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Anna said she tries to walk until her brain goes still. She asked me a really good question about whether my mile swim was comparable to a 45 minute walk. I know there are all kinds of quantitative measurements that can be made from calories burned to heart beat per minute over time. But qualitatively, the land leaves something to be desired. In the water, the mind becomes another animal entirely. Maybe I become a fish brain, but that is all right with me. Yes, more stillness enters as the swim continues. But the slowing of thoughts comes immediately for me, because of variables like less oxygen and the fact I am surrounded by depth. Some argue that the thoughts are not slower but more clear. I think they are slow and clear too.

A lot of people are not fish people. When I went to Berea, I realized that many people don't even know how to swim, because it was a requirement to swim the length of the pool there before graduating, and many people were intimidated by it. Swimming is a privilege to know how to do yet it seems the most natural activity a person can possibly achieve. I hope today's enthusiasm carries over into many upcoming miles.

Posted Fri Apr 20 00:51:48 2018

I have been enjoying Alix Generous, an outspoken woman with Aspergers, and advocate for neurodiversity, science, and unique minds. She has an incredible sense of humor and I split a gut laughing at her TED talk. I went to her website and found other videos and have been taking them one by one, slowly. As I watch, I am certain I too am on the Autism spectrum. It is interesting because I know that many women especially are misdiagnosed with another mental illness, like bipolar, when they possibly just have Aspergers. I think in my case I probably do have a dual diagnosis, because medications have worked for me, or at least they keep me from the worst of the suffering.

But I am still feeling the disabling nature of mental illness. I live in a world where I push myself to be like others, and that often means I pursue something outside of myself, like trying to go to graduate school or wanting to do something that I can tell others I have done, like taking a surfing workshop in San Diego. The thing is, I really am just barely getting along/by much of the time. I am just holding my head above water. These attempts "out" or at proving myself are really self defeating. Looking into intentional communities in Missouri, planning to intern with my friend in her homestead in the Ozarks, no matter how noble the cause, my plans are too much. I am best if I just "am disabled" and stay in Bristol. The best thing I can do for me is to swim every day at the YMCA, do my chores religiously, be sure and walk the dogs each day, and relax on the front porch as a meditative ritual.

If I stretch my pennies, I almost can make it work out with the pennies that I stretch. The disability check is not much, but all of these pursuits that I conventionally have been trying for to try to be more worthy are making me less happy. I am the same person no matter what I do. I could climb Kilimanjaro but I would still be me. I could not climb anything and I would once again be the same person I was when I started. Proving myself, living up to a standard I have in my mind of success based on able bodied people I know is not worth my time.

I can write. I write. I can meditate. I mediate. I can swim. I swim. I can do silly art that rare kind people adore. I do art. I also can do art that sits in a folder and collects dust. I do.

This that I am telling you is what I need to tell myself. You are the kind of person who draws that out of someone, so you should be proud. I am going to write a version of this and post it all over my house, in front of my computer where I often "surf" plane tickets and get away plans.

I'll put one on my mirror too. Here is the whole point. We don't escape here. If we dig our heals into what and who we are, into where we are, if we settle in and sometimes just settle, we stop fighting and peace wins. If peace wins in us than we do become the joyful person we really wanted in the first place.

Posted Thu Apr 19 18:10:24 2018

In common waters we come, kicking and spitting through waves we will always share. I like the way the couple in the lane next to me swims. They pass through the pool with a quick grace. He leads in the start of their routine, she follows swiftly catching up measured lengths. My glasses off, I am wondering who she is, who he is, who they are. I probably don't know in the first place. I saw a lifeguard I have spoken to, but other than a few people, I pass inconspicuous so far. The intention was to do water aquatics but I arrived a half hour early wanting to escape conversation at home. Maybe today is not the day to socialize, I decide after lap 9, a turning point for my swim routine as it has been this year. As the guards change places, and my acquaintance goes to teach the next class, I part the waters with a clear commitment to swim 36 laps, my first consecutive mile this year.

I had chosen to do a shorter routine before. I had aimed at about 9 laps per swim, just enough to get some buoyancy, to pump a little blood, and have done something good for me. But now I realize I have been bored with that plan. It was a hope to get me to the pool but the joy of the swim was frankly falling asleep. My blood wasn't pumping much at all after 9 laps, which was why I wasn't swimming often enough either. My hope today becomes to push my limits and challenge myself with swimming again, that itself I hope to be the lure that calls me back to the pool, which happens to be my favorite place to be, so it shouldn't be so difficult.

A note on bathing suits. Some people might wonder, I am a heavy lady, is it the suiting up that keeps me from swimming. The answer has always been no. I am a heavy lady, and a bit of a naturist. I am glad to get my clothes off and put on the scant article that shows most of my flesh. It's just my nature. The issue is motivation and temperament. Sometimes I think about the pool a bit too much. Water goes in my nose and I think, ah yes, what a unique mix of semen, excrement, detritus, snot, and spit. You get the picture. But this pool is the hallowed place. This pool is where we all come together and become just human. This disabled woman swims beside the doctor and nobody knows or cares. Lapping along, nobody even thinks about the barriers that separate us. We all are trying to do something, our own goal, our own triumph, our mile or 9 laps, or hour - whatever.

I start thinking about my mile in terms of a familiar walk, the dog walk I like to do in the morning with Tobin and Brazen. I am swimming along, visualizing the walk I take through the cemetery and my back yard. I'll inform you, the swim is much slower than the walk. I can't speak for everyone, but it take me an hour at least to swim the mile. It's been a while, and I am slowing down as I imagine myself walking up the hill of the cemetery. I see the same birds in my mind's eye who circled this morning, near the two pine trees just past the catalpa tree. I rejoice all over again when Brazen pees and poops, as indoor dog parents like to let our animals do their thing. In my mind, I pass the time reading grave stones I recall from this morning. I know each passing leaf and the feel of the gravel under my feet. Then of course, I open my goggles, rinse out the scummy coating, and also feel the wonderful water, and see the world that actually surrounds me.

I will try the water aquatics class another day. Today I am pumped just to move my legs and arms, and do my own thing for an hour in this pool. In the dressing room, I talk to a woman who works with a disabled, mobility challenged woman in a wheelchair. She is glad to have a job that forces her into the pool each day. I don't work, I am disabled too. I should think of this time as something I need to do, as if it were my job, just as this woman does. Health is everything.

Posted Thu Apr 19 15:37:44 2018

This morning, after a period of waking "aspergers self diagnosis", I mentioned to my Mom that I wish I had a social group like her book group where there was a common interest whether or not we saw eye to eye on everything.

I apparently had drunk too much coffee, because I don't recall her response, and only remember my retort to it.

I decided to try to join a water aquatics class in the mornings at the YMCA here in town.

I am thinking if I can keep with it, and go at least once a week, but hopefully 5 times, it could be the open door and way into healthiness that I need.

So I am stoked to say I am giving it a try this morning! Wish me luck!

Posted Thu Apr 19 12:58:54 2018

Evolution to a Deeper Meaning Apr 16 at 9:16am What is the source of all human suffering? Attachment maybe. What is the reason for life? Connection or beauty maybe.

In my latest effort, I am combining these deeply dug themes simply by sending art enclosed letters to whomever pays for basic postage (or more is acceptable.)

When you pay one dollar for instance, I will send you not only a meaning rich piece of writing. I will send you an original sketch such as this one above.

I know a lot about suffering, and the human condition, and I would love to receive return mail from anyone around the world.

I know a dollar is a lot for some Americans and 5 dollars is an incredible lot of postage for some international citizens. But I promise to make this worth your while.

If you know me, I am no longer using facebook, as so many of us have left there. Whether you know me or not, it is a worthwhile idea to evolve to deeper meaning through postal mail exchange. Isn't it? 1 Like

Posted Mon Apr 16 13:34:14 2018

My art is so unique. :)

Posted Sun Apr 15 18:55:19 2018

I think one of the reasons my last post, a repost of Wren of MountainJewel steemit blog, means so much to me and my current condition is I have given her idea time for it to incubate. This idea Wren has, that we should love our difficult emotions came to me first when I lived with Wren in 2009. In 2009 Wren was spreading the same kind of philosophy, but it didn't penetrate entirely then. I was and maybe always will be thin skinned, vulnerable, volatile, and having a hard time living with Wren in a new environment of The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center in Highlands, North Carolina. So I took her ideas abrasively. They were too loud and in my face, her LOVE concept! It was all capital letters. I wish I could say I came back to her idea somehow, before watching it on a Dtube video from her blog but I cannot. It took between 2009 and 2017 for me to say that is a darned awesome spiritual path for you to take, Wren. Wren was the girl at the Mountain whose ice cream I ate, Hagan Dass. And boy did that propel a fight. We both were fierce and had big ideas - I have hardly ever met anyone with the kind of energy she has. In fact I would add she is one of these rare people who never had to take psychological medication for a rambunctious nature I would say excels my wild side. I guess she is fortunate not to have lived this life I know with the diagnosis and medicine. But I do think Wren has her emotional struggles like all of us do. Well I saw her just January on Homestead Rescue living in a mildew ridden yurt in the Ozarks. So I guess what I am getting at is if she doesn't have her breakdowns she would be a super hero. But what she was saying on the video is, love the anxiety. Love the fear. Love the sorrow. Love the sadness. Honor and welcome the negative emotions in to your heart with love. Sure it ironically means they tend to turn around more quickly, when you do that. Also you are accepting and acknowledging parts of yourself that are necessary indicators. Also, it is just who you are right then so you should not deny that. Unless if denial is what you are working on loving.

So I have been thinking of this all day and now it is noon and I am having a real awakening to the way to deal with moments when the words of others get under our skin. This is something that happens for me a lot, and why I self identify as thin skinned, though who knows, maybe this will be my turning point on that.

I love my Mother. She is probably my best friend. I love being around her. But I do get jealous of relationships of others with her. I don't want to be her one and only person in the world by any means. I want her to love and be around all kinds of people, but I get thin skinned with her because there is no avoiding hearing her talk on the phone and it often gets under my skin what she often says. Those are the facts. But just today I started loving my thin skin, and it started to heal. I started realizing in a bold way that a lot of my problem with Mom is that she retells shared experiences in ways that leave me out or talk about what I really was quite sure did not happen. Now I am just thinking everyone does this. I do this. We all see the world in our own way. And that is how we talk about the world. I used to worry that my Mom regrets me because when she talked about what happened, big highlights with a few people, including me, she frequently avoids mentioning me or brags about everyone else, neglecting me. But by gum, I am a big girl, and I am learning to love that worry. I am nurturing the worry and recognizing it as a real true thing that has bothered me. But then almost instantly, I realize also that I don't need to worry about it. We all see the world in our own special way, and Mom sees it through her lens. I could guess around the reason for her speech all day, but the real good idea is I wonder what I can be like if I get a little thicker skin, like a callous for playing an instrument.

I am looking forward to a new confidence.

Posted Sun Apr 15 16:13:26 2018!/v/mountainjewel/jsyjpkzn

This is a repost of a friend of mine, Wren, who I knew at the Mountain. I adore what she says here about painful emotions, so much, that I just had to put it down again.

Posted Sun Apr 15 13:04:20 2018

Joey integrated my art into his home. see picture

I would love to mail anyone else some art. Just comment and I'll get your postal address. While supplies last.

Posted Sun Apr 15 11:50:37 2018

Poor depression, moving in with someone else, someone else paying its utility bill. Yesterday left so many beautiful images in me. My inner imagery is generally sketchy and gray scales. But there is a more tactile part of me that carries a more colorful imagery. I still feel the mud as it splattered high on my leg and the cold water of the creek as I crossed it. And there are calls of birds that I recall keenly, one sound as we entered the cars at the very end, three "ya's" like a very emphatic blue heron.

By the way, I have migrated off of facebook. Maybe the world is changing in a terrific backpedal, where blogs are more important than that machine of intentional terror (see story on facebook's implications in Burma violence.)

I have decided that while the stream of thought is flowing freely in writing form, I should keep the spigot on, no matter if it seems meaningful or not.

I am feeling grateful this morning for the inquiry my family always placed on wild things. I hear birds out my window, and I know I hear a pileated woodpecker and a chicken. Before I heard geese certainly. There is a chattering of birds I am not familiar with but I would be delighted to learn their names. I wonder about people who just coexist with our bird friends, or try to ignore them, or curse their morning songs. I would hope those people get a chance to learn about them individually as I have started to.

So I am glad for Anna, the sibling with the farm who is a bird expert and knowledgeable on most wild things. She gave our family compost before most people understood why. And her farm, the one in Virginia that's still for sale, helped me to a better place yesterday. So I am grateful.

But really how it must be to hear a woodpecker laugh and not want to know the type. Of course, my brother Joey is inclined to call all green vegetation "plants" without any distinction. So maybe it is not a family thing.

Posted Sun Apr 15 11:19:55 2018