Sunday, December 28, 2008

losses December 28, 2008

what with the holidays also the news on the deaths of Eartha Kitt and John Costelloe. I loved the music and style of Eartha Kitt. Made a party tape with Eartha included and when I briefly owned a car in 1995, I would turn up the music volume and particularly cruise to her! I so remember my first visit to Paris and hearing Eartha Kitt music all around. I saw her once on the street outside Madison Square Garden. She was magnaminous in signing autographs for the many who ran up to her. God bless you! A delight to our world! om mani padma hung!

The alleged suicide of John Costelloe so bewilders me. What a hunk.. such a stud! But, of course, internal demons. I dunno what made him do what may have been done. Certainly there will be some autopsy, I hope. Once again, just the suffering in mental illness, the pain of the lonely.

Clearly there are so many reasons to jump out the window, or do whatever. Eartha Kitt struggled from an early age, survived the ravages of NYC, stood up to power, and I am sure had many a disappointment. But, she rallied, smiled, and enriched the lives of millions! A poor little Black girl with nothing but ambition and changed the world! Thank you so much!

Dunno about Costelloe. I am so lost primarily because he was so hot and seemed to be able to engage the world. I can only assume it is the twists to the cognitive disorders one can have, the pain one can feel, and then again, maybe he did not have the intellectual capacity to see thru the morass.

I am forever going to jump out the window, or whatever, particularly when pressured by some asshole to come up with answers.. usually family or an ex. Life is uncertain and there are no rules. But, I meditate, change the emotions, and remember "one door closes, another opens". Also, I could jump out the window and get 500 more horrible lifetimes. Ugh, Ugh! Anyhow, ultimately, I just live thru the process, mistakes and all. I am human and I am alive, so there is some reason for my taking up breathing space. Mostly, I so believe in the sparks of the miraculous that one can change the world!

I will miss Eartha Kitt and John Costelloe. They both had sparks and changed the world for millions and for me. Eartha gave me joy, Costelloe gave me hope I'd run into his double. Eartha also gave me so many songs and memories!

Hugs, peace, compassion to their loved ones, and to all in the universe!

photo from Google web

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thanks Santa! December 25, 2008

happy for a good Christmas! the epiphany of being in the middle of 34th St at Herald Square on Tuesday, the 23rd. Tears of joy that I was alive and back in the mix! Remembering Aout 1977, Little America Wyoming and being in the middle of the continent and feeling part of the universe. December 2008 being in the midst of the megalopolis and feeling just one with the universe and able to help make sense of it all. My student presentations were good. Many hugs and lots of chocolate and cookies.. whew.. havent had such sugar rushes in years!

endless chats and all of the endless reconnects done each holiday season! Wow!
shouts to my siblings who are with my sister in the country. She has multiple health issues and is out of control in her neediness these days.  I send encouraging messages although I keep it real. The demons we have in us, the Jungian shadow. Om mani padma hung.

So, for Christmas, I think of how to be kind to the lonely. We all face the existential fate of being alone in the world.. but about those who are alone due to mental illness or substance abuse or fate. I am fortunate to have been greatly loved when I was young and to have had the love, trust, support of thousands of people in my life. I may be alone at times but I never feel alone in the universe. I have my memories or my real connections or just the realization that loneliness is just a feeling and feelings change. Most of all though, I have always had my spiritual sense of being with the angels. LOL, I hope not the flakiness but being born on the Feast of the Guardian Angels and named for an archangel. Anyhow, I have great faith that my angels will never allow me to fall to the ground, or at least they will pick me up!

This year has been a struggle as I have used that damn cane and often feel I should just fall to the ground when I am in a lot of pain. I think of songs like Cold Play "vida" or Darlene Lee and the E Street Band, or Bruce Springsteen, or Sylvester, or "havent stopped dancing yet" and try to shuffle a bit to imaginery music.  My feeling of bliss, alive in the middle of 34th street, 2 days pre Christmas, gave me the epiphany to just cry for joy! Most of all, I remember the Helen Keller saying about when she feels alone or damaged or angry, she goes to New York City to experience our great waves of humanity!

so, the magic of Christmas hit me again. The spectacle, the gathering together of loved ones, the sparks of the universe, and more than anything... my delight to appreciate the lives and processes of so many other human beings in my life.

big hugs, peace. love. compassion

Gershom Scholem Kabbalah illustration

Sunday, December 21, 2008

narrative of the soul

Happy Chanukah! salut to the Solstice.... the days get longer again!
lit some candles at home. remember seeing the candles I lit on St Lucy at the hospital chapel for my Mom, Aunt Shirlee, and everyone in suffering. i like the calm to the candles, finally somewhat warm in the apartment, blankets of snow outside, there is a soft calmness to the candles. I have a great Santa candle and a huge multicandle holder inherited from my Mom.
I wound up in the hospital with double pneumonia on Dec 13, EMS brought me to the hospital I did social work in. I had felt so miserable and was really praying to get healthier. It was much drama to the hospital. My insurance will pay little but I got tons of treatments and I think that first big wish to get healthier at last was made. I was able to give up that damn cane on my release. I feel so much more alive.
A second wish came the past few days but I didnt follow up as I feel that I need more time to just recuperate a bit. I cannot really focus on what others want from me. I am trying to get more of my bearing. Easy to get swept up in other's needs and to lose my focus. My students are my responsiblity but they are going thru their own processes. So my second wish sort of feel apart.
Wishes.. not that there are 5 or that they are wishes.. but that of what is true to my being Me.
Long chat with a 30 year buddy. She reminded me that it is time to share some of my narratives. My stories, or my journals, or blogs. My students love my handouts and stories. I have my followers to my personal blog. I dream of writing a narrative and wake up with all the chapters and main points. I think it is time to organize something. I hope to get that done in the next 3 months, the time started about 10 days ago when i first got so ill.
Not that I am oh so metaphysical however, I am born on the feast of the Guardian Angels. Am always being rescued by something (although we can all say that). My Mom was born on the same day as Pope John XXIII. the linkages.. but maybe it is just the social work consciousnessness.. responsive to the poor and oppressed. the historical legacy of religious in my Mother's family.. although they were more like martyr extremists. It is in my blood however.
my expertise is in teaching ethics, methods of research, social work. so this writing is a leap into narrative as a way to make sense of my universe. I think of theorists such as Winnicuit, Freud, Burack-Weiss, Cloward, Hofstadter, C Wright Mills, bell hooks, Levinas, Walter Benjamin, pema Chodron. Then, of course, the writers and artists, musicians who inspire me.
anyhow... a short term focus to produce a viable object.. its funny.. i have all of my drawings, my press pieces and research articles.. but nothing of narrative which has always been ongoing in the back of my roadshow. I still have my 1977 hitchhike log to SF and back. A trip that changed my mind and my world. Loves, ideas, friendships, visuals, experiences. But I have never really sharpened it up to share.
another wish opened up for me. it is my own goal but i really hope to get something concrete.
big hugs, love to the world, peace, compassion

1997 Engel Lewis drawing, Central Park

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Zwart Piet en Sinterklass brought me...

I fantasized if Zwart Piet en Sinterklass would get to me this jahre! The post came and... Wow! "Diane: a signature life"!
During the last Project Runway season, I wrote to Diane von Furstenberg about the value of garmentos to NYC, as well as my adventures walking Kim, a dog I took care of in the West Village, by here first W Village boutique. And, I wrote about my general wierdness often running into Barry Diller in my across Central Park to/from work in the 1990s. (my usual preoccupation with work dramas as I walked from the subway to work or back).
What a read and in only 6 hours! Thoughts of Emmanuel Levinas post Shoah... procreate is the best revenge! The zeitgeist of the 70s/80s/90s in NYC. (Such geist! My buddy Issac who once had a radio show on WBAI lost most of his memorabilia from that time. I sent him one of the Keith Haring interview posters, posted in this blog!) The challenges and the really hard work in the garmento world! her loves and opportunities as well as the story of an empowering woman! Wow!
I shared the book with my methods of research class. We had just discussed memoir as a method last week. (I had also shared my friend Sindiwe Magona's book... among the first of her at least 39 books now in print!) And, of course, a favorite, powerful memoir by my former instructor Ann Burack-Weiss on caregiving! The students were impressed by von Furstenberg's memoir (or my spin on it).
Sending a thanks to Diane von Furstenberg! I am blown away by her generosity! Such a mensch!
I am also sending along link to the video I made on my Mom, thanked for her advocacy and listening to people with mental health issues.
Most of all, it is always a big joy to know people like von Furstenberg are in our world! I also very much appreciated the comments by her friend Barry Diller recently on the economic crisis in our world. Poignant thoughts.
Big thanks to her! many hugs, peace and compassion

Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day December 01, 2008

"New York City remains the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States. More than 100,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV...." -NYC Department of Health press release (via the Daily Gotham blog,

Since 1982, I have been involved on some level with the virus. In 1982, working for an elected official in Manhattan, I went to the first meetings leading to the GMHC. My first trip to Holland, in 1986, was with a friend so he could be tested outside the USA (in the days when keeping lists of positive people was on the political agenda). The countless friends who died leaving me with their legacy. I doubt most would be happy with the conservative drift in this country. Of course, I burned out from working with in-patients, 20% of whom died in recent time.

Fortunately people live longer now! But, there is considerable denial as to the course of HIV. In dating, I regularly meet men who have little heed as to what is safe sex. The fact is that there is a social support system but there is still a haunting to having the virus.

I may not be positive but the virus has totally changed my life. Most importantly it is in remembering friends of mine who passed as they still remain among the most valued friends I have had. I also think of younger people who were orphaned by the virus. There is the fact that people died in an epidemic. I am most happy that interventions have come up.

As ever, "All I want is a cure and my friends back!"

peace, hugs, compassion