The Moon in August

Posted in capturing light, summer, My Art, investigations of color, The Moon | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarot Journal #61: Ten of Swords/ 6 of Cups


Coming back to work after a week off was challenging as I made the transition from almost total control of my schedule and who I interacted with to having my day divided into hour-long segments where my interactions were limited mainly to people I am not familiar with. There were a couple of patients I had been working with in the week before I went on vacation, but most of them were new to me. Luckily for me, I was working with another therapist as a co-treatment so I could let someone else take the lead and just get to know the patient and how they interacted with therapy.

Every patient has a unique response to someone coming into their room and presenting them with challenges to their current disabilities. Some think they are there to rest and be cared for and others want to immediately get to work so they can return to their normal life or even enthusiastic to learn some new skills that will help them live a more active and fulfilling life. There are those who want to direct their therapy sometimes in unhelpful directions as they have entrenched habits that have contributed to their health and mobility issues and some who are either too cognitively challenged or emotionally checked out to change their destructive and unsafe behaviors. I have to get to know each one well enough to at least move their behaviors to a safe level with whatever assistance they can get in their home environment.

It was a rough day for me and my patients, more than half of whom were suffering from varying degrees of anxiety or pain which had to be addressed before I could even begin to provide instruction or activities that would move them toward their goals. I was not yet in my most effective mindset of attentional focus which allows me to detach myself enough emotionally to listen and observe without reacting which is necessary for me to get through a day of providing therapy without carrying my patients’ emotional baggage beyond the treatment. I see issues and deal with them or find someone who can help them if it is beyond my scope. By the end of the day I felt like I had a full load of misery and anxiety that I needed to unload.

I adjusted my approach the next day, making sure I appreciated the strengths of each patient and focused on whatever little steps I was able to coax out of them on their hard journey of recovery. Attitude and focus make a huge difference in my work. I went home that day with a feeling of accomplishment and purpose to carry me into the next day. I love my job when I do it well, but it can be hell if I get bogged down in other people’s pain. My job is not to carry their load, but to get to know how to teach them to reduce the impact of their injuries and move them toward improved mobility.

The more I can have compassion and empathy without engaging my personal reactions, the more I can use problem-solving skills that I have developed over many years of working in a broad range of situations from preschool to geriatrics. It was a good day to be a therapist and I went home satisfied that I had done my best work and enjoyed it even though I worked with the same clientele.

Posted in All part of the process, Being Human, bodyworks, change, developing relationships, Fools Journey, mindworks, my life, my mystic toolbox, paying attention, philosophy, Self-Experiments, sympathy and empahty, Teaching and Learning, thinking in words, working world, Works in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarot Journal #60: The Emperor

What Kind of World Do We Want to Live in?

It has been an interesting week starting out with Monday dealing with my previous landlords wanting to charge me exorbitant amounts for things that just wore out after 5 years of use. That should be why you pay rent, for using the place. So I began the process of disputing the most ridiculous items. That will continue this Monday as I have heard nothing from them since.

I have decided to handle all of this without stress or anger, just point out where they are not acting in a humane or ethical fashion and maybe ask them how they sleep at night after stealing from the poor or working so hard for those who do this. It is all part of my plan to use calm insistent reasoning combined with some hints about how we could, by our everyday actions, make this world a better place to live. If we all do this maybe people who are rich or think they’re going to be rich will have to at least think about their effect on society. If that doesn’t work then there is always the pitchforks and torches method. After all there are a lot more people on our side, maybe we could just scare them a little.

Posted in All part of the process, banality of evil, Being Human, can't really complain but, Fools Journey, my life, my mystic toolbox, paying attention, philosophy, Self-Experiments, Works in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarot Journal #59: Mother of Cups


After 15 hours of driving back from my Northern California trip, I had two days to relax and deal with the final details of moving. I felt almost hungover on Sunday, just barely making it to church, and after that sorting through all of my Email and unpacking and pondering how to reset my life in light of my enlightening break from routine. I feel traveling and reconnecting with so many people who were and are still so important to me was the culmination of a year of grieving and emotional and physical recovery and transformation which seemed to come full circle to this day which was the anniversary of Roberta’s death.

At sunset I walked on the bike trail to the little path through the woods to the edge of a lily pad lake where Roberta and I sat getting to know each other while the evening settled. I remembered how pushy she was and how much it scared the hell out of me that she could be so certain of our relationship. She was right. Even with all of the hardships, my life was so blessed and enriched by having her in it. I then took the last of her ashes and scattered them for I knew this is where I will return if I want to remember this part of my life and make some sense of whatever comes next.

Posted in All part of the process, California, change, developing relationships, Family, Fools Journey, House and home, Loss and Leaving, my life, my mystic toolbox, paying attention, personal history, Puget Sound, Self-Experiments, the end is the beginning, thinking in words, Walking, Works in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tarot Journal #58: XVII The Star/ 6 of Swords (Change)/ Four of Pentacles/ 3 of Wands/ Eight of Disks (Prudence)/ 10 of Disks/ Ace of Cups

Seven Days of Change

Day 1

On Sunday I packed my car and headed north to Lummi Island to spend the night at my friend’s house. As I waited for the little 20-car ferry, I thought of many times in varied weather conditions that I had ridden this ferry when I lived here with my wife and young children. Now it is just me and the memories of all the sunny and storm-tossed crossings.

Day 2

I had a pleasant breakfast with my friend, who has been my friend since high school, and our conversation tends to be cryptic and full of many times shared experiences, inside jokes, and comfortable pauses. I repacked my car and went to hike up the mountain. At the top there is a view of the San Juan islands. I deposited some of Berta’s ashes and sat thinking of her for a while. She would have been so excited to be there with me. It was a place she was not physically capable of reaching when I knew her, but she loved to be in places where you can look at water, and I know of no other view of water and islands that is more satisfying than this one.

I walked back down the mountain and drove to the ferry and waited in the long line for a while enjoying the sunny morning as it turned into afternoon. I went into Bellingham and walked around by the bay and when it was time I went to pick up my daughter and son, now grown into fine young adults and I drove us all down to Lacey to spend the night at my place so we could go through Seattle at night traffic free.

Day 3

We got up early and reorganized the load and took off south toward the north coast of California and redwoods, and after 10 hours of driving, we arrived at Prairie Creek State Park and settled into our bare-bones cabin. For each of us there were different challenges. My daughter realized that there would be no internet for 3 days, but seemed to handle it well most of the time. My son was not used to sharing space so closely and needed more padding had trouble sleeping with all the snoring and noisy shifting on air mattresses. I never sleep well so no problem for me. I was missing my music, but only on the first night.

Day 4

My son and I went on an epic hike through the part of the park with the largest trees which had trunks so massive two large cars could fit inside their base. They were also so tall even when we were up on the ridges the ones situated on the valley floor still towered above us. There is such ancient quiet in the old-growth forest. A calm stillness that invades the surroundings and any creature that wanders in there. These trees that endure fire and flood and have stood for thousands of years extend their solid patient lifeforce to the whole forest. Even when after hours of hiking and a feeling of exhaustion was starting to grow in my legs as we climbed another set of switchbacks only to descend again and the little aches in my feet started to expand, I could not be distracted from the presence of ageless peace. But we were both glad when we arrived back at the campground and rested our tired legs.

Day 5

On our last day in the campground, I drove into town to use my phone to arrange a convergence of family and friends. My sister and her son, my other sister and my mother, and my best friend from high school who is really a part of my family all converged at our cabin around 2 pm on their way to a house my mother rented for a week up on a hillside overlooking the ocean. I had not seen any of these people for 3 years and my children had not seen them for a decade. It was the best kind of chaos.

Day 6

In the morning we packed up the car and checked out and headed for the beach where my daughter waded up to her ankles in the icy waves of the Pacific Ocean. It was all foggy shades of gray. Then we drove up the old highway to the house on the hill and spent a wonderful afternoon and evening in discussions about life, literature and the state of the world. My children blended in seamlessly and my sister cooked big meat on the grill, as she is known to do, of which we all partook enthusiastically.

It was nice to be in a bed again after 3 nights on an air pad.

Day 7

The 3 of us got up early and prepared for the long drive to Bellingham. We said goodbye to the early risers and wound our way inland to Oregon and I-5 and the long straight road to Washington with one stop for fast food. I dropped my kids at their respective abodes and drove the back 3 hours to Lacey. I was so glad to have 2 more days off to recover from 15 hours of driving, but it was all worth it to reconnect with all the people and places I have missed in the last few years.

Posted in All part of the process, California, change, Chaos and Order, conversations, developing relationships, Family, Fools Journey, my life, my mystic toolbox, paying attention, Self-Experiments, whereever you go there you are, wonder world, Works in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment