Inktober 8: Questions for god, I have a few, such as the big one: WHY?

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What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a happenin’

 

 

In this existence, you have an avatar, your ego or personality. It is comprised of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It is in your body. These things are yours. Your ego is yours. But it is not you.  

You are a soul, for lack of a word, that is a sub-sub-sub-sub, (I mean let’s go a few subs-) sub-part of the great universal consciousness from which all existence and non-existence springs.

So, you are a being (literally something that is)  having a level of consciousness. You are a little bit smarter (or more aware, if we want to define what smarter means in the case of consciousness) of the nature of life, the universe, and everything, than, say a bear or friendly neighborhood cat. (I mean I know some cats who are a few levels of consciousness above some humans, but speaking generally here.)

And that bear is maybe a bit more aware of life and the nature of existence than the parasites that live in his intestines from the rancid fish he ate –that fish itself only barely conscious of its existence and what life was before it croaked on the side of the river after having ingested some radioactive kelp from Fukushima (which is still DAILY dumping radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean - are YOU aware, are you paying attention?)

That is part of your duty, having a human consciousness that is not only aware of your self, that you are a being (parasites and such may not be so aware!), but also that there is existence beyond you, that the universe is bigger than earth and the stars we see. What an amazing awareness to have, cool level of consciousness humans!

But because we humans have such a conscious awareness of existence, we must therefore recognize our connection to each other and the earth, which is our life-giving mother, and the sun hers, and so on. That is, physically what higher consciousness looks like. The earth is the physical embodiment of our over soul, as she gives each of her inhabitants life through her energy and the chain of life upon it. It is incumbent upon us to have an awareness of this connection, to recognize its truth and reason, and to feel compassionate for her and for each other as brothers and sisters upon this planet  

We need to start taking care of the earth and each other. We are not divided in interests. We are not what they tell you we are in the media, from politics to pundits, to sadistic presidents, it’s all noise. You know in your heart what you believe and who you are. You know what makes sense for the earth and humanity, because you are a part of it. You don’t need to be told that the other people over there are different from you and scary and you mustn’t talk to them or care about them. They are monsters. And idiots after all. We need to put our egos down for a minute and listen to one another. Seek to understand one another. We are not so different, not when you begin to look, reach across the scary divide that the governments and entertainment industries and information drips try to drive between us. Reach out to something you fear, and try to understand it. Find compassion in your heart and a curiosity to understand. And find the joy and love that come from truly connecting with other people and finding reasons to love them. We all want love at a deeply inherent level. It is a need of our ego on this earthly plain. And that is for a purpose. You are here to play your ego. You will feel emotions and have emotional needs that will make you feel other things when they are filled or not. These emotional experiences, bad and good, are yours, they are part of the you that is your ego, which becomes ever a part of your soul as it grows and develops through the infinite existence. (Matter and Energy are one and energy is never created nor destroyed, law of the universe, google it.) 

By being mindful in the moment – present and aware in the moment – this is how you unlock the power to let the will of your true self take control of your life. If you are in the moment, you can observe your emotions, observe your thoughts, and navigate your way purposefully through your experiences through the decisions that you consciously make. That is your power. Wake up. Wake up to your power. It means honoring the ego, but learning how to observe it in the moment and deciding each moment how you, your true self, really wants to be. Honor the ego: your thoughts are not you, they are yours; your emotions are not you, they are yours; your experiences are not you, they are yours; your body is not you, it is yours. You are watching through your eyes. Through your other senses. The ways in which you sense the world are the ways in which your energy (matter = energy) interplays with the rest of the energies in the universe. We are literally, as a physical energy field embedded with consciousness, all connected. We are physically one. And we are mentally one, since all is mental. All is vibration. Study physics, it’s a really fun science, just like chemistry. It helps you understand this stuff. But you can also study Taoism and Hinduism and Buddhism and yeah the western traditions as well. I was raised in the Mormon tradition and there is much truth in that tradition as well. The traditions of the world cultures all speak the same truth, if you see it with the right eyes. You need to pay attention. Look. All the information is out there. And it is in you too. Listen to your heart, your passions. Follow what your heart rewards you with joy. Listen to your gut, your instinct knows things, it’s there to tell you when something doesn’t feel right. Listen to your intuition, it connects through subconscious to universal consciousness. Let it be your guide. 

Sorry this shit got deep, sometimes you just have to let it go there. And sorry for that crazy stream of consciousness, that’s just sometimes how it flow.

Wishing you peace, love, and healing.  

Honor the Ego, Realize Oneess

Sra

Inktober 6: Wilfred the Imaginary Humanoid Lizard

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On the right: Wilfred, the humanoid lizard imaginary friend of the 80’s, man! He was so cool! 80’s Tom Cruise cool. Cool jeans man! Nice leather jacket and white T! Look at those Ray Bans, man. We played basketball in our Connie-V All-Stars.  

On the left: Wilfred, the lizard of today. He’s evolved, man. He’s grown. Sure, he’s still cool af, he’s got the hip to the times beard, the spiky Mohawk with shaved sides, the trippy ass swirl tongue and hypnotic eyes. He’s got some slay in him yet. 

 

 

I used used to play basketball on the driveway of my childhood home, or on the half court halfway down the lane that was halfway down my street.   I didn’t play alone, my buddy Wilfred was usually there with me. Sometimes I wanted to be alone, but usually I played with my buddy. Sometimes I called him Will, and sometimes I called him Fred, and sometimes it was all formal like and I’d call him Wilfred. He was a humanoid lizard, but he played basketball surprisingly well, probably due to his grippier than normal hands (they were lizard hands after all). He was so cool! I mean so. Fucking. Cool. And a real nice dude. Just wanted to have fun and goof around and play some bball. He had all the style and all the swagger. He beat me at HORSE more than I care to admit. 

I don’t know when Wilfred went away. Or stopped coming. Or what that even means. I always knew that Wilfred was imaginary. I wasn’t dumb. But he was still kind of real to me. And what is real anyway, if all the universe is mind? He was a real friend when I felt lonely. Even a person who loves to be alone can feel lonely sometimes.  

I used to be really good at being mindful and present and aware in the moment, when I was a little kid. I remember it vividly, how I’d observe the world. I marveled that other people didn’t notice the things that were so obvious to me. Somehow in my journey to adulthood (whatever that means), I lost the art of being alone and being present with myself. I know I need to create a daily meditation practice in my routine. But I also want to experience being alone with myself more often, with or without the evolved Wilfred of the day to keep me company. Maybe he could still teach me a lesson or two. 

Inktober 5: 11:11

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New ink

 

A few years ago I got my name tattooed on my left wrist. I have the same number of letters in my first and last names, so I plugged them into an ambigram generator online and took the design to a tattoo shop. The design is bold and takes up my whole wrist. It catches people’s eyes and they ask me about it, then I whip out my party trick. “It says my first name this way,” I say, holding my hand up to the sky. Then I flip my wrist and lower my hand to the ground, “and my last name this way.” And much gasping ensues. “No way!” They invariably say, “let me see that again the other way.” 

Today I got a much smaller, more humble tattoo on my right wrist. It is meant to remind me to be present in the moment. But it also symbolizes a balance to me: while my left wrist represents my ego and connection to self, my right wrist represents the oneness of the universe and the connection to the collective consciousness.

We live in a dualistic existence, where everything has its opposite. It’s valuable to recognize that so that you are better able to see things from the other side, so to speak. Times feel very dark right now and they have felt dark for some time. But the universe seeks balance, and the pendulum is swinging toward the light. You can weather the storm by feeding the energy you wish to prevail. Sending all the energy of peace, love, and healing.

Inktober 4: God Concept

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No longer an atheist

 

if it’s about God, it’s gonna have to be a long post. So here’s your TL;DR: I was a Mormon, then I was an atheist, and now I believe in god again, though the concept has evolved. Now here’s the long version:

Back in the bunsnip 1.0 days, mid-2000’s, I posted about my atheism. I was always really proud of that post. It felt very true and authentic to how I felt at that time. And it was how I felt. Realizing my atheism originally was a release for me that made me feel free and true to my self because I was embodying my own authenticity. This has been an important theme in my life, finding a sense of true self grounded in authenticity.

I had grown up in the Mormon tradition, which is very common when you come from Utah. However, it was a much more attenuated relationship with the church than most devout Mormon households. I would occasionally attend church as a child. I have a few vivid memories of crying as my mother wrestled me into a dress. (Tomboy Sra has always been Tomboy Sra.) But eventually we stopped going as a family, I believe because my brother started to express guilt feelings for things that were perfectly normal, and my parents decided that wasn’t a healthy influence for their kids’ emotional development.

I would sometimes go to church with one of my friends’ families, when someone asked me to go and when I felt like I could manage the dress code.   I was really never very active though. Still, for some reason that I do not know, I decided that I wanted to be baptized into the church on my 9th birthday. Mormons traditionally baptize their young at 8, because that is when you are considered spiritually accountable for your actions (and therefore capable of sinning and needing forgiveness through baptism). This is in contrast to the Catholic tradition, where people are believed to have original sin and need to be absolved through baptism shortly after birth. 

I didn’t really attend church much after my baptism, not until I turned 12 and advanced to the Young Women’s organization. Mormon church is made up of 3 blocks of study and worship every Sunday, which is why going to church could be difficult, it’s a pretty big time commitment. As a teenager, your 3 sessions of church are the Young Women’s assembly, individual classes within Young Women’s divided by age (Beehives 12-13, Mia-maids 14-15, and Laurels 16-17), and finally the ward general assembly called the Sacrament meeting. (Ward is the Mormon name for a group who attends a particular church house at a particular time on Sundays, usually divided by neighborhoods.) 

Young Women’s was a very positive influence upon me as a teenager. I felt a sense of support and community on the whole from the women I knew in that org. I have very fond memories of going to girls camp, a camping excursion that the Young Women took every summer. Still, I was off and on in my attendance from about 12-15 because I struggled with cognitive dissonance.

When I was 15, in 9th grade, I signed up for the Mormon seminary class at school, which is very common to do at schools in Utah, and I felt like I wanted to try to reconcile the issues I had with my faith. I remember two main things about my year in ninth grade seminary.

I remember that I once asked my seminary teacher what happened to pets when they die, do they go to the kingdoms of heaven too? (Mormons believe in three kingdoms of heaven, the telestial, the terrestrial, and the celestial, in order of low to high.) My seminary teacher laughed at my question, as if it was a silly thing to think about. Everyone else wondered about how they could get to the celestial kingdom with all the members of their families whom they would be with forever. I worried about being able to be with my cats again after I died. Especially my sweet little companion and best friend, Marty cat. To have my question not taken seriously at that time made a big impression on me. I felt that my feelings didn’t matter and that my intellectual curiosity was not being taken seriously.

I also remember that I was challenged to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover over the course of the year. I put most of my reading off during the year, but toward the end of the school year I felt a sudden drive to want to accomplish this task. I made a calendar for myself and calculated how many chapters I would need to read nightly to catch up. It was a lot. I set forth on the challenge though, and I accomplished it. At times it was painful. There’s a lot of Isaiah that is quoted I the BOM, and that stuff is very challenging to read because it’s prophetic and metamorical stuff. At times it was exciting, reading accounts of civilizations and wars in the ancient americas. Reading about heroes and villains and finding inspiration in the words somehow. I grew a testimony of the church by reading that book. And for the first time I knew what it was to have faith.  

I felt very connected to my true self then, because I felt I was being very intellectually honest and authentic with myself. I was not afraid of my truth. I started to grow back my doubts over the next few years, though. Things still didn’t quite fit right between the beliefs of the church and reconciling how that worked with the world I observed. There was still cognitive dissonance. There were things that fit and things that didn’t and I couldn’t handle that because of the way my brain works. I am a big picture thinker, I see things on a large scale and make connections and kind of need to see all the pieces in order to understand fully. It makes me very effective at strategic thinking and scientific thinking. It also makes me good at seeing what’s not fitting into the big picture, because that’s what I’m paying attention to.  So in 10th grade my attendance at church began to decline once more.

In 11th grade, I fell into a deep depression when my best friend Marty cat got lost or ran away or killed, we’ll never know. He was the third cat I lost as a child, and the one I had owned the longest and felt most connected to emotionally. He was my buddy. I loved him so much. To me, it felt like my best friend who was a human had died. I was devastated. I didn’t know how to handle the loss and I was angry and empty, and didn’t feel like anyone could understand the depth of my pain because it was just a cat after all, but it was so much more than that to me and I was hurting very deeply. Finally I got to a place where I said to myself, you have to Talk to someone or kill yourself. I didn’t want to die, so instead I opened up about my pain to one of my best girlfriends who lived on my street. She just listened to me as I shared my pain and how hard I was struggling with the loss. She validated my feelings and didn’t try to make it better or make it go away, but she saw my pain and made me feel it was ok to feel that way, and I was able to therefore able to release the pain. That was the turning point for me, and I started to emerge from my depression. 

I emerged with a newfound atheism. I don’t believe in god, I realized one day. I had been angry with god during my depression. But when I was finally able to release my anger, it was because of the realization that deep down inside I knew that the concept of God that had been portrayed to me did not fit with what I saw in the world and I couldn’t believe it, and therefore I had no one left to be angry at about the injustice of my suffering. This made me feel free of the intense physiological struggle I had been experiencing in trying to reconcile church beliefs with other parts of the big picture that I saw. When I embraced my disbelief, I felt like I was connecting to my true self in a way I never had before, and I was empowered feeling like I finally really knew myself. 

In college I decided that I ought to resign my membership from the church if I really didn’t believe in it. But I wanted to move beyond lack of belief and be sure of my choice. This kind of action deserves thoughtful study and not just to be taken casually. And so I studied. When I get into researching a subject, I consume a great amount of information. It’s part of my big picture tendencies, I need to see the big picture quickly to get it. So I studied hard for months in as much spare time as I could give it, bordering on obsessive. I researched online using the technology of the time: message boards, chat rooms, and websites that were found via the serendipity of the surf.  (Web 2.0 was not yet a thing, forget about social.) I found Exmormon.org and consumed hundreds of personal accounts of members who had left the church and their reasons why. I researched references that were shared.

I read about the mongoloid maternal dna of native people in the Americas, believed to be the descendants of the peoples in the Book of Mormon who had sailed in the great flood to America from the Middle East. But with those dna markers, they couldn’t have descended from the Middle East. I also read about the Book of Abraham that had been translated by Joseph Smith from Egyptian papyri which was still in existence, and how the papyri were later shown to be parts of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and were not true to JS’s translation. I learned a lot of other things that made me feel vindicated in my lack of belief. I also felt angry and sad because I realized the church had lied to its members. There are good people in the church who are honest in their belief, but as an institution the church distorts the truth in its teachings. I eventually found peace with the anger and hurt I felt, and wrote my resignation letter.  

It’s now been a dozen years or so since my resignation from the Mormon church, and my feelings on god and the truth of existence has evolved in a way that is remarkably full circle. As today’s Inktober alludes, I am now a believer in God, though my concepts of God have a different nuance from my erstwhile Mormon concept. Yet there are truths in most spiritual traditions of the world and the Mormon church is no exception. We’ll go more into bullet point one to explore the concept of ancient aliens as progenitors of humanity at another time, it’s all fascinating stuff once you get past that one guy’s crazy hair and his not saying it’s aliens, but aliens memes. But if you study the creation and development stories of the world, you will find they share a number of striking similarities and make the most sense when cast through the lens of aliens. This is my concept of god in the sense of what physically and evolutionarily created humans.

Bullet point 2 is my spiritual concept of god that I’ve suggested in previous Inktober posts, and it’s the more important concept of God to focus on.  God is you, me, and everything we see in the universe. Matter is energy, and consciousness is the force that moves it all. All is vibration. All is mind. Once you begin to realize that, you begin to see that the petty differences that we let divide us as a humanity are illogical. When we hurt others, we hurt ourselves. When we heal others, we heal ourselves. So let’s create the loving world we want by living it and practicing understanding and forgiveness of ourselves and others. All it takes is love. Wishing you all peace, love, and healing along your own path, and may we find it together. 

Inktober 3: Relation of Hurt & Anger

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Hurt is the reception, Mad is the reaction

 

When in the process of healing grief, a consequence can be the coming up of many other emotions related to other damage or trauma in your life.  

That’s what I’ve been going through this year. As I’ve sought healing for my grief through various means, I’ve uncovered a lot of my ego damage.  There were two major things that helped me uncover this.

One was breathwork. I have been going to some mindfulness events at work because I’ve needed to calm my racing thoughts. One day the event was a breathwork workshop. Breathwork is breathing at a rapid clip in a specific way: into the belly, draw it up through the chest, and out through the mouth. Huh huh haaaahh. Huh huh Haaaahh. You do that for 30 minutes in a normal breathwork session, but we were going to do 7 minutes of work breathing and maybe 3 of cool down breathing for this event. Within a handful of breaths in the first few minutes, I could already feel the emotion starting to well up inside me and I began to quietly sob a little. This is awesome, I thought, I really need this. Huh huh haaaahh. Huh huh haaaahh. Just not right now, not at work. So I reigned it back in and finished the session without letting myself have too much emotional release. But I was hungry for more. This is what I needed.  

I took a card, and followed her practice on Facebook. She held monthly breathwork events in the community, so I decided to join the next event. In the setting of a cozy local yoga studio, me and 6 or so other people sat in a circle on yoga mats and sheep skins with blankets to cover us. We applied essential oils to our chakra points, and laid back to begin the breathwork. Huh huh haaaahh. Huh huh haaaahh. She began to burn incense and herbs like sage and put on an upbeat but soothing soundtrack. Breathwork floods your blood with extra oxygen than normal and you can start to feel lightheaded and a bit woozy at first. That’s why it’s called breathWORK, she tells us. But if you push through, the work becomes much more automatic and you can start to release tension being held in your body. 

Because you are breathing into the belly, you end up loosening up a lot of tension in the solar plexus, and because you draw the breath up through the chest, you can open up a lot of tension around the heart and chest cavity.

The solar plexus is the ego chakra. This is where you physically store trauma to your sense of self. That time you were teased and embarrassed in front of your friends at school in third grade. That time you felt invisible because no one listened to your ideas. That time someone made fun of your appearance and you internalized it. It’s all knotted up in your gut. That tension can manifest in poor digestion, because the muscles surrounding your intestines are necessary for healthy digestion. This is very important because gut health is key to all health in your body. It’s how you take in energy from nutrition. If it’s out of whack, physical ailments can follow. So get your solar plexus right, if only for your gut health!

Not all emotional hurt is held in the solar plexus, just hurt to the ego. Grief is held in the heart chakra, manifesting in tension in the chest along the sternum, across the ribs and clavicle.  

Breathwork unlocked my damage and has allowed me to feel and experience my emotions. I’ll go into it more another time, but I’ve been disadvantaged with an inability to access my emotional state much of my life. Part of my healing process is to open up that access, be able to name my emotions, and be able to ask myself why I feel that way and then heal the source of pain. Awareness leads to healing, and feeling the emotions is necessary. It is very heavy and difficult work, but you do actually begin to feel lighter as you face your hurt because healing is the release (experiencing/feeling it) and the understanding (identifying why you feel it and finding forgiveness or comfort).

I’ll talk about my other avenue of healing in another post. But just know that we’ll be talking about Tai Chi. It’s what helped me understand the mind-body connection, which helped me understand what Chakras are (centers of energy in your body that have a physical home and yet are energetic in nature - following the principle of physics that matter = energy or E = mc^2). See, that shit’s for another post.

Another thing for another post is the nature of time (linear nature is an illusion). That’s some deep shit that’s hard to grasp, but with a little help of quantum mechanics, double slits, and Shroedingers cats, we can get there in time ;) 

But the important unlock from today’s Inktober is that the moment is all that we really have. Tomorrow is not here, and the past is gone. But we have the moment. And the more we can seek to be mindful in the moment, i.e., present and aware and paying attention to your body and your being and surroundings, the more we can take control of the moment and recognize that we have a choice. In every moment we have a choice of how to be. Anger is a reaction, which is a choice. To feel hurt is normal, but how we respond to that hurt is a decision. We can take the higher road. We can seek to understand the other, and put ourselves in other’s shoes, for we are all suffering, and we all have hurts to heal. We can help each other if we first help ourselves. 

We are in this together, but connection with self is just as important as connection with others. I encourage you to seek after your own peace, love, and healing.

 

Inktober 2: As Above, So Below

 As Above, So Below

As Above, So Below

When you dream,
What do you dream about?
Do you dream about
Music or mathematics
Or planets too far for the eye?
Do you dream about
Jesus or quantum mechanics
Or angels who sing lullabyes?

- Barenaked Ladies, When You Dream

 

I used to to play and sing that song on the guitar back in college and some time after. It’s a song from the perspective of a father to his newborn son. I always wondered why it resonated with me so much, given I always knew in my heart that I lacked motherly instinct of my own and never wanted a child. I didn’t understand children back when I was a child. And that never changed, although I can find amusement in children now, and some kids are okay company. But it’s the thought of being a newborn, an experience we’ve all had, and wondering what’s going on in that brain. It’s a fun mystery, we all go through it, and yet none of us can remember it. Except maybe that Yoganada guy. 

I don’t dream very much these days. But I do contemplate the workings of the universe on a nightly basis. The scrawlings of this Inktober piece give you some insight into my thoughts on the universe. Any questions?

Inktober 1 - The Seven Chakras of The Human Body

 The Seven Chakras of the Human Body

The Seven Chakras of the Human Body

Well, we have a lot to talk about. I have had a lot of things happen in the past few years that have sent me on this crazy path and awakenings have happened. I’m going to share my experiences, but why not start with a little Inktober tease, Sra style.

So here’s the deal, I’m not really much of an artist, although I deeply appreciate and love art of all kinds, forever. But fuck that, you know what, I am an artist. We all are. We are human beings with the power to create and the spark of creativity that defines our level of consciousness. Girl, we got a lot to talk about consciousness as well. We’ll get to it. Something about Rome and days. 

This isn’t really an art piece though, it’s a sloppily scrawled philosophical piece. Because I fancy myself an armchair philosopher. And I’ve had to deal with a lot of grief, y’all. And with healing of grief comes healing of ego damage. And with that comes a new understanding of life, the universe, and everything. The answer? Not 42, but LOVE.  

So this is Inktober, Sra style. Sometimes imma hit you with some philosophy. Sometimes imma serve you some art. Always, I am wishing you peace, love, and healing. 

Hypocritic Oath

My dad died over a month ago in his home, as we knew he eventually would ever since he was diagnosed with stage 4 endocrine cancer over 5 years ago. I was there with him during his final week of life, along with the rest of his family, and I watched him pass when it was time.

I have been having a really hard time dealing with the grief. Not just over the loss of my dad, but I’ve also been freshly hit with a wave of grief over the loss of my brother Zac, who also died of cancer over 3 years ago. I watched them both pass, and I thought I would be prepared for my dad’s passing based on my experience with Zac, but it turns out each event was different for me. With over a decade of my life being cast in the shadow of the eventual fates of terminally ill family members, it’s a big mental shift to suddenly not have to worry about those things any longer. Now there are only the feelings that remain, not the worry, because the inevitable has already happened. But there’s the sadness, the anger, the irrevocable loss.

Zac was first diagnosed at 26 years old with stage 4 Hodgkins lymphoma. Through years of chemo and radiation therapies, he eventually also developed leukemia on top of it. Ironically, it was the malpractice of my brother’s health care professionals that ultimately did him in, not the cancers.

Zac went into the hospital on Thanksgiving 2014 with a fungal infection in his lungs. (When you are a cancer patient, your treatments deplete your immune system and make you susceptible to contracting infections like these). On a chest scan, the doctors noticed a lump near Zac's lungs that they wanted to biopsy while he was in the hospital. The lump was really nothing new; we had dealt with these kind of findings for years, and it was not something that really needed to be handled right then, it could wait.

Zac told the doctors and nurses that he didn’t want to do a biopsy at that point, he just wanted to get the infection under control and get out of the hospital. They could worry about a biopsy when he was more stable. But the doctors and nurses insisted, and unfortunately you don’t always have the strength to advocate for yourself in these situations.

The motherfuckers ended up nicking an artery during their “routine procedure” and it led to Zac bleeding out into his lungs. He ended up in the ICU and was put on respiratory support. His lungs were never able to recover, and Zac died a few weeks later on his 34th birthday, just beating out Jesus for longevity. The biopsy was negative, by the way. Zac’s lymphoma had been in remission due to my sister’s stem cell transplant to him a year prior, and the leukemia could have been managed (it’s a fairly treatable cancer, just aggressive). If only they hadn’t fucked up his lungs, he could still be alive today. I am still very angry about what they did to him. They did not see a human being when they looked at him, but only dollar signs. And their greed and carelessness caused my brother to die.

Three years later, as my dad lay upon his own death bed under hospice care in his home, I learned that his unlucky path was also made possible through the malpractice of a medical professional. My dad had had an x-ray a year before his eventual diagnosis that was flagged as suspicious, but his doctor just neglected to follow up on it. By the time my dad was diagnosed, it was too late to receive anything but a terminal prognosis because the cancer had metastasized to his liver.

My dad managed to live a couple years longer than average for a person with his diagnosis, but the years aged him and changed his life. At a time when he had just retired from his job and should have been able to focus on doing more of the things he loved, he slowly had to give them up instead. First, he had to give up playing tennis as his body started to decline physically. Next, my dad's fingers became so stiff and boney that he couldn’t really play the piano anymore, though he had been playing gigs around town as a jazz musician for years. Finally, he was no longer able to take long road trips through the beautiful countryside of the western U.S., a tradition that I think of fondly from my childhood driving through the national parks around southern Utah.

At the end of life, my dad's body was decimated and ravaged by disease, abdomen swollen many times its normal size because his liver was more tumor than liver. But everywhere else on his body was a thin sack of pallid skin and sharply angled bones. It was really hard to witness this physical decline, especially toward the end. At least my dad's mind remained sharp to the end.

So now that my sick family members are gone, I am left grieving and angry. How many more lives will be damaged by the carelessness of our unfeeling and profit-driven health care system? When will “do no harm” become something more than a hollow Hippocratic oath? (More like hypocritic oath.) Not as long as the medical and pharmaceutical industries continue to operate for profit.

Prior to the HMO Act of 1973, the health care industry was not legally able to operate for profit. That is as it should be, because the financial incentives are in the wrong place otherwise. But by golly when there’s a buck to be made, you can be damn well sure the policy makers of this country will favor the wealthy industry constituents who stand to make that buck. In this country we overwhelmingly allow our social policy to be driven by profit-seeking industry giants with the financial pull to influence the legislators who make our laws. This is government by the corporations, for the corporations, and you and me are decidedly not invited to the party.

So what is left for me? I do not trust the medical industry by any stretch. I’ve had my own experiences being treated like a number, a dollar sign, a case by medical professionals, and not as a human being, and I’ve seen it happen to too many others. It’s become very real for me that if I want to have a different outcome in life than my family has had, my best bet is to do the best I can for myself. I am trying to take better control over my health through becoming more active and making better choices with my nutrition. I am trying to learn about alternate medicine. There are thousands of years of medical wisdom that we willfully ignore in the West because there's no money to be made on the non-patentable.

One thing is certain to me: Should my fate also include cancer, I would not pursue traditional medical treatment for myself. I would sooner place my trust in the wisdom of the ages, in the earth, in the mind, in the body. And let come what may.

A New Era of Bunsnip

It's me, Sra, and I'm back. I know I said I'd get back to blogging again about 3 years ago. Back then, I wanted to start writing again very much, after having taken a much needed a break from blogging since law school ended. I had become so negative and broody in law school. It was a life-changing, formative, and positive experience overall. But it was expensive, it made me argumentative, and I needed a break from the way it made me see things for awhile.

But just when I felt ready to get back into it, I also went through some pretty significant life events:

  • After many years together, a move across states, and a lengthy law school experience that took its toll on both of us, my relationship with my longtime partner, Mr. E, nearly fell apart. We went to therapy, worked on gaining a new way of understanding and connecting with one another, and managed to salvage our relationship. Today, Mr. E and I are still together and are doing better than ever, going on 12 years.
  • I gained a sister in my life, Abs, who came from a secret family affair. Secret family affairs (and surprise bonus family members) are actually pretty common, but the subject is often treated as taboo. I don't believe it should be, it's isolating to not talk about these things. Let in the light, let out the shame, I say. Abs quickly became my best friend, and I immediately recognized her as a missing piece of my life. She now lives with me, Mr. E, and our two cats Mulder and Scully in a fabulous house that we all bought together last year. I love our unconventional little family.
  • I lost a brother who battled cancer bravely for 8 years. Ultimately he was failed by our broken medical system that puts provider/industry profit above patient wellness/care. Ironically, it's not the cancer that killed him, but some serious mistakes of his health care professionals. I needed to take a break from blogging after losing my brother. I lost the ability to tell my story for awhile, and turned introspective. I started to think about life in a different way after losing him. I thought a lot about spirituality, conservation of energy, quantum entanglement, and parallel dimensions. I needed to make sense and make peace with what happened. I finally have the words to talk about this now. I have learned that it will always hurt, but it does get easier.
  • I earned a promotion at work in an entirely new discipline from my educational background. I actually really love the work, and am very fulfilled in my career right now. I like to talk strategy and best practices, and may write about work sometimes, although I'll try to keep things non-specific, since I am not speaking for my company.

THE NEW BUNSNIP

It's a new era, and I am in a new place in life. This is not my 20's anymore, I'm firmly in my 30's. And I have things to say again, from a slightly different perspective. I am ready to tell these stories, as Sra, evolved.

Here's what you can expect from the new Bunsnip:

  • We're on a new platform now, Squarespace. It's really because I listen to a lot of podcasts, and their advertising is very effective, but it also is an opportunity to make a fresh new look. But I must admit technology is getting away from me. It is not 2006 anymore, but that's about where my technological savvy decided to take a coffee break. Figuring this out will be interesting.
  • We're going multimedia. I've taken up making art as a hobby - inspired by Abs, who's a real life amazing artist - and I'm going to be sharing some of my work here under the Artwork section. It's not meant to be professional level stuff, but I feel fulfillment in creating, and sharing is caring. There is also a chance that I will introduce some podcasting at some point. It's aspirational.
  • We're sticking the back-catalog of the original Bunsnip into the Archives, feel free to take a dip. Occasionally I may highlight an old article from the archives, but for the most part we're moving forward.
  • Sometimes I'm going to say "we", even though it's just me. It's a habit I picked up in my career - makes things sound more official sometimes, or gives greater weight of authority to what I'm saying. But yeah, it's just Sra here. Hi. I suppose guest contributions are not out of the question, but nothing planned so far.
  • Topics will be wide and varied. You'll see some things that you recognize from me, and other things that are new. For instance, I'm still interested in language and grammar, but I'm a much more relaxed grammarian today. Not so uptight. It's a new time. But we are going to talk about a lot of things. There's a lot going on in the world today, politically, socially, economically, technologically. We'll talk about a lot of those things. I also think a lot about fun topics like art, philosophy, quantum physics, true crime media, TV shows, and mathematics. We will talk about all these things too, and more.

Mainly, I want to add my voice to the voices of other real people out there. Web 2.0 is actually a pretty isolating place compared to the original internet, despite being described as "social". It's only gotten worse since people migrated from blogs, message boards, and email over to canned and pre-packaged soul sucking platforms that we all spend too much time on. You all know what I'm talking about.

We need to create more human-to-human dialog, and genuine connection with one another. There are so many things operating against genuine human connection today. There is a great societal divide, globally. And a people divided is a people easily swindled and controlled. The real power is in the hands of the real people, though. We just need to reach across the divide. That's what I aim to do.

Stay tuned for more soon!