Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Baby, 21 weeks

This is Baby Cotton at 21 weeks. The observant of you will have noticed this was in fact ten weeks ago. In the top picture the dark space near it's bottom you can see is its bladder, the fact that it is dark shows that it is full and that it's kidneys are working. In the middle picture you can see another dark space in the middle of the chest, and that's it's heart pumping. Words again fail me to express what a blessing this is.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It'sll about ME!

Well actually it isn't :) I'm writing this an an aide memoire - my anxiety has been reaching incredible levels recently. So I've been breathing deeply and resting in in the present moment, to escape the fear and perfectionism. I think it's deeply ironic, or very funny, or just very handy that M.E. in terms of the illness is born (for me) from too much of ME lolol, ie too much fear and perfectionism. I've been having a difficult time with mum, I'm keying into my childhood again, and remembering all that anxiety. So I've been getting very angry as a form of self protection, which is not helping. Maybe that's why mum was so angry when I was young - severe mental illness probably makes you feel very threatened and vulnerable. *Breathe in* *breathe out*

So it's not all about me after all!

Monday, August 07, 2006


This is such a lovely picture! It seems a little blurred here, the original is here. Enjoy!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Phone Call

Just spoke to my mum a short while ago. I've started a new regime when I speak to her - I've decided I dont need to make life all ok for her, I can listen, but I dont need to add to it. It's been going well so far - we've been having some nice cheerful conversations, and I've not been feeling drained afterwards, which has been lovely. Tonight, after I'd explained about the risk of miscarriages dropping to 5% after 12 weeks, mum still talked rather a lot about miscarriage. All the phone calls I've had with her since (and including) the one when I told her I was pregnant have included mum worrying about miscarriage. I do have a lot of empathy for her, after all the reason why she is worrying about miscarriage is probably related to the fact that she had 3 miscarriages herself before she had me. I dont really want to speculate about her exact reasoning as I feel that's not really my business, and I dont want to put words in her mouth. I am finding it hard though, I am so in love with my baby already, far more than I've ever loved anything else before, yet I'm also so terrified. Like any expectant mother, I'm full of hormones and awareness of all the ways in which my life is going to change, and I'm finding it really hard going. Poor Ian too, having to live with me. Realistically I know I cant protect my child from everything, but I want to give it the best, and I want to feel the best I can about it. Recently I realised that when I was still working, and I felt tired, I would never stop. Rather than ask myself if I was tired and I needed to stop, I would blame myself for the fatigue and push myself harder. It's the perfectionism and fear I've talked about before. The perfectionism wouldn't allow my tiredness, and my fear would push me on deeper and deeper into it. Talking to mum tonight reminded me of the roots of that - as a child I felt responsible for mum's manic depression which I believed was a result of my birth. Her talk of miscarriage and her clinging to misfortune as being the only possible outcome reminds of why I chose perfectionism spurred on by fear as a way of life. Such a shame for both of us! If only mum could enjoy my life, or even better hers, it would be so, so lovely. The love I feel for my child, awakens great love within me, which my practice hints I should share with the world. So I'm trying to. I dont blame mum for my fear and perfectionism, they were afterall the defences that I chose and clung to. In the light of that love though, I find it heartbreaking that someone chooses to wilfully blind themselves from happiness. It's even worse that it's my mum. I think that's why I've often felt so angry about my relationship with mum, I've felt for years responsible for her happiness. Now I'm stepping away I realise that I'm not, and that to be so is an impossible task. I still need to be there for myself in some way too, and not engage with her fears, so all I can do is offer my love - to all I think. Offerings to all sentient beings.

Monday, July 31, 2006

12 weeks old!

Heart beating, and everything!

Monday, July 03, 2006


On the way home today, I sat near a carriage on the train where the air conditioning had broken. In the south we've been getting temperatures of about 32 degrees, so you can only imagine what the temperature was like on that carriage - a lot hotter I imagine. After a short while I noticed a very hot looking guard giving out water to all the passengers. He offered me some but as I was in a cool bit, with water of my own and about to get ooff, I declined. What a lvoely thing to do though, the passengers looked so hot, and the train staff were doing their best in difficult circumstances. Nice to have that level of concern for other's well being.

Talking of water, I picked up my first biodegradable bottle of water today. It's made from corn and will compost within about 12 weeks. All of the profits from it goes towards projects providing water in India and Africa, or cleaning rivers in the UK. I think they have a variety of projects. Looking at my bottle, I see they are actually Belu.

It's so hot today it's lovely to see companies supporting life and water in such different ways.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Interesting stuff being frightened. I tend to think of fear as being a natural reaction, which it is, and that acting on it, or making some sort of resolution base on it is a useful act. For me, my ME was an expression of the high levels of fear I feel about things. This was born out very early on when I started to pace, I would lie down on bed for my rest and immediately be engulfed in waves of fear. Its quite something to lie down and rest in those circumstance. Now I'm working in a similar way with my eczema, I'm starting to see as I think I've mentioned before, how the itching is often a sign of some change or other, and the scratching is often a way of changing it. So the itching is my fear of the reaction, and the scratching is my way of controlling it. Of course the fact I'm allergic to all sorts of things can make me scratch too. I feel that my heightened fear response has probably added to this in some way I don't yet understand. But it's interesting that by expressing the fear through my itching and controlling it through scratching I managed to avoid the source of the fear. Naturally it came out later on through my ME, probably with a similar relationship between fear and control or perfectionism. In none of this have I actually looked at my fear. The fear itself is I feel a guard against some form of grief. I attended a paranirvana (death of the Buddha) ceremony a couple of years ago, and felt all my fear back to reveal the most intense raw grief I have ever felt. This was before dad died, but it was worse than anything I felt then (and that was pretty sad). I think that grief is a reaction to our separateness, I think it's that that causes the grief, then the fear, and the trying to control, as a method of trying to find our way back. In my case, me being me, there's an awful lot of anger too. I guess it's born from frustration of not being able to find my way back.

Now I'm pregnant it's very interesting because I'm terrified of having a miscarriage. I'm interested in the mythologies I believe to be true about myself, like "my body doesn't work well enough to get pregnant" - well duh! as the Americans might say ;). My second one is, "I will have a miscarriage". Fair enough, it's quite possible I could. But it's actually more possible that I wont - if human women had as many miscarriages as I'm projecting onto myself, we wouldn't be having the population explosion we're having... So where does this strong belief come from? Obviously habitual negative tendencies regarding myself, and perhaps more so from this perfectionist control of my fear. Once again I need to let go, just simply let go. I actually feel it's quite normal to be frightened of miscarriage, the 1st trimester of pregnancy where I am, has a high miscarriage rate. What I think is a shame is the way this becomes the sole focus. I'm making some attempts, whenever I find myself on a real humdinger of a fear trip, I try to imagine Green Tara is nestling in my womb. This is wonderful, as I find it easier this way to just trust what is. Really I feel the most important thing is that I allow foetus to experience that isness, after all it's not up to me what happens. The morning sickness I listen to with tonglen. Read anything by the Dalai Lama for much better descriptions on it, then I could possibly give. Basically it's a process where you visualize breathing in the poisonous afflictions of other people, and you breathe out love to heal them. One of the explanations of morning sickness, is that the foetus is passing out what it doesn't need and that causes the sickness. There are an awful lot of theories though lol. I do like that one, and breathing out love when I wanting to puke is a good thing. It's an interesting journey, and I'm already so grateful to foetus for giving me an extra chance for practice.

I also just read an excellent book It's called "The Wisdom of Forgiveness" by HH The Dalai Lama and Victor Chan. It's billed as "Intimate conversations and Journeys". Much of my inspiration behind this post comes from it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Same old, same old

Interesting stuff this resentment. Rev Olwen pointed out to me that the clinging caused by it is that which needs tackling through letting go. So I'm trying... My skin is really misbehaving itself tonight, it feels like it has lots of shooting needles and crawling worms in it. I can usually relieve this with anti-histamine, but as I just found out I'm one months pregnant (too soon to be certain we'll have a baby), ah's are out of the window. I'm not happy with the steroid cream I'm using on my skin too, but my dr assured me it would be ok. It has been proven to cause cleft lips etc in rats (poor rats), but the official line is if thats the best option for you, then your dr will ok it. Obviously not an entirely great decision to make.

So here am I, showing willing by not taking anti-histamine, and actually and rather mercifully not feeling nauseous. Another really useful opportunity for practice has been my morning sickness - not thrown up yet, but I now have a nose that can detect garlic and petrol at 100 paces. So useful! As I said it would be a good opportunity for practice, but I'm finding it totally impossible to sit back and observe whats going on. I'm not sure whether its all new, or whether it is totally different to ME, but it certainly feels like it. With ME there would usually be a semi logical explaination, something I had to change etc for it to reduce, but with morning sickness, it's quite never ending. Maybe my attempt at practica can be to be more compassionate to myself. No matter how many times I write/think/explain my spiritual journey, I always forget number 1, ie COMPASSION. Sorry for making you jump, but I'm so forgetful. So thank you to whatever it is that made me finally get out of bed and write, rather than remain and scratch, thank you for the reminder about compassion. I guess it will have to be practical compassion, ie not just sitting around feeling my pain or whatever, but carrying on doing stuff, with a lighter, less grasping edge to it.

You many have noticed I reffered obliquely to being pregnant. As I said its only a month, and right now, the shock is just about passing, and I starting to grasp how organised I'm going to need to be to plan my final year of MA around potential baby. I'm getting quite a few stomach cramps, so I'm not sure how potential, potential baby is. It's such an odd feeling, I feel I'm like the vehicle for another beings karma. I guess in a way we all are, but the prospect of motherhood, and more specifically a being growing inside me really brings that into focus. Tibetan Buddhism makes a lot of mothers and their care for their children. We are supposed to honour all beings as if they were our mothers, for at some point in our myriad previous existences, they would have been. The gratitude that arises is supposed to be very powerful. Sadly when this practice was introduced to the West, Tibetans came into contact with dysfunctional families, so the words sometimes get altered. I naturally have problems with it, which is a shame. Despite all the beatings, and shouting etc, my Mum did actually bring me up. I never went hungry, naked, thirsty etc, so you know I do try to appreciate the good stuff went on. As well as realising that my folks were in themselves vehicles for my karma, which I have in some previous life created. The shared karmic bonds between us that ripened at that point were not 100% happy ones.

Still miss Dad a lot, still find Mum hard to deal with, unless I turn on the light-hearted compassion button. So interesting to see all these shadows passing, see how real I make them, whilest forgetting that which transcends all, ie compassion.

Monday, June 05, 2006


It has been a long time, so I wont fill you in on the minutae. I had my birthday and my birthday surprise which was a jeep trip round Longleat. This was fabulous, check out our Flikr links as I'm sure pictures will appear there soon. Hard birthday to have, first without Dad. Mum came to stay last weekend, which was very useful. Absolutely terrifying in so many respects as she really is a total child. It's amazing how much responsibility I've accrued over the years, and how that is manipulated to form aggression by both of us. So good to see, but kind of "ouch", and a big "ouch" too. A very good "ouch" though.

This leads me to my topic - resentment. For so long, and I still am, I have been in a state of seething resentment about things. Why do I have to mother my mother, why cant we talk without ww3 breaking out, why doesn't my body work properly, etc, etc. At the moment I've started a new regime for my eczema using "The Eczema Solution". It's very interesting, from a Buddhist perspective it's all about bringing awareness to the itch, and to the subsequent scratch. I actually started the programme last year, but felt that I was perceptive enough to read it the whole way through, and simply practice the habit reversal without first gaining an understanding of my scratching behaviour through use of a clicker when I do scratch. I learnt the hard way I'm not that perceptive lol, so hopefully at some point a lesson about humility will be learnt too. The first day I logged my scratches I logged something like 497, today, after starting the habit reversal, plus temporarily increasing my steroid use, plus daily bath, my number is so far 41. My skin is looking a lot better too.

Now I am paying attention to my skin, I'm no longer feeling resentful of it. It's quite interesting, I feel like I'm entering into a relation with it, or at least a more positive one. But all I've really done is start to pay attention to it. I had a similar experience with Mum. She had an abusive relationship with her mother, who basically infantalised her, and in fact would not give Mum attention unless Mum either mothered her, or was her child. The same continued with me, and is still in our conversations today. Mum is a bit like one of those misbehaving children you see in TV shows - she actively misbehaves to get attention. As an adult this means she will deliberately set traps, which I run into with no awareness, in order to get shouted at. Me, with my seething resentment about not having a real mother, will then use this vent my own frustration, and shout, and thus confirm Mum's belief that the only conversations that really matter are the ones where she get's shouted at. I had started to unpick some of this, but it all went when Dad died. I felt I had to look after Mum, and naturally enough, in her grief, Mum reverted to her default position of toddler. Luckily Ian kindly pointed out to me that I was being very abrupt to Mum, and I realised that what I need to do, is simply to listen. Like with my skin, and like with the pacing that has helped my experience of ME so much. Listening means I dont have to have an opinion, unless I feel it's really worth sharing, and it will also honour Mum with the respect she deserves. It's also less exhausting and worrying for me, listening to the resentment means I dont need to act it out.

I figure there's a bit of a theme emerging...

Love to you all.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Yoga - unbelievably happy and boastful email!

This is copy of an email I just sent to a friend. It's as flippant as you might expect, but I wanted to post it, just so that anyone reading this blog with ME gets the idea that recovery is posible! Too often, the "myth" of non-recovery from ME is taken at face value, and I feel it's important to share good tidings when they come, to help shatter this.

I did yoga last night! In a normal class and everything! It may have been slightly too much, but that's because I'm an inactive, essay avoiding slob atm, but it may also have been just enough, and I'm the tiniest bit whateverish cause I slept in this am. Was so very very very cool! The teacher was really good at telling me what not to do, and because I [actually] listened (full orchestral fanfare) I lasted the whle 1 hour and 15 mins. Then we had a lovely relaxation which was a bit yoga nidra and a bit something else. Oooooooooooooo I did it! I feel so proud - 3 years ago, reading crappy women's mags was the hight of my intellectual advances, and sometimes the bath room was too far away, and the stairs were a nightmare. Now I'm doing a full yoga class and reading up for my theoretical essays and getting a grip on the fear behind all of it, albeit very slowly lol. But it's just so cool! ........... So many explaination marks!!!!!!!!!!!

In slightly more serious mode, deep and grateful bows to all those ME recovering angels (doesn't feel right to call of you Boddhissatva's which I'm more used to, because you're not not all Buddhists and I want to choose a less loaded but still appreciative term) I've met along the way. May you appear for all people with ME and may they have the courage to listen to you (takes me long enough lol).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Email Alert

I've put in a little email alert thing over to the right to see how I get on with it. Basically if you want updates of when I infrequently update (and I know some of you do, as this has been requested....), try signing up and see how you get on.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Well, the great guinea pig controversy rumbled on, I ended up apologising to some folks, and hidden inside my apology were my reasons for what I said. Thinking about it, although I dont like apologising as much as I do, now I'm learning to contain it and use it only when necessary, an apology can actually be a respectful thing. I always felt it was manipulative in some way, and maybe when I was younger, it was a way of avoiding the blows. I guess now I'm older, and I'm not being hit on a regular basis anymore, then although my apologies may still have an element of manipulation in them, they are now more about informing the other person, and respecting their feelings. In a way it's still pain avoidance though, as I really felt like I neeeeeeeeded to apologise to the people concerned. Once I did, the whole ickiness I talked about in my previous post lifted, and I was happy. It was quite cool, because although my apology didn't go the way I wanted to, I didn't go into my whole "needing to get it right thing". Out of nowhere my happy self came out. What a blessing! I'm now glad for the whole guinea pig thing, it's so cool to have seen that I value my happiness.

This is an interesting link. Particularly in light of what I'm talking about above. Makes me very glad I'm a Buddhist, I need a kick up the bum to remind me to be happy. My physical state was not enough, so it's good it's coming from somewhere.

Working on two essays at the moment, plus stuff for the animals. Definitely not a regular poster right now!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Comfort Blanket

This is going to be an interesting post to write.... First of all let me start off by sharing with you, that I feel all scrunched inside. Totally scrunched and it's through a really paralysing fear of trying to get it rightness. As you may well know this is a pretty constant companion of mine, so why am I drawing my attention to it, yet again. The answer, dear reader, is that my constant companion seems to be attacking the pies, and is getting well, rather considerably bigger.

It's been a nice feature of having had ME that my companion could only pop up now and again. Normally when I went to a teaching or similar, I would do something not quite right, my companion would pop up, I would spend a couple of weeks agonising over and simultaneaously sitting with my companion. Unexpectedly he didn't become much bigger after I started my studies recently - until I come up against my essay deadlines. Then my companions asserts a frozen glow, and I find it impossible to write, becoming more and more afraid as the deadline looms.

Now, with my latest activities as trustee of a local animal charity, my companion is getting very greedy. After last weeks meeting when 99.9% went really well, my signage proposals were applauded, but the guinea pig controversy gave my companion something really good to feed on. He lapped it up. I think he eats to form spaces so that he then needs to eat more to try and fill those spaces, but all that happens is those spaces become bigger and bigger. The space is a little cold clammy feeling round my solar plexus, kind of tight and disagreeable. I tihnk I would be, if I had to feast on worry, tedious diatribes about ones inadequacies etc.

We went out last night with 2 frinds from the animal charity, and ooooooo my companion grew.... The guinea pigs were not really mentioned so I decided there was An Ulterior Motive, and my compaion duely came to table.

What I'm interested in is that I feel I needed to be ill to take refuge in myself from my companions rapacious hunger. I think I used to feel him gnawing away all the time when I was at work before, and I wonder if he ate my energy from the inside? I wonder what would happen if I could ever learn to feed him with love, would he then need to eat less, would we then be able to experience the stillness and is-ness together?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Sea's of change

This has been my pretty constant companion these last few days - namely that I feel like I'm a sort of a spot within a great ocean of stuff. Waves and waves of it keep crashing down, and in my fear I grip harder and harder to what I imagine is my place. I get all grumpy faced, and the tension makes my sinuses squirt (probably the salt water), and then I feel icky, so I cling even tighter. Recently i've been trying to let go, and you know that's also impossible. In a way I am the sea as well, so I dont really go anywhere - but I have a better time when I can sit back and enjoy the show, as oppposed to clinging on to my spot. I figure this is Dharma in action in big red letters, so I'm trying to take notice. It helped last night, I was in a meeting for a local animal trust and we had a disagreement about guinea pig care, with me predictably on one side, and other people on the other side. I guess that's what makes a disagreement after all. When I sat this am, I started to admire the passion and great big good hearts of my colleagues, really admire that compassion in action, arising quite forcefully to answer the challenge. Now I dont take it so seriously, and I can see my own stains of comprehension floating away on the ocean. Something like that anyhow.

This is-ness that I can sometimes feel around the edge of my happiness, I feel it must be everywhere, I tihnk that's what Dharma talks about. I think it's easier when we're happier, as we're probably clinging less, but it's been an interesting one to trace that is-ness wherever I am. It's helping when I'm dealing with all the grief and and anger about all the deaths in the last 5 months or so. Without being melodramatic, it has been tough! Using the is-ness I can recognise that I'm actually ok to just feel the feelings. That it's actually quite ok to just be , and if I find in that being a load of anger, grief, well so be it. I''ve been putting so much into resisting them, so much clinging, so much saltwater. Deep bows to Rev Mugo and Rev Olwen who have both pointed out to me that these things do just need to arise and fall.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Guinea pig swimming in a water butt

Not that I would of course! Our next door neighbour is a great gardner, and he's going to fixing our guttering for us - he's recently done a wonderful job on repointing our patio, and trimming hedges etc. When he does fix the guttering, our water butt will naturally fill, and I was laughing to Ian pretending to be a g pig haveing swimming lessons in a water butt. Very interesting that, today I feel absolutely shot, and with a significantly reduced grip on sanity. Ian and myself have both got bugs, last night we slept in seperate beds which was good as it meant Ian got a good night's sleep. I on the other hand made real aquaintances with the tigers of the night - we'd watched a really fabulously useful programme on how to have a good death, and as I was waking every 20 mins with my sore throat, I was kind of drifting in and out of the emotions the programme had awakened in me, the memories of the 3 people and 4 guinea pigs who have died who were close to me in the last 6 years, just weirdness that a slight temperature can do for you etc.

I've kind of stayed with all of that today, which has been quite an eye opener. Its quite interesting, how that despite knowing that my real nature just is, these other things seem so heavy and so determined to stay - and then in the middle of all of that, I'm laughing at the thought of being a guinea pig having swimming lessons. Sometimes its jolly good to embrace the fickleness of human nature! BTW, swimming lessons are supposed to be helpful to some wuinea pigs as you may find here

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Been a long time...

Hmmm well, I found that truism to be right, you can't stop a being in perpetual motion, or something like that. When my essay was out of the way (in the days after the yoga retreat) I then realised with heart sink that I had all the other stuff to do, like sort out my father's will, deal with mum, arrange fun trips over the uk, etc etc. Not suprisingly I got a bug which was incredibly useful as I had to stop, and had to be. I actually quite enjoyed the rest, which is a decidedly odd thing to say. Not becuase I dont think the rest was good for me, just that I'm setting myself up again and again. It's an interesting dichotomy. These are really quite awkward times for me atm, and I know somewhere deep down that I do have enough energy to do the things that are coming up as necessary, and also the things that are coming up as unecessary, but fun... There's still so much tension, which I think comes in part from the fact that I am dealing with a lot of quite stressful things, partly from my desire to do everything and be perfect, and I think partly from a sense of resentment in having to do any of it. I guess that's the anger manifesting at my father's death - how could someone so good with money die intestate and leave it all up to me and mum?

Yep, that's really it, I figured I'd avoided the anger but it was there lurking away.....

I've made some progress today with that lot, I've got the proposed deed of variation checked out by my solicitor friend, who thinks it all looks great and as if our solicitor knows what she's doing, I've sent an email off to our solicitor asking why is she sending me all the information she'd previously agreed too, and I've asked my mum why she keeps on repeating the same things every time we talk. Without meaning too, I think I've fallen into mum world again.... Mum world is a common place for me to fall into, I guess it's like that with mothers and daughters. Mum is very good at going over and over the same arguement, and although I'm trying to be calm and clear headed, at the moment I'm falling into the argument trap again and again. Part of it is our relationship, part of it our shared grief, part of it my confusion at not knowing what mum is talking about as I dont have the details from the solicitors and the main part is me not really sitting tight within myself. Still I'm learning...

So far a combination of anger, grief and not sitting tight enough.

I'm so glad compassion is part of Buddhism, becuase to realise that's me right now, is actually rather sad. It would be easy to be judgemental, and say to myself, well you should be nicer to your mum, calmer with the solicitor etc, but although there's some truth in both of those statements, how would I really help me if I went solely down that path. It feels alien from a personal point of view to be kind to myself, so again, homage to all the Buddha's Dharma and Sangha for allowing me some compassion.

Ian writes very beautifully about Clovers death. I miss her so much, she needed daily syringe feeding, which was very much part of my day, although sometimes it was awkward to fit it all in. I appreciate the gift of extra time from Clover now very much. She was a very gentle pig, she a real soul feeling about her. I cant really describe it any better than that. When I first had to feed her, and give her intensive care (over a year ago now), I was terrified. She seemed so ill, so pathetic, and I guess I just felt so responsible. But she did things her way, and reminded me often I am not the omipresent power I try so hard to be. She died just as I was getting better. Unexpectedly, I did not feel guilty about her dieing, just a profound sense of repsect to her for doing things her way - as do all of us ultimately. The night before she died, I prayed to Green Tara to look after her, and the morning after as I looked at a beautiful poster image I have of Green Tara, I noticed a ginger, guinea pig shaped fold in one of her clothes.

I dont think I'm going to return to being a daily poster, this will be a bit more as and when. I need to honour all the things that I do have going on in my life, and not jump into perceived space with more, more, more! Some quiet time, some space between notes would be good. I think I need to find that for myself.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Got a bug

Such brilliant thing. It's great having a bug, as I'm so foggy headed I can only do very very basic things. Whittering brain is turned off! Need to learn how to retain that when I return to full health/whitter mode.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Off on a yoga meet

Going to be doing yoga all weekend, well yoga for people with ME, so thats 1 session in the morning, and then the rest of the day to recover lol. Yesterday, in our favourite Indian place the owner spoke to Ian about yoga exercises for diabetes, from a sadhu based on Sky. Ian's willing to try them, although I suspect he felt as dubious as I did, about the claim that he may have to reduce his medication. Still who knows? LOL it would be a great idea for me to listen to that yoga mesage of being still, and gentle actiivity....

See you all Monday!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Having an at home with my essay day today, for which I am very grateful. I'm on yet another cold which is alerting me to the fact that one can only cope with so much, and then something will start shouting. Because I have so many control issues, it's usually my body first, so I'm trying to listen. I'm finding it very hard, I'm still feeling innundated by the outside world. Like many people, the path of recovery for me, involves saying no, but I'm really only starting to learn what that means. it's not, as I thought lol, abut saying no, and then expecting the world to ignore you, but it's actually about being no lololol. I have to laugh, as to me it sounds quite funny. Amidst the laughter there is a lot of truth there, after all if I dont focus on my essay and make it my number one top priority atm, who will? Typing this I remember talking to the Lama, and he said how focus does not need to be rigid, but one needs to allow your focus to be diverted, but also allow it to come back. I think that's where I'm going wrong. I have the focus, but I dont have the gently coming back bit lol, which is more the point of practice. I think this is part of this deeper thing for me atm, of what am I really doing, ie practice, practice practice! The one thing I've done since I've been sick, is to meditate every day. So in some very real way I did really need this lol! Choosing to re-engage with the world after a long illness is always going to be challanging, and, I guess, my lack of gentleness is causing drama wich makes me flare physically. Hmnmmm. Ian just reminded my of a lovely image of Alokiteswara where he/she is surrounded by clouds, but calmly pours water (you find that image here, look to the left of the page. This is Ian's order). Ian said, one just needs to be like that regardless sometimes. I of course reacted saying well I'm not calm, Ian said how do you know that? I said that, that's what everyone says, and again Ian reminded me that not everyone does, which is actually very true. So again, my clinging, and over rigid focus is misleading me. Obviously by continuing to disbelieve in that part of me which is calm I'm really not helping myself lolol. Back to practice!

Deep bows to all of you who I encounter along this path.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Got a

B+ for my second essay today. Plus a comment in Arabic (the lecturer's first language) and much underlining. I'm going to emial him to ask for translations. Very pleased though. The library staff asked me if I want to do a PhD, and I replied that I do, but I'm not sure if people who get B's do PhD's . Talked about some stuff with my other lecturer about problems that I'm seeing with inferring backwards based on textual examples. He hadn't seen them before, so that was interesting. Even more interesting, is what's really going on? Am I desperately trying to fill space by stuffing in a PhD, am I asking for permission? I suspect so. I think there needs to be a degree of authenticity here, that is possibly lacking. For the first time in my life, I dont actually know what I want to do. Maybe I should listen?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Newspaper Report

Went up to visit Mum yesterday for her birthday. We basically ate our way throughout the day, pub lunch, afternoon coffee and evening meal at an amazing Chinese restaurant, with a quick detour via a Saxon Church. Mum said she had a good day which was good to hear. I was a bit shellshocked, the local paper did a report on the inquest into Dad's death. Luckily somone had phoned Mum to let her know it was in the paper, and she hdn't opened and found "Local Pensioner dies after Fall". I ended up carrying it round the house last night in a bit of a daze, after photocopying it. I think it helped though, I feel like something clicked today. I think it helped counteract the air of disbelief about death.

Sleepy now, night night!

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Last night as I meditated, I felt such waves of gratefulness to my Lama and his wife. I'm from the Dechen community btw. They wre both incredibly kind whilest my father was dying and offered excellent advice and support. In the Lama, as well as having found someone who is wise, calm and an exellent Buddhist scholar, I have also found an excellent mirror. The penny finally dropped, after hmmmmm 6 years? that all those issues that flare up when I see the Lama or receive a teaching, and that I often do experience as illness, are actually the reason for my illness. I'd keyed into that bit before, but last night I realised that it was those same issues which I'm making statements about (ok two) for the reverse therapy.

So here goes....

I'm frightened of judgement,
I'm frightened of violence,
I'm frightened of happiness,
I'm frightened of wisdom and of ignorance,
I'm frightened of acheiving and not acheiving,
I tend to create drama as a way of avoiding the issues I'm frightened of,
I've become addicted to the drama, as I've mistakenly construed it as the way out of the horrible situations,
The addiction means I have to create bigger and bigger drama's (hence more interesting illnesses).

When I went on my first major retreat I was already ill with the flu, but it had cleared up to such an extent that I felt able to go. I then got a really nasty lung infection as I think I was finally starting to listen to what was going on. A lot of my spiritual path feels very contradictory, I think this is because there is an awful lot of drama built into it, to keep it all in perpatual motion. Without the drama, the fear would just arise and fall, but the drama is there to keep it all in place. Just after the reatreat was when I met the Lama for the first time, and if you suddenly really take a good look at yourself, well if you're a dramatic person, I reckon things are going to happen. And they did!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I have such a capacity for grumpiness, which is afterall a euphimism for anger. I was feeding lovely Clover, and got so grumpy because she wasn't taking her food, and was dribbling it everywhere. Still it's better than when we first started this, I've been syringe feeding her for over a year now, as she has quite a few health problems, and she does well with the extra support. Just like when Daisy died, her lungs have got very rustly again now Molly has died - I'm not sure if it's grief or the strain of having to fit in with the new world order, or maybe both. Who knows how the world is for guinea pigs? I'm enjoying blogging, it's very cathartic, and gives me a clearer perspective on this. I'm still concerned as to why I would get grumpy when I feed her, but writing about it enables me to see the level of frustration intensified by the fact that her poor old rustly lungs are not responding to the drugs I'm administering. When love gets that confused, a little compassion goes a long way.

Oooooo and before I forget, I think I've fixed the comments boxes, so it's set up as word verified only. I suddenly found I ad an awful lot more comments when I clicked on my comments moderation box. Thanks all!

Good bye!

Today we sang Great Kanzeon for Molly as we buried her. Watching her sweet face disapear was dreadful. She had the most glorious copper red fur and big black eyes, and charmed most people who met her. Knowing I wont see them again is awful, but standing in our garden in the middle of all thats ordinary, facing death which is the most extraordinary and yet most ordinary of all things, was occassionally blissful. When we'd forgotten about our dripping noises, sore throats and how cold it was, when we just sang for Molly it was really ok. Isn't it great when things are so tough, that we can be touched by miracles like that? Thank you!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

RIP Molly

She's just died, we had some time together this afternoon, when I just held her and spent time with her. It felt like she was slowly dissolving into that great something - feeling her muscle tone lessen, her eyes dull etc. It's a very beautiful process and I'm so glad we decided to honour that bigger something by letting Molly take the lead in all of this. Thank you Molly.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

More stress monkey shennanians in the Gingerpig world today, so I thought I'd post some lovely photo's of the boys! On the plus side, now I'm keyed in to how stressed I am, I'm actually trying to a) keep on listening and b) do something about it. My hands are clearing up nicely too. Kind of good to get that body level reasurance - epecially as it gets tougher at a mental level.

Hmmmm we bought some yoga kits at the weekend, and the boxes are on the floor for the piggies to play with when they're out in the evening. Emily (top right) has found a new place to stare at me from. It's a very hard stare, and I'm worrried I'm being outwitted by a guinea pig.She wants fed!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Breathing in..

.. I blog ;)

I found a link on Thich Naht Hanh I wanted to share. If you scroll down you will find a fuller version of the breathing in poem, and also "Call me by my one true name". Enjoy!

Train Bodhisattva's

I salute you and bow deep in gratitude!

The first was actually on the tube - a lady, standing in the middle of the tube, grasping firmly on to the pole in the middle, so she was well balanced with her big heavy rucksack behind her, and smiling the most wonderful calm smile. If she hadn't been listening to music, I would have thanked her for her smile - not a bit toothy one, just a turned up at the corners regular type smile. Watching her made me remember that Thich Naht Hanh saying, which I think goes something along the lines of,"Breathing in I am peace, breathing out I smile". So I did - and boy did I need to lol! More of that later.... I dont remember the exact Thich Naht Hanh bit, so I will look them up and report back.

The second was a lady on the train on the way back home. A lovely, chatty lady, we were soon deep in discussion about ME, adrenals, social wellbeing, id cards etc. She was great! She was asking my about how I recovered from ME, and was interested to hear about pacing, and reverse therapy. I cant claim to have had reverse therapy, I've only read the books after all, but practicing what is written in them, I find very helpful. Links to them here and here .
I was explaining how my perfectionism was a real problem, and my lovely Boddhisattva (here's what one of those is, if you dont know) said, "Do you take personal responsibility for things? I felt as if I was the only person fighting against the Iraq war, and it was my fault that Tony Blair led us in!" Such honesty, I do admire her self knowledge! We were both laughing about the shared horror of being lazy perfectionists, and home soon appeared. It wasn't until I got into the car when I realised, how I really should listen to my 2nd Bodhisattva's statement, so I'm writing it down here, to remind myself. Reverse therapy uses statements to re-educate ourselves, although that wont be a statement for healing specifically, I'm going to use it to remind me that I dont neeeeeeed to solve the world. I can feel the tension as I write that, so I'm going to extend to remind myself, that I dont neeeeeeed to solve me immediately - please imagine that we're sharing the most enormous belly laugh right now!

Actually it was my Lama that pointed out my perfectionism to me. I'd managed to hide it very well from myself, and I often think that was the single most useful thing anyone has said to me. He is very kind though, I dont think he's ever pointed out I'm a complete drama queen with an addiction to stress that's really the root of my physical manifestations that I dont like... So kind, and so gentle. To think I didnt' believe himwhen he first said it *sheesh*! Such a clever way of allowing the message to drip through... This reminds me that in Tibetan Buddhism there is a teaching on the 3 cups - one is turned upside down, so you can't pour stuff in; the second is full of junk, so the tea has no place to go, and the 3rd has holes in it, so the tea pours away. Replace tea with teaching and cups with heads, and you get the picture. I'm sure I'm not the only Buddhist to feel like their head has a bad case of all 3 lololololol. So deep bows of gratitude to all our kind teachers for not despairing even when there's tea all over the place lol.

Onto the real point of this post that I neeeeeed to remember - I'm a stress junkie. Yup, I hold my hand up, and I finally admit that yes, my ME symptoms, my eczema, and probably my asthma too are largely caused and exascerbated by stress... That's hard to admit! Online blogging is very cathertic. Last week I had a perpetual cold, prickly skin etc, and I finally realised it's beacuase I was stressed. For some strong reasons I am addicted to drama, which means I respond to an awful lot of things with stress. So hard to break! I feel like I just realised I'm an alcoholic or something, I'm not trying to be a drama queen here, but if one realises that all my ME could have been caused by my drama addiction, well thats a very cool thing to know, and going to be a very interesting one to work with. Isn't it great I live with a 3rd Bodhisattva who reminds me to be gentle?

Finally, it was my Dad's birthday today. I'm sending love to him.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Thank you

I was going to write this to say thank you to Rev Mugo's comment, but then thought is felt more like a blog entry - but it's still a thank you! It's good to know other's howl as well - and I've had an email from a very dear friend whose father also died last year too. So I feel I've got good company for this bit, and thats just one of the best feelings ever.

Actually the howling on Saturday was precipitated more by the fact that my brain just wouldn't work for my essay. The reason why it wouldn't work was of course Dad, the fact that Daisy died at the beginning of the year, and the fact that we have another guinea pig who is dieing of kidney failure atm. Correction, I think I cry because I can't change any of those things, and I want to, very very much. More sobbing yesterday, this time mainly when I meditated, and also lots of talking with Ian about Molly. So hard! We both know she is dieing, she is getting very thin, and our vet who is the bees knees in guinea pig care has run out of options, but it's making that final descision to let go. So hard! She's still eating, and I have been syringe feeding her. Actually, this is a euphamism for force feeding, as sometimes she really doesn't like it. Neither of us want to add to the suffering of Molly's last few days, it's a good challenge in respecting what's going on for the Snout. Thing is, I dont want to respect it, I just want her to get better! But, as we dont have kidney transplants for guinea pigs, then I have to learn. The force feeeding seems to be out, but I will try and keep her as comfortable as I can with water and pain killers. It does make me buckle at the knees to make these descisions for another being, I guess that's why it is so important to try and connect with that something. I can understand more why people put their animals to sleep, it's awful watching this drama unfold. But, I feel quite strongly that there is a rhyme and reason to it, which seems bigger than me, and I'm trying very hard to defer to that.

Last night I reminded myself to observe a little more, so I can try and be somethingy. Not to reject the grief feelings, but to honour them more I think. I had a nice dream last night that my Lama had started up some learner basics classes for Buddhism, and I'd gone along to them and found them really helpful as they were less esoteric than usual lol. Not that the Lama's teachings are particularly esoteric, which was my first reaction on waking. I figured it was a nice dream to have though, it felt quite encouraging. Dreams/inner voices etc etc, I have them an awful lot, and you know, it's really embarrassing how wrong they've been sometimes. I must have such a goofy old head inside me :) Still sometimes also they can be very very right, and I'm not going to take last nights dream as gospel (can Buddhists talk about gospel?!) but I'm going to appreciate the encouragement.

Just as a fun thing, so I'm not always weeping and wailing - yesterday we went to an organic food fair, and tried dried raspberries and strawberries! So lovely! We got great deals off a lady selling olives and stuffed vine leaves, and also on boxes of Tulsi tea. This tea is supposed to have great properties, I guess we'll see...

Btw, if you want to read Rev Mugo's blog, you may find it here. It's great, it's kind of like thought for the day, but always tuned into a Buddhist channel. Rev Mugo's posts have a great measured quality to them, there is a "calming and kind quality of the posts " to quote a quote on yesterdays post. Oh and there's been some great pictures of penguins, guinea pigs and a certain Norfolk terrier called Trog who is a favourite amongst Ian's sangha. So we begin we end today it seems!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

New Links!

If you look to the right, (underneath the fetching picture of me in a dressing gown, blowing bubbles in the middle of Snowdonia) you will see links to tapir stroking, wedding pictures etc. I'm especially fond of the two tapir stroke, pure tapir inspired bliss.

The great news of today, is that my death essay is finished. It's been quite a week, with propping up one of the guineas whose kidneys are failing, Dad's inquest, a little bit of modding on a website I'm a member of and trying to write my essay. It all felt like the right thing to do, even though a lot of it feels pretty horrible. It's hard to understand how it's the right thing to do, but there's a definite sense that it is. I guess we're back on love again. I was pretty volatile yesterday, Ian was out and I was howling. I'd been advised to simply let go of my grief, and express it when it comes up, so even though yesterday felt absolutely dreadful, there was a deeper sense of something else. It's very odd to be so caught up in the howling, but to have that very clear sense of something. After the major howling, I received a lovely message from Rev Mugo, thank you! and I realised again that sense of deeper rightness and somethingness is trustworthy, and even when one is despairing, there might just be another aspect of ones self that's quietly ticking on, being just so.

Like the love thing I was talking about yesterday, I was actually, and this is not bigheaded, very inspired by my love for Dad. I'm not going to go into the specifics of the relationship, but it was very very tricky sometimes, and yet we both really loved each other. What I particularly like, is that the bit of us that interacted as people was often really quite crotchety and a bit revolting, but there was still this incredible force, which seems almost tangible. I think it's that something, that same thing that does decent blog entries and moves people with saying just the right thing. I'm impressed by that, and I dont think its me, or you, but I also know it is, but not in a way that we (or more specifically me lol) need to get pig headed and perfectionist about.

I witnessed another minor miracle yesterday - sobbing on Ian's chest when he came back in, he reminded me of the need to be gentle with myself. I'm very good at ignoring all the marvellous something I've just talked about, and try and forge on regardless. Thank you Ian!

Thank you to everyone who I emailed this link too, I really appreciated your responses. Now I'm essay free for a small while (I have one in on March 10) I will try and get round to responding. Please feel free to respond here too, I think it's easy, but I tihnk you may need to be signed in to avoid spam. I will check this out and report back later!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Day after Dad's Inquest

Probably more about the inquest later, but yesterday what amazed me was (and this is going to sound cheeeesey) love. You know how it is when you're someplace you dont know, and the brain works in such a way that you create little landmarks to create comfort. Well mine does anyway. I got to know the loo's in Leamington Spa Pump rooms very well, and the coffee shop i the old Pump Rooms which was close to the Town Hall where the coroner's court was held. The very, very good thing that happens when someone close to you dies, is that all the crap get's swept away for seconds at a time lol, and you get to notice the flow more. In this flow, I noticed how clean the loo's were, the real and genuine empathy of the coroner towards my mum, how strong my love was for Dad, despite all my new feelings about the power struggles in our house as I was growing up. All these things seem to me to be an expression of love, whether its for someone you meet once, someone you'll never meet, or someone you've met many, many times. I found it very inspiring, that love has such a quality. I'm not sure how to distinguish between it and attatchment, maybe love flows and carries all with it, whereas attachment is blind and grasping, and fears that flow. I think a lot of the qualities we think of love are actually attachment, I'm not quite sure how clean public toilets, smiles from public servents and still loving someone despite and becuase of an awful lot of stuff are what I would really feel as love, but I do. I'm glad I do too, because it's something to have faith in and be faithful too, which again is love. I wonder if what we/I really hate when someone dies is the clarity? The seperation is inevitable, and I think I'm prepared for that, but the whoosh of the rest of it is quite something else.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I'm writing essays!

But more importantly I have my new years resolution. I dont usually do resolutions, I think the point of practice is just that, it's practice, it's not prefection, and you may as well try and do some each day. I had a lovely phone call with another one of my many lovely friends the other night, what bliss, soaking in a hot bath, talking to a wonderful friend. Life is full of so many minor miracles, and I miss most of them lol! Anyway, because I'm eager to get to back my essay, mine (and my friend's) resolution, is "To do things badly rather than not at all" I will write more about this later, but Akhenaten's Egypt is calling!

Ahhhhh yes, news about Clover as well. Guinea pigs may or may not have asthma. She it turns out, has a large heart, which may or may not be caused by a bad bout of the sniffles. We've extended the sniffles treatment, and we'll see what happens next. The vet said he thought if it was a heart problem, she would probably look more depressed, which I think we would tell by if she wasn't eating. I thought it was quite an interesting use of the word depressed - I guess it means a little bit more than feeling pmt'y and craving chocolate. I guess a guinea pig would crave romaine or chicory mind... ...

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Guinea pig madness

Can guinea pigs get asthma? That's the question for today... Beautiful Clover piglet is still breathing like a carpet of autumn leaves despite a week long treatment of anti-b's and 2 doses of frusemide. She doesn't look distressed in herself, which shows it must take more intelligence to be frightened at breathing difficulties... I think next time I'm wheezy, I'll try to be a guinea pig. Mind you, the food would all be raw - no chips, and no chocolate. I guess I'll put up with the fear then.

Today is the grand start of my Egyptian archaeology essay, and will hopefully provide the definative answer to what is an Amarna period shabti? Obviously I can't say as yet, but by the end of the week, it will no doubt be clear.

Had some strange pear flavoured liquoer (sp? - half the fun of my blog will be the search for typo's) yesterday at my favourite Turkish place in Bath. It was presented in tiny glasses after the main meal, after our coffee... Yes, I had a cup of full-caffiene coffee, and a mini glass of pear plonk in one day. Fabulous! We ate our way round Bath yesterday, and chatted and chatted and chatted. It's so lovely getting together with good friends, we can all be so delighted with each other. One of those really nourishing friendships, or perhaps it was the copious food! I wonder if certain friendships of mine relate to the food I normally consume when I'm with them? One of my closest and longterm friendships is peppered with the chilli's of all the curry's we've shared. We started off in a student house share, eating real stick to your ribs food, that would floor us for hours... Now we're older we dont have the eating competitions (although recently I found it was me being competive about the toast *sigh*), but we still have a friendship where we synchronically share our live's paths... It's a very warm experience, although we're excellent at being the doozey in pointing out what the other one is trying to avoid... Maybe that's got something to do with chilli's or maybe we always sniff like that lol. I am finding the comparison a hard one to sustain, but I do like the idea so I may return to it.

Toodle pips xxx

Sunday, January 01, 2006

First Post...

Hello all,

customery first post to say, my name's Rachel, and this is my blog. Check back for tapirs, guinea pigs, a few rambles into Egyptology, and many missed g's as I need to air clean my key board.