Monday, March 31, 2008
Perfectly, the sun peeked out for a short time on Saturday - one of only two outings I've made in the last week (the other being for physical therapy). I can still feel the hot sun beating on my shoulders as I walked to visit Mr. and Mrs. Owl and family. That was very nice.
But back to candles.
I've started back on my rounds of visiting the blogohood. First stop was Sometimes Saintly Nick's. Reading back over the week that I missed, I found that on last Tuesday, he wrote about ME. ME! With a prayer for my surgery and recovery. Is that not THE NICEST thing that I have heard of??? And with it, he had a photo of purple candles. Guess what's burning right now in the CarolForPeace house...
You guessed it - all purple and warm and light and reminding me of how we're not alone even when we are all by ourselves with a sky that forgot to show its colors.
Thank you, Nick, and thank you to all of your friends who willingly joined you in thinking about ME!
It helped. It really, really did - and still does. The gift that keeps on giving.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
It's That Time of Year
Photo courtesy of Mr. CarolForPeace.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Pain is not a solid thing. Nothing is really solidly what we call it. There was intense pain/sweetness/nothingness/calm/emergency all woven together. A mosaic. A kaleidoscope.
And that experience was all BEFORE the pain pill hit, so I KNOW I didn't make that all up!
Friday, March 28, 2008
This will be short, since I am typing with one hand - very slowly.
The good news: It's all good. When the surgeon got in there, the tendon didn't look as torn as the MRI had indicated, so no tendon cutting and reattaching. He just prettied up the frayed stuff and did a subacromial decompression and acromioplasty - which means he shaved off some bone that was impinging my tendon. I should be swimming laps, skiing black diamonds, and technical climbing in a couple of months as opposed to the 8 or 10 month recovery time I would have needed had they done the reattachment.
Thank you. Thank you.
There is so much love in this world.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I am going into my surgery with an open heart. Thanks to all here who have cheered me on and thanks to those who don't send their support via my blog, but do so in other ways. I feel surrounded by love.
Being originally from Kansas, I am particularly happy to read today that the Kansas governor has vetoed plans for a new coal plant that would've "spewed 11 million more tons of greenhouse emissions a year". The red state of Kansas has a Democratic Governor who happens to be a woman (Gov. Kathleen Sebelius), and she stood up against the Republican legislature on this. Whooohooo!
Much needs to be done in order to create a healthy planet for all, but today, I must celebrate the beautiful drops of kindness and hope. They're everywhere - they just don't get as much publicity.
Bye! Adios! Take care! I'll be back sometime!
Labels: Kansas Governor
Human Rights Are More Sacred Than The Olympic Flame
OLYMPIA, Greece (CNN) -- A protester managed to breach the tight security during the Olympic torch lighting ceremony in Greece Monday.
The man rushed behind the podium as China's Olympic chief was speaking.
He unfurled a banner, but was quickly apprehended by security who escorted him away.
Meanwhile committee chief Liu Qi continued to make his speech in Chinese while the commotion went on behind him. Two other men were also detained.
China state TV cut away from the protest and showed a prerecorded scene, preventing Chinese viewers from seeing the incident, according to The Associated Press. Chinese television commentators did not mention the demonstration.
The torch was lit moments later as it began its epic began its 130-day, 137,000-kilo meters (85,000-miles) journey.
...Reporters Without Borders, a group based in France that seeks to protect journalists around the world, claimed responsibility for the protest.
The group said three members, including the group's secretary general Robert Menard, managed to get into the ceremony without being stopped with flags.
"If the Olympic flame is sacred, human rights are even more so," the group said in a statement. "We cannot let the Chinese government seize the Olympic flame, a symbol of peace, without denouncing the dramatic situation of human rights in the country."
...Meanwhile, a Chinese activist who called for human rights ahead of the Olympics was sentenced to five years in prison, AP reported.
Complete article here.
(Wow! During the few minutes it took to complete this post, CNN changed the title of the article from "Protest as Olympic Torch is Lit" to "Tibetans Slam Olympic 'Flame of Shame'")
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Labels: Iraq War
Saturday, March 22, 2008
These little guys are colored the bluest of blues. They're sweet little flitty types. I loved their visits while I sat "alone".
I feel more alone when I'm surrounded by people than I do when no one is around. Is that weird? I never got lonely on retreat. In fact, I only came back to my "life" because it was time to come back. I wouldn't have had a ride home if I stayed any longer. Hmmmm.. what would be so bad about that???
Now that I'm here, I am really appreciating that I have so much support for the next few months (both seen and unseen) while I'll be operating one-armed. I sometimes forget how much love there is in this world. Everything is going to be fine.
Friday, March 21, 2008
it flows out to build secret tabernacles in the landscape.
- John O'Donohue
This land has been lightly inhabited for centuries. Love has flowed out into the landscape and the landscape has generously given back. Waters cascade from mountain snow-melt, vast aquifers support wildlife, communities, and agriculture.
Now, a Canadian company - Lexam Explorations, Inc. - is planning to drill in the San Luis Valley, including areas within the wildlife refuge, for - you guessed it - the objects of our addiction: oil and natural gas.
Most likely, it won't be long before the environment of my recent sacred retreat will be assaulted with air, light, and noise pollution. The magnificent beauty of the land will be marred by drilling machinery. The precious waters will be polluted. And wildlife will be affected in ways that I can't imagine.
We've got to figure out a better way...
To learn more about the Baca Wildlife Refuge and the plans for drilling in the San Luis Valley, go to Citizen's for San Luis Valley Water Protection or the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
This is some kind of plant that likes to grow in sand in the valley where I sat and watched the coyotes and myself last week.
On my last day of retreat, I was walking along a dirt road when a coyote approached me from the field next to me. When I saw him and he saw me, we both stopped in our tracks. I could see something big and dark in his mouth. I wondered what he would do, since I was right in his path. The beautiful little guy decided to make a right turn and I lost him in the growth of desert life like the plant above. I figured that he might soon come out and climb the hill in front of my cabin because I had seen a coyote go up that hill on another morning. Sure enough, there he went. The creature that was to become breakfast was in his mouth with its little black legs flopping lifelessly in the air. It was no more than a minute later that I watched what I thought were two foxes climb up the same hill and one was also carrying something in its mouth, though that piece of food was smaller than that of the coyote.
A friend told me that she thought that coyotes and foxes don't live in the same territory. I did a search and found that they can live together but they do so as competitors. Maybe the last two animals to go up the hill were just smaller coyotes than the first. I'll never know.
When I did my google search to see if coyote and fox live together, many of the sites that came up had to do with killing and hunting this beautiful nocturnal singer.
Many people hate coyotes because they kill their livestock or their pets. I started thinking about all of the killing that humankind does, and I wondered why it's perfectly acceptable to hate coyotes who kill to eat but it is virtuous to love humankind which kills all kinds of life including its own species for reasons that I don't understand. It seems insane.
But don't listen to me, because yesterday, I started going in and out of dark, stormy weather. The sun was shining outside and my little flower was still smiling, but the weather in my head turned gray. But it has been intermittent. I am fine one moment, and then suddenly, tears and wailing of "I don't want to" come gushing out. I am freaking - at least in some moments - about this surgery. Nintey-four and a half hours from now...
In this moment, I really don't want to...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
And Five Years Ago Today...
No need to repeat the numbers. We all know that this has been devastating for the people of Iraq and it isn't helping our country (except the few that are profiting from it) very much, either.
Labels: Iraq War
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I found this year's first bloom in the Carol For Peace yard.
It didn't spit out that penny - that's just to show you the tiny size of this precious little creature.
Isn't it cute???
All of you in warmer climates probably think that this is an embarrassing, puny little guy, but around here, at this time of year, it's impressive!
Something to think about.
How many times during the day do we speak or worry about something of which we have no control? Hillary should do such and such. I'm worried that this or that will cause Obama to lose the race. People should be more ________. Along with other assorted, and much bigger, worrisome issues.
If we don't like something, and we can do something about it, then by all means, it is good to do what we can. But we can't control the world, so sometimes I wonder what all the "predictions" and "shoulds" are all about.
Not that I'm totally exempt from these things. Just trying to observe.
I watched myself one evening as we neared the movie theater where we were excited to see a certain film. I was worried (fussing) that we were running late and we wouldn't be able to get a seat. So, instead of just trusting that it would be what it would be, I had to announce that we just might not be there in time. We might have come all that way for nothing.
After my profound announcement, I wondered why I said it. It was as if by saying it, I could somehow prepare everyone for the worst. Then, if we couldn't get seats, things wouldn't be as bad since we weren't surprised - we'd been warned by Carol the All-Knowing. Boy, I was a real big help there! (By the way, we got into the movie - with room to spare. So much for All-Knowing.)
I was raised with the belief that if you cared about someone, you worried about him or her. I can't say that I never worry about loved ones, but mostly I figure that my worrying won't change things with the other person and it will certainly make me miserable. Besides, most of the time, I don't find that I feel any more loved if someone said they were worried about me. In fact, I feel like that person has little confidence in my abilities to take care of myself.
When I remember to lay down my Carol the All-Knowing Cape by being willing to drop my stories about what "might happen", I can either take action or not, but either way, I can do it from a place of peace.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
On This Day
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Giving Myself Away
"Today our special is a cool drop of water served on a bed of ice."
A quote: "We have to choose between risk and risk. We run the risk of sleeping through life, of never waking up at all or else we wakefully rise to the risk of life, facing the challenge of life, of love."
In this book, Steindl-Rast spoke of how often we use the word "take" as opposed to "give". Take an exam, take a vacation, take a nap. But we really are giving ourselves to these things. We will try to take a nap until we realize that we won't fall asleep until we GIVE ourselves to the nap.
We all know that feeling. The feeling of giving ourselves fully to sleep. Giving ourselves to whatever we are doing. I also know the feeling of doing what I'm doing while holding a big part of myself back. I think I have done that a lot in my life. Not fully committing because I'm scared, because I'm not sure that what I'm doing is what I want to be doing, because I'm embarrassed to admit that this is who I am. It's like I'm trying to skate through life between the risk of sleeping through it and the risk of living. Staying in the "safe" zone (that doesn't really exist). What a joke, though. We're either the snow on the roof or the drop as it freely falls. The drop can't hold on to the shingles and safety. Once you're a drop, you gotta do what drops do.
When I prepared for my first vision quest, I wasn't afraid of being alone in the desert. I was afraid of sleeping with no tent to give me a sense of protection. The thought of sleeping out there where any animal could just come upon me was unnerving.
But when as our group arrived at the desert, one of the quest leaders - a woman - stated: "This is the place where I feel the safest in the world." For some reason, I believed her. I believed that it was safe out there, so having no tent was no longer a problem. And I gave myself to the desert. I did a free-fall into it and reaped the joy of it.
Of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
They're given wings.
In My Element
My arms don't allow me to sleep well which can be a blessing. Because of them, I was awake a lot and I could listen to the coyotes sing their song off and on through the nights.
From my journal:
In the darkness
A lone coyote speaks his language.
He must be right outside the window
Open blinds don't allow
him to be seen.
But darkness creates
no room for shadow
An entire orchestra
cuts through the night.
I was sick on a Christmas day when I was young, so my dad and I stayed with one of my grandmothers while my mom and brother visited all the rest of our relatives (We had a lot of family who lived in a small town near us).
My grandmother had a painting of a coyote or wolf on a snow-covered hill that hung above her couch. I stared at the painting for years, but now it has been such a long time that I only remember its essence, no details.
I do remember that I was in and out of sleep on the couch that Christmas day, and at one point, my grandmother told me stories about the coyote/wolf in the painting. I loved my grandmother so much... She died 35 years ago, but she lives inside me always.
Now, after listening to coyote song each night and watching coyote move across the ridge in front of my cabin, now that I am getting nearer to the age that my grandmother would've been when she taught me about coyote/wolf, I realize how much that painting meant to her. Long ago, Grandmother had lived in the hills of Oklahoma and she wrote beautifully of the love she had for that land. She saw friendship in the rough hills that most people would pass by because of the rough, craggy loneliness there.
Either my grandmother taught me to love the land and its creatures through her stories and her being or else her blood runs through my body and I have no choice but to feel it pulsating with familiarity when I am in "my element". Or maybe it's both. It doesn't matter. It is.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Part of Me is Back
I would have been fine if, for some reason, I was forced to stay there for a very long time.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T. S. Eliot
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
One Last Post Before I Go
As we near the funeral for the 4,000th U.S. soldier killed in Iraq;
while we continue to resist acknowledging the numbers of soldiers that have committed suicide, the numbers of vets living on the streets and the numbers of Iraqis who have died since we invaded their country;
As the price tag for this war approaches $500 billion dollars (plus the on-going medical and other costs that will go on and on)
I want to acknowledge the suffering that has come about due to this horrendous plan that many powerful people came up with and instigated years ago.
They don't understand. Those that believe in power at the expense of others don't understand that when you harm another, you're also harming yourself - and everyone else.
Or maybe they just don't care.
Rallies for peace will be occurring around the country on the 15th and 16th of this month. I no longer get attached to the thought that the media will give much coverage or a realistic view of the events. But still, it's important to keep community alive and support each other. If you are so motivated, join others in your area as we begin our 6th year of the illegal occupation of Iraq.
The Million Musicians March for Peace in Austin (wish I could be there for that!):
If you want to march, endorse, or volunteer, please register at
Or just show up and play your heart out!
"Hello dearest friends. Greetings to all. This is beautiful and
efficient work you are doing. I will be marching with you in thoughts.
Thank you with all my heart on behalf of my son, and on behalf of our
children, our troops. Thank you for wanting to BRING THEM HOME NOW."
--Gold Star Mom Nadia McCaffrey, mother of Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey,
killed in Iraq.
"Mom, I don't know why we are here. We are not rebuilding anything.
We are not helping anyone. We shouldn't be here."
--Sgt. Patrick McCaffrey, (In a June 16, 2004 email to his mother, six
days before he was killed in Iraq.)
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Drugs and Knives and Pain - Oh Boy!
After the brutal ripping of the adhesions in my shoulders almost a year ago, when my doctor thought that I would be proclaiming him a hero for releasing me from the hell of no arm movement, I still had pain and limitation. When a doctor won't listen to me telling him that things are still not right, when he thinks that he had all the answers so I should have nothing to complain about... well, I fire him. The new doctor I visited ordered MRI's, which was a druggy fun experience! We found all kinds of crazy things in my shoulders, the worst of which was a 60 per cent tear in the rotator cuff. I have resisted surgery ever since. I've been on all kinds of anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements and I've been doing an arm exercise program.
And I feel better than I have in over a year! Whoo hoooo!
So it's a bummer that I'm going to have the surgery to repair the tear when I'm feeling better and the surgery will only make me feel worse for awhile. But in a few months, I just might be able to scratch my back, dress myself a little easier, SLEEP BETTER, and hang up the phone when it's sitting over to my left. I might as well do this now, because it won't get any easier when I'm older.
This Year (+) of the Arms has been good for me. It slowed me way down. I don't do much activism because I've become my priority. Sounds selfish. I think it's about time.
I am excited to find out the next chapters.
Monday, March 03, 2008
It's 15 degrees outside this morning. You would think that I would be choosing a balmy beach to travel to about now. But nooooooo! On Thursday, I will be traveling to places colder than this. Sometimes I wonder about myself!!!
I MAY tell you about it when I get back, but there might not be much to tell, because most of my time away will be spent alone in silence. And most of the stuff that comes up during times like that is not fit for prime time. I feel like I'm going on an exploration - not the kind that will make National Geographic.
I can't write any more about this, because all the words that I come up with only create an idea or a box. And I don't want to carry too many of those into this exploration of myself.
This excerpt of a poem by Hafez inspires me on this little adventure:
Your loneliness so quickly
Let it cut more
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
This is NOT A Weather Blog
Yesterday we Women in Black vigilers stood in a record-breaking 74 degrees. I really think that the spring sap was running in humans as well as plant-life. What a difference a warm day can make!!! People came out of hibernation and were happy! A woman and what appeared to be her grandson just walked across the street and joined us for awhile. A man in a wheelchair rode past us, then came back and offered us money (THAT's never happened!).
The whole day was the kind of day where I just want to be outside and do things. So my son and I cleaned the inside and outside of our cars better than we've done for months and pulled up some carrots out of the finally thawed ground.
Then today, only one day later, I wake up to this:
An expected high of 30 degrees and blowing snow.
Sometimes I wonder...
People seem to hibernate, get depressed and interact less when it's really cold outside. Then they get a little testy when the air is sweat-inducing for too long. But when the mild temps of spring and fall come, people just act so... well, happy.
Are these changes in our behavior physiological? Does our sap really draw in during winter months, then begin to run again as spring starts to tease? Or do our thoughts about, and preferences for, comfort make us change with the weather?
Saturday, March 01, 2008
To Open Our Hearts and Listen
Thank you to Dawn - the wonderful teacher who has opened the world up to her students!
Excerpts from the article below (I added the colors for emphasis):
When you ask kids about their heroes, you may hear about athletes, movie stars, or comic books. But, at Foster Elementary students say their heroes are people like Adolfo Perez Esquivel.
Esquivel won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 after enduring a wrongful imprisonment, oppression, and torture in South America while standing up for human rights. The man from Argentina has advocated a stance of fighting for the causes laborers and rural workers using non-violent means.
He is speaking at the annual PeaceJam Youth Conference in Denver. The conference is meant to inspire kids towards global peace. Before the conference began, PeaceJam organizers brought Esquivel to Foster Elementary which has been active in the PeaceJam program.
Students welcomed Esquivel and his translator by singing songs of peace and liberty, while playing drum pieces, and dancing the Argentine dance - the tango. However, the students were not there to perform as much as they were to listen.
Esquivel told the student body about the importance of living peacefully and that it all starts with them.
"I think what we all have to do and what you are doing right now is open your hearts to people everywhere, to listen to others," said Esquivel through his translator.
He talked about visiting children around their world and the plights they deal with. "They face a lot of hunger. They have a lot of suffering in their life," said Esquivel. "But, our work is to help young people, to help children everywhere be able to smile at life."