Sunday, July 24, 2011

Goodby to all that - Hello!

I had planned on retiring about three weeks from now, but things changed and I resigned from Agape. For the longest time I thought I would never want to retire, but I am truly ready. I’ve had a good career. There have been probably about 40,000 patients (hospice, refugees, immigrants, psychiatric ER and state hospital, in the community); several thousand students; working with Leslie to manifest hope, love, faithfulness; countless hours in inner-city apartments; three books, many articles, etc.; writing grants and raising some millions of dollars – and never losing track of who I was serving. The hardest parts of leaving are leaving people like Nora and walking away from something I was good at, that mattered. I wrote a 3 part account of all this when I left Baylor several years ago at following link. Photo: Megan, me, Joe - two people I'm sad to leave. Plans:

Leslie and I will be together differently in some ways. For one thing there’ll be no work worries/stresses to get in the way of things. We’ll see how all this goes – changes and stuff to work out, no doubt. I’m looking forward to it. Photo: Leslie on the bus leaving Rangoon for Moulmein ~2007 and Leslie waiting for the bus in Kathmandu ~1978.

I’ll be gardening, baking, cooking, working in/on the house and yard, working out, meeting friends, riding my bike and Leslie will be keeping our business act together, doing all her correspondences, exercising, going out with friends, doing house, food, etc. things and who could guess what all else.

We’ll travel – more or less continuing our current patterns of west coast 3-4 times/year to be with David and Asia once a year – maybe get to Boston area, other places.

I’ll backpack as long as I’m able – this could come to an end at any point as it’s pretty hard on the body. Next up is ~10 day trek in the Wind Rivers in August. Photo: High up in the Wind Rivers - rock, ice, snow, air, the wind, a little lichen. It took me 6 days to get to there.

Volunteer-wise, I’ll be helping with some psytrance camping gatherings. This is a new direction for me and I’m really excited. I like the people I’ve been meeting at these gatherings and I like the music. Next up is Soul Rise in September near Austin. See photo below from Deep in the Heart of Trances.

Hopefully I’ll spend more time with Jeff.

What else? I don’t know.

My mate, Jeff said this: "How cool is it to have someone to testify that it all even happened." He was talking about the gunfights, the blood and iron of Vietnam, and how 30-something of us (of the >180 who started out together) came home on-time. All the others were dead, too badly wounded to keep going, and of course the lucky ones with malaria or 3 non-crippling wounds. He was talking about the years after, when we really did dance beneath the diamond sky, filled with wonder and sparkling beauty, the years of healing, returning to the heart. Photo: At Con Thien

Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Jeff was talking about how we both, in different ways, have been/are with people at the end of life, manifesting faithfulness and truth in those difficult times. He was talking about NOW, as we again dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the trees, circled by the circus lights … again filled with wonder and sparkling beauty … and now there are all these other people dancing too! Photo: The dance floor at Deep in the Heart of Trances - just wait until the night!

51 is the number of push-ups in one set I did this week, on my way to doing more push-ups than my age. Haha, I’m not sure I can get to my age before I’m another year older. So it’s either 16 or 17 to go. (At least I’m not going on about health problems, much.) I decided to stress my knee to see if I’m able to backpack after arthroscopy earlier this year, so this week I hiked for an hour up hill and down dale with a 35-40 pound pack. More laughter: my knee is fine, but my back hurts. But I’m good to go.

I saw a woman last week who asked if she could bring her daughter to the clinic for significant interrelated psychiatric problems. Sure. The mother and daughter came in today. The young woman’s problems are extraordinarily difficult and they have high mortality and morbidity rates. Serious morbidity has already occurred. We made some progress, I felt mostly as stop-gap measures, but, you do what you can and you take what you can get. Afterward I was telling Leslie about this and later she came back with a brilliant intervention and suddenly there’s light and a way. Wow! Photo: Leslie in her natural habitat (scan from a magazine article)

You (actually I mean they) say stop
I say go
You say why
I say I don’t know
Oh-Oh, Oh no
You say goodbye
And I say hello
Hello hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye
I say hello-o-o-o-o helloo