Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pivot point

I am a ballerina. Long, thin, graceful. I see the world from en pointe, and it is all beautiful. Everything is transformed by the light of love. Or some such nonsense.

I have to go re-listen to a lovely podcast I just finished, "Healing." It had many elegant and memorable quotations. To paraphrase one: The possibility of enlightenment is in everything. That's not it. Oh, bother! But it basically said, in a more articulate and aesthetically pleasing way, that the path to enlightenment is in every human experience. It's all fodder for the mill.

Now I am at a pivot point, a moment of decision and momentous change. The type of dance I have done since 1994, the birthday of my oldest child, is not what I will do in the future. I sense this time is important to "my destiny." (I am a child of Star Wars: I always hear an echo of Luke Skywalker's father in that word, when he says in his raspy voice, "It is your destiny." You know who I mean.)

So, how do I feel? Tired, mainly. There's this emotional roller coaster thing going on. Actually, that's pretty normal for me, I guess! It's more triggered by my kids, when they turn away from Mom and Dad and don't want to be around us anymore. These feelings arise, and my work is to feel them and move on. I'm getting more proficient at that. It also means I am laughing, and crying, in rather close proximity. Some of both, just about every day.

I'm too tired to even make much sense here. But it's only 8:30, too early for bed. Mental sludge.

The miracle of it all is, tomorrow is a new day, and I will feel much better and more alert! Especially since I found my favorite new hot tea. It's called "Awake" and it's got to be the strongest, most potent black tea on the market. It's possibly banned as a controlled substance in other countries that are more health-conscious than we are. (After all, we still allow carcinogens like artificial food colorings in our food.)

"Awake." My eyelids expand just thinking about it. It's the closest thing to coffee I can manage right now. I was buying the H-E-B brand tea (which is proliferating on the store shelves), but it was so weak and watery, especially after I drowned it in milk as is my wont, that I found myself brewing 2 bags at a time to make one decent, full-strength cup of tea. Sorta like a junkie has to double up on fixes after a while, I guess.

My official line in the sand is still "1 cup of coffee a week"* (*10 oz.), but somehow I slipped in one extra last week. It was a hectic week, and I deserved it. And now I'm thinking that if I can perfect my mental relaxation technique, I can stop reflux symptoms just with the amazing strength of my willpower, and can drink increased quantities of coffee! That's the ultimate goal. That, and getting off reflux meds permanently. It remains to be seen if I can do both.

See, with the proton-pump inhibitor meds (Aciphex, Nexium, etc.), you can't just quit cold turkey. That was my mistake before. It causes a rebound effect of excess acid production, just the thing we reflux-sufferers do not need. So my general practitioner doctor suggested, very sensibly, that I gradually move to lower doses of a similar medicine. So now I'm still on a prescription med that is not as strong as that purple pill I had been popping. After a few months, she (the doctor) will ease me down to something that is even weaker, until -- voila! -- I'm medicine free. That's the plan, anyway.

Signing off, I remain ever faithfully yours, dear reader.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The state of my life and mind

Here's a short excerpt of what's been happening in my mind and life lately: Aaaaargh!! Mental and physical overload! I need to have a mental breakdown so I can get some rest! (Thanks, Carol, Sardines in a Can, for this idea.)

My life is in a state of flux right now. I don't like it one bit.

I have never welcomed change with open arms. Change, baby, how long has it been since I saw you last? A few minutes ago? Well, welcome, to my best, best friend! Come give me a wet sloppy kiss!

My kids are growing up, especially my elder, and it hurts. It is a physical pain to see him needing us less, wanting us even less than that. My kids are in band camp and physically absent for much of the day. I miss them.

I have been in the midst of a potential career change, and it's stressful too. Time-consuming, and stressful.

I volunteered to be the treasurer at church because there was a desperate need for a capable person. I felt God dragged me into this position, kicking and screaming all the way, because I really felt I had no choice but to take this on right now. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see any other way to respond.

Me, me, me! That's guaranteed to cause stress and frustration as well, too much self-focus. But it is hard to avoid when a major life change forces us to re-examine our goals and dreams.

I have to be flexible right now. Fluid, graceful, swaying with the winds like a willow. Self-forgiving. Outward-focused, even with inner turmoil. A sense of humor is a lifeline. It sure ain't easy.

I am listening to a fascinating Mind-Life seminar that took place, I believe, in 2007, between the Dalai Lama and a number of scientists from different disciplines. About the nature of consciousness and attention, and what Buddhist practice (vs. religion) contributes, and what science contributes, and where there may be overlap or agreement. It was an ambitious experiment to bring such diverse groups together to communicate. There are language and cultural barriers that are plain even from a casual listening to the dialogue. The Dalai Lama has a fascination with all things scientific, and Buddhism has 2,500 years (?) of history in honing the development of focused attention through various meditation practices.

This seminar tests the limits of sensory perception and reminds me that everything we perceive is fallible. Therefore, it's quite tricky to get absolute scientific validation of any phenomenon. There almost enters an element of faith; that we trust our vision or other senses, if it concurs with what is perceived by others, to give us a reasonably accurate estimation of physical reality. Physical reality is not directly observable, because everything passes through the filter of mind and thought, and is changed by such, to a truly amazing degree. It happens so rapid-fire that we miss all the labeling and preconceptions that overlay what we are perceiving. Think about the miracle of reading these words! What a mental accomplishment that is, to recall and identify not only every letter, but many combinations in many words, without obvious effort.

I had a complaint from a perfect stranger about changing my blog URL, making it even more invisible than it already was! (I had posted a comment to his blog about a month back and he was trying to click-through to my blog.) So I'm attempting to "restore factory settings" and change it back. I hope you're happy!

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