Posts Tagged ‘Writing Practice’

There’s a little pink-striped book from The Libby Ross Foundation Pink Ribbon Kit called a Journal & Sketch Book that I carried in my pocketbook at all times to scribble in as needed after I gave up the little brown serious journal for the large black unlined journal that I kept at home. The scribbling I did in the days prior to the first transfusion was done in this portable pink book as I had shpilkes that kept me on the move. Since I wasn’t sitting still much, there isn’t much from that time period except for one comprehensive entry from a writing date with my husband. His presence anchored me, and I’m so grateful for that because I now have these notes from that precious time period.

Prelude to Chemo – July 11, 2009

Sitting on a footstool at Barnes & Noble staring at the New Age bookshelves wondering what I need to read next? What will help me now? None of the books seemed appealing though. I felt satiated with self help and spiritual manuals. Really I just wanted escapist fiction. And yet I was drawn to this section of the bookstore and plopped down on that footstool, so, I sat. Thinking. There must be more to learn, more to remember. Perhaps I could re-read all I’ve read before, I thought. It must be 25 years since I devoured Jane Roberts’ Seth books and Edgar Casey and Ruth Montgomery; however, I didn’t stand up to reach for Seth Speaks. I just sat and thought with frustration mounting as I beseeched my spirit guides to help me: won’t you please knock a book off the shelf and make it obvious. I recalled that my sister Brenda in a psychic reading said that I had a new guide,  a Mayan with a nice butt, so I considered a 2012 primer for a few laughs. But, honestly, no book called to me. I sat on that footstool in a trance.

“Excuse me.”

I looked up, perplexed. There was plenty of room in the aisle; but, the short, dark-haired woman with the slightly crossed eyes was motioning to move past me to look at the shelves to my right. I determined that she was being polite, smiled, and then we both went about our business. A minute later, she returned, knelt beside me and asked if I had seen the book Reconnect.

“Perhaps Customer Service can help you,” I said and gestured toward the center of the store.

But, she stayed crouched beside me and in a whisper suitable for libraries told me that the book by Eric Pearl was about Reiki. I smiled again and kept smiling with a skin tingling recognition that the book I wanted to fall off the shelf was standing before me in the flesh as this stranger went on about her path and her belief in energy healing. I told her that I had similar experiences and when I mentioned Julie Connor, she knew of Julie and the Reiki Share group. She explained that I could do Reiki to myself and told me to pray, “In God, with God, for God,” saying that I need only ask to be healed and my hands will move and show the way. “You only need to believe,” she said.

Since I got the word from my doctors, I’ve been thinking about the need for support for my chemo experience and there are so many opinions, approaches, alternative methods.

My friend Jill tells of various vitamins and foods. She has so much information that sounds like so much effort to procure and prepare that my mind tends to become porous when she talks. In our last conversation, I retained one word: Gingko to help with fatigue.

Then the Susun Weed book (Breast Cancer? Breast Health – The Wise Woman Way) told about nettle, comfrey, milk thistle, etc etc etc, and I would read her book more  thoroughly except she scares me. Her supremely judgmental tone about the toxicity and the damage that chemo can cause provokes fear, and fear of chemo will not serve me. Supreme faith will serve me.

Also, Lisa Orlando, the lovely woman offering the Cancerland seminar re. navigating the medical system, recommended acupuncture as did others.

So, there’s enough to boggle the mind.

Thus I chant: What I need will come to me. All I need will be told to me. And the means will always be made easy.

And then a cross-eyed angel appears.

In awe & gratitude,



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After reading a New Yorker article about blogging phenomenon Ree Drummond – aka Pioneer Woman – and her two or three book success not to mention the movie with Reese Witherspoon starring, I checked out her blog fully prepared to hate her down-on-the-range, wholesome, homespun, every woman’s girlfriend, goodness. But, surprise surprise – people are reading the blog and loving her because she’s totally lovable. As well as, inspiring. Her Ten Important Things I Learned About Blogging  just coaxed me back in the saddle again. Since I started working full time at the Peace Org in March of this year, writing my blog has felt like the dirty laundry piling up in the basement or just another mark that I was failing to hit each day.

The first blogging tip from Pioneer Woman is 1. Be yourself.

I forgot that writing Lump Lessons is a self care practice as essential as exercise and eating my greens because it keeps me in touch with myself, the part of me that I so easily lose in the interest of pleasing and serving others.  Pleasing & serving feels good too until the neglected self becomes so depleted that one more tug on the sleeve pulls me down for the count and all those good feelings turn into resentments. Balance. Egads! It’s time to find a healthy balance again. Maybe I can get up earlier each day or learn to write shorter posts or spend less time on email to make that time for myself. Oooo I’m excited to trot along and find out where the new trail takes me.

Thank you, Pioneer Woman, for the gentle nudge to tend to this blog once again.

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It disturbs me how little I recall about my second surgery.

I remember that my daughter stayed with a friend whose Mom is a dear friend and heroine of mine as she is a survivor & thriver after two battles with aggressive breast cancer. The fact that Debbie was vigorously alive and now able to help me gave me a lot of hope for the outcome of my efforts, so I remember that she was there for me that day.

My husband went with me and I remember that he let me drive to the hospital to keep my mind occupied, that he let me fret about his eating habits and listened while I chattered a blue streak, or was silent when I zoned out, and, as usual, he let me be whatever I needed to be, and then he waited… and was the first face I recognized when I woke up later that day.

My surgeon, Dr. Sheldon Feldman, was a panacea again. The only distinct memory I have pre-surgery is of Dr. Feldman parting the crowd of bustling attendants to greet me on the gurney in the operating room, and of him quipping, “We have to stop meeting like this.”

I don’t know whether I said or thought, “Much as I love you, we’re done after this, Doc,” and everything faded into a black anesthetic oblivion.

Then, I don’t remember anything for days. Nothing. And, I’m guessing that I don’t want to remember because, unlike the lumpectomy that had a painful few hours of prep before the surgery, all of the pain with the lymph node dissection was in the aftermath. There was a drainage sack. Oooo Ewwww I don’t really want to remember that drainage sack. As I type, visions are surfacing in my mind’s eye of the bloody pink, yellow lymph fluid that I had to measure and dump every four or five hours, and sensational memories are creeping under my arm of the plastic tube that was lodged in the pit, and all the ouches and yuckiness of being wounded are pummeling me with a truth that I ordinarily wish to flee. I am a physical girl living in a physical world, and I don’t like it.

Many years ago, a wonderful psychic that I’ve mentioned in this blog before, Nancy Anne Tappe told me that I had a “floating head syndrome”. She said that I was a Tibetan trance walker in past lives and that I’ve continued to have a disconnect from my body. I don’t know about past lives, but trance walking resonated with me. I walked all over Manhattan on a daily basis for a decade without ever knowing where I’d been. I was aware that I left my body. I consciously abandoned ship when in the dentist chair, or aggravated at work, or when confronted by another human being. In the fight or flight spectrum of animals, I was totally a flight being, and I fled without ever moving my feet.

But, according to Nancy, I needed to get back in my body and stay there. She said that the body is the greatest psychic instrument I have and, while on Earth, I’m to live in it and learn from it and to be in awe of it. Aw geez.

Flash forward twenty years after quitting all mind altering, out-of-body inducing substances namely drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and even sugar; as well as practicing yoga, breathing into the moment, planting my feet, holding my husband’s hand, and being hyper-attentive to my daughter’s every bodily function, I am now mostly present and sentient in the moment. And, I have a hard time leaving even if I want to like when I’ve got a 1/3 inch round plastic tube inserted a couple of inches deep into my arm pit where a mass of thirty lymph nodes used to be. I was miserable and I told my little brown journal so:

Writing is the last thing I want to do these days. People tell me that I ought to write about this breast cancer experience. My mother says, “This will probably be your best book.” I say, well I doubt it because I’m not writing anything down now. Maybe I’ll have the desire or motivation or energy or will or whatever it takes to write to heal or to write to write when this *#!>ing tube is removed from under my arm. Right now I’m simply trying to wash my hair and brush my teeth without dislodging the damn drainage sack.

My friend Lesley just phoned to ask me about the surgery and other things and inadvertently helped me to get honest about being sad and angry by reminding me about missing tennis. Lesley was the perfect angelic delegate for the Universe to send today. She talks and walks true which is inspiring. Plus she’s able to hold the space for rage and tears without trying to fix me. Just what I needed – RELEASE – which is why I continue to vent in this journal now in illegible scribble done by my left hand.

(to be cont.)

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My favorite tool or my most oft used, Swiss Army knife sort of tool for making a spiritual connection (aka being in the moment) is writing. Writing is the practice I’ve maintained the longest, and so I trust it to help me find the zone – that delicious time warp state in which I (ego I) disappear and something other happens. My experience is that in the act of writing, I am at one with mySelf, and focused in the moment. Perhaps the act of moving a pen or typing on a keyboard helps me to bypass my frontal lobes. I don’t know. What I do know is that I approach each writing session with an idea or intention, and, generally, something else happens that seems magical. I’m able to emote, to transcend, to create, to plumb the subterraneo, and sometimes to prophesy.

Whatever, I love it. The writing process in which raw energy translates into words that suggest images and ideas that can shift or expand my psyche thrills me. I love to splash around in ink with abandon to dance my pen like Isadora Duncan to write outside the lines. I love the flow with its revelations as well as the tension that mounts and mounts and swells and mounts and then explodes onto the page. And then, I even love the editing stage. The Felix Unger in me adores tidying up the mess. I love to fuss and cut and primp and polish, and whip those dangling participles into shape.

A few years ago, I wrote a 460+ page novel in two years. The story had been churning in my grist mill for more than twenty years during which I made several attempts to begin it from various points in time, in different tenses, in various voices from different points of view. Then one day in 2005, the name of the narrator popped into my head and soon thereafter she began to speak. She was so clear and expressive that I simply took dictation. The first draft was written in long hand in three spiral bound, five subject, notebooks within a year. The next year was devoted to editing and typing the novel into a computer. Those two years of white heat creativity were bliss. When I was writing, that is. As soon as I capped the pen or turned off the computer to tend to my planetary obligations, the demons pounced. “Who do you think you are, Rockefeller? Get a real job,” they harped. It was in that bi-polar stress that I called Renate Moore (see Requiem for an Earth Angel) and she became my demon slayer, my life coach, and steadfast cheerleader.

Then, when I finished the second draft, Renate urged me to write the next book; but, like the first book, the flow wasn’t immediate. So, in the meantime, I decided to teach. For a spell, I got so fired up about sharing the ecstatic experience with others, that I lost sleep to a frenzied brainstorm of concepts and methods and plans. My writing workshop was to be called R.A.W. = Real Access Writing. The name was unique, I thought, because I googled it and it didn’t pop up, and I thought it was a true and clever name; but, I didn’t really have a methodology to go with it. R.A.W. would have been a compilation of stream of consciousness techniques & general writing advice ala Natalie Goldberg and Anne Lamont and Rita Mae Brown, and all the writers who wrote books that taught me. I didn’t have exercises that were authentically mine, so I didn’t feel I could teach. Yet.

The novel isn’t published yet, the sequel isn’t flowing yet, teaching didn’t happen yet, and, yet, I keep on writing.

Wow, I had no idea that I would write about my writing path today. Case in point: I don’t know what’s itching for expression until I scribble or tap around.

After rereading the above, I think I ought to delete it because it’s extraneous to the blog through line. However, I’m crazy about that image of Isadora Duncan, so I want to keep it. And, maybe there are a few lump lessons in that review. I just revisited a phase of supreme highs and lows in my recent past, so, as I wrote, I felt the heady euphoria, the heartfelt yearnings, followed by the stomach thumps once more. I will not delete. I’ll just go on.

My original intention for this blog post was to share the next entry from my practical brown suede cancer journal. I meant to write a brief introductory paragraph telling how journal writing served me during the lag time, and how the bulk of my 2009 journal entries were written in April, May, & part of June while waiting for the treatment plan to be revealed. Then, I planned to explain that the piece that follows is an example of stream of consciousness writing that lead to catharsis:

April 3rd (In the R.A.W. which means a gush with very little punctuation)

Shadow birds in the elm flutter from branch to branch their feathers the color of bark they look like bits of tree taking flight I m happy for the rain I m sad like the rain and so I m glad it s raining so that I may feel sad.

There’s a part of my spirit that has a spark for the future Though most of me feels heavy and stuck in the present and the past I think the shadow birds are the bits of me that are trying to get free of the same o same o muck & mire of money worries and the dull routine the restrictions on travel and adventure the sense of closed doors brick walls quick sand and the realization that I m worn and eroding.

For the months to come I will enjoy the garden and tennis and the pool maybe I will write stuff that transports me and I will feel enlivened by that maybe I will have creative bursts that produce some art maybe I will feel physically energized once more maybe I will make love maybe. I hear the birds twittering away far from sight. They re gone from the elm tree now.

Actually I don’t know whether it’s an elm or a beech. Reade (my husband) will know There’s still adventure left in us The great thing about not having traveled much is that there’s still a whole world left to see. I hope that this cancer is a one time ordeal and that the research projects I have to do in future are about exotic lands and extraordinary creatures and not about chemotherapy and radiation. I hope that this is a transformational experience and not a

well I don’t know if I actually believe what I was about to say which was that I hope cancer is a short walk and not a life path which is true that I would prefer not to worry for all the rest of my days about whether or not it will come back. What I would like to do though is to always remember, so that I have something to give back. We’ll see… just for today it’s raining two shadow birds flew from the beech tree I’m reminded that everything changes all things pass and it’s okay to be sad about that too.

(to be cont.)


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