Investment

detail of painting

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Fairly soon following my diagnosis of MS a very good friend divorced me.

She said my burgeoning needs were “..pulling on her” (this after I asked if she might go to the hardware store for me).

The break-up email said she still wanted all my fun stories we shared but not the other “stuff”.

I really was devastated by this and responded that I felt she was way more invested in my health situation than I was.

She agreed.

Our friendship was irreparable.

Sometimes we don’t even realize what we are invested in.

We are invested in where we put our attention most.

I used to be heavily invested in a poor sense of self esteem.

Deeply confusing anger and disappointment were my bedfellows.

I was too fucked up to know how to love and care for animals or even be with young children then.  They always knew.

My art career, freedom, being nice, attractive, connected to Spirit,  fairly ‘normal’, safe(having a back door at all times), avoiding conflict are some places I put an inordinate amount  of energy in the past.

I now give energy quite differently.

My attention goes toward Emma, creativity, fostering peace, keeping my body running best I can, curiosity about human nature, space, stellar friends, remaining authentic, gratitude and remaining in the present.

We are invested in where we put our attention most.

When I remember how many years I have put into knowing my own neuroses well enough to have the power to let them be more in the back round (never do they go away altogether) and not the drivers of my life

I heave a weary sigh.

I have put so damn much of myself in the bank account called “get healthy”.

But I did.

And I am.

Truly a life’s achievement.

A very fine investment.

Investing in worry over my state of being;  things I can’t do anymore, all the ways my life has changed in soul-searing ways is not a good investment.

What’t the return on that?

Black moods and being a magnet for dark energies of  all sorts.

Emma is snoring here on my lap.

I put my attention further on her and feel her warmth on my thigh, the mini tail wag of  a dream, her trust in me to choose my company to digest her dinner, her sleek white softness. 

Feeling my attention she wakes to lift her head and check to see if I am still here.

Some dividend.

No One Is Smiling

beloved Livvy

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Be the solution.

Make the invitation.

Smile first.

It is a potent political, spiritual and medicinal action

Whose effects go beyond anything we can know.

Smile first.

Deep Bow With Tears

hand painted silk robe

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’’ Be thankful for every heartbreak, for they were planned. They come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. Their purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life. And you do. ‘’

-unknown

 

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Selling Sickness

ceramic detail

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If you watch any television at all you have been privy to extra lovely words describing the newest drugs on the market.

It used to be that I could not pronounce many of the drug names I saw but these days I am aware that BIG PHARMA is spending seemingly infinite bucketloads of cash dressing up drugs in psychologically addicting costuming for the masses….yes, you.

Just by altering the sound and meaning of the name of a drug they hook into our need to assuage suffering no matter what.  Sometimes we don’t even need to be suffering but we want the thing cloaked in that magical sounding promise of health.

These are the top 10 drugs advertised on TV:

  • Chantix.
  • Lyrica.
  • Eliquis.
  • Viagra.
  • Humira.
  • Latuda.
  • Xeljanz.
  • Celebrex.

According to Kantar Media, pharma industry spending on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising totaled $5.4 billion in 2015 compared to $4.3 billion in 2014 – a 19% increase.

So let’s take some of these new names and look at why they may have been chosen for us consumers:

LYRICA – sounds melodic..lyrical..sing a simple song and you’ll be healed!

CELEBREX!  – come join the celebration!  good times had by all!  party down all ye sick ones.

VIAGRA –  genius word hearkening to things like viable, vital, grow, green,  channel, way (root words of “via”)

ELIQUIS-  sounds pretty elegant, yes?  I feel the word “equal” in there somewhere.  Also sort of sounds like “equus-(horse..wild, untamed, vitality)”

CHANTIX-  chanting is a spiritual and/or religious activity to lift our beingness to higher heights and often elicits a pleasant trance-like state.  Yummy.  AND they put a “tix” (ticket) on the end to boot!  Gimmee, gimmee… I want that.  I will tell my doctor this drug is the one I want!

Ok..You get the picture.

My mother died of bladder cancer as well as emphysema in her mid- 70s.  She was a lonely woman in my experience and I believe she used her illness and many doctor visits as  a comforting social life.  Old age does this to us.  Too hard to make new friends, little energy to care for  the relationships we have but DAMN!  Going to the doctor we get to have one-on-one attentive conversations that feel intimate.  We are half-dressed and vulnerable.  We get to be touched physically, feel heard and seen and sent home with possibility of more goodness if we are fortunate.  Attention arrives with illness; whether wanted or not-attention is attention after all.  

Sickness itself has become medicine. 

A mini-antidote for this seems to be choosing to give a little bit of yourself to someone else from a truly authentic place;  to a stranger: “Wow, you look great!”   Someone I’d never met said to me yesterday: “I always see you with your dog.  She looks happy.  Thanks for taking such good care of her” (this from an Hispanic grounds keeper downtown).

“I love seeing a man in a suit” (me to handsome sartorialist).

or really…just a fairly robust “Good Morning” lets a person know in their bones they are NOT invisible.

This is very good medicine in my book.

Apricot Night

my living room

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APRICOT NIGHT

 

Last night Emma and I rolled.

In the deep 

Sort of dark

Dark

We silently skirted potholes.

A restless bird

Given to insomnia

Cawed a weary warning

As we passed.

Venus gleamed.

Suddenly

A scent

Slipped into 

My sphere.

Ahead of us

Dotting black pavement

Were leavings

Of the first blooming

Apricot tree;

Fluorescent.

Impossibly tender and innocent

Tailings

Of bursting bloom

Slipped toward us

Through the night air.

I released

My wheelchair joystick,

Turning 

To let the barely pink gift

Give its’ self.

I lifted my head 

As Emma rustled nearby

And felt my being

Slightly dusted

With something

More than me.

Onward we went

Cruising the dark;

Our pace slowed 

By olfactory arrest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down Low

 

ceramic,5x4x1/2″

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I recently celebrated my birthday at a favorite restaurant with two girlfriends.

We were able to go pretty hog wild for a Sunday brunch (meaning the three of us each ordered the petit filet + wine+ apps!).

Now, please understand that the extravagance we three enjoyed was made possible by a dear friend who pretty much represents the new paradigm-of-man; having gifted me generously enough to cover such a meal X three.

He gave me the cash and said my gift was to invite my friends to dine with me and not worry about ordering things that were too expensive as would be our usual “I want that but I’m not going to get it because it’s just TOO MUCH) .

He gave this gift without the desire to be there himself but because he knew how very much pleasure we girls would get.

I mean really….who does that sort of thing???

I was so thrilled to be at that table eating steak and laughing..soaking in the pleasure of “no worry”.

At the end of our meal I needed to use the restroom and said: “If I’m not back in 15 minutes please come check on me” .  I was unsure the handicap restroom was equipped with a toilet high enough that I could comfortably lift myself to transfer out of and back into to my chair.

The seat was just too low and I sat there on the toilet girding my loins anticipating my girlfriend needing to come in to help me.

“Cath?  Are you ok? ” she says outside the purposefully unlocked restroom door.

“I need your help” I say.

This needing help off the toilet is a new piece of the disability landscape I am unfamiliar with.

My inner circle has not experienced me in this awkwardness until this point so we’re all in unknown territory.

I weigh about 135 and it became evident that my beautiful and quite slight friend was not going to be able to lift me.

I took a breath and asked her to go find the owner (who I know and love).

He came into the restroom and I showed him how to put his hands under my armpit and lift.

Up I came as my long coat dropped into the toilet behind me.

All three of us in the restroom were pretty cool and contained.  No drama. No one freaked.  We all just played our unrehearsed parts in this new play.

Alone again back in my chair I washed up and gathered myself a bit before rolling back to my birthday celebration.

I cried feeling this new level of vulnerability.

My friends let me weep a bit without trying to fix me.

I picked up my wineglass and we toasted to the gritty adventure of Life made so sweet cushioned in Love.

Bobby (owner) brought our table a giant dessert of flan, cake, ice cream and cookies.  Standing behind me with his hands on my shoulders I blew out the candle with a wish.

I wished on that candle for God to shower everything good down on all those I love for supporting me in ways that help a girl in quite vulnerable states to go through them only to re-enter the world with a heart so blasted open in gratitude that she feels the great gift of communion in not suffering alone.

I am not alone.

And neither are you.

Suffer.

Ask for help.

Receive help.

Let out the seams of your heart.

Shared vulnerability is the great seam-ripper of the heart.

It is a very good thing.

Conversation

 

BUDDHA:  “Cathy, did you wake up this morning and feel utterly ridiculous you wrote that you related to Me the most as an historical figure on that questionnaire?”

CATHY:  “You could say that.”

B:  “Why did you do it?”

C:  “Well..I was really thinking about before you became the Buddha.  Born into great wealth and never experiencing a smidge of discomfort until one day you saw outside the walls of the kingdom that the human condition IS suffering.  Then you just went and sat under that big ol’ tree saying you’d not get up until you understood what this whole shebang called life is really all about.  

B:  “Yeah, that was a helluva long haul, I tell you.  Worth it but man……”

C:  “I know it must have been horrible but I really understand getting to the point in life when nothing you buy or create or think or desire is really that interesting anymore.  Our world is so wonky these days and I feel helpless to change things. 

B:  “It was like that in my time, too.  So much heartache.  What’s the point?  That’s why I sat down.”

C:  “It is so hard to sit still.”

B:  “Tell me about it!”

C:    “Buddha, you just sat still and let all the ills of the human condition come at you with their arrows of seduction and vileness.  You just sat there and handled it.  I can’t even watch the news without feeling a little sick from the lack of honesty and just basic civility.  And then I’m in this big black wheelchair and I can’t handle being so STILL sometimes.”

B:  “Being human is an extraordinary privilege.  And it sucks.  And then it doesn’t.  And then it does.  Behind all of the theater is Peace.  It’s really the only thing worth going for.  Just sit down.  Don’t feel badly for saying you related to me so closely.  I’m glad you do.  I see you working hard to make sense of things.  Lighten up, love on Emma, love yourself as you do her and keep smiling at strangers.  We all have our own way of finding our way Home.”