Tuesday, December 30

iChatting


Wow. Voice-over-IP really rocks. iChat AV makes it absurdly easy. Gini and I had a very enjoyable session of bunnying just now. Much more fun for me than being on the telephone. Isn't that weird? Maybe because of the way I hold the phone, it causes a lot of pain and muscle tension.

Karuna - Compassion


"May you be free of suffering and its causes."

This morning's meditation started off blurry, but when I switched from metta to karuna, things sharpened into focus. In particular, directing it to Sakula brought a more peaceful state.

It seems that making the brahmaviharas specific is very useful, directing them toward individuals. My tendency is to want to just skip directly to "all beings," but the personal progression is actually more beneficial. There's a good reason why it's taught that way.

Monday, December 29

Well, at least I made it home from the store before I started crying.

Sunday, December 28

You Never Know Until You Try


It's comforting to know that if Gini should pass, it is at least possible that I could continue to live if I made my life like this: every day a mindfulness day. It would take a lot of self-discipline, but it could work.

Also, it's clear that I shouldn't dismiss out-of-hand the idea of bhikkhu ordination without at least taking it for a trial spin. I've just been assuming that it wouldn't be appropriate for me, but it is possible that the organic systems could get used to it... You never know until you try.

A Day of Mindfulness


Today I am trying to make a day of mindfulness and lots of formal sitting meditation and walking meditation. Moving slowly and with as much awareness as can be maintained during the interstitial times: pouring water in my cup, picking up protein bar, walking to the chair.



Trains, Chains


Strange thing, to be afraid of going to bed. When Gini's not home -- a rare situation, fortunately -- I note a reluctance to get in bed. It's 2am and I write this on the old, "broken" bedroom TiBook, a distraction strategy to avoid balancing on the fulcrum between sleeping and waking. I fear lying here sleepless. Trains of thought might take me to dreadful destinations, so I linger on the platform. Keep me safe from bondage, shackled by chains of thought.

Saturday, December 27

Movies Gini Really Hated



"Pulp Fiction"
"Eyes Wide Shut"
"Mulholland Drive"
"Fight Club"

We never watched "A Clockwork Orange" together, but she's described in vivid detail how she was forced to see it, back in the day. Similar back story on "Silence of the Lambs" .

The Stanley Kubrick version of "The Shining" had a scene of a flood of blood flooding out of an elevator that she especially hated.

She also really hated "Edward Scissorhands," but I didn't really care for that one very much myself, so it doesn't really fit very well on this particular list.

Home


Where the heart is. The place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in. You can't go there again.

Q: Am I home now, at Prestwick Chase? Or was I home there, at my mom's house?
A: THE FORMER. Duh! What are you, stupid or something?

The place where I grew up looks much the same as it does in my mind's rapidly-deteriorating photo album. It's a house with a dwindling population -- just my mom, most of the time. Dad is dead, Beth inhabits her own bitter place, Gramma endures now in the Fulton County Infirmary, yelling her head off in a voice like Gollum's. My childhood home is like a ghost town.

Hey kids, here's some fun snapshots from my winter vacation:

Mom drives past her boyfriend's house, trying to see if his car is back yet or not. Cripes: when did my mom become a stalker?

Saying hello to Beth on Xmas morning. She says nothing, and will not, will NOT even look in my direction.

Also Xmas morning: Beth criticizing mom because mom has continued the tradition of giving us stockings. Beth being vicious. Me thinking that if Dad were here, he would tell her knock it off in a hurry. Beth being generally miserable.

Mom and Beth arguing in the living room; I'm out in the kitchen. Mom comes out and announces that Beth doesn't want to open presents in the morning like we've ALWAYS done, so Mom and I will go up to the infirmary to visit gramma. I notice the shiny moistness in mom's eyes. I get up and go over and hug her, because I can tell she really needs one. I say, "I love you, Mom." She says that I'm the only thing making it Christmas. The only thing. Secret pleasure: I know I'm a good person.

Here's a nice shot of Gramma sitting in a wheelchair, the visor over her eyes giving her the look of a degenerate blackjack dealer. We're in the visitors' lounge, Ellen DeGeneres is talking to Diane Keaton on TV. I'm writing banalities with a black marker on a white eraserboard; the eraser is stuck to the back of the board with velcro, and the whole thing goes into a pouch on the back of Gramma's wheelchair. She keeps repeating the same things over and over. I secretly congratulate myself for patiently answering a question for the 4th or 5th time in less than an hour. She goes into the emotional blackmail thing, trying every trick she can think of to get us to take her home. You remember home, it's where the heart is, and you can't go there again. She assures me again and again that it's a horrible thing to get so old. I don't argue. She is 100 years old.

The next day. Also at the infirmary. Waiting for Gramma to move her bowels. Mom and I loiter near the nurses' station. I say some really regrettable things about how when pets get so old and sick, there's no question about what the humane thing to do is. When Eskimo people get old, they don't want to burden the tribe so they just go out on an ice floe to die. [Please excuse the usage of the pejorative term "Eskimo." Saying "Inuit" would have been pointless. And is this bit of folklore even true?]

Sitting in the Johnstown Movieplex with a good-size noontime crowd to see "The Return of the King." Mom even stays awake. I realize that I have seen all 3 movies in the trilogy at this theater: a second viewing of "Fellowship of the Ring" during my birthday visit, February 2002. The first viewing of "The Two Towers" the day after Christmas, December 26 2002, during that very dark time after the accident. I really enjoy this viewing of "Return of the King," but it didn't have the emotional resonance of the first viewing, which was akin to a religious experience. The first time was attended with SO much craving and excitement, but the second was just, oh yes, I'd like to see that on the big screen again. Mark you well: There's a universal truth in this. Craving makes all the difference.

Mom and I playing Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture DVD edition, having fun Friday night.

Bette being a really poor loser Thursday night, practically yelling at me, as if it were my fault, "I don't like movies! I don't watch movies! I don't know anything about movies!"

Sometimes I look at other people and I feel comparatively sane.

Canolis from Price Chopper. Sweet, creamy. Too bad sugar makes me feel suicidally depressed. But these canolis make it almost worth it. Almost.

Riding around in the car with mom after visiting Gramma on Christmas morning. Neither of us wants to go home right away, because Beth is so thoroughly unpleasant. I cautiously mention what I've been dealing with in therapy. Mom remembers. And I feel incredibly validated. She even uses the A word: recalling the one time Beth stood up for me on the schoolbus, she says of Beth, "She could abuse you, but nobody else could." Hearing it out loud like that makes me feel so much better, in a really strange way.

More heart-to-hearts with mom. She talks about how she used to conceal things and lie to my dad because she didn't want him "flying off the handle." She talks about how her Bill is a laidback, easygoing guy. I'm very happy that she found someone like that, the polar opposite of the Dad thing.

Mom and I hiding from Beth in the kitchen all Christmas afternoon, watching "A League of Their Own" and "Pleasantville" on commercial television. With commercials. What century is this?

Me feeling compassion for Beth. It must be awful to be her.

Mom in the morning just after going over to Bette's for coffee. My mom is like a crystal meth addict. It's like getting up and talking to a speed freak.

Here's one of me and mom going down to Amsterdam to the cancer treatment center for her radiation on Wednesday morning. Here's me sitting with a Time magazine with Russell Crowe on the cover, promoting "Master and Commander." Waiting while mom gets her breast nuked. This old dude is waiting too. Patches on is hat and jacket annouce that he is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Why do so many vets feel the need to advertise? He's one of these talkative North Country types. He starts in on the jigsaw puzzle they have there in the waiting room, telling me about some guy he heard about, wore glasses, a gambler type (? huh?), who would do jigsaw puzzles with a jackknife handy to trim pieces to fit, and pound them in. I make a point of laughing appreciatively, a little longer than is necessary. I can tell he wants to shoot the breeze, but I just can't do it. I raise the magazine a little, pretending, "Boy, that Russell Crowe is one fascinating dude." I feel really guilty for not being able to give him what he wants. The dad thing who lives in my head starts berating me for not being nicer to the old guy. My mind obsesses about this for a very, very long time. I should have talked to him more. I should have. Should have. Should...

Look, here's Bette at our kitchen table again. She's telling about how mom is always apologizing for no reason, constantly, and it drives Bette and her friends batty. First thing Mom does when she comes over in the morning is say, "I'm sorry." Something clicks, a light goes on, epiphany, sudden illumination: "Oh, so THAT'S where I got it from." I say, clearly amazed. It makes sense now. We're always apologizing, because we were brainwashed into thinking that everything is our fault.

Me eating a bagel & cream cheese. Mom's cat, Pansy, comes begging, and I stick my left forefinger in the cream cheese and offer it to her. She sniffs, then licks it off.

Me watching the DVD of "Eyes Wide Shut" on my computer in bed last night. Why did Gini hate this movie so much? And why do I feel like the only movies I can watch while Gini is away are ones that I know she wouldn't like? I'm going to watch "Pulp Fiction" on one of our Cinemax channels tonight.

Me meditating every morning. Doing metta and karuna, and once doing a sweeping meditation.

Mom really digging the CD I gave her of Art Garfunkel: Best of. Us listening to it in the car. The song "Bright Eyes" from the soundtrack of the movie adaptation of "Watership Down." Remembering the death of Hazel, the Black Rabbit, Prince Elilhrairrah, Bigwig, Fiver, General Woundwort...

Me following mommy around and about, happily trailing after her apron strings.

Look: here's me, home again, at Prestwick Chase, doing my own laundry just like a real grownup would. Not a child anymore after all, but a very kind and good man. Look. See?












Ten Miles of Bad Road


Sometimes I wonder if sexuality is just ten miles of bad road leading to an unmarked cul-de-sac. Dead-endsville. And yet. And yet.

Sunday, December 21

Me Talk Pretty One Day


Just read a whopping great portion of David Sedaris' book, "Me Talk Pretty One Day" at amazon.com using the "search inside the book" feature. Read a couple of sample pages, search for a phrase on the last page, get another couple of sample pages, continue. Until I ran into the limit and they cut me off, mid-chapter. Still, it was a LOT of text before the cutoff point.

Got there after searching for David Byrne's book-and-DVD package of art he made using PowerPoint, "Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information."

Omnivorous



On Friday, my sweetie took me to see "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." And somehow that made everything better. :-)

Yesterday was odd. Gini slept all day, then the evening was spent waiting for her mom to finally call her back. I think we were both tense about that silence, fearing that-which-must-not-be-spoken. But she finally did call back. By the time all was said and done, it was after midnight. Normally I would have gone to bed at such an hour, but I knew how much Gini wanted me to stay up and play, so I did. We watched the DVD of "The Mothman Prophecies," and we were both amazed anew at what a good film that was. Much better than it needed to be, or than could reasonably be expected. A rare film that has respect for Mystery, and can hint successfully at the unknowable. tantalizing in its possibilities.

So we stayed up late. I got up around 9:30ish, bathroomed, returned to bed but not to sleep, then rose again.

Nice meditation. Lots of metta. Remembered that the point is to generate that pleasant warmth; once it's been generated, I can drop the generation method and just focus on the pleasantness, and that will build to the next stage...


While Gini was sleeping yesterday, I did homework. I wrote my unsent -- unsendable -- letter to my Dad, as Chris instructed. Very hard. It started off carefully, judiciously, then the more I wrote, the more poured out of me, the more disorganized and rambling it became. It was like descending. I also started on my scrapbook, which I put together in PowerPoint. I think it's pretty neat, actually, despite the subject matter.

Last night, while G was on the phone I did a drawing I really liked, entitled "God Eats Old People For Breakfast." Big giant head chomping on some wrinkled old dude. On the reverse, a list of all the other people & things God eats, concluding with Everyone I Love. Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent... and omnivorous! It was suggested that God should go on a diet. "Run for your life! He's a cold-blooded killer and he's coming after YOU!"

Well, I thought it was pretty funny, anyway.

Friday, December 19

A Sobbing Fit


A sobbing fit while folding laundry. Why do you want to hurt me? What did I do to deserve this kind of treatment? Why do you want to ruin everything, spoil all I love? Why do you hate me?

Maybe she hated me because I existed. Maybe I took some of the parents' attention & affection away from her (as she saw it).

Something broke loose with this flurry of tears -- there was a calm in its passing, and the urge to punish and deprive wasn't there anymore. A real passing, or just another brief respite?

Wish I didn't have to go out today. Wish I didn't have to go grocery shopping, or face any people. Hide this teary face, these stinging eyes. How can I keep the mask in place?



Possessed by the Pain Body



Metta from about 7:50 to 10:10, with a 10-minute break around 8:50 for more bowel trouble.

The metta is there, and there's warmth in the heart center, but poisonous thoughts still arise, hateful thoughts (literally, full of hate) that lead to affliction. Yes, they arise and pass away, but...

And then there's this urge to punish, this wish to deprive. To not see "Return of the King." To not bring my computer to my mom's house for the Xmas visit, or my drawing materials, or anything that I enjoy. To not go to the Cloud Mountain retreat next August, and to cancel the BCBS retreat in April. To not go on any more retreats, ever. To not ever do anything that's good for me, anything that will be beneficial. To make myself feel worse and worse, until I finally beat myself entirely into the ground, leaving nothing but a stain.

Yeah, that urge. I guess Chris would call this (using Eckhart Tolle's terminology) the Pain Body.

These are just thoughts. They arise and they pass away. Just streams of information.

This is dukkha. The cause of this dukkha is craving for non-existence, vibhava tanha. The cessation of this dukkha would be the cessation of this very craving. The path of practice leading to the cessation of this dukkha is the Noble Eightfold Path, consisting of Right View, Intention, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration. Thus have I heard.

Wednesday, December 17

Siege Mentality



Terrible siege this afternoon drove me under the blankets in bed, but I forced myself to emerge and propose TV to Gini. Food helped, as it usually does; it's one of the great dirty tricks of this body that when I need to eat, I don't feel like eating.



Tuesday, December 16

PGM


PGM: Pretty Good Metta. Approx. 1:20

"I Remember Me"


Last night, Gini and I viewed a documentary about Chronic Fatigue Syndrom, CFS, (or Chronic Fatigue and Immune Deficiency Syndrom, CFIDS). "I Remember Me," directed by Kim A. Snyder, is a sad, brilliant detective story. As surprising as the information that it was first identified in the 80s in Lake Tahoe was the dismaying pattern of disbelief and willful ignorance on the part of the medical establishment, particularly the CDC and NIH.

It's clear that Gini and I (to a perhaps lesser extent) both have this collection of symptoms. We usually call it fibromyalgia, but that's probably related, or a different term for the same cluster of problems. I had such high hopes that all of my problems were due to sleep apnea and I was feeling better initially due to the BiPap, but that seems to have stopped being quite so helpful, and all my aches and pains and tiredness have returned in full force. I will continue to use the BiPap, because on those rare nights when I haven't used it, I woke up with that oxygen-deprived headachey feeling, but the BiPap turns out not to be the miracle cure I had hoped it was. *Sigh*


Monday, December 15

The Five Aggregates


About 90 minutes of sitting this morning -- metta, some lovely calm abiding, some piti and sukha. Toward the end, the mind inclined toward the perception of impermanence, with regard to the arising and passing away of sound at the hearing door, and the arise and passing away of hearing consciousness.

See DN 22, Maha-Satipatthana Sutta

The Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness, Dhammas or Mental Qualities, section 2, the five aggregates.

[2] "Furthermore, the monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates. And how does he remain focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates? There is the case where a monk [discerns]: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance. Such is feeling... Such is perception... Such are fabrications... Such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.'

"In this way he remains focused internally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or externally on mental qualities in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on mental qualities in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to mental qualities, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to mental qualities, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to mental qualities. Or his mindfulness that 'There are mental qualities' is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on mental qualities in & of themselves with reference to the five clinging-aggregates.



Thorns


I recall reading recently (I believe in Ven. ~Nanamoli's collection of Canonical and Commentarial texts related to anapanasati) that there was a list of "thorns." I often quote that noise is a thorn to jhana, but one I'd forgotten is this: it is said that, for one trying to guard the sense doors, the seeing of shows is a thorn. 'Nuff said.



Sunday, December 14

Pervasive Goth-y Gloom, or, You Can't Go Home Again


Earlier this evening, Gini and I watched the Extended Edition DVD of "The Fellowship of the Ring" in preparation for Wednesday's release of "The Return of the King."

Then, as Gini was feeling unwell and nappy, I came out here and watched "The Crow," which I'd recorded earlier this evening. Two things struck me: 1) Amazing, the intense physicality Brandon Lee brought to the role. He might mave been quite a movie star, given more time. 2) You can't go home again; though I appreciated the dark cityscapes, Lee's intensity, the tasty soundtrack and the pervasive goth-y gloom, this viewing just didn't do it for me the way it did back in the day. Ah well, that was an altogether other Bri, 27 years old. I wish him happiness, good health, perfect peace.



Saturday, December 13

A Blockage Dissolves


Ahhhhhhhhhh, metta. About an hour and a quarter. Most of that time directed to me -- and a blockage dissolved. I felt it go, melted by that lovely warmth. Ahhhhhhhhhh. Insight: this is where it's needed most. I still tend to treat myself worse than I would anybody else. So that's the focus now, on all these cittas stretching all the way back as far as memory can extend (and beyond), these physical and mental aggregates misnomered "Brian" for convenience's sake.

There was eventual expansion via radiating metta not only to my inner children, but to all children, those who are currently young and those who used to be, and who still carry those vulnerable, dependent creatures within.

Yesterday's vague unfocused sit was trying to use anapanasati, but it's become abundantly clear (again) that metta is the tool that's most effective for this current work, so that the rest of the blockages may be dissolved and further progress along the Path can arise.

MMmmm good.

Now I must prepare for the meet-and-greet with Ruth Brown, the shiatsu practitioner.



Friday, December 12

The Perils of Memory


Vague, unfocused sitting, interrupted by a telephone call. Grrrrrrr. Every now and then there would be a few moments on the balance point (aah, so nice!), but then it would teeter and fall, dispersing into shoals of adolescence. The perils of memory. "The eternal sunshine of the spotless mind," he wrote, with fingers heavy with irony.

Time enough to begin again.

Tuesday, December 9

Shiatsu


As I was truckin', truckin' on down the line to the front desk to fill out today's menu, I was passing a woman who looked vaguely familiar, and as I do with just about everyone, I nodded and smiled and said hello. When she used my name, I realized that it was Suzanne Shepherd, whom I'd spoken with regarding her plan to have her Shiatsu Therapist visit Prestwick Chase. Ruth Brown will be coming to have lunch at PC on Saturday, and to talk & answer questions in the library, and will be seeing clients on Thursday, 12/18. On returning to the apartment, I found the flier, called the number, and left a message with my name & number, mentioning that I live at Prestwick and would like an appointment with her.

My body is crying out for this! As before, with Beth Sabo Novik, just the prospect of it makes me nearly weep with gratitude. And best of all: she'll be coming here, so transportation isn't an issue. ;-)

Ruth Brown's homepage is called Dragon Circles.

Very excited, this feel's like one of those synchronistic gifts from the universe, just what I need at the right time.

Antony


Just a smidge over an hour and a quarter, I would estimate, devoted to metta this morning. There were beautiful, warm periods of wordless resting.

When I finished, I went online to find a set of Rapidograph pens, the kind Crumb uses, as I wish to expand from pencil to pen-and-ink. Found a nice set at dickblick.com While placing my order, the phone rang, and I knew before picking up the receiver that it would be Antony. It was a difficult conversation. I had more trouble understanding him than usual and frequently had to ask him to repeat; also, he kept interrupting me in mid-sentence, so that I was seldom able to finish a whole thought. Eventually, all the while re-assuring him that we were still friends and that I remained very fond of him, I firmly stated my preference that our communications be held online and not on the telephone. I had to say again and again that I'm not rejecting him. It's a difficult business, this assertiveness, but necessary, and healthy.

The warm glow in my heart center continues to radiate.

Monday, December 8

"Who Is My Self?"


After a flurry of udakka-kukkuccha -- worrying about where the car is parked, and getting Prestwick Chase to remove the snow, fearing a conflict there -- the mind finally settled down into a nice period of samadhi.

Last night, I made a strong determination to put away my childish things -- reading comix -- and return to studying the Dhamma. The book I chose to restart with was Ayya Khema's book, "Who Is My Self? A Guide to Buddhist Meditation." Early on in that book, she talked about the value of renunciation during periods of intensive meditation, renunciation over and above keeping the five basic precepts. So I also made the determination to rely less on entertainments to fill the time, and to spend some time using the third precept as total celibacy, rather than merely refraining from misconduct.

Who Is My Self?

Sunday, December 7

Geekery


Today's meditation focused on karuna, compassion, after some metta. Began with karuna toward myself, "May I be free of suffering and its causes." Then to myself aged 17, "Brian, may you be free of suffering and its causes." Then to others: to Dad, to Beth. It was only about a 40-minute session, but it felt productive and worthwhile.

Last night, IFC showed the first "Terminator" movie. Gini fell asleep at the very end, but saw most of it. Before that, we watched "Spider-Man," and I was pleased to find that I enjoyed it much more than I did when I first saw it in the theater. Maybe it was a mood thing; or maybe it was another instance of my perverse reaction to popularity. Sometimes when a film or something is very, very popular, I adopt an anti- stance. Just to be different, I suppose. But it's a sad loss that I occasionally deprive myself of things that are actually good, just because a lot of other people like them, too... There was a sequence in the Big Fight at the End in which Green Goblin threw some slicing spinning things at the hero, who dodged and backflipped out of the way. This *exact same sequence* showed up in the movie, "Daredevil," with DD gymnastically evading some glass shards Bullseye had hurled. Just as in the comics, Daredevil is a poor man's Spiderman (but I loved both.)

Here's the cover of the DVD of "Daredevil." Any excuse for a picture of Jennifer Garner in black leather. ;-)

Daredevil

Thursday, December 4

FILMS ABOUT GHOSTS, VOLUME 2



Something of a breakthrough in this morning's meditation, which is as exciting in its future possibilities and implications as its obviousness in retrospect is mildly embarrassing. ;-) (Parse that, I dare you.)

At the outset, the intention was to begin with sending metta to our online friend, Antony Woods from UpasikaTalk. Then I assigned the neutral slot to Tom, the maintenance guy. Lastly, I would inhabit the role of the difficult person. The plan was to do the "breaking down the barriers," version of metta bhavana, radiating the metta outward through the concentric rings of friend, neutral, and enemy.

Beginning with Antony, the mindfulness and concentration was there intermittently; it kept slipping, and the gravitational pull of Planet Childhood kept grabbing me and pulling me away from the metta.

Then, the inspiration: I started sending metta to my inner child.

D'oh! Of course!

Why didn't I start doing this sooner?

The breakthrough came because yesterday, Chris said that I had to stop blaming myself and start having compassion for myself, loving myself, that's the only way to make peace with this stuff.

So there it is: Brian, may you be safe. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease. The image of myself at age 6 formed before the mind's eye: a photograph of me at my sixth birthday party, wearing a green crown fabricated that day in kindergarten using construction paper, Elmer's glue, and glitter. Holding aloft a new G.I. Joe for the camera.

For weeks, this kid has been buffeting and jostling me with these horrorshows to get my attention. I had thought that I was supposed to just watch the movies and offer validation, with phrases like "That must have been really awful, I'm sorry you had to go through that." But that just seemed to encourage more entries into the Atrocity Exhibition.

All he ever wanted was to be loved. So I can give him that. No problem.

This is major. This is huge.

Wednesday, December 3

Avoidance Strategies


Sunday was OK, Monday was good, Tuesday was good. Last night there were stirrings, intimations of more difficulty to come. When you go sifting through the rubble of your childhood and uncautiously, barehandedly pick up memory shards, how can you whine about bloody, cut fingers?

It was in preparation for today's session with Chris, an ill-advised rehearsal.

After coming home, I've spent the afternoon and early evening online, desultory link-junketing and googling. Now there's that empty-calorie, bag-of-Doritos feeling, confused, ungrounded. Too much reading, far far away from the here and now, needing to come to my senses.

Chris and I have a new contract, a promise: that if I feel like striking myself, I'll email her.

Didn't meditate formally today, and I'm really feeling it. And yet I fear the prospects of what sitting meditation could bring: another magic-lantern show of all those things I would prefer to hide from my mind's eye.

Wrote to Antony about the poster on somebody's wall showing an old guru on a surfboard, with the legend, "You can't stop the waves, but you *can* learn to surf." Sakula approved of that. ;-)

Gini and I recently completed a "Carnivale" festival, catching up on all the episodes we'd TiVo'd.

Chris says I need to have compassion for myself as a child and stop blaming myself. It wasn't my fault. Reluctantly I admit that if someone came to me and told me what had happened to them when they were young, the likelihood is that I would have little difficulty treating such a person with compassion and love. I would unhesitatingly want to nurture and care for such a one.

So....???????? What's the problem??????

After the session, I walked back and forth in the cold parking lot, waiting for my ride. I tried for just a moment to send metta to myself as a child. I thought, "Brian, may you be happy." There was an immediate bodily response: a forceful upwelling feeling, in the eyes, in the chest and upper arms. Clearly I need to continue to do this, but I'm afraid, and I don't want to. Maybe if I just did it, it would make things better.

Tuesday, December 2

Making art with PowerPoint. David Byrne.

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