Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A little compassion, Dear Lord!

Dear Lord:

Admittedly, I'm sort on energy, perspective, time, money, and balance. But I'm not going to talk to you about any of those things because they have a tendency to ebb and flow and I don't want to waste your time praying about things that will shift of their own accord....what with trillions of people trying to capture your attention.

I could also point out that in the last several days, I have personally witnessed a couple of folks lose their ever-loving minds but again, they should probably go down on their knees of their own accord, who am I to piously pray for the salvation of others, even though that seems to be the American way.

No, Lord, instead I'm going to pray for more compassion. I need it now because my kids are involved in all manner of organized activities. With these activities, comes interactions with other parents. Parents who want to tell us how to coach soccer and yet have opted out of coaching themselves. Parents who want to tell me the virtues of the Brownie vest over the Brownie sash which my daughter is so clearly wearing, indicating, perhaps, that we have already pondered the weighty decision of vest vs sash and made our decision. Parents who commit to teach something of significance and then quit by email.

Now Lord, you are pretty sharp and probably figured out that I am not innocent in all these interactions. I gave the parent complaining about soccer more air time than I should have and hurt a dear friend; I might have suggested that the Brownie vest looked a little SS in nature; and the email I sent back to the parent who quit.....not my most spiritual writing.

So, I will try to remember these words from one of your main guys:

If you don't find God
in the next person you meet,
it is a waste of time
looking further.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Fall Y'all

This is Fred. He will be on our porch (newly painted!) until the spring. He will have a sprig of holly in his pocket, a scarf, and a different hat on in a month or two, but he will remain seasonally viable until the work that went into him is paid off. You could say that Fred is an indentured servant but aren't we all? To the man? To our unconscious desires? Wait, wait....back on message...Happy Fall Y'all!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Curriculum Night

Just back from curriculum night with a couple of do's and please do nots from a parent's perspective:

Please have enough chairs in the cafeteria, auditorium, library, etc. If you do not have enough chairs for the parents, when they arrive late and stand out in the hall chatting with their friends, they will never come on time again, ever. Chatting with friends is so much more fun than listening to statistics on MCAS. I wish that were not so but the folks on the outside were in a much better humor than the folks on the inside. You see, standardized testing is deeply flawed and talking about it, a lot, at these events does not remove the bitter taste of it. You can cook liver anyway you want and you can drone on and on about your recipe, but it is still liver and it is hard to stomach.

Please do not make us sit in tiny desks for longer than 20 minutes. We are big people with big body parts that fall asleep when squeezed into tiny spaces.

Please do not ask parents to write to their children to prove that they attended. The thing is, the kid whose parents are working a night shift or the single mom/dad who could not get a babysitter, that kids is going to feel lousy the next day when all the other kids have notes and they do not. I know that it takes a village and I know how important it is for parents to be involved and present....but some are not for reasons we can't fathom and the student should not carry the burden of that.

Finally, this note of thanks goes directly to my son's teacher who assured me when I read this line in my son's biopoem:

The Dutch like heron. I am Dutch and I'm going to try heron someday....

that he really meant to write "herring." We parents never for one minute forget that you are doing god's work.....so curriculum night is really, despite all the grumbling, a night to feel blessed that such spiritual people are teaching our kids.

Friday, September 17, 2010

In the interest of full disclosure.....

Hospitals are as close to prison as I hope I get. I can't say for sure that I won't end up in prison but if I do, I will have been prepared by the best.

For starters, once you get admitted to the hospital, you can't leave until the doctors, many of whom are at least 25 years old, say you are cleared to go home. If you get up in the middle of the night and ask the night nurse to call you a cab because you have had enough, she will kindly explain to you the concept of AMA...against medical advice. Leaving AMA means that your insurance will not pay for your hospitalization costs. When you explain, equally kindly, that seems a lot like extortion and is probably against the law, the gentle exchange takes a turn. This was the lesson from a previous stint in the big house so this time, I used a different tactic.

To get out of the hospital, you have to be cunning and seemingly full of energy. On day 3, I had been on IV fluids and felt full of vim and vigor. I called my gyn and made an emergency appointment. When the young lads at the hospital came in for rounds, I explained to them that I needed a pass so I could go to my outside appointment. I promised I would come back, but really, this was an appointment I had to keep.

We don't give day passes from the hospital.
Wow, I would hate to explain to my doc that the hospital wouldn't let me come for an emergency appointment.
How did you get this appointment?
Well, my doctor is quite concerned because of my history and thinks I need to be seen immediately.
I suppose you could do the capsule study outpatient but your levels are still low.
I will let him know that, that is good information for him.

So, my friends, what is called for when it is time to break out of any institution is your very own expert. You, who have lived in your body for years, do not qualify. Your intuition is not valid, and your voice will not be heard. Still, if your docs are not paying attention, you might have a few tricks up your johnny.

In the interest of full disclosure, the week-end was pretty rough and might have been easier if I had stayed in the hospital. Here is the take away (my blogging buddy taught me that is a good thing to have embedded in your post, somewhere): no matter how sick you are, it feels damn good to break out of prison.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back in the Saddle

I have been pondering my previous lives. I am thinking that I had a hell of a good time, but perhaps at the cost of hurting others. Or, maybe in this life, I have relied too much on my physical self, that maybe the years I spent running, cycling, and climbing have not prepared me for the spiritual component of aging. How does one become acclimated to the body breaking down, slowly? The same way one prepares for any summit, you train.

I went back into training last week when I was driving into work and experienced heart palpitations and shortness of breath. With my spiffy cardiac history, I could not chose to ignore the classic signs of having an actual heart attack so I went to the ER. Very quickly, they ascertained that I had a dangerously low hematocrit level and admitted me. What? This is a blood thing, not a heart thing? What the hell. I stayed for three days and got probed in every which way, including swallowing a camera which the kind nurse informed me should not alarm me when it comes out still blinking. I worked hard to get out of the hospital and came home too soon. I spent the week-end simultaneously thinking I was dying and acting as cheerful as I could for my kids.

So, I'm not dying. I'm dangerously anemic and I get to have a procedure next week to fix that. All in all, in the scheme of things, this isn't a headline. No cancer, not terminal, a somewhat easy fix. Still, even a second page story can throw you down. I spent my twenties thinking I could summit Everest, bike across America, and live on a commune. My thirties were dedicated to establishing my professional persona, finding a soul mate (whom I met when I was in my twenties but was too blind to see) and having my kids. The forties were supposed to be about accruing spiritual wisdom. I think spiritual wisdom is a wily old bastard who refuses to hang out in temples. Instead, he skulks around hospitals and pops up during a colonoscopy. He hangs out with you in the middle of the night when you are afraid you are not going to wake up. He doesn't ask for my opinion on anything but instead burns away a lot of who I thought I was. All in all, he is proving to be a colossal pain in the ass and after last week, I know of what I speak in that department.

So my friends, one thing is constant in all this turmoil. My love and connection with all of you is what I am left with at the end of the day. And that puts a smile on the face of the wily old bastard.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pre-labor day labor

I realized today that I have two "pending" files and two "ongoing" files on the top of a shared desk. I figured this out because I spent most of the afternoon renewing my professional social work license.

This gave me a chance to do a quick personality assessment:

1. People who have 4 files labeled "ongoing, pending, urgent, etc" with no discernable difference in the contents of said files are not organized.

2. People can be disorganized and still be Type A.

3. Being disorganized does not always help you move forward in your Type A environment but.....

4. Being Type A and disorganized can help you mobilize when you realize you have 1 day to complete 12 continuing education credits. An organized person would have sweated the disparity between taking online courses on hospice care, genetic counseling, and mindfulness. I think they are all one and I had no time to sweat anything.

I look at my children and my husband and myself and I think we are who we are. It doesn't mean we aren't working on some things but really, since day 1, given some love and nurturing, we will become more of who we always were. And that is not just my genetics expertise talking:)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I write about perspective fairly frequently as it is an elusive bird, flying away at the mere hint of change. Why do we lose our perspective when things shift? I think that solid ground is an illusion but it sustains us during our very brief stint in each lifetime. When things change, we get a glimpse of the bigger picture, that we have perhaps weathered thousands of transitions and yet here we still are, in Samsara.

Samsara is a Buddhist concept and the Sanskrit word means "continuous flow." One translation refers to it as "the continuous but random drift of desires, emotions, and experiences in this lifetime." We are in samsara and will continue until we reach enlightenment, lifetime after lifetime. Our clinging and our wild unbridled thoughts keep us here. The first moments of meditation always give me some idea of how wildly out of balance I am. The idea of focusing on my breath and the current moment is continually interrupted by my strutting, bodacious thoughts on nothing of import. All dressed up and no substance. Harlots, one and all.

Monday I was clinging, rather tenaciously to the idea that we would not, could not be late for my son's first soccer practice. He was enjoying the last moments of summer and was blissfully swinging on our great swing, fully in the present moment but not taking care of business. I yelled at him to get going, he ran across our newly painted front porch in soccer cleats, and here we are.....8 stitches later. He split his knee wide open. No soccer, no karate, painful first day of school. For the record, I was not a fountain of compassion on the drive to Ready Med, either. I lost perspective.

I lose perspective a lot. I want to not. I will begin anew, somehow. Who we are as spiritual people should play out in every facet of our lives. My goal is to shorten the distance between personas. You should see me at retreats, I look very Zen. You should see me coach soccer, I look very Texan. You should see me yell at my children, I look like I have lost perspective. Our children are born broken wide open and we are responsible for their need to build defenses. I want them to stay open so I have to let go of some things. Next time you see me at an event, and I am late, please congratulate me.