Friday, January 23, 2009

Me & the First Hundred Days: Two

Day Two

Got up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Although I’m not quite sure what that means.

I did get up after about seven hours of sleep. I dreamed, but the story faded as I quickly straightened the covers over the bed. I said good morning world and looked outside. The sunlight was green. Didn’t know what that meant either. End of the world as we knew it or just another dreary winter day in the Pacific Northwest?

The phone rang soon after I got up, but I didn’t answer it. That’s one of my rules that I often break: Don’t answer the phone until after I eat.

Did you ever think about that expression: answering the phone. Did the phone ask us a question that needed answering?

Yesterday I didn’t get in any nourishing food, so I was determined this day would be different. I turned on the television. We still had service, so I got to watch President Obama signing an executive order that would close Gitmo in a year and end the use of torture.

Yes, yes, yes! I never thought our country would ever unlawfully imprison people and torture them. It was naïve, I know. Any country and any people can drift into fascism if they don’t stand up to the power structure. I stood up. Millions of us stood up; this time it didn’t do any good. We couldn’t stop the war and we couldn’t stop them from torturing people in our name.

Please let that all be over now.

How does it happen that we begin to believe it is all right to deliberately hurt other people?

Today I heard trail bikes across the road from us in an empty lot near the day care. I put on my coat and went into the icy wind to tell them to stop. I couldn’t get the attention of the boys who were riding the bikes. It was too cold; I had to go back into the house.

Listening to that kind of noise--the whine of trail bikes or weed wackers or the roar of motorcycles feels like torture to me. I’m not being glib about it. I’m serious. Those kinds of noises physically hurt me. Same with barking dogs. There’s an inconsistency in the sound that never turns into white noise and it remains painful.

I called a real estate office in town to try and find the man who owned the empty lot. Or find the man I thought owned the lot. He wasn’t in, so I called the police. I found out it wasn’t illegal to ride the bikes in town unless they were trespassing. I hoped they were trespassing. We would have to move if they kept it up.

Last time I lived in a place where I was subjected to that kind of noise day in and day out, I went a little bonkers. I had to quit my job as branch librarian because of illness (caused by the materials that were used when they remodeled my branch). Every day I sat in our little apartment and listened to a man and his son ride trail bikes around the small lot near us. And I listened to the truck come and go inches from my door. Listened to them rev the motor.

One day I went over to ask the truck driver to be a little quieter and a girl called me a bitch. And then I saw red. I thought that was something people made up. But I saw red. Or I saw the world change. Or I changed. I went crazy. I wanted to hurt the girl. So I went after her. She ran from me. Got into her car. I raised my hand to hit her. I brought my hand down, to strike her. My skin touched her skin, and I suddenly came back into my body--came back to my senses.

I apologized. I told her it had been wrong of me to come after her, especially when she got into her car. I told her that. I told her I had no right, no matter what she said to me. When her brother came back--in his big noisy truck--he was furious. I could see he wanted to hurt me. I strode right up to him and told him I was sorry. I volunteered to go to the police. That freaked them out: Why did this loony bin want to get the police involved?

Soon after we found a house in another county to rent, and we moved.

Of course, that was fifteen years ago. I was older now. Wiser. I wasn’t going to let some kids on trail bikes drive me out of my home.

Or maybe I would, but today I wasn’t going to worry about it.

I made my version of a frittata for a late breakfast. I cut up some crimini mushrooms into little bits along with some red onions and put them in a glass pie plate. I added a dash of olive oil, mixed it all up, and put them in the oven for a few minutes. While that was baking, I cut up a handful of chard. Then I beat two eggs with a whisk. I pulled the ‘shrooms and onions out of the oven. I dropped in the chard, and then I poured the eggs over it all. (It’s a very flat frittata when I use the pie plate. If I wanted it deeper, I would use something smaller.)

I put all that in the oven after I made certain the chard wasn’t sticking up out of the egg stuff. Then I ripped up a few pieces of lettuce. I grated carrot over the lettuce. In a jar, I put a bit of fish oil. (You could use olive oil if you’re veggie; I wanted the omega oils, and flax oil doesn’t agree with me.) Then I squeezed in some lime. I added a couple cloves of garlic I pressed. I shook it all up together and then poured it over my salad. A few minutes later, I took the frittata out of the oven. Easy as pie! It was delicious. Everything organic, of course.

And of course I talked to the food while I was preparing my meal. Many years ago, I dreamed I was at this Romanian woman's house or restaurant. This is what I wrote in my dream journal, “As she is cooking she is telling me little bits of Romanian wisdom. She seems a bit superstitious, yet I hesitated to call it that. We step outside and she murmurs and motions and tells me we should always talk to the spirits in everything.”

I heed her advice; I talk to everything.

Later in the day, I got some writing work done. Yeah! The house was still wrecked, but I sometimes seem to draw clutter to me like Pigpen drew dirt. And this is strange because I don’t save things. I don’t collect many things. It’s when I’m writing: I have books everywhere. That’s the bulk of the clutter. I just need to put the books on the shelves. My bookshelves are very orderly. I have the books in order by subject and in the subject area they are alphabetical by the author’s last name.

Hey, I’m a librarian, writer, and researcher. My books have got to be in some kind of order or I would spend half my time looking for books.

Before my Healers Circle, I boiled rice spaghetti pasta and baked a fillet of wild Alaskan salmon. I heated up some of the vegetables Mario had steamed yesterday. I threw these things together in a big beautiful yellow bowl, added a few drops of olive oil, and then tossed them all together. We had another quick, easy, and nourishing meal.

At least this day I was feeding myself well.

Then I went out into the cold and dark and drove to the library. I had started this healers circle last summer. (No possessive apostrophe on purpose. It's not our circle; it is a circle of healers.) I was feeling more and more that we need to look out for each other in our own communities. So I tried to gather together people in our community who were doing different kinds of healing work. For our first circle, we had a nurse, a couple Reiki practitioners, a shamanic practitioner, Qi gong teacher, an ecopsychologist, and a few other people. It was great!

I started out each circle with drumming. It amazed me then and it still amazes me how many people do not take to drumming naturally. They often seem self-conscious. I feel percussion is something innate in us--I mean, listen to our hearts. And I believe healing is not an intellectual activity. I think healing happens and what we’re thinking doesn’t have a lot to do with it. It’s about groovin’ and movin’ and getting out of the way so that our bodies can do what comes naturally.

I could be wrong. But that’s what I feel.

We usually have someone demonstrate what they do or some new technique they’ve learned, and then we all do some Reiki or energetic healing on one another. (At this point you might be wondering if it works or are we just a bunch of crazy people. Is it real? I ask myself these questions all the time, and I ask people to document what happens to them after we have these circles. The people who have chronic pain have reported relief of their pain for up to three days. When I first started doing this kind of work, I thought those kinds of results meant it didn’t work. But then the people who were relieved of their pain for those three days said it was a little miracle for them to have any relief at all. (And better for their livers than the pain meds, which also didn’t make the pain go away forever.)

So I don’t know the answer. Sometimes I gotta let the mystery be.

This night, the hostess of the circle didn’t have us drum. I missed that part of it, but I let go. I have to learn not to try and control everything. Maybe she was right--maybe we didn’t need the drumming.

I had a good time seeing everyone, but I was bushed and close to tears most of the time. I felt so tenderhearted.

I am so unsure of so many things.

And it’s good to admit that.

The woman taught us a self-healing technique. It was very relaxing. Unfortunately, I ate some of the gluten-free dairy-free cookies someone had made. They were scrumptious, but they did have sugar in them. And something else that didn’t agree with me. My ears started ringing more than usual. I wanted to kick myself. I have been so good at not eating anything when I go out--for twenty-five years!--but it can feel isolating. And tonight, I felt as though she had made the cookies in part for me. So I ate them. They were good. But I should have had one instead of four.

Ah well.

My second day of the one hundred was better than the first. I ate mostly good food.

What were my other goals?

I can’t remember.

What a fruitcake.

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