Thursday, August 30, 2012

Trip Notes

It's a wonderful thing to be able to travel through Montana, Utah, Washington, most of California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma from the big sky country of Montana to the cool of the Pacific northwest, the beauty of the Pacific coast, the Rocky Mountains, the high desert and the big sky country of Oklahoma.  This was a trip I have absolutely always wanted to make and, thanks to Eric, was able to do it.  He did all the driving in his Prius so I just sat back and looked at the sights.  What a wonderful gift! 

We took our time so that we could rest when we got tired.  Sometimes we stopped at rest stops and took naps.  Sometimes we checked into lodgings at 3:00 in the afternoon.  Sometimes we didn't get on the road until 11:00 a.m.  We used my iphone to search for restaurants that had fresh vegetables and fruit which meant that I got home 3 pounds lighter than when I left.  Our country is so big and so varied that being in awe of what I saw became a normal way to be. 

I made a list of what I learned at the Grandmother's gathering.  The major thing was that ceremony and ritual seem to be the most effective way of healing trauma.  One of the attendees at the gathering was a clinical psychologist who is Northern Cheyenne and a professor at the University of Montana.  He is also the author of a novel - "The Buddha in Redface."  It is his contention that "generational trauma" can be inherited and that many of the difficulties native people face now result from the trauma  their ancestors experienced when the Caucasions took over their lands.  Many native people simply died out completely.  But the concept is that anyone can use the power of ceremony to heal. 

What came to my attention is that I still carry the fear that as a woman I am always at risk in the world and that I need healing from that fear.  This became even more vivid when I got home and watched some of the news.  I had thought that much of the negative beliefs about women had changed except for a very few people.  It turns out that, for example, many, many people apparently believe that a woman cannot get pregnant from rape.  If she does get pregnant, it means that she is lying about being raped and wasn't really forced.  Oh my God!  I really got in touch with the fear that's been with me all my life.  For sure this is something I must deal with - ceremony and ritual coming up.

I learned a tremendous amount about Native beliefs.  I didn't know, for example, that prior to 1978 it was illegal for natives to practice their religion.  Of course, the religious practices went "underground" so the ceremonies and language still exist in most of the larger tribes, but have been pretty much completely lost in the smaller tribes.  These losses have devastated people collectively and individually because they've lost their foundation and connection with God although they have tried to connect with the mainstream religions. 

I learned that recovery groups are the same pretty much everywhere.  There is so much peace in entering a room filled with strangers in a strange town and feeling immediately at home and safe.  The same principles and heart-felt love are present.

Thanks to Eric's suggestion, I plan to put my wheelchair back in to use occasionally.  We missed going to the boardwalk in Santa Cruz because it would have been a very long walk and I simply could not do it.  If I had had my wheelchair I could have done it.  So when I got home, I stripped everything unnecessary off my wheelchair and plan to use it when I have to go long distances so I can save myself for fun!

We stayed at a resort in Montana that has pools filled with hot spring water and Eric suggested (?) that I try walking in the hot and warm water.  Sure enough, I felt wonderful being able to walk without difficulty or pain and the effects lasted for almost a week.  I was able to walk on dry land without pain or stiffness.  So off I go to join the YWCA with a heated pool and hot tub.

All in all the trip was an amazing experience.  The downside was that my beloved companion, Cisco, got very sick while I was gone.  He hasn't been well for some months now.  The vet tells me that he is in kidney and liver failure and there's no cure.  Tammy took him to the vet who gave him antibiotics and an IV so he was better when I got home.  However, he is still sick and getting sicker.  It looks like it's almost time for him to cross the rainbow bridge.  I can only be grateful for the ten plus years he has showered me (and anyone who comes in my house) with unconditional love.

Friday, August 24, 2012

More trip pics

Coast line seen from the Pacific coast highway.
Me at another location on the coast.  And then Eric at the same location.
Our first sight of the ocean up close.
Here we are after a  little wading in the sea at Seaside, Oregon.  If I look damp, it's because a waist high wave followed some little ones and knocked me down.
I believe this is Mount Rainier in the distance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More trip pix

Sunset on the journey
Same sunset at a rest stop in New Mexico
Mountain in the distance - forgot its name.
Another view of the sky at the rest stop.
Painting on the fence of the vegetarian restaurant where we ate in Sedona.
More Sedona landscape
More beautiful Sedona
This one has a name:  Bell something.
Wonderful sky with clouds.
Elephant seals on the shore.
Great big fat male elephant seal.
Here we are on the shore where the elephant seals are.
Just for fun - bee in a flower.
Gorgeous shoreline.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Trip Pix

First stop - Lame Deer, Montana, for the 13 Grandmothers' Gathering.  The grandmothers are shaman's (healers) from indigenious people all across the world - examples:  New Zealand, South America, Africa, Nepal....  Four days of prayer for the healing of the planet and the people.
Painting on a building in Lame Deer where the gathering was held.

Lunch at the Grandmother's gathering - under one of the arbors built for the occasion.
Leaving the gathering

Finishing up the painting.  The artist painted this all during the gathering on a piece of canvas he stretched between the poles of the arbor near the tipi where he camped.

Sunset on the way to Spokane

Our friend, Dick's, backyard in Spokane.  Beautiful, cool, green.

Backyard barbeque at Dick's.

Gorgeous scenery in Oregon - on the way to the Pacific.

Seattle where we stopped for Eric to buy a kilt.

First sight of the Pacific.

Bridge into Oregon.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stuff I don't have time for anymore...

A long time ago there was a guy in the recovery world who was elderly and ill.  He had a lot of respect from most who knew him for telling the exact truth and for his knowledge of living in recovery.  He used to tell people who asked him for help that he was old and sick and didn't have time to try to help people who wanted to mess around.  He said he only had time to help people who were willing to work hard.

I remember thinking that he was wise to think about how he wanted to use the time he had left.  Now that I'm over 70 myself, I've begun to think about my time in a different way.  It's the little stuff that eats up time, so I'm looking first at that.  For example, I've never been big on perfection in my housekeeping or my personal appearance, so taking even less time on those items is not a stretch for me.  Also, being more organized about errands means less time and less gas. 

On a grander scale, I've decided I don't have time to keep up with politics.  Ever since I was old enough to vote, I've worked hard at understanding issues, being familiar with candidates and felt like I did a fairly good job of being a responsible voter.  Recently, however, the rhetoric is so wild, I can't imagine that anyone really knows what's going on.  I will keep my voter registration current, but I don't have time to run to the polls every time there's an election when it doesn't seem to matter how I vote.  I will still take part in the political process assuming I can find effective ways, but trying to educate myself is something I don't have time for since I don't think it matters.

A very long time ago, I decided to believe in and live by the principle taught me in my recovery program - that the best thing for me to do is do what's best for me - when I do what is best for me it will be best for everyone else even if they don't think so.  I've done my best with this but it's been hard because I was socialized to sacrifice for others - that's what a good woman does.  I wasn't very good at that either, but it was my guiding light even if I didn't do well at it.  So when I did what was best for myself and other people were angry and didn't approve, I felt bad and guilty and wanted to make them happy.  It never worked though.  Once they were mad, they just seemed to stay that way.  So I've decided I don't have time anymore to worry about it when people get mad at me.  I wish I could please all of the people all of the time - especially the people I love, but I believe that's not possible even if I put my best efforts into it.

I also have no time to go shopping.  I have everything I need and pretty much everything I want.  From time to time I want new underwear but I order that online.  If I go in a store I'm sure to see something I want but won't want in a few days after I buy it because I will have to find a place to put it and will have to dust it or take care of it in some other way.  I just don't have time.

I also don't read a lot of my email.  I've notified a lot of people/businesses not to send me email but they keep doing it anyway.  I also don't check my email or Facebook very often.  I just don't have time. 

I talk too much.  Always have.  My new realization is that people aren't really interested in my babbling.  If they were, they would probably ask me a question.  I think people are much more interested in having a listener.  So I've decided I don't have time for all the talking I used to do.  Of course, I also don't have time for some kinds of listening - it seems to me that we all complain a lot.  We have all kinds of opinions about how things ought to be and we seem to believe we're experts in how things ought to be.  In actuality, we have absolutely no idea how things ought to be.  Only God knows that.  So taking time to complain or listen to complaints is a complete waste of the time I have left on the planet.

Getting mad/irritated/pissed/or whatever is off my list of things I have time for.  When I experience any of those feelings it's because I want my own way (my ego).  It's useless to spend time nurturing my self-righteousness - it's just a sign that I'm making someone else responsible for my happiness.  Of course there may be times when someone is doing something or not doing something that actually adversely affects me and I will need to ask them for what I want.  If they don't want to, it will then be up to me to solve the problem myself.  I can always simply stay away from people who don't have my well-being in their hearts. 

I've been thinking a lot about what I've learned and how simple it all is when it's not cluttered up with my ego and wanting to be right and wanting to have what I want.  I don't have time for complications any more.  I heard someone say in a meeting where the topic was self-esteem that she had very low self-esteem but was well defended by her self-righteousness.  I believe most of the complications I create are caused by my self-righteousness.  I really don't have time for defending my self-esteem by being self-righteous.  My self-esteem is best served by living the best way I can - especially when time is short.

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