Friday, November 23, 2012

Free Associations...

Happy Birthday to me... seriously! Today was good... and I swear I have this weird thing going on with rhyme - and free associations all OVER the place. For example, when I wrote "today was good..." what followed in my head was "today was fun... tomorrow is another one, every day from here to there, funny things are everywhere!" (from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss). 

My Brother called to continue our years-long tradition of singing poorly to each other over the phone on our birthdays. We exchanged some small talk, that's about it. He called yesterday to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving, and gave me some passive-agressive shit about something our Sister told him that I guess he thought I should have self reported about my health. He doesn't like it much that our relationship and communications are strained since his boycott of my wedding. Well ya know what? I don't like it either... but who put the strain on it Sparky?? If the suit isn't fitting so comfortable these days, consult the tailor - or lay off the cannoli (in your case the self-righteousness that is puffing you up - and making things tight) - either way - not my doing - not owning it!

My Son Josh, and Daughter-in-law Ashley brought a birthday fiesta to the house from our favorite Mexican restaurant - (Hooray for food from Yolanda's)... since my "lotsa voices maka me crazy" and Black Friday didn't sound like a good mix.  We had a nice time... and they gave me the Gift of Chai! SCORE one for the Mermaid! A little later my Son James came over with a nice pressie... lovely turtle necklace from a dear friend and local artist. Nice!Nice!Nice!

My lovely wife is busily working on her part of a team project for an upcoming ceremony - its gunna rock out loud! I need to kick my part into gear pretty-soon-quick!

I was touched and uplifted and more, for which there is no words... to be asked to take pictures for a VERY special ritual/celebration for my dearest friend =Chii Megwetch=

There was lots of down time, I lounged around and read, drank copious amounts of tea.  I am reading a book called "Lamb" by Christopher Moore - and there's so MUCH good stuff there... but one phrase really touched me in the wordless center this evening: "... for he is thee, and thou are he, and everything that is ever worth loving ... is everything." Beautiful... right?  It is... and it doth vibrate along the string - don't it Babycakes?!  But also... it really sounded to me like part of "I am the Walrus!" How ridiculous and funny is that? Though I could be troubled by how tricksy my mind is... it makes me giggle! Seems like there are several possible explanations:

- Maybe some mental muscles are flexing...

- I have contracted either Venetian Verbal Virus, or Secondary Vocabularyitis (from the TV series "Bewitched") if that's the case "Dr. Bombay! Dr. Bombay! Emergency - come right away!"

- I really AM the Walrus - coo coo cachoo motherfucker!
But... on a day I have been dreading... to go to bed with a lighter head (OMG it IS Secondary Vocabularyitis!) - ya know... I'll take it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

On the Brink...

The tree in the image, looks like a two spirit person to me, both male and female... zhe has one hand on hip... pointing down the hill.Tomorrow... I turn 55.This is terrifying. If I were all actively engaged with life, if I were healthy... maybe it wouldn't be terrifying. But this has been a hell of a past 6 months, beginning with the cavalcade of concussions, and marching through the valley of the shadow of MS. I am carrying a lot of pain - in all spheres, and uncertainly, and more than a little anger (due in part, but not entire to the steroids). My mother passed through the Western Door nearly 24 years ago. She was 55. I know in the cognitive workings that I am not my Mother and my health story is not hers. But... but... but. When it comes my turn to celebrate 56, I think I will feel differently about this alignment... but not today. In the words of my friend. 
"We are not our Mothers... but we are."

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Like Mount Fucking Vesuvius - it feels like somethin's gunna blow!  Pressure mounting... pain fear pain anger pain uncertainty pain frustration pain fury pain. I am in big-biig pain today, the older the day gets, the more the pain is building. the fear, the isolation and the rage is crankin' up the heat. Starting round 2 of steroids today, is turning the burner up to volcanic levels. Fists balled up at my temples crying and screaming, scaring the hell out of the cats - fury! I hate the way I feel.! An unfinished project - is giving me some focus and diversion at least momentarily. Focused-diverted all at the same time. A scary place.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Its a very joined day. Each having unique identity and experiences, but somehow having an all access pass to some shared space, shared energies. My "side of the shell" is not the same as the other... but, it is one shell. When that much "stuff" is washing around inside the shell... it affects the shell entire. See how they look at each other?  Brings a whole new dimension to being a "rider along-sider."

When Roseann asked me last night how I was dealing emotionally with my diagnosis... I guess I haven't been doing much work on that front now... have I? I have opened myself up to those considerations today and boyoboy!  Although I have been affected by symptoms and working on the details of getting a second and all of that... in a way that has been a distraction.  It hit me between the eyes... when I was put on steroids for this damned exacerbation and then we started talking actual MS meds.  I guess my most present emotions today are unreality, anxiety and worry... with a fear and anger chaser... make it a double! The rational person would be correct to point out that those things will add to my stress, and make this exacerbation more troublesome. There's a storm of energies swirling around inside the shell.  

Whatever the sound of rage is... insert that here!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pouring it Out...

Tonight my legs feel like bundles of live wires... more like each leg is a nylon stocking with about 5 electric eels crammed in there that are WAY pissed off at each other. I tried to go to bed, but just hurt too much not to be way restless. So I thought I'd take some meds and blog a bit while they kick in. Earlier in the day, while visiting my cousins grave... I felt like a collapse was imminent. Not just physically, but emotionally/spiritually as well. I was on one knee in front of her stone, with my hand on top of it... and felt this unhinging beginning to happen. I felt myself swaying... swooning to be precise. I felt Cindy grabbed me by the elbow and say "no Lindy, NO... go to Jen... let her take care of you."  About that time my Jen was just there... and when I got up - she did grab my elbow, and walked me to the car.  Jen asked if my feet hurt she said I was walking funny.  At dinner with 2 other cousins before that, I had some speech issues... it is troubling to hear that happen, to be aware that it is, and not be able to stop it. Troubling also to see the cloud pass over their faces when it did. I've always been at least articulate. On the way home... I had some stammers also. I dunno if that is MS talking - or if that is a throwback stress thing. When I get way stressed... sometimes that happens. 

Pain and fear and anger and frustration... uncertainty and grief and fury and sadness... rage and embarrassment and futility and helplessness... physical pain and emotional pain, spiritual pain and mental pain... I pour those out tonight... within the safety of these banks... knowing that you are out there guarding my riverbanks. You let me rage and keep me safe while I pour myself out... releasing some of the pressure... and cleansing my spirit. You each know who you are... and I love you beyond measure.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Day 3 on mon-steroids. I rage, I cry, I struggle... I look different, I sound different, I act different.  A protruding vein on my forehead? WTF is that? I think my eyes may be pulsing like in this pic. I feel so unreal... so unME, like there's someone... pacing around in the cage of my body... fingers gripping the bars of my ribcage and peering out.. snarling and snapping... but also mourning her inability to articulate her pain. At least unable to say it in a way that she is really.truly.heard... except by the closest partners on this journey. Mournful that it seems to be of no consequence to the medical folks that I carry big-big pain My circle of support is wonderful, they understand, they want to help... but they don't know what to do to make it go away any more than I do. Of course they DO help... every single day... in little ways and big ways... their presence physically - spiritually keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. They keep me buoyant as much as I am able to be... without them... it woulda been game over a long time ago. My spirits... are sinking.

So please... can anyone tell me why it is okay to carry this... why is this not important enough to be an action item for the medical people? Its all so maddening and futile... the MS stuff is urgent and treatment-worthy... granted, but why not this fucking pain? Its like a crew of busy little housekeepers tidying and dusting and vacuuming and spit-polishing... all around a steaming pile of shit in the middle of the room... but not even trying to clean up THAT hot mess...

Anyone... help me understand?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Decisions... Decisions...

Question of the Day: How do the things through which you have journeyed, affected the way you make decisions today?  Interesting question to contemplate.  The answers seem to be a series of complimentary pairs.  Elder G says that when we speak of the medicine wheel, and the directions, for each aspect... each teaching we must consider its opposite also, so this is shaping up a lot like that. As a result of the places I have journeyed... and the things I have experienced there, I find that at times of decision I land in one of two "camps."  

One possible response set -  is what I consider my conditioned responses, my protective default settings... of being fearful, suspicious, keeping folks at a distance and doubting myself.  Seriously... what could I possibly have to offer - who the hell am I? Damaged goods, utterly unremarkable, not even deserving of the scratch and dent bin... disposable. Certain situations can trigger me - big time...  there are... things.  Things that wash dispair, pain, terror... over this grown-ass adult, to the point where I tremble, cry, and wanna just crawl into someone's lap to be rocked and assured that the big-bad... is INDEED in the past... that the perpetrators are dead in some cases, or have been removed from my life in others. When I am in this place, having these responses - I cheat myself from the full life and engagement I deserve.  But it is fucking scary out there!

But there is another set of possible responses.  This other set is my set of intentional tools for loving the world... and loving ME. These responses include displays of extravagant abundant compassion, busted wide open generosity, crazy-wild openness, and a fiery boldness. This latter set... is my higher self... my possible self... my true wild instinctual self. 

Sometimes in the scariest damned situations dealing with my personal shit... I have found it within myself to trust beyond anything that my default settings understand.  That's just CRAZY (and I love it)! Because of my ability to find that inner core... I am stepping into more spaces where I have been able to dip down past the sludge, and arrive at a space of compassion from which the only thing I can seem to do... is love with fucking fierce intensity, to be genuine, and have the bold authenticity to bleed side-by-side with another beautiful soul. This doesn't seem like I "put a bow on it" but.. I just ran out of words.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Question of the Day: To what degree are you in touch with... and to what degree do you pay attention to the Unseen World?

The original question I came up with was about being in touch with intuition... but as I thought of it... I had to reframe it this way.  For me intuition is something that happens, when we are open to, and pay attention to the unseen world. 

Perhaps its just a niggling sense in your gut... maybe two seemingly unrelated events click together with the draw of big magnets.  Maybe it is seeing a spirit guide in animal form and recognizing that she is there for a reason... and listening to what her still small voice might be saying to you.  

Sometimes these teachings are very subtle, and easily missed - or at least the meaning/message might not be clear.  One recent example. I was driving home, and the biggest buck, I have ever seen was crossing in front of me, and just stopped... with this massive rack of antlers, he looked right at me - and stood there maybe 15 feet from the front of my car... as 4 or 5 does crossed the road.  When they were safe, he gave a snort, tossed his massive head, stomped his foot and then he crossed.  I am not sure what the teaching was in that for me... some would say "it was just a deer, he wasn't looking AT you" - uh... yeah... he was. You've been looked directly in the eye, you know how that feels. I felt the wind, but have yet to know what I am to understand from that.

At other times the teachings, the lessons are so glaring, that you have to work hard-hard-hard to not trip over them - for example:  I was driving home from a shopping trip, and was one intersection away from home (I could literally see my house).  As I neared the stop sign, a Great Blue Heron flew over low... and landed... in the road, between me, and the intersection.  I was like "oh!"  I talked to her, I called her by name... all herons are named Patty regardless of sex or gender. I told Patty that it was good to see her, that she was beautiful and that I appreciated the visit... she rawked at me (listen to the 4th file at that link).  I told Patty that I needed to get on home and began to inch forward, she kind of hopped two footed a few feet farther from my car, and rawked again.  I was like "seriously? What are you doing Patty... why are you in the road?  What do you need???"  I began to inch forward again, and about that time a car came like a bat outta hell through the intersection without even slowing. Can I figure out with mathematical precision, if she had not been there if I would have still been in the intersection?  No, I cannot.  But... I appreciate that she WAS there and that her presence in that time and space, kept me safe. The spirit wind blew, and I paid attention.

People could be inclined to criticize that I anthropomorphize animals - I say - they are my brethren - period (well I might say, back the fuck off first). It says in Ecclesiastes: "They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts..."  Turtles can be pensive, Hawks... impatient, otters - playful. I am so connected to the animals, the ones I know... and the ones I meet. A friend recently told me that "somehow... you have this ability to go beyond your own existence..  and experience... the life of a pigeon." This connection can have its down side, because if I encounter an injured animal, or one recently killed on the road... it is painful to me in ways I cannot begin to articulate to folks who don't know me.

Its not just the animal spirits though.  I feel spirit winds when they blow in other places.  Cases in point:

  • A very brief virtual conversation, made me know we had finally found the person we had been searching for!  All interactions to follow... flowed from that moment.
  • Knowing why our friend came to talk to us, as soon as said friend asked to come over. I told Jen what I felt - and when the friend gave us the scoop, the knowing look that passed between Jen and and me, caused the friend to ask what that was about.  Jen says "that's what Lynn said you were coming over to talk about." Friend is like "What? Why? How could you KNOW that?" Jen: "sometimes... she just knows."
  • Getting served a chai - by a stranger - feeling instantly connected - and telling her - on the spot - we needed to know each other. Thank you for the tea - My Sister!
  • Having an irresistible urge to go up to a person I barely knew during a somber service on World AIDS Day, and disturb them when they were engaged in sacred prayer... going up and touching their arm. A short conversation, a jolting eye-to-eye connection and a hug in that moment - has led to a fucking miraculous gift.
  • Knowing... that it was critically important, to keep a young person engaged in Facebook chat... even though he kept trying to go silent - and having no idea... until much later... why that was.  Spirit knew there was no time for details... that a young person sat on the other end of that chat, prepared to end their pain - in the most permanent of ways.
Sometimes when the spirit wind blows, you get blown into unexpected places - at other times - you just say YES and raise a kite!

Igwein Gitchimanido...  for all that blows my way on the Spirit Wind.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Question Du Jour: What do I need?

As I wander about feeling stressed, unfulfilled, like what I do doesn't matter all that much... I am trying to figure things out.  So I am contemplating what I need.  I need to be engaged in meaningful work, that creates and expands spaces that folks don't have much access to... whoever those folks are.  I want what I do... to matter - not in some "we need you to do this job that no one else wants to do" manner... but matter - for real! Work of substance.  My people tell me that this is true now... that what I do matters... why don't I feel like it does? I feel like a very replaceable cog in a machine whose purpose I no longer believe in. If I fell over tomorrow... another person would be placed in that spot... the line would fire back up and the machine would keep cranking. I need to be directly.engaged! I need to be needed. I need less stress. I need more sleep. Now... more than ever, I need to nourish my body with nutrients, joy, water, meaningful work, and rest. I need peace...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Question of the day: What feelings are the most difficult for you to deal with right now?

Well there are many, I am very frustrated with words... fucking words! I l-o-v-e words, love wordplay, and right now they are biting me!  In the movie My Fair Lady...  Eliza sings "words words words I'm so SICK of words.. I get words all day through first from him now from you..." yeah... like THAT! I went to say something about the weather to my lovely wife this morning. I intended to say that I had looked up the weather for the day after today, and I kept saying yesterday.  I said something like "I looked up the weather for yesterday and it's going to be almost 60 degrees yesterday, we should be able to get that outside work done." Going to be... and yesterday.  The word tomorrow... was not on the radar.  what the fuck is THAT??????? 

Frustrations Du Jour

  • too tight of a schedule
  • no time to THINK
  • wordswordswordsi'msosickofwords!
  • brain fog
  • stressed
  • tired-achey
  • unprepared for this training I am conducting in half an hour
Celebrations Du Jour

  • I've done this training MANY times - wrote the curriculum, so I can wing it.
  • As soon as training is over - I am OUTTA here
  • Drumming with the peeps, with little kiddos later
  • I can do this...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Writing Ritual...

I am commencing a 30 day writing ritual... and using this blog as my format.  I miss blogging.. but right now... writing... is challenging.  I am recently diagnosed with MS... and finding words and stringing them together... is like digging through a giant container of exquisite beads - with the intention of making a necklace.  Cobalt... silver, burgundy, amber... oh look, this bead doesn't have a hole in it, and this is beautiful... but it is not a bead at all, it's a pretty little rock... I remember when I picked that out of Burnett's Creek  -  somewhere in the process I get derailed.  So to try to get myself started I am going to address a question or two a day for a while.  It is my HOPE that I will be here every day for 30 days.  But ya know... its not like the writing police are going to show up and revoke my blogger's license if I miss a day here and there.  But I do go forth into this space - with intention of blogging every day for 30 days.

The questions Du Jour are:  Which of your habits promote wellness?   

  • Staying boldly connected to Spirit... via ritual, worship, & fellowship in a variety of formats - with several overlapping circles of folks.  These things - these beautiful souls, nourish me, lift me up, and somehow... simultaneously free me - and tether me "all at the same time, because it's a place of mystery."
  • Staying connected to my people, even when I wanna crawfish into a hidey hole. Reaching out for a "voice tether" when that is what I need.
  • Lighting candles
  • Talking when I need to talk
  • Tapping into creative things, like making drums, drumming whenEVER possible
  • Sitting with a pot of tea and a book
  • Eating healthy food
  • Putting my feet, into wild places with running water
  • Exploring the wild places - with wild friends

Which contribute to discomfort and disease? 

  • Not getting adequate sleep.  This is such a  HUGE  issue for me, I don't sleep enough.  Falling asleep can be very tricksy... but I gotta own this part... If I don't crawl INTO the hammock until nearly midnight, I am robbing my self of the opportunity for more Zzz's - it's pretty clear I won't be sleeping... if I don't go to bed!
  • Falling into old thought patterns of being disposable / unworthy / bothersome... so when I am having a bad time... sometimes I just crawfish into the hidey hole, sometimes I just go silent... and don't let the people who love and cherish me... in on it.
  • Pushing WAY the fuck too hard, and thus, wearing myself completely out.  It takes longer to recharge from THAT place, than if I was just more reasonable.
  • Some days - maybe too much caffeine - though none of my medical staff have mentioned it .
  • I know there are days, I don't drink enough water.
I'm certain there are more in each category, but that is what comes swims to the surface.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pondering PTHC 2012

PTHC 2012 is now history.  
This was my second time attending this amazing conference and I am awe-struck by the evolutions of thought, burgeoning spheres of engagement and the ever-widening circles of friends with which I have been blessed through the experience.  I have been both witness and resource as lives have been transformed.   I cannot begin to provide an exhaustive list of the moments of WOW I experienced, this takes time to process, and sometimes you just don't know about the impact of things, until something else comes and taps you on the shoulder.  
Some things that do rise to the top of my consciousness this day...

Representing the Interfaith Working Group in many capacities in various contexts across the conference, was my privilege.  Talking about IWG with presenters and attendees alike, and hearing so many times "I didn't know ANYONE was DOING that kind of work!"  reaffirms the importance of our shared work. Being on the conference planning committee, being involved in the Spirituality Working Group, and in the Indigenous Spirituality working group has been an honor.

Gifting Chief Bob Mexhalaniyat (Red Hawk) Ruth of the Lenape Nation with this hand made drum, in gratitude from the PTHC: Indigenous Spirituality Working Group, was humbling, amazing, and surreal.  Working with this year's coordinator of indigenous Spirituality programming, has been GREAT!  Thanks for all of your hard work Janis Stacy! 

Being asked to serve as Coordinator for Indigenous Programming for PTHC 2013 - is scary-exciting!

Leading workshops that bring drumming as a spiritual practice... to the spirits of folks across faith traditions, cultures and gender identities... and seeing them find that place - perhaps that moment of wholeness they had not glimpsed before was transformational.  Watching as people find their voice - with the drum - beautiful!  Having the honor of doing this work alongside someone I love and respect immensely makes the work that much more powerful, and meaningful!  Several powerful moments of vulnerability and connection - the spirit moves ~ In Lak 'Ech!
  • Smudging - at a conference - WOW!  Helping to lead Native Drumming Circles - YES!  
  • Leading a dynamic, soothing and energizing Earth-Based Ritual as part of a very powerful team of 4, was just BEYOND!
  • Hearing the stories, telling some stories of my own.  Talking "outside the box" naming the box and looking for intersectional connections - brought both tears, and joy.
  • Being able to just be as gay as I wanna be, as Indigenous as I wanna be - whatever ANY of that looks like - is so freeing, so empowering and just so freaking cool that it makes my heart SING!  
  • Having the loving care of so MANY friends while I was trying to balance self-care and active engagement... is just super-wonderful - all y'all KNOW who you are!
There's so much more, but words, are so inadequate...

Friday, January 6, 2012

No, but you're close...

I've been engaged in conversations about experiences with some of my beloved people who have walked on. This one keeps coming to the surface.  Sometimes the experiences I have, are fleeting, and seem more casual and social, while others are hugely significant.  This experience is of the latter variety.  This all happened in a dream. The dream was on the night before Thanksgiving 2008.  I had been struggling with a decision that I'll talk about later. 

I dreamed I was in a space that looked a lot like a section of our local airport.  There was a curved counter, attended by agents, who weren't really doing much.  There were bunches of people milling about.  As I looked into the crowd I saw my Mom and got SO excited!  I went to her and was like "Mom! Mom!" and hugging her to pieces, knowing full well she had long passed.  It felt like she was in anguish, and not nearly so ecstatic to see me, as I was to see her. This realization deflated my exuberance, and I asked her how she was there... and suddenly it was like the proverbial light bulb went -*click*- over my head and I asked:

"Mom, and I where YOU are?"
She looked me right in the eye and replied "no, but you're close."  She looked me in the eyes with great fierce love and intention, she hugged me, and disappeared into the crowd.  Then I woke up.

I had not heard my Mother's voice in nearly 20 years, but those 4 words were in her voice. They were utterly Mom, in spirit and enunciation, and delivered in her "this is no time for bullshit Linda Jean... you WILL listen to me" tone... with which I was quite familiar from my teenage years.  Those 4 words, scared me!

I had been struggling with a decision as I mentioned.  I was weighing in the pros and cons of having weight loss surgery.  The full travelogue of that journey can be found here.  I was in a bad way physically... I was waffling back and forth... I needed a nudge.  That nudge came in the form of a messenger who would not be dismissed.  Mom. 

Mom and I have an intricate relationship, which evolved over the years into an amazing friendship.  During her 2 year journey with breast cancer, the surgery, the chemo, the radiation, the waxing and waning hope, we grew so very close.  Mom was a loving and nurturing being of immense compassion, but make no mistake... Mom was also... a no bullshit kinda woman!  Much like the old EF Hutton commercials, when Mom talked you LISTENED!

When I woke up, I talked to Jen about the dream, and what it meant.  We were in agreement and Jen was in full support of my decision to pursue WLS.  That day, was Thanksgiving, and as my family gathered, I told them of my decision and began the long journey to better health that day. I have come a long way from that point, but I believe that I walk this Earth, that I live and breathe due to my Mom's ability to communicate with me from the other side, and my openness to that communication.
Thank you Mom, for setting my feet on that path, and enabling me to claim for myself a life of vitality, that now enables me to live a life of purpose and active engagement, not possible before this transformation.  
This has put me in a position to be involved in some amazing work!
I LOVE you and as always... you're amazing!