Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life Offline - Art Enabled

For reasons beyond my comprehension, my laptop has become virtually useless, though I can still work on my manuscript on it. For this, I am grateful. However, I cannot get online using that machine, because everything chokes and crashes. I am able to view "at" Twitter messages, as well as DMs, via my phone. I can send replies via text message - replying via the social media app inevitably causes a crash. So if you send me messages and there's a delay in getting back to you, or I'm slow to express thanks for a re-tweet, etc., please know that it's not bad manners that's delaying me - it's simply online access, or lack thereof. I do try to get back to everyone as soon as I can.

This is the first time in a very long time that I've lived offline. And, while living offline, I'm not doing much in the way of reading - in previous years when I didn't spend much time online, I would read two or even three books a day. These days, part of my focus and time is spent taking care of a household which includes my disabled and beloved partner, Leslie, and my disabled daughter, Jen. I love them both, and I'm so very glad my daughter is back in town for the holidays.

When I'm not doing dishes, cleaning the cat box, vacuuming, or what-have-you, I'm doing art. I have an entire binder full of "art therapy" and other pieces. I started using art to express what I wasn't necessarily able to put into words as I work through some intense issues and recovered memories that leave me gasping for breath. 

Some of the pieces are much too graphic to be shared - they would be horribly triggering for other survivors. But I'll be picking a few of the best (non-triggering) pieces and sharing them soon, probably via a FaceBook album. As I do the art, I'm gaining insight into my own identity(ies) and the most important aspects of my life.

I wish all of you an enjoyable holiday season - whether you celebrate Hannukah, Yule, Christmas, Kwanza or the ever-popular Festivus ("for the rest of us").

Blessings, Jo

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Let Your Energy Flow - Love & Hope Will Prevail

Yes, I know. The results of the recent elections have many of us who are progressive in a bit of a downward spiral. If you listen to the pundits (something I highly recommend you NOT do), it can seem as if all is lost, that Obama will be unable to advance any further with his progressive agenda. This is not the case. Yes, in the case of the House of Representatives, we now have the Inmates running the Asylum, but we've dealt with that before, when Reagan was in office, and the infamous Contract On (With) America was the rallying cry of the day.

I've been reading about quantum mechanics and the link between consciousness and the shape of reality. We quite literally shape our world by how we think about it. So, if you dwell in fear, you're helping to create a fear-based mentality and society. If, however, you can pull back a little bit, and realize that all is not lost, that we as a citizenry have powers to us available in the form of boycotts, civil disobedience and other tools, it shouldn't feel so overwhelming. I firmly believe that Love will ~always~ transcend fear, eventually - and sometimes in ways I could never imagine.

Think ahead two years. Obama will be up for re-election, and the GOP and TeaBaggers will have proven themselves unable to come up with any real ideas or solutions to move this country forward. And if the GOP won't allow for the fact that Obama inherited George W. Bush's (gigantic) economic mess and untenable war, and that it takes time and effort to effect change, then we have to hold them to the same standard. Unless the GOP can turn around the economy and have robust  job growth, etc., then in a case of, "Put up or shut up," we can vote them out.

The progress we are making as a society can sometimes get lost in the rattle and hum of the various parties shouting each other down. But reflect on how far we've come, even in just the last 20 years. Progress will continue, though not necessarily on the timetable you or I would prefer.

I will trust the process, and refuse to feed the fear. Fear-mongering is something the GOP does exceptionally well, and I'm now wise to their ways. I hope that you will be, too. Focus on Love, Peace and Understanding, within yourself and within society as a whole. In so doing, we jointly create these realities.

Love to you all,


Suggested Reading:

Quantum Enigma - absolutely fascinating.

Excellent read!

This particular book is written by the same author who wrote The Holographic Universe. If you haven't already read The Holographic Universe, I highly recommend it as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And so I breathe...

It has been said that none of us are given more of a challenge than we can handle. While that may be true on some "higher truth" level, it's a rather glib response to anyone dealing with intense challenges. In my own situation, I am dealing with a number of challenges that, even isolated on their own, would each be enough to throw off my emotional equilibrium, at best.

First and foremost, I'm dealing with yet another layer of the metaphoric onion, peeling it away to discover a truth that was deemed so dark, so atrocious, I was simply forbidden to remember. And the adults in my life at the time of these events had to have seen physical evidence that something was dreadfully wrong. A very relevant book for these issues is Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's Betrayal of the Child.

The details of the horrific recovered memories are not something I'll share in this milieu; if I were to share it via one of my blogs, it would be Raised by Rabid Wolves, a blog specifically dealing with having grown up with parental figures who were either sociopathic or so badly compromised that they themselves hadn't the slightest idea how to parent in a healthy way.

But this recovered memory and related flashbacks (mere words cannot do this justice) are in addition to other issues. I am challenged to breathe, to truly breathe, and trust the universe. Love will ultimately prevail, and I will find my way past these various trials.

The laptop on which I've written my roughly 100,000-word memoir is on life-support. As long as I don't allow it to go online, nor ask it to do anything at all beyond Word and Excel, I do alright. The instant I enable internet access, the whole machine chokes, churns and freezes. I've run every anti-viral and anti-malware software available to me, and nothing has been picked up. Very frustrating. I'm hoping to save for a new machine by my birthday or so.

The only time I can get online is when my partner is taking a break from her online time. She's heavily into the FaceBook world, and plays a number of games there. But even ~she~ needs a break from Farmville now and then. But because I've been limited in my online time, I've been remiss in blog posts, twibe posts, and much more. For those of you who follow such activity, please accept my apology.

The memoir is coming along fairly well. I am now incorporating Tribe commentary within the text or supplementing the text. I am learning a fair amount from this process; secrets are being revealed. But most of all, our story is being told, and just the writing of that truth is healing in and of itself.

I've been reeling for a couple of days regarding the news that Oprah had a "multiple" on her show on October 6th - and obviously it wasn't me. I truly believe my story is rather unique. I'm not just a survivor, I'm also an empowered and empowering healer, counselor, reverend/priestess, and so much more. I want to be a public voice, a public face in the fight against stigma that accompanies mental illness, particularly Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

Today's latest challenge turns out to be an ironic one. I called my therapist this morning, saying I didn't feel well enough to come in, as I had a fever, a cough, and a sore throat. Leslie managed to develop pneumonia literally overnight, and instead of me going to my appointment to deal with this toxic new memory, I ended up taking Leslie to the ER.

Evergreen has been and continues to be a great resource when you need medical attention quickly. We were in and out of there in just a couple of hours, but then had to face Costco and their pharmacy to get the high-powered antibiotic, cough syrup, and inhaler. And don't get me wrong - I certainly do NOT blame Leslie for being sick. I am the one who begged her to let me take her to the ER; she sounded horrible.

What is frustrating is that Leslie is now prohibited from doing any real work for 30 days, and we've got a whole lot of it to do. I'm working on breaking things down into bite-sized manageable tasks, and using checklists and such. I remind myself that before Enlightenment, a Zen monk chops wood and carries water. After enlightenment, also chops wood and carries water. And so I breathe...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My Pathetic Laptop - An Epic Fail

In the last 24 hours, I have screamed, cried, and nearly thrown my laptop into the parking lot, where I could then run it over with my car. This PC is 5 years old, and I've been limping along with it as best I can.

I'm running two strong anti-virals and anti-malware packages, but somehow I've still managed to get some horrific pieces of code hidden in the depths of this thing's operating system.

On this computer, I have my Magnum Opus, the manuscript it took me five years just to get the courage to write. Now I have 100K words written, and it's time for editing and fine-tuning. How the hell am I supposed to do that with a computer that is more senile than my late grandmother?

Just booting up takes nearly 20 minutes. Opening up Word takes another 8 or 10 minutes. Then, I get these unexplainable pauses in the midst of whatever I'm doing.

I've decided that I'm going to have to work completely offline, in the hopes that whatever code is making its way in through my Internet connection will be thwarted.

I've turned off the physical switch that recognizes Wi-Fi signals, and I'm not going to connect this PC via an Ethernet connection to our Comcast signal.

My spouse lets me have a few minutes a couple of times each day to use her laptop, but I try to be brief, because it's her primary link to friends and family. I'll tweet now and then, and will upload blog postings (like this one) which have been composed offline.

In the meantime, I am so very, very angry... It feels as if now that I'm finally brave enough to tell my story, the Universe is saying, "Not so fast, missy!"

During my brief forays online, I'll have to see what I can find in the way of grant applications for writers to get new (or newer) computers. I simply can't live this way - the timing could not come at a worse time.

This is the time of year when things get more challenging, in any year. And this year, I'm recovering additional horrific memories, leaving me reeling and without an anchor.

I have to believe I will get through this, but last night was as close as I've come to a nervous breakdown in a long time. Simply trying to print my 200+ page manuscript (broken into manageable sections) took hours of my time.

I had to keep pounding on the printer, which was claiming there were no ink cartridges installed, when I had installed some just hours prior. That, or blank pages would come spitting out. Arghhhhh!

Goddess, how I wish there were such a thing as a computer fairy...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Handfasting - A Labor of Love

Around the end of last year, two friends informed me that they were officially a couple, and that they wanted me to perform a handfasting to affirm their commitment to one another. Further, they asked me to officiate, which I considered a great honor. They said they wanted a ceremony that was Pagan and Medieval-themed.

The end of July (their planned handfasting date) seemed far away from New Year's Day, so I put the issue aside for a few months. Finally, in April, I asked if we could meet and go over specifics. We spent nearly two hours at Applebee's going over my typed questions, and left with a promise from them that they would send along a web site or two that had inspired them.

I had to gently remind the couple a few times, but eventually did get an email with a wealth of URLs, a link to a lengthy PDF, as well as a poem which they found appropriate for their situation. All in all, I ended up with over 200+ pages of source material.

It took quite a bit of doing, but I took a piece of this, a touch of that, and added my own material as well, to create a workable first draft. Just like when I used to proofread for a living, I needed to screen the document with layers of filters - each a bit finer than the last. Sent the second draft to the couple, and didn't hear anything back for awhile. Afraid I'd somehow missed the mark, I followed up to get their feedback.

Turns out they were very happy with the ceremony, but wanted to tweak the order of a few things, and lessen how much they would have to remember and say. We ended up meeting in their home to go over the ceremony in detail; a number of changes were made so that there was very little that ~they~ had to say in the ceremony. We also moved a few elements around so that the energy flowed a bit better.

We drove down to the physical site for the ceremony, so I could get a feel for how I'd set up my altar, et al. As a Pagan practitioner, I needed to know where the cardinal directions/elements were, especially since I was going to be calling them forth.

Once home, I made substantial changes - mostly the order in which sections happened, and changing to second person rather than first ("you" vs. "I"). I created cue cards for the couple and their attendants (four of whom were representing the elements), and sent them via Priority Mail, so they'd have a chance to review them prior to the ceremony.

By this point, it was two or three weeks or so until the ceremony. I had asked about the handfasting cord itself, and was told that Jan's sister in Hawaii was working on it, and it would be here well in advance of the ceremony.

The plan was to have a rehearsal or run-through the night before the Saturday ceremony. I thought that was a good plan, but it was a conflict for too many participants, so we moved it to Saturday morning, just a few hours before the actual ceremony. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

The day of the ceremony, I arrived at the site early and parked as close to the ritual location as possible. Walking to the ceremonial site, I used my partner's GPS device to determine true North. From that, everything else followed.

I had a large folding table to serve as my altar, plus a large plastic tote full of items for the altar.  While I was setting up my altar with all the various elements in their appropriate locations (Air candle in the East, for example), the attendants were creating an outer ring of stakes joined by ribbon, and an inner ring comprised of large stones. Double stones indicated a cardinal direction.

We did a run-through, and it went well.  I had a duplicate set of cue cards for everyone, with each set clipped to the pages of my script.  In most cases, the couple had only to say "I do," or "I promise." And for their vows, it was the classic "Repeat after me..." scenario. The couple relaxed a bit after the run-through; it wasn't nearly as complicated as they thought it might be.

It took a while for me to set up the altar, as there were many elements. For example, I wanted to call upon Wolf energy and Bear energy, for they are the totems of the two women who were being handfasted.  As it so happens, I have lovely carved cedar figures of both wolf and bear, both purchased during last year's Alaska cruise.

There was a special stone to serve as the element of Earth - a heart-shaped rock that the couple had found in their wanderings, and which meant a great deal to them. Candles aplenty on the altar - my biggest fear was that I would set my bell sleeves on fire!

Once the altar was set up, I walked the circle repeatedly, rattling, drumming and smudging the space. I smudged myself as well, as I needed to ensure my energy was as pure as possible for the ceremony.

Once the altar was set up, I cast two circles - a larger outer circle, and a smaller inner circle. This was what the couple requested, so I obliged. I imagine the reasoning was to keep a close, tight inner circle into which only the couple and their attendants would enter, ensuring pure love energy.

Once the altar space had been set up to my satisfaction, it was then a matter of "holding" the energy of the sacred space. Upon requested, I smudged several people, and smudged myself again for good measure. I also used some of my "Holy Night" resin incense, which includes Frankincense. If you're wondering where I got it, check out Tenzing Momo, in the Pike Place Market.

The couple had, by this point, gone to the hall adjoining the park space where the ceremony was to be held. Their outfits were in keeping with their theme - Pagan and Medieval, with a bit of Steam Punk thrown in for good measure. Eclectic, but it worked for them.

Showtime was approaching. I smudged the couple and helped ground them using a Tibetan energetic tool. I grounded myself and drank some water, knowing I had a 17-page script to get through - and most of it would be me speaking.

We got the attendees in place, in the space between the outer circle and inner circle. Then, the ceremony began, and I invited the couple into the sacred space. Looking at photos (taken by my partner), it's clear that the couple was intent and focused; I tried to keep them at ease as much as possible, with a look or a smile.

You can see photos that my partner took here.

The ceremony progressed with the attendants representing the Elements declaring their presence and their purpose in support of the union. I spoke of the lasting nature of love, and how it is a shining star in a dark night. After a bit, the couple and I walked the circle, stopping at each cardinal direction.

We began in the North, where I asked them to promise each other stability and strength. Then, in the East, I asked them to promise each other laughter and insight. In the South, I asked them to promise each other the fires of passion and the power of transformation. Finally, in the West, I asked them to promise each other true love, and to share their deepest dreams and desires.

We walked the circle clockwise until we could return to the altar from the East. I then performed a water and fire blessing and union. For water, there were two small goblets on the altar, each filled partially with water. I asked them to take hold of their individual goblets, and to pour the contents (together) into the Goddess chalice I was holding for them. I spoke of their lives being now joined as one, no longer separate - just like the water. I asked them to drink of their love.

Upon the altar were two small white candles, in front of a much larger ivory "Unity" candle, upon which I'd carved symbols representing their union. They each took a small candle from the altar, and then lit the Unity candle together. After it was lit, their individual lights were extinguished, while the flame representing their love burned on.

Then, the blessing and consecrating of the rings took place. The rings were blessed via each Element - Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They had chosen Elvish rings, with the Elvish inscriptions. The Elvish inscriptions (in English) served as their vows when they exchanged rings.

After the rings were exchanged, there were more blessings and readings by me, leading up to the actual handfasting. The cord was six feet long, including lengthy "tails" with beads strung on the ribbons and cords. It was heavy! I bound their hands together and tied them together thrice - the last being a square knot.

Final blessings were bestowed, and the couple was pronounced handfast. I saw many happy tears in the crowd, even among the most stoic butches. Although not legally binding, I had prepared a Certificate of Handfasting, which I had both women sign.

As the couple left the sacred space, they began to laugh - probably in relief that it was over. I'd tried to make it as painless as possible, and yet honor their intent. I was happy, and felt the various energies running through me. As I began to break down the altar space and put all the elements away, I began to feel tired - I'd been up consecrating and blessing items the night before.

My partner helped me pack up the car with the table, the tote and a couple of bags. We then wandered over to the community center to wish the couple congratulations and best wishes. Their was a lovely spread of food laid out; I hadn't eaten all day, so I gratefully took a plate and had some macaroni salad and deliciously moist turkey.

Then, before leaving, I returned to the site of the ceremony and devoked the deities and elements which I'd invoked in casting my circle and performing the ceremony.

The plan was for the family-friendly reception to be held at the community center, and then for the adults to move to a LGBT bar in the area. My partner was in a great deal of pain, so we left for home not long after wishing the couple well at the community center. After arriving home, I could have turned around and gone back to the bar, but I was spent. I'd done a good day's work, and I felt sure that the couple would understand.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have performed this ceremony; I grew as a practitioner. Blessed be!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hide in Plain Sight (bull & cow hides)

I love making drums. I've finessed my technique over time, and am happy with the end results. I use drums for shamanic journeys, like the video above. I've been told I "give good journey."

A couple of days ago, my partner was perusing Craig's List - specifically, the "free items" category. She ran across an ad that she brought to my attention immediately. After reading the ad, I called the contact number. The ad had only been placed that morning, and I was the first caller. Score! The hides are mine to pick up.

A gentleman has two hides that he tanned himself:

- a red (Scottish Highlander)cow hide, which has a slightly furry
- a rather gigantic (and furry!) black bull hide, coming from
an animal weighting approximately 1600 pounds.

These two new hides will be quite different from the elk rawhide I normally use. I may try making a drum from the red hide - it would be very unusual, and striking in its natural color.

Later this morning, we'll meet up with this gentleman and pick up the hides from his home. The bull hide is truly huge, so we're taking my sweetie's car, which has MUCH more cargo space.

Ideas for leather work with these hides are plentiful. I miss working with hide or leather. When I do work with these materials, I always take time to thank the spirit of the animal, and then I ensure that whatever I'm making is used in sacred space, or at least for a sacred purpose.

I'm looking forward to seeing and then working with these hides. They will certainly keep me out of trouble for awhile. ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Mother's Passing

Yesterday, around 3:15 AM Seattle time (5:15 AM Houston time), my mother died. She had checked into the hospital on March 28th originally, with a problem that wasn't thought to be very serious, and that she'd be out in a few days.  Days stretched into weeks.  She came home once, for about 30 hours, before having to go back to the hospital, from which she never returned.

Turns out my mother had Stage IV Peritoneal Cancer, and it had invaded her liver and bowel. Mom had ignored fairly obvious symptoms and used her favorite tool, Denial, to deal with the problem.  At the end, she simply gave up. I was in the process of raising funds to get a plane ticket to Houston, and she literally begged me NOT to come.  She said it would be a waste of money.  I beg to differ, Mom.

I will be wrestling with that conversation in my head, for some time to come. It's the last time I spoke with my mother, and I feel a deep pain exacerbated by my not being able to touch her, kiss her, and wish her a safe journey.  With the help of one of Mom's nurses, I did get to tell her I loved her, I forgave her, and I understood that it was her time to go.  The nurse held the phone up to Mom's ear, and I spoke directly to her.  Mom responded, the nurse said - she opened her eyes, and her eyebrows went up. I could hear Mom making some faint sounds, though she was no longer capable of speech.

I go back and forth at the moment - alternating between a zombie-like numbness and a grief so deep it feels that I'll never emerge from it.  The history between Mom and me is so very complicated...  So much pain, and so much Denial on her part.  She was an alcoholic, though a dry drunk at the end of her life.  She physically and emotionally abused me - including a memorable occasion when she forced me to cut my own switch with which to be beaten.  All of that, in addition to standing by while my step-father sexually abused me so horrifically that the scarring lasted into my adult life.

Still, I ache...  I want to hear her voice one more time, and I've called her voice mail to do just that.  Mom's partner will be cutting off the phone next week, so I need to record mom's greeting as an audio file.

At the moment, I feel very much like Chiron, the wounded healer.  I was able to send Reiki to my mother at the end of her life, and I hope it eased her passage from this world to the next.  I am capable of facilitating healing in several ways, using shamanic and other techniques.  At the same time, I am wounded, and will be working on healing myself.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Getting to Texas to say Goodbye - Can You Help?

My mother has been gravely ill for well over a month. She's been in, then out, then in, back out, and now back IN the hospital.  Mom's partner informed me today that Mom is so weak she can't even speak on the phone. My sense is that this is either The End, or The Beginning of the End. Even if she makes it home again, she will still be in horrific pain and in need of several other surgeries, including hip replacement, and such.

At the moment, she's slated for exploratory surgery to determine the source or cause of the intestinal blockage. A colonoscopy didn't work - they couldn't get to the problem area.  I know that Mom is scared, in a lot of pain, and wondering what will happen. I'm feeling all those things, too.

My mother and I have a history that is filled with dysfunction early in my life. She was a cruel drunk, physically and mentally abusive, and actually paid me not to show my face when she was home.  Still, I've forgiven her. Gone are the days when I used to be filled with blinding rage at all she'd done. I gave ~myself~ the gift of forgiving my Mom.  She and I now have a good relationship, and I love her (and know that she loves me).  Her drinking days are over, thank goodness - that helps a lot.

I am now in the process of thinking of creative ways to raise the funds to buy a plane ticket to Houston (from Seattle). Probably best to buy a one-way, and then wait and see what happens before I schedule another one-way back to Seattle.  Any way you slice it, this will be expensive.

I have two gold rings, one from my mother, and another small engagement ring I got years ago, both of which I'm trying to sell.  I'm meeting with a local vendor this week to discuss this option.  I'm also looking at my clothing and silver jewelry, wondering what might sell for a few bucks on CraigsList or eBay.

A friend suggested that I also consider putting up a blog page that allows readers to donate, even tiny amounts.  I thought about it, and decided, "Why not?" If people want to make a love offering of even $1.00, it will get me that much closer to a plane ticket.

If you have a few dollars to give, bless you.  If you don't have a few dollars to give, bless you as well.  My heartfelt thanks to everyone who's been so kind and compassionate as I deal with this heartbreaking situation.

_/|\_ Namasté 

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Grief. It's a powerful, loaded word that conveys deep meaning. Often linked with guilt, or regret, it's a sense of loss that leaves an aching chasm where there once was love.

Grief can be something anticipated, knowing the end of a situation, a relationship, or a life draws nigh. Or it can be unexpected, a sudden twist of fate that leaves us reeling.

I've just learned that my mother (who is 69) is having an ever-accelerating process of physical breakdown.  She needs surgery to replace her hip, and knee replacement is also recommended.  Additionally, she has several ruptured discs in her back, and scoliosis to complicate matters further.

She's also learned that she's had a chronic Vitamin D deficiency, which has led to a rather alarming case of osteoporosis.  Her bone density is terrifyingly low, and this is especially scary because she is a big lady, and has been for four decades or so.  Mom used to be a hard-core binge drinker, she smokes two packs of cigarettes a day, and she has hypertension.

My heart goes out to my mother. I ache for the pain and uncertainty she's facing.  She can't even get scheduled for the hip replacement until some kind of normal heart rhythm is established; meds haven't helped. Next week she goes in to see about having a pacemaker or a stent put in by the cardiologist.

Frankly, I'm grieving. There are answers I would like from my mother, and it's increasingly looking as if I may never get them.  Even when she's feeling better, Mom likes to bob and weave, evading the really tough questions.  I've forgiven her, but still would like to understand her perspective, and also verify some timeline information.  As I write my Magnum Opus, these kinds of details become very important - I want to get it right.

No matter how this all shakes out, I need to recognize that I am legitimately grieving - grieving for the childhood I never got to have, grieving for the nurturing that was never given when I needed it, grieving for the pain intentionally inflicted but not deserved in the least.  And now I prepare to grieve for my mother. My sense is that she may not be around for too much longer. Frankly, with as much pain as she's in, I can't begrudge her potential exit. She's been very tough, under trying circumstances.

I'm reminded once again of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross's book, On Death and Dying, and am realizing once again that it has value in any kind of grief work. It doesn't have to be a physical death to generate real grief. It can be an end to a way a of life, and end to a relationship, and so many other things.  It's time I reviewed this powerful book. Perhaps for you, as well?

In my travels (physical as well as philosophical), I've encountered the powerful truth that we cannot change any other person, or any other situation.  If we are mindful and focused, we can sometimes change how we respond to a situation or a person, and thus change how we experience it or them.

I am hopeful that my mother's time here on this physical plane lasts a bit longer - ideally, long enough for me to raise the funds to get to Texas and back, plus hotel and all that.  I ache at the thought of saying goodbye either by telephone, or (worse) to a Texas prairie where mom's ashes have been scattered.

No matter what else happens, I've made sure my mother knows that I love her - despite it all.  I don't condone what happened; I was simply willing to lay down the burden of the caustic rage that I had once carried in my heart.

If you have a spare moment, send a good thought to Jan in Houston.  I have solid faith that "General Delivery" via the collective consciousness will work just fine.

Thank you, one and all.  May your day be blessed with peace and gentle laughter.