Moderation… in moderation

I’m usually vigilant about what goes into me because it makes such a difference in what I can put out.

Today, I went up to Heath Fair, the kind of country fair that has pulling contests for everything from bullocks to tractors, first through third prizes for identical piles of potatoes, rare critters no factory farm would make room for (like this 4-horned goat),

… and also henna tattoos, a massage booth, Chinese food options, and extraordinary handicrafts with century-old handtools being used by gnarly-handed, smiling neighbors.

I started the day with a good solid Brain-Food shake, but once we hit the Fair, that was it.

French fries made from fresh local potatoes, fudge made from fresh local milk, coffee with maple syrup from fresh local farmers.

Then we got home and had ice cream and cheese.

I haven’t touched a single bit of produce (that didn’t have a ribbon on it) since breakfast.

I’m doing okay. Daffy, but okay. A little sore through the elbows, but okay. Not able to soak up any science, but okay. Very glad I didn’t have to drive home, but that’s okay, too.

We stopped on the way home to catch the closing of the Pow-Wow on the Mohawk Trail, a lovely arty cozy time with friends and their friends. And that was more than okay.

Whipped cream on top: learning that moose have moved down to this area…

As long as I do this wild irrational feasting on weird stuff about once or twice a year (no more), I should be … okay.

For one thing, it’s good to keep your body guessing. (That’s why dieters need to have one good belly-filling meal every 2-3 days, so the body doesn’t go into famine mode.)

For another, I suspect it does me good to remind myself why I don’t eat this stuff normally. Even though my body is handling it like a champion, that’s because my usual diligence has created a certain amount of metabolic slack; I can absorb a bit of crap without disaster.

Still no wheat, though. I’m adventurous, but not self-destructive. My lovely hostess, Laurie, indulged me by getting some of the homemade wild blueberry pie and assuring me it was every bit as good as it should be.

While tomorrow brings another day of quantities of greens that could make even Dr. Terry Wahls raise an eyebrow, I’m kind of digging the memory of one day with so much creamy, mouth-melting sweetness. I’m smart enough (finally) to know what’ll happen if I keep it up any longer, but I’m old enough to really, truly enjoy my memories just as they are — without regret, without longing, just with simple pleasure. This is a nice one.

Mmmm…

And tomorrow’s shake will be just as good as ever. Possibly even better.

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What comes first, comes first

Hard lesson I keep re-learning: My very first priority is taking care of this bodymind complex. My very second priority is taking care of my relationships. Studying and writing about this disease and everything that relates to it … no better than third.

No matter how fascinating a line of inquiry is… no matter how badly I want to make that conference call… no matter how scintillatingly brilliant that blog post that’s unrolling in my head will be…

Something else has to come first.

If I haven’t had my brain-food shake, or it’s time for a massage, or the phone is ringing and it’s someone I haven’t connected with in awhile, then shake or massage or phone comes first, in that order.

And then, CRPS doing what it does to attention and memory, whatever I had on my mind beforehand is gone. Taking notes, unfortunately, doesn’t work — I’ve tried it. Notes work for those whose brains maintain networks of ideas, who can trigger a cascade of memories from the brief mnemonics. I’m working to get it back… which brings us back to the first priority.

And, I’ve found over the years, the second priority is inextricably linked to the first — directly and indirectly. But I think that’s a whole ‘nother post, all by itself.

I’ve been a Type A worker for about 24 years. Relaxing does not come naturally, but I’ve learned to manage it in reasonable doses. Losing work is bad enough, but losing it before I’ve even had a crack at doing it is, well, what those with pithier vocabularies call a mindf!ck.

Knowing that I’ll probably lose the work, and making the choice to go ahead anyway, takes more discipline than I always have. But — despite the learning difficulties — I’m getting better. Even I can learn to keep my priorities in order.

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Just enough

The feds owe me backpay. It should come to quite a chunk of money. Naturally, some of my friends are spending it for me according to their own wishes and tastes. Bless their hearts.

It’s not here yet, and I have to manage with what I have. I’m grateful for my monthly disability income. It would be nice to have more, but it’s enough for me to live on. Just enough. My  income is more than many have, and I have really simple tastes… but most people can live a whole lot cheaper than I can, because my “basics” are different.

I want to ask my blithe friends to point to something in their cupboards — something to eat. Anything.

  • Pasta? For me, that’s 3 days of poor vision, no memory, no thought, of being so disoriented I’m unable to drive, let alone get to the end of a sentence. Corn and rice aren’t quite as bad, but they still cost my body too much.
  • Beans? Depends on the bean, but it usually means sluggish bowels, insulin resistance, worse nerve pain (because the endocrine misbehavior triggers inflammatory responses), and disproportionate weight gain. Every extra pound I weigh is a tax on my feet and legs, where the pain and swelling are already about all I can cope with. 
  • Cannned goods?  Neurotoxic preservatives that set my thoughts rattling, interfere with sleep, make me feel like someone took a baseball bat to my head. 
  • Soda? Oh boy, let’s talk about soda. The phosphoric acid alone will send my peripheral and central nervous systems into spasms, and the caffeine throws my fight-or-flight response a curve-ball. Don’t even get me started on the corn syrup. Corn fractions are bad, but high fructose corn syrup is a straight descent into neurogenic Hell.

I have to put expensive berries and piles of organic greens in my cart.

  • If I don’t eat them several times absolutely every day, my brain starts to shut down. 
  • If I eat too much of the herbicides and pesticides used in conventional produce, it’s a quick descent into autonomic Hell, with weeks of constant PMS, radiant gin blossoms, and blood pressure that won’t settle down. 
  • I choose the high-end cheddar over the store brand. Want to know what they use to keep the store brand “fresh”? I need to let my bowels continue working, thank you… But aged cheeses provide precursors for the neurotransmitters used in memory and decision-making; when I’m having trouble thinking, sometimes all I need is a bit of good cheese and a couple of hours to absorb it.

I spend hundreds of dollars each month on supplements, herbs and homeopathic preparations, carefully tuned at every purchase to make sure I’m getting the best possible effect for my money. Collectively, they let

  • my mitochondria cope, 
  • my nerves fire, 
  • my brain work, 
  • my body repair itself — reasonably successfully, most of the time. 

I constantly double-check and experiment to make sure I’m not wasting my money, that every one of them makes a real difference. They are not optional, and there is no slack in the system.

I can’t live like a normal person. If I try, I’m dead. It’s not drama, it’s just a fact.

I don’t choose to live like this because I can afford it. I live this way, and do without other things. I think of those who live in houses or flats with multiple rooms, petting the companion animals they can afford to feed, with their feet on a coffee table or rug, drinking out of their own mugs. And the poor things don’t realize how good they’ve got it, but eye my windfall askance and look for something more to be dissatisfied with. It’s human nature. I’ve done the same, back when I could afford to.

Everything I own right now fits into a messenger bag and a carryon; that’s it. There are three boxes and a dive bag stored with a friend somewhere. I know I’ll see the friend again (to the extent one can be sure of anything), but heaven only knows whether I’ll see the stuff, because stuff tends to leave me by freaks of chance. In the end, if it’s not important enough to keep with me, how badly do I really need it?

I’ve learned to be relaxed about possessions. Having the US Postal Service lose thousands of dollars of art, books and paraphernalia at a formative moment in life, can have that effect. All I need is enough to wear, plus the laptop and e-reader. Other things (pots, knives, movies) are useful, but I find them hard to hold onto; they keep slipping away, one way or another.

I know exactly what I’m going to do with that backpay. Every penny will be used. Not spent, not frittered, not idly indulged with. Nothing will be wasted. It should be just enough.

There is still no excess or slack in the system. But as long as there is just enough, I can make it work.

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Vocation and purpose (illustrated)

I’ve spoken of myself as a writer for ages, and made a decent living writing professionally (about software) for several years — until I got disabled as a consequence of the long hours.

Look a little more closely…

My inward life (narrative, spirit, meaning) and outward life (events, tasks, purpose) have been approaching each other at an increasing rate, and the transparency this creates causes some re-evaluation of publicly-held assumptions like what I am. For instance, is being a writer my core occupation — my “real” job, where “real” means “true, valid, essential”?

It dawned on me that writing, for all its wry, playful and muscular delight, 

is, for me, a means to an end. Here’s why.

I’ve considered myself a writer since I was 10 years old. My mother gave me a blank book to write my poems and stories in, when I was 11 years old — a step up from my plethora of scoliotoc spiral-bound notebooks — so at that point I was clearly committed.

But my earliest coherent memories are of comforting her, of trying to rescue baby birds, of helping to wash and change my baby brother.

So there’s something I’ve been doing longer than writing.

As an adolescent, I probably spent more time rescuing cats, dogs and (more successfully this time) birds than I did putting words down on paper.

Writing is a joy, and it’s a tool. I know I wrote the right thing when someone says, “That really cleared things up for me,” or more transcendently, “This helped me so much.”

I write to heal. First, I wrote to heal myself, but now, it’s a way of doing a bit of good in the world outside my own head.

As I remarked to a friend of mine, some people go into the healing professions because they like the feeling of power it gives them to help others.

(Many of them are very good at their challenging jobs, so I’m not inclined to dis their motivations.)

Some of us go into it because we like to help people find their strength and set themselves free.

I used to enjoy some of that power, though I believe I did a good job of maintaining perspective in the face of the quite extraordinary impact an emergency nurse can have. 

Of course, what I really loved about that job was the scope and depth of challenge, and the instant feedback. Never a dull moment, and I learned a lot.

Now I have lost what taste I had for power over others, even benevolent power. But I have always loved helping people find their strength and watching them set themselves free.

These days, when I think of anything worth doing (after taking care of myself), that’s what it comes back to: helping people find their own strength, and watching them set themselves free.

Writing lets me do that in absentia, while I’m unconscious, perhaps even long after I’m gone. If I do my job well, others will be reminded of their own strength, or find the clue they need to set themselves free.

So, I’m a healer… who writes.

At least I have better dress sense and less disturbing kibitzers than this guy.

I hope it helps.

(revised 12 March 2013, to add images and improve clarity)
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Mendo Acid Trip

Language tends to reflect upbringing, or possibly genetics, or maybe both. Anyway, there is often a familial component. (I’ll let better-paid heads argue about why.)

Case in point — my older brother’s riff on my county’s name might have a familiar feel, although only he could possibly have come up with this imagery:

‘I can’t decide if ‘mendocino’ sounds like an antacid (“Mendocino, now in new cherry flavour…”), or a garment of Mexican origin (“and now just add a chunky brown leather belt to offset the vibrant shade of your mendocino…”), and indeed maybe are old chinos with violent coloured patchwork on them….

cropped from a photo by Midori

‘Why mendo-acid-vibrant coloured-cino?’

I had to read this through 3 times before I could keep my seat long enough to respond without falling off again.

The answer is far too prosaic to make a suitable reply, but frankly, that’s a tough act to follow…

So, why here?

Hills.
Trees.
Rocks.
Air.

Gives me whiplash to read this far.

Antacid-washed chinos might be more entertaining, but I had a deep need for a wooded granite ridge to park my frazzled bones upon, while preparing for the Healing Tour — whatever the heck that turns out to be.

My timing is good. Everything is bursting into bloom:

 Cherry-flavored patchwork chinos would look pretty good sprawled under that tree. Mind you, anything would, including that dusty ol’ truck.

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Pride of pwnership

I transferred my prescription to a new pharmacy today. When I was asked about existing conditions, I said, “CRPS – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – and fibromyalgia.” My tone, I realized, was firm and proud.
At first, that freaked me out. Proud? To have CRPS? Just how far have I come to identify myself with this disease? 
It bothered me, but not as much as it should have. I put it on a back burner to mull for a bit.
I did some paperwork and watched a movie: Mulan, and I don’t think that’s irrelevant.
I realized that it’s not having CRPS and fibromyalgia that I’m proud of. It’s having CRPS and fibromyalgia, and still being alive – still hugely engaged – still moving to a new place, still sorting out my paperwork, still finding a new adventure, and still organizing that adventure even as it unfolds. 
I identify with whatever it took to develop the nerve, courage, and modicum of grace that got me this far. I identify with what it took to discover those who kept me alive, and made that life worth living. I identify with having gotten to the point where the things that I think about, much of the time, have nothing to do with pain, frailty, and other losses. I have this ridiculously awful disease, but that’s not where my life is. 
I have CRPS, but the verb “to have” has a number of meanings: to possess, to be in relationship to, to be required, to have a duty or need, and so on. If you’ve ever done any translation, you know what a headache the verb “to have” can be. 
In this case, it might just mean that I own the disease, in the way that hackers mean when they spell “own” with a P: pwn. To pwn something (a device, troublesome software, the CIA mainframe) is to figure out how to dominate it, because you know exactly how to make it play ball — whether that’s legal, approved, or otherwise. 
As it happens, that’s pretty much what I intend to do with CRPS.
I’m okay with being proud about that.
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Tern to the present

This is the third major purge of my possessions in 7 years. 

The first time, I decided that anything that I was keeping for sentimental value had to trigger only good feelings; I’d keep nothing that made me unhappy.

The second time, I moved onto the boat, so everything had to have at least two uses.

Now, I’m eliminating everything that isn’t easy to handle, as well as being useful and pleasing.

That meme is extending into the realm of perception. Images and events that used to trigger emotional cascades, because of memories and associations, are finally losing their sickening zap. Associations fall away, and images and events stand out  in simple splendor as just what they are: unlayered, transient, colorful, done.

For instance, I used to hate terns, because their cry sounds exactly like a drowning cat. I blame their awful caw for my not being aware that my cat was in jeopardy when he died. For a couple years now, I’ve gotten snarly at tern-time, when they come here to breed. But, with this shift in my perspective, a tern is just a tern. My excellent companion was still an excellent companion — and, obviously, a kindred spirit.

A tern is not about the past or the future. It’s here now. It’s just that, at this moment, one is floating past with its strange sharp wings twinkling; then it hovers and wiggles for a moment; twists, plunges, spears the water; bobs up again, looking smug, with a little fish in its mouth; takes off and disappears.

Usually, there is no fish. But right now, there goes a pleased tern, enjoying the moment.

It’s just a tern, and it’s doing tern things in a ternish kind of way. Tomorrow it will do tern stuff in a slightly different, but still ternish way. Doesn’t matter. It’s just a tern — nothing more nor less.

There is no furry friend dying alone.

There is just a bird.

Gorgeous photo: Geert Wilders at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2426290/posts

And I want credit for resisting the obvious urge to make a crack about taking a tern for the worse.

Oops…

Anyway.

I stumbled across a quote that seemed shiningly appropriate:

“To live here and now, you must train yourself: in the seen there will be just the seen, in the heard just the heard, in the sensed just the sensed, in the thought just the thought. That is the end of  sorrow.” – Gautama Buddha

I don’t know about the end of sorrow, but it’s true that it is far easier to manage my moods, notice my body’s signals, and do what I need to do, when I keep things in this charmingly simple, deceptively rigorous perspective.

It’s rigorous because it goes against all my socialization about the importance of hair-trigger reactions and emotional responses: Am I an ice-queen? Don’t I care about things? Aren’t I human? What’s wrong with me?

I’ve gotten all of those remarks in my time, when I strove for calm in former years — especially from mere acquaintances and random strangers, which always shocked me. How I, and those around me, survived my 13th-23rd years is unimaginable at this distance of time and self-certainty, but falling into the reactivity trap was one good way not to get verbally assaulted.

One advantage of being plumply middle-aged is that, for one thing, people watch you less; for another, a degree of equanimity seems to be less … annoying.


Exqueeze me?!?

I’ve had it up to here with emotional reactions. CRPS is a roller coaster par excellence, for emotional reactions. I’m quite done, thank you, and I’d like to get off now.

Actually, I think I just did.

And now, a tern is just a tern. For better … or worse.

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New glasses, renewed perspective

I used to have remarkably acute vision (20/15, if you’re curious) and exceptional color perception to go with it. It used to make me happy just to look. Turning my sweet eagle’s eyes on a treetop and picking out each leaf really felt good. Noticing the individual speckles on a falcon overhead made my heart sing.

I liked to see.

That has been changing for some years; I remember when I could no longer see the star at the center of the sparkle in the night sky, for instance. With more pressing matters (food, rent, keeping CRPS under control) I’ve adapted and adapted and adapted to my worsening vision, using pattern-matching skills (another 5-star category in my old brain) to replace actual perception.

It is an excellent adaptation to use, leveraging a primitive part of the brain that is very hard to screw up. However, it does have its limits.

My housemate, the excellent R. (I avoid using personal names without permission), finally confessed that my driving scared him because he really thought I couldn’t see well enough to manage it safely. He worried even more when he wasn’t in the car. That made me think.

And then I scared myself today on the road, and decided that was the last time. I called the ocular shop and they squeezed me in at 4 o’clock on a Sunday.

My visual acuity had deteriorated from 20/15 to 20/80.

Some things should not be adapted to.

I’m now a member of the four-eyed fraternity.

I think my nose was red because I almost cried.

I wear my polycarbonate steel-rimmed cheaters as if they were portals into heaven, because they are. I spent an hour and a half simply strolling around, agog, with the whole world smacking me squarely in the eyeballs.

First thing I noticed is, everything has an edge. I had forgotten that; more precisely, I had taken it so much for granted when I could see, that I didn’t notice when it faded from view. It’s like the resolution on the world is turned up to infinity. (…It is, in case you’re wondering.)

The next humdinger was the warping effect. Looking through the lenses is hunky-dory, but it gets a bit weird at the very edges, and beyond the rims there is no correction at all — the world is a palid mess, off to the sides and around the bottom, right where my feet and hands are most of the time.

I twisted my head slowly around, expecting wa-wa noises and doppler effects to accompany the dizzying twist of light around the margins of my sight.

I stumbled until I figured out that my feet were just where I’d left them, and I’d have to treat them just the same as I did before the glasses.

I was sure the pavement was breathing.

I’ve never taken hallucinogens (apart from exhaustion, surgery and chronic pain). I have nothing against them, I just felt no need to. There might be a reason why: all it takes is a pair of new glasses and I’m nearly there.

I went down to the beach and saw two boys in red shirts. I was riveted. My ocular nerve itself was stained, the color was so intense. Did you know red is the color of healthy, living blood? Red so glorious and alive that it almost quivered was all over street signs, cars, carts — shirts.

When I noticed that, I noticed that all the colors were darker, richer, more alive. The dim shapes of the SF Peninsula across the Bay were purple, dark steel and deep amber. I had no idea. It was spectacular, in a tasteful and slightly intimidating palette.

Then the shapes and colors came together for me as I looked up at the sky. The clouds didn’t just drift stately by, they floated in a tender dance of radiant whites and silvers, caressing the air with fingertips trailing Chantilly lace and oxygen.

As I saw that, I realized that the movement of things had taken on new poetry. Palm trees shifted in the breeze with the distracted grace of mermaids playing with their hair. Every frond was alive and had a finger of wind wrapped around it. Who knew?

I walked until I could bear to focus on a path, could do head checks without headspins, and generally felt able to drive more safely. It was still a stunning trip home, and I got here just as the sun touched the top of the Marin Headlands and dropped out of sight, staining the sky with farewell colors. I said thanks to it, right out loud.

I’m told it will take another day to adapt, and by then I’ll know what my world will look like from now on. The hallucinatory wonder will probably be replaced by something I can talk about in public (“Didja see that? Looked like the Goodyear blimp!”) but, from my personal history as a visual junkie of ocular delight, this intense thrill of LOOKING will probably be mine again forever — or for as long as I keep my prescription up to date.

I’m pretty motivated. This cuts into my car-buying budget, but I do think it’s worth it. Being able to survive driving is not a bad idea at all.

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Friends & other forms of support

I have the help I need.
I can’t believe I’m writing those words, but I think it should be said. It won’t last forever and there are some rough spots, but let’s put this in perspective.
I can no longer wash dishes because I don’t have a water heater and the touch of cold water has become utterly unbearable. I got back from my shower this afternoon to find the dishes washed — and the galley & front step picked up, a wholly unlooked-for bonus.
My excellent friend R. was living on the smaller boat and helping me with the boat-fixing and laundry. He set up the sale of that boat (completed today) and is moving onto Voyager. He’s taking my old cubbyhole in the quarterberth and (thanks to him moving the tools and lumber out) I’m finally moving into the forepeak — that is, the room at the pointy end of the boat. For the first time in years, I have a bedroom door that closes.
After watching me constantly overestimate my capacities (which are constantly changing), he wisely introduced the Pinky Rule: if I’m not confident of being able to pick it up or handle it with just my pinky finger, I don’t pick it up or handle it.
This doesn’t render me the complete nonentity that pure helplessness does — which helpful men are wont to suggest, with the best of intentions. (Yeah, I’ll sit back and do nothing if you let me lop off yours before lopping off mine.)
But, like the Elbow Rule I gave kids who came into my ER with things stuck in their ears and noses (“only stick things in there if they’re bigger than your elbow”), it has a certain brainless simplicity that’s hard to argue with. It is turning out to be an excellent guideline. You’d be amazed at what I can lift with a pinky.
In the fullness of time, his busy life will carry him onwards. In the meantime, I have a wise and helpful friend who is making this chicane of my own life a whole lot smoother.
It’s difficult, but strangely peaceful, to learn to share my life without the inherent drama or forced weight of romance. I’m honored to have the opportunity and I could never have imagined a better partner to learn this dance with.
I have to say, if there’s one thing CRPS teaches, it’s that Hollywood doesn’t have the answers; real life is a lot more subtle and inflected.
There is more than one way to love someone. This one comes with clever solutions. Others come with passing kisses. Which would you choose — really?
I could even learn to live with the bits of loose tobacco that find their way into everything. He rolls his own, and the stuff is more intrusive than stray tape. But we’ll find a peaceful solution there, too. I’m absolutely sure of it.
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Quantum physics and the divine plan

Post on one of my CRPS groups: “Everything that happens to me is part of the plan for my good.”

The responses to this seemed to come through a blissed-out narcotic haze. I’m afraid I administered the verbal Narcan. Surprised? 🙂

I’ve counseled too many rape victims and abuse survivors, and treated far too many accident victims, to hold the belief that bad things happen to us as part of a greater plan — let alone that it’s for our own good.

Bad things happen, full stop. As living humans, we take our chances in the world; sometimes it works out for us, sometimes it doesn’t.

If we grow and learn and become stronger, then it’s because of how we chose to deal with it and what we could bring to bear — not because some faceless force thought it would be interesting and valuable to cause us so much agony, because — of all counter-logical reasons — it loves us.

I aim to find a way to become free of CRPS. Nevertheless, I perceive that the skills, the inward peace, the strength, the poise I’ve developed in coping with these unimaginable challenges over so many years, have certainly made me something I never would’ve reached without it.

I thoroughly honor the brilliance, creativity and strength that my comrades with CRPS bring to their lives. It’s breathtaking to belong to such a select group — although the cost of membership is a little high.

It’s a special disease: agonizing, rare, destructive, poorly researched, underfunded, extremely long-lasting, and — most special of all — widely believed to be hysterical in nature. The challenges it poses are distinctive and seemingly endless.

After eight years with it, I’m proud of myself and I even care about myself, even though I can accomplish so much less than before. 8 1/2 years ago, I felt that I had to earn my right to even breathe.

The credit for all that growth goes to innate qualities, my excellent friends (some of whom I’m related to), and a handful of gifted clinicians.

The causal lines are very clear: hard work, relentless study, determination, safe places to stay, loving words, wise ideas, needed gifts, perfect loans, valid diagnoses, key treatments — these are what gave me strength and let me grow and learn.

It’s been painstakingly pointed out to me that I have the friends I’ve earned. I’m not sure any mortal deserves such friends as mine, but I’m glad of them all the same.

Cold chronic CRPS and all that goes with it… Part of a plan? What plan? Whose bloody plan? I want the bastard’s address! And so does my army.

Plan is a four letter word.

I will never forget the days and nights and years of desperate prayer, with nothing but silence coming back. The goodness, the help, the peace, these all came from other people and my own work. The natural results of many extraordinary efforts.

Inflicting this kind of agony and loss “for your own good” would be absolutely unthinkable for a conscious, caring being of any kind. Moreover, to have the power of withholding destruction and pain, and to fail to do so, is quintessentially evil.

I’m a theist, but I don’t see deity as a psychopathic abuser — as something that would clobber me for the fun of it, or be persuaded to stop the beating if I figured out the right things to say.

Moreover, I can really see why people would be atheists. Without quantum physics to make sense of things, deity is an indefensible concept. With quantum physics, I’m certain of three things:

We ARE a permanent part of something greater. It IS aware, omniscient, and ubiquitous.

Its job is not to screw things up, but to notice, communicate, and keep flowing. That’s it.

Nothing else agrees with the evidence.

It’s not intrusive, manipulative or evil. It can’t be, because it doesn’t possess the mechanisms.

Not to kill the buzz or anything 🙂

Whatever belief system works for you, use it!  Just remember, there’s more than one path to personal salvation — or whatever your metaphor is — but very few of them get discussed, because of the ancient hegemony that a few groups have held over religious and spiritual expression. Let’s open the world up a bit.

All too often, the power of human connection is mentioned only as an afterthought. In practice, I’ve found nothing more important when the chips are down.

I no longer pray for help. I ask.

Because beliefs vary, it’s important to give a voice to those who find the traditional idea of our helpless subjection to a greater will to be the opposite of comforting. We don’t get much airtime, but we still find peace, strength and grace.

Just not in that particular idea. Thank God.

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