Wednesday, 26 June 2013

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is

~ TS Eliot, Four Quartets

Chris Corwin
"Lacks concentration," they said on report cards of my childhood.  They didn't know nuthin' then about the giant box of distractorama that is the interwebs.  This inability to concentrate on one thing for longer than a minute is why I flit online and open 60 different browsers at once, even though I'm only half focussed on any of them.  It's why I send off pieces of writing to editors too early.  It's why I need to meditate and why I can't start and it's why I initially wrote this blog post by hand.  The repetition that comes via things like writing by hand, and meditation, and doing the dishes, and yoga, is the new black, the constant rhythm and flow of something-that's-the-same-thing a potential ocean of cohesive peace, the opposite to the siren call of the internet.

I'm not the only one who has problems with focus.  Even without the health issues from which a lot of my attention issues stem, like many other writers I would still be battling the call of the internet and the problems that it creates when our minds are so full of other people's words it's harder to find our own.

I read on an ADHD site yesterday that when you are fully present to what is in front of you, time slows and expands.  I know this space.  It's where all the beauty happens.  It's what I'm searching for, that peace where I become so fully myself and so into the moment that I disappear.  That's eactly the reason why I used to get stoned.  Exactly it.

Sometimes I can't get to that space.  On bad health days I flail around in a hell of fractured flittering from one thing to the other, thinking I'll find somewhere to alight.  I keep trying through more distractions to reach the spaciousness and it is going in exactly the wrong direction.  I feel so stupid and clotted and at the mercy of my body, my ragged mind, my knee-jerk reactions that send me to look at Twitter, at Facebook, at the next link, when what I am craving for is to look @ No-Thing.

The No-Thing.  The fullest empty space that feels big enough to roll around in.  The space where the stories come from, and where we can hear ourselves stopping thinking. Where everything's turned to white.

Despair and Bliss


Saturday, 22 June 2013

Do not, when people tell you they are depressed and wish to die, regale them with reasons why the world is so beautiful that it is simply wrong for them to think that way.  It is true that the world is so beautiful, but the world is also brutal, nasty and despairingly flawed.  Try to resist propelling any repulsion you feel outwards but instead remember that you too will one day die, and that unless you are extremely lucky you too will one day feel this way.

If you tell them that they must stop feeling this way, it denies the black moon beauty that is found even within those spaces where we wish to be no more.  It denies the golden thread that runs through everything.  Leonard Cohen's crack runs very deep, right to the core.


Which is a tragedy, and an opportunity for Kelvin Cunnington, and also a fine, fine beauty.  Depending on what world you find yourself in.

The world to you bares her beauty.  You roll in her mists, and so you should.  The world to them is a differently made-up composition of chemicals and genetic mutations that make what you are saying not just a farce, but the fact that you would deny their experience to their face a slap and a travesty.

Stand Alone Complex by =Lucid-Light
When people tell you they are depressed and wish to die, take the beauty that you swim in in the world and try and creatively package it.  Not a mass-produced item, but instead take her moonlight and her sun and if you can, help them find out what it is that they love, what it is that they crave, what it is that they need so badly that it has pulled itself completely inside out and become its own opposite.  And if you can at all possibly do it, package it up into something just for them, and give it to them.  You may not be able to.  But if you can, do not expect the sort of response that you would receive if they were bathed themselves in moonlight.

You cannot fix anybody at all.  But you can accept them.  Acceptance of them may just help in some very small way for them to find acceptance of their own in being in this space, to see the deep beauty that exists even here. 

It is a paradox that making yourself at home in any space helps you to stop embedding yourself so hard into it, and might help you, in whatever way is required and possible in your situation, to begin the climb out again.

The Alchemy of Illness


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

"Much as sick people complain, ofter vociferously, about their isolation and the lack of sympathy from others (we constantly switch doctors and friends in search of the "good ear"), many come to recognize that this invisible wall between the sick and the well protects both.  Laura Chester wrote that "the isolation of illness did not seem to be a bad thing," for she was "left alone to revive the inner seed, which had withered under the intensity of interaction."  There came a point in the depths of my illness when I realized that the people closest to me could no longer bear to hear of my despair, which was inconsolable;  it seemed to short-circuit their capacities for attention and compassion.  After a long night of self-confrontation, I decided to keep that bitter nest of despair to myself from then on - and a curious shift occurred.  While I felt scared, like a lost child whose cries could not be heard, I also felt infused with power, a power I associate with mountain climbers and deep-sea divers, people who face their destiny and know their survival rests in their own two hands.  I felt, to use Chester's words, "my soul opening and strengthening, like a muscle."

Not only is it better for the sick to be left alone at times, it is also better for the well to leave them at times.  Healthy people can be contaminated by the gloom and depression of the ailing if they come too close or have too much sympathy;  it is commonly called burnout in the helping professions.  If that were to happen too often, as Virginia Woolf surmised, "buildings would cease to rise, roads would peter out into grassy tracks, there would be an end of music and of paintings";  for culture is created and maintained by those with the energy, enthusiasm, and idealism of health.  The well need to be well for the world to continue, just as the sick need to be sick so the world can be regenerated.  Each has a necessary job to perform."  Kat Duff - The Alchemy of Illness

I happen to like grassy tracks.  But the end of music and paintings?  Okay then, let the distance remain.
Seriously, for someone who is very intelligent, the way my brain often works is really frustrating for me to handle.  I am Speedy Snail - my racing mind drags my fatigued body behind it.  That racing mind also combines with fogginess and blogs and strange debilitations that make me feel like I have the mental capacity of a squid (apologies to squids).

It's a paradox.

Some things just seem to take AGES for me to get sorted out in my head, even though I read about them countless times and experiment within my own body.  Understanding my own symptoms is very hard.  And it's all so complicated to sort out.  If you don't make copious notes of why you're taking a particular supplement, it can be lost to the pre-Alzheimer's fog even though it's a major component of your journey towards health.  Weird.  Being a person with a chronic illness in this modern day is an complex exercise in complete body biology.  In an age of genetic mutations and single-nucleotide polymorphisms and methylation cycles and the ability to test those things and the internet, hours of profitable research can go by and yet the confusion can still remain.  Even if you have a treating physician.

I've been supplementing as an undermethylator for the past year, because that's what I suspect I am.  And as far as I knew, you are either one or the other.  But all the while, I've also been rather confused because there have been times when I have been able to readily identify with some of the symptoms of overmethylation.  And I've also found by experimenting with occasional doses of niacin when I'm feeling overanxious and horridly wired that it's calmed me like a baby being rocked.

It's taken me until the last month to realise that people may be one or the other, but their bodies are still able to flip from undermethylation to overmethylation very easily - thank you, Dr Ben Lynch.  And flip back just as easily, if you know what you're doing (I am learning;  mainly it's a morass of confusion and experimentation and greater learning up ahead).

I have begun taking 5-MTHF, which is an active form of folic acid.  The first week I took it, a light came on and myself returned to myself.  I felt good, relatively speaking.  Still fatigued, still a little anxious, but the depression lifted.  That's the real me.  I need to remind myself and those around me who see me when the light's on that THAT IS THE REAL ME!  Please do not confuse substitutes.  And please do not take it personally when I am irritable, paranoid, suspicious.  Because I simply cannot help it :(

So I had a week of feeling great and then wham - down came the shutters.  Just like the experience of so many others (see example number 2).  But I know I'm onto something.  It's just working out how much my body needs, because taking them overmethylates me even further than I already am at times. 

Some people are so sensitive to certain supplements for whatever reason that they need to start with tiny, tiny dosages - the amount that can fit onto a fork tine, in some cases - and build up slowly, slowly.  It may seem ridiculous that such small doses of things can work - but work they do.  It's why I'm hesitant to dismiss homeopathy out of hand.

And so now for me it's working out how much of that stuff I can take without having adverse reactions.  And just to add to the confusion, it feels like beginning methyl B12 and 5-MTHF has thrown everything else out of whack now too.  All those supplements I have been taking as an undermethylator, like SAMe, my lifesaver for depression and suicidal ideation?  Seems to be making me anxious now.  Because SAMe is a methyl donor, and when you're overmethylated you have too much methyl going on (hence the use of niacin - it mops up excess methyl donors going on in the body).  Which is hard to get used to when I have felt for ages that I haven't had enough.  And yet looking back in hindsight, I can clearly see now that the entire time I have been flipping backwards and forwards from undermethylation to overmethylation.

When I woke up this morning I felt the common wired-but-tired feeling.  My mind was racing but I felt sluggish.  Depressed.  Despairing.  Stuck.  Paranoid.  The paranoia is the worst;  it cuts me off from people faster than anything else can.  And so I took 50mg of niacin, and now here I am several hours later, feeling much more myself again, with the paranoia gone.

Orthomolecular medicine is the new kid on the block and it is going to change in the future how people with mental illnesses are treated.  I think with sadness of the people who have developed schizophrenia in the past, locked away in wards, when something as simple as niacin may have helped with their symptoms.

So anyway, all of this realisation about overmethylation proves the point once again that the problem with me (despite appearances to the contrary) isn't so much that I'm not trying hard enough.  It's that I regularly and constantly try too hard, want to go too quick, and don't even realise that that's what's happening half the time!

Back to the supplemental drawing board again.  A drawing board which needs to be wiped clean regularly, in the complex health issues I face.

Economically Unviable


Wednesday, 12 June 2013

According to the Melbourne Institute’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey, the majority of Aussies are better off now than they were ten years ago.  I am not one of those people.

I am in the process of applying for a disability pension.  It is horrible enough filling in page after page of personal details for faceless bureaucracy.  If I wasn't feeling small and losery and ashamed to begin with, this process would instill in me the levels of shame required for those who will claim support from the government.  After all, you cannot make this process too easy or else everybody will be rushing from their cubicles onto the social security bandwagon.

As a further insult to my flaccid confidence levels, as part of my application I have to provide details of my sole trader economic status for the transcription work I've been doing from home for the past three years.  Problem with that is that I haven't been keeping up with my tax payments.  Money’s tight, especially when you have a chronic illness, and managing my money well has never been one of my strong suits.  Which adds to my already flailing confidence because we are expected to juggle fiscal balls along with all the others  imposed upon us by a system that serves those at the top far better than it suits me at the bottom.  If we don't perform well in the areas that have been assigned to us as recognised markers of adultness – like being able to earn dosh – then we are failures, even if we happen to write some pretty good poetry, even if we say so ourselves.

This system pits its slaves one against the other, so that rather than feel sympathy for someone who’s struggling some may well be inclined to look down on me for being a financial mismanager.  It may be an occasion for them to pat themselves on the back, glad that they are not me.  It will also serve the purpose of getting them to focus on me, instead of the system we live under.  It serves its purpose well, (although there are signs of it crumpling round the edges as more and more of us question why the way we live is so completely alienating to us, the tellers of our own stories).

Some may be inclined to be glad they’re not me because of my chronic illness/pension-claiming/tax-dodging status.  Hell, I would.  Being me is not something you aspire to.  Unemployable (apparently, if job applications are anything to go by), I have been out on the edge of financial vulnerability for years.  I am the type of person who perpetuates that starving artist in the garret scenario by stupidly choosing as their passion writing, which does not pay well, if at all, and which is notoriously difficult to break into, requiring a hide of steel that was not made available to my genetic subset.  But then again, we do not seem to choose our passions;  they choose us.

I am the type of person who feels sorry for themselves, who complains on my blog about my situation instead of sucking it up and getting on with it.  But that's the problem with chronic illness – you can't always suck it up because you're ... well, you're not well.  I am the type of person who you cannot begin to understand because my illness is invisible and it's chronic and you can look at me and say, "But you look so well!" while I feel sick, and poisoned, and toxic and unhealthy.  I'm the type of person who is in bed for part of the day and then suddenly cleaning the bathroom at 10pm because I'm feeling up to it and feeling good and I want to contribute, and be useful, not a liability.

But I am the kind of person who has got myself into a bind so that before I can impose my small and defeated self upon the Department of Human Services I first have to fill in three tax returns and lodge them before I make a claim to the ATO to tell them that yes, paying this tax would mean that I would be not buying food or paying rent or paying for medications for myself.  Yes, it surely would, and would they mind it if I didn't pay it at all, or else if I paid it in lump sum installments?  And some most likely faceless person working in the cogs of those machinations will decide my future.  And whichever way it pans out, I will feel shit.  And some will judge me for not contributing.

Because there’s nothing we’re scared of more than someone else getting away with something we can’t.

But if it makes you feel better, whatever the ATO decides I will feel like I want to curl up into a small ball in the corner, a ball so small that I will complete some amazing magic trick of scientific law-defying and disappear into my very own black hole of economic unviability.

The Dairy Drug


Friday, 7 June 2013

Once, the thought of going bareblack and milkless with a cup of tea filled me with horror.  Now, apart from occasional lapses and semi-regular forays into cheese Twisties, I've been pretty much off dairy for close to a year.  I'd been thinking literally for years that I needed to kick dairy to see what happened, but it was always the milk in the cup of tea that killed my contemplation before it could turn into an intention.  (Because have you ever tried any other whitener in tea apart from milk?  Across the board, they are all plain disgusting.  In a fit of desperation I even resorted once to buying some of that coffee whitener to see if it would help milk up my tea but it tasted like it was made from a combination of floor sweepings and pig fat.  Sorta like a Hungry Jack's milkshake.  Nothing worked - not that, not almond milk, not rice milk, not oat milk, and definitely not soy milk.  Nothing replaces the taste of cow's milk in tea.  Nuthin'.)

These days, milk in my tea isn't something I even think about anymore.  It's just not an issue.  Though I still crave cheese, acclimatising to black tea has been achievable, and I am proof of something I could not do for years.  Yeah, I know, I know - in terms of accomplishment it's probably not up there, but in lieu of a brilliant career I gotta take the wins where I can get them.  And anyway, quitting dairy (by and large) is a big win.  According to some sources, up to 75% of the population are intolerant to dairy in some form.  And though dairy farmers are struggling to stay in existence, the problem there lies with parasitic supermarket chains holding them by the balls rather than a lack of resource for their product.  That's an awful lot of people who shouldn't be drinking dairy but who are.  I'm happy with myself that I've made the changes, albeit imperfectly, that I knew I needed to make.  Changing your diet is hard.

Like other stupid things I have consumed in my life like Christian conceptions of hell (though they didn't last long and I was skeptical from the start), unintelligent boyfriends and cigarettes, the wisdom you get when you come out the other side of consumption almost makes the stupidity of consumption worthwhile.  There is a kind of achievement involved in overcoming things you do not believe you can overcome, and if you are not careful you will fall into a vat of Hallmark sensibility when trying to describe it because it's true, you are bigger and stronger than you thought you were before, you can cope with more than you thought you could before, and you must stop italicising so many words in this blog post.

(Oh, and as an aside, I must say I didn't have any problem overcoming the thought of hell as preached by modern Christians.  I mean, what a bloody ridiculous concept.  So not only do you send your son to die for the sins of the earth even though everybody's still running around all sinny, but then you negate whatever it was he did by sending everyone who doesn't believe in him to hell?  What sort of an omnipotent loving thing are you?  You sound more like a psychotic sook to me.  But then different religions have different conceptions of hell - as in Buddhism and also even from within Christianity itself.  CS Lewis was a most eloquent speaker of the idea that hell is not anywhere that you are sent to, but a place that you choose yourself, echoing the idea amongst New Agers that there are two camps - those who define their lives with a service to others ethos, and those blood-suckers who live in service to self.  I could maybe even entertain the idea of hell as a place you choose if the rules of admittance were restricted to those parasitic elements who thrive in our current dying Western paradigms, who enjoy extorting other people for their own gain and calling it the market, or profit-making, or the way things are done.  That is service-to-self if ever I saw it).

But anyway, this is a post about dairy, not about my conceptions of hell.  Do keep to the point, Susan.

Which is part of the problem.  Because I am really struggling to concentrate on anything at all for very long today.  And that is probably at least partially due to the fact that last night I went sick eating spinach spaghetti that had dairy/cream in it, followed by a bit of parmesan on top, and then concluded with half a bar of white chocolate.  And now today, I'm all over the place concentration-wise, I've been sorta anxious and sorta depressed and sorta unable to get out of my bathrobe even though it's 3 pm.  I woke up feeling like I was coming down with bronchitis, and feeling sick in my stomach.

Pic of cheeses from Queen Vic Market by Alpha under a
CC attribution/noncommercial/sharealike licence
I've been really good for so long, apart from those Twisties forays (everyone has their limits, right?)  And I've been able to get away with those - I think.  I've gotten used to going without the occasional chocolate eclair, and in a way to the idea of not having cheese though I wanted it, and apart from the occasional mini chunk slobbered after whenever my partner was chopping some cheese off the block.  After a while the thought of eating cheese substitutes didn't fill me with despair, and I got used to putting nutritional yeast on my gluten-free pasta instead of a bunch of parmesan.

Then a couple of weeks ago I started taking digestive enzymes.  And even though I suspect that I have a dairy intolerance that is based on an inability to absorb protein rather than the sugars in dairy and that digestive enzymes as far as I can see don't help with protein absorption, I did begin to notice that lately I seem to be able to tolerate the occasional bit of gluten, the occasional bit of cheese.

Hence last night's ridiculous avalanche.  Like a teenager who had a stubby the weekend before and now thinks he can tackle that four-pack of UDLs this weekend, I have overestimated my body's abilities and fallen into today's mass lethergy and depression-that-didn't-need-to-happen.  And I only have myself to blame.

And dairy.  Bloody stupid practice we humans have developed.  Can you imagine if emus went around stealing the milk from sheep that was mean for their babies?  Stupid dairy.  Stupid.

I must say though that after spending all day feeling like this but still eating last night's leftovers for lunch, even though I felt like shite and nauseous, that this stuff is powerfully addictive and I have been eating it forever, and I am a stupid dolt who takes forever to learn and so I must cut myself some slack.

The thing that disturbs me though in my addiction is that even though it made me feel like that, within a body which is struggling for homeostasis as it is, the fact that I earlier took a few things that seemed to help quell the symptoms only made me think in that druggy way that sees an escape hatch that ooh, maybe it means I can just feast on dairy until it clogs all my arteries and gives me a heart attack.  Irritating thinking.  But still, it's good to know that an extra bunch of digestive enzymes, a dose of betaine (which reduces homocysteine, which is the inflammation response that rises when your body perceives an invader), and some Lactase for good measure, I feel a little better.

And because I'm a dickhead, I probably feel better enough that I won't be able to resist tackling half of the white chocolate bar that's still sitting in the pantry.  I'm a stupid bloody dolt because though it wrenches my guts and depresses my soul and makes me write in italics a lot, I still want to eat it even now. 

We are often allergic to the things we crave the most.  I don't need cocaine.  Dairy is my drug.

In the Dark, Out of the Deep


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Wind Song by Creating-Insanity under a CC 3.0 licence
The other day I woke early and couldn't go back to sleep.  There is something about the hours between 5 and 7am.  Not that I see them much, but my partner is one of those creatures I am jealous of, the ones who awaken in the dark to begin their days.  Occasionally, when I wake at this time it doesn't feel as if my body has run out of oil and my gears are crunching together and if I stay upright too long I will surely spontaneously combust.

When I wake at this hour and my body is behaving itself occasionally I find myself in the delicious zone that writers and creatives and sportspeople talk about, the zone of flow.  Almost an otherworldly feeling, like you've still got one foot half in the dreamspace, the perfect place where the space between your subconscious and conscious feels thinner, and images flow up as creative prompts.

Which is exactly what happened to me the other day.  I was lying in bed, feeling cosy and warm and happy that I could go back to sleep for several more hours, but then while I was lying there waiting for sleep to roll in like the tide I kept getting sentences in my head that I liked very much, and then a picture of a foggy nighttime landscape with gum trees and fog.  And so what the hell, I sat up and started writing a short story that rolled out from the image I saw.

And I kept writing and kept writing until I had for all intents and purposes finished writing an 1800 word story.  It felt finished, in the way that fiction and poetry often seems to come out of me, as if it's pretty much fully-formed and I just need to sit with it for a day or two, and then edit and rework and shape it, adding bits here and deleting bits there.  When this happens it feels like blessing, and I feel very fortunate to be able to have this sort of experience that comes out of nowhere seemingly unbidden.  Makes my innards where all this happens feel as mysterious and sexy to me as wintertime when the fog rolls in.

Creativity is tiring, especially with limited energy.  I think if I was healthier this sort of thing would happen more often.  But as it goes, I welcome it when it happens.

Don't know if the story is any good or not, but that's another story entirely :)

Symptoms in Body are Closer Than They Appear


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

CC pic by Barclakj
So I've had chronic health issues forever, right?  Like, 14 years since I developed glandular fever, which turned into chronic fatigue syndrome, and which has flowered out now into addressing issues of adrenal fatigue, pyroluria and possible genetic mutations.  (Many people with CFS have mutations in the MTHFR gene, and I suspect I do too, and I can't tell you how jazzed I am that if I have to have some sort of mutation it's in the gene that looks like a swear word.  Fitting).

The thing that has always surprised me about my illness is how hard it is for me to get a grip on my symptoms.  So often, trying to identify what is going on in my body, even if it screams, has the feel of looking through the wrong end of a telescope.  For example, yesterday I was speaking to the admin assistant for my CFS doctor who is writing up a medical report for me so I can claim some disability to make things a little easier.  She was asking me questions about symptoms for the report - did I have cognitive issues, did I have fatigue, did I have pain.

I answered no on the pain, even though right at that very time my shoulders were aching like a bastard.  The grand laboratory experiment that is Susie's body is always fiddling around with something, and lately it's been taking two different forms of folate.  Many CFS patients report doing well on them, as do MTHFR people, who often lack the ability to process the standard form of folate in vegetables and food.  After a consult with Dr Google I came across some people who report having problems using folinic acid, which is one of the forms of folate in this latest experiment, along with 5-MTHF.  And so after a few days of achingly sore muscles, I think I can safely say that giving the folinic acid the boot is the subject of tomorrow morning's experiment.

It gets confusing.

So when I was answering my doctor's assistant's questions, I answered no on the pain and then today had to email her and explain that actually, on second thoughts, I do have problems with pain.  I don't have problems every day with pain, but I do a lot of the time.  The report is a worst-case scenario of how you feel on your worst day.  So the pain symptoms go in too.  I feel so weird and silly when I do this sort of thing.

Even though I answered yes to every single symptom she asked me to report on, I still have this problem with applying for disability.  I feel like people are not going to believe me.  As part of the assessment for disability I now have to go and see a Centrelink GP.  And I'm scared that they are going to think I'm skyving, that they aren't going to think I'm debilitated enough because on my very good days I can work part-time and study part-time and walk the dog.  And I feel scared that they are going to think I'm skyving because I feel relatively happy at the moment.  As if I should be on the point of suicide in order to get disability.

It's a strange situation.

Yesterday I was doing some transcribing work, and I was wondering why it was that I was struggling sooooooo much.  Concentration is a big problem with me at times, and yesterday was excruciating even by my ADD standards in terms of being productive.  Did I take into account the fact that my shoulders were aching harder than they have in a very long time?  Not really.  I mean, I was aware of it, but it was like the synapse in my brain between cause and effect was old, dangly and stringy, like some Christmas lights from 1943.

Weird, that.  It happens all the time.  The strange distance between that which is so close to you that you sometimes cannot recognise what has crept up on you until you're on the couch.  Even while in another part of your brain you are achingly aware of it, and it is filling up all the spaces that clay and paragraphs would if that particular symptom wasn't there.

Like I said, it's weird.

So for those of you reading here who are struggling to manage yourselves, to understand what's going on with your body today, and to pace yourselves with whatever your health is throwing up at you, take heart ~ it hasn't become second nature to me either.  Not even after 14 years.

Prayer as Secular Breath


Saturday, 1 June 2013

Sometimes I think that just about everybody in the world would find some point of disagreement with everybody else on who or what God is or whether she/he/they exist at all.  Many people who do not believe in a god simply cannot ~ this is a holy unbelief.  It comes from their hearts breaking too much at the suffering of the world and the seemingly implacable lack of response from any god to that.  Unbelief made holy.

Because of all of this rolling range of difference when it comes to who or what makes up God or a god, you would think that therefore there would probably be just as many differences in opinion on what prayer is.  But I'm not so sure about that.  Regardless of who it's directed to, what drives the prayer seems to be a remarkably short range of things - gratitude, requests for help, requests for renewal, expressions of love.

I don't even think you need to believe in a personal god to pray.  Surely everybody on the planet has prayed at some point. Some see prayer as praying to that higher part of ourselves, the one that acts in our best interests and seems at times to help us respond to the lower part of ourselves, that which will keep us chained in fear.  In this sense, we all pray, and it has nothing at all to do with institutional religion and that whole bullshit arena of power and control.  In this sense it is a beautiful thing that softens my heart towards the world.

"Prayer is the bridge between longing and belonging" - John O'Donohue

Casa Tomada by Rafael Larrea Uribe