+PATCHWORK QUILT OF THOUGHTS

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Thursday, August 29, 2013.  FOCUS.  Without being able to find my focus right now I am watching myself acting like I have its opposite:  Attention deficit.  I can still concentrate on my sewing most of the time but on little else.  I begin to do something moving related and find myself off on another task and then another one without completing much of anything.

All 6 of us kids (myself and my 5 siblings) seem to have what might be a genetic trait of extreme ability to focus.  (Signs of this are in my two grandsons, as well.)  Did this ability come to the six of us kids in consequence of surviving a childhood in hell with an out-of-control abuse psychotic Borderline Personality Disorder mother and her ineffectual husband?  Were we born this way?

I have never until now so clearly seen that the opposite of focus is certainly within me.  I am most uncomfortable this way – but this way I at least temporarily AM.  All of this is coupled with extremes of restlessness, although THIS I am familiar with in my life.  Now that I am moving perhaps my restlessness has come out of dormancy and is taking its place among the host of “Who is this person?” characteristics that seem to be hounding me right now.

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My garden has always soothed and solaced me.  The opposite of that is happening, as well.  I grieve leaving it and fear for all life it contains and supports.  Efforts so far to locate someone to rent here that will truly care about and for this garden have not been successful.  Now even my garden friend is a source of concern, stress and distress for me.  I cannot care for it, connect with it or interact with it as I have these past 7 years.

I am fading away as a part of that small ecosystem that is a part of all life on this planet.  My attachment relationship with my garden is failing me.

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Quilts start with pieces.  Never in the years I have had this blog have I not been able to write.  Never have I had to take the time to collect in handwriting a collection of my thoughts before writing a post.  Like the bags I am sewing — cutting pieces to create a whole other whole — something useful — hopefully appealing to people so they buy those bags (I need moving money) — all of my thoughts are in bits as pieces themselves.

I am planning to step out of my discomfort zone this coming Saturday — my 62nd birthday — to take these bags to our local farmers’ market to see if some of them will sell.

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Dissociation.  It came up this week in conversation with a friend this week that taking public speaking classes can be unsurpassingly difficult.  I was reminded of myself at 17.  Our family moved into Anchorage my senior year.  I was forced to attend a large school full of strangers. 

We were required to take a speech class to graduate.  I received a D+ on my first speech.  I quickly learned what the teacher wanted and that is exactly what I gave her.  Shy, abused, timid, terrified me in front of a class of 30+ students out performed them all.

Of the 400 students that teacher had this year only four As were given for the year.  I received one of those As.  My teacher highly complimented me.  ME? 

I simply dissociated myself from myself and created a different version of me while I put away the other real me — somewhere else where I couldn’t be bothered by her bothering me.

I lived my entire adult life like that as long as I had one of my children (I have 3) under the age of 18 and needing my care.  I gave 100%+ to being a mother just as I had to being a speaker.

But those pieces of me!!  They used to be bigger dissociated pieces.  Now they seem to be so much smaller and the dissociation happens so much more often.  These fragments only clumsily seem to fit together.  But not really.  They only do so because I am the one person in this one body having all these experiences.

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Of course strangers traipsing around my garden and house have no idea of my current struggles as they respond to the poster I put up about a garden for rent with a two bedroom house.  (I went into town yesterday and found that some jerk has been removing my posters.)  Nor would I want a stranger to have a clue about me personally, although this very messy house here is a sign of some distress — if anyone could tell that — which I know they cannot.

I cannot pack more than one small box before my anxiety sends me off to do something else somewhere.  Anywhere.  I certainly do not care about decor or dusting.  I just have to go through and get through all of this happening right now — on so many levels.

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I just finished sewing the most difficult bag I have created yet.  In a large part it is because I sewed together such vastly different kinds of fabrics which all acted so differently as if they did not want to be sewn together.  (Oh no!  Fabric bias!)

One was corduroy, one a faux suede and one was a thin rayon.  The bag was sewn with strong quilting thread on the machine.  All fall colors.  Very sturdy.  This bag will last a long time.

There is great satisfaction for me when I make things knowing they are all one-of-a-kind originals.  Never has there been one like it.  Never will there be another one like it.

It is the artist and the art therapist in me that created my adobe peace garden (link is on a tab at top of this page to pictures of it) and sews my way through the ending of a 14-year stage of my life.  Dirt and mud and seeds — or — repurposed fabric and thread.  Makes little difference to me in the end.  It is the living process of creating that fascinates, captivates and heals me.

Life is such a quilt!

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Thank you for caring enough to read this.  I have nothing fluent or gracious to say.  I have made a decision to radically change my life.  Making that happen has some anguish involved.

I think about myself as an abused child escaping Mother occasionally.  I had to disappear into some invisible nook of silence.  I often made wallets and purses out of cut and folded paper.  I became a kind of wizard in my lonely play.

It is these same hands that sews these bags now.  And in their final creation stages they are turned completely inside-out.  It strikes me as a kind of birthing each time a bag reaches that point of unfolding its desired and desirable form.  All rough seams disappear to be sealed away inside the bag and lining never to be seen again.  Only something lovely remains.

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I slide toward the small hole of a very large funnel.  I am being pared down in my old life to take the final steps into being born into a new and vastly different one 1,800 miles northeast of here.

There is a very large part of me that is a mother.  I am moving toward my children — and my two little grandsons — with every passing nanosecond.

Many parts of who I am are “organized” (sewn together) that have to do with those attachment relationships I am missing here.  I need that vitality.  I need and want this change which may end up feeling just that much more important to me because it’s taking some genuine struggle and sacrifice to get there.

I will endure this fire.  I will emerge from ashes.  At this instant I see that I believe in myself.  I believe in the future.  I will do what it takes to help make it a good one.  I will.

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+WHAT GOES ON FOR PRESCHOOLERS – AND WHAT A LOT OF US MISSED! (attachment)

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013.  i highly recommend an online search for — “Dr. Gordon Neufeld – attachment” — to locate information on the author of the talk on preschooler attachment that the following text comes from.  There are excellent videos that appear with this search, as well.

Here is a place to start: 

Transformative Parenting and Dr. Gordon Neufeld

Many thanks to my friend Sandy who is transcribing the words  of Neufeld’s preschooler talks for us!  The following is presented here for information only – the purchase link is here: 

This is the first part of Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s Making Sense of Preschoolers talk:

The Making Sense of Preschoolers is the third item down at this link for purchase:

http://neufeldinstitute.com/products/dvds

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Preschooler Personality Profile

1.         A PURITY of emotion and an innocent belief in MAGIC.

2.         CERTAINTY in their thinking, no room for shades of grey.

3.         IMPULSIVE and given to displaced ‘return of the pendulum’ swings.

4.         SHORTSIGHTED – unable to make sacrifices towards a goal.

5.         UNRELIABLE – know better than they behave and their good intentions are easily eclipsed by the impulse of the moment. (they often have no clue why they do what they do)

6.         TERRIBLE at PROBLEM SOLVING – unable to take more than one factor into consideration at a time.

What’s missing and why

Preschoolers cannot do dissonance. They register only one feeling or impulse at a time. All conflicting impulses and thoughts are momentarily eclipsed.

WHY?

This is Nature’s way, making it as easy as possible for youngsters to find their dominant feeling by removing any confusing elements or complicating signals.

(eyesight analogy goes here)

As soon as both feelings are present, you have a fundamentally different psychology and person…

We would never get to both of our cerebral hemispheres operating at the same time if we didn’t start off with one at at time.

We will never get to being able to experience all of our emotions simultaneously and to have self-control, and have integrative functioning, and to be well-tempered, as a husband, a wife, an adult, unless we went through this phase and were able to experience one emotion at a time…

so rather than fighting it and trying to get them to hurry up, the problem is, if we try to get them to hurry up, we’re actually sabotaging that time (development). We’re busy trying to make little adults out of  preschoolers. We’re busy trying to figure out how to make them like us, and that is not Nature’s plan. Nature’s plan is that they need to be preschoolers, we need to be adults, and we need to allow them to have that time.

Nature’s solution to being untempered

ADDING the tempering elements by 5 – 7 years of age.

–   once a child can easily find his or her dominant feeling

–           this takes longer with sensitive and intense children, because their feelings are bigger and there are more incoming signals to complicate things

–           children who do not feel their emotions or do not practice their mixed feelings will not develop this capacity

We’re giving rise to very sensitive and intense children, for a number of reasons. Probably there is a genetic drift towards sensitivity that is happening in our society, but also because one of the primary results of any kind of birth trauma is hypersensitivity. And our children are surviving birth like never before; premature babies, etc. And so we’re giving rise to probably the most sensitive preschoolers that ever walked this Earth.

And this means that their feelings are highly affected and are very intense, and it’s pushing the time of transformation further and further back, so that for many intense children doesn’t actually happen until 8 or 9 years of age.

This means they’re fundamentally different from us, and this has HUGE implications for how we’re dealing with them. We’re trying to get them to be nice, and to get along…we’re trying to get them to have self-control; in some cases we’re trying to teach all kinds of reflective and meditative exercises to children who are just 4 or 5 years of age, and we’re getting this all wrong…

Because we have to find a way to work around this, we need to find a way of being able to include preschoolers in our society [as they are, not as we would have them be!].

This is Nature’s solution. But children who do not feel their emotions, who do not practice their mixed-feelings, will not fully develop this capacity.

If a child starts losing his feelings – and many, because of the wounding environment they’re in, and because of their precocious sensitivity, begin to start losing their feelings by 3 or 4 years of age…so we have many children who no longer say “I’m scared.” Children who are losing these feelings. And they are not developing their prefrontal cortex, which is the mixing-bowl of  the brain.

This is where the solution [adaptation & maturation] occurs. What is it that as humans have – that is, mature humans have – that preschoolers do not have? A functional prefrontal cortex.

What is it that humans have that no other mammals have? A functional prefrontal cortex. [I suspect elephants have this]

But the prefrontal cortex isn’t even wired up, the blood isn’t even going to the prefrontal cortex until 5 – 7 years of age. Just like with the eyes, there’s two shunts coming from the Limbic System, the emotional brain…and just like it is with the eyes, it’s only feeding one set of signals – one emotion – at a time. There may be other emotions there, sitting in the Amygdala, but only one emotion is fed to the prefrontal cortex.

So you have a child that’s only operating out of one (emotion). The child may be very afraid, but very frustrated – alarmed, frustrated, and insecure – but you only see one thing.

He’ll either be in pursuit, or he’ll be moved to caution, or that frustration will be there as aggression – but only one thing at a time.

This [the mixing bowl of maturation] is what needs to be exercised. This is the key to our being able to relate to each other in a civilized way.

What our preschoolers need from us

to COMPENSATE for what is missing in them.

–           to assume responsibility for keeping them out of trouble and for not pushing their buttons needlessly.

We’re all to frequently pushing preschoolers’ buttons. If we scare them we get alarm out of them.

If they face separation, we get pursuit out of them. But wait – we’re also getting frustration and alarm – but that doesn’t come until bedtime, when now they can’t sleep.

We’re pushing their buttons to try to get different behavior. But this doesn’t mean that their behavior is changing; it simply means that we’re playing them, emotionally, and that we ought not to be doing that…

–           to refrain from approaches that work because of substituting one emotion for another in the untempered child, as these set the stage for a return swing of the pendulum reactions (eg, ‘consequences’ and ‘time-outs’)

Consequences are a typical example of this. When we use consequences we’re typically using what a child cares about against them. So when we threaten separation from something they care about, we’re pushing a child’s face into separation. And when we push a child’s face into separation, the first emotion you always get is pursuit.

If you have a preschooler and you need to leave, and you give them the warning: “I’m leaving in 5 minutes” and it doesn’t work, so you say “It’s time to go,” and the preschooler is saying: “I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go!”

And so you say, “All right then,  bye bye, see you…” and you walk out of their sight, what you do is trigger off in them high pursuit, because preschoolers can’t do separation.

And so they say, “All right mommy! I’m coming, I’m coming!” And so they come. But what we don’t realize is how impactful it was for the child. We see the pursuit, and so they move towards us –  when we use what they care about [connection] against them, their behavior is to pursue whatever it is that we’re taking away [in this case, connection with us], their behavior is to pursue whatever it is that we’re taking away: “I’ll be good! I’ll be good!”

But what we don’t see is that we’ve triggered other emotions. And the other emotions will include frustration, because something didn’t work for them, and so we’re going to get aggression a little bit later out of the system – and we’ve also triggered alarm…because whenever they’re facing separation they get a little bit scared.

And so now we’ve got problems going into nighttime, at bedtime, in terms of insecurity…and we don’t see that.

So we’re doing things that are very immediate, and pushing their buttons, and we’re not realizing: these are emotional creatures. They have no ability within them to say “on the one hand, and then the other…”

They can’t get it that if you’re frustrated with them, you also love them. You can tell them that until you’re blue in the face – they can’t get it.

They’re not going to get it until 6 or 7 years of age (if they’re lucky), or even 9 years of age. They’re not going to get it because they CAN’T – it doesn’t matter how well you say it. So we need to…

to SET the STAGE for Nature’s ultimate resolution

–           to help them find ALL their feelings and impulses so that Nature has the raw material to work with.

The ultimate resolution is for their feelings to mix; for the prefrontal cortex to work. This is the main difference between them and us: and it’s a biological difference, and it makes a different creature out of them. They simply do not have brain that we have. They simply do not have the capacity to handle the world the way we can.

They are one at a time creatures, and we need to go with them. We need to help them find all their feelings: “Right now you feel this way, right now you want this…” We have to make room for all of their feelings. We have to make room for them to name their feelings, because until they name them, they can’t mix them…

You need to come alongside of them, and move into their feelings [and help them name them]: “Right now you didn’t like my bossy voice…”

It doesn’t mean that you need to indulge all of their feelings, it doesn’t mean that there’s no room for structure or order in their life.

What it does mean is that we have to cut them some slack emotionally.

They only experience ONE feeling at a time; the answer to most of life’s situation is to have two or three feelings simultaneously.

They can only consider one factor at a time. They do not do ‘cognitive dissonance’ –  they cannot disagree with themselves. And the answer, of course, is to be able to do more.

We need a LOT of patience to work around their deficits. They need to start where they are to get to where they need to go.

Discipline is NOT the answer to untempered nature: ‘consequences’ and ‘time-outs’ ONLY work because they push buttons; and when they push buttons, they cycle…

That’s why they never work over the long-run, why you have to start using them a lot – ‘1, 2, 3 Magic’ is just just another way of putting their face into separation. Because the greatest fear of any preschooler is separation.

So when you say: “1, 2, 3… what they fantasize next is some form of separation. It’s the same as saying “Bye, bye then – I’m disappearing…”

Or, all the other ways we do it: “No, you’re going to have to go to your room; I’m going to withdraw the invitation to exist in my presence…”

We push buttons [with those strategies]. We don’t change behavior. Or, we change behavior only because we push buttons; and it doesn’t last.

[Behavior] is not the issue: it’s the character that needs to be changed.

[And because they simply don’t have the prefrontal cortex that is required to do the problem solving with, we’ve simply made things worse for them and us.]

You will know adults with an untempered prefrontal cortex. They’re impulsive and untempered in experience and expression, and that is because they did not grow out of this stage.

In our next sessions we’re going to look at what is required to grow out of this. We’ll be looking at what we call the requisite needs, the irreducible needs of the preschooler to grow out of this period.

But in this session we want to know the character [of preschoolers] and understand them from inside out. And so our next session is also related to the prefrontal cortex…

–           to refrain from cut-it-out approaches as this will sabotage Nature’s ultimate solution

You’ll notice that Nature’s solution to their emotions

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The Making Sense of Preschoolers is the third item down at this link

http://neufeldinstitute.com/products/dvds

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Please click here to read or to Leave a Comment »

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+SEWING AND FIDDLING – BEING ALIVE IN MY LIFE

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013.  I certainly have turned into a fierce sewer!  I have completed nine more of my cloth bags since the post full of photographs of my first batch.  I have started another one at 2 in the morning.  I slept four hours, woke and cannot sleep again.

I realized that in the difficulties of removing myself from my life down here in the gorgeous high desert so that I can start another life 1800 miles north of here I am actually undergoing a significant amputation – of important parts of myself from myself.  Destiny demands of me that this happens.  I will never look back at this move and say it was easy.  For the hundreds of moves (I could probably count that many) in my lifetime this is by FAR the most difficult one.

I had the “fiddling while Rome burns” verbal image appear to me a few days ago as I sewed and sewed.  I am sewing while my life as I know it burns to ashes around me.  Since childhood I have thought that fiddling (or sewing) one’s way through tumultuous and destructive conditions was a sign of negligence and unfeeling uncaring – but I know differently now.  I care TOO MUCH!  Sewing is my meditation, my therapy – while the universe flings itself around – it seems – me at its emotional center.

Most untrue, of course.  But given the intensity of this experience how could I FEEL any other way being, as I am,  stone cold sober, unmedicated, very much alive and in the full experience of the inner and outer expression of the passion of being alive in my life?

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Tick.  Tock.  The pomegranates are ripening.  That is my chosen departure time.  “Moon of the pomegranate harvest.”  I am hoping the 2nd week of October is exactly that time because that is what the target time for leaving here is.  Meanwhile, I created a handwritten poster – bright yellow – and put it up in choice locations around town last week for the rental of the garden here – with house.

I put my email on there – I hate being interrupted by telephones.  So far – a complete irritating FLOP with the people who have responded!!  i will avoid all the negative I could say about my experience of wasting time giving a tour of this place to idiots and just report that a couple who seems perhaps hopeful for being gardeners is due to show up here 11 am in the morning – today.  At least the woman obviously LOVES EARTHWORMS!  My kind of gardener!

There needs to be a changing of the guard here on this property.  Someone needs to show up who understands that between earth and sky humans are equipped to be caretakers and caregivers of the earth wherever they live.  This place has a history of being loved and tended and I need that history to move on into the future through somebody else.  (see: LINDA’S ADOBE PEACE GARDEN)

I am looking for someone to rent this place who knows what it means to have a RELATIONSHIP with the land — THIS little piece of land.

I must be excited at the possibility of this couple being the right one – enough so that sleep is no longer an option for tonight.  So, back to sewing I go!!

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+DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER (DID) – WITHOUT THE IDENTITIES

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Thursday, August 15, 2013.  This post follows my previous post:

+BLANK MIND – THOUGHTS WITHOUT WORDS – A HARD WAY TO GATHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Certainly what I described from my experience with extreme anxiety today leaves me wondering if I AM actually fighting for my life at those times words have no meaning to me and I cannot think in words.  Am I disappearing as a person as that state takes over me?  Is this experience at the core of having the diagnosis the title to this post describes?

When I applied for my social security disability after my cancer and its treatment I was sent to one of the government’s “shrinks” for assessment.  He and I discussed this, and I was assured unequivocably that it is possible to have DID without having separate identities.  I actually joked with the woman whose help I received today and so desperately needed that I was not even lucky enough to get separate identities along with my dissociation!  She complimented me on my sense of humor.

Only, truly — none of this is one bit funny.

Because of the intense and difficult work I have done to create the 10 book manuscripts that are currently awaiting edit I have come to understand my mother’s mental illness as it harmed me.

It was a unique aspect of her particular Borderline Pesonality Disorder (BPD) psychosis that not only was I the “all bad” child – a projective dysfunction not uncommon to BPD people who severely abuse one of their children and not the others – but in Mother’s case her psychosis did not even let her understand that I was a human being.

I was not “a human child” to her.  I was the devil’s child (not human) sent to kill her while I was being born.

Mother’s special psychosis demanded that I remain entirely within her personal hell in place of herself.

I could not get out.  I could not escape.  This is why I could never play.  This is why she forced me into severe and lengthy solitary confinements as she kept me as much as she could exactly where she knew not only where I was – but what I was doing – which was exactly NOTHING except suffering as her proxy self in hell.

I could not HAVE an identity.  Any time some tiny bit of Linda escaped and became visible to her I was horrendously abused.

This all began when I was born.

Tiny newborn Linda could not BE a human baby.  Neither could Linda be a human being with any identity during the 18 years I was so abused.  I learned to exist and to continue to exist this way.  The only other choice would have been death and I did not choose to die.  I chose to live.   And live.  And live.

I have one horrendous history of abuse that is – I really believe – beyond the range of what “ordinary” people can begin to conceive of no matter how kind they are, no matter how much they try to understand or try to convince me they do understand.

That social security shrink did understand.  But nobody helps me access the kind of quality therapy I could perhaps make some use of although I know perfectly well that the worst of the trauma I endured built itself and my physiological reactions to it permanently into my body.

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I am going to a local doctor on Monday.  Today’s anxiety experiences gave me more information I can use as I try to convey to this doctor my “condition” and what I want:  some kind of anti-anxiety medication that will assist me with two critically important things I need to do ASAP:  (1) stop smoking, and (2) get through this relocation and resettlement.

If I don’t feel this doctor comprehends what I tell him I will stop him mid-sentence (whether I am understanding his actual words or not) and request that he refer me to a shrink who will understand and help me.  I cannot wait forever for that appointment.  I need that help now.

I take no prescription medication for any of my difficulties.  I know myself and I know that my trauma-altered physiological changes from those 18 years of horrendous abuse and torture from birth are too complicated for any medication to “fix.”  I am very clear about what I need right now, want right now and am asking for.  Once I am through this tunnel of changes I will stop taking whatever I am prescribed.

Will this tact work?  Beta-blockers are sometimes used off-label to treat PTSD.  I have PTSD.  Will a regular doctor be able to admit if he does not know how to respond to my requests?  If not, I will have to catch him in the act of doing what doctors often do not like to admit – admit their ignorance on a subject.

After all, I was not born yesterday even though there are certainly anxiety-filled days within which I feel that way.

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I hate it when I disappear to myself and as I think back about my experiences today that is what happened to me.  No language = no identity.  I could not think and I could not respond – and it was hell.

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Please click here to read or to Leave a Comment »

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+BLANK MIND – THOUGHTS WITHOUT WORDS – A HARD WAY TO GATHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

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Thursday, August 15, 2013.  As far as I am concerned I am not an ordinary person.  I have found that if a person is not super-rich or famous in some way on some level other ordinary people are not prepared through their socialization history to process the information that would let them know every other person around them who they come into contact with might not be – well – ordinary like people evidently like to recognize themselves (and others) as being.

That seems a kind of oxymoron to me or perhaps even a paradox.  In a culture that seems to pride its national-self on being one-of-a-kind, uniquely as different as they are “independent,” and somehow unlike one another in their originality, at the same time our strangled sense of uniqueness does not allow us to be “so much” like someone else.  How can we have it both ways?  How can we be “alike” at the same time we wish to consider ourselves so uniquely special?

How does that work in our cultural mind that we can be uniquely and independently the same – at the same time we view ourselves as being identically EQUAL?

Equality does not mean the same!  Do we understand this fact?

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I ponder these questions after having spent several extremely distressful hours today tracking down some very important information that I need to know before I move from one state to another.  I need to know how my $104 per month medicare premium is being paid, by whom, and if “someone” will pay it once I leave Arizona and move to North Dakota.  I need to know if this change process is automatic or if it is something I will have to stimulate – and if I do need to “do something” exactly what do I do – where – with whom – to make this changeover happen (assuming it is possible).

I telephoned an agency on Monday that as far as I could tell has something to do with how my $104 is being paid currently.  Of course I am very grateful that there is some program somewhere that somehow pays it now.  But once I move?  I left a polite and detailed telephone message with “the right person” on Monday requesting a return call — which of course I never received.

Fortunately I live in a small enough town’s area that it was possible to drive hither and yon today trying to track down the woman I left that message with.  Offices have moved and splintered.  She was certainly not sitting at her big desk where I anticipated finding her.  But i DID find her.

I so needed the information I – well – needed from her that I did not bring up the point that insult was added to extreme anxiety disorder insult (to my body, nervous system, emotions and brain) by her neglect in doing the right professional thing in returning my call and saving me this ridiculous tale-chasing.  When I found her she did not look particularly busy.  Of course she assured me she was “just in the next moment” going to pick up the receiver of her office telephone and call me.

Right.

As time went by I discovered that this woman was at least very patient, very kind and very eager to help me solve my problem.  She did not at first know the answers to my questions but she figured it out.  I am grateful.

The rest of what happened was in no way her fault.  Was it the fault of my psychotic abusive Borderline Personality Disordered mother who hated and severely traumatized me from the moment I was born?  Was it the fault of her terrible disease?  Was it the fault of people who did not see what she was doing to me and the harm she caused?  It certainly is not MY fault that the longer I sat there listening to this woman try to explain to me the convoluted process that are required to change all that relates to my disability payments and to my insurance by stress shifted to extreme distress – to terror at “threat to life” and to sheer panic that I could not regulate or down-regulate or re-regulate.

I could not understand language.  Words fled until either nothing but sheer force of emotional distress overcame me – or a deadly inner silence within which not one thought in words could come in or go out of my mouth — or stay in my mind in the middle.

My stomach churned and then it ached and then the pain in my gut took nearly all of my attention as I became dizzy and nauseous.  What fun!  When did I approach the threshold of panic?

A long long LONG time ago.  As I sat there my body remembered that infant terror and panic and would not let me forget.  It didn’t matter that my actual life was not under any threat at all.  It mattered that my “anxiety disorder” chooses its own time and place for taking over the helm of my life.  I am my body’s captive.  It is the captain of my life – any time when something of dire importance demands my mental acuity.  Acuity?  That is a stretch of the word!

There are many “adult” technicalities to moving that nobody can take care of but me.  I need an advocate!  I need another mind, a calm hearted person to be there with and for me as I try to wend my way through the complexities – as they seem to me – of moving myself from here to 1,800 miles away there.  This is why I gave myself 2 1/2 months to get through this move.  I need time to come home to my place of safety, quiet and sanctuary to calm down and regroup — before I have to tackle some other small part of this moving process.

I am forever grateful, as I have written about on the blog several times, that the worst of my anxiety difficulties did not appear until after the cancer battle I fought 5 1/2 years ago.  But I often think that if I had known what that stress and those drugs were going to do to me in the long run I would never have fought that cancer — to end up — what?

I cannot process information in verbal form in ordinary ways.  My mother’s screaming, raging, violent and violating abuse began against me long long before verbal language had become a part of my reality.  Her abuse interfered with and interrupted all normal, natural, ordinary language gaining processes an infant is supposed to go through.  Sound and words are separated in my brain.  If I am under stress/duress and anxiety ensues I cannot hear or understand words that are being spoken to me.  My mind goes – yes – blank.  At those times my own body seems to be my enemy, not my protector.

I am challenging myself with this move probably past what is reasonable.  It is necessary for me in my life to not be here anymore past mid-October – because I need to be THERE 1.800 miles away where my daughters and my grandbabies are.  I know I am tough.  I know I am able to marshal great determination to succeed over great odds.  I also know that I am no longer able to ignore what I must have ignored all of my adulthood until the cancer found me.

I must think without words.  Ordinary people are not accustomed to being in communication with a person like me.  This is not easy!

If I were to stay here I would die of isolation, loneliness and boredom.  I know I won’t die through making myself go through what has to happen to make this move happen.  I know what lies ahead of me at the other end of this process will be very good for me.  Meanwhile – if I can’t think in words when I need to – I will just have to suffer through that.  Notes are written – folders are filled with facts – and sooner or later this information will find its way into my life changes – with or without me.  I WILL find people who care enough to help me.  I will.

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+”THE PERCUSSION PEOPLE”

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Monday, August 12, 2013.  I woke this morning from a clear and wonderful dream that I know was inspired by a combination of inputs.  One came from pictures a dear blogging friend sent me yesterday of her flat in Africa that showed a low table between the couch and chairs of her light-filled spacious room.  Another came for the 25 years I was blessed to spend among Native Americans in the northern area of the United States and southern Canada and the sacred living heartbeats of their drums. 

Another most important inspiration comes from my own soul who knows clearly I have loved rhythm from the time I was 10 years old and was able to experience the most amazing classroom event of my childhood school career.  As I prepare to move to an entirely different culture I am keeping myself upright through the stress of all this change by letting myself think as I work on my sewing projects about what would make me happy!

Drumming would make me happy.  Percussion fun among all kinds of people of all ages done without ego, drugs, alcohol or ill-will would make me happy.

In my dream I was around a collection of young men ages, I suppose, 13-22.  They were experts at rhythm.  When they took a pause from their “play” I tipped their main instrument that seemed to be created out of a form very similar to the low table in the pictures my friend sent to me.  Most any kind of long coffee table would probably due – especially the kind with the spaces cut out for large plate glass sections.  The open space in this instrument was covered by some kind of a resonating material.

I could stand and tip this instrument against my body lengthwise, or sit and play it as it sat on the ground.  Funny thing was I was having such a good time playing fantastic beats that I broke the darn thing!  Uh-Oh!  I awoke knowing I had a lot to share toward improving the percussion experience of LOTS of different people – which would include the improvement (and creation) of the instruments used to play upon.

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I tried to find a group to play percussion with here in the area where I currently live and was extremely disappointed to find the 3 things present in the gathering of 20 adults that I must drum without:  Ego, drugs and booze.  This disappointment is definitely one of the important reasons to leave here – to search for my musical percussion flock elsewhere.

Yet I also worry that given the very low state of my financial situation that I will end up living in an apartment within which drumming silently – well – isn’t going to be possible!

My thoughts as I sew lead me to think about possible options to find community people – of all ages – and a gathering spot where we can play our hearts and souls out and be welcomed while doing so.

I did a quick online search this morning for “make percussion instruments” and the possibilities are endless!  It fascinated me!  Over the past months of listening to internet radio (Pandora and now Jango) I have a collection of hundreds of appropriate drum-along song titles that I can use to pull up songs on YouTube to drum with.  I have had in mind a “learning” group that can play together without the added weight of an ego-driven lead drummer.  This will be an independent group free of any direction that takes us down a road I personally do not choose to go.

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The summer I was 12 my grandmother came to visit us on our Alaskan homestead.  She received her master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in career counseling in 1918.  Testing for vocational placement and for academic rankings along with tutoring and career counseling formed her business that she practiced for over 40 years.  On this summer she administered to me and to my older brother the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory.  Some months later she sent the very detailed typed report she so sweetly and seriously created for me.

Of course my mother used everything about this intersection of interest by her mother with her hated daughter against me.  “So you think you are going to be a DOCTOR?  You are the stupidest child any mother could ever have!  You don’t even have a lick of common sense and would forget your head if it wasn’t screwed on!  So you think you are so smart!  You think you are smarter than the rest of us put together?

On an on her verbal abuse went (of course).  But I kept that report safe in the envelope it was sent to me in.  After working at it for 10 years I achieved my BA degree in psychology in 1980.  Afterwards (all before computers) I went to the college library and researched art therapy master’s programs around the nation and sent for corresponding catalogs.

Like my dimly remembered career direction report from my grandmother I stored all these catalogs in a box and hauled it through my moves until one New Year’s Eve eight years later a bell went off inside my soul.  Out from under my bed the box of art therapy information was dragged.  Sitting alone that night as a new year began I opened and read them one by one and made my decision.  Even though I was “a welfare mom” I was going to find a way to get that master’s degree.

I did.

It also fascinated me that after I had spent many months getting myself and my children moved from northern Minnesota to Albuquerque, New Mexico to begin my program of study I found and read my grandmother’s report.  In it she had put together what she had discovered about me at age 12 into the suggestion that I pursue a profession which in 1963 did not even exist in the United States yet.  Grandmother told me my best profession would be ART THERAPY!  This was a combination she found of my medical, scientific and artistic interests.

All these years later after I realized that my traumatic childhood has destroyed my own ability to practice my profession I have still paid the $100 per year fee to keep my Nationally Registered Art Therapist credentials intact.  It strikes me today that my drum-making, drum-playing ideas fall right along these lines.  There is hope I can do this!  Not for money – but for the soul of it.

I can PICTURE my future with the percussion and The Percussion People in it. 

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My thinking, my heart’s desires and my dream were all further confirmed by the automatic email I received today of the Baha’i Quote for the Day.  Today it read in part:

Exert your utmost endeavour that ye may develop such crafts and undertakings that everyone, whether young or old, may benefit therefrom.”  –

From – Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Author: Bahá’u’lláh, Source: US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988 pocket-size edition Pages: 269,  Excerpt from LAW-I-HIKMAT (Tablet of Wisdom)

How perfect! 

We can MAKE whatever instruments we want and need, we can play, practice and perform!  What possibilities!

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+GOOD FAMILY, BAD FAMILY

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Sunday, August 11, 2013.  As it is with all stories about families it is impossible to know where the story actually begins.  This is a second-hand story so my part in telling it began nine days ago when I was first introduced to this drama.  Today I returned to our local laundromat cafe to hear from a gentleman I will call John what happened next.

The central heroine of this story is a child who was born October 1980.  When she was a little girl she lived with her mother and her young father, but when she was 2 1/2 her parents separated.  She was taken to a town where she was still cared for by her paternal grandmother.  Her father moved nearby so he could be an active part of his dearly loved little girl’s life.

The week before she was to begin kindergarten she was supposed to be taken to her father’s house for the agreed upon switch in custody arrangements.  The girl never appeared.  In fact she disappeared and stayed that way until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago this girl was found on Facebook by her cousin.  Last Tuesday her father, her father’s son (ten years younger than his sister and THRILLED to meet her!) and his girlfriend and the girl’s 84-year-old grandmother drove a few hundred miles to see her.  Married for ten years with two sons ages 2 and 4, this girl was severely abused by her mother who married another man and changed her firstborn’s name so that nobody on her father’s side of the family could find her.  And until now – they didn’t.

What a sweet reunion!  Buried memories came surging forward for everyone involved.  A testimony to how much a very young child can “imprint” love, as the father calls it, detailed scenes and activities are appearing as if the passing 30+ years never happened.

The mother who stole her daughter from her father and her grandmother took a long dark, dark road.  She and her entire family has deliberately lied to the father’s family all of these years claiming that they had no idea where this girl was.  The mother had other children with her new husband and treated them entirely differently than she did this girl – who she severely abused out of resentment and hatred for her daughter’s father. 

The up-side is that this girl (woman now) had the umph and the smarts to disown her wicked mother ten years ago, as I mentioned in a previous post.  This is a miracle to me!

Now the coast is entirely clear for the reunification of this family who joyously and with much love met one another again last week after all these many years.  I am so happy for them!  This is probably the happiest turn-of-a-life story I have ever had the blessing to hear about.  It could not have happened to nicer people!

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This is my 1,500th post!

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+SOMETHING I DID FOR MYSELF – A RETAKE OF THE BAG PICTURES

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Sunday, August 11, 2013.   Well, this might be my most boring post ever!!  This is something I needed to do for myself, to see if I could improve the disappointing pictures of my “sewing therapy” projects.  I am struggling with many things right now and forcing myself to follow the impetus to try to do a better job on the pictures just seemed to be one small thing I could do to try to fight my way out of my low-down feeling state.

For all the postive things about living where I do that I am having to grieve as I prepare to move far away, the truth is my most important needs are not being met here.  Those needs are primarily about “attachment” to family, friends and to community.  Knowing all this does not make leaving my home, my garden and my animals behind any easier.  I am grieving.

So, here just for the heck of it are perhaps some clearer pictures of my sewing therapy projects.

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I am thinking about making a poster “garden for rent with house” to try to find a tenant for this place that will appreciate and care for – or at least keep alive – this garden.  It’s not really my problem as I don’t own this place – but…..  This is a long shot of part of the back yard but it is impossible to show this garden in 2D – impossible!

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There’s the adobe chicken coop I made a few years ago – and the softest bag of them all, complete with pockets.  To the left is a yellow Texas Bell – the plant is over 8 feet tall.  It is the first of its kind I planted in the garden and it thrives.  I tried to get 4 others going elsewhere in the garden and every single one of them died.  Why?  I have no idea but when people say, “Bloom where you are planted,” believe me there is usually more to the story.

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There.  At least here you can see the embroidered roses – and the pocket on the back.  There are small pink embroidered roses, also.

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The one that makes me smile and its reverse side.  Colors are very delicate.

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Pinstripe with pocket

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Well, there’s TOO MUCH light on this one and the delicate Indian embroidery on the front of this light tan back with blue lining with roses doesn’t show up.  Oh, well!

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A fun fabric!

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Hard to see the space aliens on this one – but they are there!

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And the patchworks – which is where this project series begain –

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This shows the wild looking pomegranate tree laden with fruit.  Part of my motivation to wait until the 2nd week of October to leave here was that I want to take that fruit with me.  I hope it will be ripe.  I am taking it even if it’s not.  This is the first harvest in 3 years due to hard freezes.  Once the tree froze to the ground and came back only to be frozen again last spring.  This year has been a kind one – lots of winter rains and all.

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+MY SEWING THERAPY

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Looking at these pictures I took today is disappointing.  My eyes did not register that the shadow cast from the corner of the house fell directly on top of these bags I have sewn recently.  They also needed to be stuffed with something to fatten them up to catch their details but no way was I motivated to spend time doing that.  These pictures are only the briefest (and evidently pitiful) presentation of the sewing work I have been doing these past weeks – my sewing therapy.

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How did I miss the shadow?  Maybe I will retake and repost better pictures than these.  I am having a very lonely and frustrating day today.  It didn’t help that I had a major allergic reaction to something today – very scary.  I think it was to the vitamin D3 I took.  I don’t know.  I had a milder but still scary attack 2 weeks ago, and both took place within 10 minutes of taking my vitamins.

So, needless to say – I am in one of those “I am doing the very best that I can” stages of my life right now.  It took a big summoning of willpower today to even get these pictures taken at all.

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Back side of the above bag.  I wish the embroidered roses showed better on the front pic!  My own rose bushes are beginning to bloom – I hope we get more monsoon rains!  I will be very sad when I leave to walk away from my gardens, especially if they will not be cared for.  Then they would die.

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There are butterflies on the fabric in the neck of this shirt.  The colors are very soft and subtle.  This one made me smile as I made and finished it.  These bags have (to me) a wonderful soft feel to them which cannot come through in these pictures – shadow or no shadow.

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This is the reverse side – hard to see the buttons.

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This one has pink and white pinstripes and a pocket front and back.  That’s the Mexican-American border fence line back there past the edge of my yard.  Soon I will be living less than 150 miles from the Canadian border.  Right now – I just feel like is very strange….

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This is extremely soft fabric – made from pants, pockets retained.  All of these purse-bags are fully lined.

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There are a few that are just patchwork – made from fabric I have scrounged and accumulated.  There is so little I can do in and for and with my life right now.  The move is anticipated mid-October.  Meanwhile my loneliness continues to erode me until I can get up where my family lives.

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Patchwork

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These sturdy tote bags are being stored folded – I did not have the motivation to iron them for pictures.  I have nearly 20 of them made.  I am hoping my daughter can go through with her plan to place our book writing needs on Kickstarter.com to raise money for ISBNs and a computer for me.  These will be among the “gifts” for donators.

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I did not like the way this fabric fought not to have itself top-stitched.

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Upholstery fabric

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+APPROACHING 62

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013.  Well, I’ve rebooted my computer and the problem I see on this post writing page appears to be due to something WordPress has to fix.  Most of what is supposed to be visible at the top is just plain missing-in-action.  Oh, well!  Life is full of surprises and adaptations to those very same surprises!  I can hover my cursor over where things are supposed to be visible and they seem to work when I click on them.  Fortunately I have written nearly 1,500 posts here (and many more thousands of pages) so that I know where the invisible SHOULD be visible.  Lucky me!

In three weeks I will pass through my 62nd birthday.  I find myself hovering over these moments of my own life in wonder – in lots of wonder – about my life lived thus far and about my life as I might be blessed to continue to live it for some time into the future.

I am anticipating leaving my home here in the gorgeous high desert along the Mexican border where I have been humming along (some days more humming than on others) for 14 years.  I am returning to the far north not far from the Canadian border where 2 of my 3 children live (my daughters) and my 2 grandsons (ages 1 and 3).  I first visited and then moved to Fargo, North Dakota right after my 20th birthday.  42 years ago!

Why?

Why did an Alaskan mountain homesteading girl end up in the perennial very flat lands with not so much as a pea-grade hill to be seen?  Windswept.  Frigid Siberian winters.  Destiny is my only answer about then and about soon-to-be.

I can no longer argue with destiny.

I don’t understand it but I still believe that there are parts of everyone’s life that are orchestrated by God (however we understand that Greatest Mystery).  “Now” and “then” hardly matter at this point in my life.  My decision has been made.  All that’s left now is the PROCESS of leaving here and arriving there.

I expect that I will leave my home here the 2nd week of October.  Somehow.  I do not wish to again “lose” my belongings.  Generosity of family and friends, even some borrowed money will be required to the tune of between $2,500 – $3,000 to make this move happen.  Seems unimaginable to me if I look at any of this rationally.  But “unimagined” is not the same thing as “impossible.”

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My actual home including the gardens is my place of solace.  It is my place of calm at the same time I have felt it to be on occasion my physical prison.  But, then, being in a body seems like being in prison to one whose soul never quite grew down into this world.  Severe psychotic abuse kept that from happening for me – and as I approach age 62 I realize I will never “make up for lost time.”

I am simply – or complexly – ME.  Sometimes I have songs for a brain.  This is our glorious desert monsoon season and the beauty is stunning all around me.  Billowing clouds against blue skies flashing immense shadows over the mountainsides as the clouds grow and pass us by.  Every seed that can be reached by the moisture the rains have blessed the land with have sprouted.  The land is luxurious.  This beauty makes even a troubled mind feel the same way.  I soak in this beauty as my last monsoon in this area bleeds its beauty into my soul.  I want to take all of this with me!

Can I?  Will I?

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Meanwhile – I sew.  In my odd collection of various thrift store accumulated fabrics there is a collage of color and texture I am turning into bags – shoulder purses, tote bags – as I create a birth with each completed object. 

What for?  What destiny does this growing collection of fabric reformed possess in the future?  In my future?  I know not.

Sewing simply grounds and calms me.  Making things with my heart, mind, hands, time – life – is something I have been doing at least for 60 years.  I know this because my verbally abusive mother often berated me during all of my childhood for being such an “unimaginative, stupid child” because I sat in the middle of the living room floor when I was two making things with my plastic pop beads.

(Perhaps I thought I was safe doing this.  If I didn’t move around I wouldn’t “get into trouble?”  Ha!  That didn’t work.)

But for myself I claim my creativity, humble as it is.  I claim the songs that take over my mind and disappear again before I get back home.  I don’t know what kind of a place I can afford to rent when I get north on my rather small disability income – but I know what I can dream of living in….

A STUDIO! 

I wish to haul my craft supplies and my tools right along with me.  I want to haul my storage shelving, my sturdy tables, my crayons and paper, colored pencils and paints, my sewing and weaving and spinning and mosaic materials.  I can do what I’ve done before if my living space is not really big enough for me.  I have built very sturdy “lofts” over beds, over chairs, over tables and UP UP UP UP everything goes.  It only matters that nobody bumps their head as they move around in my space!

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In other words I am in a transition time of great change a’comin’ and the many, many unknowns and potential surprises that await me.  I do know that so far I have lost 27 pounds on my changed green vegetable diet and out from under the middle-age (and climbing) body of mine is appearing the body I used to have (with a few adjustments due to aging) in my 20s.  This all fascinates me – like I am coming unburied from years of weight from depression and loneliness – as I anticipate a new life with my daughters and grandsons in it.

Mystery.  I work to remember that the unknown really is a mystery.  My future life as mystery, creeping along ahead of me slowly enough as if it is waiting for me to catch up.  Mystery.  The Great Mystery.  Mystery can be very, very sacred!

Maybe I can take a painting class.  Maybe a yoga class, or a dancing class.  Maybe I can take care of my age one grandson so he can be spared the chaos of big daycare.  Maybe I can volunteer somewhere and make some kind of a difference.  Maybe I can find a group to play my conga drums with!

Maybe……  Mystery is full of maybe…..  I am working to be OK with that!

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