Sick again.

I’ve had a kidney infection for the past week and a half, roughly. I will see my doctor tomorrow, and she will probably prescribe more antibiotics, which will hopefully put a full end to this and I can get back to other things. I had high fevers and constant vomiting during the worst part of it.

It’s left me feeling very weak and tired, considerably too much so to do more than scrape together a donation for the Buddhist holiday, Saga Dawa, instead of doing the practices I’d been planning on.

I wonder what I need to do to get into a place with my health where I can do the things I want to do. In general, my illnesses respond to good nutrition and mild exercise, like walks, or qi gong, or yoga, but both of those, and especially cooking, require a baseline of health that I’ve fallen below. I can probably manage the mild exercise, and take all of my vitamins again, and maybe that would help boost me back up to a place where I can do more cooking? Hard to say, but I would love to eat a more varied diet than I have been.

What Lives, Evolves

“Do one thing today,” he said. “What you do matters less than that you find something you can do. Your foundation has been washed away, between losing your home, the wreck, and all that has happened since then. You need to rebuild it, and, contrary to what you may be told, building it out of pebbles will be just as good as building it out of a solid stone. The important thing is to have something beneath your feet. You can glue them all together later, when you’re no longer dangling in the open air.”

“I suppose I… haven’t really been told much that it’s all right to do that. That, if you haven’t hauled back an entire mountain to put under your house, it’s just going to collapse on you.”

“It did collapse on you. Simply, shit happens. The idea that anyone, whether a spirit worker or a mundane human or even one of us can be so careful and do things so perfectly that there will never come a terrible storm in life is ludicrous and also cruel, because it places the blame for Life always on you. Sometimes there is nothing you or anyone can do. Simply that you are still here, still sitting there talking to me… Many people would have stopped entirely. When someone’s life is on fire, they often can’t try to manage things in more than one world at a time, because they are focused entirely on surviving in one of them. It requires more energy than a healthy person has, Shannon, and you are not healthy, but you never left me. I don’t doubt that it would have generally been easier to have done so. But you are so hard on yourself that you don’t think that that means very much. You don’t think that working to stay near us and in contact with me counts for much, when held up against things like whether or not you were able to meditate or make offerings or do spiritual writing. What is the goal of all of that, if not to make it easier to draw near to us?”

“I think I felt like it was my job, and I wasn’t doing my job. I was being lazy or slacking.”

“Few people go through periods of starvation through sheer laziness. Not having enough well-being or money to take care of your mortal body is a crisis. Not having a home is a severe crisis. The trappings of a spiritual life, the things you do and ways you practice, are important, but they are less important than those kinds of things. If you were part of a mainstream religion, such as Christianity, would you consider yourself any less Christian if you were unable to go to church for a long time, but still, as they say, kept Jesus in your heart?”

“Well, yes, probably.”

“Don’t hurt yourself for needing to live through something any way you could. You are still alive. That is all that matters. Start from there. Remember that you are alive, and breathe.”

Attempting a comeback.

I’ve had a very difficult time since the car wreck in February of 2014. My depression has been intense, and there were many months of physical therapy, plus as usually happens to anyone suffering from ME/CFS. it got worse following the trauma/injury of the accident and I had little to no energy, turning being largely housebound to being almost entirely bedbound. I have hardly  had the energy to take care of myself and feed myself (I’ve had a few periods of losing a lot of weight because I couldn’t cook and eat regularly), and my ability to do spiritual things went away, and I could not concentrate to meditate.

Then we also had to move in the autumn when our lease was up because one of our neighbors was behaving very dangerously toward us, driving nails into our tires and things like that, and coming to our house to scream at us because he did not like it when we parked in front of his house on a street with no off-street parking. We double-checked: it is legal to park in front of anyone’s house anywhere. We also filed a police report. But we began to wonder if the accident, when our brakes made a strange noise and failed and we slid through an intersection on ice, was also due to sabotage on the part of this neighbor, and no one wanted to stay there.

There are willow trees near the new apartment and I’ve hoped that would ultimately be a good sign. It is warmer and I should walk over to one to visit with it when I can and see what it is like.

But it probably says more about my fatigue and depression than anything else that we have been here since November and I have not unboxed my altar yet. I don’t actually have any statues of Freyr, so it is mostly other little things like willow wood, or things that make me think of him (some little ceramic boars and deer), and my Buddhist stuff.

It would do me a world of good to start extremely small and try to meditate for ten minutes again every day, and work that back up to half an hour for daily practice, and then get back into my online classes that require a day of full practice to finish each module.

I have still travelled when I’ve slept, and sometimes when I’ve been awake, so I know that if nothing else, I have been able to maintain my friendships and relationship, with him and his household, and people like Brand’s parents, and some of the other gods and spirits that Brand works with or is friends with.

It isn’t very satisfying, though, to only do things that way. No one has seemed to mind it, particularly, except insofar as that I have been unhappy with it. He has never demanded more from me or been disappointed that I’ve been too unwell to do anything. He tells me love is not about what someone can do for you. When you love someone who becomes very sick, you do not stop loving them simply because they are in bed and very weak, and can’t do things like they used to.

I have, however, had the experience with other people that they do, in fact, stop loving you when you get sick. What few friends I had not already lost from being sick, I seem to have lost during the time when I was too tired to write emails or chat with them, and subsequent attempts at talking when I was feeling better resulted in things like, “I thought you weren’t talking to me anymore,” despite how many times I said in multiple places they could read that I was doing very badly. It hurt a lot, and has always hurt, every time it has happened, which  has been every time I have gotten sicker. Most people never stop being ill, so it is always going to come in waves, and if this is what is always going to happen, even with friends I’ve had for close to ten years, I feel incredibly hopeless about the concept of friendship with other humans.

When I mentioned this situation to him, he gave me a long look — the sort that he usually does when what he wants to say is something that I will not like and he is trying to find another way to word it. Then Loki saved him from it by saying, “You can do better,” and literally patting me on the head.

I don’t remember where some of the things are on wordpress like subscribers, but probably most people who read this journal are not still reading it, and I can’t blame them for that, but I am planning to use the extra energy of the springtime to try to regrow the barren wasteland of my spiritual life, and start writing nearly every day again.

Will you deny Me? (Heh, no, no I don’t think I will . . . .)

Strip Me Back To The Bone

Will you deny Me?
In the dark hours of the early morning,
In the quiet spaces of your day,
In the busy moments snatched here and there,
When you come back into My embrace
When you rest your head where it belongs,
When you place your soul in My capable hands,
Will you deny Me?
As your heart is filled with My loving,
As your body is filled with My breath,
As your mind is caught up, and your very spirit infused with My presence.
I have loved you
Not for what you can give to Me
Not for what you can show to others
Not for the names that you call Me
I have loved you
For you are a balm to My being
You are warmth and wonder and joy
Do you think We, too, are not moved by hearts reaching out?
Do you think We have all…

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How to do Tonglen Meditation – a Beginner’s Guide

You do not need to be Buddhist or belong to any tradition to do this sort of meditation. It is a way to help yourself, people you love, and the numberless sentient beings at the same time.

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Heart Chakra image from Juicy*S Heart Chakra image from Juicy*S

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” 
~ Charles Dickens

At times it is easy to feel small and insignificant – unable to help when all we feel in our hearts is an urge to try. When those we know are suffering, or when there is a catastrophe in another part of the world we might wonder what can be done.

There is something we can do. Meditate!

I first started practicing this meditation as a small girl – maybe three or four years of age.  No one taught me.  I just seemed to know what to do.  My baby sister was fidgeting and restless one night, tossing and turning in the bed beside mine as her teeth came through. I breathed in her fever and distress with every in-breath, and with every out-breath I imagined my breath covering her…

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