Monday, February 1, 2016

With Gratitude

Dear Friends and Readers,
Nine years ago, I became a mother and (as many new mothers discover) came to blogging as a means to rejoin a community of artists, writers and other visually-oriented creative folk in the midst of an otherwise isolated life. I created A Sacred Friendship as a way to explore the relationships that make up who we are-- for who are we, I wrote, but ourselves in relation to others? In time, though, oddly enough I saw many of my relationships crumble and disintegrate; and each time I'd attempt to regain my bearings by shifting my focus to another relationship (to home, to family, to friends, to body), again there would be a maddening, undeniable disintegration. With regards to the last relationship, I became very ill, and doctors were not able to explain very well just what was wrong with me. At last now the culprit has been found: a rare genetic condition that is often misdiagnosed (being the slippery medical fish that it is) called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

In a previous chapter of my life, long before the possibility of joining other blogging bloggers in a blogsphere, the word sojourn blossomed before me and became the term I chose to best describe my reality. I was a zen student living in a temple, training to become a priest. I then became sure that the chapter that followed would reveal relationship to be the blanket term that I could apply to my reality in much the same way; and yet the very opposite of what I'd intended occurred, and rather than experiencing a great "coming together" after my ordination and leaving to join the temple of the wider world, things fell horribly apart, and my failing health was the apex of that. Early on in my new relationship with Rheumatology, I distinctly remember searching for just the right word to tell my doctor, in one quick sum, the total experience of my condition. "I feel like I'm disintegrating from the inside," I said pathetically. But instead of offering the comprehensive treatment I'd hoped for, she rolled her eyes, labeled me with fibromyalgia and handed me a referral to a psychiatrist for "mood stabilization." (I know that many of you who suffer with a chronic illness can identify with that experience- and for those of you who do not, just know that that is indeed and all too often the norm!) I find it so interesting now that the very nature of EDS is a sort of disintegration, as it is a failing of one's cartilage, or the glue that holds the body together.

Perhaps that is just the way of careful, close observation: the things we believe to be real and solid tend to disintegrate. But even within that truth there lies more of a chance of full integration, because the artificial boundaries that separate us diminish, and reality is able to fully express itself, just as it is. As such I find I don't have a good word to describe my next chapter, and perhaps for the first time ever, I'm comfortable with that.

And so it is time to tuck in this blog, my effort to understand the nature of relationship and self coming to its own natural conclusion after 9 years. 9 is a number sacred to the Celts; beyond 9 lies new beginnings and a sacred unknown. The Deer's Cry, being one of the oldest Celtic prayers became my invocation at the beginning of my effort here, and today I find the same strength and light as I step off of this old rock of knowing, and toward a more sure-footed unknowing. Here on the eve of Imbolc, nothing seems more appropriate.

With a million thanks for the friendships I've forged here, and a smile for all who visit!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Restful Return

Months and months ago, I posted that I was resting; and indeed I still am, though now the view from that little purple glider has changed quite a bit! My husband and I bought our first home, and for the last year we've been tuning it up, shaping it, shifting and making it our own.

I wish I could say the same for my dear body, but alas that is not to be a topic for now. My health has worsened significantly, and for many days of the month I am bed-bound; and for many days more, my mind goes on leave, and my finger-bones shift under the weight of even the slightest demand or pressure, making writing impossible. Many hours are spent simply pressing the down-arrow scroll button on facebook, as my ability to artfully interact with the world sputters and wanes.

In fact, a lot of time has been spent on facebook, for living from my bedroom rather suspends my ability to interact much with the world. Social media lets me interact with friends and others who are as ill as I am, and that has been a blessing. I have to admit, it has been more of a delight to be engaged "over there" than to face the empty, cavernous silence of the blogsphere, which has us (it seemed to me for quite a while) shouting into the darkness, hoping that stories told are stories heard.

But today is different, as facebook has severe limitations in the 'creativity' department. And I so miss the nourishment that my soul reveled in when it once played amongst the pages of fellow creative bloggers. So I am back, and ready to delight in the gifts that we all offer here among friends.

Monday, October 21, 2013

:at rest:

...but i did post over on my 'zen blog', check it out if you're into that sort of thing.

now, back to my knitting (photos to follow, i promise), researching (chronic conditions amok around here, i swear) & enjoying this glorious autumn.

you know, resting :)

Friday, August 16, 2013


post, damn you! post!
just post something!!

it is a long time later, since; and now i find i am still waiting, waiting-for-what, always waiting,
so-long-waiting that suddenly i have decided, i am resting in the wait,
which sort of rather makes me wait-less?

and waitless as i am, i rest, knowing not a thing
(not quite lupus, but very lupus-y, and wondering why we don't just call it that, why don't we)
still longing for an answer, but not expecting the immediacy i had held fast to.

in the meantime?
i've been digging through old photos, sorting through and editing and polishing-up as much as one can with these antiquities from the 1990's,
creating a wee gallery, the
laughing pebble studio.

i am gathering courage to make like my patron saint
and just Frieda again, already!

waiting. waiting. for what?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


this morning i recognized, my 'waiting season' has begun... 
6 years ago, it was the waiting for my son's birth.  last year, it was the waiting to move to our new Home. This Year, i am waiting for a doctor to call, perhaps with life-changing news. 
i think back to a phrase- a quote by either Suzuki or Katagiri roshi, i forget- which has always buoyed me, especially in each december:

waiting.  waiting.  for what?

welcome, Advent. chilly days wanting for heat, with a mind like a glowing sunrise... 
Cate Kerr, 'Sun Coming Up and Smiling Through the Window', Dec. 3, 2012.
Waking up, in the middle of my Waiting.  Always this seems to happen in the first days of December, with its branches bare and its sleepy, cold days.  I've created a soft burrow of pillows and blankets in a cozy room at the rear of the old house.  Windows are abundant here, and so I look thoughtfully at my surrounds, though barely recognizing them at first, accustomed as I am to the lush green cover of neighboring trees.  Now new features catch my eye as I peek out of my burrow, and my eye opens wider.  And just like that, with a stretch and a yawn, I feel more aware of my living than I have been in months!  Oh, that mischievous irony of winter...

It has always made so much more sense to me that the new year should begin at winter's edge, with days darkening so much more early.  There seems an innate call for rest, and review: the natural end drawing one to review the last endeavor, before beginning anew.  Before I became pregnant with my son this was only an intuition; only when my baby arrived in this world did I appreciate the long, slow nurturing of gestation, of pregnant moments, of life's deepening autumn.  It is at winter's edge that the seed-- all combined hopes and experiences encapsulated in a tiny, power-laden package-- finds root in the quiet, unmoving cold that the season provides.  And just as a baby does, all that is new before us must first nestle in this nutritive state before the first tentative fronds of new life have the strength to stretch into a wider space. 
finishing up Kate Davies' o w l s
waiting.  waiting.  for what?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The End is Near!

I would guess that it might be easy to understand why repenting might be on the mind of a person suffering the incessant consequence of chronic illness.  It's not too hard to see why a person (like myself) might make why me?  what have i done to deserve this?  and how can i get out of this? something of a constant mantra.

And truth is, with this mantra, and times being what they are, I've become something of an Armageddonist, trapped day in and out on my couch in the living room inside of my small apartment, surveying the current state of our planet from my own tidy little corner trying to figure out the unfigurable, and dreading the consequence of our carelessness.  As such, my computer has become my window, and the internet a frame delivering all manners of view in the world.  I am especially addicted to youtube, which I watch now fairly religiously.  Always I'm peeking into the past, seeking out old programs like Edwardian Country House or The Wartime Kitchen seeking out clues of continuity and survival.  Or I'm watching documentaries chronicling days of future past-- the prophecies of the Maya, the Biblical, the Native American.  Most often, though, I'm devouring the productions of two who take a keen interest on what's happening in the oddity that is now: Dutchsince and 2012 Message.  I suppose I enjoy them most as they point to the issues, and leave it to my own mind to draw the conclusions I might be most comfortable with.

But the truth is, I'm really no Armageddonist.  The mention of the Mayan Calendar makes my eyes roll, just as the New-Age occupation with 'evolving our consciousness' nauseates me.  And don't get me started on the Buddhists... oh, my dear community.  Repent now.  Change.   Hell awaits if you cannot fight all that is wrong with you!  What the hell is wrong with you?

This morning I picked up a copy of Peter Russell's Waking Up in Time, a treatise that outlines where we have gone so wrong, and what we must do in order to evolve from this mess, to save ourselves from the destruction that is of our own making.  And, truth is, for the most part?  I agree with him.  I really do.  And still, not halfway through the end of it, I found my mind picking at flares, biting the laser of my tongue.  And so?  At length, I decided to write and finally find the core of the annoyance that rises up in me so fitfully.  What is it about this stuff that makes me so aggro?

  • Because truly, Waking Up in Time offers a loving balance between science and art, or intellect and heart.  It offers a healthy orientation to the predicament we find ourselves in, regarding war, famine, environmental uncertainty… In this, it offers hope, and control.  But…
  •       It's still very much a ‘linear’ view: as in, the threat of the catastrophe awaiting us would “set back” evolution, perhaps to the point of life needing to “return to the sea” (because of the ultraviolet rays of the sun piercing our thinned atmosphere)—“a setback of half a million years or more”.  Yet, this is a linear view, a very human-oriented view, and one that places value judgments on the past (we’ve evolved to a better being), concluding small is not as good as large (single-cell organisms are inferior to more complex, multi-cell organisms), which suggest that life as we know it now is some sort of pinnacle from which existence can only fall, or transcend.
  •      Inadvertently, he submits to the very idea he would like to reject: namely, that human beings—homo sapiens sapiensare the wisest, are the center, and must be the center.  The will to exist and to continue existing is strong; can we imagine a life of this planet without us?  Truly, that must be something we consider, no matter how unpalatable: the world may well go on without us.
  •       A change of consciousness cannot be a decision.  A ‘change of consciousness’ is an idea—it is mind-centered, and truly, human mind believes it is at the center.  Thus, our idea of a last-minute and necessary-for-our-survival change of consciousness is simply another trick of our mind, a desperate attempt to ensure the survival of our being.
  •      Everything has consciousness. But what is that consciousness?  Does it look like our human consciousness?  If it does not, does that mean it may not exist?  Or, does that make it inferior?  We bat around this word consciousness, again as though our own were the apex.  Why else would we fend off the idea of regressing to the form of mitochondria so desperately?
  •      Rather, look at the system: is it not possible that the system of existence itself is conscious?  That it lives and breathes in a way both familiar—because we are an echo of its vast system—yet foreign—because it is beyond the scope of what a homo sapiens sapiens can conceive in its limited conceptual framework of dualism?
  •       Implicit in the present understanding, common to all cultures and points-of-view, is that something within us must be destroyed or overcome before Heaven can return to Earth—and, subtly, that we can enjoy peace on Earth again; and more subtly still, that we have separated ourselves from this heaven which is away and able to return in the first place.

Again and again, I notice there is a reader in me, a second ‘self’ if you will, reading these words my mind produces.  In-between thoughts there seems to be a witness to my thinker; in-between thoughts, in that calm space, something exists.  And so frames the question I ask myself again and again: Again and again, I return to, Who is this witness?  What is the Mind within the mind, the Watcher of these thoughts, that which does not judge nor hold them?  What is beyond decision itself, beyond destruction, beyond construct? 

Becoming intimate with this detail – this intimate study is the key that opens the door to a much wider possibility, one beyond death, Armageddon, and end.

I find myself repeating Dogen, and immersing myself in a brightly comforting riddle, I rest not in hope, but in sacred friendship:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here lately...

Knitting baskets have been emptied,
& knitting filled (...for friends, mind you!);

Old jewels (begat from jewels older still)
have been uncovered;

breakfast eaten,
options considered,

old ('s pants!) made new (...a field bag!),
and appreciated.

Now, you might be tempted to think that this is all I've been up to--
sittin' happy in the woods, knittin' (though honestly, it doesn't get much better)--

but quite honestly, there's just one thing that's taken up most of my mind-space of late.
(OK, ok, maybe two things)

and all the omens say
'tis time for a new approach, a new noting of detail,
a new path in these tired, old shoes.