Do You Have an Attorney in Your Contact List? Why Not?

This is important, especially in the world today and this new administrations double down on arresting even more people AND eroding away our civil rights. What we think is right is notnot what they are changing the laws to be. We need to protect ourselves z-

My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison

ls

This post is for people who live in the US.

I have read most people who are locked up eventually get out. A smaller percentage are lwop – life without parole or death row. About 700,000 people are released each year and coincidentally the amount of people who are newly incarcerated keep the numbers at a steady 2.3 to 2.4 million people at any given time. This has nothing to do with the millions of people on paper on probation or parole, or the immigration prisons. The US has the most people incarcerated in any country in the entire world. Think about that. Either Americans are awful people hell bent on committing crimes or there is another factor at work here. We know what that is and why it is. Money. Profit for the rich made off the backs of minorities and low income people who can’t afford an education.

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Happiness is . . .

 

daisaku Ikeda guidance

I met a man today as I was picking up my belongings to leave physical therapy. He was on one of the bike type machines. Stationary bikes are boring. I had just finished fifteen minutes myself, determined to get my strength back, healing from an injury.

It looked like the effort of the exercise was causing him discomfort so I told him, “Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine I’m climbing a mountain.” I didn’t quite hear his answer but it didn’t look as though climbing a mountain seemed very appealing to him so I said next, “How about running down a beach and listening to the waves?”

His eyes welled up with tears and he looked about to cry. “No, I never want to go to another beach.” He then poured out his pain of what happened to him and the memories he had of the beach, and how through that his life fell apart. He had moved some time ago within a half hour of a beach with his wife and children. His wife had never been to a beach and she became obsessed with it. Every day she had to go to the beach, even on Christmas.  He really wanted to have Christmas at home.  She was never home. She was always at the beach.  Eventually she left him – for a woman.

Later he met another woman. He fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. She did. They were happy for awhile. He didn’t know she had an old boyfriend in prison. When he got out she left him to to go back to this man. He said, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I have nothing to live for.”

I asked him,”Have you ever heard the words nam myoho renge kyo?” He had been looking down. When I said those words his eyes snapped up to mine in immediate attention. Startled. It was an unusually strong emotion for someone who had never heard the words before. But even though we don’t understand the song of birds, the birds do. Something inside him recognized what I said, even if he wasn’t conscious of it. “No, What is it?” he managed to say.

I repeated the phrase three times and he tried to say it with me without my asking him, which is unusual, especially when someone doesn’t know what it is. Why would they try to say it?

“This is the law of cause and effect,” I gave him the translation. “It doesn’t have to be like this. You are misunderstanding what happiness is. It isn’t something that completes you, that can be taken away by . Goes away. Happiness caused by things outside yourself is fleeting. That is relative happiness. What you wasn’t is absolute happiness, indestructible happiness.” With this he looked at me as though a small part of himself had found relief.

“Do you want to know more?” I gently asked him, not wanting to press too hard and scare him off. It was painful watching someone so desperately unhappy and not understanding how to change it. It takes more than wanting it or it would have been changed already. It only took the smallest kindness and a little time to show him he wasn’t invisible. I believe he felt very alone. I told him we could talk again if he wanted. He looked me in the eye and said, “I’d like that.”

Talking To My Younger Self

K’lee    Sonni Quick © 2017  Piano Improvisation

Very recently, I had a rather profound conversation with a man I don’t physically know; he is another mind here in the blogsphere. Some people are so easy to connect to and you instinctively know your lives were meant to cross. There is so much we can learn from others if we stop trying to only get our point across and learn to listen.  I’m not sure without looking what country he lives in, but our ability to talk abou t this reality called life, is rare. Be honest when taking responsibility for your life instead of blaming the bad things on external reasons, or saying, “God must have wanted this to happen. It’s his plan for me.”

Recently he told me what he was doing with his own life. It was something I had never thought to do. Not like this. He said, “Go back and talk to your younger self and forgive her for the mistakes she made. Tell her you love her and you understand.” So the other day, while chanting, which anyone else could do using any way their faith dictates or even with no faith at all, using any means that helps give them with clarity. I sat down in the chair in front of the scroll of my Gohonzon to chant, already understanding the outcome will be hard to deal with. 

I have been through decades of illness and surgeries and ongoing pain because my younger self stuck needles in her arm to get high and got the virus called Hep C. This wasn’t even a word in our vocabulary at that time, but would it have made a difference to me if it was? I didn’t know then why I said yes to drugs. I know the answer now. It was a cause made somewhere in my long existence and the effect came forth at the time it was meant to. I  blindly followed the intended course. My younger self had no power over that karma the same way all karma affects the lives of others.

Some people have been taught, God pulls the puppet strings of their lives, but he doesn’t. Karma is the exact same thing as the lesson taught that reads, “You reap what you sow.” It doesn’t matter if you believe it. It is just as real as gravity. If you jump out of a plane you will fall to the earth whether you want to or not. We create what happens to us – and we repeat it until we learn the lesson taught.

Unless you were born with an illness, ALL illness has a starting point that most people could have changed had they not done something to create it somehow by allowing harmful things into their bodies that shouldn’t be there.

As I began chanting, relaxing myself with the deep breathing necessary to chant nam myoho renge kyo, I had a talk with my younger self at age 19. My 62 year old self, broken, stapled and screwed back together, gazed at a young girl the age my grandchildren are this day. They don’t know the word consequence any better than I did and think the only time that matters is this very moment.

I can so clearly remember a day, standing on the porch of someone’s house, looking out into a sunny day while watching people and cars move about in the course of their day. I thought to myself, I couldn’t see a time in the knowable future where I wouldn’t be sticking a needle into my bruised arm. These people didn’t know what they were missing. I hadn’t reached the point where the drug was needed to bring me up to normalcy. Forget getting high. I was using up my future life’s energy.

This younger me was so young; so perfect in her youth with her entire life ahead of her, and I cried. I  sat there with my head bowed and tears flowed down my cheeks. I whispered to her, “I am so sorry. I’m sorry what my lack of wisdom did to you.”

“I understand now why you did it, but it took me a long time to learn the answers. Why you needed to become this other person who felt better about herself when shooting speed – I understand.” I continued, “You needed the false confidence it gave you to make friends. I understand being near people made you afraid. I understand how you felt you had no value, so why would anyone else think you had value and want to be near you? Why would anyone want to be your friend? I understand you couldn’t give these feelings a voice. When you are high you feel you have worth. You have not learned yet how to achieve the understanding of how much value you really have – without the drugs.”

As I write these words I look at my left hand. I am grasping my thumb in a tight first. It is what I have always done when I needed to hold and comfort myself; reassure I am really here.

Because of this; because of the mountains you will have to learn to climb that gives you the understanding of how powerful you really are, the me you see before you now has learned things I never would learned without the life you have yet to live.

Without this struggle I would be a different person. I am sorry about the decades of pain you will have to suffer through, that I have already lived. But you will be okay. Through this you will help many people and become a woman who matters – all because of what you learned to teach. I want to thank you for being the soul – the body I inhabited during birth. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else. You don’t know these things yet and I wish I could help you along the way, but understand I love you and I’ll be waiting until you get here. Just know, you will live through this.

I am proud of you, so proud, because you will learn the value of your life and you live it, in spite of what others think. You will reach and fall and pick yourself up no matter how many times life tries to knock you down. You will dust yourself off and re-determine you are stronger than the rock that knocked you off balance. You won’t hide. You won’t quit because you still breathe. This is the effect of the cause that made you an addict so long ago. This is the lesson it was trying to teach you. You will never repeat it again.

I wrapped my arms around her and held her close. People who I thought loved her, yet resented who she became, because the truth of who this young girl grew to be, became too hard for them to look at and see the truth. So be it. It’s easier to be hateful than to look at why you hate. It’s easier to pretend she doesn’t matter than to face your own insecurities. I expected too much from people who had no capacity to show and accept responsibility for their actions. How could I expect them to understand mine?

I had no strength to explain to my younger self what was to come, some pain is deeper than the physical. But she will learn that in time. That is a pain I see no end to. It is something to bear in later years.  Everyone has pain they have to lock away to survive.

The Argument

arguing

I find it hard to deal with people who hurt

rip skin from my body, scrape scabs from my sores

which never can heal from words that pervert

In the name of love they condemn my life more

I’m tired oh so tired from playing this game

defending myself from people with doubt

If I fight back then I am to blame

It couldn’t be their words spit out from the start

negative comments, emotions strike out

flung like a sword and impaling the heart

—————–

When I’m hurt, I bleed, I don’t have control

I’m human, I tell you, you cut me to shreds

thrown under the bus, no way to console

my feelings are worn out and hanging by threads

I know I will never be understood

You feel threatened by truth, you don’t want to see

that I have no family, to them I’m no good

you cried I can’t take this, you criticized me

and threw one last insult . . . I knew you would

You never thought what your words would do

to my life, because it was all about you

argue

If you say you can’t take it and don’t watch what you say

You expect me to stay here and listen to this?

forget the way you ruined my day

putting down what I do again strikes to the heart

Is my life so easy for you to dismiss?

“I hate your blog” isn’t the best way to start

First words from your mouth when I walk in the door

How can you say that when you know what I do?

My passion for living, no one cares that’s for sure

From the day I arrived it was all about you

This ripped apart family has no love anymore.

Sonni Quick  copyright 2017

March 23: Flash Fiction Challenge

This is for those who like to do a little reading and a lot of writing who’d like a place for others to read it. I will be hard pressed to do this challenge, but I know this definitely isn’t her last.

I am up to my eyeballs – let me rephrase that – up to my eyebrows in rewriting the first draft of Jamie’s book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”. I’ve learned a lot about writing ( with much to go) since I started, and reading it makes me cringe in places. But that’s a good thing. No one is ever good at something until they pay their dues. If I can recognize sentences written wrong then I’ve made progress. This coming week I’m taking an online class and submitting the first five pages for critique. So this must be done first. I’m excited.

The great thing about writing is you can be a beginner at age 100. (no I’m not THAT old yet) Nothing matters but the ideas that come out your fingers through your wonderful mind.

Start writing and make sure to let me know if you enter something to read!

Carrot Ranch Communications

Ahead, partial sunlight illuminates sand that has seeped from a massive geological structure aptly named, Sand Mountain. From the north, it rises like a slope out of the shores of a deep blue body of water, Sand Hollow. On its south-side the underpinnings of metamorphic rock expose ridges of red cliff. Those curious blotches of sand seeps are orange and remind me of powdered koolaid. In fact, the scene on the backside of Sand Mountain translates easily to a candy shop given the unnaturally sweet colors. Grape gumdrops push up against the strawberry taffy base not far from the powdered orange koolaid.

Among the sweet treats of this lower staircase of land, beneath the Navajo Sandstones of Zion white as cookie dough and the gnarly basalt of the Virgin Plain black as licorice, is a level that holds something more of child-like interest: Jurassic dinosaurs.

All of Zion, its surrounding…

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Welcome To My World of Family Insanity

DIABETES

Insidious and so common. People are so nonchalant about it . No one wants to give up their favorite food. They’d rather die – literally.

I sit here with my chin on my hand trying to understand what went wrong. Maybe we get more cynical as we age. Maybe we don’t want to accept the fact that the life we thought we would have when we grew up, when we played at being grown ups and we wore our mother’s shoes didn’t turn out to be much fun as we thought it would. We wanted happiness and perfect families. We didn’t imagine people dying or even getting sick. We didn’t know about trauma. But now that we have lived a major part of our lives we don’t want to let people know we screwed up. It mightchange their perception of us.

Welcome to the real world. We close off the things we don’t want to hear. Is that why it is so hard for most people to listen? Is it ego? Family members instantly jump to feeling criticised. “How dare you! You aren’t perfect!” or “Who are you to tell ME that I am not?”

No matter how I say it; no matter how non threatening the words are, their noses instantly flare, they get defensive and act as though they have been personally attacked. Wow. I wish I had recorded that so they couldn’t get away with twisting it around so they’d look like a victim.

Aren’t families fun? Not at all. We joined the ranks of one of many dysfunctional families that gets worse with age

I admit it, I come across strong when something is important to me – like staying alive – and doing what I need to do to make that happen. The quality of the food I eat is crucial. Someone don’t have to be a vegetarian, or go on a macrobiotic diet, or Paleo, Atkins or Weight Watchers. Those are “diets” and rarely do people stay on them. Some of them are not healthy longterm and even if you lose weight, you gain it back.

If you eat a good, healthy, balanced diet, eliminating fake food high in chemicals and bad crap, you will naturally lose weight. If you have a disease caused by eating a lifetime of shitty, good tasting garbage your body is going to fail you. You need to take the time to read and learn about what the food industry has done to ruin out health.

IF YOU DON’T STOP – bad things happen.

If you don’t like hearing, because you want to stuff yourself with that wonderful bread at Red Lobster, and even get an order to go, AND you have diabetes, your health will break down and you will severely pay for your choices. We are responsible for ourselves. “Poor so and so, she died too young.”

Is it worth it? Emphatically, no! But if you haven’t had a severe illness you don’t understand how hard it is to gain back your health.

THE FOOD ADDICT’S LOGIC

I only eat ( item) once in a while. Once in awhile is okay, right? That may be true for some people, but if you have diabetes and the next day you use the same logic for why you ate a pizza, and the next day your dinner is on a bed of pasta with a side of garlic bread, and it tastes sooo good – you are in big trouble. – even if you spread that out over 6 days instead of three. If you eat different bad things all the time and have an excuse for every one, do you think you are fooling yourself? There are three women in my immediate family with diabetes, that I know of.  I’ve heard every excuse possible.

My mother has Diabetes. She lived with that logic for ten years, after her diagnose. She has charts trapped on her kitchen cabinets about what to eat. These charts do not take into consideration the quality of that food. She had a stroke. I tried hard to help her understand why she needed to change her diet, but she wouldn’t. She “tried” which is a cop-out. It sets you up for acceptable failure. Now she has to live with it – in a wheelchair. Am I 100% sure diabetes caused it? No, but it was likely affected by it because of the failure of small blood vessels in her brain which is what diabetes affects. It is why diabetics also have kidney failure, go blind and have their feet or toes cut off from gangreen. I’d like for her to not have another stroke. I don’t want to lose my mother earlier just because she had to eat cake. Her words, “I never meet a desert I didn’t like.” We all love desert. But it’s more than that. it is starches that break down into sugar. Regardless, at 83, junk food isn’t very wise.

I fell recently and couldn’t continue to care for her so she is living with my sister, unfortunately another diabetic who has the same distorted logic about what is okay to eat. And boy is she is pissed off at me for telling her that cake, pringles, white bread, potatoes, and cream of wheat cereal is not very good for anyone to eat, let alone a woman shooting insulin to stay alive. I could have given her detailed reason why except she was too insulted at being told something she didn’t know. Her hands went up in the air and she cut me off. How childish. “I’ve been feeding mom for four months. I know how to feed her!”   Let me think that through. Is it the fact she has been coming her meals for four months the important thing? No, it isn’t. The issue is I just told her she should change how she feds her because they both should eat better ALL OF THE TIME not sometimes because diabetes is a serious illness. But shell have to learn that the hard way. So – let her eat cake. It’s just a shame she cares so little about what she feeds her mother at the same time.

Because I have been very sick, and it was my own fault, I have learned it is easier and far better to not get sick than to try to regain your health. Some damage can’t be undone. That is not fun watching people hurt themselves and learn it’s too late to go back and change it. It’s hard to watch when you see people being so careless with the most important thing they have – their health. Life sucks when it fails. So my family can be as angry at me as they want. They are on the losing side of this issue.

“You’ve put my life on the internet for the world to read!

Meaning: I didn’t want people to know how I treated you was while you’ve been struggling with your health.” I don’t know how to be a sister, but all my friends love me!” (Direct quote. I couldn’t make this stuff up.) Or, “I don’t want people to know I’m not who they think and have a cruel steak in me”. Or, “I don’t want you to talk about us to everyone” Gee, maybe this family should have stopped wagging their tongues a long time ago. No one would listen. Phone lines have been burned up.

If they refuse to speak to me again – gee, we don’t speak now so where is the loss? If they get rude I have two other posts ready to publish.

All of this is about ego. “How dare she tell ME anything about what to eat.” She could have said, “Really? I didn’t know that.” She could even check it out for herself. In fact, if this makes them stop making excuses and learn why they need to pay attention to what their body is telling them, it might help their health, if it matters enough You’d think that would be important. Maybe it isn’t.

My sister has worked for decades selling Hondas. If I wanted to by one wouldn’t it make sense to talk to someone who knows about that car? Or maybe I should ask my dentist what she thinks. Would that be wise?

My mother told me, “I wish I would have listened to you ten years ago.” She might still be zipping around in her bright blue Honda.

someone-did-you-wrong

My sister and I haven’t had a relationship for quite awhile. I’ll only say she has done a lousy job being a sister. People who know me understand the reasons I say that.  So why I thought she would hear me about diabetes was pretty stupid on my part. I honestly wanted to help her understand how much she was hurting herself – and my mother. They are at a point, when you need insulin – that you CAN NOT eat something just because you want it! Your body will fall you! But why the heck should I care about her life? Because it’s a life? Because she doesn’t care about mine? Is that a good enough reason to say nothing? Even her doctor asked my mother to help her with her diabetes. The blind leading the blind. Of course I know this because no information is sacred in our family.

It’s wrong, but sometimes I want her to feel the pain she caused me so she understands. I guess I have issues, huh? It’s been hard for me to deal with. At least I can admit I’m not perfect. If I hurt someone the words, “I’m sorry” are in my vocabulary. Some people choke on those words. If our mother had not had a stroke we still would not have spoken to each other. It’s not easy to look in a mirror and examine the hurtful things we’ve done to other people. But life always gives back to us the effects of the causes we make.

With diabetes and one stroke under her belt, and needing a wheelchair now, what my mother eats, and more important, what she doesn’t eat is crucial. I believe, because so many people have diabetes, they don’t take it seriously. It has been normalized because it is so common. Even fat kids have diabetes now, which is sad. It is adults who feed them the junk they see on their TV.

FAILURES OF THE FOOD INDUSTRY

Profit is everything. Who cares if it kills you?

I research everything I can to stay healthy. In the 60’s we didn’t know what the food industry was doing. They hid data about lots of harmful products so we would continue to buy them. But once you know, how can you continue to kill yourself by consuming it? And how can you continue to support corporations who harm people and the planet? We have allowed our own destruction. Isn’t that stupid? Taste buds win over common sense.

There are two issues working here. People are now addicted to unhealthy food and to give that up is painful. That is why addictions are hard to break. They’d rather take the chance of cancer, a stroke or heart attack, to name a few, than give up the taste of certain foods they like. The other issue of ego is just as hard. Who wants to think they are looked at as weak and unable to control what they eat – and the person telling you is your sister and you don’t like her. How can you admit she knows something you don’t? You’ve just spent 6 years ignoring her, letting her know you don’t care about her so how can you let down your guard now? We didn’t speak for years, but now our mother had a stroke and it forced us to. It is detrimental to my mother’s health if she feeds her what she eats herself.

I don’t care if I made her angry trying to tell her why certain foods were not a good idea for diabetics to eat. Let that sink in. This entire drama was about unhealthy food. Isn’t that ridiculous? Welcome to my world.

I’ve been called a few choice names over these past few years. Old hag, drug addict, I’m evil and have a black heart. It’s amazing how defensive people get when they don’t like to hear the truth.

Foolishly, I thought I could set an example of how to care about someone. But it seems even the most devout Christians don’t apply the golden rule. As a Buddhist, it is the same as the Law Of Cause And Effect. How about – What goes around comes around? You get back what you dish out? You reap what you sow? Where is that understanding in the effects of each of our lives? That is what we all need to look at. Do you like where you are in your life? Do you take responsibility for the bad things or do you just chalk it up to, “That’s life. It is what it is?” Or maybe God wanted you to be sick. Then you can remove yourself from causing your own illness.

I’ve lived my life with a few mottoes that got me through life. Here is a good one for today. It is one of my personal quotes:

If you don’t like what I’m doing, don’t watch me do it!

Silently on Saturday: Touching the Cosmos

Is this not absolutely awesome!

Obzervashunal

I’m treating the image used for this posting  to my ‘Silently on Saturday’series as something of a departure from the ‘norm’. Generally, I try to use relatively quiet, peaceful, meditative shots, shots that feel as if they fully belong to a post beginning with the word ‘silently’.

This image is not that.

What it is, at least for me, is as the second portion of the title suggests; touching the cosmos, a graphical fantasy, me letting my imagination run wild on the colors and yes, the wholly metaphysical notion of reaching out a hand and …touching the

COSMOS.

Here’s what I mean:

touching-the-cosmos_sm

Silent? Not likely, but it’s true to what I’m feeling for this post, so I’ll let it be.

Here’s hoping you all are enjoying your Saturday…

…silently or not?

K’lee L. © 2017

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