Tag Archives: goals

Temple mockup

I started this forever ago. I think I’m satisfied with the current state as done. I’m wavering on adding more color, but I think the message of LGBTQ support might get lost.

The shape you see has the following elements. The main gathering space is where the meditation message is. All the little bubbles with symbols of multiple faiths represent the side chapels for each faith, having small scale set-ups of what their respective faith would use for services. The 2 side domes would be administrative spaces for volunteers, corrdination of community services, and food bank.

It’s the heart and soul of Atira. The reason for everything else.

May you have dreams. May you see your dreams begin to take shape. May you know that all is well. May you know you are on the right track. May you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

* I could have done this on the computer in half the time, and with better alignment and spacing, and more even text. Yet I chose to do it by hand because it let me focus on the message longer.

Test ride.

It’s no Tesla, but I love my E-Bike.

I was able to accomplish my test ride heading home from work today. I managed the ride in 1 hr and 14 minutes (with 2 stops), and it ended up being just over 14 miles.

As you can see in the images below, I was able to go much faster on the E-Bike, but it was still a very good amount of pedaling. There were a few downhill stretches where my legs and lungs got a break, but on flat terrain I still have to put in part of the effort, and inclines I was doing most of the effort. It really is just a boost.

It was still manageable, considering that I gave up at a little over 8 miles on a traditional manual bike.

As for the route, Google maps was kind enough to provide a bike friendly route with smaller hills than the massive hill on Banister Road- though two of the hills I did ride were not much less. One was very long but not as steep, and the other was equally steep but half as long. Maps even introduced me to a bike path I’d never used. It was a good ride in 60+ degree weather with the sun shining brightly.

As for my battery, I probably over consumed it figuring out how to navigate hills and stoplights, but it still comfortably made it home. Once I get more efficient and have more leg endurance it’ll get less of a power drain, and I could go much further.

I stopped twice. Once to avoid a heavy burst of traffic crossing Ward Parkway, and the second time was to take off my outer most layer to avoid being soggy from sweating. Otherwise I was able to ride straight through. It was nice to be able to ride that far. I’m definitely no marathon competitor, but I’m glad to know my legs are not as gimpy as I thought.

Once I got home, I went ahead and decorated my bike with holiday decor and battery operated led lights. That way if I end up riding before/after dark I’ll be amply visible. It’s not a problem when the sun is up more hours of the day!

Anyway, tomorrow there is a chance of rain, and Anya’s work schedule is very similar to mine, so I’ll drive us both to work at the same time. Wednesday will be my next chance to ride, and honestly after two long rides when I haven’t touched a non-stationary bike for years, I probably should take a day off. I don’t want to overdo it, and this is to help with transportation needs and fuel consumption, so I won’t have to ride every day, just every opportunity that is convient and manageable. If I get 4 or 5 days a week it’ll make up for my gym routine from before May, and accomplish both of the other goals too!

May you have good bikes, good rides, and perfect weather to enjoy. May you have fun figuring out new things. May you always have answers when you need them and the right tools for every situation. May you be patient with yourself, your life challenges, and with well meaning concerned friends. May you know everything will be alright no matter what, and above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

Nursing to goals.

I strained my arm again; too many hours of overuse and not nearly enough self care to make up for it. Yet, after lots of work on my own, and even some more with help from Nathan and all the staff at the clinic, it’s on the upswing. Like my shoulder it may take a short bit to clear the hurdle, but I know I will.

It’s funny how logically I have known for 15 years that it is possible to injure oneself with repetitive actions, but apparently I didn’t have a full understanding in terms of my work and my self care routine. The work continued and I was getting my massages, but my self care in the evenings disappeared with familial adjustments these last few months. I didn’t keep track of time elapsed well because I have been functioning day to day, moment to moment. Yet my arm hit a wall, and simply gave up, which I’m now going to have to nurse for a while to repair damage done.

So, I now sit waiting for my daughter to come out of her new job, and saw a man struggling to load groceries onto a bike for a cold ride home this very fall evening. I realized he was not prepared for such an endeavor. His bike had no baskets and it seemed he struggled to find a balance between the two sides of the handle bars, and this isn’t weather anyone riding for fun would typically choose. It was clear that his lack of understanding was partially his upbringing, education and awareness, and partially the aspect of having to do something he’d probably rather not. It was an unpleasant combo.

I’m glad I’m able to avoid that scenario. I’m grateful I’m able to choose when, where, and what weather I ride a bicycle in. I’m also grateful that I have a vehicle to handle cold and wet, fall and winter weather, safely and comfortably. I have choices in this matter and it feels good to know that.

Yet, I immediately thought of English and Irish peoples who still to this day ride bicycles miles upon miles for all sorts of needs. They ride rain or shine, from town to town to run their errands and go to work. It just is the way they were raised. It’s part of their culture. The same is true for people from Portland or even like my brother on the east coast. Some people just know that it is a safe environmentally friendly choice of transportation, which if you are prepared and have proper equipment can also be quite enjoyable.

I missed that as a kid, and realized that as I contemplated my upbringing.

I was aware that bicycles could be ridden long distances because my brother would disappear for what seemed as hours on end to ride his bicycle. But I was a tiny baby and then toddler when he was riding. I had no real concept of time or distance. By the time I was old enough to figure that out I was left with family that thought bicycles were more for occasional recreation, rather than exercise or any other kind of daily routine. There was no incentive to invest on that vehicle, it was slower and could not carry lots of weight or passengers, it didn’t make the cut, so a plain and basic bike was my tool to learn the experience of bicycling. It was far from a full experience of all that word can mean. I now have a greater awareness, but at this point I lack the endurance to to use it as transportation for any distance. I’m willing to change that, but it isn’t something I can do overnight.

I am contemplating getting a bike I found on Amazon, maybe by next spring. I’ll put a pic below. It is an electric optional bike, where I can pedal as normal or start the motor and let it do the work. I think it would be helpful in building my endurance and beginning to commute to work by pedal power. See I haven’t been on a bicycle at all in maybe 4 years, and the last time I did ride regularly it was on relatively flat terrain. We would ride with Ian in the pull-along bubble, but we were on bike paths around Riverside and it was very flat and very smooth. Even then my distance was limited. So contemplating my 8.5 mile commute which has several very big hills is a bit daunting. I want to, and I want to get good at biking, but the process seems a bit much to handle. The electric bike would take the daunting out, as long as I stayed motivated to do as much as I could on a given day. I don’t know, maybe it’s just another variation on pushing myself too hard. But, it seems like it would solve both a transportation issue we are having with only one reliable vehicle, and also solve part of my self care puzzle by reintroducing exercise to my daily routine post dialysis interventions. It’s at least worth the attempt and a good bike is never a bad thing.

I guess what I’m saying is that my shoulder, and the biking picture, both are an analogy of the whole picture of life. We only know or understand something fully from the experiences we’ve had, and can only guess at what something is like until we have first hand knowledge. Sometimes we take risks because of that limited knowledge, and sometimes those risks end up hurting us or someone we are close to. It’s not something we should beat ourselves up over, but it is a learning lesson that can help future decisions.

I have now painfully learned that injury can happen whether it’s a singular intense incident or a chain reaction of several minimal ones. And I’m describing it to you with the best my words hold, knowing that you don’t fully comprehend the weight of that, with the core of your being, until it has happened to you. We can never judge another’s experience because we were not in their shoes, but likewise we need to estimate our own limits better knowing that we don’t really know. It leaves less risk, less hurt, but keeps us safer in general.

We can never know the fullness of anything until we have experienced it, but knowing what we do know and knowing that our perspective is limited, can sometimes help us avoid pitfalls of life. Be kind to yourself and others when estimations fail, because we’ve all been there and done that in some way, shape, or form. Healing is possible, and sometimes it requires asking for help. For me right now, I’m past the worst of the arm injury and slowly recuperating, but I still know it is a symptom of a bigger picture needing addressed. I spoke with my friend the office manager about schedule adjustments to attempt to enable self care at work. Beyond that I am still grasping at straws, and don’t know who to ask for what yet. I know I need help, but I just don’t know what to ask for, or who can provide it once I figure that out. Maybe a few more days will bring clarity. For now I continue, moment to moment, day by day, because it’s how I’ve gotten through all of this.

May you understand your needs and what to ask for. May you see where your knowledge is limited and safely estimate you own personal limits. May you have adequate time and space to care for yourself so that you can continue to care for others. May you know that you have everything you need and it’s a simple question away. Above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

The bike I’m working towards:

Catching up: 3

I Never Wanted a PhD

I had a thought in the midst of all of this that I should take the MCAT and go to med school, essentially I’m over the bullshit and stupidity, especially contradictions with covid, and bonus it would grant me access to the tools I desire at cost. But I had to stop and acknowledge that isn’t a good idea.

It’s not because of my intelligence. I know I am smart enough and not just to pass, no I’d be in the top quater of my class, or better, just like all the rest of my education.

It’s also not because of desires for knowledge, or to be of assistance. I am well aware of how much I have learned and educated myself on, just by my own accord. I’m already really helpful to lots of people in the midst of their own health journies. No being a doctor would not further either of those goals that much, some is guaranteed because I don’t know everything, just what I’ve already had to deal with.

And though access to the tools and financials of being a doctor would be really nice and helpful, I’m not sure that is enough justification.

See I’m well aware of how much outside of most boxes I fall. I would cause too many waves and stir up too much trouble. I would be the Patch Adams pointing out the brokenness of the system at every turn. I would question everything presented to me. I would constantly point out the failings of that approach, just by being me and who I am.

See, I have better bedside manners and palpation skills to start with, than most of them end up with after all their training. I am always looking for the permanent, long-term solutions, not just temporary band-aids. I look for root causes, not the symptom treatments. It’s just because of what I have done for the last 14 years. I have already learned the value of those skill-sets. I would be too much trouble for another doctor just trying to teach how to implement and maintain the “accepted” system. The problem is that it’s not really accepted by everyone, just those that see change as too difficult or too threatening to their pocketbooks.

I also would have major difficulty with the fact that medicine has mastered the pills and procedures, but has ignored and forgotten the rest of us, our mental health, our intuition, our spiritual self. It’s not just that they have ignored it, it’s that they will tell people they are wrong, or suggest something is nothing, and trudge on as they see fit, regardless of the consequences of ignoring the helpful input from the other side. If a doctor had taken my mother seriously the third time she brought me in for the same symptoms, I’d be telling a whole different story these days. Her intuition was telling her there was something wrong and that likely there was a solution, but labwork overrode her pleas.

And I’m on the medical tangent because of having to deal with it far too much this year and especially this week, but I don’t want other PhDs for the same reasons. The whole idea of a PhD is to learn as much as you can on one particular aspect of life/work. It leaves no room for flexibility and working outside the box. It limits innovation and is always about perpetuating the subject at hand, as it currently stands.

I had at one point contemplated a PhD of philosophy or divinity. Despite the low wages for those fields, I was also struck by how few of those people actually knew how to connect with their own inner spirit. Philosophy degrees these days are about history, timelines, religious beliefs as built through institutions, and the mechanics, but rarely teach how to connect with the higher self. And doctors of divinity are essentially indoctrinated by all the details of the religious institution that provided their education. They may get instruction on other religions’ institutions and dogma, but they are taught from the slant of their teachers, not by those other institutions. It screams of being laden with unintentional bias at every turn.

I had even considered music and art. Those degrees are only slightly better in that they encourage creativity and expanding concepts, hopefully leading to some innovation. But it’s still mostly a degree aimed at the end goal of eventually you’ll teach someone else the same things you learned and maybe also what you innovated on.

Beyond that most doctoral degrees are cumbersome with many hoops merely intended to ensure that you can demonstrate the knowledge that you have gained from the coursework. It’s just an added layer of discomfort bogging down my desire to pursue any such degree.

So my doctorit has been gleaned from life.

I have studied all the religions to certain degrees, and usually seek out materials written by their clergy.

I have studied western medicine enough to navigate work and my own and my husband’s health. In turn, it has enabled me to help others along the way, giving them specific questions to ask their providers and things to request in testing and treatments. It has contributed to many people finding the resources they need.

I have studied Traditional Chinese Medicine enough to know a few elements to help myself and my clients. It also helps me to ask the right questions for my own treatments, and enables a knowing of when TCM might help one of my clients more if they tried another approach under that umbrella of care.

I have studied art and music and still regularly produce my own works as much as time allows. Those skills have helped in work environments in non-traditional ways on many occasions and I’m utterly grateful I had the interest to pursue those topics.

I have trained myself on fitness, yoga practices, meditation, and EFT and practice them as often as I’m able. Those too have helped me to help others on a very regular basis.

And in all of this, I hold a bachelor’s degree in studio art with honors, and a massage therapy certification. That is all the more official education that I have consumed. Life will provide you with more than enough education if you allow it. One only needs how to learn from reliable sources. That ability to delineate good from not so good, and consume the information in a way that your brain retains it. That’s it.

So yes, I better not go get any PhD, let alone one in allopathic medicine. I’d be too much trouble for them, and it’s benefits for me would be too slim for the headache I would cause myself.

May you know that you are intelligent and well educated and informed. May you easily see whether or not something is beneficial or resistant in nature. May you understand your place in this world and find easy ways around everything. Above all else, may you know you are loved and supported in all that you do.

Om Shanti

Keeping my word: Update

Our friend Autumn O’Leary should have been staying with us the last two weeks. She hasn’t and it’s not because I changed my mind to help her.

She is doing worse and has been moved to a new hospital. She is now at KU Med Center.

The spot in her heart has become two and is larger. She didn’t tell Nathan what that meant, but I knew.

She has a drug abuse history (family and trauma related) so she is not likely to be considered for transplant. If the infection is controlled, and by that I mean halted, they can replace the valve that was damaged. If the infection does too much further damage to her heart then her prognosis is bleak.

It has also spread to both of her thumbs, and her right leg below where they did surgery in her abdomen to remove the initial infection. She now has a wound drain in her abdomen because they did a second surgery (before this last round of spreading), to clear fluid and additional infection.

She has not walked more than a couple of steps at a time in 2 months. She looks terrible (Nathan’s words). KU Med only allows one visitor per day, so I will stop and see her tomorrow after work.

Please if you read this, send prayers for Autumn.

I will still help her get back her life, if she lives through this.

Regardless, my prayer intention is that she have an easy gentle solution, whatever aligns with her source and the divine most accurately and effectively. I acknowledge that may mean she doesn’t live, knowing God never intends for us to suffer. But I am not God and I can not judge how closely she leans towards life or death. I only hope for the quick solution for which ever outcome is best in God’s eyes.

Please send prayers for her and everyone balancing on that edge.

May you know your life could be worse. May you know God loves and supports us all. May you know that God wants us to enjoy life and and be well. May you know that if you are too far from being able to reach that, God welcomes you home where it no longer matters. Either way, God does it’s best to provide exactly what we need in any moment.

Siva Hir Su