Tuesday, October 29, 2013

EVERY DAY!?

Only 16 days, not 30;
8 days already done.

But 6 am awakening,
Re-convincing that, 
"Yes, this is really real."
Rushing to leave home
Extra early to allow
For any and all traffic,
To totally guarantee
Arrival on time--early,
Actually, to relax
For a few moments
Prior to treatment.

But, every day, really?
Only 8 days remaining.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 29, 2013

HALFWAY MARK

Seven of sixteen, soon halfway
Through radiation treatments.

First thing on weekday morns,
In and out in 15-20 minutes.

Accompanied by variety of pals,
Comforting, dependable, light.

Still, teeth-gritting reality skitters
The edges, re-asserting each day.

No pain, only physical discomfort,
Adds to disorientation--is this true?

Not the "Why me," at all, but the
"Can this really be true?" tilting.

Guts roiling and eyes darting;
Images forming and dissipating.

Mind struggles and grapples 
To place reality in proper locale.

Totally true and not disastrous;
A "thing," yet not a huge ordeal.

Day by day until 16 days go by.
Then 5 years of tests and meds.

Day by day, moment by moment,
As always, as usual, as true.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 29, 2013



Sunday, October 27, 2013

SUPPORT STAFF

Sixteen weekdays of radiation;
Checked off grid on sticky note
Attached to bathroom mirror.

Lisa and Margaret enthusiastically,
Competently, and graciously leapt
To task of scheduling companionship 
For walks down long, underground
Hallway to Radiation Oncology lobby;
For chats during wait to be called in; and 
For warm smiles as I re-emerge to world.

Support staff, clearly, by prowess;
Loving friends by heart and action.

Ann Beth Blake 
(c) October 24, 2013

I ALREADY KNEW

Had an obliquely intuitive knowing about
Breast cancer, resulting in timely diagnosis.

Two recent dreams about people giving
Information I had already known about.

Interesting and informative content,
Integrated into contemporary self-image.

Because already known, even difficult 
News is not shocking and is absorbable.

New in my life, but not unique in universe.
We are all one; history repeats itself.

Nothing new under the moon and sun;
Repetitions, redux, and reiterations.

Lean back onto commonality; join and enjoy
Membership in larger community of all beings.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 13, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

BABA BLAKE

BABA BLAKE

Born Ann Beth Foutz, self-named
BaBa in toddler baby-talk babbling.

Soon adopted, Ann Beth Drinkwitz;
New dad fondly called me AB.

Played with initials, inserted Carol,
To sequential alphabet: ABCD.

And to mimic physician uncle,
Inserted Marie to form ABMD.

Family members always, not just in 
Reprimand, called me Ann Beth.

Friends assigned nicknames, Grace (for 
Kluziness) and Cheyanne (shy Ann).

Nephew initiated, followed by niece 
And their friends, unitary, Auntie.

When marriage approached, decided 
To choose own surname to honor

Maternal grandfather's importance
In ongoing development: Blake,

Resulting in monosyllabic Ann Beth Blake.
Name change in time for terminal degree.

Exploring maternal Karlsson family ties,
Possible nom de plum, Britta Anna Karlsson.

During recent team-building exercise, 
One more definitive iteration: BaBa Blake. 

Ann Beth Blake
(C) October 15, 2013

THIS IS WEIRD

First day of radiation, 
assorted interventions, 
Seemed like Friday, 
but really Thursday.
Confusion.

Amused as techs said,
"See you tomorrow."
Many moments of
Perplexed discerning 
About whether to show
Up very next morning.
Puzzlement.

Over weekend, dreamt 
Of missing Monday 
Morning treatment.
Then could not figure
Out transportation for
Afternoon make-up tx.
Consternation.

Monday morn, had to 
Concentrate and rehearse
Getting up and ready for
8:00 am appointment.
Distraction.

Mind and body work
Hard to adjust and 
Accommodate to 
Changes and to 
Necessary actions.
Slow to integrate.
Need to focus.
Presence.

Mind and body clearly
Communicate emotional 
And physical truths.
This is weird!

Ann Beth Blake 
(c) October 21, 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

FIRST DAY

Today, first radiation treatment, 
Plus more x-rays and one more tattoo. 
Next 15 weekdays,10-15 minute radiation
Treatment, ending November 7, 2013.

Today, start to "x" days off calendar;
Breathe fully; exercise regularly;
Drink plenty of water; eat well;
Sleep long, deep, dreamy sleeps.

Today, is first day of rest of my life.
Not like coming back from death,
Not like stem cell replacement,
But merely newish start from here.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 17, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ann's Poetry Reading

Northwest Alliance for Psychoanalytic Study

POTENTIAL SPACE: An Evening of Art and Performance

An Exploration of Art, Creativity, and Psyche

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Center for Urban Horticulture, University of Washington

3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, 98105

5:00-9:00 pm

Appetizers, beverages; suggested donation: $20


Ann is the second reader in first set, about 6:30 pm


Artist’s Statement

Ann Blake, a Jungian-oriented psychologist in Olympia and Seattle, also teaches in the Clinical Mental Health Program at Antioch University Seattle.

As practice for upcoming retirement in 2016, Ann traveled during July and August, 2013. She attended to her soul by walking in Spain and Wales and by writing daily poetry and journal entries.

Ann had a busy summer and fall so far. Her summer pilgrimages turned out differently from her expectations, as always expected on pilgrimages. The best happened, followed by coming home to a lumpectomy for small, early, clean, and clear breast cancer. The four poems address some of the events in the last 4 months.

Thanks, as always, to The Team.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

MIXED EMOTIONS

Good news of 16 days of radiation
Rather than 30-day treatment.

Tattoos, just like Mom's and just like
Too many friends' treatment markings.

CAT Scan illustrates unique anatomy,
Planning to avoid heart and lung damage.

Settling in to somber reality, not catastrophic, 
But definitely a substantial situation.

Staying present to myself, acknowledging
Fleeting moment's emotion, accessing support.

All is always in transition: breath, pulse, 
Thoughts, feelings, daylight, seasons, orbits.

Hang onto your hats; we are in for the ride.
Relax and experience all pain and joy.

Ann Beth Blake
October 13, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

FEAR ITSELF

Unkown and future forces
Often erupt into fear, 
Trepidation, and anxiety.

Constant attention to parts
Of self involved in reactions;
Attend and offer comfort.

Analyst wondered about 
Inner child's tears and need 
For validation and reassurance.

Next morning, NPR reported
About current Madeline books,
Prompting listing of spunky girls.

New tradition, bedtime reading:
Madeline, Pippi Longstocking,
Eloise, Heidi, and Dahl's Matilda.

All life experiences offer gifts and
Opportunities for expanded
Knowledge of world and self.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 12, 2013

DANDER DOWN

In past, often expressed large
Emotional responses, sometimes joy,
Sometimes annoyance, but fairly
Dependably reacted to most issues.

At present, new overview mitigates
Some emotionality and offers perspective,
Objectivity, and buffering distance,
Resulting in less-frequent added emotion.

Current task: continuing to care and to express
Authentic emotions relevant to here-and-now 
Balanced with realistic appraisal of situations.

Conscious living requires ongoing calibration
And discernment as each moment presents
Gifts, challenges, connections, synchronicities.
Wonder and accept and embrace and process.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 12, 2013

The Books and Bricks Project in Mulundi Village, Kenya, Africa

At a recent African Dinner celebration and fund raiser at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Seattle, Washington's West Seattle neighborhood, Janet asked me to say a few words about the reasons I contribute to the Books and Bricks Project which pays school tuition, provides school books, and assists in constructing school and library buildings for young people in Mulundi Village, Kenya, Africa. As a part of this conversation, of course, I ask that you also contribute to this righteous cause.

One of my favorite Bible verses is the following, often used for weddings. 

1 Corinthians 13:13 
(New International Version
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

I temporarily reverse the order, making "faith" the "greatest of these."

Faith provides the foundation for the many reasons I contribute to Books and Bricks. Beliefs are fairly cognitive and, sometimes, rational. In contrast, faith, for me, is composed of trust and emotional connection.

Wonderfully, the young woman I sponsor is named FAITH. She is the specific reason I contribute to Books and Bricks. I want to help women prosper and succeed in their lives. I have faith in Faith's ability to move forward in her life. Indeed, Faith is the first young woman from Mulundi Village to pursue post-secondary education, which is near and dear to my heart. 

I have faith in education as one contributing factor in our overcoming social limitations. I teach at a local university, so my contributing to Books and Bricks is completely in line with values in which I have faith and hope. 

I have firm faith that the effort of one individual makes a difference. I also have faith that grassroots community charities contribute to making the world a better place for all of us. I have faith that sharing my talents, time, and money will make a positive difference in individuals' lives and in the world at large. 

Another important faith factor for me is that I have direct contact with this specific charitable effort. Organizational representatives approach me by mail, telephone, and on street corners asking for my help in helping others. I don't know these people or organizations; I don't know how much of my money actually would go toward helping specific individuals. I have faith that the organizers and current administrators of Books and Bricks are giving contributed money and resources directly to the children and young adults in Mulundi Village's school and library.

The most important fact of faith for me is the actual people in our congregation, Janet and Mike. Janet was born in Mulundi Village. She and Mike are the founders of the Books and Bricks Project as a way of giving back to Janet's home village. Janet's mother is currently visiting from Kenya to celebrate the birth of Janet and Mike's daughter, Mary. I have faith in this family's integrity, and I have faith in their devotion to helping and to lifting up.

Several of our parishioners have traveled to Mulundi Village to tutor students, support teachers, and lay bricks for school buildings. I hope you also have and will continue to have faith in this process of providing school tuition, curricular supplies, and, most importantly, our love and good will to the children and adults of Mulundi Village in Kenya.

Denise, another parishioner, mentioned that rather than giving holiday presents to each other, her friendship group combines their resources to give to charities. The group has given to the Heifer Project in the past. At present, members give to the Books and Bricks Project. I am inspired by Denise and her friends' generosity. I too will ask my friends to help send Faith Mutende Maingi to college. Please join all of us in contributing to the Books and Bricks Project for Mulundi Village in Kenya. http://www.booksandbricks.org/

Ann Blake 

Monday, October 7, 2013

CASH FOR OUR CACHE

For several years, now, 
Margaret and I pool
Our found money.

Most often pennies, 
Sometimes squashed,
But also more-valuable
Nickels, dimes, quarters,
And, even, a couple of 
Two-dollar coins lost on 
Floor in front of fancy 
Coin-op food vending 
Machine at end of hall.

Spending tactics vary,
One time bought dessert
At Jazz Alley; another time
Divided equally; once lost
Bet on solo tune for Peter
White's keyboard player.
New strategy every year.

Always fun, always funny,
Always over-the-top antics.
Just like my pal Margarita.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 7, 2013

EARRING ENVY

Long, fine, silver rectangles
With hanging vee-variegated
Porcupine quills. Clearly 
Native American, yet also
Scandinavian clean lines, 
So perfectly aligned with
Her style and sensibility.

Ann Beth Blake 
(c) October 7, 2013

TENDER TOUCH

Been brave, not heroic,
Been positive, not unrealistic.
Been calm, not in denial.
Yet slightly objective
And at a safe distance.

Dawn offered gentle, healing touch.
All muscles deeply relaxed. Deep 
Sigh, connecting to inner being. 
Heart opens and expands.
Eyes glistening with tears. 

Compassion and tender support
From within; bodily knowing and 
Empathy. Oh, I am wounded; 
I hurt; part of me is missing and lost.

More closely attuned 
within this experience,
I accompany myself,
Hold my own hand,
Comfort and attend.

Ann Beth Blake 
(c) October 6, 2013

PENCHANT FOR CLASSICAL

Must have heard swing music
In utero, and, even swung while
My mom danced during pregnancy.

Played short classical pieces in
Elementary school piano lessons,
Not practicing nearly enough.

Teen love of 40s Swing and 50s Pop,
Cole Porter, Glen Miller, Johnny Mathis, 
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Found Chicago's WLS overnight Jazz
And Poetry program, companioning 
Homework in wee hours of night.

Reluctant rock-and-roll follower;
Seldom knew words or singers.
Spent weekends happily dancing.

Classical re-entered in grad school,
When needed comfort and calm
From frazzled, stressful studying.

Jazz is too cool, opera is splendid.
Classical feeds my soul, expands 
My being, allows deep relaxation.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 3, 2013

Thursday, October 3, 2013

REVERSE TORNADOS

Early morning low-lying grey overcast sky.
                           Smoke-
                             stack
                          effluence
                            forms
                           visible
                         columns 
                         of vapors, 
                          touching
                           clouds,
                             like
                           reverse
                          tornado
                           funnels.
                     
Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 3, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

INNER CATHEDRAL

When traveling any distance,
Locate and marvel at huge
Churches of any denomination.

Recently visited Mother Ship,
Westminster Abbey, inspiring
Yet smaller than imagined.

Fascinations, always projections 
Of inner replicas, echo and 
Recognize reflections of icons.

Crucifixes: sacrifice of self before others 
Altars: sacred foundation of Self
Vaulted ceilings: possibilities for higher aspirations and intentions
Buttresses: DNA, matriarchal strength and ecer-present support

Side chapels: specific traits meriting attention and expansion 
Statues: archetypal aspects offering context and pan-historical understanding 
Relics: family energy and influences; multi-generational patterns
Graves: shadow aspects buried and needing resurfacing

Inner cathedral reflects full 
Potential; inspires uplifting 
Optimism; offers separation 
And integration. Inner cathedral 
Expresses expansion toward 
Fruition, wholeness, individuation.
Inner cathedral's substantive 
Footprint is tangible evidence 
Of divine reality that God is 
Within and is always available.

R. Johnson cited by D. Anderson, personal communication, September 19, 2013.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 1, 2013

BETTER THAN OK

Working on balance between 
Eeyore-informed pessimism
And unrealistic optimism,
Between humility and arrogance.

Realistically, I am fine, with 
Slightly distracting and mostly
Inconsequential maladies,
Especially in larger context.

Presently, perspective looms,
Offering reassuring point on
Continua, both inner and outer.
Listen up. Attend. Notice.

Current situation is "a thing,"
Somethng to take seriously. 
Attend to intuitive information 
And to experts and consultants.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 2, 2013

AHHH! SUPPORT!

Support comes in many forms,
Few so crucial as sports bras for
Day after and for weeks during
Lumpectomy incision healing.

Next day, upon awakening and
Standing up after sound sleep, 
Gasped at pain from swollen 
Breast's unexpected weight.

First impulse was using hands to
Cup and carry as headed toward
First morning tasks in bathroom.
Then, with empty bladder, decisions.

Problem-solving and brain-storm
Soon led to lingerie drawer to
Search for and find most supportive
Garment: sports bra--instant relief.

Other consequences of wearing 24/7
Tolerable in face of required assistance. 
Two weeks later, experimenting with
Lessening trussing with mixed results.

Of course, appreciate all support from
Multiple people and places. Sustenance 
Comes from variety of beneficial sources,
Some private and personal--now public.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 1, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MISSING NIGHTTIMES

One of Summer '13's several inner re-calibrations, 
Now sleep regular hours, at least those hours most
People consider normal, regular, and generative.

Always a night owl, never started projects until 9 pm,
Preferred delicious introspection 'round midnight.
Depended on 2 am energy re-bursts of productivity.

Similar to people with Bipolar symptoms who miss highs
When medications take away both ends of extreme
Continuum, I've lost middle-of-night's quiet reverie.

Perhaps old nocturnal patterning was artifact
Of teenage experimenting, never outgrown until 
Intense intervention of hard exercise on pilgrimages.

Inner and outer pilgrims' paths ultimately converged
In Spain, Sweden, Denmark, England, and Wales
Amid family, friends, colleagues, and Earth's beauty.

Embrace new patterns and ways of being in the
World. Grieve and move toward wholeness. Seek 
And find. Incorporate expanded daylight's delights.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) September 29, 2013

HARD RAIN FALLIN'

Funny/peculiar, our surprise and endless
Conversations about weather being so
Unpredictable and so different from yesterday
Or yesteryear, although, actually, weather 
Changes every moment and is never the 
Same even in climates without much daily or
Seasonal variance from moment to moment.

Global warming or cooling presents indisputable
Challenges and possibilities for requisite 
Alterations in usual and accustomed habits.
Part of us revels in unchanging and dependable 
Pathways, both in our brain and on our highways.
Yet flatline strictures and restrictions portend
Constriction, rigidity, inflexibility, and death.

But totally understandable, our continual
Talk about weather, our constant and
Surrounding envelope that has such 
Enormous impact on us as we wander and 
Meander across the planet, carrying out
Daily and necessary tasks and endeavors.

Durning uncatastrophic storms, we go about 
Our business anyway, struggling and persisting
Against interferences, unusual amounts of 
rain, wind, snow, heat, or cold, to take our
Thought-free tracks to schools and jobs, to run
Errands for groceries, banking, and fueling.

Our puzzlement and, sometimes, dismay
About encircling elements might also
Reflect similar responses to our inability
To control or predict our inner atmosphere.
Control of weather is as likely to succeed as
Attempt to control our thoughts and emotions.

Rather than control, can we embrace and value
Inner and outer weather patterns, welcoming
Opportunities for extraordinary pathways?
During catastrophic atmospheric conditions,
can we weather storms by accepting an
Opportunity to stay safely snuggled at home? 
During internal cyclones, tornadoes, blizzards, 
Tsunamis, can we pause to welcome time and 
space to reflect, consider, appreciate, wonder?

Climate offers experiential and concrete mirroring
Of inner landscapes and designs and sequences.
Gazing into a mirror affords the possibility of
Truthful feedback, reflective practice, expanded 
Perceptive insight--seeing within, beyond surfaces.

Cost-free mirrors abound, surround, encircle.
Go ahead, take the risk. Look and really see. 
Deeply observe. Invite in all beauty and flaws
As equally valuable. Gather total data points.
Go ahead, accept the gift. Look and really see.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) October 1, 2013