Saturday, July 18, 2015

Attuned To The Voice Of Compassion ...

I'm going to type here a beautiful writing that I believe is medicine this world really needs.  It was written by Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hahn.

"The wondrous voice, the voice of the one who attends to the cries of the world,

The noble voice, the voice of the rising tide surpassing all the sounds of the world,

Let our mind be attuned to that voice.

Put aside all doubt and meditate on the pure and holy nature of the regarder of the cries of the world ...

Because that is our reliance in situations of pain, distress, calamity, death.

Perfect in all merits, beholding all sentient beings with compassionate eyes,

Making the ocean of blessings limitless,

Before this one, we should incline."

"Whenever" and "Fantastik" ...

I've just put my two newest songs (one is two months old and the other is one month old) up on Reverbnation and they are also on the home page of my website at

I'm so enthused about these songs.  "Whenever" is a love song and it practically wrote itself one morning while I was sitting at the piano and hadn't started playing anything.  Line by line and chord by chord, the song and lyrics took form.  It is an inspired song and one I'm very proud to be the conduit for.  I'll look up my Reverbnation link and type it below.

The other song (which is the "elder" of the two) is called Fantastik.  It came into being via the medium-sized fan I run at night in my bedroom ... to keep the air moving and also to add some nice white noise.  (I also have a bedside machine that plays ocean waves and sea gulls).  Anyway, the whirring blades of the fan were, for almost two weeks, playing a three-note chord and various combinations of it, complete with a sometimes very noticeable tempo. I would drift off to sleep hearing it.  Soon, I was humming the tune. As the song took form, the lyrics ... if read out loud without music ... almost sounded like rap. But add the music and then the tempo, and it is a conversation between me and the fan, with the fan speaking the first block of lyric.  And so, I took a picture of the fan and want him to take a bow. This is a talented, reliable old fan, made of steel,  that came from Goodwill years ago.

This evening I made about a dozen copies of the the CD containing the two songs and designed a label for them.  Either of the links below should take you to the page.

Deny and Defy ...

That's what I did.

Some of my readers may recall that about a year ago, I wrote a blog post that (I thought) cleverly revealed that I had symptoms and test results indicating the probability of diabetes. The post was also, as I recall, a human interest item and it talked about the various types, ages, and circumstances of other people whose little dramas were observable to me that day. The post was up there for a while and then I went back in and edited it, changing the tone of it to something that danced around the topic like it was a "maybe, somewhat, someday possibility". I toned down the post considerably :) and, most importantly, it didn't scare me to read it after I'd changed it.  Mind over matter !

Also, at the time I was convinced, and I think correctly so, that all the day-in and day-out back-breaking, emotional, and mind-bending work I'd been doing over a period of months to get this house ready to be lived in while also clearing out the former residence (about which I felt very sentimental) ... had run my health way down.   And so I figured that taking better care of myself (emphasis on vitamins, gym, meditation) would enable me to spring back to my former vital self. Well, those items did help for sure and maybe could have been enough.  But -- during the past year or so there were two huge, no ... super huge situations that affected and exacerbated my weakened self.  Both were family-related. Jerry's hip and lymph edema (leg and foot) got much more severe and he now has very limited mobility. The other situation is associated with a family member who is dealing with severe and costly health, substance, and emotional problems and, who has, a number of times, returned to and then stormed out of my life. These took a toll but taught me to truly look at the process of understanding the "suchness" (a Buddhist term) meaning the true nature of a situation, thing, or person ... so if we truly understand the suchness of a particular person, it is easier for us to hold onto our inner peace.  I realize that some doors just need to close.

But now, I want to try and get to the reason I've entitled this post Deny and Defy.  A year ago, I really didn't want to  have diabetes  and so to deny its existence made me feel more comfortable.  The concept  goes back to the way I always dodge what I'll call "victimship".  I don't like to admit it when I'm injured or hurt.  As a child, I was a bit smaller and usually younger than my cousins and the neighborhood kids, so I got bullied quite a bit.  I would never cry.  My mother was like this, too.  One of her sayings was "keep a stiff upper lip" (don't let them see you cry) while she did her best to protect me.  She came from a large family  with several older siblings, so she had developed her set of skills to deal with things. When eight years ago I got injured in the church shooting, I drove myself home in trauma and major pain rather than getting into an ambulance.  I didn't want to be a victim, especially of that hate-filled bully man. Three months later, I went for a CT scan and, although the pellets are clearly there (passed into and across my forehead and settled in scar tissue in my right sinus cavity), my situation was viewed with a great deal of skepticism by many people and I was left to recover on my own until the reality of divine help and healing dramatically and clearly came to my aid (and remains with me).  

Well, fast-forward to current times ... during recent sustained stress, my left hip stopped responding to chiropractic care and got very painful.  Also a factor during the past year, I ate more deserts than ever before in my life (defy); yes, I was definitely proving the diabetes wasn't there.  But I got really sick.  So last week I dragged myself to the doctor where my tests revealed fully-developed diabetes and a thyroid deficiency (and a vitamin D deficiency). So I'm now on meds and extra vitamin D...and feeling a lot better.  I've researched the possibility of self-stem cell injections in my hip, which could enable it to build new, denser bone tissue but may not need that if my current improvement continues. The diabetes med has dramatically helped my hip pain as well as my general well-being.  So my hip is happy!  I really like having happy body parts :)

It seems like there ought to be a moral to this hodgepodge story. It probably would be "don't try to be superwoman" or "superman" and "don't keep a stiff upper lip". If a red flag is there, don't deny and definitely don't defy. When you're hurting or scared, tell someone whom you trust. Another line I'll add here just for the sake of levity and because I think it's one of those wonderful old show-biz lines is "always leave them laughing" :)  Well, OK, maybe not laughing, but definitely smiling!  Let's smile and be grateful for life  :)  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Two Anniversaries Approach ...

The first of these anniversaries is Dixie Lee's upcoming 13th birthday -- a celebratory occasion -- which will be on August 1st if she is able to stay the course for the next four weeks.  For a dog her large size (Rhodesian Ridgeback), 13 is very old. She has been at varying degrees of deafness for the past couple of years (sometimes her hearing briefly seems to partially return); she has cataracts that are quite progressed; she has small bumpy growths on various body parts that her vet and I are reluctant to tamper with because giving her anesthesia at this stage of her life would be risky.  I know that sounds perversely comical as she could slip away at any moment during a nap. 

She sleeps a lot; she loves to eat; she has maintained the utmost ladylike hygiene.  Always an "aloof" dog (her breed description very accurately uses the word "aloof"), she has never been aggressive ... until now.  I think she has become fearful.  When people come to the house now, I need to put her in my/her bedroom where she remains quiet and content.

The other anniversary that I will privately observe, is the upcoming 7th anniversary of the church shooting at TVUUC.  At five years, the church (perhaps rightfully) decided that there would be no future observances.  For me, there is so much that permanently affected me -- emotionally of course. And physically -- the residuals are rather constant reminders.  Most importantly, spiritually ... in the months and years that followed the event, a part of me awakened and helps me live my life, has helped open the door for beauty and appreciation and gratitude.

So the day is one that is meaningful for me.  Last year on the sixth anniversary, I walked in my favorite local park where there are lots of trees. Trees, I find, are so able and willing to absorb human sorrows and to reflect human joys ... and to offer strengthening energies.  My walk was one of meditation and gratitude; then I visited with my dear friend and we talked of gentle and beautiful things and had tea.

Music, Of Course!

These days I'm putting the finishing touches and practice on my two very recently-composed songs.  One is the "fan" song I think I mentioned in an earlier post.  It's 99% ready now to record.  The second song I'm still finding just the right title for.  The song irresistibly flew into my head one morning two or three weeks ago when I sat down at the piano with absolutely nothing in mind. The lyrics, the melody, the chords, came almost effortlessly.  I'm mesmerized by it :)

It is a love song, but unlike any other love song I've written.  It takes me to a beautiful place and, to me, feels almost cosmic.  I'll be recording it, along with Fan-tas-tik,  next week!

HEY, HAY ...

I'm hearing from horse rescue organizations that hay prices are higher than ever and not just because of the drought.  I have a letter here in front of me that tells us that "the sky is the limit" on hay prices because China is buying up U.S. hay ... AND that China is shipping the hay back in their own ships, as they return (home) from delivering to the U.S. all the goods Americans are buying from China.  The letter also says that over the years, hay prices have gone up and down depending on weather, but the current situation is beyond "anything ever experienced".  Also, the letter mentions some dairies that are killing off their livestock and cashing it in because they can't afford to feed their cows anymore.  Of course, this leaves horse rescuing organizations and the horses already in their care in a precarious place -- that of no hay to eat because it is scarce and very, very expensive.

Someone, please tell me how this horrific trade situation (U.S. and China) has evolved to this extent.  Honestly, we in the U.S. (as a nation and as a people) have been kept so busy with a a glut of inane celebrity gossipy "news" -- while almost being pushed into taking divisive political sides regarding issues such as gun control, the ill-conceived crazy war on drugs, racism, police brutality, foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism, the struggle for gay rights, reproductive rights, government invasion of citizens' personal records, along with the myriad of issues that scream of inequities and wrongdoings and corruption connected with the wealth of our country being concentrated in the hands of a small, powerful percentage of our population ... that I guess I have answered my own question.  The country's vital import and export policies and what's actually going on, though very visible in stores and catalogs, just aren't able to compete in terms of newsworthiness.  Also and sadly, many of us have become conditioned to imported (even inferior) goods as the new normal way of life.  I hope someone in our government can and will take the personal risks necessary to initiate a policy that "encourages" U.S. corporations to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. and put some controls on our exports (such as hay) as well.   Bottom Line:  Where I'm going with this is that a giant news item about hay isn't likely to make the scene, so it remains unspoken news.  But hey, hay is extremely important!

To anyone wanting to donate hay money to horse rescue organizations that have near-empty hay barns and hundreds of horses (who have been rescued from the most horrendous of conditions) to be fed,  you might want to contact Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue at;, Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, 661-727-0049; or Southern Winds Equine Rescue at 316-830-0013;