MY MINI LOSS AND GRIEF WORKSHOPS

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
―Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care Conference  Phoenix Arizona

About a month ago, I decided that I would start again to offer the *Between Now & Forever Loss & Grief workshops that I once gave for National Hospice conferences, churches and universities in several cities and towns around the US. I had thought that I was finished with them but some things happened recently, making me feel it was time to start again.

* Between Now & Forever means to me, that period of time between experiencing a great loss and moving into ‘Forever’ where everything is understood: Why did this happen to me, Why Now etc.

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Grand Rapids, Michigan

For several years, I offered as I said, these mini workshops or presentations at Hospice and Death Education Conferences as well as for privately organized  groups throughout the US. The workshops accompanied a photo/oral history exhibit by the same name which traveled to Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Mi,

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UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON

the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Our Lady of Lourdes West Islip, NY , Christ Church Cathedral-Houston, Little Rock Arkansas etc.

But I quit doing them when I went to Portland, Oregon to give a presentation at the Association for Death Education and Counseling Annual Conference. The conference was held at a large hotel and the night before the workshops began, there was a party which I went to and the first people I encountered were 2 grief therapists arguing about which of them had experienced the most grief in her life.

“Yikes!” I thought…..I don’t want any more to do with this and I left and went shopping, only coming back to give my presentation. It was a little bit like when I left the Episcopal Church many, many years before…..I didn’t want to be part of more than, better than, different than.

The only memorable part of my time in Portland was taking the Amtrak to Seattle and sitting next to a woman with 2 big buckets of freshly cut lilacs……reality…..the breath of LIFE.

So it’s been years, probably 15 years, since I’ve offered the workshops but just this past month, I’ve felt that it might be a good time to offer them again… though in a different way. There’s such an overwhelming amount of death, loss, grief and despair on this Earth right now and

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OUR LADY OF LOURDES ~WEST ISLIP, NY

these little workshops offer hope and inspiration..a light in the darkness and some magic too..

I no longer want to travel very far so I decided I would offer them in this part of New Mexico where I live–Las Vegas, Taos and Santa Fe and I would begin with Las Vegas. And so a few days ago, I made an appointment to talk with the priest at the Catholic Church in Las Vegas. The priest, whose name is Father George, suggested I call a man who had lost almost his entire family several years before when their minivan was hit by a drunk driver. His daughter, son-in law and 3 of their children were killed instantly when this driver, going the wrong way on the interstate hit their van, going 75 miles an hour.

I remembered the story [it made national news] and I didn’t want to call this man who had been through the imaginable. What could I possibly say?  I thought then about the losses in my own life and I thought about my workshops and what I could offer and what I could not.

TURNING TOWARD THE MORNING

“Turning Toward the Morning is a celebration of the human spirit. It is one of the most powerful expressions of love, compassion and transcendence I have ever seen. It is a reminder that we humans, for all our faults and failings, also contain the Divine. We are capable of great strengths, great visions, and great wisdom, which often surface in the wake of great pain. Watch this documentary with someone you love, and be prepared for magic.”

-New York Times Bestselling author, Larry Dossey, MD

I’m not a grief therapist-I never wanted to be. My workshops involve showing our award winning documentary, Turning Toward the Morning followed by a time to create simple memorials. I always bring colored markers, crayons, paints, glitter & colored paper and everyone from young children to the very elderly make drawings or write poems or letters and memorial-daddyeach one however simple or complex, is beautiful.

turning front coverTurning Toward the Morning includes 3 stories, 3 stories of parents who have lost a child to accidental death, suicide and terminal illness. The stories are told by the parents themselves……there are no ‘experts’ expressing opinions or giving advice.

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Michael and Breck Whitman from Turning Toward the Morning

The experts are the parents themselves.

After Father George suggested I contact the man who had lost his family, I thought about what really helps when there is tremendous loss. Who can help and how?  The answer, at least from my experience, is almost no one because it’s each person’s personal journey, one that they have to make alone. Even in the case of parents who lose a child, they each make the journey alone.

IN MY LIFE….

I thought about when my mother died when I was nine and how I instinctively closed myself off because I knew no one would understand. I knew they would say things like “Your mother was a wonderful person and now you have to live up to her memory and help your father.” or “She’s in a better place.” [How do they know I always wonder and how do those words help? They’re just words]

And I remembered when my brother killed himself at age 16. It was late August and I was getting ready to leave in 2 weeks for my sophomore year at Hollins College in Roanoke Virginia. My dad and stepmother thought it was too soon for me to go back but I wanted to be with my friends so they warned me “If you want to go back, don’t ask to come home. We’ve spent a lot of money.” [There would not be any emotional support at home which was why I wanted to leave]

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Sharon, Jeff and me  ~ Hollins College Roanoke, Virginia

For about 2 weeks after I was back at school, I was OK. My friends provided a distraction but then they were ready to go on with their lives as college sophomores and I wasn’t. I crashed, got sick–mono- and was sent to the college infirmary.

I was REALLY sick…I had night sweats and a terrible sore throat and I lay in bed on a rubber sheet not caring if I lived or died. But there was a doctor in that infirmary who took care of me. I don’t remember her name but I remember her because she was the first person who seemed to understand. I don’t remember any words that she spoke either….It was the feeling that came from her, a feeling of of compassion, caring and understanding and I felt safe and cared for with her as if I didn’t have to pretend. Later I learned that this doctor was herself terminally ill which probably explained her compassion.

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Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross signing books at a Life, Death and Transition workshop *The man on the left was a young dentist with ALS and the man on the right had lost his wife in a plane crash just the week before

Many years after that, I went to my first Life, Death and Transition workshop with Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. The workshop was held at the Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, California and because of Elisabeth, her spirit and the way she was able to communicate with people, the feeling was the same..once again it wasn’t words but a FEELING of being cared for and understood…..I wanted to stay there forever, far away from the world that had hurt me and brought me so much pain.

WHAT CAN I OFFER

So the workshops…..What can I offer? I can’t offer a solution-no one can- but through  Turning Toward the Morning, I can offer the stories of some people who have found peace and a reason to go on… in the midst of great loss.

And I can offer the memorials as a way of expression, remembering and honoring…

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Captain Matthew Rogan  FDNY  died September 11, 2001

About a month after 911, I happened to be staying in the convent at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in West Islip, NY. Many of the firefighters who died on 911 were from West Islip and as I walked around the village, I saw memorials for them in many of the shop windows. One in particular stood out and I looked at the name–Matthew Rogan. When I got back to the convent, I asked one of the nuns, Sister Diane, about Matthew Rogan and she told me thatFile_01 matthew:parish his 10 year old son, also named Matthew, was in 4th grade at the church school. He was having a very difficult time she said and she was meeting with him whenever he needed to talk, in an attempt to help him through this terribly sad and painful time.

I asked if I could talk with Matthew, if he might like to tell his father’s story.

He did and the next day I interviewed him and took some photos. He drew a picture of his father’s firetruck which he wanted included in the memorial and when I got back home, I had everything framed and it became part of the traveling exhibit I did on loss and grief.matthew for sah copy copy

Six years later I took the exhibit to Our Lady of Lourdes and Matthew came with his mom. He came up to me and gave me a kiss on the cheek and then his mom told me how much it had meant to him to know that his father’s story had reached so many people. I was  happy…it’s always a giant leap of faith because I never know when I begin these projects what the outcome will be. *Matthew’s memorial is now permanently displayed at The Houston Firefighters Memorial in Houston, Texas.

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MATTHEW ROGAN WITH HIS MOM AND SISTER DIANE ~ OUR LADY OF LOURDES WEST ISLIP NY

 

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Matthew Rogan with his exhibit piece from Between Now & Forever ~Our Lady of Lourdes, West Islip, NY

CONNECTING….

exhibit 2 madisonIn 2004, I was invited to do a workshop presentation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was put on by the School of Nursing and it was extremely challenging in many ways. theater madisonAlong with the Between Now & Forever exhibit, I showed Turning Toward the Morning in a small theater there in the conference center

Before the film was shown, I gave a short talk about my experiences with loss, my therapy with the much loved addictions counselor, John Bradshaw and about the workshops with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. And then for some reason, maybe because I was very tired and wasn’t trying to impress anyone, I talked about how I had quite often in the past, cut myself with razor blades. I don’t know why I mentioned this then because I never talked about it. I thought it was shameful and I had seen before that people were horrified. Now it seems to be kind of an ‘in thing’ with kids like killing themselves on Facebook but at that time, I knew no one else who cut themselves.

But then the unexpected happened. When the film was over, quite a few people came up to me and began telling me their stories. They said things like I never cut myself but I tortured myself in other ways….and we understood each other and the whole feeling of that conference changed for me then and there. It wasn’t a formal event any longer but a real and true communion between people.

BLAZE

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together…”

Blaze-Nathan-Bernstein

BLAZE BERNSTEIN  1998-2018

I said I wanted to do the Between Now & Forever workshops in a different way but really I just want to add something to them and it’s this. A couple months ago I read a story that I could not forget: it was the story of University of Pennsylvania student, Blaze Bernstein who was brutally murdered by a ‘friend’.

Blaze who was known as a teenager with “a gentle and generous heart” was missing from his parents home in southern California for a week and when his body was found, he had been stabbed 20 times.

And his parents made this statement.

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good and honor Blaze’s memory.”

~Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

So I’m doing the workshops in memory of Blaze, as my small way of doing something good, of doing something positive to affect change.

Because it’s time now to move past and go beyond hate, revenge and blame…it’s way past time. Humanity will not survive much longer in this atmosphere. It’s all we hear in the ‘news’, from the politicians, from the ‘metoo’ people. It has become the accepted and expected way but it is not THE WAY.

For more information on the workshops, you can contact me at: fonehome@indian-creek.net

*ALSO I am offering these handmade hearts for a donation and as part of the workshops. They can be used as memorials…On the back, you can write a message: “RIP, in memory of” etc…with a fine tipped marker. 2 gold, 1 pink hearts

And if you would like to contribute to the continuation of this blog, you can do so here.

Thank you and May the Force be with You

MY EXPERIENCE WITH NATURAL MEDICINE [There is a BETTER WAY and It’s Right Here, Right Now]

*The following words were spoken by the Indian spiritual teacher, OSHO 35 years ago. We are now, in 2018, living in the midst of the times he spoke of…and we have some choices to make…

“Man is now living in his most critical moment and it is a crisis of immense dimensions. Either he will die or a new man will be reborn…It is going to be a death and resurrection. Unless human consciousness changes totally man cannot survive. As he is right now he is already outdated. …During this period there will be every kind of destruction on Earth including natural catastrophes and man manufactured auto-suicidal efforts. In other words there will be floods which have never been known since the time of Noah, along with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and everything else that is possible through nature. The Earth cannot tolerate this type of mankind any longer. There will be wars which are bound to end in nuclear explosions, hence no ordinary Noah’s ark is going to save humanity. …The Holocaust is not going to be confined to certain places, it is going to be global so no escape will be possible. You can only escape within and that’s what I teach. ….” (OSHO (1983))

For the past few months I’ve been very aware of a split on this planet, 2 very different worlds that are existing simultaneously

sundog    There is the old world which is dying and which is characterized by greed, fear, extreme materialism, hate, violence and blame. This world is ugly..it does not support life..it will not be able to sustain itself.  “The Earth cannot tolerate this type of mankind any longer…”

the rainbowAnd the new world coming characterized in part by sharing, acts of kindness, community, generosity, creativity…connection to Spirit, to the Creator.

And people are making their choices, choosing to live in one ‘reality’ or the other.

Since I’ve written about this already here and here,  I’m focusing in this post on health and healing, using Natural Medicine which is a significant part of The New Earth.

“The Most Allergic Person”

In my early 20s, I was married to a doctor, a surgeon and I believed totally and completely in traditional medicine. I believed in a lot of things then that turned out not to be true at all but I was young and I lived ‘inside the box’.

I was not a happy person in those days, having no purpose or understanding or reason for being…..I was a lost soul. And I had severe allergies. Every week, I went to the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston to get allergy shots where they told me I was one of the most allergic people they had ever seen. But even in my fogged and miserable state, I could see that I was getting worse from the shots–my nose ran constantly, my eyes were red and itched….I felt sick all the time.

I often went to Austin then, to visit friends and down the street from my friends’ house lived a man who offered ‘natural healing’. So on one of my trips, in desperation, I made an appointment and went to see him. I remember that he made a remedy, a tea which I was supposed to drink on a regular basis and he suggested I start doing some meditation. I drank the tea for maybe a month, the allergies went away and they never came back. Needless to say I never got another allergy shot.

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OSHA ROOT

* I think the tea remedy probably contained osha. “Osha, or Ligusticum porteri, (also called bear root) is an important perennial herb that inhabits the dry, upland meadows and ravines of the Rocky Mountains. The beneficial part of the osha plant is the root, which has long been used and considered sacred by Native Americans for cold, cough, and other respiratory ailments.”

As the yeas passed, I became more aware of natural medicine and methods of healing.  At a workshop in Hawaii, I learned about essential oils and I when I returned to Texas, I discovered that my veterinarian used the same oils for some of the animals he treated. I learned a lot more from him and I have used the oils ever since. As of this moment, I have not seen a doctor in 30 years.

MOTA/THE SACRED PLANT

jody's huge plantWhen I moved to northern New Mexico, 8 and 1/2 years ago, I discovered that nearly everyone I met smoked marijuana…it seemed almost a part of the culture. The people who smoked called it mota and they often referred to it as medicine. In Texas, I hadn’t known anyone who used it……I just equated it with Willy Nelson and Woodstock. It really meant nothing to me and I didn’t care about it one way or another.

But something happened that brought a sudden, sharp awareness: A drug bust which happened out here where I live, a terrifying experience when early one morning, 2 helicopters began circling low over my property and the surrounding area. For hours, the helicopters circled and then an army of military type vehicles carrying men armed with automatic weapons descended on a neighbor’s VERY SMALL, non commercial growing operation. WHY? There are meth labs and drug houses everywhere in this part of New Mexico…why not go after them? Well, follow the money trail…..and ask who will lose the most if marijuana is legal.

Still I had no real interest in marijuana, but I did have an interest in justice. I wrote a letter to the county sheriff  “… I have been so grateful to live in a peaceful community but yesterday all that changed for me. I was so scared..I didn’t sleep at all last night and today I just feel anger. And what I also know is that I have done absolutely nothing EVER in my life time to warrant being spied on by a helicopter…Who is responsible for these things and how do they justify the expense and who pays for all the gas and the pilots and all
those vehicles?” . There was no response.

Over the last 2 years, my life has become increasingly stressful and I have had a lot of trouble sleeping. I was using Advil PM but still, I woke up several times a night and had to drink a couple of glasses of wine to fall back asleep. Medical Cannabis is legal in New Mexico and I decided I would apply for my medical cannabis card–I have known for a long time that I have PTSD and PTSD is one of the ‘diseases’ that qualify a person to use medical cannabis.

cannabis heartI saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed me with PTSD and within a few weeks I got my card. I was able to purchase the tincture I needed and almost immediately, miracles began to happen. I was able to sleep soundly maybe for the first time ever and the severe knife like pains, I was having in my legs and feet..to the point I could barely walk. …went away. They are one hundred percent gone and they have never come back.

marijuanabreak_CBD_in_new_mexicoThe CBD tincture I use costs about $26 dollars a bottle and lasts at least 2 months and now I understand why the government, Big Pharma and many in the medical community are working so hard to ban marijuana: Because it’s a miracle plant known to heal *many diseases and it costs nearly nothing…Besides that it’s very easy to grow. Just imagine if I had gone to a doctor for my sleep problems and the pains in my legs. Imagine the tests and the medications prescribed.  Imagine the cost. And who benefits…who gets the money….always follow the money trail.  It’s like “Elementary My Dear Watson”

The propaganda these desperate people and organizations put out is beyond belief and it is at the expense of thousands of people who need the medicine…it’s criminal and it’s evil. As one man who was cured of end stage cancer put it ” How is it fair that because of my zip code I get to live and someone else..because of their zip code… will die?”

Here’s a list of some of the diseases that can be treated with medical cannabis:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Glaucoma
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammation from various conditions
  • Insomnia
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Nausea (emesis)
  • Obesity
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Tourette’s syndrome

FLASHING FLU SHOT SIGNS

walgreens fuckWhen I drive to the nearest town which is Las Vegas, New Mexico, I have to pass by Walgreens and I see the flashing signs for flu shots, shingles shots [are you kidding??], pneumonia shots…..and a red rage comes over me. Isn’t it obvious that it’s all about money???!!!  Once again, extreme greed, greed beyond belief at the expense of innocent and misinformed people. In my lifetime, I’ve only known one person with shingles and she had had shingles since she was young..always a result of stress. And I have personally encountered 3 people within the last 3 weeks who have gotten very sick AFTER they have gotten flu shots…and they seem mystified. As if to say we did as we were told and look what happened. EXACTLY!

As I was researching the clinic where I got the allergy shots so many years ago, I found this statement at the top of their website.

“If you’re planning a trip abroad, whether for business or pleasure, don’t let health problems ruin it. Visit our travel medicine and immunization specialists so you stay healthy while traveling.”

~from the Kelsey Seybold website

Do you really think they care…that they’re to help, to heal, to make your life better…do you really?

A week ago I happened to see this interview below. However you feel, whatever you believe, take time to watch this and also the 2nd clip -a retired dentist who cured himself of end stage cancer. This is life-changing and lifesaving information. And for HAPPINESS, watch Willy Nelson/Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die

If you would like to contribute to the continuation of this blog, you can do so here.

Thank you and May the Force be with You.

Moving On from #METOO… PLEASE! [Mother Grandpon and the Catacombs]

I think this is just a short post and not something I would usually write but enough is enough.

There’s an old world that is dying–it is characterized by greed, extreme materialism, self absorption, hate, blame, revenge, violence and insanity. I think almost everyone can see this.

There’s a new world, a New Earth coming in and in part, it’s characterized by compassion, kindness, community, personal responsibility, caring for the Earth and working to make the world a better place. [the WORLD not America]

Blaze-Nathan-BernsteinA month or so ago  Blaze Bernstein, a 19 year old,  University of Pennsylvania student was brutally murdered by a ‘friend’  He was home on Winter Break and was missing from his parents’ house. When his body was found a week later, he had been stabbed more than 20 times. And his parents made this statement:

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good and honor Blaze’s memory.”

~Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

Then a few days ago, I happened to watch a segment on the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nasser. One of his abuse victims was reading a statement in which she talked about how she cried every night [still after 15 plus years???!!!] and she was not able to work because of the abuse. After she finished her statement, her father who was at the proceedings, lunged at Larry Nasser but was stopped by the guards. The father later made a statement in which he droned on and on about the whole situation. His statement was filled with anger and bitterness and hatred.

When I was  watching this, I thought of the Bernsteins and I thought about how they had turned the worst possible nightmare a parent could ever experience into something for good, for others, for the world. Revenge and hate would have been expected, accepted and supported but they chose another way and in doing so have inspired many, many others to choose another way. @dogoodforblaze

*I taped the Bernsteins statement to my refrigerator as a reminder to myself…when I”m feeling mean, judgemental, revengeful, I will read and remember. There’s another way.

A few days ago, when I saw one of the ‘metoo’ storiesHip GrandmaI thought about my stepmother and I laughed. My stepmother who we called Mother Grandpon, prided herself in coming from what she called ‘a nice family’. She loved playing bridge, shopping, drinking vodka martinis and going to parties. She lived to be 91.

There was a story she liked to tell: it was the story of when she was a teenager visiting the catacombs in Rome and a monk pinched her butt as she was touring the catacombs. She thought it was funny and we did too.  I tried to imagine her now joining ‘metoo’ dredging up an ancient story, crying and feeling offended because now you can be offended by the tiniest thing.  But it would never have happened.

So I guess this is about choices: the choice to keep the cycle of hate and revenge going which is reaching out and poisoning everyone and everything, including the Earth itself or the choice to take personal responsibility, to accept what comes, to work toward making the difficult, painful things that are bound to happen.. into something to learn from, maybe as a way to help others… and to remember to

“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor  161 -180

angelou

 

NEEDING HELP

*****THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED….I just need to raise about $300 more and I’m there! As I am helped, I will go on to help others…a circle of kindness, caring and inspiration, my commitment….

CP
Last week the power steering went out on my 2007 FJ Cruiser leaving me stranded with no transportation for work, for emergencies or to get food for my animal and human family. I live in the country and I’m shut down completely. A power steering pump costs about $600 and I hope also to replace the tires, which are in extremely bad shape…about $900 for them.
My gofundme page is https://www.gofundme.com/poohsrainbow so if you want to help, you can contribute here
The gofundme page includes a record of some of my work.

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CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL  HOUSTON, TEXAS

My work has always been with death and dying and these days I offer workshops on loss and grief.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison

Called Between Now & Forever, I have given these for hospices, church and community groups, universities and

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National Hospice and Palliative Care Conference – Phoenix Az

National Hospice and Palliative Care Conferences throughout the US. I offer them now in Las Vegas, Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. I am committed to doing them in memory of a teenage boy who was murdered a few weeks ago..  #dogoodforblaze
For nearly 30 years I worked through Rites of Passage/AIDS Care and Assistance, a non-profit I founded in 1988 to provide care

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Rites of Passage provided care for Jason Briggs until he died of AIDS at age 2

for terminally ill patients.

However the actions of a longtime employee destroyed the non-profit a few years ago. Since that time I have been struggling to repay the resulting debt and surviving on almost nothing. Several friends have appeared like angels to help me pull through this extremely difficult time.
Many, many thanks for any contribution however small or large…as I am helped, I will go on to help others…a circle of kindness, caring and inspiration, my commitment

Cindy

My gofundme page is https://www.gofundme.com/poohsrainbow so if you want to help, you can contribute here

These last 2 years have been really difficult -I hate asking for anything.-I don’t even like to complain in a restaurant about food that isn’t cooked right. And then in these past 2 years, I’ve had to ask for help many times. But I’ve met the most amazing people, people I never would have met if things had been going well. And I’ve done things and learned things too that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s as if as my world was crumbling, it was also expanding.

The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has often said “If life isn’t challenging you now, just wait a little..it will come.”

Sometimes there’s a warning-like looming financial problems or a health crisis and sometimes it happens in an instant like with the recent mudslides in California. And it seems like these things often happen when everything is working, when you’re sure you’ve got it made.

A few weeks ago I was deeply affected by the story of Blaze Bernstein, the 19 year old, University of Pennsylvania student who was brutally murdered by a ‘friend’ and I was especially touched by the statements his parents made, who said from the beginning that they would not succumb to hate and revenge. In an interview, Blaze’s father said that he had always felt like he was the luckiest person in the world. His son’s murder he said, taught him humility.

Humility, compassion, kindness, appreciation, community-these things that come from losing everything and such is LIFE on Earth.

 

 

 

KINDNESS, SURRENDER…and Blaze

“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor  161 -180

You will find rest from vain fancies if you perform every act in life as though it were your last.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor  161–180

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

~Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

stained glass prayer

This morning I was sitting in my rainbow room–my small sun-room which among other things, contains stained glass, hanging crystals, geraniumssunroombrightgeraniums..

ALTAR GOLDaltars that I’ve created andPHANTOM:SWING CHAIR

a hanging chair which I share with my cat Phantom..

I’ve been sitting in the rainbow room a lot lately, thinking about things, feeling like I should be doing something and not wanting to do anything.

Difficult to put into words–my thoughts…but they mostly have to do with surrender, acts of kindness, choices and the shift that’s happening as the old world dies and the ‘New Earth’ comes in.

As things have been extremely challenging in my life these past 2 years, I’ve been forced to look inward as my outer world crumbled. I couldn’t buy things that I wanted, couldn’t go out to eat, sometimes had very little food, couldn’t fix things that broke, not enough gas to go anywhere…Surrender to what is….there’s no other choice.

And so I struggled to find hope, find the positive, move out of anger and bitterness..and into SURRENDER. [It isn’t easy]

There are a few things that have helped me the most: listening to the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, working on arts and crafts projects and reading the stories of people who have survived the greatest difficulties,  the greatest suffering….those who have gone through ‘the tumbler of life and come out polished’.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Blaze-Nathan-BernsteinLast week  I read a story that I could not get out of my mind. It was the story of 19 year old, University of Pennsylvania student, Blaze Bernstein who was brutally murdered a few weeks ago by a ‘friend’. He was missing from his parents home in southern California and after a week of searching, his body was discovered in a shallow grave in a park near his home. He had been stabbed 20 times.

This is a story of horror, violence, insanity…what we read in the ‘news’ every day, what we are becoming immune to. Violence begets more violence, hate begets more hate…on and on the cycle continues. Blame is always placed on someone or something else. Personal responsibility is not encouraged and for many this has become the expected and accepted way.

A vicious murder of a beloved child, in this case one who was known as a brilliant teenager with…..a generous and gentle heart, is the very worst nightmare a parent can experience but Blaze’s parents chose a unique way of responding.  From the time that his body was found, his parents made the statement that they would not give in to hate or revenge.  Instead they wrote:

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good and honor Blaze’s memory.”

~Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

 

And Blaze’s father went on to say that he felt this must have happened for a reason.

This seems a life changing understanding and because Blaze’s story has reached so many thousands of people and will continue to, this understanding can be life changing for many…it seems to me to be the way of the New Earth which is coming in now: Surrender, Kindness, refusing to give in to hate…..make the world a better place.

A family friend who knew Blaze though not well wrote:

And while I can’t make up for not knowing him as well as I should have, I can promise this: By performing daily acts of kindness, by rejecting hate and prejudice, and by never again taking a precious human soul for granted, I will never, ever forget him.

~Gary Goldhammer

This is Blaze’s memorial website. It is beautiful in every way..It is a light in the darkness.

*PS Somewhat related: Until a few years ago, I often gave presentations on loss and grief which I called Between Now & Forever. cathedral-me-ttm1 copyI gave these presentations throughout the US, for Hospices, Church and Community Groups, Universities and Rehab Centers as well for National Hospice and Palliative Care Conferences. They were simple, magical and powerful. I always started by showing our award winning documentary, Turning Toward the Morning and followed the film with the opportunity for those who wanted to, to make a memorial for friends or family members. I brought lots of colored markers, crayons, glitter and paper and kids:lourdes:memorialseveryone from small children, to the very elderly

lourdes-memorial

baby f memorial

created beautiful drawings, heartfelt messages and sometimes letters…….lynn memorial

memorial-daddy

I feel that I am now emerging out of 2 years in the ‘tumbler of life’, emerging stronger and with more clarity and I am ready to do these presentations again but I just realized that I want to do them in memory of Blaze Bernstein. They will be different from the ones I did previously because they will include this message from Blaze’s parents: “Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good …”For more information, please email me at fonehome@indian-creek.net.

If you would like to contribute to the continuation of this blog, you can do so here.

Thank you and May the Force be with You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY DREAM/A MIRACLE HEALING…a short but true story

“While we cannot say that any personality type causes cancer, certain personality features definitely increase the risk because they are more likely to generate physiological stress. Repression, the inability to say no and a lack of awareness of one’s anger make it much more likely that a person will find herself in situations where her emotions are unexpressed, her needs are ignored and her gentleness is exploited. Those situations are stress inducing, whether or not the person is conscious of being stressed. Repeated and multiplied over the years, they have the potential of harming homeostasis and the immune system…”

~Dr. Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

“If you silence yourself, if you try to be good, if you try to be polite or toe the party line, you end up paying for that in the long run. You pay for it…with your homeland, or with your soul, or with your artistic vision.” — Diana Abu-Jabar, author

FOR SEVERAL MONTHS now I have had sciatica and it has become more and more painful.

Sciatica is a medical condition characterized by pain going down the leg from the lower back. This pain may go down the back, outside, or front of the leg.[3] Onset is often sudden following activities like heavy lifting, though gradual onset may also occur.[5] Typically, symptoms are only on one side of the body.

I tried all my usual healing remedies that always work but nothing did and sometimes my leg hurt so much, I could barely walk. It was even at worse at night, keeping me awake and tired as I might be, I dreaded going to bed.

Then, a few nights ago I had a dream: I dreamed that I was back doing home health again and some woman-a supervisor told me I needed to take care of a man with a spinal cord injury. She told me he needed to be fed 4xs a day for 4 days. I really, really didn’t want to do it but the woman was doing a guilt trip on me and so I said yes. Dreading the experience [I used to work in rehab years ago and I hated it]. The dream moved on and suddenly I thought WHY AM I SAYING YES????..my legs are hurting so bad and i don’t want to do this anymore and I told her NO! When i woke up almost all of the sciatica pain was gone, probably 90 percent of it GONE and I realized I’ve been doing this for years: saying yes when I wanted and needed to say NO!

Many people who are caretakers and caregivers, those working in Hospice, in hospitals, nursing homes etc will likely understand this and so here is a great video from the renown psychiatrist, Dr. Gabor Maté, titled WHEN THE BODY SAYS NO

And if you need, some more inspiration, here’s one of my favorite songs which actually gave me the courage to quit my job in rehab many years ago. I was listening to the song as I was driving my son to school and dreading going to the hospital to work in an environment I disliked so much.

As I listened to the words of the song, I thought I’m quitting that job today and so when I arrived at the hospital, I told my supervisor [I was an Occupational Therapy Assistant] that I quit. “Not today” she said. “Yes right now” I said. “Why? she asked. “Because I hate Occupational Therapy.” Some may call it unprofessional but had I not quit, I would never have found the Hospice work I was meant to do.

*IF YOU APPRECIATE THIS BLOG OR FIND IT HELPFUL, PLEASE CONTRIBUTE  IT IS MY WAY OF CONTRIBUTING NOW THAT I CAN NO LONGER DO THE HOSPICE WORK I DID FOR SO MANY YEARS.

MANY THANKS!

CP

A Message for Christmas and Beyond

christmas altar 17“Once I was in Victoria, and I saw a very large house. They told me it was a bank and that the white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they got it back with interest. We are Indians and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.”  

– Chief Maquinna, Nootka.

For several weeks now, I’ve wanted to write something but I couldn’t seem to do it. The posts I thought to write had tentative titles like “Where are the Humans ? Down at the Post Office, in a Mobile Home next to a Cow Pasture” and “The End of Black Friday-My World Grows Smaller”

I think every idea I had, had a common theme like what’s happened to the humans?–I even typed that phrase in, in a google search and came up with this:

Recent experiences with my credit card company, a local hardware store and a home delivery food service company have me pondering the simple question: where have all the humans gone?

Maybe one day there will be touchtone keys for empathy, compassion, rapport and appreciation. In the meantime I will continue hitting the “0” button, waiting for a human to pick up the phone…

~Doug A Sandler

But meanwhile, as I was waiting for inspiration, things were changing in my life or rather in my thoughts: Every day I saw more and more insanity in the world and I wondered how I could possibly continue to live in it–if I read the ‘news’, I felt like I was swimming in the sewer and I quit reading it altogether [very, very little of it is true and relevant anyway].

I got off Facebook too..for the most part: *my blog posts will still get posted there but otherwise I am not participating. I got off Facebook because it began to seem increasingly fractured as if everyone was in their own small world, hoping for a ‘like’ or a ‘love’ but there didn’t seem to be any genuine coming together. That was my experience anyway. Even former Facebook CEOs have recently made statements about Facebook’s destructive capacity:

“I feel tremendous guilt… I think in the back deep, deep recesses of our minds, we kind  knew something bad could happen…

It literally is a point now where I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are.

It is a point in time where people need to hard break from some of these tools, and the things that you rely on.

The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works…”

~ former vice-president of user growth for Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya

Still, all through these past few months, there was something that remained with me. It was a message from a Native American friend which seems especially meaningful in these times and though it may seem like something we heard from our parents when we were kids–the story about how they walked 2 miles through the snow to get to school after milking the cow, it isn’t like that. It really is the way things are in this community I live in and probably in many poor communities throughout the world.

So this is the Christmas message I want to pass on..

When I was young, I remember all my older relatives had a gentle compassion. When they had very little they were generous because they wanted to teach us the sacred value of being there for others. The accumulation of wealth was seen as disturbance in the cycle of reciprocity and being a part of family and community.

~Scott Thomas, Lakota

A week ago I went with a man from my community to Santa Fe–we went to pick up dog food and frozen meat for our wolfdogs, donated by a very kind and generous friend who has a wolf/wolfdog rescue center.

Pete and I have made this little trip several times and on the way, I like to ask him to tell me stories of what it was like growing up out here. MACLOVIA-LOVE-JESUS                                His mother had 22 children

Pete was in the middle and he grew up without running water or electricity. This time I asked what they usually had for dinner..thanks g still l '!7Well, he said, we killed a chicken or a rabbit, had green beans and corn from the garden, brought in water from the acequia and then used kerosene lamps for light. And those were the happiest and best of times he said……we hardly ever had to go to town and we never heard the word Cancer.

These past 2 years we’ve lived out here [me and the Brown Piglet] with almost no money and though it’s been incredibly hard and often terribly discouraging, I have learned how little we really need as we have become more and more self sufficientgreenhouse dec 17

And I’ve seen that money is very often used for Distraction. When you have money, you can take trips, go out to eat, buy things and for a while it will take you out of whatever you don’t want to face or deal with….But as the saying goes: “Wherever you go, there you are”

I would rather have had money, I would rather not have had to struggle so hard but if life is like a school where we learn and grow this is where my school took me. Because I would not have learned otherwise. Really it’s easy to see why poor people who vote for someone, thinking they will make their lives better are completely deceived. People who are born into wealth have no idea what it’s like to be poor and essentially and for the most part..they don’t care.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross so often said:

You have to temper the iron. Every hardship is an opportunity that you are given, an opportunity to grow. To grow is the sole purpose of existence on this planet Earth. You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

 

The countries of the world and especially the United States are self destructing and like the Roman Empire, cannot survive much longer. I suppose there are those who are still trying to pretend that everything will be okay and it will be but not in the way they think.

People will have to come together, share, help each other in order to survive and they will. This is becoming very evident with the natural ‘disasters’ like the hurricanes and now the California wildfires.

THE TAPESTRY

A while I go I sent out an email which I titled ‘The Tapestry’. I had often heard the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle talk about a person’s life /life experience like a tapestry made up of pieces woven together, pieces which include one’s health, family, relationships, job and finances. Everything seems secure, safe..no worries and then suddenly a piece is ripped out, sometimes several pieces and this can happen in an instant.

In the recent fires in northern California, there was a family who lost everything in a few moments. They had everything it seemed: their recently built dream house in the mountains, 2 beautiful kids, health and happiness and suddenly, in just minutes everything was gone. Their children burned to death, their home burned to the ground and both parents were badly burned requiring months in the hospital and ongoing theapy. I think of them often and wonder how anyone can survive such great and unimaginable loss.

I write about this family because their story has stayed with me and because in some way that I can’t put into words, it’s related to the way I started this post: Where are the humans?  In my own life I have found he humans among the poor when I was doing home health and in this community that I live in -“those who know the sacred value of being there for others”. And having spent much of my life working with terminally ill patients and parents who lost a child, I have found them there, there among those who have known extreme suffering. As the worship of money, power and technology continues to increase, humans are harder to find but as the natural disasters grow, they are appearing like angels, coming to the forefront to help, to share and to bring back a feeling of community and connection.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m posting 3 slideshows that I made about our life out here..off the grid surrounded by our animals. I have posted these before but since a lot of people have seemed to enjoy them, here they are once more.

If you would like to us help out in some way: contribute to the care of the animals who are mostly rescues, to the continuation of this blog  or just to help, you can do that here. It’s a huge challenge to keep everything going on *$600 a month and we would never have made it without the support of our community and the help of so many friends from all over the US, who have become like our family, creating a circle of goodwill and caring around us *The story of why $600 a month is here.

 

 

 

COME TOGETHER..WATCH THE LAST EPISODE OF THE SACRED PLANT EPISODE 7

Last night I posted this last episode of THE SACRED PLANT on Facebook and I wrote about how years ago I had done volunteer work with the kids at MD Anderson in Houston. There was an 18 year old girl I worked with who I’ll never forget. I can’t remember her name but I remember that she was from somewhere in Tennessee…and she had an inoperable brain tumor which was growing very fast. Her mom was with her and she wanted so much to take her daughter home to die…she had only a few weeks left to live. But it was not allowed. This girl was blasted with radiation and chemo til she could not even raise her head..and then she died there in the hospital…very quickly. And I know of several other stories just like this.

There was a doctor working there at MD Anderson who I knew fairly well and one day I asked him what he would do if he was diagnosed with cancer. “I would go skiing.” he said. But what about all these treatments I asked. “Oh I would never do that” he said. “That’s all experimental.”

I wrote in my previous posts that I have never been interested in marijuana/cannabis…I had nothing against it..it just wasn’t a part of my life. marijuana branchBut when I moved to New Mexico 8 years ago, many people that I met, smoked. Still I didn’t think much about it until there was a drug bust here in this tiny community.

It happened one peaceful Fall morning.: 2 helicopters starting circling very low right above my place. I thought maybe someone had escaped from prison or there had been an accident but it was a drug bust: My neighbor was growing a small amount of marijuana for personal use.

The helicopters circled for hours and then military vehicles followed..maybe 10. It was terrifying watching them driving up the road in a line, the uniformed men armed with automatic weapons….it was like watching a movie about Nazi Germany. The one man these people were after was in his 60s..nevertheless they handcuffed him, put him on the floor, training their automatic weapons on him. FOR WHAT???? They were there for hours, keeping him handcuffed, taking his plants and his possessions. He spent the night in jail.  And this ‘event’ can only be described as PURE EVIL.

Meanwhile New Mexico has a huge problem with drunk drivers who get multiple DWIs and nothing much happens. I’m sure, that day of the drug bust, there were several people in this same area driving drunk.

That day, of the drug bust, I became a supporter of marijuana legalization but I still understood little about it until I watched this Sacred Plant series….and at the same time,  I was also able to personally witness 2  healing MIRACLES related to medical cannabis.

There’s a war happening now :a war between good and evil, between the dark and the light. The war is happening everywhere in many areas of life on earth. Courageous people are exposing truths that have been purposely hidden for years through lies, propaganda, threats etc..The truth about cannabis has been hidden out of pure greed..

Watch THE SACRED PLANT and you will understand..

 

THE GREATEST SHAME: WATCH THE SACRED PLANT PART 5

I know that there is corruption and evil in this world, increasingly so, but I have never seen anything like this. You can watch THE SACRED PLANT for free if you simply sign up.

There is a lot more I wanted to say but I’ll leave at this. [I’m feeling so angry as I write this and I try not to write much when I’m this angry.]

Whatever your beliefs, judgements etc….you will be forever changed by watching THE SACRED PLANT. Episode 5 is especially enlightening..and  Sad. If you still think you live in ‘the land of the free’, you’re in for a big surprise.

THE GUARDIANS OF BEING

Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is where the animal lives all the time – surrendered to life.

~Eckhart Tolle

I wanted to write a post about my wolfdogs but I haven’t got the energy….so I’ll just put up this little slideshow I did yesterday and another on our cats that I made the day before. These slideshows can communicate what I would like to say, much better than my words.

More and more I have not felt that I belong in this world…I don’t feel safe and I cannot relate to the horror and the greed that seems to be accepted, even promoted as Life on Earth these days.

I have gotten more and more anxious and nervous…. maybe I always have been to some extent but it’s now debilitating. I used to feel joy in the smallest things but that’s gone. Except for the time I spend with my animals and GREENHOUSE GOOD FRIDAYin my greenhouse.

I hope you enjoy these 2 slideshows…making them took me back to happiness for a little while.