Friday, September 25, 2009


This is a very old picture of me.  I find it one of the few that I like, because one really cannot see much and so I find I have little to criticize about how I look or don't look.  Ah, vanity.

This was taken at a time when I still enjoyed hanging out in bed.  I was able to enjoy it, because it was not imposed upon me.  Nor was it something that I was finding to be an all too common imposition for others that I knew and for whom I cared.
Now, on those few days when I do feel like I can get up easily, I can actually enjoy some time laying there and reading. 

But I wanted to write, not about my difficulties, or the many numerous afflictions that we as humans are prone to host.  I wanted to speccifically about cancer.  There are few people I have ever encountered who have not had some close relationship to it.  In my case, it has afflicted several members of my immediate family. 
Both my mother and my brother suffered from it.  Perhaps it would be better said that they suffered from the cure, but they lived. 
My mother's breast cancer made itself known in the early sixties and the treatment at that time was brutal. She was a most remarkable woman and made every attempt to hide the pain and difficulty that she had following a radical mastectomy and radiation treatments.  I recall her talking to me in the last months that she was alive, decades later, waiting to die from congestive heart failure, about how the exercises to keep from losing the use of her arm after all the muscle tissue had been removed, was the hardest and most painful thing in her life.  (My mother's life had been extremely painful and so it came as a surprise to me.) 
My brother's cancer has not made any reappearance in a very long time and we seem to have forgotten about it most of the time.  Because I respect him and feel it is his story to tell, I don't wish to write about it here without speaking with him first, but I am so grateful that he is alive and the proud Papa of two beautiful boys. 

I have felt somewhat useless lately for reasons of my own, but in that down time have been hatching a project that I think might be helpful.  I have much more to iron out as regards that, but I do urge all of you to do what you can to help make this world a healthier, safer and more peaceful place.  Let all beings live without suffering.  susanne/sopha d.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sometimes it pours...sometimes nothing.

Having just posted yesterday, it seems a bit much to post again today. Despite the reality of my task list, which would have had me work without so much as a bathroom break today, one of my tasks did lead me to a pleasant diversion.  I was not going to follow it but the siren call was simply too great.

The life of ADD has become more difficult as I have grown older.  I have less energy, therefore less time to complete tasks and far, far, less resistance to distraction. It can, at times feel like a very lonely journey as we hide out failings and our insecurities (part and parcel of the whole thing). 
I do make attempts to cherish where even these formerly unwanted things take me these days.  Today, the actual task was to get the rocks, stones and pebbles that I had found and washed yesterday off the kitchen counter.  (Just for the sake of clarity allow me to say that they were originally found on various beaches throughout the last twenty or so years with various of my children. )

They were nice and clean and dry and I could have just tossed them all into some container, but that would be rather unlike me.  Instead, I took a pleasant half hour, swiftly defenestrated GUILT, where it landed in the bushes, unhurt but persuaded to stay away for a while. Oh what wonderful rock and stones!!! There are little, teeny tiny ones and then somewhat larger ones. Every single one of them has a story to tell.  There is a slew of smaller green ones, which I think may have come from the Oregon Coast, but I am not sure. So many shades of green!!!!  And, so much in each and every single stone that it forces me to recall friends and acquaintances.  Just as with the stones, they tease me with the surface indications of their stories, but to learn more, will require sitting time. 

Right now, it is time to put on my sleep breathing machine.  I hope tonight I get the straps right and avoid the headache I gave myself last night.  Things are only progressing slowly, but I will try to have faith.  It was funny the night I scared the ###### out of my husband!!

More another time.  Love, peace and happiness to all living beings.  s.

mental health and tthe possibility of hope

So much time has gone by since last I posted here, and even more since last I found myself happily deadheading the flowerpots on my deck or disciplining the unruly bushes in the front of the house.
I stopped writing for a while for reasons with which I may choose to bore you later. But for now, I am only just emerging from a time of loss and sorrow, not to mention fear. Cancer that nasty word and demon of a disease is hurting and trying to kill three of my friends. One of them will be dead before the next spring. She is kind enough to talk about this honestly and only when she wants to and I am learning something, I am just not entirely sure exactly what it is just yet.

I decided to make several choices. I would say commitments, but that work implies my having a partner who might benefit in these projects. Choice is a better work and frees me from the idea of meeting or failing to meet expextations.

For a long time, I kept things out of this blog. For one thing, I was fairly sure that I was somehow simply writing to myself. While this is an exercise that can be useful to anyone, I hope to be able to write well enough and spanning enough subjects, in breadth and depth, to be of some use or entertainment to others.

I was planning to divide the writing up into several areas. For a long time, I have always kept my life as a psychotherapist private, in the interests of confidentiality, but in writing for the Polishing Stone, found that my own experiences and knowledge do not have to impinge on the confidentiality of any of my patients. Therefore, I would like to begin to write about that experience and would appreciate comments in return. This is not meant as a forum for giving clinical advice, but mental health (what an odd way to describe being happy) has much in it to chat about.

I also feel that as I struggle to retire from one kind of life and enter and try to build a full time life as an artist, I would like to write and interchange ideas with folks around these issues.

Third, I long ago began to write something called "101 Stories about my Mother". She was a most remarkable woman, who is mirrored in the women I find around me now. Truly, there are many stories.

Last, but not least, there are always my unsolicited ramblings....

I am writing this late on a Sunday night, having written drafts and getting nowhere all week, and finally choosing just to let this go out, with not so much as spell check.

Bless you all and please, come back and let me know you are here by subscribing. susanne/sopha