Saturday, September 24, 2016

Death and it forerunners

Today's topic is not too cheerful but we must all face the subject in our life.
When I was a child I once regaled a friend's mother with an ad hoc list of all the ways one could die: from a safe falling on one's head from an upper story window, to an infection from a dog bite, to car accidents,  etc,etc,etc.  She got so angry with me but I just would not stop listing every conceivable way to die I could think of.   She was baking and my friend and I were watching her while I chattered on.  Finally she had enough and banished us from the kitchen.  She later asked my sister what was wrong with me.
I remember running like a banshee through the basement of the funeral home with my cousins at my Father's mother's funeral.  We had the best time ever until we were apprehended by an an angry uncle. Whenever I got angry with someone as a child I would wish they would die.  This seemed to be the only way to permanently remove the troublesome people in my life.  It seemed so easy and final...Wam!  your more problem.  Otherwise, difficult people remained a continuing problem in one's life.
I guess I have always had thoughts of death on my mind, because again as a child, I used to pray my Mom not die until I was at least thirty years old.  I thought by then I would have it together enough to deal with her loss.  Alas, it was not to be the case as she died when I was only twenty one. I found it impossible to deal with and despite the fact I was married, I cried and had nightmares of my mother leaving me for at least six months.  My husband told me later he did not know if he would ever get back the girl he married.  I was depressed, always crying, gained weight and I quit a good job to get a horrible little job in Uniforms For Industry.  I was tallying load sheets and keeping inventory of how many uniforms went out and how many came back.  I worked with an extremely crippled man named Charlie, who taught me to use a calculator without looking; and a older woman named Charlotte who had severe scaring from acne, and used to come to work with a parrot on her shoulder.  It was a dark period along factory row in Jamaica, N.Y., but it gave me time to heal my soul among people who had far greater problems than I had ever dealt with.  I learned to love my co-workers and value the time I spent with them.  I visited their homes, met Charlies mother, and was surprised by Charlotte's cosy little world among her birds and antique treasures.  Her windows, in an extremely poor area, were willed with light and wind chimes.  Both of my friends were safe in the environments they created for themselves.
But back to death.  It all my preoccupations with death in my youth I never was afraid for my own life.  I felt invincible.  I could go anywhere and get involved in any situation and never fear the outcome.  Someday I will write about some of the scary situations I got myself into and out of, but until later I never was afraid for myself.  Each situation was a challenge that I thought I could get myself out of.   I always believed in God and had felt with him by my side there was nothing to fear.
I realise now the reason death never scared me.  I know that when one dies, for better or for worse, change is inevitable.  We either go from a living state to no state at all, a profound change; or we experience a change to another whole existence.  Heaven, reincarnation, time travel to the place we originated from, who knows?  There are those who claim to know but they can offer no proof.  So we trust our reason, our God, or we fear death because it is unknown.  I have always welcomed change, both in the physical world and circumstances or in the mental with new thoughts and ideas.
I do not still fear death, but I do fear very much living in pain and physical and mental deterioration.
Some of my worst fears are of being enclosed.  I have claustrophobia and in later years developed a great fear of heights.  I have a deep fear of being unable to breath.  My COPD has most likely increased this fear, but one of my worst fears from long ago was of drowning.  I truly fear torture and all the books I have read about prisons, concentration camps and bondage situations have fed these fears.  I have a vivid imagination and empathy with others so I experience a lot of what I fear.  I also fear pain, pure and simple.  I know when we feel pain we know we are alive but still I do not at all enjoy the sensation.  Worse, perhaps, is not being able to move or feel anything.  Being trapped in one's own body must be one of the worst sensations.  Once I was prescribed a sleeping pill.  As I drifted off to sleep I felt I was unable to move my limbs or turn around.  I was terrified.  I swore I would never take a sleeping pill again.  I once read a book called "Johnny Got His Gun", about a soldier who was trapped in his body and unable to communicate in any way.  He was completely conscious and remembered everything and the book was a stream of consciousness story.  I have never forgotten this book although I was eighteen when I read it.
So all in all I conclude it is not death that I fear but rather the process of losing life.  Losing the mind/body connection, with which I have lived my life.
So now I must begin to master the process of dying so it will not be so fearful.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


    Imagined adulthood.
    Gained adulthood.
    Lost imagination.
This was posted on Facebook by a special friend and really amused me.  It did get me thinking though.
I truly believe that, except for the soul, imagination is the most important aspect of a human being.  Oh I know reason, creativity, consciousness, and all the additional parts of our beingness that we experience, are important. For me, however,  imagination holds the key to our highest states of consciousness and our very worst nightmares. Inspiration and fear both come from our active imagination.  I have no clue if other beings experience imagination.  An animal can be very intelligent and obviously is able to reason.  I know our little chihuahua, Angie, can play pretend cat. She will sniff under a bush or look under a car and then jump and run about as if she is chasing a kitty. We always get so amused when she does this because it is exactly how she will play with a real cat.  Both humans and animals participate in play which I feel is an acting out of imagination. ( I think this may be why athletes get better in the off season for their sport because they visualize the activity and are ready to begin acting it out when the season's training comes.)  I know as martial artists we were taught to visualize moves and situations in resting states so we would be prepared if the real situation were to arise.
 This is how I overcame my fear of going home alone by subway after the rush hour has ended in NYC.   I would visualize an attack  by one or more assailants and then practice my moves to evade or control the situation using either force or reason.  Oddly enough I never had to experience anything I had worked out before in my imagination; but my fear was replaced by calmness and control.  There were instances which could have become dangerous but I really believe my demeanor and lack of fear kept things from  being realized.  By the way I also believe that a Godly person also repels attacks that  might occur by nature of his or her sense of protection by God.  Mother Theresa went into the most horrific and dangerous situations with no fear and she was never attacked.
Every safety expert will tell us: to be aware of our circumstances, have one's keys ready in one's hand when going to the car in a parking lot, do not be testing or on the phone, if you feel any thing might be suspicious to go back into the store and get an employee to accompany you to the car, ete, ete, etc.
All this preparation can inspire fear rather than negate it.  What they neglect to tell you is one who is confident and self assured is rarely attacked.  Criminals look for nervous, or unaware victims.  Sometimes we are told not to look people in the eye and to keep our eyes down.  I have found that recognizing others as people and individuals can be a good tactic. Acknowledging others and nodding pleasantly shows you are confident, at ease, and able to deal with situations which might arise.  .
But back to imagination.  I think I could write a book about my imaginary experiences, both waking and sleeping.  This however would be for another time.  For now I simply want you all to begin thinking about imagination and how important it can be for human development.
John Lennon:
Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No Hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Livin' for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Livin' life in peace
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharin' all the world
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friendship Lost and Found

I started this post on Sept.1, but it carried over into today..Aw well, sigh!
I wanted a new friend so badly it hurt.  I wanted someone to share every adventure with and who understood all my varied moods.  I have reached out so many times in the last years and months and no one very special was there.  I asked God and he kept reminding me that he is there.  I know that dear God, and I love you so much, but that was not the same as having a living breathing human friend to do things with.  I love Srini so much also,and he is my dearest love but doesn't share my same interests or like to go to the same places with me.  My little dog Angie is a poor companion at best.  I love her dearly but she is not a real companion to me. She is a bit of a loner but has drawn more close recently.
 What to do?  What to do?
At least when I worked, until that last year, I always had someone to hang with, and joke with, but that was all in the past.  When Char moved away, part of my heart moved with her.  The same with Pam.  When she and Charlie moved to Morro Bay part of my heart moved with them.  I had tried to substitute Facebook friends but they seemed too far removed and when I did not post they seem to forget about me. Even if they were there, when I signed off I was alone again.
I knew my husband had the same problem and some days he really stewed about the fact he never had a real friend who had not turned on him.  Of course his experience was different than mine and we handled it differently.  He is much more active than me and is not as introspective.  He has always kept busy with friends on the telephone (his former students and now friends) and his exercise, guitar, and wood working projects.  He also loves to read but is too active and spends a lot of time learning more about his hobbies on line than reading.  We both love the Robert Crais books because Elvis and Joe, the main characters, are true friends and always have each others backs.  This is the kind of friendship both of us felt we yearned for and needed in our lives.
We were stumbling along and I kept yearning for a real true friend who would never leave until one or the other of us died.  My dear sister, with whom I shared a love, and not so much love relationship,was stumbling into deeper dementia, and was not able to even reminisce with me.
Then, out of the blue I had an epiphany. I cannot describe it as anything else.  Certain things happened with certain friends, and I received wonderful feedback from several other dear friends and I suddenly realized what a real fool I had been.  Mooning about lost or missing relationships and not valuing enough the real relationships I have and
I have a larger group than most people, who really love and care for me.   All of these dear ones in my life seemed to have converged around me in the same time frame and I realise how truly blessed I am.
There is no special "Best Friend" any more and in truth I don't think I could handle one today.  The relationship always becomes too exclusive and excludes others who mean so much.  In truth I am a very slow learner and it has taken me 72 years to have this insight into relationships.  I always
knew that three people could not be best friends because two always eventually excluded the third and feelings would be hurt.  This happened to me in early highschool so I learned to count on one special friend only.
 Fast forward more than sixty years and I finally learn that dear and very special friends surround me always and not one, but many people are there to watch my back and catch me if I falter or fall.  Among my many dear friends are several gentlemen both here and abroad, in India, and other far countries; who always watch out for and care for me.  Add to them my many Facebook friends who are further away and Church friends who are both on FB and also near to me and I already have a very large group.  Then add to this several other dear friends who live in Phoenix but whom I have neglected far too long but am gathering close again.  . I cannot count all my friends with both finger and toes and even limbs and orifices.  They seem countless like the stars and one or another pops up and then recedes for a while, whenever I have a need for companionship or help.
I have to say it again.  I AM SO BLESSED>  I have so many very dear and special friends and I pray I never again devalue them by searching for a special one.  The Creator is my first and special One and I vow from now to love and value others as he/she,  has valued me.