Monday, March 5, 2012


Just for the amusement. Don't try to tie it in to anything.

I am not really a Buddhist. I think Buddhism is the spiritual walk that expresses the human condition (the psychology, sort of) the best of all the spiritual walks. However, personally, I require a more definite presence of God than can be found in all but Pure Land Buddhism and some sects of Tibetan Buddhism. It is said that Buddha was religious but pointed out that religion is not necessary, that God is not a requirement to engage in a successful spiritual walk. I think that Buddha was right in his claim in general and that a billion Buddhists can't all be wrong. However, still, I personally must remain true to my experience and my experience places the God of my understanding at the center of my spiritual walk no matter what I may want to think. There is plenty I could write about all this but it would be pointless. It is too personal.

So might this poem be too personal:


If I had the way
to turn the clock back without
the price I know now
I wonder, would I?

One hip a mess, my eyes too,
arthritic thumb joints
and knots on tendons
in my hands and feet, and gout
in one big toe, while
one leg don't work good
and yet I feel better for
holding still right here.

March 8, 2010 7:17 PM

What I didn't put in the poem....I don't hear as well as I once did either, heart disease, stroke risk managed by coumadin, low level diabetes managed by metformin, obesity greatly increased by the heart disease, high blood pressure managed by drugs, benign prostate managed by drugs, serious shortness of breath caused by heart disease leading to sleep apnea managed by the CPAP machine, sleeping only on the living room couch to lift my legs at night high enough to lessen the swelling the lymphedema causes in my legs, coming primarily from the heart disease and secondarily from the diabetes and still I am better for holding still right here. I am okay despite all the pills and accommodations. Sometimes I tire of the diuretics I must take to manage the pulmonary edema. I get tired of having to pee all the time. I am mostly at peace, no matter what comes next. Perhaps you could say I look forward to the changes.

Getting older is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for sissies. In fact, I have long been of the opinion that the capstone of living well is dying well. Heyo! Eeyah! Coyote sing for me!


  1. Oh, Christopher. I was going to say, "Old age ain't for sissies," before I even got to that part in your post. You beat me to it. I guess this is what I have to look forward to, huh? If I'm lucky.

    Right above your post in my news feed was my friend Justin's. He's a scholar of Buddhist ethics, a Montanan currently studying in England. I'm going to share his post with you and yours with him, just because I think you might enjoy each other:

  2. I am a witness for you my friend, just as you are for me. I hope that before my alements become legon I have the inner peace that you have...some days I feel the edges of it...some days.


  3. wonderful and downright uplifting. total agree on the inventory and on aging.... not for sissies. i am so glad you are not only holding fast, you are hanging in.

  4. i think about this a lot, christopher. i don't know the answers, or rather, my answers change on any given day in regards to the body and being. yes, it is too personal and even within my person, truths change like wind.

    there is a man in the town i live, Alfie. i've known him for a decade now, not so closely but for whatever reason intimately enough on our small exchanges. his body and his mind are beginning to not work well. he has been admitted to a home. he spent his life with a wad of bills in his pocket. he lived frugally but was very good at acquiring wealth which he mostly did not touch or care about in the ways most would. to see him you would have thought he was poor and ate cat food. now the gov't is in control of all of the properties he worked his life at acquiring. now the nursing home says he can not keep a wad of money in his pocket. it is too dangerous. he drank a fair bit on his own and lived the life that he understood. now he can not drink at all. i do not understand at what point we must prolong life in a safe manner at the cost of extinguishing the person inside of the body. know what i mean? wouldn't god have us live as ourselves and die as ourselves? isn't that what we are meant to do?

    lately i see all of us human beings as an effort of god trying to be animate. (so too, the trees and the crows and all of nature.) but we human beings fail god too often, i am afraid.


  5. his father's name was Alfie. his name is Jim. (how did i do that, mix them up this morning?)


  6. Erin, I am a firm advocate of dignity and integrity, am horrified at the fractured people who fade out in the end. I cannot imagine the hell of senility or Alzheimers or Parkinsons at life's end. I had a friend with Parkinsons. It shamed me somehow that a man so deeply educated could end mute and mostly insane. Sometimes I take what happens in the world personally and don't know how to stop that. So yes, Erin, I do know what you mean and your friend is an example of how it can go.

    The only thing I can say about that - a tremendous discipline is required of a person to acquire humility and compassion in the face of such an end stage loss as your friend has suffered. Even in that situation dying well is the capstone. That means at the least that self pity and fear and resentment and anger and all like that must be transformed.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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