Armour Suit II

Yesterday I had the massage that I have once every two weeks.

We talk first about muscles and illness and emotions. He is thinking that if we forget how to use certain muscles and put them in the “armor suit” then that is where our body will store toxins. After all, we aren’t using those muscles. Good storage place. And then that in turn is where illness or cancer could pop up.

I am talking about emotions: that the US culture seems to see certain emotions as “negative”. Anger, fear, grief. I asked my son what he thinks emotion is. His reply: “Chemicals?” I think emotions are neurological information. Information just as much as what our eyes see, our ears hear. If we label some emotions as “bad”, how can a child protect herself from a predator, from abuse, from a charming addict? If girls are supposed to be “nice” all the time, they have to suppress any “bad” emotions. Why would we suppress neurological information? And both my massage person and I think that stuffed emotions go into the armor suit. So toxins from the outside and toxins from the inside…. no wonder we get sick.

In the massage I am paying attention to each muscle, asking them to relax, rather then focusing on my breathing. I am also thinking that I am not sure my back is broad enough to carry what I want to carry, between work and family. I am asking the Beloved about that, sort of…. and then I have the sensation that my back is very broad. Enormous. Very very strong. I have small hips and an enormously strong back. I am 5’4″ and 130 pounds. Yet in this sensate dream, my back is as wide and strong as my friend who is 6’4″ and 220 pounds.

It’s not momentary. It goes on for thirty minutes or more. My latissimus dorsi are tight and sore, punching muscles. We talk about how we would both like to see grade school children taught to activate the slow twitch muscles, to loosen and drop the armor suit. Most of the physical education and sports are fast twitch. “Not synchronized swimming,” I say. The first formal move they are taught is to float on their back, legs straight. Hands controlling position. They slowly bend one knee and then straighten that leg up, and equally slowly lower and straighten it. This is called the ballet leg. My daughter started synchro at age 7 and had to do that at the meet. They were scored on the Olympic scoring from the start: the beginners scored in the 3 range.

“No,” he says, “synchronized swimming must use slow twitch. But that and Tai Chi are the only ones I can think of, and maybe some dance.” He says that I need to learn to release that energy: the wanting to punch, wanting to kick, instead of storing it in my muscles…. I have a heavy bag. I will make time.

I am silent, exploring the map of my back, strong and broad enough to carry much more than I thought….

This is our synchronized swimming team at our small local pool, doing the yearly show, in 2010. The five girls are in a routine and just starting a ballet leg in time to the music….


Leaver III

I have subsided back to where I was

before I fell for you

before I fell

you said, thoughtful, meticulous and shy

I am quiet, thoughtful, meticulous with patient charts
I am not shy so much as lonely
and mistrustful

I don’t trust many people

my small child self still loves you
but it’s a child love
and she knows you’re leaving
everyone has left her before
so she is very sad
everyone but me and the Beloved
so not everyone
but you are the first not me
that she opened up to

so yes, shy
she is terribly shy
she hid for years under rock
in my soul

now she and I and Beloved
are walking hand in hand
in the gardens of my mind

thoughtful, meticulous and



the photo is me, my grandmother and my father

Look longing

This is for Ronovanwrites weekly haiku challenge #75: the words are charm and look. The prompt includes that the first two lines should make a sentence with the opposite meaning of the sentence made by the second two lines…..

you gift a young girl
I see your charm, look longing
see you lie to me

I took the photo across the street from my clinic just a few days ago.

Last bonsai

This year both my children are 18 or over and they wanted this small tree for the Christmas tree. “Don’t kill a tree, mom.” they said.

This tree is the last bonsai from my parents. My mother died in 2000 from ovarian cancer. She was at home in hospice for nearly seven weeks and we had over thirty visitors. My sister and my father and I all ignored the plants: and most of the bonsais died with her.

My father cared for the remaining ones even as his health deteriorated. He died at home as he would have wished, in 2013, alone and a sudden death. Two of the three remaining trees died. So this ficus came home with me. I water it faithfully and brought out the small ornaments to decorate for the holidays. I don’t know how old it is. After we lose our parents, we wonder about things: where is this from, how old is it, was it important to you, was it a random gift? Did you buy it, did you love it, was it not something that you cared about?

This holiday ask a family member to tell you a story about something in their house. Ask about something that you like, or is unique, or that really doesn’t fit in. Ask about a piece of art or a piece of furniture or jewelry. And write the stories down for the next generation…. while you can.



I will fight no more

I am tired of fighting
I am tired of fighting for justice
I am tired of fighting discrimination
I am tired of fighting for health care for all

I am tired of fighting insurance companies
I am tired of fighting medicare’s contractee
I am tired of fighting for prior authorization
I am tired

I will fight no more forever

I heal
I am a healer
I am trying to heal patients
I am trying to help patients heal

I am a healer
I help heal cancer
I help heal heart disease
I help heal PTSD
I help

heal cancer
heal heart disease
heal PTSD
heal addiction

I am a healer

heal the insurance company
heal the medicare contractor
heal the pharmaceutical company

heal anxiety
heal depression
heal addiction

I will fight no more forever

I heal

The legs in the photograph don’t look delicate, do they? They are strong and beautiful and powerful. I took this at the National Junior Synchronized Swimming Competition in 2009. Those girls on the edge of being women are strong, they are a team, they work and play together. They have the skills and the strength to lift their bodies out of the water that far using their arms… think about the practice and strength needed to do that. We all want to heal and create fun and play and beauty. Let’s work as a team.

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