Monday, July 25, 2011

Me, America, and Buddhism

This feels like the flipside of what I went through in May of this year. May felt like it would Never end! So does July.

In May I was packing, finishing the donation of Ann's used clothing, going to doctor with my mother to prepare her for surgery, (I took Braille notes and asked questions but he later decided Everything I said was Wrong and she new better) Donating to Joplin tornado relief, feeling afraid I wouldn't be ready when movers came and crashing from exhaustion anyway. I fell asleep any time I say or laid down.

Went to hear Dalai Lama in Fayetteville, AR. in May, spent all day sitting in folding chair, walking in the heat, couldn't understand a Thing. Very Depressing!

Had to sort through pictures of Ann and me, which to copy so I could have one, which to send to her family, etc. Have pictures I wanted saved, no time yet to organize them with Braille labels under them.

Last week I fell asleep both during silent meditation and in the doctor's office. Waiting a long time in armless chair, I almost fell out of it before getting onto exam table to sleep. Couldn't stay awake.

My sister's mother-in-law died of cancer. She had been active in the family for as long as she was physically able. I think she was relieved to die. That was Part of all that happened in May.

Luckily, no one has died this month, that I personally know, though I am aware that Every death causes Grief, in Norway, Somolia, wherever, it is the same.

Since Jan. 2007 I have moved six or seven times, not by choice. There was the ice storm of 2007 which made my mobile home uninhabitable. We moved to a dear friend's condo, and No one helped us due to disability. We had to go and stand in line, Ann cicn't have her wheelchair then and Couldn't. Fill out forms, I can't, on and on. The iced broken limbs were piled so high we couldn't leave the trailer park for a week.

Then to a house where little kid gangs roamed with knives, drive by shooting, thefts, we were robbed.

I bought a small house, too small, in May '07. Jan. 2008 a tornado rocked it on its foundation, cracking the foundation and we fought the insurance company for months, but they Refused to repair it. Floods in March that year made the already bad mold situation worse. I began having breathing problems. We spent many thousands of dollars repairing that house, but having already lived through cancer twice, I know you Cannot Buy back your health. I have one and a half lungs, we walked away from that home which went back to the bank in a "short sale."

In July 2008 we moved into a rent house, the final one where Ann and I shared a place, and I was forced into bankruptcy, couldn't pay mortgage on unlivable home I had bought And rent, And for all the repairs we put into the home I bought.

Ann died Feb. 1, 2011. I moved again. I forgot, in 2005, as I was recovering from my second round of chemo. we found our t was sitting on a sink hole, had to move It. Guess I can't count, that's only six moves in seven years.

I am learning to count on nothing, to know that I can die at any moment, and that a Home is only a place you stay for a while, until you die or move on. I'm Glad I personally never wanted to Own a home, didn't expect to. When politicians talk about the American Dream of Home Ownership I get disgusted. There are Many people in Europe who live in the same apartment or semi-detached home for Years and are Fine with it. But of course, They get things like child care, medical care, and have decent transportation systems. It is all in how you choose your priorities.
I would love to see the manufacturing ssector of our economy restored. There are things we have the ability to do which could make us Employed again. We could find out how to make solar technology cheaper, manufacture it, and Sell it to India's middle class and the Growing middle class in the cities of China. We could find out how to make organic farming Most productive, Without GMO's, then Sell the ideas in Book form, in Classes, etc. We could make the power generated by wind turbines Storable and portable, long-term. We could build highspeed rail systems for Amtrack's busiest corridors, and manufacture all kinds of vehicles to run on biodiesel Not made from food crops, but restaurant grease. We could retool cars, trucks, semis, busses, and motor cycles to run on this biodiesel. The Ozarks and the South in general, where Everything is fried in old time cooking would be Perfect places to set up grease based biodiesel plants. We could have Teachers of sewing to Mend clothes, instead of throwing them away and buying more from abroad, where some of them are made in sweatshops. Teachers could help gardeners, organic farmers, and parents with nutrition based on simple recipes which don't take hours to prepair. Working people have no Time for two hour meal prep. at the end of the day.

The American Dream as it Was is Done. And with multi-national corporations getting bail outs from our taxes, And having the ears of Congress and the President, I don't think My version of the American Dream will come to pass. But I Hope it will. There is enough work needing to be done to employ hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The problem, once again, is setting Priorities. Would you rather own a home and have a nice lawn which grows nothing, or live in a comfortable rental where there is an organic community garden and you Have to get to know your neighbors and Relearn how to cooperate with them?

Would you rather see healthy kids on the streets, attending school for Longer hours, learning a trade in highschool, or Junior High, or continue the rates of alcohol, and drug abuse, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases we have now

Would you rather see Universal Healthcare or just keep what you've got for you and yours? I think the answers are obvious from our behavior. Do we recycle all we can, do we give tax breaks to multi-nationals And Small Business people for keeping jobs Here and Penalize them for Exporting jobs? Do we Keep large corporations from taking out 20 year patents on inventions or give them tax breaks, (after Closing corporate loopholes) for Ten year patents? Investment is crucial. But Not investment in the America that Was. We need an America which Can be!

Back to personal notes: I sometimes feel like I'm carrying my life around Very lightly, not wanting it to be taken yet, but trying to be ready at any time. And I feel like my living situation is just as precarious as my life. If my Social Security Disability check doesn't come in August, how many months can I stay here? I will not have the strength Or the bucks to set up anywhere else. How will a deaf-blind person survive in a homeless shelter? Will they force me onto the street each morning to go "look for work"? I can take showers in safety where I am, teach Braille on a volunteer basis to someone who needs it, give to Buddhist Global Relief to feed my fellow Americans, or to Convoy of Hope to continue helping in Joplin, this will all stop if I can't pay my rent. I can't donate large amounts now, but $25 here or there helps, and I share the food Ann and I have grown or friends have hunted for us. One deer can supply two people with meat for most of the year, if they are willing to eat beans with corn or rice, sometimes.

I have a lot of relationships, know many kind people, but have almost no Friends, people I trust to talk with about nearly anything. Ann was my closest Friend in the world. I miss her every day.

On the other hand, although I feel angry at her for leaving me in such a Mess, I am physically better able to cope with it than she would have been. I wouldn't have wished this year on her or anyone, most of the time.

I first had the energy to actually Cook something here on July 5th. Until then I lived on raw greens, bread bought from a store, cheese, organic apples, hummus. Again, from the effort of moving furniture and Unpacking, I'm not bothering to cook, eating far too much junk!

Needing time alone to feel what I've been keeping too busy to feel, and to Sleep!

Computer has been down, so this post is Far too long to read. But, makes me feel a bit better to write it, anyway.

Need the shower/tub combo fixed here, so far, landlord has done no repairs since I moved in. But luckily, nothing Major is wrong, yet. Scary though, is this how it will be here always, no repairs? I don't know.

The tiny business I was working on starting when Ann died uses fabric left over from weddings, curtain and some upholstry samples, old prom dresses, etc. Saturday night I stayed up listening to a blues show, moved furniture, and unpacked the containers which hold fabrics, by color. Major work, but If I could trust a concept of Home, a place I get to Stay for a while, this work almost makes me hope I can Try Again.

The happiest momehnts since I've moved here are when I found the Buddha statues! I sweated and dripped in the garage, unearthing them from atop the crushed artifical Christmas tree and elsewhere, then brought them in and made altar spaces for them in each room. Just a shelf, a corner of the computer hutch, etc.

Most people do not understand that the metal or resin or porcelain of a statue is Not what is being bowed to. In Europe when most people couldn't read, the cathedrals were built with frescos and stained glass windows to tell them Bible stories.

In Asia, when most people couldn't read, statues were made in specific ways to demonstrate by their shapes and gestures (the position of the fingers, closed or open eyes, the way of sitting) certain qualities or traits of the being the statue represented. So what is being shown respect by a bow, or asking for help W#ith a bow, is the Energy a particular statue represents.

Christians are taught to bow their heads and fold their hands when they pray, as a sign of submission and respect to God and Jesus. Buddhists show respect, love, or request help by Bowing to what a particular statue Represents, as shown by the way it is constructed.

Some Buddhists consider each statue a Being. Buddha Tara is a being who does many things, for example, as shown by the differing colors and positions her statues take. Other Buddhists consider the statues as Representing certain Energy Qualities. Medicine Buddha, for example represents compassion toward all who suffer from physical or mental illness and the wisdom and desire to heal these conditions. So it is this Compassion and this Wisdom Energy which one may bow to when giving thanks for or Asking for help.

As statues, I can "read" by touch, what another might "read" by looking at a picture of a Buddha. I can understtand the energy qualities shown by each statue by learning what is called the Iconography of Buddhist statues.

This should have been about Three blogs worth, but as I said, computer has been down. More than enough for now.

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