Warrior Princess

May 26, 2015

Breathe. Just Breathe.

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality — ggirl @ 1:37 pm

 white wolf face “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

~William Butler Yeats

These are grim days.  I spin out of control as the world spins out of control.  I remind myself to breathe.

For this year, I’ve set the intention to be fully present in this very moment.  Moment by moment.  It’s my intention, but I have no expectation that I’ll be capable of it all of the time.  Sometimes I simply remember to breathe; to focus on breathing.  It provides me with a way out of my head and into the present.  Sometimes I remember to be grateful.  So many others have it worse than I.  I have the luxury of being mindful that nothing terrible is happening right now.

That’s truly what it comes down to these days.  My life is so fraught with uncertainty.  More lessons in realizing I’m not in control of anything.  Don’t be afraid; just breathe.

The past three years have been crushing.  I wonder how many more times I can pull myself together and resolve to find a way, emotionally, to greet the days to come with a spirit of renewal.  Of warrior spirit.

When I’m at my weakest moments and I believe I can’t go on, I remember:  Breathe.  Just breathe.

January 6, 2015

Beloved Friend

Filed under: Uncategorized — ggirl @ 5:24 pm

sad wolf eyrs“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” ~ Seneca

I opened the email and there you were–my beautiful friend, so luminous.  After all these years I still miss you.  If you can hear me, please know how lonely I am without you.  I’m still heartbroken.

November 7, 2014

Okay. That’s Enough. Stop It America.

Filed under: It's a Whole New World — Tags: , , — ggirl @ 8:59 pm

another wolf sleeping in snowNo quote today.  So let’s just get to the point.  Following is my current list (see November 5th post, “Lists”) of words I never want to hear again.

Pop (as in “Make Your Dinner Pop”)


Closure (a perennial favorite)

Luckily, I’m unable to think of any more.  But they’re out there.

America, get a vocabulary.  You know who you are.  Please google “thesaurus.”

November 6, 2014

Accountable To No One

Filed under: Death, Family, Marriage — Tags: , — ggirl @ 7:06 pm

wolf front view“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

Several days ago, one of my beloved dogs pulled me down on my back into a fairly busy street.  (Luckily, I wasn’t run over.)  People have warned me–my mother, my husband, my (former) therapist.  “It’ll be okay,” I told them.

I’ll be okay.  Don’t worry–it’ll be fine.  I’m sometimes foolishly fearless.  I’m relentlessly independent.  The fall caused me to think carefully about my relationship to the people who believe they have a claim on my existence.  It’s always been my position that those who call me friend have no right to demand anything from me.

I set the parameters of those relationships.  I will contact you when I wish.  I will allow you access to my private thoughts sparingly.  If you contact me, I’ll be pleased to hear from you but I will probably decline any invitations to get together…unless I feel like it.  None of this means I don’t care.  It simply means that I’m not accountable to you.  If you’re unable to live with those parameters, I’ll be sorry to see you go, but I won’t attempt to talk you out of it and I certainly will not change my behavior.  So, ciao, baby.

But back to the fall.  There are some creatures I allow to hold me accountable.  My mother, my husband, my stepson, all of the animals I love.  I owe all of them a commitment to staying alive.  And yet.  I continue to hang on to my fearlessness.  I trust in my ability to handle any kind of physical peril.  I never intentionally place myself in danger.  I pay close attention to where I am and what’s going on around me.  I’m strong (though small, I guess) and I make sure I never, ever walk like a potential victim.  I try to communicate through body language that I am a force to be reckoned with. Pretty good, right?  I’ve always thought so.

Well, maybe not.  Maybe fearlessness isn’t appropriate for 61.  Maybe everything won’t be fine and I’ll find myself lying in the middle of a street with cars bearing down on me. I’m willing to re-think my accountability to family and animals.  Friends will still have to fend for themselves.

November 5, 2014


“We like lists because we don’t want to die.”  ~ Umberto Eco

I keep lists.  They’re not formal and they’re not written down, but they’re available any time I need them.  I only need them when I’ve another list item to add.  My current lists include


Books I’ve read or should read.

New and exciting interests I should pursue.

People who’ve committed suicide.

People who have family and friends who’ve committed suicide.

Good ways to die.

These days the Good Ways To Die list has been getting the most attention.  Whenever I learn of someone who’s died without advance warning or suffering, I pencil it into the list in my brain.  Dying in my sleep (like one of Hubby’s friends).  Losing consciousness in an airplane which has lost cabin pressure. These are the latest, but there are definitely more.

As far back as my twenties, I recognized list-making is frequently a form of magical thinking.  I had a friend who shared with me the types of wrinkles she found tolerable and those she didn’t want.  It was almost as if, by giving voice to these preferences, they became incantations. If we say it, then it must be under our control.  Of course her incantation was futile.  Time wins.

No need to address my first two; they’re fun lists I may feel some guilt about not making greater progress with, but they evoke far less emotion than the others.  Lately the Good Ways To Die schedule has seen a lot of action.  No need to enumerate them here.

I don’t actually not want to die. I’d just prefer to control the how of it.  I’m certain Death is highly amused.  that’s okay.  I’m keeping the list anyway.


September 29, 2014

Say What’s On Your Mind. Palestine.

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality — Tags: , , — ggirl @ 3:11 pm

??????????????????????????????????????“There’s a Palestine that dwells inside all of us, a Palestine that needs to be rescued: a free Palestine where all people regardless of color, religion, or race coexist; a Palestine where the meaning of the word “occupation” is only restricted to what the dictionary says rather than those plenty of meanings and connotations of death, destruction, pain, suffering, deprivation, isolation and restrictions that Israel has injected the word with.”   -Refaat Alareer, Gaza Writes Back

I attended a Mediterranean festival this weekend, hoping to introduce my mother to Greek food and indulge myself in the small snippets of the broader culture found there.  As we examined the wares being offered, we visited a booth selling Palestinian wares.  Among the beautiful works of art one could purchase, there were some bumper stickers available.  “Free Palestine.”

I’m not a person who purchases bumper stickers.  I’m amused sometimes, puzzled sometimes and irritated sometimes by people’s need to broadcast their political affiliations to the rest of us.  Why would I (or anyone else) care?  “Free Palestine” almost broke my resolve to never offer my opinions to absolute strangers via paper plastered on my car.

The Palestinian issue has become a burning coal in my heart.  These people have no land.  They have nothing.  Their children have no hope of a future, some have seen all of their siblings die, some have no parents left alive.  Palestinians’ lives are held hostage as much by Zionists as they are by Arab terrorists.

Note that I used the word “Zionist.”  I make a distinction between Jewish people and Zionists.  They are not necessarily the same.  Many Zionists do not see that they are engaged in their own holocaust.  Will they be happy until all of the Palestinians perish?  Otherwise, how shall it all end?  Do they see any parallel between the Holocaust visited upon them and, gas chambers aside, that which they are visiting upon the Palestinians?  Because there is one.

I have little interest in turning my blog into a political platform.  Why would anyone care what I think?  However, I’m frequently reminded of all of the holocausts that continue to marginalize and crush, slowly, entire ethnic and economic groups.  We Americans have our ghettos where our national holocaust grinds on. We simply choose not to see it.

I have to admit that, as I contemplated walking away with that bumper sticker in my hands, I thought about how many people would immediately hate me when they saw me driving down the street with the hope for a free Palestine plastered on my own car.  Would it change anyone’s mind?  Would a slogan initiate any meaningful thought or dialog about the ideas behind the slogan?  No.  Again, why would anyone care what I think?  Maybe I’m too cowardly to absorb the rage and indignation it might evoke from others.  Yes, maybe I am.

My wish is that all of us who are perpetrators free the mythic Israel and Palestine in our own countries, our own prejudices, in our own hearts.  To paraphrase the Dalai Llama, American children will never sleep safely in their beds until all children everywhere sleep safely in theirs.

May all of our children everywhere someday sleep safely.

March 10, 2014

No Matter What

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Suicide — ggirl @ 3:07 pm

wolf footprintToday there is no quote because I can’t categorize the day or my thoughts.  I don’t know why, but that seems to be a scary scenario.

I’m (allegedly and sporadically) reading two books at the moment:   Pierro’s Light, a nonfiction book about art/religion/science and a Mark Helprin novel, A Soldier of the Great War.  I have the day off from my volunteer job and, instead of making progress on one of those literary fronts, I’ve spent the whole morning reading long articles on the web.  Los Angeles Review of Books and Longreads.  My inbox is filled with Salon and Daily Beast, among the hundreds of political, knitting, cooking and employment emails.  I dealt with the immediate political action requests and put the rest off until I’m feeling more Salon-ish or Beast-y.  I immediately trashed all employment emails.

One of my sidetrips was an essay about Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  On my way to the grocery store to pick up some chicken for dinner, I mulled over my own fear of heroin when I was younger. It seemed like a drug that might call my name a little too insistently; I carried both a lot of pain and a compelling need to unload some of it for a little while.  I knew any unloading was merely temporary.  Pain had been a close and dangerous friend my entire young life.  Dangerous because of the suicide solution or, maybe, the heroin solution.  Many of my favorite and most esteemed writers had discovered the heroin solution, making it an almost romantic choice.

My musings today, to the soundtrack of Chris Whitley’s “Din of Ecstasy” (Whitley’s musical ode to heroin addiction was such an apt selection) reminded me of why heroin and I could never be bosom buddies.  When I had my reconstruction surgery (and the other surgeries that preceded it) I was provided with morphine to dull the pain.  Turns out the pain never left me.  My head resided in Houston and the body was in some other state.  I was aware of both…they were just a little disconnected.  I don’t need to disconnect a little from the pain of my inner life.  I need for it to be a permanent solution.  So heroin doesn’t call my name anymore.

This is what I believe:  Pain is inescapable.  Make friends with it, watch a movie with it, invite it to come to work with you.  It won’t ever leave you.  Not with morphine.  Not with heroin.  Nothing we can physically lay our hands on can provide a buffer.

I don’t just believe, but know as my own absolute truth that

I do not give up

I do not give in

No matter what

Here’s the quote:  “All the suffering, stress and addiction comes from not realizing you already are what you are looking for,” –Jon Kabat-Zinn

February 15, 2014

Enough is (Finally) Enough

Filed under: Uncategorized — ggirl @ 9:00 pm

Image“Oh God, not another fucking beautiful day.” -James Fox

For a couple of months I sat on my sofa, watching Dr. Phil and Frasier, playing computer games and was generally (but clinically) depressed,  I constantly had obsessive thoughts looping through my head.  I could tell that things could only go downhill from there and that I’d better get myself in hand as quickly as possible.

So I did, I think.  I volunteered to work with a literacy organization and to coach a group of second-graders.  I appear to be firmly back in the world. No more obsessing, no more Dr. Phil/Frasier, no more computer games.  But sometimes I miss Dr. Phil.  So far, so good, though.

When I think of being a Government Mule, my blood pressure doesn’t precipitously rise to stroke level.  I never have been able to write about that experience in the same way I did in Crazy Land.  Somehow they never seemed all that funny to me.  Irritating?  Yes.  Tedious? Of course.  Not particularly bright? Bingo.  Dangerously triggering?  Okay, right.

I’ve got yoga going twice a week and treadmill the other three.  I’m reading and here I am typing.  It’s a brand-new me.  (Who still misses Frasier a little bit, too.)

February 5, 2014

The Late Afternoon of my Life

gray wolf yawning“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”  –Robert  Frost

I turned 60 several months ago.  I’m not one of those upbeat, chirpy kind of seniors, nor am I desperate to hold onto youth.  I’n not depressed.  (Well, okay, I might be depressed but I’ve always been depressed.  You might even say it’s my metier.)  It’s simply a corner I’ve turned, both personally and culturally.

It’s a realignment of sorts:  who am I now?  how shall I move forward from here?  Though death  walks beside us at all times, I can now estimate the days I have left. It’s a fact, neither good nor bad.  When I think of it, I  hope I don’t die before my mother.  For quite a while I’ve been selecting music I’d like to have played at my memorial (assuming I have one).  I suppose now is the time to begin work on the things I hope will be said of me and my life.  It’s a pretty tall order, so I’d better get to work on that asap.

In the meantime, though, I’m taking an inventory of things that are now completely out of my reach, those that may be possible, those that are unlikely and those that are lost to me forever.  That list is for another day.  Right now, I’m contemplating a persona.  I’ve worn them my entire life. (We all do; I’m just very aware of mine.)   Sometimes I choose one that helps me communicate better with a group of people.  For quite a long time, I’ve worn  the face of someone who lived a normal life.

Right now, I see a couple of options.  I can be one of those hip elderly women you see sometimes who are dressed in a low-key avant garde fashion.  There are also those who continue to get up every day and put on make up and slightly sexy (though certainly appropriate) clothing.  Of course, rounding a psychological corner is far more than whether I wear jeans or a pencil skirt.

I always think my way through major life shifts.  I became a new person when I had Stage 3 breast cancer.  I arose into a new self when my father killed himself.  Generally, it’s trauma and tragedy that have reshaped me into radically different people.  Maybe I should just wait for the next tragedy or trauma to get up and greet me one day.

I talk to Hubby and my mom about this dilemma from time to time.  My mother suggested that I just be myself.  The question is, which “myself” would that be?


February 4, 2014

Stephen Hawkins Never Worked for My State Government

Filed under: Office Hell — ggirl @ 9:01 pm

wolf portrait“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad ver as the problem” — Milton Friedman

I read an article in Scientific American regarding Stephen Hawkins retraction (or redefinition) of black holes.  Instead of an “event horizon” (I love that phrase), the correct understanding is an “apparent horizon.”  If you have an interest in space, please check out the article.

Nonetheless, I believe Mr. Hawkins would embrace the concept of black holes (as we used to think of them) had he ever been consigned to a job with the State.  There are black holes.  The minute one finds oneself in the event horizon, s/he can expect to be shrunken into a mere molecule of oneself.  It’s bleak, folks.

In my current job search, everyone involved simply can not clear the “State Option” from their minds.  I have explained to them time and time again that I should never ever ever work for the State again.  A psychiatric hospital couldn’t be far behind.

I’m spending my time more profitably.  I read serious/not serious literature.  I exercise an hour a day 5 days a week.  I volunteer for two literacy n0n-profits.  I attempt to keep up with my journal–my blog.  I may be coming alive again, the molecules spinning together again, becoming whole.

Still pondering the slide into my final phase of life.  More to come….

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