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.