“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” ~ Carl Jung

                   

“The universe is like a dome; it vibrates to that which you say in it, and answers the same back to you; so also is the law of action; we reap what we sow.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

Wednesday afternoon. Sunny and mild, mid 60’s. Absolutely beautiful outside.

Well, yesterday I sat down to post, but then I got distracted by a phone call from my mother, and as a result, I was never able to regain my concentration long enough to post. My mother has that effect on me: She is able to completely disconcert me with just a conversation. What happens, actually, is that she starts to use that unassailable logic that is hers alone, and I usually lose my temper, and everything just degenerates.

Yesterday was so bad that I actually considered banging my head on my desk while she was talking to see if I could make my head feel better . . .

I know that I should be more patient with her, and I realize that age is taking its toll. She forgets more than she remembers, and I suppose if I were a good daughter, I would take all of this in stride, but I just can’t. I really can’t. The things that she says just blow my mind as they are so bizarre. For example, because she has decided that she will have no pets once her cat and dog die, then that means that I cannot have any more pets. When I tell her that I will always have at least one dog, she says things like, “Well, that just doesn’t make any sense,” and then I feel like an idiot for trying to justify something that really needs no justification.

This dance between mothers and daughters—does it ever end?

“What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner  solitude. To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours—that is  what you must be able to attain.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young poet

For the last two nights, I’ve gone up to the prescribed dosage on my Seroquel. I had hesitated to do this because taking 75 mg in the past left me feeling so tired the next day, but I couldn’t take this not sleeping, and obviously the 50 mg wasn’t doing it for me. Each night, I’ve gone to sleep one hour earlier than the night before, which is progress. Last night, I actually fell asleep at 2 a.m., only to be awakened by Alfie who wanted to go out.

I swear that I think the dogs wait for my breathing patterns to change, and then make noise to wake me up . . . Breathing evenly? Yep? Okay, it’s time! And then they take turns waking me as going out together in the wee hours of the morning must be too taxing or something. I love my dogs, but by 5 a.m. I was having irate conversations with them.

Then I had to get up to drive Corey to work at 7. He’s working a 13 hour shift today, and boy was he surly. He’s so put out that he has to go back on the security schedule as there is no definite away date yet. I understand as he had already reconciled his mindset to being finished with that job. Going back on shifts must seem like a giant step backwards, even though it’s only a delay.

Anyway, I took him to work, came back home and slept for a few hours, took Eamonn to work, came home and slept for a few hours, and then took Brett to school and came home and slept for a few hours. Not ideal, but I did sleep, only to be awakened this afternoon by . . . you got it, a telephone call from my mother.

Geez. It just makes me want to go somewhere where there are no phones. I know. That’s selfish. Blame it on the sleep deprivation.

“Certain words now in our knowledge we will not use again, and we will never forget them. We need them. Like the back of the picture. Like our marrow, and the color in our veins. We shine the lantern of our sleep on them, to make sure, and there they are, trembling already for the day of witness. They will be buried with us, and rise with the rest.” ~ W.S. Merwin from Houses and Travellers

So yesterday, I had my telephone interview with my long-term disability provider. They are refiling my Social Security claim. The interesting thing is that since I was denied, my new date of disability becomes the date of my previous denial. Such a crock.

So we went over my medications, the doctors that I’m seeing, my conditions. Nothing new, really. Now they’ll file a claim, and then we do a lot of waiting only to be denied on the first round. Then we appeal again, and I get assigned a hearing date. I’m looking at about 12 months minimum to go through this process once again. Denial in the first phase is almost automatic. It’s as if this bureaucracy deliberately creates more work for itself and everyone else.

Let’s see, she has headaches everyday, debilitating migraines that she sees a neurologist for, chronic back pain, this, that, and the other . . . Denied.

I really don’t know how some people manage to go through the whole process and come out with benefits. I know of a couple of people who have actually been approved, and quite frankly, I am more disabled than they are. It’s not a bragging contest. Just a fact. But as with my mother, I am looking for inherent logic, and the fact is that there is none. There is nothing logical or efficient about the Social Security Administration.

This morning on the way to school Brett and I touched on a few political topics, and he told me that quite frankly, he doesn’t want to get distracted by political activism at the moment because he needs to concentrate on school. I understand, I really do. To give in to the desire to fight the system takes a lot of time and energy, and I just cannot go around mad at the things that Rick Santorum says 24 hours a day, or it would only add to my pain—physical, emotional, psychological. As it is, I’m sitting on a heating pad as I type this.

“I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once, and cannot add up the sum. I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness; I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions—not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems to me that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation of something I do not know.” ~ Carl Jung, near the end of his life, in Memories, Dreams

Yes, two Jung quotes in the same post. Unusual for me, but they both seemed to fit, and I couldn’t choose one over the other.

I’ve never really studied Jung as I came of age at a time when Freud still held sway, all of that oral, anal fixation stuff. Oedipal and Electra complexes. Id, ego, and superego. My first psychology teacher was a kook. She would mention oral fixations and then make sucking motions with her mouth like she was sucking on a pacifier. Strange the things you remember. But I find now that I really appreciate Jung more, especially after I learned what a misogynist Freud was.

By the way, just as an aside, orange slices (the candy) and Pepsi really do not go well together. Just found that out.

So, where am I? Corey is unsettled. Politics is the same old bullshit. I’m getting ready to take on another battle with the SSA. I still need to do taxes and the FAFSA forms for Brett and Corey. My computer is still dead. My dogs both delight and aggravate me. My mother . . . well, nothing new there either.

As for myself: I really cannot “add up the sum,” as the quote says. I have ideas constantly about plots for stories, literally, all the time. I wonder if I get my hands on an IBM Selectric what excuse I’ll use after that. I could do this, you know? I really could, but I am so caught up in defining my worth, in trying to define my convictions that I never seem to stop long enough to get anything done.

So what kind of person am I? I was born, and now, I exist, simply exist. Still waiting to start living.

More later. Peace.

                   

Today’s post features real ads for medicines/curatives that contained cocaine, amphetamines, and other interesting ingredients (such as heroin, cannabis, and morphine). Here is my favorite: Mabel is Unstable . . . so let’s tranquilize her with butabarbital . . .

                   

Music by Charlie Winston, “She Went Quietly”

                    

Meditation at Lagunitas

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,
pine, hair, woman, you
and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.
Robert Hass, from Praise
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“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.” ~ Rumi

lotus 

“Thirst drove me down to the water where I drank the moon’s reflection.” ~ Rumi

“All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.” ~ Rumi

I’ve been having really strange dreams again, probably due in part to my latest bout with insomnia. Most of these dreams have involved killing in some way, knives, and blood.

Dark-stormy-cloudsDelightful, n’est pas?

For example, one of the dreams involved a young girl who murdered her parents and younger brother. I had watched a program about this true story, and found it appalling as the girl was only 13 years old when she committed this crime with her 23-year-old boyfriend.

When she appeared in my dream, the girl was much younger, about 5, and she had killed a kitten and was storing it in a drawer. She had made a purple velvet pillow and placed the tiny body of the white kitten atop the pillow inside the drawer, which was spattered with blood stains. I was trying to explain to someone that psychopaths very often kill animals when they are children, and it can go unnoticed.

Freud would have a field day with that particular dream.

In another dream, I was speaking with a woman who had a head but no body. Her head was encased in glass. She was alive and articulate, but she had no torso, hence, no heart. I thought to myself in the dream: “How can she be alive with no heart?”

Wait, they get weirder.

This morning I forced myself to wake up as I knew that I was in the middle of a really terrible nightmare, which, thankfully, I do nt recall, and I was close enough to the edge of wakefulness to be able to force myself into an upright position. What I didn’t realize was that I screamed out loud when I woke up. Scared the bejeezus out of Corey.

But the worst one involved a concentration camp. It wasn’t a Nazi camp, but it was a camp in which the people arriving were separated into two groups. I realized that the guards were taking all of the women with long hair out of the main line and putting them into the line that went directly to the showers. I took a knife (that I just happened to be carrying), and began to saw off my hair in big chunks. I convinced a female guard to help me to cut off the rest of my hair before I got to the head of the queue.

I hate having these kinds of dreams. I wake up totally discombobulated with my heart racing, gasping for air. Not the best way to greet the day.

“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.” ~ Rumi

Metta Prayer Beads
Metta Prayer Beads

Speaking of greeting the day, I was reading a post on After the Gold Puppy a few days ago in which Reya was discussing manifestos, life affirmations, statements of purpose.  Throughout my own life, I have always had phrases and sayings that I repeat to myself silently. These affirmations or mantras have varied depending upon my need and/or at what point I found myself in life.

Metta prayers or meditations, which are derived from the Buddhist tradition, are focused on the translation of Metta (trans. Pali) as loving kindness or loving friendship. A Metta prayer allows the speaker to feel empathy for others and for all living things. Metta is unconditional love without attachment, without a desire to possess.

Metta prayers should be repeated often as a means of exercising positive mental qualities. The intention is to create a habit of mind that “allows us to soften into the deeper experiences of our lives, the chances to connect with all that is around and within us…. to live more fully. It allows spaciousness to develop in the mind allowing us to be less reactive, less stressed out, more calm in the face of challenges, losses, injustices (http://www.bemindful.org/metta.htm).

Metta meditations are usually harmonic in patterns and sounds, for example, pairs of words, or phrases of the same length:

Mind clear and alert

Body fit and strong

However, an individual who wishes to employ the Metta can adapt any of the existing prayers as needed. Here is an example of a Metta Bhavana, which encourages us to give Metta to ourselves so that we can be better able to offer loving kindness to others:

May all beings be free.
May all beings be peaceful
May all beings be happy
May all beings awaken to the light
of their True nature
May all beings be free

The following is a selection taken from the Metta Sutta, Universal Love Prayer (adapted by G. R. Lewis):

May all beings everywhere,  
Seen and unseen,  
Dwelling far off or nearby,  
Being or waiting to become:  
May all be filled with lasting joy.  
 
Let no one deceive another,  
Let no one anywhere despise another,  
Let no one out of anger or resentment  
Wish suffering on anyone at all.  

“Everyone sees the unseen in proportion to the clarity of his heart, and that depends upon how much he has polished it. Whoever has polished it more sees more—more unseen forms become manifest to him.” ~ Rumi

The Metta must first be directed towards the self. Only by learning to nurture ourselves can we offer love to others that is based on integrity and truth. The purpose of the Metta is to become more open and aware in our love towards the self.

Botswana agate prayer beads
Botswana Agate Prayer Beads

Metta is then directed towards someone for whom we feel gratitude and respect, such as a teacher or mentor. This person is known as a “benefactor.” Next, the metta is directed towards a friend or family member. By making these connections with people we respect and love, it becomes easier to move on to the next step, which is to direct the Metta towards someone neutral; this may be a hard step as it is not always possible to identify a person to whom we feel true neutrality, but consider all of the people who are in and out of your life on a daily basis with whom you do not interact directly: the mail carrier or the barista at Starbucks, for example.

Finally, the Metta is directed towards those for whom we may not necessarily feel loving kindness, someone with whom we have experienced conflict, fear, or who we have been unwilling to forgive. After praying for all of these individuals, direct the Metta towards all sentient beings (taken from “Facets of Metta” by Sharon Salzberg).

The Metta prayers can be recited with or without prayer beads. These beads can be made of stones, agates, crystals, and can be anything from simple wooden beads on a string to carved jade beads on silk string.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”~ Rumi

Here is the Metta that I have composed for myself:

I am content
I am calm

May I be safe
May I be strong

Loving kindness and
Peace will come to me
Clear mind and strong body
will set me free

Loving friendship
from sister moon
and earth mother 
will strengthen my heart
for the trials I suffer

And I will face each day
with hope and joy
and truth in my soul
anew.

 

flower2

 

More later. Peace.

“The Promise,” Tracy Chapman