So much has happened since I aggravated my back, to put it mildly. I did it working my abs, which also phenomenally strengthened my pelvic floor. After three weeks of pain and difficulty breathing because the muscle spasms (quad all the way over the shoulder) were so bad, which led to less sleep, which led to a cold, which reduced sleep further, I am finally better. It is amazing what chronic pain does to a person’s attitude! With no pull-ups in three weeks, I wonder how many I can do. Maybe I will find out tomorrow, but fear of triggering the spasms may prevent me from really testing myself.
While lying low with the pain, I have been working it in other ways – most notably my debate with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences regarding their recent Biotech Day (see Monsanto and Others Infiltrate NC Museum of Natural Sciences Tomorrow – Take Action! and Museum/GMO Wrap-up.) I am not ready to post the results, as we are still in discussions, but the lack of responsiveness and the condescension by North Carolina’s government employees is stunning. I expect completion of our discussion soon and will report the outcome.
On another activism front, the responsiveness of the Speaker of the NC House of Representatives is disappointing after a fairly thoughtful, although disagreeable, initial response from his aide (see Urgent - Take a Stand for North Carolinians by Telling the General Assembly That They Must Include Us). I am attempting to continue the discussion and encourage the Speaker to be open to more citizen access to the General Assembly.
It is tough being a citizen who pays attention and tries to make a difference. I am expected to be up to speed on “the issues” in the same way the paid professionals are, which is unrealistic in most cases because I have other commitments in comparison to those who are paid to work the issues.
On a fun/wacky/fascinating/breathtaking note, I had a fantastic walk with my dog, Nelly, this morning. On almost every walk we pass this really neat older gentleman from Asia. I say good morning and he says good morning, and so it has gone for the past 18 months Nelly and I have walked. Since the first day I saw him I wanted to speak with him because, no exaggeration, he made me smile and reminded me of the sun. The walking/running/biking culture on the greenway doesn’t lend itself to conversation. Until today.
Today I passed the man, we said good morning, and I made an extra comment that he was out earlier than usual. He started to talk with me. He asked me if I pray to a god, and I said no, I lean Buddhist. He got a big smile on his face and told me he is a Sun Buddha (or maybe the Sun Buddha?) and THE Buddha has been telling him that he needs to talk to me. I was floored and so excited because I have wanted so much to talk with this man.
I had a hard time understanding him at first, but I became more accustomed to his speech pattern. We exchanged much information in about 15 minutes, with him teaching me a few Buddhist things. He is giving me some prayer beads for my walk tomorrow.
Our meeting was wild and I have been smiling all day. How odd that he has always reminded me of the sun and then he tells me he is a Sun Buddha – I don’t even know what that is, but as far as I can tell it isn’t from the Tibetan lineage of Buddhism. Given that he is a Buddha, he is the first person I have met who has achieved Enlightenment.
My new friend recommended that I repeat this mantra, which I have spelled incorrectly and don’t know what it means: “Lamo di sa Buddha.” It is supposed to bring peace and I am supposed to say it every day. He says that he has not gone to the doctor once in the 20 years he has lived in America and he credits this mantra and his Buddhist practice, although I am willing to bet he isn’t eating American food either.
Oh…and this sounds wacky even to me, but apparently he knows that Nelly was a human in a previous life, she did something bad, and she came back as a dog. Why she isn't just working her way up to human I don't know, and why it is so great being a human I don't know either. The industrialized human populations are pretty self-centered and destructive on the whole, while other sentient beings seem to flow with the Earth better, yet they are considered lesser in almost all belief systems. Anyway, my friend said a prayer for Nelly and he says that she will now always be reborn as a human. [Insert sigh of amazement, suspended judgment, confusion and more that I can’t label yet].
Crazy, huh? I am glad that I am finally talking with him and I am looking forward to learning more. Guess who is going to the Buddhist Center this weekend to ask some questions?
And here is Nelly with her boy: