Thursday, November 6, 2008

PHARMAKON : a new time

It is a new time....I wish I could have written yesterday, but it was not to be. When I go to work, in order to be non-intrusive, I keep most of my politics in my back pocket, and so yesterday the enduring smile on my face was all I could put out there to express my feelings of joy and hope about the election of President (to be) Obama.

I happen to be reading (among several other things) a book that deals with Jungian ideas. The name is The Scapegoat Complex.
The reading is slow, but one of my office colleagues has recently completed further study in psychoanalytic approaches to therapy and I thought it was time for me to return to some of the readings in order to be able to talk to her about our work more productively. She has, through the years, taught me much, and I wish to continue to learn from and with her.

I mention this because it brought me to thinking about why this election had me in tears for several hours after I got home. These were tears of joy and hope.

As an individual not born to this citizenship, I sometimes feel that I should criticize less and sometimes more. I realized some of what I had been missing in the political life here.

A quote from the book: ..."psychologically, scapegoating is a form of denying the shadow - by projecting it onto others." ....Shadow can refer to....." attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and emotions we do not feel conform to the the idea of omni-perfection with which we define our idea of God or the Supreme Other. (as a beginning student of western Buddhism--20 years or so--I find that I cannot really find the correct word for the universality of one-ness, but still feel that the same holds true.)

We can have such difficulty accepting that all our humanity, whether we welcome it or not, is part of a compassionate, accepting universe. Therefore we find the scapegoat which allows us to repress, reject and make unconscious the unwanted (in us) while projecting those qualities elsewhere.

For a very long time now, our politics, in line with the rigid Calvinism upon which this nation was founded, have sanctioned an atmosphere of scapegoating.

The speech given by Pres. Obama on being confirmed the evening before last, was a new kind of speech. It was something we have not heard in far too long -- a voice of hope and clarity, devoid of scapegoating. Now, it is up to us. ...and to quote that which has been happily quoted much in the last few days---yes, we can.

My postings have been less frequent than I would have them in the last six months or so, due to illness, but I am hoping that I am getting better and will have time to post more.
Please let me know that you are reading this, lest I feel foolish, and return to paper and pencil journals. If you read this, please let me know who you are... tell me about you and argue with me if you wish.

Also anyone reading this who has any good recipes for things to eat that conform to a celiac (gluten free), migraine prevention and diabetic diet.... help me out. It will be much appreciated.

May you and all beings be well and live in peace and joy.
sopha davenport/aka/drsuze/aka/susanne

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The virtual gardener...

I, who used to spend several hours a day in the garden despite soggy weather, armies of slugs and crabgrass that felt like it had developed a personal distaste for me, am watching another fall come. This will be the second summer that I have left it all just about untouched. There are those plants that go on and seem to do just fine without my attention, but others have succumbed to my bad back and neglect.

I have always thought the garden had much to teach me, and I miss the lessons that take place in the quiet. I had worked on my yard for years and at the end of every summer, the result was the same.....all the things I wanted to do, remained undone.
I oddly still think of a year beginning in September when the schools start--you would think I was a teacher or parent or something....; so this year as we have passed All Hallows Eve and are making our dash toward Thanksgiving (culturally I mean), I find myself climbing over the effort I began sometime back. It feels like forever, so I cannot even say how long.
We decided to get a new couch and thereby "redo" the living room, causing all kinds of storage uproar in the other places in the house as well. Everything had to come out so that it could be purged before being put away and I find I am still at it and sooo bored by it. I think this year the garden is teaching me that there is no deadline in these matters so great as to neglect friends, family and oneself. I come to this slowly. It took a bit of illness and pain and discomfort to get me here, but I am slowly easing into things with the grace of a neglected garden.
In that grace I hope to find some of the passion I have lost lately, as well as my blood sugar monitor (helpful, if you have been told to monitor your blood sugar!!)
A long time ago I wrote something about how relationships are like the different plants in the garden and the wise gardener does not try to make any into something they are not. But, still one must attend to the needs of the plant/relationship. As I have had my head in trying to find myself among this chaos, I hope that all those of you that I truly care for remember to consider yourselves among the peonies. They are my favorite, although they had to be carefully tended initially, they now willingly go on and show me their splendid miracle in the spring. So are all of you my peonies and though I may have neglected to treat you as well as I should, I wait patiently until you bid me come to attend to you by your unending patience underground and scented flowering.
I promise to try to post more frequently and to take the time to edit these comments a bit more that they be enjoyable to you and allow me to take pride in my thoughts.
The picture of Kwan Yin (one of many spellings) is one of several that I have been collecting in an effort to bring something of "hers" more graphically into all parts of my life. My favorite is a small statue I have on my desk at work. It keeps me present and aware of my "shen pa" (spelling???) as Pema Chodron would advise.
Wishing you all a most pleasant week. I am off to bed to finish a hat. Yes, of course we have to sleep with pins in the bed... that's life. sopha davenport/aka susanne

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The wedding thing...

The article regarding the wedding dress I made for Sarah is in Cornelia Powell's online magazine "Weddings of Grace". I believe you can get there from here by using

Thanks Allegra for your help with this.
If anyone has an interest in what I make now you can contact me by leaving a comment and your email address on this blog and I will get back to you... sopha d.

Little birds cont.

For some reason, I find that if I try to look and see how the entry I am making is looking on the blog, I cannot go back and add on to the initial thing I was writing..... so.... this is Part 2 of the entry below..(I hope)
I pulled into the parking lot and asked someone just what was going on. I thought perhaps it was time for the aliens to come down, although why they would choose the front lawn of an old elementary school in Monroe of all places would be a bigger mystery to me than the idea of aliens.
As someone explained to me, the large chimney on the school is part of the migration route of a certain species of finches. This happens every year for about a week. It has gone on since the school was built. What happens is this. The birds fly in the sky above the school. More and more of the tiny birds gather until the sky seems covered with them fly here and there. Then, as the dusk gathers the evening around it, at some invisible signal they begin to gather themselves and slowly the formation of a tornado of small birds all flying counterclockwise begins to form.
The formation becomes tighter and tighter until those at the base of the tornado begin to enter the chimney. To do this, they must turn and fly down tail first, as they spend the night like shingles atop each other for warmth. Birds contine to come and come and come. It is the most astonishing thing I have ever seen.
I also love that people take the time during this week to watch a show that is quiet, no loud music and bright lights, just amazing nature. sopha d

Little tiny birds

One of the things that I love most about life are the surprises. There are good ones and bad ones. Clearly the bad ones are, on first meeting not as welcome as the funny, affirming, or enriching ones. I have had two major surprises this week, one of each kind. I will tell you about the latter.

I was driving home from work about seven in the evening. In the small town just outside of Seattle, WA, where I have my office, it was beginning to be dusk. I was in one of those apathetic, half brain dead kind of moods as I drove past the old elementary school. It seemed odd to me that there were about a hundred people or so either standing, or sitting on lawn chairs, with and without binoculaurs, looking at the roof of the school. I was about to drive by, then I thought I saw someone I knew and pulled into the parking lot.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Thanks Allegra for sending me the links to your site as well as to weddings of grace. For now they should be in your comment, but after I take my shower and clear up the kitchen I will move them into links... thanks so much. What would I do without all of you who help me out in these matters Sopha D.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Birthdays and sweet boys

Today is September 16th, four days after my son's twentyfirst birthday. He is a very special child in so many ways I cannot count them all, but he is the last child we will send forth into the world to create his own life (eventually....).

On his birthday he received the usual odd sort of assortment of things that we cobble together when we think of someone we love. I was moved to tears, when he was moved to tears, not by the spiffy new, red cell phone, but by the plate with his four year old handprint that I had cleaned up and mounted with some other items in a shadow box. He was also given two magnets with quotes and his favorite went something like this "It is not as important to go out into the world and do well, as it is to go out into the world to do good". Not only have I doubtless mangled the quotation a bit, but I have forgotten the writer. A book of poems by Rumi was also among his favorites.
Perhaps, no matter what, we have raised him a little bit right, or, perhaps his spirit has survived our parenting and all the other nastiness the world threw his way. A lovely birthday.
Wishing you all a wonderful new year.

You may wish to visit a website produced by Cornelia Powell, called Weddings of Grace. No, of course I don't have the url, that would mean I have suddenly become totally organized. But then, you know how to google don't you? You just put your.......

Oh, lost in old movie memories... my pardon. One of the articles in her newsletter is about my friend Sarah and her "mermaid" gown. (I just love being called a designer.) No more said.
sopha davenport

Saturday, June 28, 2008

counterfeit or real life?

This winter has been a long and difficult one for me, When I think about it, it spans from last June until about now. The winter that is a year. Therefore my title, is this life real or counterfeit--movement done by sheer will and need without my heart and soul invested in the doing? All my life I have had difficult with the occasional bout of depression. ( thought mental health professionals never have these issues? Au contraire, Lucy!!! It is these experiences that encourage us into these careers and make us either very good or very bad at them.)

There are so many of us that, I think, are not meant to live in the society as it now is. Particularly at my age.. 58..59? I forgot. But, things are becoming real again, as I can see my peony blooming away. It has been sadly neglegted but has nonetheless given me the gift of its spectacular bloom. I thank all who must be thanked.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I wrote this weeks ago and could not figure out just how to get it out of drafts and posted. I finally learned this sort of backhanded, my apologies for this writing being several weeks old. I will finish my thoughts on the many meanings of gravity on the weekend. thanks. sophad

Time and Pigs
Time and Pigs Thinking of time and pigs last night while waiting for sleep to still an overactive mind. We are convinced that one flies and utterly certain that the other will never. How, I wonder did pigs get into that position? There are so many things that are, when you give the matter some thought, considerably more immobile and unlikely to fly. There are buildings, boulders, mountains (although we give them credit for being im-movable), and, sadly, there is my dear friend Sherrie. I haven't seen her for a while as I live here in the Northwest and she was forced by circumstances to move to Boston some time ago. She has MS. She has had it for a long time, but it only recently, in the last year or so became the cruel monster it is now. She cannot fly literally in any physical sense. No running and having that feeling that you are going fast enough to leave your body behind. It has taken that inch by inch but with an unrelenting viciousness that boggles the mind. She has fought to retain the use of her legs with a will the like of which I have never met. The sad truth of life is that sometimes will and love are not enough. If they were, she would be running barefoot through green grass at this very moment.The flies of MS time took her balance, so even when her legs were strong enough, she was in danger of falling at any moment. A walker or a can will only do so much and they are a greater intrusion than help when one is moving in a home filled with stuff. Your fat friend, may have the illusion that she will catch you if you fall backwards down the stairs, but you know all there will be left are her little hands and feet in, of course, fabulous shoes, sticking out. That too!! MS robs you of the ability to wear fabulous shoes, unless you are lying down. No fun at all. Then, about the time you sort of get used to that, it decides to overrule you when you give orders to your limbs. You say to your right foot, "go that way." ----- but, noooo! MS decides to make it go someplace entirely different.To add more insult to injury, you are given medications that make you gain weight simply by breathing and you, who have always kept your body in the trim, are adding ten pounds a month. This is now not easy weight to haul around. It is sadly, still not considered justifiable homicide to strangle any medical staff who tells you that, "why no, that medication, does not put on weight. You must be eating more than you think."(hi honey...hope you are feeling sort of ok....)I have reached the age where there is always the chance that any friend I have both close and far away, is one that I might lose without notice. I have not ever really liked group functions, primarily because I cannot have the sort of conversation I want that bonds me with my friends and so I treasure the rare day having lunch in a restaurant and then looking at glass at Bedrock. Sometimes it feels that it can never be enough. And yet, I have lost often enough that one would think I would be better at it. I remain what I have been all my life -- the sort of person who stands and waves long after the car is out of sight. Thank you Allegra and Barry for the most precious afternoon and evening you gave me on Sunday. Although the time went too fast, I think we were the ones flying. sopha d. [Photo]

Monday, March 17, 2008

part 2 re gravity

A while back, when I took writing up again, a bit more seriously this time, it was not as easy as it had been when I was in my twenties. (Earlier this month I had my fifty ninth birthday) I don't bother myself too much with the why of it, but it has become my habit, to leave no word unexamined. It takes me to far more interesting places when I do that, so I plan to continue.
One of my favorite books for this purpose is an eighteen hundred's thesaurus written by a man named Mr. Crabb. I purchased this book for a dollar or so many years ago on Chukanut Drive on our way from Seattle to Bellingham. Mr. Crabb opens up a world of word usage the like of which seems all but lost to us now. We are all the poorer for it. But, at the moment, Mr. Crabb is hiding so we will have to do without him.
My first step was to look up the word gravity in my old (1948) english/german dictionary. French and German being the first languages I ever learned, looking at the German and French equivalents of words, sometimes allows me to feel my way into words in those languages. I can often do this with english as well, but why not make things richer if you can? So, what did I find out? That will be part 3. I think I am still the only one who reads this thing, right? --so I may as well take my totally exhausted body to bed. More tomorrow, I think...sopha d.

gravity has increased...

It seems that in the last few months, there is a small circle of space surrounding me, traveling with me--an invisible shell--in which the forces of gravity have increased a noticeable amount. The thought originally came to me, as, for what must have been the thirtieth time in one morning I either dropped something, or an object fell for no other apparent reason than being in my proximity! The current improvement, for which I feel immense gratitude, is that at least things are no longer falling on my head. Because I have had some difficulty with getting things to show up on the blog and remaining in my blog draft section despite my pleadings, I am going to post this in bits. So this has been part 1.

Friday, February 29, 2008

frustration with everything

At the moment it would seem that the more I attempt to have this thing post the drafts I have written....brilliant work of course...well, they were not meant to be drafts!!!, the more it makes older post go away, so in order to read them you have to click on the link-ie pencil thingie.
There are a number of you, who I count among my friends, whose blogs are much more fascinating than mine, but at the moment I fear that if I write them on this blog page, they may disappear altogether. I want to hang on to you!!! sopha davenport







Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Technology hates me

I don't know why my last post ended up with this upload link instead of the whole post.... It is a long one, so if you wish to read my ramblings, why push the button please. I just cannot rewrite it... thank you. sopha davenport

Friday, February 22, 2008

change/no change

This morning, while loafing in bed, both my favorite and least favorite activity depending on how "stuck" I feel, an advertisement came on. This is of course to be expected. Some skinny older guy, who I admit looks like some of my older friends was jogging along what looked like the undeveloped part of Mulhulland Drive (forgive my spelling--it has been a while). The gist of the thing was that being old was not the kiss of death of something and that even at the horrible old age of 58 you could take your life back into your hands, one step at a time. After a while apparently you would then look skinny like him and run around in baggy shorts at five in the morning. That was fine, until it struck me like a thunderbolt.... 58!!!!!, wait a minute, I'm 58 and still waiting to get a little older before I get really serious about consistently taking the calcium and having that bone density scan. (Let us not even discuss the treadmill looming in the other room.)

What does this mean? Heck if I know.... but I was thinking how we change, and the world changes and something inside of us refuses to change. When these are in proper balance, life is rich, challenging, meaningful and, well, life. When they are not, which often occurs when we leave these things unexamined, we run the risk of slowly dying while still walking around.

A number of years ago, I had an unusual opportunity to go to Beijing, China with one of my bestest friends. For five years we had run a business together and when the business closed, our time together shrank radically. This chance to spend two weeks with her was wonderful and since I had a real love affair with all things Asian through my romantic western vision, I was ready to go. The trip itself was so many things that I could write a book if anyone was ever interested (which they are not). However, on coming home, I became ill with a mystery illness. I was extremely tired most of the time and given all manner of medications. In August of 2002 I wrote this:

I have been struggling with coming to terms with the awful feeling that life flows by me, so quickly and so un-noticed.

I find myself left with nothing more than the repeating experience of waking at 4 am with yet another day gone by. It is the true existential anxiety toward death. I am relieved to find that it is in part a side effect of one of my medications.

The events of the summer forced this chemical unconsciousness upon me--for the sake of my blood pressure and the sanity of those with whom I live. Strange that their living more comfortably should be bought by my living less fully.

It is odd how day can feel so much more full, long, meaningful, joyful, fearless, even though my back aches, the same problems exist, my still the same unknown length or brevity...but having been awake to it, I don't feel that dread. This medication treated my anxiety and oddly enough caused severe dread for me....

As a therapist, this is a window into depression that is well worth thinking about."

Enough for today. Comments are welcome.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

oh my oh my

Time has flown,my computer blew up or at least got ill enough that everything got erased.... I will write again soon. Anyone whose blog I was reading may have to relink with me please. Thanks my dears. sopha d.