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 in the blogosphere. 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 about 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.”

This man 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 difficult 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 contracted the virus 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 I never believed that. It made no sense. Not understanding why things happen doesn’t mean it was done by an outside source. It just means I don’t have the wisdom to understand it. 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 it is teaching.

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 or perhaps 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 – loved me – yet resented who I 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.

Proceed With Caution

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There are so many things that happen to us in our lives that send us down different paths. We can’t tell at the time how these things are going to affect our life or how it will to lead to more changes. I think everyone has said at some point, when talking about their life, “If I had known then what I know now, would I have decided to do things differently?” or, “What if I had chosen not to do (this thing), where would I be now? What would I be doing different?”

I think this quite often, because there has been a lot of change in my life that was set in motion by very distinct things. Would my life have found a different way to get to the same place? Would I like where I am if I had done or not done certain things?

I don’t know why today I started thinking about one certain thing, but it was a whopper of a life changer. Some changes are little bends and some are sharp turns to the left. Here goes:  I was pregnant with my now 36 year old daughter. I had a  successful circuit of piano bars where I sang and played piano in Houston. I’m sure I played every piano bar in the city as well as all over the state. I made a fairly decent income. Physically I was in great physical condition, taking jazz dance classes until I started to dilate, gained 18 pounds and lost 18 pounds before I left the hospital. I had a husband I kicked of the house when I was 7 months along because of his drug usage and failure to keep a job. I had a nice condo near the Galleria, if you know Houston, which at least 36 years ago was a nice part of town.

Here is the life changer. I met a man, an architect, who had a contract to design an inside remodel of the Gee House, a Bruce Goff design. Bruce Goff, earlier in life apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright. His homes are works of art. This man came into a piano bar where I was singing, and then started following me around to other gigs. He took a lot of pictures of me while singing. This is one.

photo
Sonni Quick 1980 Hyatt Regency Houston, Texas

He showered me with a lot of attention.  He put me on a pedestal. I allowed him to convince me to move with him to Oklahoma City. I didn’t think I’d have any problem getting gigs. But I didn’t check. Once I got there I found out the city was dry. No open bars that sold alcohol and no piano bars. I was derailed. I was making no money, a baby and a three year old and a man who because very mentally abuse. Everything that attracted him to me he tried to change or destroy. It took 2 years and much anguish to run. He destroyed self confidence. He’d keep me awake all night lecturing me. His God was Ayn Rand. He thought I was his Dagny Taggart. I was told I showed my children too much affection. To him, sex was a way to show respect – everyday, whether you wanted to or not. He kept score on the wall behind the bed  separated into who initiated it. It had to be 50/50 and he let me know if I was falling behind. The thought of sex made me ill, but if I didn’t do it he made my life hell. I suffered through it. He made me hate sex – for a long time. By now we were now living in LA. because of another architectural job. I now had no car. I couldn’t work, because without a car and 2 young children how do I get around?  Yet he demanded I make money or he’d put my belongings on the street.  He also told me he wanted me to have another baby but I’d have to sign a contract promising we’d stay together for five years, because he felt a child needed his mother that long and then he would get full custody of the child. I had to get out of there. Through this time I continued to write music. I worked with musicians but made little money. He got angrier with me for failing to live up to his ideal woman.

I got a call from a band I had auditioned with earlier – Robin Crow. Was I still interested and could I go on the road with them? He had just finished a second album, Finish Line, and lost his keyboard player. I had a way out. I ran away so fast. Hate mail followed me to Colorado, home base for the band. And just in case I missed any letters, years later he made copies of everything, bound them together and sent them to me. I still have them somewhere but I never read them. Even more years later he wrote to me and apologized profusely for what he had done to me. He was dying from throat cancer so I guess he was making amends. He had high goals as an architect and he was very good, but he died in his 40’s without making the name for himself he thought he should.

*****************

I know where my life went on from there and led me here  but . . .

What if he had not come into the club where I was singing?  And this . . . What if my husband, father of both my children, when I kicked him out, had not gone to the bank and cleaned out the savings account set up to pay the hospital forso I was forced to continue to play gigs until 10 days before she was born to put the money back which put me in the position of meeting him in the first place. What if. . .what if . . .what if. And what if the other sharp turns I made had gone in a different direction.

Where would I be now? What would have changed? What would not have changed? Would I change where I am now if I could? Would I want rings to be different? Did these crisis teach me things I needed to know? I think so. Would the same type of things happen anyway because the karma was there? Seriously, do we really look at the decisions we are about to make and think about the consequences, or do we just follow the path of least resistance?

I think I followed along the path that “felt” right and the path the promised the most diversity. I realized long ago that I thrive on change. Living in one town my whole life or working the same boring job for decades even if I hated it because it paid well, scared me.  The thought of waking up and realizing my life was a dream and I was really a dental assistant living in planned community scared the crap out of me. (I’m not slamming dental assistants, if you are one. It just would have not worked for me) The boredom of it all held no interest for me. FOR ME – not you. I tried a real job once but that kind of predictability isn’t for me. At my age of 62, I see people who lived the kind of life that would have shriveled me up like a raison, and now that the boring job is gone, they don’t know what to do. Risk taking and doing what you want to do isn’t something you learn over night.  When there is nothing to take the place of “the job”and they don’t know how to take risks and go be something else they might feel too old to start again.

I have had dozens of these sharp turns to the left.  If I hadn’t taken one, another one would have materialized. But my life affected my children and that has affected their children so we should always proceed with caution.

So what do you think changed your life?

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The Roar of a Lion

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If we meekly go through life with a begging mentality, asking whatever we think is “up there” to fix whatever problem we have, we never tap into the strength we have to change it with our own focus and determination. If we meekly accept that our problem wasn’t fixed because it was the will of some entity then you have missed the chance to learn, through your own wisdom and determination, to change something that causes you unhappiness. Having faith is not about having a wonderful place to go after you die – it is about having a wonderful life while you are alive! Have appreciation for being alive and having determination to succeed. Faith is about having the tools to change the part of your human nature that causes you to do and say the things that cause you unhappiness, so we can stop making the same causes over and over. Cause and effect – or reap what you sow is the same for everyone.

I read an article on a Christian website the other day where a supposedly religious scholar wrote that it really wasn’t important to pay attention to the phrase, “you real what you sow”, even though it is mentioned numerous times, because Jesus died for your sins.  WHAT??? You don’t have to worry about the negative causes you make???  But these are the very things that  bring unhappiness into your life that lead you to need to pray to have an outside source fix them, after you caused it to happen to your life through your actions. I will end today with this daily encouragement from Daisaku Ikeda:

“The daimoku (nam myoho renge kyo) we chant is not a weak imploring plea for something. It is a lions roar that reverberates with all of our being, and is powered by making a personal vow, setting our minds on realizing it and aligning our lives with the fundamental law of the universe. There is no force stronger or more sublime.”

“Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is like the roar of a lion. Therefore what illness can be an obstacle”

Don’t beg or plead or make promises if only your prayers could be answered. That is the prayer of a coward. Summon inside yourself “no doubt – at all” that your goal will be realized, regardless of the faith you believe to be true.

http://sgi-usa.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Concept of Karma and Rebirth

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Each person, depending on how they were raised, and what they were taught, has an opinion about what happens when we die. There are also those who think nothing happens. We live, we die, and that’s it. We believe what we do, because it is what we want to believe happens. To adhere to the teachings of our religion we find ways to justify our belief. If we were raised in a different religion we would be adamant that those teachings would also be the truth. Which one is right? You have to study other religions to find out. Many people – actually most people – never take a serious look at what a different faith has to teach, except to try to find ways to prove it to be false by comparing it to their own beliefs. But if you looked at it objectively you would find many similarities, perhaps only explaining it a different way. It’s important to remember, whatever you believe, it began with a human being’s interpretation of phenomena that later was interpreted again and again, while trying to make sense of life and death. Bottom line, people are afraid of dying. They “get religion” at the end, just in case.

Years ago there was a man in my life who was a staunch atheist. That was fine with me. I was agnostic. I didn’t know and at the time I didn’t care. I left the Christian religion years before because I didn’t see anyone applying the teachings to his life to become a better person. It didn’t mean anything to anyone. People went to church because that is what everyone did. If they didn’t go, other people would ask questions. So everyone had their social time together, but it didn’t affect their own personal growth. I guess Jesus “saved” them, although that terminology didn’t exist back then. Not one time growing up, and I was in the church almost every day for one reason or another and I never heard the words uttered “Jesus saved . .” So that must have started recently in the last 30-40 years. They were going to heaven. They didn’t need to work on changing themselves.

27 years ago my mother stopped going to church. She had learned about Nichiren Buddhism. She now had the answers to questions her pastors over the years couldn’t give her. The answers that made sense. She’s almost 83 now. She attributes still being alive because she learned HOW to live her life and how she could overcome her problems without asking an entity to do it for her. She knows that who she is now, in these last years of her life still determine the Spring of her rebirth. Every day she prays for wisdom and patience. She is so alive.

The atheist I lived with was later diagnosed with cancer. The closer he came to dying, he abandoned his atheism and turned to God – just in case. He was afraid of dying. If he hadn’t been sick he would still be an atheist. It was his choice, of course, if it gave him comfort, but it doesn’t make it real. God didn’t save him. He still died. Good or bad, no matter what happens, people always say, “It was the Lords will.” No it wasn’t. He had cancer. Did God give him cancer so he could die? No. God didn’t give me Hep C so I needed a liver transplant, either. I did that to myself with drugs 40 years ago. Now my Hep C is gone. Did God do that? No. Was it the Lord’s will? No. It was mine. I asked my doctors for the meds. God had nothing to do with anything.

Apparently Ted Cruz’s father thinks differently.  These next pictures show abuse of religion in politics with the determination of deliberately swaying the Christian vote. This is swaying people’s thoughts that only a Christian is fit to be a president even though there are multiple faiths practiced.  Is this what Christianity teaches?  Does professing to be Christian automatically make him more fit than someone who isn’t a Christian?  Do politicians have to convince people they are Christian even if they aren’t or they won’t get elected. You would never see a Buddhist using his faith for political gain. “I’m a Buddhist, elect me.”

I could never go back to Christianity. I tried to once, in my early 20’s. For two years I tried every day to make God the center of my life. I tried so hard to develop a relationship with him. I tried to feel the love. I studied. I went to church. I was “saved”. Two years later I realized it made absolutely no difference in my life at all. So I just stopped one day and that made no difference, either. There was no proof that my faith changed anything in my life. What was I believing in? I realized there were too many unbelievable things I had to make myself believe were true that went against reason. I might as well go to a ouiji board for answers about life and death.

Ten years later I started to study Nichiren Buddhism. I saw proof in my life. But just like Christianity there are many schools of thought. Different sects with different ideas that try to explain life and death. What is karma? How do our thoughts, words and actions affect our life? And what is rebirth? Where are we reborn? Who are we? Why are we who we are when we are born. Looking at our own lives, the traits we have, our talents or lack of them; are we pretty, ugly, happy, depressed, angry, rich, poor, abusive parents, aborted, sick, healthy, intelligent or stupid. Why are we who we are? Do you think it is all the luck of the draw? Do you think an entity “up there” took the time to individually pick all of the traits you ha e and he does that for every single fetus? Or does he only do that for Christian fetuses? I use fetus, because these things are inherently in us in the womb. Who decides the traits for everyone else? All those babies in this world in countries who die of starvation who never had a chance to “pick” a religion. For me, this is where believing in a thinking entity breaks down. A loving God? You wish.

I spend a lot of time contemplating these questions. I’m not quick to believe what anyone says is the truth. Even when you break it down to simple gossip, people tend to believe what people say, pass it on and add a few new twists to it. That doesn’t make it truth unless it can be proven. “Jesus loves you!” Oh yeah? Prove it. “Jesus lives!” There is no proof he ever lived, and if he did, he sure doesn’t live today and he doesn’t love you today. He may have been a good man 2000 years ago but he isn’t alive today and his spirit does not talk to you. The problem is that Christians idealize the man, when they should worship the teachings. Worshiping the man doesn’t change you into a better person. “He” can’t change you. Only you can do that by your thoughts, words and actions. You do that with the wisdom you gained through overcoming problems. That is what really affects your life. You. You make the causes. You get the effects. You reap what you sow. This is a Christian teaching that I don’t see being applied anywhere. Does a Christian think about that everyday in all they do? Because that creates your karma and you will get back what you dish out. In Buddhism, “you reap what you sow” is the primary, most important thing to learn. “The law of cause and effect.” Have you applied that to your life today or are you waiting for God to make things happen. It doesn’t matter what you believe. You will reap exactly what you sow. Your life doesn’t happen because God decided it should happen. Your life happens the way you caused it to happen.

THE BUDDHIST SUTRAS WERE WRITTEN BY ONE MAN

The Bible was written by many men interpreting what they knew. They wrote about karma. These writings were removed. Political leaders needed to manipulate the masses, the same way they do today. https://wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/2043/ You can read it everyday in the news; which presidential candidate is the best Christian, they claim, to get the Christian vote? Do you think the are really Christians who value the lessons taught? I don’t. Their kind of Christian is scary.

Many of the teachings of Christianity and Buddhism are the same, although Buddhism doesn’t just tell you the teachings, it explains why it’s important and also explains the effects if you don’t learn it, but still, the message is the same. The difference lies in what happens when you die if you didn’t change the negativity in your life and have positive results. Maybe you ran from your problems instead. Maybe you blamed your problems on someone our something else. Maybe you didn’t learn you problems our become a better person. You’ll have to do it over until you get it right. Christians should want to have Christlike behavior. Buddhists want Buddhahood. It’s the same thing.

I am NOT saying that Christians should become Buddhists. But I am saying you should look internally to break through your problems instead of asking something outside yourself to plan and execute your life. All life – ALL LIFE – goes through the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death – THEN – birth. The cycle of seasons goes from Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – then – Spring. Never does the cycle change. If all life goes through this cycle, why would our life be different? That is common sense. We don’t die and go to heaven to be judged and hopefully go to a paradise or hell. We die and the causes we made in this lifetime will be the judge as to how our life will be when we go through the next cycle. WE determine our own lives by our actions. Heaven and hell is something we live determined by what we do. It isn’t some place we go to after we die. Life is eternal and we either learn the lessons our life has put in front of us, depending on the causes we made, or we don’t learn it and have to repeat it. God can’t change your life, or make you well, or get you that job you need. Only you can do that. Something outside of yourself isn’t there. It is your own power inside yourself that changes your life.Daisaku Ikeda guidance

Today, our ability to reason far surpasses the capabilities of man in the past. They understood so little. It HAD to seem mysterious to them. Two thousand years have passed. It is an extremely short period of time when compared to the hundreds of thousands of years man has walked the earth. In the last two thousand years, the teachings of all religions continued to change and have new interpretations by different people. People conclude these interpretations are the truth, never looking to see if they actually make sense, in lui of our ability to understand things today. Instead, the more unbelievable the stories are, the more they are believed, because that in itself makes it more mysterious. God formed man out of clay, but Abel went off and married? To whom? A virgin birth with God as the dad? Believing in an all knowing, loving, but vengeful, very egotistical God, that “wants” you to suffer to teach you lessons, doesn’t make any sense. Why would you want to believe that, except that was what you were taught – what came to you in a very long, often changed, line of gossip. Use your brain. Step back.

why do you believe what you believe.Think for yourself. Why do you believe what you believe? Because you were told, or because you studied and compared what you learned. Don’t be afraid of what others will think. It’s your life.

Tears For All The Years That Passed

im crying, sonni quick. karma, liver transplant
photo source: crazy4images.com

I’m crying
Why can’t the world hear my crying?
Tears for all the years that passed
seeing dreams that never last.
beyond the time you can see
and when you open up your eyes
the dream has passed
It’s now too late
to dream that dream again
my heart is torn it can not mend.
My dreams are dying
and I’m crying
for all I have that’s left is pain
I lost it all with none to gain
I look in the mirror, I see myself
hoping to see where the years have gone
I made the cause, I was so young
Sharp turns to the left
that way was wrong.
tears fall, say please
as they stream down your face.
a longing look at the piano keys
I wrap my arms around my knees,
Crying tears of loss
Crying tears of pain
No one takes a step across
No one ever takes the time
No one ever looks to find
No one feels the pain inside
And no one cares about the tears I cried.

This poem was written in 2012 around the time of my liver transplant when no one took the time to hear me. I didn’t want to die, and I didn’t want to fully realize I  was walking a very fine line. I still had things to. I wasn’t yet done living. I had been in a state of denial for many years. I still am. I was determined to live – to learn everything my body needed to live. I succeeded for a long time until the year I turned 54. It all came crashing down like a delicate house of cards made from one card too many.

I found the poem today when I was cleaning my desk, looking for one last book of blank checks. Some wounds are deep and they are almost impossible to heal.  They go round and round in your head until you want to scream to drown out the noise. That is when I often choose to write. All through my life I have put my words on paper or music. I have also written many journals through multiple decades. I think it was a way to not lose myself; to not disappear- a need to keep me solid to prove I was here. A hundred years from now my descendants can still know who I was today.

I had know for years that the number 54 was going to mean something to me.  I know this is going to sound strange, but I thought of it again when I recently wrote to someone who said she was 54.  I was born in 1954.  My father died when he was 54.  He died from liver failure from alcohol.  His body swelled with fluid until he looked 9 months pregnant.  His father died, too, when he was 54.  His body filled with fluid and it went over his heart and he drowned.

When I was 54 my body swelled with fluid and I had my first attack of ascites.  I was in end stage liver disease and my body was shutting down. The week before I felt fine, but my legs were swelling and I was getting very think around the middle.  The women who ran my doctor’s front office wouldn’t let me make an appointment with him because I had just been in, but after getting very angry they scheduled me with a part time doctor in the office who told me I was constipated and go do an enema.  It got worse. I crashed my doctors office and demanded to see him. His jaw dropped.  After he got done yelling at his office staff he gave me meds to take the water out.  It worked but he told me later he was scared for me.  Next thing to do? Pack up, leave key West and go get on the liver transplant list.

At the age of 54 I should have died.  Without the advance of medicine I would have been gone.  Many times, on this blog I have talked about karma – cause and effect.  We carry karma with us.  It is passed down through the generations.  From the time I was in my 20’s I always thought that any year I lived after 54 would be a gift. I don’t even know why I thought that.  My father was still alive.  I just knew.  The doctors at the hospital worked hard to keep me alive as long as they could, because I also had to battle liver cancer. Finally, 2 years past the age of 54 a liver came available that matched what I needed.  Not all livers work for all people and more people die waiting for a liver for that reason. The doctors said I came as close as possible to death without dying.  That is an eye opener.

But still, even now, I have to push through the damage it had done, and every day I tell myself I can do it.  I can dream.  I can still do things.  I can start new chapters in my life.  I’m off and running. I still have a few sharp turns to the left in me.  I beat the karma.  I’m 61 now and next July 2nd I will have my fourth birthday.  Date of transplant.  I’m a kid again. It will take a lot more than this to keep me down!

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“Second Time Around” Piano Music By Sonni Quick

Words and music by Sonni Quick

copyright 2015

SECOND TIME AROUND
Dedicated to Bryan

Find your life
gather up the pieces
Heal a broken life
forget the pain
slowly time erases
Put it back together – again
in a way that shows the world
now who you are
learn to be a friend
to those who know your worth
is so much more
than you were outside that locked door
Take the time
to think before you act
Reach and hold the hand of those
that reach their hand toward you
Don’t let your old ways
decide how you react
Use anger in a better way
to teach the chosen few

Life dealt a crushing blow
to the soul of one so young
No one to protect you
from the time your life began
It’s not easy
to be a different man
It takes more courage
than simply wanting life to change
don’t find a single reason
or try to place the blame
or the effects of all your causes
will come full circle back to you
if you react the way you learned
that action will undo
and scatter all the pieces
you’ll be lost again
Remember
No matter what life gives you
you’re stronger than before
using all your past mistakes
to learn and grow a little more
Did you know the man inside
deserves a better life
and when you finally get to walk
out through the open door
don’t look back
that’s in the past
this new life that you’ve found
is the second time around

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Sonni Quick piano music complete list

Getting Myself Back Together Again – At Last!

Daisaku Ikeda guidance
I’ve had a pretty rough three months that has given me a close relationship again with my bed. It nearly succeeded in making me immobile and once again I am pulling myself up by the bootstraps. I haven’t posted often on this blog during this time. I’ve been trying sporadically to keep up my other blog on my Nook http://mynameisjamie.net. Sitting up has been nauseating. But there is light at the end of the tunnel! For that I know I am fortunate, for I know those who aren’t so lucky and are on rougher rides.

I know how damned hard it is to deal with a debilitating chronic illness that never leaves you pain free for long, but occasionally there are times you have a good enough day you are encouraged to believe you are beating it and you have the mental energy to convince yourself that you’re winning. I feel an obligation to the people close to me to prove to them I’m okay so they don’t worry. I get so very tired of the question, “How are you doing today?” Out of concern for me, I know, but how many ways can you answer that question? But now I know I really am winning. I feel like I can leap over tall buildings in a single bound! ( That translates into being able to go to the grocery store and staying on my feet long enough to make it to the checkout line.)

Because of my determination I suck it up and force myself to push on. But it is because of this very determination, and because the mind is a very powerful part of who we are – I’m still here. I shouldn’t be. When you believe you will win your mind will find a way to do so. You are more powerful than you give yourself credit.

I have seen hopelessness in people. I’ve watched them give up finding meaning in their life even if it is just old age, with old age deterioration, often because of neglect of their health. No more dreams. No new “projects” to start. Waiting to die. No reaching out to help someone else because they are too busy complaining about their problems. They are lonely. They don’t make new friends. They bitch and moan and wait to die. The last years of your life determine your success with life. Die mentally miserable means you blew it. What a waste. It’s easy to fall into that trap and it’s very hard to pull yourself out of it – especially if you’re waiting for something “out there” to fix your life for you.

What has given me the strength, and therefore the knowledge, to survive and continue to push myself to develop my life takes more energy than I have sometimes. My confidence is in my practice of Nichiren Buddhism. http://sgi-usa.org. That is why I have the courage and confidence in myself that what I’m going through has a reason. I absolutely DO NOT BELIEVE in the fiction of an emotional, angry, loving supreme alien being in the sky who loves me and gives me benefits if I catch him on a good day, ignores me other times, and allows so many to suffer because…because…just because I was taught that as a kid. One woman told me that when things get bad enough he’ll step in and help. I choked on that statement. God always has an out for not doing anything. I just have trouble believing in anything that relies on blind faith and no proof. He ranks up there with the tooth fairy.

After 40 years of hep C and all the pain and variety of illnesses and suffering it caused, I started on the new hep C drug, Harvoni, 2 1/2 months ago – and it’s gone! Totally. …Gone. The virus is undetectable!! Wow! That did a number on my head. Holy shit! Gone. Now, the deal is, I have to take the meds until mid Feb and it has to still be gone 6 months after that before I can say, next August that I’m cured and throw a party, but wow! Just simply wow 🙂

I had surgery early August on my spine – because damage hep C and cirrhosis did to my bones. People know it can kill your liver but nobody really talks about the other destruction it does – the surgery, or rather the implant that was put in, hurt the intercostal muscles between my left ribs. The implant was inserted up my spine and when turned on generates electricity that overrides pain signals before it gets to the brain. At first it really helped. But now I can’t turn it on because it causes pain instead of taking it away. Healing time is 6-12 months and even then turning it on may re-damage it. That’s my lousy karma. What can go wrong usually does. I started the Hep C treatment right after the surgery and that made me very sick curled up on my bed for 2 months until the stopped one of the meds. It’s not as bad as interferon but it brought my life to a halt. I couldn’t do anything – didn’t want to do anything. I was a slug. I lived on anti-nausea meds.

This treatment won’t undo the damage already done, but as long as my body doesn’t reject my liver transplant I’M GOING TO LIVE LONGER! It will stop more damage. I’m happy!! I chanted nam-myoho-renge-kyo with the determination to show proof in my life of the power each person has to change his karma – caused by the things we think, do and say. I did this to myself. I am responsible for my life and it is my responsibility to change it. Happiness isn’t given to us. We need to find the absolute happiness that is in our life. Not the happiness we get from things or events, but indestructible happiness no one can shake. We can’t pray to an outside source for it. We have to create it. Then we have to share it and encourage others they can too.

Word of advice -you already know this and are probably ignoring it – if you are doing something destructive to your life and have a variety of stupid excuses why you are doing it – you know the excuses – trust me – YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES NO MATTER WHAT YOU TELL YOURSELF. It’s not worth it, and you are going to care a lot when you are faced with the consequences. You are going to be sorry. You aren’t special. It will get you.

The major desire I have in my life is to help others – I want my life to make a difference. It’s why I write – letters, my blogs, the book I’m writing, my music, poetry. My illnesses taught me so much I wouldn’t have understood otherwise. It is my benefit. It brought me home, near my mother. If I wasn’t sick I would have missed these years. But how can I encourage others if I don’t show proof in my own life of what a single person can do. That powerful God-like-nature is in all of us, it’s not “out there” getting jealous if it isn’t worshipped.

Who could have ever known being so sick would have the power to make me so happy. Who can see the positive side of their adversity? It has taken a long time to understand this with a long way to go. It’s up to me to change it. Whatever happens from here I know this karma is changed. I won’t be repeating it.

Happy face
Source: lizwhomotivates.WordPress.com

So to my sick friends reading this – you know who you are – you understand. And to everyone else who battles a hardship of any kind. Relationship, job, environment – You know how hard it is. Can you list the ways your adversity has made you a better person? Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes there are things we need to learn first. But for me – finally – this week has been a giant win and I am enjoying it!

I recorded a new piece of music on my new piano. (First gift to myself in a long time, with the help of my son, and the support of my old hippie) It is the most recent post on my other blog.

Second Time Around

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Sonni Quick piano music complete list