Sunday, April 26, 2015

Terrible terrible news from Nepal, Katmandu where I've traveled and circumambulated the stupa there in the center of town. The chaos of power lines overhead, the thin children, the skinny dogs, the cacophony of horns blaring, the stink of stagnant water, garbage and diesel fuel exhaust. Bright colors of the saris. The displaced Tibetans praying in the square, spinning hundreds of prayer wheels. And now an earthquake adding to the misery, the disastrous heaving and parting of the earth, toppling buildings and tearing roads apart and crushing families.

O if I could only go there right now to be part of the relief. Haiti was the same way, the total destruction, so many injuries, not enough medical support.

How did the Kopan monastery fare? The sweet nuns rolling fragrant powder into incense sticks, giving us chai and cookies in their temple.

May we all be safe and well. May we be held in love and compassion.

Eden left for LA this morning. Always letting go of our children.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My friend Heidi made this video: hilarious, especially the music.

I'm sleeping all night. NO BABIES ALLOWED.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two births yesterday, at another today. My student and I are sitting in the kitchen looking over Puget Sound, expansive view with the Olympic Mountains on the horizon. The momma is in her bedroom being quiet and still, wanting privacy. The tub lady is setting up the birth tub. This mom caught her last baby in the water, wants to do that again.

The two year old is being entertained by her big sister.

Yesterday's big baby boy. Today's baby is a boy too. Tonight I hope to sleep all night. That would be so great.  

I have kitchen envy here. Besides the million dollar view, the kitchen is tidy with cupboards galore and a sink and a dishwasher and lighting. I could go on. My kitchen is more Nepali, a pot on a fire ring on the floor. With goats and entrails. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sara and me and baby Christina


Holly and I headed up to 'our' hiking trail on Tiger Mountain (well Holly whined about my short leash because of my call schedule) so I managed it, a few hours outside the city in the beauty of the new forest growth. Trillium! Young fern fronds! Trees down and sun blading through the boughs.

Before we get there, at the trailhead, homeless encampment #4 along the paved road. A generator, porta-potties in a row, a kitchen, a lounge with a flat screen TV, an office and wooden pallets with tents and tarps, homes. A man and a boy, father and son? They smiled at us and petted Felix. The boy was working on a computer. A woman with a small dog. Fragments of their former lives. All under the forest canopy beside the freeway, warm spring air, nettle shoots and leaf buds on the alder.

Writing this though my heart breaks, breaks with the thrush song in the pines and my brothers and sisters living outside in such circumstances. I still haven't found a way to hold all the sorrow and joy in one place. And so unexpected to to find a homeless camp at the edge of the woods where I go for solace. It no longer works to 'forget' that we are always in the slipstream of change, that we aren't separate from all that is. The great birth and the great death, the brief time we call our lives.

As Larry Ward, a dharma teacher said recently, "Who are you? The Dalai Lama knows who he is. Do you know who you are?" It's not enough to have our saints and heroes. We must be ready to respond in the present moment.

Holly gave the guy in the office a few bucks. We talked with the woman with the dog. I am you, sister. I could easily be where you are. I offer you kindness. May you be well and safe and happy.

Friday, April 17, 2015

I sent this child off to Waldron Island to harvest seaweed. We fell asleep watching Sherlock last night. There is nothing like having a child you've sent out in the world come back for a visit. Nothing like it.

Before this was taken, we'd had a session at the gym and after a yoga class. I got to introduce her to my buddies. I fed her a big breakfast. I slipped a few bills in her pocket. Never ends, does it? That mix of pride and worry and tremendous love.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

One of my heroes has gone.

I heard her speak once at a conference. With towering white hair,  she came on stage, bosom preceding her (as my mother would say, 'like the prow of a ship'). And yes, she talked about the 'psycho-sexual experience of childbirth' in her clipped British accent. I've never been the same since.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ok so in the last eleven days, our practice had, count 'em seven babies Whew. I'm exhausted. This morning in the wee hours we welcomed a hefty 11 pound boy on the bedroom floor. Momma was pretty quiet and efficient. Poppa was grateful we were there because he caught the last baby a few years ago by accident. That labor was too swift for any of us to get there.

I'm so tired.

On the home front, the electrician was here all day yesterday getting ready for the walls to be closed in ie: insulation and drywall. Hot damn.

In the meantime, Eden is arriving in a few days and I've cleared out one of the basement rooms so she'll have a place to sleep. Can't wait to spend some time with her.

I've done the wash, swept, washed the dog bed where one of the katz had pooped (sigh), fed myself and meditated.

Now to take said dog out for his constitutional. And pray no one else goes into labor so we can all recover and sleep all night.

When I told Sara she handled the last birth 'adroitly' she asked for the meaning of the word.

adroit :  having or showing skill, cleverness, or resourcefulness in handling situations adroit
 leader> <adroit maneuvers>

Then she hugged me. 

Saturday, April 04, 2015

A warm April day. Stayed in bed until 10:30!!!! almost a record. My body feeling every bit of her 65 years today. Achey knees, sore back, easily winded, sprained finger throbbing and inflexible. Anxiety my friend and companion. An email from the owner of the birth center where my clinic is-raising the rent $300 a month and by the way, they'll be out of town for a week (in Maui) so get back to him with any comments after they get back. Ha!

I can't figure out the whole thing. I'm privileged to live in a house. I have enough food. I'm white in a white dominated culture. I have health and dental insurance. I'm pretty healthy. I'm fortunate enough to have and care for pets. I can spend time going to retreats. I will somehow manage to go to the UK with my children this summer. My problems are 'First World problems' as they say in my POC sangha.

And yet I'm afraid. I'm afraid that my business will fail. I'm afraid I'll end up old and alone. I'm afraid I'll outlive my meager savings. (whine, whine, whine)

Where's the joy in all this?

I planted hostas, a crab apple and a hydrangea today. In my new yard. Felix found every muddy trench on our walk on the Chief Sealth trail, an asphalt trail under the power lines that winds and climbs through my 'hood.  The white dog with black paws, that's my dog.

On my mantle is a beautiful hand carved Quan Yin, her clothing lifted by the winds and her feet held  by the surging waves. In her hand she holds a vase dipping downward symbolizing spilling the waters of compassion. She Who Hears The Cries of The World.

Beside her is the awful photo of Michael Brown's father wailing at his son's grave. surrounded by other mourners.

We all suffer. We all have the capacity for joy. And between those two places we swing.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Well, Christina Nicole weighed in at 9# 14oz, a whopping big girl. Her brother was disappointed as he is still the only boy with (now) three sisters. A lovely daytime birth with the movie 'Frozen' running over and over for the older kids. (arghhha) I'm pretty sure I can live without that movie for the rest of my life.

Listening to David Sedaris in the car and laughing my ass off as I drive. I'm sure I look demented to other drivers but I don't care.

The dog went berserk when I came home because he's been in the house way too long.

The ladder to the loft is all glued together and clamped with big rods. It's beautiful. Jim is an artist with carpentry skills.

Eden is coming to visit and work a bit next week. I don't quite know how this slipped by me. The film festival is starting and she's bought tickets for a film a friend made (she is an LA girl). I'm not sure where she'll be sleeping but we'll figure something out. I could clear out a basement room...

I could put her in the loft if it has walls.

I am now feeling like I'm losing it a bit. As the $ trickles away and the rooms remain undone, I now understand how people can live with stud cavities. They ran out of money. And that was that.

Do chickpeas ever get soft? I've been cooking them on and off for three days and they're still like pebbles, slightly soft pebbles. I know, I know, I should have used the pressure cooker.

What a pleasure to attend births with Sara. What a smart, gentle and perceptive young midwife she is. How lucky for the ladies of the future to find their way into her care.  Yes, I tell her all this. She needs to know.