated. It used to be more so.
America was founded on an ideology of rational objectivity, the rule of rights and laws universal to all, and as long as you didn’t manage to fall into any externalized group not included in “all” these rights and privileges were designed for inured to you.
The stories of horrific mental, physical, and emotional violence perpetrated not only on individuals, men, women, and children alike, but on whole cultures and generations are something that we are going to have to face to move through this ancient affliction towards any hope of a harmony on the other side.
By decompression of course I don’t mean to decompress astrology itself, but just rather in the midst of all that is going on the world, and all of the work that both Tyler and I keep on our plates as a general rule, allowing ourselves to just tumble through the grass of whimsy and reflection seemed to be just the thing.
Living as a fortunate quadriplegic in the time of pandemic, fortunate to have a home, and caregivers who love me (Kabir me), I experience a certain hum of community, of people coming and going, not venturing out (very much) myself in relative terms, but I seem to live, almost as in the Truman Show, the same actors coming and going, the set somewhat limited and bounded by this little corner of the valley in which I reside.
Clearing my way through the flood of communications, I made my way to the video call to reach out and find out what was going on with my dad. The conversation was challenging and difficult, mostly civil, but I had to unpack it with myself, call on a few other friends in the aftermath to gain some perspective.
“ACAB” she said. I looked quizzically, “all cops are bad.” She replied. I felt triggered, tight, and reacted. I didn’t notice of course until later, in the moment, I just lashed out. I cussed an epithet, it’s like saying “they” are all bad! Caroline’s heart broke, and anger flashed across her eyes. “If you ever say anything like that again, I’m leaving and never coming back.”
Waking up was like through some narcotic haze today. Going to bed last night, I thought to myself – this was a hard day, let me see if I can ensure a good night sleep – to Caroline I said, “three drops of melatonin instead of two please.”
Things went smoothly enough, range of motion, a little massage of the lymph and spine, and the morning bowel evacuation, all seemingly normal. Finishing the routine and readying to move into dressing, and there it was, my body turning on a dime down the road to discomfort.
Today my ritual pattern of writing first thing upon rising was broken, like a saucer clattering to the floor…
Yesterday also had some qualities of energetic shift of note. The crowdfunding campaign saw it’s first new life in some time with five new contributors joining the community, some of these friends known to me, but others whose names I’ve only just learned.
My dear integral friends of course would point out the implicate value of measuring not just one, but each of Truth, Beauty, and Morality (I take liberties with “the good, the true, and the beautiful,” and “Art, Morals, and Science,” to which my dear friend Robin often adds Justice.) To which I invite…
I would call myself a lover of wisdom, and I love those who love wisdom. It’s important to me to find the way to both listen (receptively) and to engage (actively) with others in their pursuit (reciprocally) of uncovering and expressing the wisdom that is to be found, so that together we can craft a robust goodness to share and grow in the world.
We settled in the kitchen, still a few minutes before nine while the song echoed in the quiet of the morning. We opened the kitchen door to the garage on the garage door to the morning air and water fall sounds, and Caroline started cutting dried sage into a mason jar for her morning medicinal tea.
Where the “Western mind” has looked outward into nature, the skies, and down into subatomic particles in our search for meaning and truth, the “Tibetan mind” took a different route, instead of focusing on the phenomenal experience, they turned the lens inward to study the process and nature of the “looking” itself.
Last night as I sat in the dining room, thumbing through YouTube as is my habit while Cassandra makes dinner and we chat lightly back and forth, I came across a video description: “David Blaine will guess your card through the Internet.”
It’s another beautiful day, and warming, we opened up the house first thing on making our way out of the bedroom and I can hear the sound of the waterfall out front bubbling its way through the garage, and kitchen, to my ear.
I try to keep good notes in my calendar in order to reflect easily on where and in what I’ve done, also just for clerical purposes in case I need to follow up on something. Yesterday has a three hour gap in the middle of the day. Not that nothing was done, only that it was broken into many bits, each with varying degrees of depth and importance, a block of tending, yet I felt extended.
The theme of root and plant and interpenetrating connection flowed through yesterday as Courtney spent the morning on the porch planting and repotting, while I studied the words, roots of meaning extending into the earth, of a client STAGES protocol.
As I look in these moments, I’m not surprised to find this quality of subtle disruption emergent even earlier in the day. Waking just a little heavy and sitting to meditate, after just 15 minutes the fluids in my throat had dropped to congest an airway giving me fits of hacking with which to practice, or disrupt my meditation.
Isn’t that the place, where trust and faith shine? When we truly honor our humility as naked, blinking, innocent animals arising in a vast mystery extending in every direction, inward and outward, beyond measurements of up and down, what other life raft of self seeing is there except surrender and faith?
The horrific absurdity of our situation – people without food in one place, food rotting in the fields are being destroyed or poured out in another. Such ridiculous medieval problem, while the accuracy force of our destructive powers have been refined with laser precision.
The morning was spent primarily focused on exploring David’s emerging approach to the multi-capitals of care, a part of our MettaCare dialogue that begins to open up a multidimensional awareness of where care flows from, through, and to in the field of an individual. For example, recognizing the benefits of nature right alongside banking relationships, neighborhood support and engagements, and once orientation to faith and spirituality.
I’ve also been experiencing more autonomic dysreflexia lately which has been a bit of a hindrance to daily work; the source of the discomfort have remained a bit of a mystery and has brought me to the point of today attempting to re-simplify my diet. I’ve been eating well lately, farm style and ayurvedic meals with lots of good spices and proteins mixed with greens.
Finally at the end of the two hours, our lovely facilitator graciously closed the session, thanking everyone for their time, attention, and participation, people waving and smiling started to blank out of the virtual conference room. As the numbers started to dwindle, I called out cheerfully, “whose job is it any way to bounce us out of this party?”
I feel like I am still catching my stride, writing in this new habit of morning. I’m grateful for the privilege to be able to compose, both for the tools, the time, and the mind to do so.
Many shifts recently, from change in the weather to an uptick in Ayurvedic dietary support, increased physical support with range of motion going longer and moving into the abdomen, chest, and shoulders, the turning, turning world remains in motion, novelty and uncertainty at every turn.
By the time I reach the desk in the morning, something of note has always transpired – at the very least I have had the good fortune that someone kind and generous has arrived with the intent to retrieve me from bed. Undoubtedly there has been conversation, and smiles, possibly some “adventure” having to do with the difficulties of a paralyzed body, there has been movement and focus, perhaps a podcast, and days like today, even a little creativity.
Of course that led us to phone a friend as Greg, having grown up in the wilds of Africa was our go to person to assess the final distinctions of hyena ferocity and chances of the silverback gorilla opting for friendliness.
My first visit to Elder Farm was an exquisite and peaceful long slow walk from the car, through the meadows, past the goat pen to the gardens, sacred kitchen, and back. 12 goats, two cats, one VERY small dog, and friends new and old for companions bore witness to a peaceful and still afternoon in the sun’s warmth and still green landscape, fresh from recent weeks rains and filled with the life of early summer.
Meanwhile I’m still working through the sensations of pensive anxiety while applying myself to the work I can see to do. The direct path to financial solvency and a fully operational growth and well-being model for the team here remains shrouded in the mists of uncertainty. This leaves me on the threshold of surrender – do the work, make the prayers, wait-and-see…
She arrived and we had a few nice moments to check-in and catch up and then I was off to the next conversation, this time with a geographically diverse group of international individuals focused on emergent models of practice in self-care, relationships, and business with the intention to move towards a more global harmony.
There is a sadness for the loss we are all living in, there is a sadness for the loss yet to come, there is a joy for the beauty we have been, and bliss for all that remains.
The mystery of the pandemic looms – is it coming to a close? Will we see a resurgence? If so, what will be its character? If it goes now, what sense will it leave in its wake? Have we been rattled to the core yet? Has our various identification with self and role and society been upset in some way that will become detectable as we moved to “reassemble?”
Sleep last night was mixed leaving me uncertain of just how much of it I got. It seems I feel rested enough for now. Rising was slow and through dreams, and then meditation in the quiet of the room, and then Caroline’s arrival in her black linen farm skirt, dark flannel shirt, and bone colored tasseled scarf.
The world has changed in the months since I last ventured out. Old ocean view parking spots have been paved over and replaced with sidewalks. Once familiar restaurants, boarded up or shuttered while others seem to have adapted for the time to the takeout style of service.
I’m still reconciling the feelings of having a predator of this nature in the neighborhood while the small birds which I have enjoyed in plenty as they bathe and drink and play in the stream in the morning, or flitter about the windows as I work at my desk are clearly now on the menu.
I keep finding myself wanting to return to the word privilege. The days will become warmer now. A hummingbird dances under the canopy of the pine outside. The light is fading, evening mist rises off the ocean become the humid clouds of the coastal night. By grace there is much I have to be grateful for. Even recognizing this is a privilege.
It’s been a while since I simply sat and enjoyed a piece of music with my eyes closed, feeling the notes and melody moving my body from within. As I sat listening, still with my eyes closed, I noticed with a smile all the sounds of the clarinet had crept in and were now animating subtle movements in my face, arms, shoulders, and torso. Nice work Robert. 😉
Of course there are variables we can play with in the state of these agreements to source processes of greater abundance in terms of health, resilience, and other wealth measurements for all involved. Identifying these variables and understanding their movements and pressures is a part of what makes MettaCare of value.
In all I was desk to desk in about two hours, head still a little spinning, not sure if it’s from the fresh air, movement, or some other catalyst but I am feeling a certain subtle quality of disorientation in the aftermath. I feel quite confident I’ve never had this experience from leaving home, however it does have a familiar taste to that of leaving the hospital after an extended internment.
Lunch also was outside, smoothie and coffee, and the Cooper’s hawk that seems to have moved into the neighborhood. I’m very much enjoying the budding friendships emerging with both Caroline and Courtney in this new turning of the wheel. It is one of the fine privileges of needing care – the relationships that are possible can be quite deep and rich.
Although in the earliest days of my injury I opted for the optimistic view (as it turns out I always do), anticipating a full recovery and in no way identifying with myself as “patient,” or “healthcare focused,” again and again my attention has been reoriented to that field. Indeed, with 150,000 frontline hours, I probably have something to offer there.
I have certainly been out beyond the folds, collecting treasure for the community, it is the journey home that is unfamiliar to me. Thanks to guides I have met along the way, I have a few magic stones to help me learn the path.
The next step which I have happily made it substantially through today is to simply collate all of that material into some rough semblance of order and to cull through it to determine what essentially is present and begin to shape that form that will emerge as the diamond from the center of all of these perspectives.
Somehow it’s a bit more romantic to contemplate the placement of the physical bodies of the earth and moon and stars in relation to one another as a measurement of time, in contrast to checking off the months named for old Roman gods (once planets themselves if I understand correctly…)
I can feel new muscles and new intelligences coming into play, stretching, and finding their legs. I wrote a grant last year (unfunded) to the John Templeton Foundation and really had to learn to refine a message and fit it into a particular format. I sense those skills will come to bear here, although this will be the next level of listing for an audience and framing the story, with a bit more room to breathe.
Considering the day now from early evening under grey skies, my body is continuing the pattern of autonomic dysreflexia discomfort that it seems to have been locked in for the past four or five hours. In this state, my cognitive capacities are rather diminished and my attention flips around a bit like a fish out of water. It is from this state that I craft these words.
Generally speaking my care has been exceptional which provides, fortunately, very little opportunity to introduce new care partners to the appearance, degradation, treatment, and subsequent healing of skin breakdown. With the bulk of my care now being provided by new partners only just developing familiarity with my body, context, and dynamics, it’s not surprising that this morning we discovered some “not too early” issues with pressure areas forming.
After an hour or so I stepped back to take a breath and found myself quite in awe of how easy it is to stay busy chasing little fires, and how profoundly much generous creativity can flow forth when we give ourselves permission to focus on the things we are passionate about. Of course I say “we,” I really don’t know if it’s that way for others, I suspect it is, it certainly always have been for me. Today I guess I was just really noticing the contrast.
As the conversation carried on, I found myself simply re-intrigued with each passing moment. At times I had to dim the volume and tear myself away for a few minutes at a time to attend to the various items of the day that would refuse procrastination, and each time I returned eagerly to find more exciting insights, developments, and raw human expression in our collective quest to nurture the future of medicine.
In spite of the sleepless night and high-traffic morning, I was at my desk by 9 AM with just 30 minutes to spare before I would have to pull together some coherence of cognition and spirit to host a dialogue with a handful of modest luminaries
The last of the locks hit the ground and Cassandra dusted the bits of hair from me and the wheelchair while Caroline brushed up the bits from where the deed had been done, scattering the evidence into the flowerbeds to repel pests. With the jobs done, the three of us retreated indoors away from the now quite scorching summer-ish sun.
There are other stories I could recount of the latter half of last year and the first quarter of this, stories from others of similar nature. Powerful movements of energy leaving us reeling and overwhelmed. As if some of us have the privilege of undergoing a pregame warm-up for the experience we are now sharing as a global people.
I was approaching this project in February, though through a much constricted lens and greater external and self-imposed pressures. I started to reorganize the project on Saturday and was looking forward this morning my call with Dave.
I try to spend each day in gratitude, recognizing the generosity of others, honoring the cycles of the earth and seasons, reawakening myself and others, appreciating the initiation and industry of tribe, culture, city state, nation, and world, in essence honoring the holidays, but without the wrapper.
Of course life in my body is close to my mind. Here in my home where I have not left for nearly 6 weeks, and will likely stay for six more, the world is small. Courtney arrives this afternoon and I meet her with a smile. Caitlin arrived this morning and I met her with a smile.
I imagined, as I often do, that I had much to do today and turned back to my calendar and list, but not before taking a moment to gaze out the window at the rain and feel appreciation for the beautiful people in my life, both those still embodied, and those beyond.
The morning started out innocently enough, just the usual clearing of the inbox, checking of the stats, and general organization. I was able to respond a few requests for small effort on my part to move projects forward and to thank this morning’s new contributor to the campaign.
In the relative spacious moment of today, I saw a very different picture. The first thing I noticed was the pressure of urgency I had felt and how that had compressed not only my thinking on the subject, but my ability to contextualize the focus within my own wider sense of purpose and initiative.
It’s on my mind this evening – another nature spectacular evening with strong winds up high driving the clouds like racecars to cover the blue and break up, filling with light, only to race on, a painted grey flickering the light from the setting sun.
Last night as Caroline and I endured a marathon bowel program that left both of us spent and exhausted, we treated ourselves also to the podcast interview on the Mindfulness Mode of Dr. Dan Brown whom I’ve mentioned here on numerous occasions. The subject was of course “Awakening.” It seems an apropos thread to be carrying through this window of time when all of our systems are laid so bear before us.
Please note the change of authorship for this post.
These are the first people I’ve seen other than our care team, and one interviewee who didn’t make the cut since my last visitors nearly one month ago. The scene was odd and awkward. Some of us masked, others not, ideas of the recommended 6 foot distancing seemed to vary perceptively between about 3 feet and about 10 feet. Regardless, with hidden mouths, distance, and the gurgling stream in the background, conversation was loud and a little broken.
In a certain sense, the point of my life as I see it is really to lean into a tremendous aspiration and unflinching optimism for a possible goodness and beauty transcendent of the pain and suffering of the moment. While this appears, to some degree, as a personal aspiration, the tendency of the emotion as it grows through my being, expressed into the world, is more of a vision for what is possible for us as a species.
Some are patiently waiting for the whole thing to blow over. Others, powder dry, waiting to reenter the market. Others prepping for End of Days, and countless more stumbling through an existential discomfort not seen for generations, destined to recover or end up where…?
I tried this morning to doze after the home health nurse came around to change my catheter just after 8 AM. I struck up my usual conversation – usual recently anyway – inviting us to prepare mentally and emotionally for the likely onslaught of deaths attributed to the pandemic.
My heart broke open. The effort and care that it took to establish the campaign – the writing and reflecting and refining – has met someone where they are, in a position of vulnerability, and has added value and some strengths to their condition. I hereby declare the campaign a wild and overwhelming success!
Astrology is BS they say. Good news for you if you agree. Jupiter, the amplifier is aligned perfectly with Pluto, the underworld experience. Simultaneously, Saturn the strict boundary keeper and enforcer is aligned perfectly with the God of war. The latter two “squared” into awkward flair with Uranus, the bringer of novelty…
Perhaps the most profound impact I felt in the teaching today had to do with recognizing and honoring the importance of our human connections. As Dan led us through a guided visualization/meditation starting with our own deepest wholeness and well-being, and expanding out until we were appreciating our own sense of love and care for all of humanity, my heart softened – to me imperceptibly.
Thanks right now to the community of people that have come together thus far in support of my crowdfunding initiative, today is the first Sunday in months, probably since November, that I have felt the capacity to simply be spacious; the weekly review ritual went somehow faster than usual, somehow at leisure I was able to read a few articles passed my way in recent days and weeks by friends, venture outside into the sun and make a few calls, continue the thread of correspondence answering emails, chatting on the phone, enjoying the video connection across the continent…
When I started writing these entries, the world was ordinary in my life within it was in crisis. Today the world is in crisis, and my life within it has become distinctly non-ordinary.
Bob Dylan released a new song today on an old subject. As I look around the world at the successes and failures of our modern rationalist capitalist approach, I’m reminded that we are where we are, and we got here along a certain path.
The weather report says rain, the light agrees, but the sky has barely spit today. High cumulus clouds drift against a backdrop of blue, sunlight coming and going here on the ground while the wind teases blustery day between moments of calm.
For the first time in months, I can feel a sense of ground under my feet, not just the firm hands of those few and close loving souls attempting to slow my fall, but actual ground. A sense of community, and network of support with care running not just to me, but through a meshwork of relationships and love.
Taking this contagion risk seriously really is a hard question that arises somewhere at the intersection of science and emotion… Where is foolish, where is serious, where is too much? My guess is that most of us can answer those questions pretty easily and pretty quickly in the moment, but I find those answers often get jelly legs when subject to further questioning…
Well Charles, good news, my life continues to be good for literature with plot points successively unfolding.
Though I’m a little concerned that whoever is writing this life is a bit enthusiastic with the twists…
March 22, 2020 – we really have yet to comprehend the nature of our situation. The opportunity is for recognizing our power and vulnerability.
As the waters of the world continue to quicken and my own path narrows, springtime creeps in with the dance of birds and new growth. The planet continues to turn, life coming and going on its surface, much as it has done for most of its 4 billion years. Anthem music plays, and stillness… And we in our drama unfold.
Finding uneasiness and disorientation of my own making, the terrible uncertainty of a pandemic context, and rays of sunlight from faces and sky, I feel alive in the balance of life and death, grateful for the gifts I have to offer, and happier still when I can remember their presence.
“Life is but a dream” they tell us when we are young. Singing the words, as if in a trance, and never quite realizing the truth behind them… Today the world feels more dreamlike than I ever recall in this life. How to love through the dream, have compassion, connection, and care for one another… These are the questions of the day.
Not running from the pain, nor running towards the light, the middle way – some call it, I like the word equanimity. The literal recognition and realization of the light and shadow dancing on the screen of the mind. No grasping, reification, or projection, only acceptance.
Everywhere we look the ship seems to be coming apart, but somehow rays of light and connection keep holding things together, a little bit here, and a little bit there… I’m reminded of the imaginal cells metaphor from inside the chrysalis of the butterfly.
If my words ramble today, it is only a mirror of the rambling state of our mad mad world. I hope you will find them light and loving, a prayer for your own well-being through this long weather we are having…
A long day after a short night, yet somehow, in the lovely glow of the evening sun, it seems good work has been done. The world, in turmoil, has gone to pandemonium, and somehow we are finding some stillness in the midst of the storm.
Between the rains, the world and my life washed in the storm, in this medium of madness, the ripples of help become visible. Now with the opportunity to see that help more clearly, to study, to practice, and to learn it more fully.
A day of lesser rain in week of storms, and ebb morning with flow afternoon into evening, all following a sleepless night.
Quiet day, rain falling steadily outside, a rain of words meets the pages in response to a loving morning message from Dave. Binding myself to the mast of stillness and faith through the storms of my own inequity in the world about me…
The boat is certainly rocking, and my little dinghy is no exception. I will ride these waves, paddling when I can, but remaining sure to sing a little song each day, a prayer that those notes of voice, these artifacts of words will ring some love and light to some heart somewhere…
Karma, habit, burns away in the consecrated effort of sincere aspiration. “The only reward for hard work is the capacity for more hard work.” The sign said above the door at my dear friends home. When we set aside those rigid structures of persistent attachment to the past, it’s incredible how much energy is liberated to meet the present moment and create futures filled with light and beauty.
zero is where the real fun is at
there’s too much counting everywhere else”
Sunday in a daze after daylight savings time, I trust I’m not alone.
When I look for my faith, certain it has been lost, I find that one cannot look for faith without finding it. Faith and mind and the world that is one with that mind are inseparable. I exist as faith, and cannot but express it with every breath.
Some kind of holding pattern filled with energy yet numb. Love and circulation, yet solitude. A wide open expanse of time, the end of time looms…
Seeking to be practical, seeking to honor possibilities, seeking not to disappoint those who have placed their investments in me, seeking to find the way of love, seeking to find the right surrender. How do we understand the capitals of wealth in our lives, how do we respond with wisdom, skillful means, and grace?
The world seems so full, and I so full within it. So full of grief, so full of ecstasy, so full of fear and life and death and flowers and friends and loneliness. Where in this fullness do I discover the vastness of space that is that seed of precious existence itself?
The day begins with increased uncertainty, increased instability, some kind of surrender, some kind of resolve.
Part two in the description of a week of sickness and hospitalization. Home now, but what is recovery?
Home from the hospital and still moving at Mach 3. As a matter of principle, 800 words referencing the adventure, as a matter of practicality, still to be revisited…
The plot point arrives this morning. Dramatic changes in available care appear near on the horizon. Fire glints in the eye of the Dragon, what next…
After a good lashing from Charles for losing the thread of the story, I attempt to return to the arc with clarity and with purpose, a few more days will tell how I have done…
Narration of the days events, in part as usual. I interrupted the writing near the end to call Charles and found a helpful critique drawing my attention towards the arc of story. I will endeavor henceforth to bring a more careful inquiry to my process of giving voice to story in my way.
A weary Wednesday, but perhaps the end of a difficult moment. Friendship, connection, and views…
In the wash of life, aren’t we all just in some sense a blend of saint and sinner, warmth and cool, wellness and decay? Are we ourselves, the inner feelings of being, destined to come and go? And yet are we also not the raindrops of love that eventually fill the ocean?
The week begins on a holiday, slow, but with nourishing connections, resolved if oblique efforts, and perhaps just enough peace in the face of discomfort to meet the squirrels in battle…
Charles asked for the basic whodunit, I hope I have obliged. 🙂
Busy Saturday, family, love, friendship, joy, tears.
With nothing to write about, I looked into empty space, I looked into an empty mind, and stories poured fourth…
Even though the trauma of my karma nips at my flesh, even though the trauma of the world threatens so many lives I hold dear, even though… Even though.
An exhale from the pace of work and effort felt lately, gives rise to feelings of appreciation, elation, depression, and return to well-being.
Having walked an uncertain path of looming shadows, terrifying forms, and glimmering lights, we have crested the hill. Footing still uneasy, but gate more committed than ever, I and my dear compatriots begin our descent into the valley of the future.
A full and complete Monday, fulfillment and exhaustion, no doubt on both…
Narrating a rainy Sunday from the familiar rituals of mornings discipline through the endnotes of a creative flourishing and budding.
A day of seeming generativity and perceived good fortune, is found a little suspicious through the lens of the sleepless night before.
A pleasant enough day took an unfortunate turn at the end. Nothing ruinous, just an odd close, perhaps to honor the full moon.
Taking a moment for some of the more difficult feelings; it’s always a bit like inspecting closely as we brushed the flakes of dust off the window. They have their own beauty and sparkle, and as we go, much glory is revealed.
A short story on the blessings of technology, and tacos.
It’s the little victories… Today, it was easy rising, a good meditation, good fortune in meeting kind members of the community, good and heartfelt conversation with a friend, the first workout I’ve had in a while, and the privilege and opportunity to labor for others. May all beings have good fortune. May all beings be well and happy.
The first week of February is off with a bang! Celebrating new clarity, new certainty, new friendship, and old, mostly just a simple recounting of the day from the feeling of deep appreciation, gratitude, and joy.
At the end of an 11 hour Sunday workday, while the world of America echoed cheers of Super Bowl madness, I offer a humble bow to my writing mentor.
The boundaries of the world are falling away. So many little agencies, we call them countries, struggling to harmonize in a globe gone marketplace, struggling to harmonize their own internal coherence.
What we are looking for, is a reciprocity of identity. For us as a species, we must learn to listen, to see, to feel each other more skillfully; not only as individuals, but as cultures and ideologies, Christians, Muslims, Jews, capitalists and socialists, left and right, we need to learn to let each other in, to be touched and changed by one another. Not only as individuals, but as collectives, we need these vulnerabilities to express in the genomes of our DNA.
This is true for me personally, for my engagement in the world will not persist and thrive if I do not make this leap of realization today.
What is generosity? What does it mean to receive? What happens when we do these things? What gets broken, and what gets born? How do we suffer love, give kindness, and share the fullness of ourselves with one another?
Today was an exquisite day of practice and privilege with some truly remarkable gifts of leadership.
One of the central themes I’m drawing from my journey through its recent forests and high mountain passes is the theme of reciprocity.
Just a Wednesday narrative from sleep to supper, with work, service, and sun in between…
Coming to the page with nothing but a broken heart to share, I found that I had so much more…
The narration of a day, the end of the year, the beginning.
The arc of the day reveals gifts in the way to gifts…
Ramblings at the end of a long day…
I come to these words (these words, not those words) through a body filled with spasticity. I imagine perhaps a little dehydration may have to do with that.
As the light faded outside, a warm golden glow piercing the chill of the January evening, I could feel the creeping tension in my flesh. Muscles contracting, both specifically and generally throughout my being; an unpredictable turbulence in the little ocean of presence.
A narrative of Tuesday, January 21, or parts of it. Curiosity about the friendliness of depression, and how we dance with them…
As I continue to write and publish (this is now two weeks I think), I remain curious about the through line for this blog. I notice writing, in many articles, and even on some platforms takes the approach of creating a sense of “Answer.”
I think that is not what this is about. True to my thesis of Wisdom Dialogue, I think it’s more about discovering rich questions, and soaking in the feelings that they can generate…
In response to my friend Charles, I consider the nature and quality of “my” external situation. What are the qualities of the outside world, and how do we position ourselves internally to meet that in the most generous and capable ways?
Early moments of a remarkable journey, circling back…
Yesterday someone near to me, but once removed was born. Yesterday, someone a little further away, but not so far, died.
This is the reciprocity of life, what else is?
We all live our lives inside of stories – stories of our identities, stories of our dreams, stories of our fears, our past, our capacities and obstacles, stories of those around us, stories of what is true and unbending, stories of what is false and stupid. We create these stories together, and we create them alone, stories of the stories we have created with others…
I live in the story, for example, that we create stories, and in writing this here, I live in the story that it is useful to do so, and that these words will be read by you dear reader, at some point in the future.
So in the absence of useful practical action, I turn to the useful practical action of telling some relevant stories, both to myself out loud, and for others who may connect to these stories and find an interest in engaging with me in some useful practical actions.
So that is what I did today. I told stories,
… 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. 😉
Here in the early days of the Donald J Trump presidency in the United States, things are getting interesting (still.)
Ghandi said “be the change.” Faced with modern global complexities such as climate change, rising class disparity, and social and political instability, what does that really mean?
We are Open Field Awakening.
We are a collective of deep friendships, spiritual and business partners, living and creating together in community. We have a practitioner’s home – where we practice explicitly waking up to and with one another. We employ various somatic, psycho-, and spiritual intelligences, from ancient to emergent.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…