Posts Tagged ‘buddhism’

A new day, a new update. Which is pretty similar to past updates, actually.

March 18, 2011

I guess you could say I’m a lapsed Buddhist. A very particular kind of Buddhist, called Nichiren Buddhist – a member of the Soka Gakkai International. While I don’t actively practice the daily rituals, I still agree with this as a philosophy of life.

One thing that popped in my mind this morning was sancho shima. Basically, when you are about to make big changes in your life – actively going to move things in a positive direction – things often go to crap. Like if you’re trying to clean out your gutters, there’s a hell of a lot of gunk that will need to be washed away before the gutters work the way you want them to.

When I had a meeting at our house to discuss formally joining this organization, I randomly stubbed my toe and it wouldn’t stop bleeding. I know it’s minor. But when we went for our IVF consult – well, that was a fucking class a nightmare. Trains cancelled, TMD running down country lanes for the car, etc etc.

Is this stuff true? I don’t know.

But maybe, just maybe, all of the shit lately is bit of sancho shima. I hope.

Last night was rough. I had trouble falling asleep, Coconut woke for a feed, etc. And then….and then she woke at 3:30 crying and saying, ‘Mummy, Mummy.’ I pulled her into my bed, where she was still asking for TMD. She was awake for about two hours, while I laid next to her in a stupor. She finally slept for about 30 minutes, before waking up and crying for Snort.

Just now she said, ‘Bye bye!’ to me and marched away. I said, ‘Where are you going?’ She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, ‘Snort Snort.’ She then beckoned for me to follow her to the front door. Ugh.

I guess he had a better night last night. He managed to get some sleep, even sleeping through a few treatments. They managed to stretch him three hours, so that’s a pretty big improvement. I guess he still needs the nebs, but maybe will switch to inhalers soon? Having more steroids as well.

I woke up having breathing problems – yeah, he inherited this shit from me. Coco is coughing up a lung every few minutes. Call us the family of health. Though she found my inhalers and was busy puffing away and holding a bottle of arnica (babyproofing? What’s that?). I think she was like, ‘Hey, dude, I need the breathies and medicine too. Take me to the hospital and maybe I can share a bed with Snort.’

The other fucked up thing is that MIL texted last night at 10:30 pm that she was coming up today. No question about whether this would actually help or hinder. And that I should text back to acknowledge I had received her text.

It’s all very awkward, as FIL (they are divorced, and it was not a friendly divorce) drove halfway across the country to get to his house last night (he lives in same city as MIL, about three hours from us) and called this morning saying he wanted to come help. I tried to put him off but he wouldn’t budge, so I had to pony up and tell him MIL was coming. Holy fucking awkward, Batman.

Thank God for my counselling training. In theory, it allows me to better manage difficult and uncomfortable conversations. Ha. Also thank the UNIVERSE for FLYlady, as the house is in reasonable condition considering one kid is hospitalised, the other is sick, and so am I. Aside from the growing mound of clean laundry on the couch, anyway.

I’m feeling upset this morning. Just hope Snort starts improving and we can get him home. Also worrying about if this is going to happen every time he gets a cold.

This is the second morning without my baby boy – and the third overall, if you count the last time he was in the hospital. I don’t think there is any talk of discharging him yet. Everything is so quiet with just me and Coconut; I miss the other half of our family.

And that? That’s everything. For now.


Conversations, 2012 style.

December 22, 2010

Mom: Existere, are you going to teach your children about God?

Me: No.

Mom: Deep silence. Wow, no wonder the world is coming to an end.

(And people wonder why I think so highly of myself. Come on, guys, my mom leads me to believe I am solely responsible for the possible coming apocalypse.)

Opportunity throws you out on your ass.

November 18, 2010

So. The calmer version of yesterday’s post: the government has made some pretty horrific slashes to public services. So the people who need the most help and support are the ones getting fucked over, and the people who have jobs helping those who need the most support are also fucked. TMD has one of these jobs, working with extremely vulnerable young people. Specifically, she manages the people who work with these young people.

No one knows for certain what is going to happen. But the slashes to her service are huge. No one knows what new objectives or targets the new set up will have. So if the focus switches away from helping vulnerable young people, things don’t look good.

After my initial freak out last night, I skipped nanowrimo (dear jesus am I falling behind!) and did some job hunting.

Now, the entire 4.5 years I was at Day Job, I job hunted. For myself, because it was such a colossally shit job – and also because it was what we all did. The new jobs went into the paper on a Wednesday, and I swear to god every single employee was either online or running out to buy the paper.

My friend Epilady actually called me one Wednesday shortly after I qualified as a counsellor, to tell me about the ad for Operation Fingerpaint. (And thank god she did, because I did love that job…though wasn’t there long before I got knocked up!)

The other thing I did a lot of in that job was job hunt for other people – specially young people with a criminal record, or mental health issues, or learning disabilities, or – you know – all three and more. So not exactly the sort of job hunting TMD requires, but shit. I got skillz.

I wasn’t too hopeful. We have been on/off looking for things for her for awhile, and no organizations working with young people are hiring because, let’s face it, they are all too busy getting ready to fire their current employees.

(Fuck this government. There. I said it.)

But last night I found four jobs. Of those, one closing date already zoomed by – a shame as she would have got this job. One is on the other side of the country, and she’s not too keen on the job. The remaining two?

One is so funky and quirky you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Assuming she has the time and energy, she plans to apply for this job.

The other one is similar to what she does now, but it would probably require odd hours – evenings and weekends, etc etc etc. And it’s in a part of the city where you get stabbed if you blink too many times. She may apply for this one, just for kicks.

So, it begins. My new job is helping TMD find a new job. And I want to help her find a job she will love, not a job she takes out of desperation. She is sacrificing a lot – she desperately wants to be the stay at home mum, but she slogs off to work every day (and does a pretty fantastic job!!) to earn the money that keeps us in nappies and cheerios. She deserves a job that will help her grow, that she enjoys, that is a positive step forward.

Thank you all for your support and love you sent to us in the comments of the last entry. It made me feel less alone, like I’ve got a fabulous support system – even if I may never meet half of you.

The sticky icky business of building a new life begins. And we’re not adverse to moving to a new part of the country – though ideally, no moves would happen until TMD’s adoption of Snort and Coconut was finalized.

The number of times other Buddhists have pointed out that the Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’ literally holds two words within it: danger, and opportunity.

I opt for opportunity. But it’s still scary, you know?

And we had CAKE. Then this happened.

August 7, 2010

We had the best day, and instead of writing about that I’m writing to say that Coconut is being rushed to the hospital as we speak.

Neither of us is certain what happened, but it involved a very hard fall. The first thing I noticed was blood pouring from her mouth, and then that was quickly overtaken by the blood gushing from her nose. And, of course, her little face screwed up in pain – blood all over her face, her body, my breasts.

We are not freaker outers – Snort has had some pretty bad falls recently. We’re talking two mouth bleeds, a nose bleed, and a gash in his chin. (Fuck, we sound negligent, but try looking after two almost toddling twins!)

We got a cloth, stopped the nose bleed, and then offered her the obvious medical solution – a popsicle. Nice and cool for swelling and pain, and a good flavour for distraction (and made from orange juice to help the poopage).

She calmed down but was still unhappy. I happened to be on the phone with my mom, a nurse of many, many years, who said we needed to check her frenulum – you know, the little bit that connects your lip to your gum. She mentioned if it had been cut that it could cause speech disorders as that is what helps your lip to move.

We flushed her mouth with cool water, gently lifted her lip (remind me to tell you about all the actual ‘medical’ training we have. No lie – we’ve both been trained up to the level of being an ambulance helper outer….though I readily admit I know shit all about frenulums!), and there it was. TMD reckons the entire fucking frenulum has been neatly severed from her gum, though of course we only had the briefest look as this caused her pain and crying. And homie don’t keep her mouth open if it hurts.

So TMD got Coco into her pajamas and carseat as I gathered a sling, the onbag (nappy bag of choice for babywearers!), bunny, bottles, etc. Off to the hospital they went, while I went straight to Gohonzon and chanted with Snort (after my initial panic tweets!). We’ve finished chanting, but I’ve left the Budsudan open and feel much calmer. Snort’s in his pjs, milked up, teeth cleaned. I’m going to try to get him to sleep despite the vast amounts of chocolate cake and squash (and let’s not forget his sister’s bloody popsicle remains) coursing through his veins.

TMD just texted to say they’ve arrived at the hospital, so now we wait.


May 25, 2010

Today is the two week anniversary of my SPD getting a bit better. Oh, my crotch is still singing six ways to Tuesday, but listen to today:

We went for the longest pushchair walk ever (still SHOUTING THE PRAISES of the Nipper 360 for older babies and toddlers. It’s super weird the babies are facing forward, but I do think they are old enough and the walks are short enough that it’s okay). We’re talking like an extra five minutes to our current world record.

When we got back, I was feeling really proud of myself. Pleasantly sweaty. Gave the babies a bit more milk, then started cooking lunch (cheesy veggie nuggets, spring onions, and plums). While cooking, I felt good enough to stand in the kitchen the whole time it was cooking and wash the dishes! This is big news as even when I was as fit as a fiddle, I was a lazy mofo.

But the sheer thrill of being able to stand, to do ordinary mom things like cook and clean, FUCKING WOW. Perhaps the universe gave me SPD to teach me the value and pleasure in regular things. The babies hung out and played, sometimes coming over to the stairgate to say hi.

We ate, and then I had the ‘fun’ time of crawling around on the fucking floor cleaning our new plastic lining thing that is under the table.

After all that activity, my crotch is a bit sore. But nothing like it has been in the past.

I am holding my breath and hoping this is some sort of miracle time in my life. You know, and that it continues and this isn’t some sort of reverse relapse. This is the week before my period, traditionally such an agonizing time that TMD ended up taking two days off last month because I couldn’t move.

I did a bit of googling to see if there were any major hormone changes nine months postpartum, but everything seemed to say it all happens at the three month mark. The only different thing I can think of is my crazy back-cracking, ass massaging osteo treatment the Saturday before I started feeling radically better. I’m going to call her and see what she thinks about this. We’ve officially broken up, but I’ve not called the new pilates lady yet.

I also chanted all those days ago to be better by May 1, I think. Need to go back and look at that. Or end of May? I don’t know. I’ve not continued to chant as, like everything else, I am pretty lazy and would rather sleep or read than make active strides to improve my life (except today, man, except today!). But like writing, Buddhism is a given in my life. One of the two things I know is always there, always a part of me, even when I’m not doing it.


I think this is a brief interlude before the babies need feeding or sleeping, so going to sign off. But can you feel how good I feel??

The aching pains in the area are so different than the electric, grinding horror I have never managed to get used to. This level of pain? I suspect this may be what other pregnant women consider ‘bad’ spd, but to me it feels like flying. Like ordinary aches and pains. Like a normal woman living a normal life – and to me, you can’t get more extraordinary than that.

The Buddhist challenge.

March 18, 2010

You might know I’m a Buddhist. I’ve been really lax in terms of my practice since the babies were born, though I’ve not wavered in my belief in the basic philosophy. Lately I’ve been thinking I need to step it up a notch. I won’t get you bogged down in what that means, but the most basic – and essential – practice is chanting a phrase. This is ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.’

Nam –  like Vietnam shortened (but not sounding like ‘am’ More like ‘om’) . Actually just  like nom – you know, what babies do to things.

Myo – uh, cats say meow, gangsters say yo, put ’em together into one syllable and you’ve got ‘myo’

Ho – like that girl you went to high school with

Renge – like ‘reggae,’ but with an ‘n’

Kyo – Like Toyko, but again one syllable

Again, I won’t explain what each of these mean, but if you’re interested in Buddhism do get in touch. (Or read The Buddha in Daily Life by Richard Causton – my favourite book on Buddhism, but be warned, it’s theory heavy. But good!! If you like a lighter read, I can recommend other books.)

So ANYWAY. You repeat this phrase out loud over and over.  This sort of Buddhism encourages chanting for ‘actual proof,’ namely, things that you aim to achieve – and then see if the Buddhism helps you. Buddhism is an humanist philosophy/religion, so you are not asking some outside deity to sort your life out. More like you are getting yourself into the best, strongest position to help you take action and improve your life.

We have chanted for things in the past and had astounding results. One being getting our twins on our first cycle!

However, I don’t find ‘things’ as alluring as how generally good Buddhism makes me feel. Every time I chant, particularly when doing it every day, I just feel more positive, proactive, creative, joyful.

Now, the other thing about Buddhism is that you don’t have to sell your soul. Chanting is for anyone to try out, and then if it works, great. If not, they may choose to move on to something else or try later – also fine. I met a man when I was working on a Buddhist magazine a few years ago (oh, there are so many things about me you do not know! I am like Phoebe on Friends!) who said he’d been introduced to Buddhism via the ‘Daz Challenge.’

Daz being a washing powder that claims to make your whites whiter, etc. Essentially, this guy was told to try chanting every day for 100 days straight – say, for five minutes a day. He was told to just give it a go and see what happened. Well, he found himself feeling more grounded and healthy.

Now, I’m already won over by Buddhism. It makes sense for my life. I like the idea of being responsible for effecting change in myself and my community. But I have decided to do a little Daz Challenge myself, to remind myself why I once vigourously practiced, and to get back into the swing of things. Buddhism also encourages you to write down your ‘determinations;’ mine is to be completely healed by 1 May. We’ll see.

All I know is that three days ago I started my Daz Challenge. And you all know how shit I’ve been feeling lately, how hopeless about my pelvis and my subsequent parenting ability. On that day, minutes after chanting, I looked outside and suddenly felt very able. It was sunny out, so I stepped out to check the temperature. Next thing you know, I was hanging out in our garden with my twins for the first time ever.

Yesterday, TMD worked till 9 (and thank you to all who left comments on the babywearing blog. She was SO chuffed and wants to make videos now!). I did some chanting in the evening, and then when the babies were testy, I babywore (is this a word?) both of them. It also just popped into my head to balance my camera on top of some stuff and make videos of how to do babywearing. I felt strong and able. I was filled with joy.

Physically I am feeling pretty good, but emotionally and mentally I feel strong. And when it comes to Buddhism, here is my proof:

Should you choose to give Buddhism a try, let me know! I’ll be curious to see what you think. There is more to it than just chanting, but that is the basic practice. I am tweeting about my 100 days at at the hashtag #dazchallenge, so feel free to follow along over there or join in!

So far as I know, there aren’t massive conflicts between Buddhism and other faiths, so you aren’t, like, pissing in the eye of your god if you try chanting. Wow, that was crass.

Now, I need to return to Day Three!!

Moving forward with determination and hope.

March 10, 2010

The post I just wrote is true. I don’t want to take away from how low I am feeling. But I also don’t want to take away that this is hopefully just a setback in my life. My physical problems now are opening my mind and heart to new experiences, new ways to see the world, new ways to be grateful for what I have.

New ways to be courageous.

I have begun seriously studying Nichiren Buddhism again, and taking courage and strength from what I learn. I need to work in time to practice, because in this Buddhism, in the ‘Buddhism of daily life’ and humanism, there is a belief that I can change this situation. We all have self-responsibility and power and choice.

I need to build my wisdom, courage, and compassion – particularly my compassion towards myself. I am full of self-doubt and blaming my body, but look what my body has given me:

Daisaku Ikeda said a few things in a speech that sort of felt arrowed at me and this situation. (And for clarification, ‘prayer’ in these quotes refers to chanting, though also the courage to take tangible actions to improve your life.)

Prayer – It is the courage not to give up. It is a struggle to banish cowardice within your life that keeps haunting you, ‘I can’t do it.’ ‘My present circumstances can be changed. Surely it can!’ Prayer is an endeavour to engrave this conviction in the depths of your life.

Prayer – It is to destroy fear. It is to banish sorrow. It is to ignite hope. It is a revolution to re-write destiny. Believe in yourself! Never look down upon yourself! Because despising yourself is equivalent to going against Buddhism. It is a degradation of the Buddhahood in your own life.

Prayer – It is a challenge to fit the gear in your own life with the motion of the universe. It is an exciting drama to embrace the universe, turn the entire cosmos into your ally, reverse the situation and begin directing your life towards happiness.

Without SPD, I never would have been on bedrest so early, and I fully believe all the rest is a huge component to how long I stayed pregnant. My babies also got every little calorie I ate. SPD was a benefit in terms of having full term, singleton sized babies.

It has served its purpose, and now I am ready for it to go.

Just talked to Osteo again, she was very encouraging and reassuring. Also suggested I use a short woven wrap to help bind my pelvis, so am currently sporting my lovely purple Till around my hips.

I can do this.

My body can do this.

But I reserve the right to feel what I feel, and then move forward the best way I can. So much of this problem is about waiting. I can do that, though, right? I waited 38 weeks to meet Snort and Coconut, I can do anything.

SPD is your friend and mine.

February 18, 2010

Last night we talked about  me getting disability benefits. Including the little blue badge that means we can park closer to things.

Why? I’ve had an acute flare up of my SPD and can’t walk.

The pain last night was worse than any level of pain I had – even during pregnancy. For those not au fait with my pregnancy exploits, I was firmly shoved into a wheelchair at 32 weeks and told I should have been in one sooner. I was on crutches from about 19 weeks, and in severe pain from about 14 weeks. Good shit.

I am going to be proactive.

I bought myself a ‘teething’ necklace because they have worked wonders for the babies. Absolute wonders. They are something bordering on magic, and it means we have no had to give medication for pain relief of teething. Yay. Snort’s eczema is also clearing because of the necklace. I admit I was very skeptical of claims regarding baltic amber, but I am now a believer. I only hope I can have similar benefits.

I called my specialist physio this morning. She’s away until next week. Left a message and said she needed to phone me back.

I then called Snort’s osteopath – he needed a final check up anyway, so we’re going in at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow to get him checked out (for his head shape). I then have booked an assessment with the woman for myself. My physio has said osteo/chiro would not help me because my pelvis was in perfect alignment, just incredibly flexible. I am hoping she was wrong and that osteopathy will help reduce the pain and increase my abilities.

I also want to start chanting again, with a focus on regaining total recovery from SPD. I realise this entry is making me sound like a fucking weirdo hippy – amber necklaces, osteopathy, chanting – but you know what? If it works, when it works, I won’t give a damn how I sound.

I’m in intense pain and unable to walk at all, but feeling fiercely determined to beat this. It’s making me almost cheerful. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go lay down because sitting up is hurting me like a motherfucker.

Eczema help, please?

December 1, 2009

There are a lot of things I could write about at this point, but only one topic has really been on our minds every day…and now, nights, too. Snort’s eczema. The second we stop using steroids (okay, a day or so after) it flares up again.

Yesterday I tried the cream I’d been saving, my big hitter. It is from Country A, so I superstitiously believed that would somehow make it more healing, more effective, more…um….good. After six hours of using that cream, he looked like he’s been sunbathing in hell. Every single part of his face was a flaming red. The skin had thickened, those dreaded bumps that ooze were everywhere, and it was all hot to the touch. Back to cream #3, and thank god he’s going to the doctor this afternoon.

Last night he refused to sleep. He would scream and scream unless being held, and of course rubbing and scratching his face. TMD ended up sleeping sitting upright on the couch while holding him. Poor chuck.

And his sister? She’s got a few teeny tiny patches of eczema. Thank god she isn’t the one with this, because while his skin may make him look like a stunt double in a horror flick, hers is actually more sensitive. I put a dab of cream #3 on my finger today and swiped it across her dry patch, ending on her cheek. She immediately screamed like I had plunged a knife into her stomach. She squeezed her eyes shut, kept screaming, wouldn’t be comforted. Then I saw it: a perfect, single finger swipe of deep, angry pink/purple on her cheek.  Her instant reaction to the cream has gone down now, but lesson learned.

TMD cancelled Coconut’s doctor appointment today because most of her tummy rash and other things had gone away. Snort is still, well, Snort. The eczema is on face (including eyelids!), neck, scalp, chest, tummy, arms, legs, even the his ankle creases. Nowhere is as angry or terrible as his face, though.

At first I think it bothered me more than him, because it just looked so sore and, well, ugly. But now he spends all of his awake time rubbing and scratching. I have put cream #3 on so heavily that it is a white spread of stuff on his face (think: cream cheese). The second it soaks in, I reapply so it is thick and white again.  TMD did this constantly overnight, and his forehead is looking better.

I know the doctor is going to give us more steroids. I don’t want to use them on his face. If it would calm this massive flare up, and then the eczema would be manageable with some cream, fine. Fact is, we haven’t found our magic cream yet. I spent hours last night online, looking at very expensive organic and homeopathic shit we would have to import. I don’t mind paying for it if it will help, but jesus is it a lot of money to spend when chances are it won’t. Argh. We also have no idea what is triggering this, though I am wondering about dairy as cream #4 apparently has milk protein in it.

I suppose the good news is that this has all sparked my Buddhist practice again, and I’ve been doing gongyo in the morning with the babies, and we did it as a family last night.

ANYONE with any cream recommendations specific to babies and eczema, let me know. Sorry this is a dull subject to read, and congrats if you got this far. I am just so worried about him, and last night I was crying and feeling guilty because everything got so much worse after I applied the cream I just HAD to use.