Hepatitis C, Harvoni, Changing Karma and Me

hep c viris

The law of cause and effect is absolute. It doesn’t pick a cause we made at random and decide we will pay the price for this particular act and let others slide. It is not the Lord’s will, or his plan for me, that I should suffer for long decades out of my life for the stupid, lack of wisdom, choice I made when I was very young to do IV drugs. What “caused” me to want to do them in the first place? I never even hesitated. The first chance I had to try them, I did. But why? I didn’t come from a family who even kept alcohol in the house and no one in my family – even extended family even smoked cigarettes. Imagine that. What are the odds? But I was drawn to it and jumped in with both feet. It lasted for three years. I got pregnant with my son, now almost 39, and knew he was more important and it gave me the strength to stop. I thought I got away with it. I thought I was one of the lucky ones. Many people can’t stop. Boy, was I wrong. We don’t get away from the effects of our karma – ever.

The karma was there waiting for my family. After I left home for college my father started drinking. Why? Why then? It killed him fast. He was dead at age 54 after several bouts of ascities – the abdomen filling with fluid and long needles were inserted to drain out fluid to make it easier to breathe. He was so sick. He looked 90. At age 54 I had my first attack of ascities. My liver could no longer work. My father’s father also died at age 54 because his body filled with fluid. It went over his lungs and he literally drowned in his own fluid. All three of us at age 54. Same cause, different reason. That is karma. Who’s next?

This is karma. This was something I had to go through. This was one of the lessons I had to learn. Learn it or repeat it. We call into our lives the lessons we need to learn and if we don’t learn what we need to learn and use it in a way to help others and grow into a better person then we do it again.

Here’s an easy example to explain. We draw into our lives the same kind of people until we learn. A woman will draw the same kind of abuser. Or we get the same kind of boss. We acquire the same kind of friends who misuse us. We might even try to move to a different area thinking we can start all over but we end up with the same kind of people in our lives – because we have not changed. We haven’t learned. If we move we carry our karmic baggage with us.

So what does this have to do with the title of this post? It has everything to do with it. First of all I am not dead – and I should be. Many people in my position didn’t make it. Why? Am I more deserving? Would any of you have the foolish nerve to say that God decided to let me live, especially when I absolutely do not believe there is an emotional thinking entity in the universe that singled me out to live? You’d think he would keep alive a person who praised his name and gloried this entity who NEEDS to be praised. Actually, you’d think he’d strike me dead for being so blasphemous. Yet that won’t happen.

Staying alive has not been easy. It has taken much study to learn what my body needs. Undiagnosed pain began in the mid ’80’s when no one knew what Hep C was, so doctors did what they usually did to women -said it was all in my head and wanted to put me on heavy doses of mind numbing anti-depressants. I went through diagnoses of Epstein Barr, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, because of nerve damage. Hepatis damages far more than just the liver. The correct diagnoses came in ’98. I’ve been on narcotic pain relief for 23 years although I now keep the dosage at what I think is a minimal dose.

My karma was to do drugs whether I wanted to or not. That has not changed. When I stopped using, my life, my karma, made it very clear that if I wasn’t going to take drugs voluntary it would make me take them. Karma doesn’t have a personality. It doesn’t love us.It doesn’t care about us. It isn’t evil. It doesn’t try to influence us in any way. We don’t have to believe in it. It doesn’t need to be worshipped or prayed to. We don’t have to ask it to come into our heart and “save” us. What it needs us to do is to take responsibility for the things we do and for the effects in our life from these causes we made in this life we have. If you continue to look outside yourself for the reasons for your problems and ask some force “out there” to fix them for you, you’ll continue to wait for a long time. And when it fails you’ll say it must be the Lord’s will. If things do work out it is also the Lord’s will. God can’t lose. No matter what happens it is his responsibility

It is because I accept responsibility – completely – for my life that I am still here. I have survived every single illness and infection this disease has thrown at me from ascites, varicies, liver cancer, ongoing skin cancer, hemachromatosis, lung infections, severe osteoporosis, spinal fracture, 7 rib fractures, ovaries and tubes removed with cysts the size of a grapefruit, every gastrointestinal infection known to man, liver transplant, spinal surgery and a lot more I don’t even remember – ALL BECAUSE I CHOSE TO DO IV DRUGS WHEN I WAS 20. I am now 61.

This is the karma I created. Do I let it beat me? Should I feel sorry for myself? Please, do not ever say you are sorry that I have had to go through this. I am not. This is a benefit. This is an opportunity that presented itself in this lifetime that I am changing. When negative things happen to you, what matters is how you handle it – your attitude – the new causes you make that determines whether you change it or perpetuate it. Do you accept responsibility for everything that happens in your life or do you say some things are not your fault – you’re a victim – you didn’t do anything to cause it – it was just bad luck? Everything happens for a reason whether you want to believe it or not. To understand the law of life is worth all of it. It’s a whole lot easier to not accept responsibility for our lives – to say it’s God’s will because that is something someone taught you to believe and you’re afraid to question it or you might piss him off. So many people need something else to be responsible for their pain.

So now, the latest in my fight against this disease is the drug Harvoni, tried first with Ribavirin, but it lowered my red blood count where I wasn’t getting enough oxygen and can barely walk across the room and I’ve been nauseas 24/7 for 7 weeks. Some people breeze through on this drug, but for me everything I’ve done to stay alive has been a major fight and hard won. If there is a side effect, I will have it. This is a hard, deep karma. Once an addict always an addict and anyone who has ever fought an addiction that sets out to kill you knows that it always owns you, no matter how far you try to run from it. If I had won over it I wouldn’t be taking 20 mgs of methadone every day just to cut the edge of the chronic pain I have.

Harvoni is my best chance of living. Hep C will eventually kill my new liver. Then I’ll be too old for another transplant. I wouldn’t survive it anyway. Harvoni works for 95% of those who take it. That is great odds, but still, 5 out of 100 don’t get cured. What happened to them? No one talks about them.

I feel I’ve done everything I could and I stay optimistic about my future. I have much to do yet. I still have dreams and goals to meet. I will live every minute of my life and work to make a difference in people’s lives. My life matters. I am still a mother, a grandmother, and I am still wonderfully, appreciatively a daughter and a sister.

I have said in other posts, “The only legacy we really leave behind is the effect we had on other people”. That has been my goal in life – to be a positive effect on people. To give them hope, strength and encouragement to change their lives and become happy. Those things are found inside you, not “out there”.

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

Sonni Quick piano music complete list

What Does The Bible Say About This?

I have some questions I wish someone would answer.  I’m trying to decide if I want to go to heaven.
heaven
What would life be without challenges? Are there any challenges in heaven or are we done with all that? It is easy to say, if we got everything we wanted in life it would be very boring. If we didn’t have to work to improve our life or our talents, it would be no fun.  If it all came easy, there would be no feeling of accomplishment. That is how I view heaven and why I would never want to go there when I try to imagine what I have heard about the place.

bearI relate life to the song, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” and what do you think he saw?  He saw another mountain. If there were no more mountains to climb there would be no more lessons to learn, and you might as well park it in front of your TV and let someone else’s life and let their problems entertain you until you are tired enough to go to sleep.  BORING.

I think heaven would be very boring without challenges to overcome and things to learn. Is there any mention in the Bible of being able to go to school in heaven, or do we automatically know everything about everything and everyone there all knows the same stuff, too?  No one is smarter than anyone else?  No one has a different talent?  Can everyone play the piano?  If there isn’t a piano there I don’t want to go.  Or do we all just sit around in the grass and feeling happy?  I get a lot of enjoyment from learning new things and if I can’t do that in heaven I’d be pretty upset – and bored.  Do we just sit around adoring God and feeding his over large ego who says – “There shall be no Gods before me or I’ll through a plague or something at you.”  Sounds pretty insecure to me.

This is part of my problem with Christianity.  I’d have an easier time accepting it except for the human feelings and emotions of love and hate that are given to him. He also sounds extremely selfish and definitely only loving when he feels like it. “You didn’t worship me enough today.  I didn’t see you at my feet.  Where were you?”

We are supposed to be able to see God in heaven right?  There are a lot of people up there.  It should be crowded, except for all of these really good people who helped people and cared for the sick and loved the animals, but they were atheists and Buddhists and Christian scientists (they are a little weird) and yes, Muslims and wiccans and pagans and they all had to go to hell.  There are a whole bunch more of all these people than there are Christians because Christianity is not the number one religion in the world and yet they can’t go to heaven.  But a really bad person can repent at the end and he gets to go!  Maybe he doesn’t get all the same perks as someone who was a believer their whole life.  What does the Bible say about that?

Since there are many many planets and we aren’t even at the center of everything, and there are also many solar systems we know nothing about, and we amount to a piece of dust,  the chance of other types of life are probably out there.  So how come God has human “feelings”?  Or is he a different god to other species?  I think people have attached these human qualities out of a need to be protected and loved.  I practice Nichiren Buddhism as many of you already know.  We DO BELIEVE there is power in the universe.  It’s as real as the tides and the cycle of life – birth, aging, sickness and death that all life goes through.  We just don’t give it emotions.  We don’t need to have it love us.  To me that seems silly.  I read a bunch of posters on facebook that has God saying this and that and feeling this and that and you know darn well he never said any of it.  It is a human being projecting their own feelings on what they think God would have said.  Now, I may be pissing off a few people, but I have to deal with so much stuff on Christianity printed online so you can deal with this from me.  If you continue reading you just might learn something useful.

Tell me about these mansions we are to live in – are they self cleaning? Do we just go outside mansion in heavenand play? What good is having a mansion if we don’t cook in it, because we can’t eat because then we have to poop and then we would need plumbing and plumbers to keep them fixed. I doubt we need to sleep so what do we do all night?  Or is there even night and day?  What the hell do we do all day?  I need answers!

Are there any new books being written? I love to read.  I just have so many questions about what we do for eternity because it really is a long time. And after all the people we knew and were close to have died, and they have gone to either heaven or hell, then there would be no new people to greet. No new babies to cuddle or birthday cakes to make. No new friends – unless we make friends of other people up there? Any mention of these things in the Bible?

Please – someone tell me – what do we do for eternity in heaven where the skies are always blue and the birds always sing and harps never need to be tuned or repaired? I hear a lot from Christians about going to heaven when they die but I have never heard one person tell me what happens after we get there! If you have the answer, tell me. If no one knows, I have no intention on going. I think I will instead reincarnate into another life so I can continue on my growth. I’d rather use the wisdom I am gaining and move to a higher stage of development so I can help other people overcome the problems in their life.  I want to be able to use what I am learning for a better purpose.

Our life is one big cause and effect. 100%. We can’t pick and choose what we want and have it magically be there. We have to work for it. I think everyone can agree on that. It has to happen because we made a cause for it. We have to make a plan and fight through all the setbacks until we accomplish it. We have to be responsible for the effect of our causes. We can’t chose to not be affected by our causes just like we can’t choose when we want to be affected by gravity. Gravity doesn’t work only part of the time. If we jump off a building we are going to smack the ground. That is cause and effect.

life is an echo, you reap what you sowIn the Bible it teaches  “You reap what you sow”. What does that mean to you? How much time have you given to thinking about that? Do you apply it to everything you do?  Do you think before you act? It’s the same thing as the law of cause and effect.  Buddhist or Christian it is the exact same thing.  So either you are responsible or you aren’t. If you come back and say God gives you free will then doesn’t that blow his plan to pieces? Or does he keep readjusting the plan depending on the causes you make. That is confusing. Either he has a plan or he doesn’t. You don’t reap what you sow part of the time – you reap it all of the time. It is the basis for all you do because you have to live with the effects.  We get back what we dish out. What goes around come around. We all have karma, made by what you think, say and do. Hundreds of years ago they took any mention of the word karma out of the bible. Why? In order to control the people who could neither read nor right.  They had to be afraid of going to hell. If they knew they didn’t have to fear the wrath of God they would have less control. I’m not making this up. This is history.
why do you believe what you believe.

Have you ever really asked yourself why you believe what you do? Seriously? I have. When I was young – up until age 18 I believed what I was taught to believe. Everyone around me believed the same thing. A lot of them even went to the same church I did. There was also Monday evening catechism class, Girl Scouts on Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon bible school and Thursday evening choir practice, Sunday school and Church. We were in the church a lot. That was in addition to my parents activities and pot lucks and Luther league. Church was a big part of our life and I had a good time. I had my Sunday clothes and shoes and after church we always had a big Sunday dinner where everyone sat around the table. We had all of our dinners together. Aside from the religion itself, I came from a time when families acted like a family. We were taught table manners and never talked back to our elders. We never even THOUGHT about talking back to our elders. Showing respect was a big thing. Once that was lost it is easy to see the effect on families today.

But back to religion – it was all for show.  It had nothing to do with what was taught during the sermons.  Everyone believed in God because it was what you were taught.  You never learned anything else. That DOES NOT make it valid. When you question what you’re taught and start to think for yourself, you finally say, this doesn’t make sense.  You realize it is only something passed doesn’t through the ages, like gossip, changing here and there depending on the capacity of the people’s understanding at the time.

angry godSome people are afraid to not believe just in case God gets angry and causes bad things to happen. Some people believe because they want a place like heaven to exist because the are either afraid of dying or because they don’t want to exist.  Some people believe because they are afraid of what people will say.  Some people believe because it’s easier and they don’t want to have to learn anything else.  And . . . I can’t leave these people out . . . some people believe because they really do and they try hard to live by what they are taught.  I understand and respect that choice. There are many good things taught in the bible. You will find many of the same things in the Sutras – the teachings of Shakamuni Buddha.

What I have little respect for are the Christians who say they are Christian but it doesn’t effect their behavior. They say they believe in God but it doesn’t change anything. They think believing is all they need to do. Ask for forgiveness and keep on doing the same thing.

I’ve gone on a bit of a rant. But I’m serious about wanting to know what it is you believe happens in heaven because I seriously have no clue.  So if you can tell me I’d appreciate it.  Then again, if no one can answer my questions or give me anything more than what you think is up there and can’t back it up then I’ll just considerate it hearsay and whole lot of wishful thinking.

As a Buddhist I believe heaven and hell is life condition we live – not some place we go when we die. http://sgi-usa.org

Good Wouldn’t Exist Without Bad

Alonza Thomas

Alonza Thomas

It was a stormy winter night on the streets of New Orleans

A fortune teller told me that she could see me in her dreams

She said, there’s a part of me that evil overtook

Plus the devil has my heart, and my name is in his book.

I cried, i cried.

I’m a mixed drink, combined with good and bad.

The image I’ve portrayed became my truth, I chose my path.

I look myself in the mirror and i wish that I would die. Then I heard the Lord whisper, he said, believe that your mine. Believe that your mine!

My mind beats my heart, my emotions are second nature.

The result of realizing my mind was never basic.

My heart tells lies. My heart is self destructive.

I do right for the good, and well being of the structure.

Trust is not the issue, really it never was.

I don’t trust my heart, I treat it like a loaded gun.

I rarely trust my eyes I cover them with suspicion.

And even when I’m broke, i promise to pay attention.

Karma is a bitch, who I’m trying to fuck bareback.

California bear that’s wicked as a black cat.

My aim is at the level of all these Devils ball cap.

If you loyal then you family, if not watch me fall back.

So Who the Heck is Sonni Quick?

Currently I’m about as up to my eyeballs as anyone can get with important projects started, and others needing to be started, while taking care of those things in the middle of being started. In other words I bite off more than I can chew! I have wondered why my fingers haven’t fallen off my hands for all the typing I do. I did just find out I have mild carpal tunnel and I do know my tailbone is sore from sitting! I now sit on three pillows and the top one has a hole in the middle like a donut for my tailbone.

I am an A type personality with probably a bit of OCD (only with my projects. My laundry and dishes can we wait) and I have a very addictive nature so I get consumed by my projects.  It’s my drug of choice. A healthier drug than I did in my younger years. Probably why I don’t leave my computer until 3-4:30 am when I start to literally fall off my chair!

Spending huge amounts of time at my desk is extremely painful by late afternoon because I have a bulging disk in my mid back from shrinking 2 inches in the last couple years due to osteoporosis that doesn’t even register at the bottom rungs on the scales, so I suck it up to get past the pain.  When it gets too bad I lay on my bed and transfer to my Nook which takes me at least 5 times longer to get things done that need to be typed.  Oh well. . . .that’s life and the show must go on! Enough on those kinds of issues. ( but let me first get up and warm up the bean bag I sling over my shoulder and goes down my spine.  Back in 2 minutes. . .

Okay, I’m back.  I transferred to my Nook, typing while balancing my dinner plate against my knees. Nothing like the heat of the bean bag on my back to temporarily ease pain.  That along with ten mg of methadone.

Watch and Whirl is my second blog.  It’s a place to rant and rave, reblog posts of other people I enjoy reading and want to help pass on and also hope I can give a boost to.  It gives me space to talk about other interests, among them Nichiren Buddhism, the life philosophy that makes those most common sense to me and has helped me change many aspects of negativity in my life into positive ones.  There many sects of Buddhism just like Christianity. Nichiren is very different from Zen or Tibetan. Many similarities but as different as Pentacostal and Catholics.  I don’t expect anyone to agree or disagree with me, and if anyone can learn something that helps them, I am glad.  It is a major factor that has largely contributed to who I am today, and I like that person.

There many of the same lessons  taught in most faiths. If someone chooses to have faith in something that helps them make sense of their life and it provides the answers they search for and be happy, and they apply the teaching to their daily life, then it is a good thing. I don’t debate religion, saying I’m right and you’re wrong, but it can be such interesting  exchange of ideas when each party doesn’t try to convert the other person.  Many of my posts have Buddhist philosophy in them.

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My main blog is “My Name is Jamie.  Life in Prison”  http://mynameisjamie.net.  This is why I started blogging in the first place. Have you ever had something in your life that was a mission?  So very important that it blocks out most everything else? Helping this man with his life, is like that for me. He has something important to do with his life. I don’t know what. I just feel it. This man is the father of one of my grandsons. He is currently housed at Huntsville Prison in Texas.  After 7 years of writing letters, I started this blog at the beginning of 2014, posting letters he has written to me.  The purpose of the blog was to categorize the issues people in prison have to deal with.

Prison is not what you think it is.  It’s purpose is not to just incarcerate bad people – although there are plenty of them there.  It is more than that and it is why the US has about 75% of the worlds locked up citizens.  Do we have more criminals? No. We imprison more people for things the court says are crimes when other countries don’t, in order to keep the prisons full.  Money. If you want to know more about that,  go to the blog and start reading about the prison industrial complex.  It’s scary.

My purpose for the blog was so that I could write a book, my original intent.  The title is “Inside the Forbidden Outside”. I want it done and out by Aug of 2016 in time to get it into the hands of the parole board for Jamie’s next parole hearing.  I have much to learn and much to do. I’m finding out there are ten different hats towear when you want to self publish a book!

Sonni Quick 1980 Hyatt Regency Houston, Texas
Sonni Quick 1980
Hyatt Regency
Houston, Texas

I am also an accomplished music composer on piano, recording only pieces that are improvised.  You will find pieces scattered throughout the blog.  Here is the post with the latest piece.  I plan on releasing a CD of music to be offered with the book.  Early pieces were recorded only using my Nook. Now I have a better recording platform. http://mynameisjamie.net/2015/02/08/in-prison-who-do-you-have-to-care-about-your-day/.  It is better, though, if you want to read the blog to go to the opening static page because it tells you how to navigate the blog so you don’t end up opening a book ion the middle and have no idea what the book is about. Clicking on the circle that says ‘menu’ you will see a page that says piano music links. I also teach, and have since I was 18, 2/3of my life ago. Here is an early picture of me taken at the Hyatt Regency in Houston.

On the opening page of Jamie’s blog, near the bottom you will also see two links that go to two chapters of the book.  I appreciate any and all feedback and criticism.  The only way I know if it is any good is if I hear from you.  I need your feedback.  If you like it – share it with your own social media or blog as I am attempting to gather a mailing list of those who might be interested in the book when it is done.  There is a contact form at the bottom of each chapter page, just make sure that you write that it is for InsideOut. There is also a contact me form here next to this page.

Last but not least – thank you from the bottom of my heart. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Stop Believing Family is Supposed to Love You, When They Don’t

Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front.  I remember this day at Wildwood NJ
Older sister on the left and me on the right, and younger sister in front. I remember this day at Wildwood NJ

When I wake in the morning I always grab my Nook, swallow 10 mg of methadone and start my daily routine on the web, while waiting for some of the pain to subside, so I can get on with my day, which usually includes 12 hrs or more in front of my laptop on my other website http://mynameisjamie.net or writing my book “InsideOut” There are three of ten chapters written so far that can be found on the opening page of that site. The weather isn’t nice outside, so I have a reason to hole up inside. I absolutely hate cold weather and won’t go out in it if I don’t have it.

I’m beating about the bush. I happened on some posts at https://drkottaway.wordpress.com/ about how childhood trauma can affect you.  There are quite a few great posts here and is a worthwhile blog going to.   I have some deep issues dealing with my family and they came to a head recently and dealing with them has not been easy. I decided to just write and get it out.

I am inserting a piece of music I recorded. My music is all improvisational, never to be played again.  A wrong note here and there. Keep that in mind and listen while you read.

———————————————–Sonni Quick   copyright 2015 -Watching and Waiting

When we are children, we have no way to process the things that happen to us, so we end up thinking it is our fault and most of the time it affects who we are to this very day. It’s not so easy to just say, “I won’t think about it any more.  It won’t affect my life any more”, because the damage has already been done and all we can do is pick up the pieces and try to use what we have learned in a positive way somehow. Easier said than done.  I don’t think any child escapes trauma of some kind and even though it may even seem like such a small thing today, back then it affected everything – which then affects your existence today.

Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.
Me, my father, my older sister and younger sister. Happy family time.

I went through a molestation with a visiting uncle who took his penis out and wanted me to touch it. I did. He did it one of my sisters, too. I didn’t find that out, though for 45 years. I never told anyone. Neither did she. He didn’t visit for long, so he had no other opportunities to do anything else. I don’t know why I never said anything, but I knew it was wrong.  What do you say, “Uncle took his thingy out” – when I don’t even think I knew then what it was called? I never told anyone until I was in my 50’s. 

Negative family relationships

I have a sister a year older than me who, when I was 5, when we were walking to school, wouldn’t let me walk with her, and this 6 year old told me, “I don’t want anyone to know you are my sister.” Until we graduated, if she saw me in the school hall she turned her face away. If my own sister didn’t want me around why would anyone? I hated to go to the lunch room in fear I’d have no one to sit with.  Gym class petrified me and I thought of every excuse I could to not have to play games where people picked other people for their team. Since I had no friends, of course I was usually picked last or close to it. Until I graduated I had very few friends. Until I was 34 I had very few friends. I scared people off by not being friendly first, so I didn’t have to worry if I was going to be rejected. I had such a fear of rejection I rejected them first. Why would someone want to be friends with me?

It wasn’t until I started practicing Buddhism and this woman I didn’t know called me and asked if I wanted to come to a discussion meeting.  I stood there with my hand on the phone in total amazement. A woman called me like she was my friend?  She wanted me around? I remember this so clearly.

Aside from this, I hustled pool, changed my name and reinvented myself several timees.  spent many years working as a professional musician, on stage many, many times. Confident, strong and an air of being so sure of myself and my goals.  I needed no one.   My wall was very high. My confidence alone pushed people away.  I could walk into a club and pick what man I wanted to spend time with and walk out with him.  I made myself believe I needed no one.

It’s easy to see why my family didn’t quite know how to deal with me, but did they need to be quite so hurtful? We’re in our 60’s.  Okay, I led a very diverse life. It sure wasn’t boring. This truth telling has only been the tip of the iceberg? Could I have led their lives doing the same thing over and over for decades?

I have a younger sister, but we were never “sisters”. She has recently made it clear that she doesn’t know ” how”.  A few weeks ago at the age of 61 my older sister had quadruple heart bypass surgery. I have a fairly large family. Mom, and also a variety of neices and nephews and their families.  Everyone was at the hospital to support her – except me, because I knew if I went it would cause a big problem. So I stayed home and kicked the walls for a few days. I sent her a card, said nice things in about wanting to see her, wrote her an email asking her to please call. She won’t answer her phone because she sees it’s me. No response.

Four years ago I had to move home to Pa from Key West. I lost my home and my business, a retail store of ten years at the Weston Hotel where the cruise ships docked.  I lost everything. My husband and I moved to my mothers into a 10×10 room.  My whole life was in storage or in that room.  I think my family expected me to be a whole person, but I wasn’t.  I was shattered into tiny pieces that were unable to process thought very well any more. I was very sick and was put on the liver transplant list, because 40 years ago, when I left home to go to college, I turned to drugs.

Drugs took the place of friends. people don’t do drugs because it makes them feel bad. It fills a hole. It puts good feelings in a place there is none. I had no self worth and when I was high I could come out of myself and play and dance and sing and be the person I wanted to be. It gave me fortitude the same way a drink gives fortitude to an alcoholic.

I was raped once when I was about 20. The only person I told was this man’s girlfriend. I ended that relationship. All I did was run away and spent 3 days shooting heroin, but stopped the first time I felt sick and knew it would make me feel better. I made a sign on a piece of cardboard and hitchhiked home, although home was not where I grew up.

Except occasionally,when I went to Pa every couple years to visit, I had no communication with my sisters. Why?

I had a problem with drugs off and on until age 34.  Once and addict always an addict, just like someone never really recovers from alcohol.  One drink can set them back.  I never turned down any drug if it was put in front of my face. But at 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism, which I’ve written about many times. Even my mother changed from Christianity to Buddhism after she took an honest look at what it taught. But it was at age 34, when I realized my life really did have value and I didn’t need to be afraid any more. That was 27 years ago.

That day I stopped doing street drugs. But within months the ugly head of hep C reared with unexplained illnesses.  Since very few doctors knew abou Hepatitis C they gave an addict pain pills for the nerve pain or wanted to give me anti depressants because, since they couldn’t diagnose it, it was all in my head. It was another ten years before I got a diagnoses. I stayed on my feet for 12 more years until my liver was a complete mess and a transplant was necessary. It had turned to liver cancer. I was out of time. I had to move home where there was a good transplant hospital.

Shooting drugs from ages 19-22, hiding from myself and pretending to be someone else was a massive cause and effect.

My mother has always asked me why I did drugs. If I hadn’t left the state to go to college, which I screwed up doing drugs, and stayed home, maybe I wouldn’t have done them? Karma is karma. There are drugs everywhere.  Staying home wouldn’t have changed that, but being away my family also meant they couldn’t see what I was doing.

When I moved back to Pa I thought I would have a family who cared about me.  It was a very big shock, although I don’t know why, to find out that I didn’t.  They didn’t care a whit about what happened to me and proved it over and over and over.  I thought, “Stupid me”

I had that transplant 2 1/2 years ago.  Not one member of my family was there for me that day, except my husband. The rest of my  family went to the beach on vacation. Not one phone call to even see if I was dead. My mother did stop by the ICU on her way out of town. My Dr said my transplant was in the nick of time. My husband was scared to death and there was no one there to support him. My family didn’t like him, either, and they made no bones about saying so. The negative gossip was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  They didn’t know him, but being married to me was all that was needed. I was told I had maybe a couple weeks of life left at the most, if they hadn’t been able to find a liver in time. I’d been bed ridden for about a year by then. My husband had to do everything for me, even wipe my ass and help me on and off the toilet. I was on a massive amount of drugs to keep protein from building up in my brain and going into a coma.  My body swelled up so big with fluid it was leaking out through sores on my legs. Thinking was hard.  All I could was lay in bed and watch movies on my DVD player.  We don’t own a TV.  He would help me walk to the living room to sit or out to the garden and sit. Not one get well card. No one called.  Recently, when talking to my neice she told me how bad I looked before my surgery.  I bit my tongue and kept my mouth shut because I wanted to say, “How would you know?  I didn’t see you once the year before my surgery. . . .  They have no clue.  I was bedridden for a year after the surgery because I had to relearn how to walk and feed myself. After the surgery my back fractured along with 7 ribs, one at a time. The wall of solid pain didn’t even begin to diminish for six weeks. If anyone would have asked me if I wanted to die, I would have gladly gone. Hopefully I will be having spine surgery in the next couple months so they can place sensors in my spine to try and cut off the pain before it reaches my brain. I hate taking these goddamn painkillers. But when I stopped ‘using’ my life made me continue. what would my life be like with no pills, even though half of them are so I don’t reject my new liver.

Now, as I try to bring this sob story to an end, as I try to figure out what all of this means, I know, as we go through painful events in our lives, we want to see them as being separate . We want to see them as things that were done “to” us, and we carry these pains, stuff them down, and try to make ourselves think it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we let it ruin our lives.  I can honestly say that this hateful family of mine is not ruining my life. I seek to understand and change the karma I brought into my life of having a family such as this one.

It hurts me greatly when I think of it, but I have had my practice of Buddhism to help me understand that happiness comes from within.  I can’t ask anything else to change it for me.  That change has to come from within.  Without this practice of Buddhism I would have been dead a long time ago.  It was the direction I was going in.  But winter always turns to spring.  Every single year.  Every year is a new opportunity I have to live a life of value, and to pass that value on, because the only legacy we can every really leave behind is the effect we have had on other people, that has helped their life in turn.  If my family sees no value in me, then that is a cause they make for themselves. I let this consume me for the past four years out of my 60, but no more.  I try to think, what value would they bring into my life?  I have tried, though, because I see how much it pains my mother to see her daughters at such odds.  All 3 of us – none of us are friends.  She thinks she did something wrong.  She didn’t.  I so love and appreciate my mother and if this illness brought me home to live a block away from her, then that is a wonderful benefit. If anything changed with my sisters  it would take all three of us to want it to be better, and two out of three don’t.

I tried for so long to “make” my family see me as a real person – to want to include me in their lives. I’ve pleaded, wrote letters and even screamed and yelled in frustration, “Why? What have I done that is so terrible? Why are you being such a lousy sister?” I wanted to have even one person say they were sorry for letting me go through a traumatic illness, surgery alone, but my younger sister insists, “I have nothing to be sorry about”.  You have nothing to be sorry about??   She doesn’t get it.  Not at all. I wanted an apology for what she did to me. She’s says she didn’t do anything to me.  She’s right. It’s what she didn’t do. 

According to my family I am toxic. I am the scapegoat for all the problems in the family even though they haven’t been around me. This year, for Christmas, my mother and I cooked dinner and invited family to come.  They did, but there was also a Christmas party planned at my nephew’s house.  Everyone was invited but me so there wouldn’t be any problems. There will be no more Christmas dinners, or birthdays or fourth of July picnics.   I won’t be where I am truly not wanted.  What did they think I was going to do?  Christmas presents I had for one sister are still in my closet.  The birthday card I had for my other sister on March 15th was never sent. For awhile one sister did pretend to care – the one who just had heart surgery, but due to urgings from the family passing gossip, she, too, cut off communication. If I could think of what I did to cause this unforgivable animosity I could deal with it better, but I can’t.  I just don’t understand people who can be so hurtful andso selfish

So I ask myself, why do I want them in my life? What is the purpose of family? Do I judge myself by the way I am judged? Am I the person they judge me to be? No.

I know that what happened when I was five, when my sister made it clear she wanted no part of being my sister – she meant it, even though she didn’t think it at the time, and I’m sure doesn’t even remember saying it. I know the way I felt about myself helped lead me to drugs. I also know, through my study of life through Buddhism these past 27 years that this was karma I caused for myself, somewhere, somehow. It is what I do with this understanding that will either change it or perpetuate it.

For my own sanity I have to let my family go. Stop trying to make them love me, because they don’t. They really, really don’t. They are a group of people that kisses and hugs at holidays and talks about the weather and their jobs and kids, and then doesn’t speak to each other again until the next holiday. So shallow. That holds no value for me. I wanted a sister to be my friend. What is an adult sister but a friend. Someone you talk to about your life. Who you are. I wanted too much from my family. I see that now. I have no value to them. How could we possibly be friends? So how could their children or their children want me as their aunt. So here I am at age 60, finally realizing with utter completeness, I – Have – No – Family. I do still have my mother who loves me and shakes her head at the lack of compassion her family shows me. When she passes, I doubt I will ever be a reason to hear from any member of my family again.  I have my own children and grandchildren, but my immediate family no longer exists.

Now I’m going to go blow my nose and wash my face and take this pile of garbage out to the trash for the last time.

September 2015. Labor Day. I just went back re-read this and thought I’d write a catch up. My entire family and friends are at my older sisters camper at Raystown Lake, so nothing has changed there. Even if they decided I was worthwhile to be around I don’t think it would mean anything to me. Such is life. I also had the surgery on my spine a month ago but it caused complications I’m still healing from. AND 3 weeks ago I started on the new Hepatitis C drug so my fingers are crossed!! And lastly, I bought myself a present. A new keyboard I’m excited. I can record 6 tracks.

Tina Turner. . .

Tina Turner today
Tina Turner today

. . .and her Buddhist practice. Through many things posts I’ve put up, and conversations I’ve had with people, many people know that I am a Nichiren Buddhist.  I don’t slam any other religion because I believe that you can find good teachings in all religions and if someone takes those teachings and applies it to their life and it affects the way they live their life then it is not up to me to say that you are wrong and I am right.  I have Christian friends and I post on Christian blogs. We each have to find our path.

Sadly, there are many people who say they are Christian, in the US, and because Christianity is dominant in this country, it makes you feel that it is Christianity is the number one religion in the world.  It isn’t.  There are many people who are Christian in name only, or only call on God’s help when they are in a dire position, and can still be hateful to the people around them at the same time.  What is taught doesn’t change anything about their behavior.  They believe in God because it is what they were taught growing up.  There wasn’t any choice.

If everyone around you tell you it is true, then you are going to think it is true. I realized at a young age people were told to believe something, but I couldn’t get an answer to the question, “why?”  It was always an answer saying because God says so.  God says this or that, or wants this or that, and we were to believe something with the credibility of science fiction – in my opinion.

I recently wrote a post https://watchandwhirl.com/2015/02/23/why-do-you-believe-what-you-believe/  I ask people this question a lot, honestly asking why?  Is it all you know?  Is it what you were taught?  Did you follow a different path and then found Christianity? Have you ever seriously looked at any other path with an open mind?  If you didn’t, was it because God would punish you for blasphemy? Do you honestly practice the teachings of your faith every day or just sometimes? Is there anyone out there who will answer me?

After searching for years for something that made sense, 27 years ago, when I was 34, I found Nichiren Buddhism.  I’m writing about this today because I found 2 minute clip of the Tina Turner movie, “What’s love got to do with it?” If you remember the movie, she turned to Buddhism when her life was at a very low point.  She made it out of a very bad and abusive relationship through chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

They aren’t magic words that change things – and you aren’t praying/chanting or asking something – out there – to change things for you, or saying that it must be the will of a higher being who wants me to experience this, you realize that it puts you squarely in the drivers seat.  You know the only person who can make changes, is yourself.  And what your frame of mind is, will directly affect how you respond to things in your life.

I found another clip of Tina Turner, in an interview where she talks about why she is a Buddhist.  I thought some of you might find this interesting.

Here’s another one with her as well, and when you listen to her chant, I can do this right along with her word for word because I’ve spoken it thousands of time.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOsr_ZOi-Jo

Thank you for coming into my part of the world a short while.

Peeling the Onion (and I don’t mean food!)

peelingOnionphoto credit to:k2adnausean.blogspot.com

I have spent most of my adult life studying human nature. There is a reason why we are the way we are. Why we react to life the way we do, and there is a reason why it’s so hard to react differently to something when we want to so much. When it’s too late. We realize too late and tell ourselves,

“I wish I had not said that, done that, reacted that way”
“I wish I had kept my mouth shut. Why do I always react like this?”
“Why does so -and-so always make me mad and I lose my temper?”

The next time a similar thing happens, we react the same way whether we want to or not. We can’t stop ourselves. It’s part of our nature.

So why do we do it? Why can’t we can’t change ourselves and change the way we do things just by thinking about it. You can’t change just by wanting to. It takes work. We can’t understand it intellectually. Goodness knows, I’ve tried and it doesn’t work.
There are things happening in my life I have”allowed” to hurt me over and over, thinking, why are they doing this “to” me. The range of pain it has caused me at times has taken over everything, because I KNOW I’m a good person. I don’t deserve it. I’m trying to help them understand I’m not the person they think I am. The more I try, the worse it gets. I’ve been told by 2 family members that I’m toxic – and all I said was, I wished our family could come together and find a way to be happy. ( My sister had open heart surgery 2 weeks ago. I couldn’t go to the hospital because it would have caused a scene and I’m sure that since I didn’t go they are now saying, since I didn’t go, it shows I don’t care about my sister. Wow, what a dilemma. Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t.

Everyone has problems in their lives they think can never be fixed because of . . . .

Bottom line – I do deserve it. Somewhere, somehow, I did something to make that cause. This is what it means by ” What goes around comes around”, or the Christian saying of “you reap what you sow”, or Buddhists say, “the law of cause and effect” It all means the same thing.

Also keep in mind that Christians also use this (excuse) quite heavily when things don’t work out the way they pray, saying God does this, or God wants that, God came into my heart and told me . . .or God has a plan for my life. If you pray for something and it doesn’t work than it was part of God’s plan and he doesn’t want you to . . . If there is success in what your pray for you think “God works in mysterious ways”

Good or bad you always have a reason that God wanted it this way. This is so engrained in the human psyche, from birth, that some people can’t possibly think what they were told all along, could possibly be wrong. What would people say? When my mother left her church to practice Buddhism 26 years ago after being heavily involved in church activities her entire life, it caused quite a crisis, but she knew, with no doubt it was the right thing. She was 55 when she finally decided to open her eyes and question what she had been told and quit following the followers and start thinking for herself.  But for most people, they never venture beyond their belief system and It becomes, simply – THE TRUTH. If they allow themselves to question it, then many things unravel in their lives. Their family. Their friendships. Their social life.

If you really don’t live your life using what the Bible teaches you ( and there are many good teachings in the Bible) and just say you believe in God, but it really doesn’t effect the way you live your life except maybe you go to Church for a wedding service, or maybe at Christmas, then none of this matters. But for many people, if you have nothing that teaches you the difference between right and wrong, you’re in trouble.

It also allows people to have an understanding that it is God who is doing something “to” their life and that is all the reason they need, because intellectually they can’t understand that it really is themselves who are doing things to their lives that causes the effect to happen. Many people believe things to happen “to” them. And to top it off – it is all because HE loves them. The power in the universe loves them? The need for love and comfort, to know that something “out there” loves them and cares about them. He doles out benefits and strikes down the people you don’t like.  You may not think that, but many people do. It allows them to judge other people they think aren’t living right, and they have the right to interfere in their lives because they don’t believe the way you do. That is so very very wrong.  And definitely not what Jesus would do.

If people spent more time working on their own failings they’d have less time to worry about the gay guys who moved in next door, who just got married and who are also adopting a baby. “They might turn the baby gay!”  Ignorance is rampant.  Many people use the excuse to hurt people by saying, “God hates fags!”, or some other hateful thing about any subject they don’t think is right.  Please believe me, I am not slamming Christians.  It is belief system, whether it’s right or wrong, that allows people to do and say these things. it has to be right for them – But the ones who really do learn from the teachings and become better humans, isn’t that the main thing? If your faith enables you to learn how to be a good human, then I can’t say it is wrong for them.

I do believe there is power in the universe. There is rhythm in the universe. A very precise rhythm. I believe the mind has tapped into only a small portion of what we’re capable of.  We can harness that rhythmn. But it is hard when our belief system is based on the faulty memories of stories being passed down for hundreds of years by people who had no ability to understand, so they tell their stories to the capacity of their understanding at that time, and ever since, politicians for centuries have used religion and the fear of hell to control the masses.  History tells us how, when and why “Christianity” came into being. How it was manipulated, yet people still swallow it hook line and sinker.  If it gives them peace, it is their choice. We have much more capacity to understand than we give ourselves credit for.

Many Christian teachings come from Buddhism, a thousand years earlier. Some of it word for word.  since their is no outside god in Buddhism, where did they learn it?  And where was Jesus between the ages of 12 and 32? He was traveling, learning about life.  He spent a great deal of time in India, learning from the teachers there.  It is in their teachings – but not in yours.  In your teachings, he just “disappeared” and came back into play at the age of 32 to teach what he had learned. No one talks about that.

But now,  in order to be a good Christian you have to believe that every word in the Bible came from God, or was “inspired” by God. Moses talked to God on the top of the mountain and he brought down the ten commandments – very good things to live by. But those ten commandments are a lot older than Moses – a story retold so many times, and with each telling it changed a little, just like gossip of today. It was all so miraculous to them, it had to come from “a” God!

This world has seen many gods who were believed strongly by many people, based on the capacity of their ability to understand.  Why is your God the right one and every other one wrong?  Because they were disproved?  Because we finally understood thunder and knew it wasn’t Thor throwing bowing balls in the heavens? Because that is what you were told and the power of suggestion is very real and strongly believed in.  It becomes real.  It gets embellished, and even though people know what gossip is, they still pass it along, and people believe it, change it a little, and pass it along again, just like the Bible and people say every single word in the Bible came from God.

The capacity of people’s understanding at that time was not what it is today. Noah’s flooding of the world was very real to them, because their understanding of the world was very small. Was there an Ark? Quite possibly. Did the world flood. Absolutely not. They had a flood, and to them the whole world flooded.  Yet this story is still passed on to children and the ignorance is passed along with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  Eventually you tell then Santa and the Tooth fairy aren’t real, because they aren’t, but another unbelievable story is passed on and through that power of suggestion, becomes real.  Who told you about God?  Think about it.  Who told you God was real and and how often did you hear it?  Hear something often enough and it becomes truth.  And we want it to be true.

Many people are Christians in name only, as it is with any faith. Some people thinking it better to believe just in case there really is a heaven or hell after they die. BTW, I do have many Christian friends. Because they are my friends I believe them to be good people. i wouldn’t have them as my friend otherwise.  Our friendship is not based on their religion or mine, but it does sometimes make for lively conversation! Everyone has the right to choose what makes sense to them. It’s their life. So please, my purpose is not to offend, but to educate.

Back to the title of my post, because I have gotten off topic – Peeling the onion. Life is like peeling an onion. When you try to change and correct your behavior, it’s like peeling the outside of an onion, it’s very easy. The more you peel, the harder it gets. The layers get thicker. It starts to break off in pieces. It’s painful. The onion even makes you makes you cry.

What are you peeling the onion for? It’s because something is not right in your life. Anyone who says their life is perfect and they have no struggles is only trying to hide them from you. Why peel down through the layers of your human nature when it’s so easy to say, “it’s not my fault!” ” This is God’s plan for my life.”

I’m peeling my onion because something so strong is making me unhappy. How about you?  Bad relationship? Unsuccessful business? A child goes off the deep end into drugs or crime? The person you love left you or is sleeping with someone else, you or someone close to gets very sick? The list goes on and on. In each case you can say,
“It’s not my fault”. It’s not my fault!” “It just happened. ‘I’m a victim!”
“I didn’t do anything to deserve this!”
“It’s just happening “to” me for no reason”

But it is happening ” to” you for a reason. There is something fundamental in your life you need to learn – and if you try to figure it out intellectually – you WILL NOT figure it out. and it will happen over and over until you get to the root cause, which is – it is your karma – the effect of something you caused – even if you don’t think you did – or it wouldn’t be happening in your life.
You are reaping what you sowed. You can’t pick and choose when that happens. Either you believe that statement or you don’t, but it is a fundamental truth in Christianity – and in Buddhism. Every effect in your life you have caused to happen. Every single one of them whether you want to believe it or not.

This is why, for 27 years, I have practiced Nichiren Buddhism. Not Zen. Not Tibetan. Not Shinto or the other sects. Buddhism, like Christianity has gone through many changes and has many sects.

I want to peel my onion, tear off the layers of my life, the deluded parts of me that keep me from being absolutely happy. There are two kind of happiness. Relative – caused by fleeting moments in your life, and absolute happiness that is not shaken by anything that happens to you. Uncovering your true self isn’t easy, but that is what you find in the center of the onion.
___________________________________________
Mickey. I have embellished a lot more than what I wrote in that reply on a post. I’ve told you before, since everything happens for a reason – there is also a reason you found me and a reason I found you. This is a subject that is close to my heart.  I will tell you anything you want to know if you want to find out how to peel your own onion!

The only legacy we can ever really leave behind when we die is the effect we have had on other people. Hopefully that effect is good and is passed on to others. Peace in this world can’t be mandated.  Absence of war is not peace. It comes from one person passing it to another.  The change in one single human being can change the world.  We have to do it ourselves. If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get what we’ve always got.  Take a look at the world today.  It looks like a mess to me, like we are trying the force the world to change.  It won’t work that way and it never has.

Thanks for reading. For any further understanding you can also go to http://sgi-usa.org