The divorce papers came in the mail yesterday.  It is official.

Ironically signed by the judge 13 years to the day that my ex came into my life.

I am speechless for once in my life.

I haven’t told anyone.

When they came unsigned in the mail, the day before Valentine’s Day.  I told someone who did a really good job making me feel like shit about something else.

This hollow feeling in my gut is like a fist.

I am going to Will’s house.  He has a cigar and a bottle of wine waiting for me.  Maybe I will tell him.


Attachment causes suffering.

Vagary – an erratic or outlandish notion or action; whim

“Even when we see that someone can’t give us what we want and require, we still believe they can! This belief is our attachment, the source of our suffering.”

—Ezra Bayda

At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace within Everyday Chaos

I think of the prayer that we chant in the Zen Center on Sunday mornings.  About the merciful avatar of the Buddha.  Even though they may be fools bow down with humble words.  I struggle with this.  It is I guess my karma.

Somewhere along the line I came to this idea of guilt.  Ironic that the chakra at the neck is also interested in guilt.  Interesting indeed.  That the choices I make should be in favor of others but against myself.  I was taught I guess that this is the right way to be.   How selfish.  To take care of yourself.

Honestly there are times when my child is first.  Times when my dog is first.  Times when a friend in need is first.  Times when the dishes are first.  But how often really do I say.  Okay what do I need?  What do I want?   The thing is 99% of the time I take care of my own needs.  And I have for a long time.  As for what I want, not so often.  And ultimately my wants are limited.  Money to fix up the house, a good book, friends, not to find the bathroom garbage strewn about the house when I get home, health, my daughter to be a successful adult.  I wrote in the old blog about how this time in February that I was so sick was maybe the first time in my life that I was not able to care for myself.  I needed my friend B. to come and take me to the hospital (or an ambulance)  I needed my daughter to take care of stuff in the house.  I couldn’t do it. I needed help.  Wants are different and it is in wanting that suffering arises.  What do I want, what does that other person want, what wants are close to needs, what are just frivolous wants?  It would be easier to want for nothing but that is actually a very difficult thing to do.

Who taught me that my wants are second?  I think of my marriage.  Most people tell me that they knew it was not right but I missed it.  How could I miss it for all those years?  For example I realized I was lactose intolerant only after the ex left.  No-one was putting creamer in my coffee.  I drink it black when I make it myself.  But for 11 years he put creamer in my coffee.  He knew I drank it black when I poured it myself.  And yet he always put creamer in it.  I would drink it.  But I would rather have had it black.  Stomach cramps later.  Why didn’t I just set the coffee cup down in front of him and go pour myself another cup of coffee?  Who taught me to accept what I was given without complaint? It was only when I started to make my own coffee everyday that I realized the cramps were from drinking creamer.

The thing is I give all day long.  In my job, my first real job out of college I thought, I will work for 5 years helping others.  5 years in group homes for developmentally disabled.

Next I gave two years of my life to teaching mentally ill children in a hospital.

Then and now 12 years later teaching inner city children.  I could teach outside this district but I want to give something of myself to children who are at a disadvantage.

So my five year pledge has become 19 years of giving.

I am constantly questioning this notion of who I am and what is right and whom I have to try to make happy.  The outlandish notion is that perhaps it too needs to be let go.  Non-attachment.  I cannot make someone else happy.  I surely cannot try to make someone else happy at my own expense.  The stomach cramps are noisome.  They are irritating and get in the way of my life.

The heart cramps too.  Can I not have a perfect day without that gnatty feeling of guilt.  Guilt because I am trying to find some golden solace, peace and serenity in my own life.  It has been a rough ROUGH two years.  Can I not spend some time just basking in the sun without worrying about whether or not my shadow is cast in this or that direction.  Sorry to shade you so.  What can I do.  I am trying to live here.

Just questions these.  Questions to discover what is right.  What is wrong.  I want my karma to be good.  But I have to be really careful here, because up til now, I have not really been one to put myself first, second, third, but I think I have to be like a person in an airplane … put the mask on myself so that I can make sure I am alive to help others.

Buddhism · Small Joys · Yoga

Om tattoo, lotus tattoo. WHY?

“For over 5,000 years …. Tattoos have served as rites of passage marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of  fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts.”

Om or Aum the symbol of the eternal of “God” the concept that all things in this universe are one, the eternal one.  Also it is part of the Ajna chakra the opening of the mind.

Lotus – purity of the body, mouth and thought (evil karma arises from the body, mouth and thought on account of beginning-less greed, anger and folly) and where the Buddha walks a lotus flower blooms.  The Buddha has left his footprint on me.

The Vishudda chakra is a lotus symbol that resides in the neck area.  It is represented by a many petaled lotus flower.  It represents taking a negative experience and using it to open up to wisdom and learning.  It is also associated with creativity and self expression.  The next higher up chakra Ajna is on the forehead and it carries the Om symbol in it.  Ajna stands for the opening of the mind.

I have wanted a tattoo for many many years.  I had always thought I would get a little daisy on my hip or a bird on my ankle.  Instead I chose a lotus flower with an om symbol and I had it placed at the base of my neck,  this is the location of the Vishudda chakra.  It is a mark for me of a rite of passage.  From married maiden to spiritual woman.  The absolutely rending negativity of my surprise divorce opened my mind to a spiritual depth that I had been working on before marriage but came deeply into me once my marriage ended.

This is also a symbol of spiritual devotion.  The Om symbol represents hope.  Hope for the opening of my mind to new possibilities and trust in my higher power.  It is a sacred symbol uttered at the beginning and at the end of a thing.  The Om spoken at the end of my married life.  The Om spoken at the beginning of this new life.

This tattoo is a symbol of the hardship I have endured (albeit emotional in nature) and a symbol of the strength I have inside of me that I always carried but I now know I can depend on. It is like a sacred fire inside of me.



Blue Sky

Heard this song today.  It has been years but the words came back like I heard it yesterday.  Love it.

Walk along the river … sweet lullaby
It just keeps on flowin’ … it don’t worry ’bout where it’s going

I am feeling very blue sky today.

I have been thinking all day about this idea of Steam-punk.  My love of dystopian science fiction.  It is strange in a way how someone who loves nature and the woods as much as I do can be so enthralled by a future that is set in the decaying ugliness of a city.  The detritus of the collapsed city.  The darkness in many ways, the dirty grit and rusting bits and parts reassembled into something not quite right.  I picture a doll that has a Barbie head on a Bratz body with a pair of GI Joe boots.  Dolls.  Dark, mismatched, sewn bits, collected parts, uniquely put together.  No two dolls alike.

When you have this in your heart side by side with a soft tendril of a fern in the moist earth by the side of a crystal lake.  The brilliant scarlet of bee-balm with the silver frost of artemesia in the back ground.   I read this great quote last week that I did not write down, but should have and of course I returned the library book.  It was about the French Garden how it is ordered and perfect, tearing out all the bits that don’t look perfect, constant grooming required but nothing new really happens.  Then it said that the English Garden is open to the possibilities of life, all the things that can happen in a wonderous way when you allow things to grow of their own volition that you leave room in your garden for the surprise and the ability to wonder at what could have brought such a thing to your garden.  (perhaps like the dark purple columbine that apppeared from no where near my bird feeders)   That it is like being a creative person, things grow out of places you cannot plan for, once you allow all that is inside of you to burst out and to bloom.  I cannot do the quote justice.  Damn.

Steampunk is like an English Garden (or a cluttered workshed) you take all those things and put them together in a new way and what results is a surprise.  It startles you into new possibilities.  I guess the alternative is a stark crisp white future that leaves no room for freedom, for creativity.  If you know human kind is headed to a life without the green earth, the quiet forest, the windy mountain top, the bubbling laughter of a stream across slate, you want on some level to know that something new can still be created out of certain chaos.


Working to Gain a Faithful Hand

“Having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” – a quote by Dinah Craik

Would the world were like this.  It seems the chaff is instead what we hold to.  Not just the chaff of your words but perhaps the chaff of your character.  The thing is that even when your character is one of deep love, affection, a great big giant heart of pure love  (as my friend B. says), when your character is one of deep honesty and integrity, when your character is that of a hard worker, when your character is that of someone who loves the Earth, the Great Mother, when your character is of a gentle nature, kind, compassionate, but if you burp out loud or have a habit of picking at your hangnails or that you don’t wear high heels, nor dye your hair blond (er) , suddenly you are judged.  And judged hard. Or perhaps it was just me.  That I was judged on those things, and in the end realizing the judgment was someone else’s problems.  Not really mine, because all of those other things, the things of character, are the things that really matter.

My friend J. said that I have to be willing to compromise when it comes to the one day possibility of finding a mate.  Maybe my problem is I don’t want to compromise because I gave in so much with my marriage that I caved in.  Imploded.  And then was deserted for something better.  It is my own damn fault too.  I shouldn’t have to compromise, not on stupid things.  The breath of kindness should blow away the hangnail picking, and the fact that I would rather wear birkenstocks or a pair of boots, I shouldn’t have to make my hair more blond than it already is to please a partner.  He should be happy with me this way. Okay I can work on my trucker mouth, and if I have to I won’t smoke my cousins expensive cigars when I hang out with him.  I can even give up my single daily (or less) beer, and my weekly (or less) bottle of wine but ask me to give up my coffee and I will walk away.  I do wear high heels, but everyday?  No sorry.  I can exercise but I am not a loser if I choose to do it in a state park rather than a stinking gym with a bunch of New Jersey sorority girls.  See the compromise should be in favor of being who you are in your true character, not against the very grain of your being.

And don’t you wish you could just drop it already.  Let the chaff go from your own hands.  Blow it all away out of kindness to yourself.

Please take my words as grain.  Food to sustain the soul.  To make a pearl you have to have GRIT.  And the grit is made of the all the difficult things.   The chaff is no different, in order to get the grain you have to sift through all the stuff you are going to let go.


What Keeps Me Up at Night


My brain waves.

About three years ago I was tired of not sleeping well, it was making me, well, tired. So I decided to use my health insurance to have a sleep study done. The doctor said, it is probably apnea, the guy in the elevator doing a sleep study the same day said oh it will be apnea, the nurses in the unit, oh it is usually apnea.

I was worried because some days I sleep like the dead and other days I have this thing … I don't snore. I knew it wasn't sleep apnea.

About a month later I am sitting in the doctor's office and he is sitting across from me. Okay, he said, you have a very low, lower than normal incidence of sleep apnea events, but the strangest thing is that your brain waves are like nothing I have ever seen in my years of practice. Your brain waves do not wave, they spike.


The doctor had no solutions for me, so I do yoga, meditate, and take valerian root and melatonin when I am in a not sleeping phase. Which seem to cycle on their own schedule.

This makes it very tough for me to wake up too. I have a very hard time and I actually have two alarms, one soft gentle sound of waves to ease me into it, and one you better get your ass up right now alarm. On a good day I wake up before either, on a bad day. Ugh.

Thank God for coffee. It is my life blood.

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Buddhism · Photos

Laughing Place

Dr. Cross said to me that you have to find your laughing place.  I asked him what does that mean.  Have you ever heard the story of Brer Rabbit?  Yes but it has been awhile.  He tells me the story.

One night dey cach him and tie him up, to make him into stew. But Brer Rabbit only laugh at Brer Bear and Brer Fox. “Too bad” he say. “what do you mean?” ask Brer Fox. “I was goin’ to show you my secret laughing place in a hollow tree,” say Brer Rabbit “Make me feel like laughin’ just to think of it.” “Can’t you tell us which tree?” dey ask. “I can’t tell you where ’tis” say Brer Rabbit. “I got to show you. But you got me all tied up. If you’d set me free, I’t take you dere.” Brer Fox and Brer Bear consider more. At last they give in. Oh, dey keep a rope on Brer Rabbit, good ant tight. Den dey start off, an’ Brer Rabbit lead de way right up to a hollow oak. “Dere ’tis!” he yell. “Dere’s my secret laughing place.” So Brer Fox and Brer Bear peek in. Zippety-zim, out come a swarm of bees, and dey chase Brer Fox and Brer Bear a-howling through de woods. Brer Rabbit, he laugh till he almost choke. “Dat’s my laughing place!” he sing out. So Brer Bear and Brer Fox go home, mos’ unhappy, and dream of trappin’ Brer Rabbit again.

He says where is your laughing place?

I think of William and the day we spent on the mountain behind our grandparents house.

I think too of Clark Reservation.

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I have walked these paths many times in the last year.  Two, three times a week.  My feet step over the craggy rocks, deep rifts in the limestone, grey matter rippled with time.  The deep pool and the secret cave where you know a deep deep magic resides untapped, unexplored but it gives you power just knowing it is there.  The stillness of the pond it’s reflection of the sky the deep blue universe.  The steep steps that lead to the cool stillness or up into the heat of the parking lot. Or here the path is dangerous, but over time you realize it is not as bad as you had imagined.  The peaceful places where the knarled roots and soft pine floor are an invitation to breath in the cool silence.  The scared place where the electrcal wires run, the damaged earth where the quarry has torn out all things living.   The long path away from the ugliness of man’s hand, far from any roadway deep in the woods.   The place where the birds play and you slow your walk because the beauty is so breathtaking.  The rock where you climb and at the top breathless you encounter God.  Thankful. You stop to say a pray of gratitude every time.

Is this a laughing place, where you are protected from that which is trying to get you?  From Brer Fox the tricky one?  And what are your bees here? Or in another version your briars.  What protects you from being eaten?  Is it your magic in that deep cave whose presence announces itself in a cool breath on your bare legs.

The rarities of plants, the species that were discovered here in this park, exist perhaps only here.  Seeking a metaphor you ask yourself what does this mean.   You think of Barbie in her high heels.  Here you are in hiking boots, or all terrain sandals, and when you see little girls in sparkling flip flops you shake your head.  Will that cutie little boyfriend carry them home?  And in this path you know that this rarity of species is you.  The difference between denying the depth of your character and embracing it whole.  Suddenly the laughing place is clear.  Let no one tell you it should be different.

You feel connected to all things.  You feel you are at this moment god seated on a lotus that is floating on the warm rocking waters.  Ribbit you are a frog, splash the ripples spread and spread across the pond, a tiny microbe is stirred to life and so it goes.

You know it is a deep illusion, like Neo awakening in the movie the Matrix, only you are not connected to vast lifeless computer, illusioned from your misery.  You are connected to life.  A vast illusion of suffering.

You walk the wide open path home the orange sun setting somewhere behind you.  You think of a river, long ago imagined in a deep gorge, each molecule floating as though in a river of stars.  Into the ocean the oceans of galaxies.  You stop and hold out your hands, your arms are covered in goose bumps and enlightenment strikes you like a gift from the deep abyss.


Use this time for growth and good.

“I recently heard someone say that true hell was being exactly where you did not want to be with no ability to be other where. I think that is true. The choices become stark at that point. You bang your head uselessly and rail against your misfortune. If it can be changed, you do so, no matter what the work involved. But sometimes, for some time, we must accept and turn to ways to use this time for growth and good.

I have linked this quote to the blog of the woman that said it.  I really like it.  The blog not at all what I normally would be interested, but there is something intriguing about her writing that draws me in again and again.

I have been told that a million times, when you stop looking love will appear.  Which is complete BULLSHIT so stop telling people that.  Cause when you stop looking losers appear too, and sometimes NOTHING appears.

And while we are on the subject the whole if you would ONLY love yourself first…is also crap, lots of people don’t love themselves and they have relationships and just because you are critical of yourself it shouldn’t give others permission to be critical of you, and it doesn’t mean you hate yourself.  If for example someone says ugh I am so fat, it doesn’t mean they don’t love themselves it means they don’t think their body is physically attractive to the modern male.  It isn’t an electric chair of self love either, the old I am so fat so it must mean I am a lousy artist a bad person and unlovable.  UM OKAY.  How about NOT.  So also stop saying that IF you only loved yourself someone else … no just don’t say it.

I have so much more to say right now but I am really pissed off.  I do want to rant but then the rant would go into rage.  We cannot have that can we?  Just be a pretty little girl, play Barbie is going to marry Ken in the corner someplace and hush up.  That’s a good girl some day some marvelous husband will love your submissive nature ever so much.  And if he leaves you it will be because you didn’t do enough for him, and because you didn’t love yourself, and because you were not submissive enough.  There there little dear.  Just comb Barbies hair and put on her cute little shoes that match her pretty little dress and you will be happy.  That’s right.

I am thinking this might just be a Brave New World.  Soma for little girls who get all growed up and are still dressing up like Barbie.  Gosh and gee willikers.

If I only loved myself said the fairy princess Barbie, if only I would stop wanting a man, if only I had just a little more sparkle, if only I would paint my nails and put on red lipstick and shave my pubic hair and eat nothing but salad, diet soda and low fat yogurt… every one would live happily ever after.

Except the this fairy princess Barbie isn’t happy in that world.

Cooking · Eating Locally · Healthy Eating

Good Eats

The Syracuse Regional Market has expanded considerably in the last few years.  Where once it was just veggies, and some of them the kind that I call the dumpster dive veggies (day old tropical fruits with sticky tags on them); it has now many other choices. You can purchase honey or NY State Maple Syrup products, fish, bison and free range meats, cheeses, home baked goods, home canned goods, you can learn about being a Mennonite, or a Muslim, you can sample wines and coffee.  There are soap sellers (locally made) and handcrafted wares and there is even what I call the junk barn, plastic, leather, cooking stuff and hippie clothing.

Yesterday I went with my friend M.  early in the morning.  I was having her and my two gays over for dinner.  I already had red bulghar wheat and I thought whatever I don’t get I can run to the store for.  I purchased a nice variety of locally grown veggies peppers, cucumbers, radishes, scallions and heirloom tomatoes.  I have to say I am intrigued by heirloom tomatoes.  At first I was confused about determining ripeness but I have started to just kind of touch them and if they are tender I figure they are ready to eat. The thing is they taste really great.  The red mushy flavorless variety available in the grocery store is nothing like the ones I grew up eating fresh out of the garden.  I try to grow potted tomatoes in my yard, but I haven’t been tremendously successful, and the earth here is fabulous for growing perennials but after eight years of trying veggies in the clay soil I realized that container gardening was the way to go.  My friend M. and her guy have it down to a science.  In fact she provided some Italian parsley for the meal from her garden.   I have a pathetic container garden.  Mostly because I refuse to use chemical fertilizers.  I need a horse!

I bought locally made and some organic cheeses.  I bought two bottles of locally made wine.  One for dinner and a rich full bodied red to drink later.  By myself.  I don’t know many people who like the wonderful flavor of a good cabernet or in this case a meritage.  Phenomenal.  M. bought a loaf of onion gorgonzola bread from the local bread gurus.  And I forgot to run into the Greek Market right next door to get olives, but my two guy friends picked that up for me instead.

I made a big bowl of Taboule and a tray of fresh cut veggies and had hummus on hand to dip it in.  I made a fruit salad with nectarines, a mango from the Asian people at the market, and some fresh local blueberries.  We had the bread and the cheeses too and olives.  It was really a wonderful meal.  J. and I are practicing Buddhists and once you start to sit regularly you find yourself wanting less meat.  Particularly the supermarket variety who spend there sad little lives imprisoned, force fed and injected beyond recognition.  Interesting that both of us grew up on grass fed beef and real chicken and I on venison.  We actually told M. last night that there is no comparison in flavor to what you buy in the stores today, like those mushy flavorless tomatoes.  She is just enough younger and was raised in a large metropolitan area, and not in farm country as J. and I were.

We did have some ice cream with caramel sauce on it for dessert, which we ate while J. and I kicked M. and B.’s butts in several rounds of the board/card game Sequence.   We called ourselves the Dharma buddies, our team.

I wake hungry but I can feel the healthy food’s effects on my body.  I like that.