Another day, another gift, internet. It's no secret that I've been missing having a cat since I've been in California. But I've been waiting - for the right time, enough money, any number of reasons. Turns out the universe thinks the time is now, because this beautiful tigress adopted us just yesterday, and she couldn't be more at home. She loves us. We love her. She's sweet and delicate, exquisite and gentle and oh, soooo grateful. She brings me peace, and I think she's here to help me heal. And I was wondering who was going to hang out with me when Boyfriend leaves in 10 days for 3 weeks to go sail in New Zealand. Now I'm not.
But she needs a name, and I'm open to suggestions. It's going to have to have meaning, do her beauty and temperment justice, and roll off the tongue. I'll need to decide within about a week, because if we call her "Kitty" any longer, it's going to stick. So let's hear it.
A thick blanket of smoke covered our dear city of Santa Barbara as we drove down from the mountains to the hospital for my PET scan this morning. But by early afternoon, the smoke had cleared a bit, and the air seemed a bit easier to breathe. We made our way home this evening, taking a few pictures of the flames and smoke in the hills, saddened for our neighbors, some of whom have lost their homes, some of whom are evacuated and holding their breath, some of whom are experiencing a double-whammy after the Montecito fires last fall. But never guessing that we would really have to think about packing up and leaving. Not us.
But we are - we've gathered our clothes, our irreplaceable belongings, and our cars are packed. We're ready.
The wind is quiet here, but still going strong on the other side of the ridgeline. The fire has jumped the line of retardant they've been laying all day, and is apparently coming over East Camino Cielo Road and the ridgeline. Four miles away.
UPDATE 5/10/09, 10:30am:
The Jesusita Fire is at 55% containment, only 350 Santa Barbara residents remain evacuated, and weather conditions are favorable for firefighters today. We are still at home and can hear aircraft hard at work in the distance. We're staying informed through The Santa Barbara Independent - our favorite resource thus far.
The first person to ever ask me about my state of mind was Boyfriend, when I met him about two years ago. It was a question followed by nothing short of a most profound discussion on the importance of one's state of mind at all times. It has been a topic of discussion many times since - the importance of our state of mind, our level of happiness, through all things.
The next person to address my state of mind would be my very dear new doctor, Dr. G. I never expected my western doctor to come at me with a bit of mind-body medicine, but he wholly, happily surprised me by telling me that one of the most important factors to my condition was my state of mind.
My current state of mind: I'm still happy and crazy-positive. I'm excited about everything I'm going to learn from this. Sadly, my anti-seizure medication is fogging me out. I'm conciously not at full capicity. If I only had a (whole) brain! I have thoughts that I can't express cohesively through keyboard or pen. I forget what I'm doing halfway through a task. Writing, talking, of course, are exhausting right now, but I want so desperately to keep everyone up on everything - on my state of mind.
My doctors have informed me that my body and mind will start to work around the medication better after a period of time, and I won't feel so scattered. So I'm giving it time, letting myself rest and adjust. The fog will clear.
Busy day yesterday, everyone - sorry I didn't get to update. I have nothing but good news to report. I have a to-do list as long as my arm, but I'm going to start with my writing, because it makes me happy.
I had a meeting with my wonderful new oncologist yesterday, Dr. G. Here are the facts: The biopsy results show that the tumor is fairly low grade, appears mostly benign, and is fairly slow growing, due to it's size and the fact that I'm mostly unaffected by its presence. The size - about 3cm in diameter by 6cm in length, about the size of not one, but two golf balls. I've included the picture of this delicious tuber, for comparison. And it's apparently been there a long time, because if it had shown up any more quickly, my brain would not have room to function, due to the tumor's size. The seizures were most likely brought on my recent work and stress levels (who, me?), which lower a person's "seizure threshhold". Good thing for overwork, or I still may not know about this. Gift upon gift...
I was truly expecting these western-medicine-types to grab me by the arm, and start hyperventilating, "We have to do something NOW - we must remove this foreign mass from your HEAD - it doesn't belong, and it must be eradicated!" I knew going in that I wasn't overly open to going in after it, invasively or chemically. I figured it got there without anyone's help, I probably needed to reflect on that a bit, and figure out how to begin asking it to leave on my own.
But Dr. G's outlook is relaxed and extremely encouraging, if unexpected. He wants to run more tests, but is recommending no treatment at this time, due to the basic fact that the I'm essentially healthy and normal and unaffected by the tumor right now, and doing anything could prove worse than leaving it alone. PERFECT. My thoughts exactly, previous to even having met him. And I'm very much into going with how I feel on this, much like I run the rest of my life. So the bottom line is, I'm going to observe, research, explore and take the time I need to figure out what, if anything to do. No urgency required. A new philosophy indeed.
In response to my comments about life feeling more hopeful, things seeming more beautiful than ever, I got this from a friend in Denver yesterday:
"It is like Einstein said, paraphrased: There are two ways to live, as if nothing is a miracle, or as if everything is. I, personally, am on the miracle side. I think a big life event like this amplifies your beliefs, either in miracles, or in the lack thereof."
Here I am!
Keep the humor, people. What could be more hilariously dramatic than manifesting my very own non-operable brain tumor? You have to laugh at what life hands you. Especially when you know you've just handed it to yourself.
And I laugh because what might seem to most to be an apparent tragedy, is nothing less than an extraordinary gift to me. But most of all I wish I could give you a taste of how I feel right now - an exhilarating, heightened awareness of love and positivity in my life. A renewed sense that nothing really matters, but suddenly everything does. I have all the time in the world, but so much to do and learn, and I can't wait. What more do I have but time right now? To learn about unbounded love, positive energy, peace and the gifts of life and love. I've wanted this for so long, and now, everything is mine.
I'm astounded by the volume of email, the amount of love and positive energy I'm receiving. Ask and you shall receive, I suppose. I haven't had a chance to get back to even a few of the emails yet, and I apologize, but know that I'm receiving it and taking it all in. So I'm going to make one more request - I want you to read the story below with an open mind, and an open heart. I want you to leave comments on this website, if you have any, because I want everyone who comes here to have access to the love and positive thoughts I'm receiving. So PLEASE leave your words here.
I intend to write more tomorrow. I met some fascinating people on Saturday, and I can't wait to share that story with you. I also have an appointment with an oncologist to look at the results of my biopsy tomorrow and I'll keep you all posted.
I received this story from some friends after I got home this week. Enjoy with loved ones. Leave comments if you are so moved. I love you all.
"I have heard about three Chinese mystics. Nobody knows their names. They were known only as the 'Three Laughing Monks', because they never did anything else; they simply laughed. They moved from one town to another, laughing. They would stand in the market place and have a good belly laugh. The whole market-place would surround them. All the people would come, shops would close and customers would forget for what they had come. These three people were really beautiful -- laughing and their bellies waving. And then it would become an infection and others would start laughing. Then the whole market-place would laugh. They had changed the quality of the market. And if somebody would say, 'Say some thing to us,' they would say, 'We have nothing to say. We simply laugh and change the quality.' When just a few moments before, it was an ugly place where people were thinking only of money -- hankering for money, greedy, money the only milieu around -- suddenly these three mad people came and they laughed, and changed the quality of the whole market-place. Now nobody was a customer. Now they had forgotten that they had come to purchase and sell. Nobody bothered about greed. They were laughing and they were dancing around these three mad people. For a few seconds a new world opened.
They moved all over China, from place to place, from village to village, just helping people to laugh. Sad people, angry people, greedy people, jealous people: they all started laughing with them. And many felt the key -- you can transform.
Then, in one village it happened that one of the three died. Village people gathered and they said, 'Now there will be trouble. Now we have to see how they laugh. Their friend has died; they must weep.' But when they came, the two were dancing, laughing and celebrating the death. The village people said, 'Now this is too much. This is unmannerly. When a man is dead it is profane to laugh and dance.' They said, 'You don't know what has happened! All three of us were always thinking of who was going to die first. This man has won; we are defeated. The whole life we laughed with him. How can we give him the last send off with anything else? -- we have to laugh, we have to enjoy, we have to celebrate. This is the only farewell that is possible for the man who has laughed his whole life. And if we don't laugh, he will laugh at us and he will think, "You fools! So you have fallen again into the trap?" We don't see that he is dead. How can laughter die, how can life die?'
Laughter is eternal, life is eternal, celebration continues. Actors change but the drama continues. Waves change but the ocean continues. You laugh, you change and somebody else laughs, but laughter continues. You celebrate, somebody else celebrates, but celebration continues. Existence is continuous, it is a container. There is not a single moment's gap in it. But the village people could not understand and they could not participate in the laughter this day.
Then the body was to be burned, and the village people said, 'We will give him a bath as the ritual prescribes.' But those two friends said, 'No, our friend has said, "Don't perform any ritual and don't change my clothes and don't give me a bath. You just put me as I am on the burning pyre." So we have to follow his instructions.'
And then, suddenly, there was a great happening. When the body was put on the fire, that old man had played the last trick. He had hidden many fireworks under his clothes, and suddenly there was diwali! Then the whole village started laughing. These two mad friends were dancing, then the whole village started dancing. It was not a death, it was a new life.
No death is death, because every death opens a new door -- it is a beginning. There is no end to life, there is always a new beginning, a resurrection.
If you change your sadness to celebration, then you will also be capable of changing your death into resurrection. So learn the art while there is still time.
Don't let death come before you have learned the secret alchemy of changing baser metals into higher metals. Because if you can change sadness, you can change death. If you can be celebrating unconditionally, when death comes you will be able to laugh, you will be able to celebrate, you will go happy. And when you can go celebrating, death cannot kill you. Rather, on the contrary you have killed death. But start it, give it a try. There is nothing to lose. But people are so foolish that even when there is nothing to lose, they won't give it a try. What is there to lose?
If you are sad, then I say celebrate, dance, sing. What are you to lose? At the most, sadness will be lost, nothing else. But you think it is impossible. And the very idea that it is impossible will not allow you to give it a try. And I say it is one of the most easy things in the world, because energy is neutral. The same energy becomes sadness; the same energy becomes anger; the same energy becomes sexuality; the same energy becomes com passion; the same energy becomes meditation. Energy is one. You don't have many types of energies. You don't have many separate pockets of energy where this energy is labelled 'sadness' and this energy is labelled 'happiness'. Energies are not pigeon-holed, they are not separated. There exists no watertight compartment in you. You are simply one. This one energy becomes sadness, this one energy becomes anger. It is up to you.
One has to learn the secret, the art of how to transform energies. You simply give a direction and the same energy starts moving. And when there is a possibility of transforming anger into bliss, greed into compassion, jealousy into love... you don't know what you are losing. You don't know what you are missing. You are missing the whole point of being here in this universe. Give it a try."
OSHO: Yoga, The Alpha and the Omega, Vol. 4