There is no fire like greed,
No crime like hatred,
No sorrow like separation,
No sickness like hunger of heart,
And no joy like the joy of freedom.
Health, contentment and trust
Are your greatest possessions,
And freedom your greatest joy.
Look within. Be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.
from the Dhammapada, Words of the Buddha
a blessing in life is that the lessons keep on coming. the burden in life is that the lessons keep coming. aggravatingly, as i go through this testing in life, the questions circle back around. as much as i would easily settle for a “c” or a “d” on this test, but the answers that i got wrong somehow blow away with the wind as the questions reappear as if bran new, asking to have the multiple choices examined once again.
somewhere inside this path i take which mirrors the moon orbiting the earth, i get stunned again and again that i find myself under dressed after i have (metaphorically) given my clothes away. this dance is perpetual, rotational, and feels often like being on the tilt-a-whirl.
is it physical? is it mental health? is it a weakness? is it an intrinsic flaw? spiritual? probably yes to all?
my own nature is what comprises my hopes as well as my demise.. i am consistently part of the dance. always will be that way. wherever i go, there i am… so i have to find a way to be at peace with myself.
i went to the 1st of 2 trainings on the DSM V which has just been released. it is such a controversial document. in medical circles the dsm is known as the source of order in the crazy crazy world of mental health and substance use. yet from the eyes of many persons living with medical issues in these areas, the dsm represents the pigeon-holing of their individuality and reduction of a whole person into a diagnosis. the book and its implications are the source of many a controversy. for today’s sake, since i work in a hospital environment it is necessary to use the content of the dsm to communicate with other providers, funders, overseers in a systematic and consistent manner. the dsm offers this type of solution.
although there is much to say about the dsm v versus the previous edition and about the dsm’s in general, i won’t go into that today. suffice it to say that i found the training enlightening and inclusive, as it allowed me some insight into the elusive mental health provider creature which was a rare treat. and honestly (and hopefully) the manner with which i write my notes will be changed as a result of these trainings.
i caught wind of the reality that change is sweeping our institution. every department is to be effected and it is said to be swift and succinct. i am unsettled by the information. not because it is unexpected, but because it is has moved closer to truth. it is a source of continued surprise that i live and work in a culture of change and yet i am just as affected by it in my own life as anyone else might be.
i went to dinner with friends a couple of months ago and saw a picture of myself posted on fb, this sighting caused a shudder to resonate within me as i was forced to wrestle with the largeness of my girth. i knew i had become big, but here was indisputable proof that the growth might be nuclear. i have been doing cardio again 3-4x week for about 5 weeks. there have been some improvements. i have set a goal of 20 lbs- i’m 8 down but have a ways to go. i haven’t been at 240 or lower for a couple of years. the weird thing is that i have been depressed since last year and i didn’t realize it. my sponsor of 7 years passed from stage 4 liver cancer in just a few months after his diagnosis. this loss led me directly to feelings of disenchantment after volunteering for an organization last year as well as frustrated with working with a team that felt toxic and stagnant, (i.e. one was on the internet for hours in the afternoon, one worked the nyt crossword puzzle daily-shouting out the clues hoping for an answer, and a third on personal calls for 1/2 hours on end) that i numbed myself further. this was such an invisible and silent action that i didn’t notice until my work shifted and i once again became truly engaged with what i was doing on a daily basis. so very relieved to be on the upside and very happy to be getting some endorphins flowing again, too.
i was thanked today at work for some efforts and for some changes i have been implementing. i was informed that thanking was the only way it was possible to show gratitude right now, but that it was hoped that this would change soon. gotta say that this felt really really good. especially when hearing the other information about changes.
about 3 years ago i found myself (as is par for the course for someone with bi-polar disorder) having spent my way into 22K debt over a summer. it was a good summer, but certainly not outstanding and more thank likely not worth several thousand and 3 years of way too high payments. but i am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. i have about 8 months left. i will be able to buy new clothes again, shop till i plop, travel a little, and maybe upgrade the kitchen and bath.
i am currently on the 2010 series of criminal minds. i am engaged, enthralled, and affected by the creepiness and the sadistic tales. and it’s interesting how my favorite character shifts from year to year. right now i am loving dr. reid- the geek. i have always admired smart guys.
it’s a bright sunday morning in april and as i make my way back from st. mark’s, i am aware that some of the funk that had settled around me has begun to shake loose. the sun is showing her face earlier and she lingers lovingly and languishes longer at the end of the day. the plantings we did last summer have had me worried as they all looked brown and lifeless, but this last week little buds have been appearing on the korean lilacs, the carol mackie dahnes, and both types of hydrangeas, but the rose of sharons still have me a bit concerned. there are 6 of them in and if they don’t come back, i really will need to replace them. we planted 4 new trees yesterday in the right of way, but those will take 3 or 4 years before we really see any impact.
my mood has started to bud just as my landscape has. i am feeling less closed off, experienced a little photosynthesis yesterday and was able to laugh and feel light again. sometimes working with others definitely requires some refueling. this is just what winter offers. a chance to rest and ready for replenishing.
i have been receiving some forwarded posts from a family member for awhile which always seem very post-right wing and lean toward obama-lambasting. i rarely read them as i don’t hold those political leanings. and i don’t respond because i don’t care to engage in dialogue that has no real purpose other than disagreement. i certainly haven’t felt it necessary to change her way of thinking and i know she is not likely to nudge mine.
but my cousin’s partner sent her a response to the last missive that was sent about why not to trust the man who is president. somehow, her response struck a chord with me. it was not a threatening rebuttal- far from it actually she talked about looking at more sides of any issue and then included an article about walter breuning, the oldest man in america, who recently passed. here is a link to the article:
Here’s the world’s oldest man’s secret to a long life:
- Embrace change, even when the change slaps you in the face. (“Every change is good.”)
• Eat two meals a day (“That’s all you need.”)
• Work as long as you can (“That money’s going to come in handy.”)
• Help others (“The more you do for others, the better shape you’re in.”)
- Then there’s the hardest part. It’s a lesson Breuning said he learned from his grandfather: Accept death.“We’re going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you’re born to die,” he said.
i really like mr. breuning’s common sense approach. it leaves me something tangible and attainable to reach toward in my life’s journey. and the response that carried this message gave me a reminder about making room for good things to happen in my life. ‘cuz i never know when another bud is about to appear. all this with a cuppa joe and a chocolate croissant this beautiful sunday morning.
and yesterday at hivster from seattle, there was a post about durutti column with a link to “missing boy”. i hadn’t heard that cut for about 15 years or so and it reminded me how amazing vini reilly was (and remains).
spring is popping its head out all around me. the magnolia trees, the crab apples, as well as the others are budding in pink, lavender, and white glory all over town. hyacinths, daffodils, tulips are showing their parade uniforms now, and the lilacs and hydrangeas are budding with effervescence. this weekend we are planting 4 new trees in our right of way-2 english oaks and 2 small maples.
it seems that inside there may be the sighs of a new life budding. things have been a bit bleak for a bit and there has been a dormant sense of exuberance and gratitude. these things have seemed just a memory recently and i have been trudging forward with only remnants of anticipation in my heart.
sometimes it seems i just gotta keep walking, cuz if i stop i may never be able to start again. gotta pretend there’s hope when she has obviously left the building. gotta trust hope will return. strangely- and with grace- hope has always found her way back.
that is what spring can mean. keep on walking and hoping and waiting. waiting for the right time ripe with possibility. and that is definitely worth wearing out a few good pairs of jimmy choos.
Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms. Ikkyu Sojun