“Why” do we do this?

I read this post from Renard’s World which reminds us to remember the “Why” behind the choice to start blogging. It struck me, because I have the desire to write this blog, and I feel disconnected from it when I do not write for a while. But I have never really thought about the specific question about “Why” I would want to do this at all in the first place.

I am not much of a journal writer. Somehow writing in a journal with the idea that nobody, not even myself, will ever read it, does not inspire me enough to stick to it. I have so many little notebooks and journals scattered about, each with a few pages written determinedly in them before they were abandoned to the pile of partially used journals. Does anyone have that tendency to like buying new journals more than actually writing them? I have tried morning pages, I have tried prompts, I have tried all kinds of methods to get me to keep journaling, believing that there is some virtue to be found in the practice. But to no avail. I’m simply not one who journals.

But this is different somehow right? I feel in my heart a little bit of desire to have this blog of mine be well read. I do not have any social media like Twitter or Facebook or TikTok or any of that. I have no instagram feed. I think that this blog makes me feel like I am connected to the world at large, that there is some sort of “good human peer review” process that naturally occurs when we make our statements public.

Sometimes when I am dealing with a difficult situation involving multiple people, I like to write a single email addressed to everyone involved. This way I am certain that I am saying the same exact thing to everyone involved. Otherwise, in one on one conversation, I feel a tendency to avoid the discomfort of saying things that will disappoint the other person. So in talking to one party at a time, I might soften my words, or avoid conflict, or tell them not to worry about something that maybe is actually worrisome. And then in talking to another party, I might soft sell other issues that are important to that other party. So everyone gets a little bit of a different message because of the natural tendency to avoid conflict. This is a subconscious process right?

So by writing one message, then I have to stand by the same words to everyone. Blogging is like that. I can get called out if I say inconsistent things. Blogging requires a certain degree of integrity.

I have been thinking of this in relationship to my driving lesson this afternoon. When I first saw the Ophthalmologist a couple weeks ago, and he mapped out my visual field, he said that it’s up to me if I want to drive, but that I might have some liability due to my limited vision. So this kind of left me in a Catch 22 situation. I could not determine whether I am safe to drive without driving, and the cost of an error could be an accident. How could I figure this out?

Well I wrote about this in the blog. I could not drive to figure out whether I can drive. Catch-22 right? But then I was in traffic behind a car that had a sign mounted on the roof that said “Caution Student Driver.” The car had dual controls so the instructor could take over at any moment. I realized that I could sign up to drive around for a couple of hours with a professional whose job it is to sign off on people that are safe to drive. And for the last several days, I have been sitting in the passenger seat whenever I am in a car, and I have been careful to observe how I would look and see and drive.

So my lesson in driving is this afternoon. I will write about the result, and I am confident that driving will not be difficult with my condition. The simple reason for this is that I can see everything I need to see with the visual field that I now have. I simply need to cast my gaze a little farther to the left to make sure no one is approaching from the area that I do not see.

This area is actually smaller now that it was two weeks ago. Now if I hold up my hand in the middle of my blind spot with my fingers all splayed out so that my thumb is pointing as far away from my pinky finger as possible, I can see the end of my thumb on the right side of the blind spot, and I can see the tip of my pinky finger on the left side. Also, I see pretty well below the horizon. I have learned and practiced to dart my eyes a little up and left, and then back again, to check to make sure my blind spot is clear.

The visual test they did required me to look with only one eye at a time, and to lock my gaze at a fixed point in the middle of a bright white half sphere, and then click a button whenever I detected a very brief flash of a very small and dim point of light. This measurement is good for a frame of reference, but it really has nothing to do with the real world. If the machine had lights that moved and persisted, and if i could use both eyes and move my gaze, I’m sure I would have no trouble finding all of the lights. It’s about function in the real world.

My wife Stephanie is functionally blind in her right eye. This is not exactly the same as my condition, but it is very similar. It effectively limits her peripheral vision on the right, which is the same as me. It is perfectly legal to drive with one eye, and my ability to see on the road is not any worse than that. So the question is how can I adapt?

So what does this have to do with Why I am blogging? By writing things out as I go along, I have to keep my stories straight. I have to be accountable for what I said then, and what I am saying now. Back then, I was faced with the diagnosis that I had had a stroke caused by a blockage of an artery that came about when a blood clot passed through the Patent Foramen Ovale between my atriums and plugged an artery in my brain. From this event little recovery is possible.

But it turns out that I had a cerebral vasospasm, and this condition is different from a stroke caused by a blocked artery. And this means that the blood flow to part of my brain may have simply impaired the function of some of my neurons. It may have permanently damaged some part of my brain, but it’s not as permanent a condition as a blood clot.

And also, I am taking driving lessons in a dual control car, so that I can have an expert observe my driving and give me the green light that I am safe. In fact, I may actually be a safer driver now than before because I intend to be super fastidious about obeying every traffic rule. Also, I’m going to be the annoying driver who does not pull out into the middle of the intersection on yellow lights, and who does not make right turns on red into busy traffic. I’m going to stop completely at all four way stops, and also stop completely at yield signs before entering traffic circles. I am going to be very careful before crossing pedestrian walkways on the sides of roads and also cross walks.

With these safe practices and with a little extra scanning to the left, I am confident that I will be fine. But if I am not safe, the instructor will be able to see that.

And so by blogging about all of this, I make a record of my recovery.

But it’s more than that. I also have this urge inside me to share about my life and the lessons that I am learning. I want to be able to express these things freely and to share them authentically, but at the same time, I do not want to ask or expect anybody to read them. Instead, those who are interested may read, and those who are not are free not to.

This blog is my song to the universe and it is shared by those who are free to read it, and also free not to read it. But by putting it all down in writing, there is some element of integrity that must run through everything.


Schmarya Space Shalom

Mountains are only difficult to climb if we ourselves are heavy

I started my day today (after coffee and walking the doggies) with 15 minutes of focused attention. I chose to focus on The Freedom Transmissions, which is the book of the teachings of Yeshua channelled by my dear friend Carissa Schumacher. I opened to a random chapter and started reading a lesson she channelled about how love can move mountains. A bit of wisdom that stuck with me was the statement that Mountains are only hard to climb if we ourselves are heavy.

This situation with my vision is just such a mountain. It just is what it is, and it is my perception that makes it difficult or simply interesting. We are both the dreamer and the dream, Yeshua teaches us, and thus we are both the creator of the Mountain and the one who must climb it. The unavoidable conclusion that this presents me with is that I brought this into my life. I asked for this and I received it. And now for me to complain about getting what I asked for simply acts to separate myself from the Divine Love and Power that resides in all of us.

The teachings channelled by Carissa in her book open a channel within my own being for me to receive my own teachings, and this is a very important one. I dreamed my condition into being, and I can dream it right out of being as well. Or I can work with it here in my waking life. I can rail against the injustice of having been struck by an exceedingly rare and stubbornly permanent brain damage that has distorted my vision, or I can drop that victim mentality and really look at how this is serving me.

How is this serving me? Well for one thing it has given me the perfect justification for doing a lot of necessary housekeeping in my life. It has also given me a very good reason for stepping away from things that I simply wanted, but lacked the courage, to step away from before. It has given me the opportunity to slow down and take care of myself. It has given me permission to make my own well being a priority.

Is this selfish? No. It is not selfish to take care of myself, because if I neglect to take care of myself, then I will not be able to take care of anyone else either. This event has brought my attention to what is actually most important to me, and so thus it serves me as well. There are so many examples of the gifts of this gift. Sure I can complain that I did not get to go down to Brazil with Stephanie and the family, and yeah, that one does hurt. Sure I can complain that I’ve been home alone and unable to drive a car. I was complaining to myself last night that I was home by myself with nothing to do and no one to hang out with. But I have to be careful before I complain about that too much, because my Mom actually invited me to dinner and I declined. I wanted the time at home alone. Can I then complain about it too?

And this, I realize is the key to healing. The key to healing is to embrace all the gifts that this condition has delivered to me. Then I will no longer need the condition. That’s really the key. Once I embrace the gifts of this situation, I will not need it anymore, and then I can change the dream, and it will simply disappear.

Or maybe it won’t change a bit. But something else will, and that is my perception of the situation. The “Mountain” in my case is the infarction that caused brain damage that limits my field of vision. The weight is my attachment to being able to do things as I had always done them. The weight is my attachment to being “capable” and deriving self worth from my capabilities. I valued myself according to my ability to please other people. I was the one who could get the job done. I was the one who would take ideas and weave them into material reality. My role, through my capabilities, was to manifest into material reality the dreams we shared in our spiritual journey.

But now my “capability set” has been dramatically reduced. Now I need help. Now I need the capabilities of others. Where is my self worth in this situation?

It is inside. My spirit is light and air. My spirit, like the Warrior Spirit of the Rainbow Wind, is as light as a cloud of mist blowing in the wind from a mountain waterfall. The most gentle breeze can lift me up and over the highest mountains. And so it is that the Mountain becomes a mole hill. It just is.

And that is the key for me. Embrace the gifts of the condition that I created for myself. Let myself be light. I am the dreamer and the dream, as are you. My consciousness encompasses everything, and content in the present moment, I am free.

Lightning Strike, Ride my bike, Driving test on Friday

This has been a big week for me with tests and doctors. I had three magnetic resonance images taken on Monday, MRA’s they are called, to examine the blood vessels in my head and neck. And then I had back to back appointments with the Neurologist and the Cardiologist. I called my primary physician in the morning to see if they had received any results from the MRA’s, but they had not. I had to hear it from the Neurologist.

Dr. Bruce Kohrman is the Neurologist. What a pro. It turns out that he saw me in 2006 when I suffered a very intense migraine, which I remember, because I lost my ability to speak with that one. I could not access my vocabulary. It was like all the words I knew were in a book that I could not open. Dr. Kohrman had uncovered a record of his notes of my previous visit.

He reported that the MRA images showed no signs of any arterial disease at all, and no sign of any blockage of any blood vessels in my brain. He said based on these findings, it looks like the “infarction’ or “starvation of oxygen” was actually most likely the result of a very intense spasm in a blood vessel that was severe enough to crimp off the blood supply for long enough to cause the brain damage that the first MRI revealed.

So, yes, I had a “stroke” which is “brain ischemia,” which means part of my brain was starved of oxygen for a long enough period to cause cell death. Most ischemic events in the brain are the result of a blood clot in one of the arteries of the brain, which I do not have. Instead, the reduction in blood flow in my brain was caused by the spasm of a blood vessel, which is the root cause of the migraine.

It turns out that strokes without brain bleeds are not painful. My first symptom was the intense pain of a migraine. Dr. Kohrman posited that it might be possible that I had a stroke at the same time I had a migraine, but there is no evidence of any blockage of any blood vessel.

So basically, I am perfectly healthy, except that I got struck by lightning, and that caused brain damage.

“Let me give you my cell phone number, and have the Cardiologist call me.” He handed me his business card with his cell phone number written on it. I was stunned! When was the last time a high level doctor just handed you his cell phone number?

I went up to the Fourth floor of the medical building by South Miami Hospital after the Neurologist appointment, and checked in early with the cardiologist. The card was missing from my pocket! How could I lose it? I checked through every pocket and every paper in my backpack and my wallet. The nurse practitioner called my name while I had all of my stuff strewn around (brain damage), no card.

“If you could get the neurologist’s number, that would help a lot” she said. I went back downstairs and found the card on the floor upside down by the check out station in Dr. Kohrman’s office. I retrieved it and hurried back upstairs. They asked me to wait for a few minutes while the cardiologist phoned Dr. Kohrman, and then he saw me.

He was really surprised. Here I was, perfectly healthy but with permanent brain damage caused by a really bad headache. It is exceedingly rare for a migraine to cause permanent brain damage, but wow, here’s a case! Everyone talks about how this can happen, but he’s never seen a case of it. Nor had Dr. Kohrman.

“The standard for a PFO Closure is when a person under 60 has a stroke and is found to have a PFO with no other explanation for the cause of the stroke, but in your case, it was coupled with a Migraine, so there is no reason to believe that your PFO had anything to do with your condition.”

In fact, he said, he was not even sure that I have a PFO at all. Usually the air bubbles go right through the hole, but in my case, they appear in the other atrium after a few beats of the heart, which indicates that the bubbles might be returning from the pulmonary vein into the arterial side of the heart.

My entire condition is disappearing. No vascular disease, no blood clot, no blockage. Just brain damage from a headache.

Before all my appointments, I went and picked up my bike. I realized that it’s been two and a half years since we moved into this house, and my bike has never been here. It’s here now, and it sure makes it easier to get around the neighborhood! I’m going to ride to my workout at noon.

And on Friday, I signed up for a driving lesson in a car that has dual controls. I will spend a couple hours driving around with an instructor in the passenger seat who can take over if I make an error. This will give me the chance to practice my driving without putting anyone in danger.

I think with a little practice, I will be able to drive safely. I just don’t want to put anyone else at risk while I figure it out. So after driving for 39 years (my first car was a stick shift), and having my pilot’s license and plenty of expertise with boats, from small sailboats, to high powered multi engine boats, to our 50 foot sailboat, I’m going to be in “Caution–Student Driver” car. I have always been a nut for driving. Having to sit in the passenger seat for the rest of my life might be my reality, but I’m not going to just accept that without trying to do better.

So no blood clot, no heart procedure, no blood thinners, no passenger seat.

My first inclination may just be right. Dr. Kohrman’s role in this is to witness the miracle.

Love to all who read this. thank you.

Schmarya Space Shalom

the momentary end of busy

I read a thought provoking blog the other day about whether anybody cares about what bloggers write about, and whether that should matter. The author pointed out that he often receives several likes within the span of a minute or two, or receives likes without having the page actually opened. He pointed out that these people are just clicking like and that the article could be about planning a wedding for a cat and people who like without reading would happily click away.

But he also pointed out that if one writes enough, eventually there will be some people who actually do look forward to reading the content. And it is for these people that we should write. And think about.

So here I am, writing about my experience after having a stroke, and that’s pretty much just therapy for myself. So to this I can add the dimension of thinking that there are a few friends out their in the world who give the gift of their time and attention, and so it is in appreciation of that energy that I must write.

And so what can I share that was of benefit, that someone can read quickly, and enjoy?

I had two cool experiences over the weekend. The first was Sunday morning when my friend who is also my executive assistant picked me up to go to the beach. She regularly meets a friend out by the lighthouse on Key Biscayne on Sunday mornings if the weather is good. She invited me into this little window of her personal life just to brighten my day. And it was really fun.

Reflecting on friendships is such a door to gratitude. If we have a few people in our lives who show up for us we are so lucky. I’ve had a couple go arounds with loneliness over the last ten days with Stephanie being still down in Brazil. One loneliness episode struck right after Dani dropped me off around noon on Sunday. I went out to the patio with the dogs to let them run around, and my friend the parrot that you see pictured above was hanging in the tree.

I started to feel that sort of anxious energy of “what do i do now” coming up in me. Who should I call, where should I go, what should I do? How can I fill these minutes and hours remaining on this Sunday afternoon. My parrot friend’s intractable gaze reminded me. This time where no one and nothing depends on me is a gift of the gift. Here I am, in my home, which is beautiful and peaceful and comfortable, on a balmy Sunday, with nothing to account for.

My parrot friend reminded me that it is in these times that I can write, or paint, or work with photographs, or play guitar, or just sit an be. Just sit and be. Sit and be. sit and be. sb.

So today, if anyone actually reads this far, please comment! If you liked this page and never opened it, please go singing on your happy journey. And for everyone, whether you read this or not, I invite you to breathe in and breathe out, with no extra achievement or goal except to nurture yourself lovingly with oxygen. And sit. And be. And sit and be happy to be here.

Love to all and everything

Schmarya Space Shalom

Be Here NOW – Ram Dass and The Gift of Being Stroked

My dear friend Lynn met Ram Dass after he was very powerfully stroked. Ram Dass lost a lot of his mobility on the right side, he lost the ability to spell, and he lost some ability to find words when speaking. Lynn suggested that I should listen to some of the talks he gave after he was stroked, and so I did. I watched a couple videos on YouTube. In one in particular Oprah Winfrey interviewed him.

She asked him if he had ever felt sorry for himself after the event. Ram Dass laughed and said no. He also said that he embraced his faith and felt gratitude for being here. He said that people in the hospital treated it like a sad event, “oh that’s terrible that you suffered a stroke,” but he was not resonate with that feeling. He was really just grateful to be here at all.

As I listened to him speaking and laughing about his condition, I really connected with him. The spirit came to me immediately after the event and presented me with the question of Faith or Fear. I immediately chose Faith and have continued to do so, and this has really kept my spirits up. Sure I have some challenges that I have to deal with now that I dealt with easily before, but everything from moment to moment is actually just fine.

Ram Dass said the same thing. He said being stroked was a gift because it has forced him to slow down, and by slowing down, he remains more connected to the present moment, and it is in the present moment that we find GOD. This is so true. Like he says, the past and the future are just thoughts. God exists here in the present. An event like this that brings me more to the present, brings me more in touch with God.

One of my dearest teacher, Alex Polari, once said the purpose of meditation and concentration is to fully incorporate our divine self here in this material existence. It is not, as many people think, a means of escaping our present reality. Quite the opposite. The purpose is to truly arrive here and be present here in this material experience. When we do this, we manifest the divine within its creation.

Think of this. Imagine that you created this reality with its infinite and perfectly balanced possibilities, like a virtual reality from a super powerful quantum computer. Would you not want to then experience your creation first hand? How would you do this? Well you would have to manifest your consciousness into the experience, and to make this feel real, you would have to set it up so you did not know how you got there. Then you could go and materialize in every possible situation. Sometimes the prisoner, sometimes the guard. Sometimes the powerful, sometimes the oppressed. You cannot have one without the other.

When I had this disruption, I never felt sorry for myself either. I really went straight to gratitude that I am fully here in my body. After seeing how much more challenging Ram Dass’s experience is, I am left grateful that my inconveniences are so minor.

But that really is the gift I am seeing. This is the chance to know God in the present moment. This is a chance to be fully present in my now slightly wonky material being.

I read Be Here Now back in 2005 when a friend introduced me to it. I was not much of a spiritual seeker back then. But it struck me, and continues to do so. I was so happy to find that this happened to such a gifted communicator because through his experience, I can come to more fully appreciate my own experience.

Miracles happening every day.

Love Shmarya

Miss Daisy Is Driving

I was in the car with my Mom yesterday. She’s 82 years old, and if you’ve been reading along here, you might remember that she had a heart attack on November 4th that was the subject of my first health related blog post about the Healing Power of Prayer. It’s funny that she’s now driving me around because I had a stroke and I cannot see to drive. So instead of me driving Miss Daisy, which I thought was going to happen when my Mom didn’t look like she’d be driving around again any time soon, instead of that, she’s driving me around. Brain Damage!

I went to get my three MRA tests so the doctors can see the insides of the arteries inside my brain. I showed up at the Diagnostic Center was greated by Shawn. She told me that my insurance authorization has not been received so they could not do the test on me today. “They tried to call you yesterday” she explained.

I was in a bit of a mood.

“They may have tried to call me,” I said “but they actually did text me, and when they actually did text me, it was to confirm the appointment that I’m standing here for. “

Shawn was not moved. “I’m sorry sir, they tried to call you.”

“So this is my fault? I make an appointment with you 9 days ago, and you text me to confirm it, and I show up on time, and you won’t do the test, and I should have known because someone tried to call me yesterday? I have two doctors appointments on Tuesday that are scheduled after these tests, because the Neurologist and the Cardiologist want to see the results of these tests. I stayed home from my trip to Brazil so that I could take these tests. I arranged to have someone pick me up and drive me down here for these tests, and you tried to call me.”

There was nothing she could do. Flummoxed. Here I am, pissed off because I don’t get what I want basically. How many people in the world don’t get what they want? Most of them! and I am not anything special or entitled to any special treatment. But nonetheless, I am upset. I feel the stress hormones release into my blood. How many frustrated patients does Shawn have to deal with every day? How does Shawn feel when she’s checking some sick person in for a scan of their failing organs and then she has to tell them that due to whatever red tape they can’t keep their appointment. She must hate that. Just like people hate it when the Doctor writes them a prescription for essential medicines that they know they cannot afford to pay for. Would you rather have your blood thinner or your blood pressure medicine this month?

I called the same people I scheduled the appointment with when I got home. “They said that they asked you for your prescription, but you did not have it.”

“That’s not true. I have it in my hand.”

“Can you send me a picture of it?”


They send me an email asking me for a copy of my prescription, which has all the notes from my phone call when I first made the appointment written on it. It’s a very persuasive document. It’s the kind of evidence I used to love when I was a lawyer. Nothing like a coffee stain or some hand written notes to increase the Gravitas of a document.

Baptist Health just called me back. They rescheduled my MRA procedures for Monday at 3:00. Presto.

My son Charlie called me this morning to see if he could see me before they go down to Brazil tonight. He and Simone and my Grandson Noah are going back to the farm with my youngest son Wylie, who is going to meet a really sweet young girl he met a few years ago when he first went down there. Here name is Anina. I hope it works out for them, because I don’t have that much time to spare!

Life goes on. I need to stay in gratitude.

Opthamology – Visual Field Test

Dr. Lores knew my father. “He died a number of years ago, didn’t he?” Yes, 2013. My Dad was chief of surgery at Doctors Hospital. He was chief of surgery at every hospital he ever worked at. He died in 2013, and he left Miami back in about 1985, so there are not a lot of doctors around who remember him anymore. But Dr. Lores has been in his office since I was a kid, and so he knew my father. He knows my Uncle, who lives in New York now.

Dr. Lores came in on Wednesday even though his practice is normally closed on Wednesday because he wanted to see me himself. We played the same game with the fingers and he mapped out my visual field on a piece of graph paper. Then he sent me with his PA to do the test in the machine. The machine printed out the same picture, but on different paper and somehow less convincing. It seemed so much more real when he was asking me when I could see the end of his thumb.

It’s amazing that both eyes, tested individually, both show the same pattern of blindness. “It’s up to you if you think you can drive a car, but I promise you this, if you ever hit anything with a visual field like this, the lawyers are going to take everything you own.” What about the kid on the bike? No thanks.

“You might get a little better over the next two months, but not much, if at all.”

It’s good that I can see at all! I went to my workout with Katie right after the doctor. I was actually 15 minutes late, but she waited. I was in no mood to work out. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Katie was not having any of it. “Oh come on” she said, “you told me last week that it wasn’t going to get better. You already knew that.” and “The one thing that has changed is that you can’t drive anymore. That sucks. But that’s it. You’re fine.” Those are not direct quotes, but they are brilliant words in their simplicity and truth.

Am I thinking it, or am I doing it? Am I thinking that I am handling all of this in the best way I can, or am I handling this in the best way that I can? What is the best way to handle this? Take good care of myself in full appreciation of my condition. Learn to cope with my vision being as it is. Make any necessary adjustments in my life. Get on with it. Stay happy. Stay engaged. Stay fulfilled. Happiness? You don’t need happiness all the time. That comes and goes. You need to be fulfilled. What do you want to retire now? Are you done? I don’t want to retire ever. I do want to ski. Someone can help me ski. I don’t need to drive. Someone can drive for me.

I watched some videos on PFO closure on YouTube. It’s amazing. They stick a little umbrella through the hole, and then when they pull through, another umbrella opens on the other side and they snap together, and then a layer of cells grows over the device. I think I can go off of blood thinners.

I really don’t want to take blood thinners for the rest of my life. I want to stop bleeding. Blood clots form for a reason, and I’ve had plenty of reasons for them over the course of my life.

Adaptation. I might not be able to see better, but I can definitely adapt better. I can learn to function better.

Stephanie is still in Brazil doing our joint mission. She is very brave being there and she would be right here with me if I asked her to be. But she is there doing something that is very important to both of us. She is hosting several visitors from the field of neuroscience of all things in our house there. And here I am in Miami, going through a very neuroscience type of experience. She’s been down there for five days, which is about one day longer than it takes for me to really miss her. I don’t know if plant medicines will help to heal my brain. But I do know that they sure help to heal what I think about the situation. Faith or Fear. Faith every time.

Day One of Recovery

So here is my first blog post of 2023, and I am really really so grateful that I can see my cursor and everything to the right of it.  I am very sure this could be a lot more difficult than it is.  It is a little difficult on the guitar not being able to see the neck to the left of the finger I am looking at at any moment.  I can’t see if I’m on the fifth fret playing C or on the seventh fret playing D, in the funky way I retuned my guitar for Daime music.  

It started last Wednesday night at about 2:15 in the morning when I woke up with a headache.  I had an intense migraine.  Not something that has ever woken me up before as a matter of fact.  When morning came, I saw that I had a really intense visual aura going on.  I could not see anything to the left of my nose.  Right Eye, Left Eye, Both Eyes … does not matter.  Left of the nose world did not exist.  It took me a couple of scares behind the wheel to realize that I could not safely drive.  

Once I was coming down the bridge on Hardee Road, at night, in Coral Gables on the way home from South Miami.  At the bottom of the bridge was the intersection with Riviera Drive, which has a traffic circle.  I looked at the circle and saw there were no cars coming around from the left, so I entered the circle.   A giant white Cadillac Escalade with its lights on drove out of a tear in the fabric of the universe with its horn blaring.  It had been approaching the traffic circle from Riviera Drive to my left, and signals from that part of my world were not being translated into the three dimensional world that my third eye creates inside my brain that I call reality.

The reality generator, or the part of my brain machine that creates my three dimensional world just does not create an upper left quadrant anymore.  

But I can see the cursor here on my computer, and I can see to the right, and somehow, this is exactly what I need to be able to do to type and write on my computer.  

I found out that I have a real journey ahead of me today in the MRI machine.  I went it for two pictures of my brain, one with contrast, one without.  Chunk chunk chunk beeep… MRI takes a long time right.  But I’m chill.  I believe that I had a Migraine and that there is nothing to see on the MRI.  Just part of the process.  Ruling things out.  So after they are done, the guy pushes the contrast ink into the tube that was in my vein, and I realize that they were only half way done.  Chunk chunk chunk beep… then beep beep

Can you hear me?  “Earl can you hear me?” I go by my middle name Spencer, so it took me a second to catch on.  Yeah I hear you.  What side of your field of vision is your disturbance on?  Upper left. Ok….

“Earl, have you ever had a stroke or anything like that?”

Um excuse me, why are you asking me if I have ever had a stroke?  It’s so ironic, because I often receive criticism that it’s not what I said, but how I said it that hurt someone  I get it now.  You don’t ask someone who is in an MRI machine if they have ever had a stroke!  That’s funny right?

Of course, they can’t tell me anything.  But they say they are calling my Doctor right away and suggest I do the same thing.  Dr. Cava.  I have a good doctor.  There are findings … I have an appointment tomorrow with a neurologist, he called and said to take aspirin and a blood thinner.

So this is 2023.  My stroke was in 2022.  January, yes it was, but I am a member of the Santo Daime Church, and our last work of the year is the Kings Day work, which for our Church was January 7th.  I attended that work with my half blindness and played guitar with my eyes closed because I could not see the guitar neck and it was very disorienting.

So the disease, the illness, the thing that struck me, was 2022, and I prayed to leave it in 2022 when we surrendered our works for 2022 and received them for 2023.  I definitely left the disease in 2022.  2023 is all about recovery.  

I have been writing in this blog for a year now, and have wandered a little without really having much of a story to write about.  But this is the blog story of my episode and about my miraculous healing.

Another funny thing is I had a pre existing appointment to get my Medical Marijuana Card today, so I bought legal weed in Miami today for the first time.  

There are some very very funny things that have already happened.  I was dying laughing with my son Wylie about how brain damage excuses everything!  Hey mister, you can’t eat that in here!  What’s wrong with that guy!  Oh I’m sorry … Brain damage.

Brain damage explains SO Much.  But this is only the start.  I can already feel that the dead and weakened neurons are being eaten up, and new ones are being laid down right beside them, and my brain is reprogramming.  This is actually going to be an upgrade.  Or my mortality.  Or both.

It is also an opportunity for my spiritual path to demonstrate it’s worth.  Because I have been a good student of Mestre Irineu and Padrinho Sebastião.  I get to pick the path that my consciousness takes through the world, and this disability is a gift.  This is a gift.  Everything from this moment forward counts.

Healing Power of Prayer

It all started on November 3rd when I took my wife, Stephanie, for a scheduled visit to the hospital. While I was waiting for her I was reading from the book “The Hidden Life of Jesus” which is a translation of the adventures of a Russian explorer in Tibet who found ancient manuscripts in a Monastery that recorded the travels of Jesus through India and Kashmir and Tibet before he returned to Jerusalem at the age of 30. I read the passage featured above about the imperative of honoring and taking care of the women in our lives. I had no idea that my wife, my mother and my daughter in law would all be in the hospital that week. I actually took the photo in the family waiting area of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine family waiting room.

I am writing this as much for myself as for any other potential reader so that I can remember and hold on to the powerful lessons that I learned last week. These lessons sound so commonplace–love and family are the most important, it is our spiritual integrity upon which we must rely to get us through tough times, faith is the antidote to fear, with prayer we can overcome anything… that sort of thing. They are lessons one might find on the Get Well cards they sell in the hospital gift shop. But when we stand by the side of the people we love while they face critical health emergencies, these basic lessons take on new meaning and relevance.

In telling my story, I want to start with Halloween, which was a carefree and joyous moment. I knew at that time that my wife would be having a minor scheduled out patient surgery in a couple of days, but we were not overly concerned with this. We expected she would have a little bit of pain, and need some rest, so we made arrangements for our dogs to stay with their Auntie, and we cleared our schedule so that we could devote ourselves supporting her rest and recovery. That was Monday, and everything seemed fine. I spent the evening in a goofy costume in our front yard shaking an oversized Maracá made from a small goard and passing out candy to children.

We had friends visiting us that day on their way to Brazil. They were going down to Rio de Janeiro for the 40th anniversary of the Santo Daime Church there known as Céu do Mar. This is the home of my Padrinho Paulo Roberto and Madrinha Nonata, who were the first people to bring the sacramental tea that is the center of the Santo Daime religion from the rain forest. I felt a little torn as our friends prepared for their departure, because the celebration at Céu do Mar was something that I ordinarily would not want to miss. But I had received a very strong feeling of trepidation that I should not go down for the celebration. It felt like danger, but I did not really understand it. Sure, Rio de Janeiro can be dangerous, but I’ve been there many times, and there was not any reason to think it was more dangerous now that it was in the past. Still, I had this strong feeling that we should not go down there to join the festivities.

And having decided that we would not go, we went ahead and scheduled Stepanie’s surgical procedure. We said good bye to our friends and wished them well on their journey. I felt torn about our decision not to go. Lots of people were disappointed, and I felt some regret. I did not have a clear understanding of why I had felt so strongly that we should not go.

That was all on Monday. The next day, I received a call from my son Charlie who was traveling with my grandson and my daughter in law in North Carolina. They were going to visit my son George who recently moved with his girlfriend to Greensboro. Upon arriving in North Carolina after a long drive, George called and let them know he had COVID and that they should not come to stay with them. So they went to Ashville to enjoy some fall colors. Simone had a sharp pain in her stomach, which they thought might be appendicitis.

They went to the hospital and saw she had a kidney stone that was having trouble passing. It was quite large, a full centimeter in diameter, yet the doctors saw that it seemed to be passing on its own. They sent her home with instructions to return to the hospital if her condition deteriorated or if she developed a fever. That night, she did develop a fever, and she returned to the hospital for emergency surgery. They detected bacteria in her blood and admitted her to the hospital and gave her intravenous antibiotics to clear up the infection.

This was a bit of a scare, but everything worked out ok. We were all grateful that the episode occurred at the doorstep of Ashville’s brand new hospital where she received excellent care instead of in the middle of the Amazon rain forest which is where she was born and where her family still lives. If this had happened there, it would have been very grave indeed. I thought to myself, maybe this is why I did not go to Rio. But really, I was not at all essential in helping Simone. I was in Miami while they were in Ashville. I could have done everything I did from Rio just as easily as I did from Miami.

Stephanie had her procedure on Thursday the 3rd day of November. I spent the day in the car shuttling her from home to the Mamography department and then to the hospital and then back home again. Her procedure went very well. We had set aside all day Friday for her to rest and recover.

We had healing work scheduled in our Santo Daime Church for Sunday. There was a conference in Miami about using psychedelics to treat PTSD and other conditions over the weekend of November 4th, and a representative, Glauber, from the Santo Daime in Belo Horizonte, Brazil had been invited to speak. Padrinho Alfredo, who is the leading spiritual authority for our branch of the Santo Daime, personally asked our church to hold a healing work on behalf of Glauber and some of the attendees at the conference.

The Santo Daime Church practice revolves around the communion with the divine through a sacramental tea that we call Daime. The constituent plants used to make the sacrament are the same plants as are used to make Ayahuasca. The experience of communion through the Santo Daime Church is very powerful. However, it is not used as a medicine to cure disease in the way most people think of medicine. Rather the Daime is a sacrament which opens the doors to communion with the divine, and the healing power comes from the prayers and divine connection.

We asked everyone from our local current to do their best to attend, and we invited some visitors to help. This was a big effort for us on the heals of Stephanie’s surgery, but it was also very important to honor the request of Padrinho Alfredo. The work was scheduled to start at 2:00 pm in the afternoon on Sunday the 6th of November. I thought maybe this was the reason I had felt so strongly that I should not go down to Rio. Maybe it was because I was needed to lead the healing work.

Friday night I was exhausted. I was happy that my wife and daughter in law were doing well, but the stress of helping them and preparing for the work, combined with a few nights of less than 5 hours of sleep had really taken their toll. My wife asked me to make chicken soup, Jewish Penicillin as she called it, to help her heal. It was so restorative. I went to sleep right after dinner. I was so tired, I slept for 9 straight hours, and woke up bright and early.

Thank god I thought, that the sleep would help me prepare for the work Sunday. I got up in the morning on Saturday and ran through the healing hymns on my guitar to prepare for the next day, and then I started packing my bag to go to a workout with my personal trainer and coach Katie. Katie had been a little under the weather, so I put a little pyrex bowl of the chicken soup in my bag with an orange and a chocolate bar from our little chocolate company to give to Katie. I was in a good mood and looking forward to my session.

Then my world changed. My phone rang on my way out the door. It was my step father. I was about to get in the car and almost sent the call to voice mail. But I was not in any particular hurry, so I thought I’d see what he was up to. I answered the phone and he told me that he thought my Mom might be having a heart attack. He had called 911 and asked me to come over immediately.

As I pulled out of our community, the ambulance went by with sirens blaring. I knew they were going to my Mom’s house about a mile away. They raced past the little side street short cut staying on the main road, and so I was able to arrive about a minute before they did. I parked my car on the street outside my Mom’s long gravel driveway and waited for the medics to arrive so I could enter the code for the gate to let them in. The drive is long and lots of tree branches hang low, and so they had to walk the stretcher and their gear up the drive. David was waiting at the front door.

The medics took my Mom’s vitals. She was complaining of chest pain, but her heart seemed to be working ok. They said they did not think she was having a heart attack, but it was a good idea to go to the hospital just in case. Thank God, because it turns out that she had a blockage of the main artery feeding the heart and was at the very beginning stage of a major Myocardial Infarction.

They put her in the ambulance and David and I followed in the car. When we got to the hospital they were wheeling her in on the gurney. We got to the room and the ER doctor confirmed that she appeared to be having a heart attack. As they prepared to move her to the Cath Lab, her heart stopped. The dreaded monotone beep and an alarm sounded. The doctor raced back into the room and they revived my mother with the defibrillator paddles and CPR compressions. From that moment everything took on an entirely new level of urgency.

We went to the waiting room while they operated on her. An hour went by. Then two hours. No word yet. I was very concerned. I felt called to go down the hall to see if I could learn anything, and just as I arrived at the security doors the cardiologist came out. He informed me that my Mom had suffered a major heart attack. They had placed a stent in her primary coronary artery to open the main blockage, yet they were not able to open a blockage of secondary branch of the artery which remained blocked.

I was admitted to the room where they were working on her. A doctor was working with an arterial line in her leg. There was blood on the sheet around it. I saw her in her bed with an oxygen mask over her face. Her eyes were open and she was talking to me, but it was very difficult to understand her. Her lungs were filling with fluid, and so they needed to sedate her and intubate her. I held her gaze as she lost consciousness and told her I loved her and to please hold on. I was not sure if I would ever hold her gaze again. They hurried me out of the room so they could intubate her and continue working. After another couple of hours, they moved her into the Surgical Intensive Care Unit.

I entered her room. It was full of machines. There was a rack with about 8 different medicines all going into her IV bag. She was heavily sedated, and holding on to life itself. We made arrangements for my sister to fly directly from San Francisco, and thank God we were able to get her on a plane on short notice. I held my Mom’s hand and asked her to hold on for the seven hours it would take for my sister to arrive. Finally, around 11:30 Saturday evening, my sister arrived at the hospital. I was completely exhausted. I went home to sleep and promised to return the next morning at the crack of dawn.

There was an eerie calm in the room Sunday morning. The parking garage at the hospital was totally empty as were the halls and corridors. I made my way upstairs to relieve my sister who had spent the night in the chair by my Mom’s bed. The room was dimly lit and rhythm of the ventilator and the occasional muted alarms of the several machines monitoring her heart created a surreal soundscape. It felt like I had arrived on the command deck of a spaceship.

They told me that my Mother’s condition was very grave. She was in the bottom 10% of patients who make it to the ER, and at 81 years old, this was quite a shock to her system. They wanted to give me hope, but at the same time they did not want to give me unreasonable expectations. The palliative care nurse made her appearance and wanted to know if they should try to revive her if she had another episode. She was very nice, but I had to hold firm and let her know that we were focused on recovery and return to health and not ready to consider palliative care. The staff at the Surgical Critical Care Unit were onboard with this mission. At no time did they ever give up on her. We did not give up either, nor did she.

I called my Padrinho and he told me that it was up to me to do a special prayer. He told me to take some of our sacrament and call upon the healing guides of our doctrine and of Jesus Christ, and to pray. He told me to miniaturize myself in my vision and enter her heart to bring the healing. He said they would hold a healing work for her in Rio de Janeiro.

I stayed by her side until about 1:00 in the afternoon when my sister returned from taking a shower and getting some food. The Church is about a half a mile from South Miami hospital. I had told Glauber the day before about the situation, and I had asked him to lead the work in my absence. Stephanie asked what she could do, and I asked her to be strong and lead the singing for the work. Remember she was also recovering from surgery, and instead of taking care of herself, she was helping to lead a seven hour long Santo Daime Cura. It was her maracá that would set the tempo and hold the work. It was her singing that everyone else would follow. What I was asking her was no small feat. But she firmed herself and held down the work. Her strength and firmness in this situation were nothing less than awesome.

I walked over to the Church at about 1:20 in the afternoon. This was just after talking to the palliative care nurse. My Mom was sedated, and intubated. Her cardiologist had given her a 25% chance of living. She was, however, stable at the moment. I asked if they could remove the breathing tube and let her wake up again, and they said maybe the next day. With this grim news I walked to the Church.

About 30 people had arrived for this work, including visitors from Orlando, Dallas, and the west coast of Florida. Everyone had been informed of the special purpose for the healing work to pray for healing for my Mom. Stephanie had selected and printed several pictures of my Mother and they were arranged on the center table around the double bladed cross that marks the center of the work space.

I oriented Glauber to the sacrament which we had produced at our sacred ceremony which happens at a safe location many hundreds of miles from Miami. I advised him as to how much he should serve. At 1:45 in the afternoon I took a serving of the sacrament myself and walked back to the hospital. The force arrived fast and strong as I was walking. A line from a hymn that my Madrinha Nonata had received came to me very strongly. The line says “cuando eu chegava em sua casa, eu ja estava irradiado.” The hymn recounts a story of her father, Padrinho Sebastião, who established our branch of the Santo Daime in the village of Mapia in the middle of the Amazon. According to the story, he had gone to his brother in law’s house to do a healing there, and the line says “when I arrived at your house, I was already irradiated”. Which means that he was already actively channeling the healing guides.

I felt myself irradiated as well. The hairs were standing up all down my arms and I felt a shiver down my back. The force of the sacrement was growing beyond what I would normally expect from a small serving of sacrament. I went up to the hospital room and relieved my sister who went down to the cafeteria to get something to eat. My Mom was sedated and sleeping. The rhythm of the ventilator set the tone of the room. Occasionally one of the machines would chime a soft alarm… blood pressure, blood oxygen, heart rhythm, temperature. All of these data points seemed to rely on the myriad machines and tubes. A balloon pump in her aorta, that had been threaded through her femoral artery, helped maintain blood pressure.

I entered into concentration and prayer. I prayed for the Daime to bring healing to my Mother. I opened my vision and imagined myself becoming very small and entering her artery and traveling to her heart. I prayed to activate what we call “biophotons” which are pulses of light that are created by our intention, I saw the biophotons appear and they were obliterating dead cells in her heart. This was new to me. I had never thought of obliterating dead cells as a part of a healing process, yet this is what I saw happening. This does not at all reflect any special healing powers or abilities on my part. Instead, I was just channeling and bearing witness to the divine power summoned by all the prayers that were being made for my Mom at the time.

I have learned something about treating an intubated victim of a heart attack. The ventilator machine supplies supplemental oxygen. When my mom was first intubated, the oxygen level she was receiving was 100%. Verious medications also supported her blood pressure and other factors. The strategy is to gradually reduce the medications and the supplemental oxygen. Once supplemental oxygen is reduced to 40% and the medications reduced significantly, then they can remove the breathing tube. When I had left at about 1:00, the doctor had informed us that the earliest this could happen would be the next day. The subtext was “if it is ever possible.”

After I finished my prayer and meditation, I opened my hymn book and softly sang the healing hymns of Padrinho Sebastião. I could feel the energy of the healing work that was going on in the Church just a half a mile away. I could feel the energy of the prayers from Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Céu do Mapia and across the United States. There was such an outpouring of love and support from our brothers and sisters in the Santo Daime.

I remember the exact moment when things shifted. I was singing softly a hymn that says “Jesus Christ, is on the earth, he is a great healer, he heals whoever seeks him, according to their merit”. I felt a wave of emotion come over me and I prayed “oh god, please let my mother and me be deserving of the healing that we are praying for.”

At that exact moment, a nurse tapped my shoulder and asked me to leave the room so they could remove my Mom’s breathing tube. At first I was confused, because the doctor had predicted that it would not be possible to remove it until the next day. But the data points supported this action. The oxygen was at 40% and the medications had been reduced. The conditions for removing the tube had been satisfied, and the best practice is to remove it as soon as this occurs. I went outside texted my step father that they were removing the tube. I sent that text at 3:04 pm on Sunday the 6th of November.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon her condition continued to improve.

My mom and I have a running joke that if I fail to visit her for a glass of iced tea, or if I fail in some other way to perform the obligations of a good and loyal son, that she will report me to the Chinese and my social score will be reduced. So for instance, I might say “Mom, please don’t tell the Chinese, but I can’t come by this afternoon.” That sort of thing. At the end of the afternoon on Sunday I looked at my Mom, who was awake and conversant in her bed, and I asked her “Ok Mom, I’m glad you are better, but tell me, what are we going to tell the Chinese about this?” She laughed. This was at about 7:00 in the evening. I had been there the better part of 13 hours, except for the one hour I had gone to the Church. My sister was planning to stay the night in the recliner chair in the room.

I left the hospital and went over to the Church. As I entered, they were serving the final serving of Sacrament. The singing of the healing hymns had just ended and they were preparing to celebrate by singing the beautiful hymns in the hymnal “Nova Dimensão” (New Dimension) which was received by Padrinho Alfredo. I accepted an ample serving of sacrament and sat in a chair in one of the rows of men. I did not have my uniform, which we call a farda, and so I sat down in my blue T-shirt and jeans. Glauber was in my usual chair at the head of the table and Stephanie was sitting by him. I gave a report on my mom’s condition and everyone cheered they were so elated.

Over the course of the next few days, my Mom’s condition improved very rapidly. On Tuesday the doctors mentioned that by the end of the week she should be able to leave the Surgical Critical Care Unit and move to a regular hospital room. This was such good news. However, when Thursday came, there was simply no reason for her to stay in the hospital at all. She went straight from the SCCU back to her home. Thursday evening she was walking up the stairs, her dogs were jumping in her lap, and she was drinking iced tea. Her recovery was nothing short of a miracle. Truly.

It’s a funny thing when faced with such powerful direct evidence of divine intervention and the power of prayer. I was blessed with a revelation as to how this mechanism works. In this revelation I saw the present moment as a small boat on a vast ocean. Across the vast ocean is the infinite possibility set of everything that could possibly happen in the world from that point forward. When we pray, or set an powerful intention, we do not change the ocean or any of the coast line that contains it. We simply bring the reality we have selected into our conscious experience. All of the other potential realities still exist. Nothing changes when we pray except our path through the multiverse. Every possible version of the future exists in the infinite probability set, and we create our experience through prayer and intention setting.

But many simply cannot see this. A few in my family commented that it was only my Mom’s determination that go her through her ordeal and they credit the presence of family with helping her to maintain her motivation and drive to live. Of course, this is true. My Mom would not have pulled through if she had not held on to the determination that she wanted to live.

There was a moment in the darkest hour, when my sister was on her way, that I could feel my Mom’s spirit in the room. She was unconscious and intubated, and I spoke to her from beside her with my hand on her shoulder, careful not to disturb all of the wires, tubes and catheters that protruded from her bed. “Mom, I said, please hold on until she gets here.” I felt her spirit return to her body. And from that moment she started to heal.

The truth is we all have a choice. We can see God in everything, or we see God in nothing. When we see God everywhere, then the signs of God’s power are obvious and the signs are numerous. When we see him in nothing, well, we simply do not see the signs or any of it. How bleak. For me, standing witness to my Mom’s recovery while people all over the world prayed, was nothing short of a miracle. It has renewed my faith. It has brought me holy peace. And this is what my Mom reported. We asked her if she remembered anything, and she said, as she lost consciousness and held my gaze at the beginning of the ordeal, “I felt peace.”

Everyone is ok now. My daughter in law will be returning next week. Stephanie is fine, and my Mom is watering her orchids. Thank you God and Thank you to all who prayed. Thanks also to those who did not pray, but who showed up anyway and offered support in the material world.

Warrior Spirit – Knowing What I Want Shields Me From Manipulation

I was recently involved in a conversation with someone who was coming at me with an extremely narcissistic attitude. I felt tension rising in my chest and in my voice and I found myself in an argument with this person and my internal tension was rising fast. I was feeling angry and defensive, and I could feel my heart rate increasing and felt my face a little flush. In the past weeks, I have really focused on being aware of what is going on inside of me when I have emotional reactions, and so I noticed as this was happening. I began to ask myself what I was getting upset about. How did this other person get under my skin when I needed nothing from them in the moment, and when I owed them nothing as well.

I could feel how the narcissistic person was pulling on chords of guilt. “You don’t even want to be around me” is what they were saying. They were accusing me of treating them unfairly and differently from other people. The attack was like that of a woodpecker looking for a rotted bug infested section of a tree. They just kept ticking away at me looking for a weak spot. A place where some part of me agreed with what they were saying. Once they found these little spots, they went at work chipping away at me, with the idea that eventually I would capitulate and give them what they wanted.

Most of the people I meet are actually really good people, and I have been quite fortunate to be able to help a lot of very good people accomplish and achieve very good things. This is something I really enjoy and want to do. It’s the same sense of satisfaction one receives in the garden when we water and fertilize good plants and watch them grow and bear fruit. It gives me great pleasure to give a small amount or help in some way, and then watch the seed thus planted grow. But I feel a tightness in my solar plexus when I am manipulated into supporting something that I do not feel called to support.

This study I have been doing about myself over the last few months really has focused on coming to really know myself and that means knowing and accepting the truth about what I want, and letting this be a part of my guidance that I follow. And so here this person was accusing me of not being supportive and not wanting to spend time with them. Some part of me felt obligated to support this person, and the additional layer of accusation around not wanting to spend time was causing a sense of guilt to rise up in me.

My Padrinho teaches me that I should always listen to my enemies and “follow my guilties,” which is one of his funny English phrases from his native Portuguese. Listen to your enemies he says because they will tell you things that even your best friends will not tell you. Listen to what they say he advises me, and search within your conscience to see if there is some truth there. Sometimes there are nuggets of truth that I can learn from my enemies, and through the examination of the conscience, I can correct and improve myself. The same holds true with the “Guilties.” I follow them through my psyche like a string through a cave. Where does this guilty feeling attach to me? How is this guilty feeling being used as a lever on me. Is there something true about the accusation that produces this guilt? Or is it just activating some old wound?

In this recent case, I was feeling guilty because some part of me agreed with the accusation that I was not wanting to spend time with this person, but in denying the truth of that statement, I was actually not telling the truth, and this made me feel guilty. I saw this as I followed the trail into my emotional body. And that’s where the sense of knowing who I am and what I want was available to help me. Actually I realized, the person was quite right. I really do not enjoy spending time with them, because they never respect my boundaries and they are always trying to manipulate me into giving them things I don’t want to give them. They were accusing me of stinginess and lack of generosity, but I know this is not true, because I know what it feels like when I want to help or support something. I am plenty generous with causes and people that I want to support, and I don’t need to support people or causes that I do not feel aligned with.

By knowing what I want, who I am, and where I stand, I was able to shield myself from these attacks.

The attachment point for most of the attacks that come at me is the basic need that I, and I think most people share, is this need to believe that I am a basically good person. I have an image inside my head of what a good person is, and when someone accuses me of acting in a bad way, this makes me uneasy, because it challenges my core belief that I am a good person. If I believe that good people do not say mean things, then I would feel guilty if I told someone that I don’t want to spend time with them or support their projects. Something inside me does not like telling someone that I don’t enjoy their company. But when I embraced the truth of this and accepted that this did not make me a bad person, I felt suddenly free from manipulation. This confidence put a smooth shield inside where the grappling hooks of guilt could not find any purchase.

Sometimes it scares me a little to acknowledge what I want, because I am afraid that if I go after the things I want I might lose some of the things I have. I subconsciously fear that the people around me might react negatively if they were to know what I really want, and so to protect myself from this, there is a tendency to deny it even to myself. This hiding of the truth of our own nature causes a break in integrity, and this provides an access point for spiritual attack. The antidote is faith that I was created by God as a creature in this material world, and there is nothing inherently bad about my true nature. I do not have to pursue every temptation. I do not have to eat foods that tempt me, but I do have to recognize that I am in fact tempted by that chocolate almond croissant. If I put up a wall and claim “of course I do not want that tasty croissant, only heathens and scum and degenerates would eat that!” Well I might be erecting a barrier to help me avoid the temptation, but I am also creating tremendous force to give in. This is why we so often see people falling from behind white washed personas.

If instead I know and recognize the temptation, I can see what I really want, in general, is to stay as healthy as possible so that I can enjoy my third revolution of Saturn through the Zodiac, which will start in a few short years when I turn 58. If I eat added sugar regularly, I put on weight. If I avoid added sugar, wheat, and diary, I effortlessly maintain my ideal weight. I am not a bad person for wanting the chocolate almond croissant. Of course I have the desire to experience that. But if I eat them all the time, I will not be healthy, and so I do not want to eat them over the long term, even though I want to eat them in the immediate moment that I am buying my morning coffee. With conscious examination of the conscience, I can learn to see all the nuances of desires and temptations that I have, and I can align them with the things I want over the long term of my life, and then I can make choices in the present moment accordingly.

But if I hide the truth from myself, well then I am doomed.