I am already enjoying my vacation, actually. Somehow at home I have become surrounded by sick and depressed people, and it is very good for me to get out in the world and interact with people who are not so uptight. On my flight I sat next to a talkative young woman who is in the Army. She has a child who lives with her ex in upstate NY, and said that one child is "more than enough". I thought of Ahmadinejad's remark that he didn't understand why the British send mothers to fight their wars. This one mother from the US would rather wear 70 pounds of gear in preparation for violence than to spend time with her own offspring.
She is coming here to visit with her parents before she ships out for Iraq in late summer. That's all they told her: "late summer". She was a very nice young woman with a low voice and a strong body, and not to be too insulting but she also had what I would call a simple mind. She talked with me about her experiences in Germany and Korea. She really liked Korea.
She also told me about how wondrously clean Lake Tahoe (the lake itself) is....and how there is no gambling on the California side of South Lake Tahoe, but gambling is in every hotel on the Nevada side. And she told me about how smoking is not permitted outdoors on the California side, but it is permitted on the Nevada side. I'm going to have to find the state line and watch people running back and forth across it.
Yesterday I went to the doctor to followup on the tests that were done on my abdomen. I am pleased to report that I have finally found a real healer in Flagstaff. She is not actually a doctor--she is a nurse practitioner... but if you want someone who will really listen, ask the right questions, consider all the possibilities and offer a range of possible solutions, starting with conventional medicine and diverging into other modalities as you express interest and willingness, go see Sue Collins at North Country Community Clinic. She's good.
One of the treatments that Sue offered me is a new mantra to use when faced with the utter nastiness of my neighbor. The last thing my neighbor said to me---actually, she hissed it down the hall---was "I'm so sick of you." I left her a note wishing her a good quiet weekend, and a xeroxed copy of a chapter on dealing with anger and hatred that I just read. It was written by a psychologist who was interviewing the Dalai Lama. My neighbor wants to be a Buddhist, but she is filled with anger and hatred. It must be painful. Part of what gave me the strength to offer this small gesture of goodwill was the new mantra. It replaced the usual one that she brings up in me, which is "fuck you".
The mantra that Sue suggested is "I love you. I'm sorry. I love you. I'm sorry." As I was saying it to myself I realized that I was apologizing to the part of myself that I have allowed to accept such abuse as my neighbor gives out. I am sorry that I have taken it for so long. I am sorry that she is in pain. And I do love everybody, at that highest level....we are all sacred.... so this mantra works for me.