Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

…sun glinting off a river…leather couches.

March 25, 2009

In an altogether awkward, reflective mood today. Had a bad night last night, and a badish morning today. Every now and then these little bubbles of the unpleasant and unexpected pop up, and I wonder where they have come from and when they will go away again.

I also am thinking about my grandmother today. A few days ago my mother emailed me in response to my bump pictures and said, ‘I hope grandma can see you.’ I didn’t know what she was talking about – she was grandma, and hadn’t she just seen all the photos? TMD said, ‘She means YOUR grandma.’ A surge of something came over me – guilt for not remembering, loss for what I/she/TMD/the babies are missing, warmth at her memory.

This morning Chirp wrote to me about my grandmother, out of nowhere – with a quote of what she thinks my grandma would say about all these babies. It made me smile, and tear up a little.

The Polish Catholic part of me, the part of me who just started reading Eat, Pray, Love today (thank you, Tia!), thought for just a second – is this my grandmother trying to come through to me? Twice mentioned in one week after a too long absence? Then the pragmatic part of me briskly slapped me about the face and told me to gather myself in, to be real.

Today I am in the office for a little while in the morning, then lay down/eat lunch for an hour, then travel across the city to go to an afternoon training. It’s in a big, iconic building that every tourist will have seen – right along the river. I’m going to push myself out of the crowded public transport system and wind my way to the river, walking along the banks to go to the training. While it’s a slightly longer route and walking is not my friend these days, I long to see the sun bounce off the river, to see all the crowds, to walk along and marvel that I, plain old Existere from a countryish background in an ordinary backdrop, now live in this (mostly) extraordinary country.

Here’s hoping the sun cooperates.

After the training I’d like to find myself a little hole to curl up in with this book, sometimes reading and sometimes thinking about my very slipped Buddhist practice. My mother and I had a conversation last week where she told me to pray to God with  my worries, that everything was out of human control anyway. I said I thought most things were actually our choices, actions, etc.  We came to a somewhat happy compromise – an altogether interesting thing to happen when our spiritual views are (I think, anyway) far apart.

But whoever you pray to, whatever you believe or don’t believe, I suspect many things are actually one and the same. TMD’s strong atheism makes me nervous, people who are strongly religious make me nervous. I’m just here on my little island, wondering and curious and hopeful and pessimistic.

All things considered, though, I’m doing okay.

Good things come to those who are impatient.

October 25, 2008

Day 2 of taking the birth control pill. No  longer do I resent it as a postponement of babytummy. In fact, my copious reading has yielded some info – the pill is becoming a standard of treatment even when egg sharing isn’t happening. Women who take the pill first are likely to produce better quality eggs and LESS likely to form cysts on their ovaries. Hi ho, pill.

My appointment at the clinic is on Day 11. This is when we will run through my/our detailed protocol, and I imagine injections will be starting within a few days of the appointment. I hope my superstitious fertility necklace arrives next week.

You know what else I hope about next week? That I pass my fucking driving test!! Just had a two hour lesson – universe willing, the last one I will ever need. I asked my instructor if he thinks I’m going to pass (after complimenting him on his haircut, discussing tv, etc – we’re old friends now that we’ve hung out every goddamn weekend since the beginning of time itself) and he said he would be surprised if I didn’t. Let’s not prove him wrong, eh?

If you pray, chant, cast spells, send good vibes – send them to ME. My test is Wednesday at 11:21 am my time, which I will remain delightfully non-specific about. However, if you begin sending vibes now and then concentrate them on Tuesday, enough should be sticking to me on Wednesday that I pass.

If I don’t, this will have to be put off till at least after Christmas – when whatever the outcome of IVF, I will have a lot on my mind. Nice as my instructor is, I hope I never have to see him again after next week.

Yummy (in my tummy).

October 9, 2008

When I was a child, I was quite mystical. I was drawn to rose quartz, fully believed in ghosts, and even had a ‘magic’ ring I believed I could control the weather with. I wanted to be a magician when I grew up. I walked alone for hours in the woods, along the beach, in the fields. Any weather, any time. I created stories and invisible others to people my life.

I had no trouble talking to my idea of God, no questions, no qualms.

I’m not that open to spirituality anymore, particularly anything that smacks of ‘crazy shit.’ I’m not sure why that is, although in sessions with Kleinette my distaste for my family’s extreme Catholic superstition came up again and again. I am simultaneously drawn to things…and repelled by them as well.

I feel embarassed to admit that I would like a little help from outside, a little magic to bolster me up a bit. I want to be able to believe in something, but the realist in me has squashed that. Now I think I look for things that just help me to believe in myself rather than an outside being. But I still like little charms, things that can be held and looked at.

With that in mind, I really want this: I love the necklace, and also have a little shine for the bracelet. Do I believe this is a magic thing that will make me get pregnant sooner rather than later? Not really. But do I feel a constant low level of stress – good and bad – about this whole trying to conceive thing? Yes. And would I like something tangible to make me feel a little bit better, something I can touch and be reminded of how worthwhile this all is? Yes. Do I want to have a secret delight in making ‘public’ what we are trying to do, all the while shielding the real meaning of the charms to protect us? Double yes.

All our money is going to go to the actual process of making a baby – and me getting my fricking license. I found that fertility website a few days ago, during a google moment, and was led to it again today by another blog.

Yesterday the rose quartz heart necklace my mother bought me when I was 15/16 broke, and I miss it. I think I just need to feel like I am doing something to help a little baby into being, and if I’m so hungry for it that wearing a necklace or bracelet helps, so be it. I am declaring myself open to receiving the above things, in the hope that they somehow float into my life.

Spread the love.

September 30, 2008

Eid Mubarak and Happy Rose Hashanah!!!

Two holidays on one day. Is this like a religious eclipse? If so, good things should happen today. Oh wait, my parking already sorted itself out.

Seriously, though, to my pallies who’ve been fasting for all of Ramadan – enjoy eating during sunlight again. No more vampire foodie lifestyle. And to the non-Muslim Jews of my aquaintance, happy New Year!

(And another religious holiday: a woman in an office below ours asked me to join her ‘choir’ and practice Christmas songs. I smiled and tried not to betray my nervous twitches.)

[this space reserved for Rose Hashanah flair, which does not exist.:( ]

Don’t put your posters up unless you think about the implications. Also, I think I would prefer reincarnation so that I could keep on learning and growing. I have not yet conquered level one!

September 12, 2008

There’s quite a popular Christian course – not just in this country, apparently, but in loads. Every year at about this time they have a heavy recruitment drive. Their banners/posters are everywhere, and usually feature a question or a statement implying that people can’t possibly be happy without God in their life. Now, I don’t want to start a debate about whether or not that is true. Even leaving aside my own beliefs (as much as I can, anyway), the posters this year are annoying the hell out of me.

(Perhaps what they intend – if all my ‘hell’ is annoyed away, will heaven remain?)

ANYWAY. The slogan is ‘Is this it?’ Under that in smaller letters it says, ‘If God did exist, what would you ask?’ I’ve got no problem with that second question. In fact, I think it’s really good. The first one is the one that I am beginning to find irritating beyond belief – and sad.

Is this it? Is what it? The full experience of being a human is immense. Watching someone’s life slip away, giving birth, first kisses, the anxiety about where life is heading, the decisions we make. I think my own personal panic isn’t about worrying that this is it. It’s about wondering where I’ll ever get the time to experience all that I want to. Life is not too small for me, no, sometimes it is too big.

It seems to me you’ve got a balancing act between doing and being. On the doing side is stuff like climbing Everest, travelling the world, owning a restaurant, learning to tap dance, moving to India. The doing side is huge huge huge – none of us could ever do everything the world has to offer. But regardless of how little or big our ‘doings’ are, we all emcompass the ‘beings’ every single day.

It’s experiencing how we feel and who we are in the day-to-day bits of life. I think the job of learning what it means to fully experience humanity, emotions, creativity, relationships is something grand and not impossible. It can happen whether you have an ‘ordinary’ life or not. It’s more than who you are sleeping with, how much money you have, all your ambitions. It’s somehow smaller and bigger than those things.

So, is this it? I think there is more than enough on offer to suit me at this moment. I don’t know if I’ll publish a book, learn to play the cello, or hike the Appalachin Trail. But I do know that whatever I feel, think, AM during those moments of waiting-to-do, not-doing, and wow-this-is-incredibles is what my own challenge is. And it is ‘it’ – enough, divine, inspiring, difficult, whole.

Holding the faith.

September 7, 2008

Yesterday: untold stress, overwhelm, tears, then….a surprise birthday party! Had such a good time, relaxed, will write more about it tomorrow. Have relaxed today as well, but then back to thinking/reading about the things that stressed me yesterday, and am left feeling so tired and emotional. I keep thinking of ringing Kleinette and booking a one-off session, because I just need to have a good weep.

Our appointment at the fertility clinic was yesterday. We never expected IVF to be offered as a first treatment – they briefly explained all the options, and because we’ve never discussed IVF we went ahead with a more in-depth look at stimulated cycle IUI. I will write technical explanations when I don’t feel so fucked up.

At any rate, I think we are seriously considering IVF. If I am willing to donate half my eggs, I get the treatment at a hugely reduced cost – and the success rates are five times that of a natural cycle IUI. This makes IVF both more affordable and much more attractive as far as outcomes go.

I’m just overwhelmed by the idea of daily injections, suppositories, little egg-babies in a petri dish who don’t survive, little egg-babies in my womb who don’t burrow right into my uterine lining. I am in excellent health. I am not an infertile woman. All of my scans have been excellent, my hormone levels are kickin’, and there is always a chance I could conceive without going through IVF. But we only have enough money for three attempts.

IVF success rate at this clinic is 50-55%, and the consultant said because I’m so young it would be nearer to the 55% mark. I also have no reason to believe that I couldn’t support a pregnancy, as I am fertile – unlike many women who go through IVF.

Egg sharing means more tests to make sure I’m not carrying a freaky disease, which pushes the timeline back. I don’t think I mind.

Yesterday I felt so overwhelmed that when we left the clinic I started crying on the street and told TMD I don’t want to do this anymore – I just want to adopt.

I don’t know what the point of this entry is….venting, I suppose. Offloading. The sorts of things I would be saying to Kleinette if I was sitting on her couch. I don’t want to have to be logical. Logic tells me that we should definitely do IVF – and I am happy with that choice. Despite that, I still feel scared, upset, and confused.

All I/we wanted was a baby. I never thought when I was growing up that it would be this fucking involved. Babymaking is, inherantly, supposed to be an intimate act that brings pleasure. I suppose I am mourning the fact that TMD and I have to do it differently.

I just wish I could know it would work.


OH. I’ll tell you one more thing, though. Nichiren Buddhism talks about something called sancho shima. I won’t pretend to be incredibly philosophical, but merely say that this means that when you are about to make a very strong step in life, life invariably throws up obstacles. Getting to the clinic yesterday was unbelieveable. We almost missed the fucking appointment, perhaps more details later.

Anyway, I was chanting in my head – the first chanting I’ve done in ages – to arrive by 12. When we finally made it into the city and got on public transport, guess who sat down across from us? A woman reading a book about Nichiren Buddhism – which has NEVER happened before.

Perhaps this is me striving to make coincidence meaningful, but it felt pretty fucking profound, I can tell you. We also made it to the clinic exactly at 12.

And now to move away from the wasabi (reluctantly).

August 22, 2008

Can you believe this is right behind my house? I can’t.

It’s odd because this was a very normal sight where I grew up. Trees, fields, animals, space. I then moved to Really Big City In Another Country, and tiny rooms and crowded streets became the norm.

I feel very Buddha like in saying that after all that exploring of the world and myself, I’m back where I started and appreciating it more and more.

Reaching out.

July 7, 2008

I have always had a ‘thing’ for tangible items that might speak to something unspeakable inside of me. Tarot cards, runes, stones, therapeutic card exercises, random little toys, and on and on. Many of these were in card form, and in fact I’ve just spent some time with a co-worker looking at resources for children and young people. I’m not sure what it is.

I like the feel of these cards, which are often quite sturdy with a plastic coating. I like bright colours, flowing words, strong and subtle symbolism. Yet I always keep reaching towards the next thing, hoping that one day I’ll find the perfect whatever-it-is and not put it down. I’m still looking, despite being aware that none of these things will ever be the perfect size to fill this particular hole in my experience.

Religions have often played a similar role. In my time, I’ve run a semi-wide gambit: Catholic, Agnostic, Wiccan, Christian, Quaker, New Age, Humanist, Buddhist. Each spiritual quest has narrowed down what I am looking for, and my exploring is often limited within spheres of Buddhism now. I positively identify as a Buddhist, though I am not clear what type of Buddhist.

I officially belong to a form of Nichiren Buddhism called the Soka Gakkai. I find the philosophy and the people practical and powerful. Yet mindfulness is something I will need to reach out to embrace, as my type of Buddhism isn’t specifically about mindfulness – and I love it. Either way, I often devour things mentally and then have a very difficult time putting things into practice.

As a member of the SGI (Soka Gakkai International), Buddhism is based on faith, practice, and study. There is no God, as such. There is a daily practice of a morning and evening period, and while I can feel the actual tangible benefits in my life from doing it, I don’t carry on. This is true of most things that are good for me, or feel good while doing them.

And I don’t mean ‘good’ in a blase way. I mean it in a deep, connected, and true sense of the word. Good like warm homemade bread, good like walking in fields on a sunny day, good like the first time you are embraced and realise you are safe. Good.

I’m still reading Writing as a Way of Healing, during my lunch breaks when I stay indoors. I think I want to write about my breast reduction, as it keeps coming into my mind lately. Feelings of guilt are strongly attached to this for me, and I want to see what it is like to write about it. I have debated whether to do my fifteen minutes of writing here, or whether to craft and mold a story as the book suggests. I think we all know I get a more immediate release from journalling; whether it is the better option, I don’t know. I also think I could embrace both.

So tonight I want to carve out some time to write. Lately when I get home I am so tired I collapse onto the couch. I’m worried about Louis the Lump, I’m exhausted from working much longer days than I am used to, I am besottted with all the television channels that are now in my life. I’m leaving work an hour early today, so hopefully I’ll manage to find a little time and space for myself and my words this evening.

I think I like little things I can hold and look at because they are outside reminders of all the things I am trying to remember on the inside.

It’s hard to be anonymous about countries when it’s the Fourth of July.

July 4, 2008

1. I am marching in a parade tomorrow. Maybe you will see me if you’re there. I’ll be the only one not wearing rainbow clothes or leather.

2. I just got THE best phone plan in the fucking world. For ten [units of money] a month. I also made soulmate friends with the phone guy, who lives the next street up from my work and will probably also be at the parade tomorrow.

3. I need to phone the Big People to find out what’s going on with my application for citizenship. Ironic to think about this when it is a day traditionally reserved for breaking away from this country.

4. Is there any point in being country anonymous? If I don’t use any names or identifying details (well, things that would be non-identifying if you didn’t already know me), does it actually make a difference if people know where I live or where I was born?

5. Operation Fingerpaint had some mindfulness meditation time yesterday, and we may start regular meditation groups. I’m feeling inspired and may start doing body scans during my lunch hour.

Making up for the deprivation.

May 21, 2008

I wonder if I am one of God’s chosen people. Right where earlocks would be, my hair grows in perfect spiral curls.