My First Buddhist Retreat – Day 2: 7-24-10

Saturday

I’m starting to feel like the woman from Eat Pray Love. My inner dialogue is driving me CRAZY!

Just had dish duty. Yuk! I hate washing dishes. At least it was only breakfast. My new friend Wendi, has been helping me a lot. She used to watch Nik in the toddler room at church.

Got through a couple more hours of meditation. Anam is a funny guy.

Some thoughts have come up… If life & death are concepts — then what is the truth? (Reality?)

I don’t like to eat & be silent. Eating is for Community!

I’d like to know what the deal is with the prayer wheel.
– Can anyone spin it?
-What’s it for?

Boy it is hot in this sitting area…but cooler than outside.

Oh I don’t know how I’m gonna do this walking meditation at 2pm. I don’t know if it’s on the trails or what. I need an arm to do that.

How does Beth do it? She looks so happy. Beth is my other new friend who suddenly became paralyzed from the waist down. She’s in a wheelchair & she doesn’t let it stop her. I must keep in touch with her afterwards.

I wish I brought my camera. I guess it’s just as well. Keep me off my electronics.

OK walking meditation OVER. That was tricky — especially with all the obstacles on the floor. We went outside. I walked by the garden — just beautiful — recognized lots of plants & flowers, too. They arrange it all so nicely. I made a beeline right to the shade trees. I wonder if the bark was supposed to do that peeling? At least the walk was only 45 minutes. I wish it wasn’t so hot outside. Nice & cool in here in the meditation room. I could use a nap. I wonder when my brain will stop the crazy rambling?!

Oh my goodness — I fell asleep during this afternoon’s teaching/meditation! I then rested afterwards and almost missed the next session!

I got someone in my room now. Don’t know who they are but they took the box of tissues as her own! Grrr…

I guess I’ll see Anam. I can’t imagine what to say.

What a delicious dinner! Pesto & gazpacho! Yum! Kudos to Savory Thyme! Of course, I couldn’t help but think that lunch’s salsa became tonight’s soup! (Thanks, Micah!)

Looks like I’ll be meeting Anam tonight. What am I gonna say? I need guidance to see myself through this illness? I know I’m seeking guidnace — I’m not sure how to ask. Maybe they told him I’m dying. How to proceed…

Oh yeah — and I saw my awareness tonight during Anam’s guided meditation!

Well — I saw him… and … I CRIED. I could barely get it out… & I’m all runny nose, tears coming down — uh what a mess! Smart guy. He told me to turn that DESIRE to live to INTENTION to awareness & enlightenment. He says it’s there — it’s always there. Just need to accept it. Dive in. The body is just a guesthouse. Well, glad that’s over.

My First Buddhist Retreat – Day 1: 7-23-10

For my 40th birthday I decided to go on a retreat. I chose to try this: Residential Retreat
with Anam Thubten Rinpoche
put on locally by Rochester’s Dharmata Meditation Sangha. (Last year I saw Anam at the UU church and bought his book. Excellent read.) I wrote this entries the good old fashioned way — on a pad of paper with a PEN.

Friday

1/2 day maybe…

I’m staying in the Sewing Room. I feel a little bad that I’m all by myself, but also feel kinda relieved. I met a nice lady in a wheelchair named Beth. She seems to be taking me under her wing. I have alot of questions for her after this retreat! Luckily, she lives near me.  I’ve turned off my phone. No internet or TV. I brought my book of poetry by Rumi (thanks, Irene!). Right now it’s just me and caney. (My cane.)

This place has quite a history! Visit Stillwood Study Center for more info.

The Sewing Room is HUGE. I don’t know what or who uses this place for sewing. There’s also paper & art supplies. Cool.

Looks like I gotta wash & dry ther dishes as my yoga karma duty. Of course, right? (I hate washing dishes!)

I’m ready for a nap & I just got here!

Turns out I know some people here from church. Kinda cool. They are taking good care of me. Even JoEllen put in a good word for me to meet Anam! I don’t know what I’d even say to him.

I must be going to the meditation now.

That was fast! I didn’t know time could fly by so fast! Now it’s time for bed. Lights out &  NO MORE TALKING until I leave Sunday!

Message to Everyone

For those of you that haven’t heard, I have been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The neurologists believe it is a slow progressing version, but incurable. I’m still able to walk, drive and go to work at this time. We don’t know how quickly it will progress.

Many people have asked what they can do for me. At the moment, I don’t really need much care. I will in the future.

If you are interested, there are 2 charities that you can donate to help:

Walk to Defeat ALS — WXXI Walks for Joy

http://web.alsa.org/site/TR/Walks/UpstateNewYorkWalkteam_id=177270&pg=team&fr_id=6578

Thank you for helping us reach our fund raising goal! WXXI Walks for Joy is a team of WXXI colleagues and friends who are pledging support to our friend Joy who was recently diagnosed with ALS. Together we can make a difference in the lives of those, like Joy, affected by Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Our team is committed to raising money to support people in our community with ALS and spread awareness of the urgency to find treatment and a cure. Please consider joining our team in the Walk to Defeat ALS or choose a team member from the list and donate to our cause.

Send Joy Parker and Her Family to Disney World Fund

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Send-Joy-Parker-and-Her-Family-to-Disney-World Fund/128862073803837

My husband’s best friend Brian created this fund:

Joy was recently diagnosed with ALS. She and her family would like to go to Disney World this year, and I want to help them get there. So I’ve started a fund, with Joy and Mike, with a goal of $4,000. Please write a check for what you can, and make it out to “FBO Joy Parker” (FBO stands for “For the Benefit Of”). Send it to: Joy’s Disney Fund, C/O Brian Steblen, 2 Prospect Street, Fairport, NY 14450. They’d like to go in December, so get those pens out now!

Right now I’m trying to live to the best of my ability everyday. I’m hoping to make some trips and visit friends and family before I am unable to.

Thank you so much for being in my life.

You can keep up with me on here my blog: http://simplejoysonline.com

Authentic

This word just keeps coming up over and over these days. Living authentically, being authentic. Being your authentic self. Authentic tweets! What does it all mean? Or more importantly — who ISN’T living this way?

authentic Definition

Am I real? Are you real? Of course  in Buddhism, nothing is real and is not real!

I’d like to think I am an authentic person. I try to live my life the same way as my values. It doesn’t ALWAYS line up that way. I’m only human … and humans are … fallible.

I dislike dishonesty. Brutal honesty is not always the best way, I know. But just come out with it people!

I know several people who do nothing but live for someone else or for other people’s ideas constantly. They are miserable. What good is that? You only get THIS life.

Live NOW! You never know when you’ll be diagnosed with a terminal illness or killed unexpectedly.

I want to continue to live my beliefs, for as long as I am alive. I want to eat cheese and chocolate and drink wine ANYTIME I CHOOSE. I want to love  – and express it – to everyone I love. There isn’t time for “maybe someday”.

Live your life authentically NOW. No bullshit. Just be honest with everyone and most importantly, yourself. Live simply, simply live.

Bucket List

I need to start one. I’ve been so busy with my job and my family, that I just didn’t think about what I’d want to do “someday.”  I guess this is something else in the terminal illness process. What do I want to do before I die? Or before I am unable to function or enjoy it? I don’t know! I have just recently come up with some… travel, I guess is a big one, visiting with my good friends before they start to pity me, do fun things with Nicole, teach Kate how to be a lady (yeah me of all people!).

So I’d like to hear some suggestions… what’s on your “Bucket List?” What do you want to see and do before you kick the bucket? What is the coolest thing or place to explore? Where’s the best food on the planet?

Woe is me

Now, I’m not trying to get lots of sympathy here. I’m really not! I’d like to think the title of this post is really just full of sarcasm. The rest of the post is not.

I’ve been sick. First we thought it was asthma, then anxiety, then plantar fasciitis, lots of physical therapy (land and pool) but after years of not walking right, not walking up stairs and falling down, I finally went to a neurologist. I get my results from all my testing, supposedly, Monday, March 15, 2010.

I’m more than a bit nervous. Especially today after getting a call from the doctor’s asking if I want to come in TOMORROW and then getting mail form the office as well. Both turned out to be routine type things.

I hadn’t been thinking about March 15th for a while! Although, I KNOW my mom is. She’s praying for me. My mom’s cousin even took a photo of me to the laimas in India so they can pray for me. I’m sure many of my friends and family and even coworkers are all sending prayers in my direction. I’m honored and I thank everyone. Hey, it can’t hurt, right?

Now I’ve been obsessing for years on what MIGHT be wrong with me. Could be a pinched nerve or something like that, OR it could be ALS or MS. Now those last two frighten me. They make me have my life flash before my eyes. I don’t want to miss my kids growing up to be bright strong women and give me grandkids. I don’t want to leave my husband without his partner. I have SO MUCH that I want to accomplish as well. I’m not sure I can bear the news if it’s bad.

I am sick & tired of being sick & tired. I want to know. I need to know. I’m sick of people asking me if I’m pregnant because I’m gaining weight and I walk wobbly. I tired of falling down everywhere where I can’t get up and need strangers to help me get back up. I can’t take care of my house and my family the way I used to. I can’t even run after my 4 year old to play a game of chase.

So for the last 2 weeks, while I wait for this appointment on Monday, I try not to think about it. Or I joke about it. Granted, the meds help. I will take this time to NOT fret and to enjoy the next few days with my family. I will NOT be attached to any outcome.