Having a Bad Day

I had a bad day today, which probably resulted from not enough good sleep. I worked for a while in the morning, and then tried to take a nap. Once again, I couldn’t sleep, but the quite, restful mindfulness of breathing kept me from caving totally in.

In the afternoon, I went to see Alan Sheets for a Feldenkrais treatment. Alan’s gentle hands and compassionate understanding were very helpful. He was purposefully trying to move me into point nine on the enneagram, as this is my so-called, “heart point.” The heart point on the enneagram is the place that you tend to move towards in a secure life situation. It goes in the direction opposite to the arrows on the enneagram. For me, as a point six, the heart point is point nine. Point nine on the enneagram represents sloth with respect to spiritual growth and doing good things for yourself. I often find myself there when I am comfortable and relaxing with my children. Point nine is the point where love enters the enneagram. It is a point where well-adapted individuals remain peaceful without turning away from problems. The point in the direction of the arrows is know as the “stress point.” For me, this is point three on the enneagram. Point three represents the over-achiever, which experience I’ve had many times in my life as I have tried to enhance my professional career. For more information on these and other points on the enneagram, please visit The Enneagram in the Electronic Tradition.

When I returned home from my appointment with Alan Sheets, I once again attempted to nap, with a similar result to the morning. I know what is bothering me, but that hasn’t helped my sleeping situation. I am rather nervous about the results of my transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) on Friday.

In the evening, I struggled to make it to Anna Halprin‘s class. She had just returned from the opening of the FDR Memorial in Washington, D. C. Apparently, her husband had a lot to do with the internal construction of the memorial. She sensed my discomfort and had us work primarily on our backs in order to conserve my energy. She had me moving my back in ways I’ve never experienced before, and it was quite amazing. I realized that one could do “moving meditation” in much the same way one does “walking meditation” in the Buddhist tradition. Her guided imagery took us to a clear blue sky above an expanse of ocean, with waves to match our breathing. We were to visualize a creature either in the sky or the ocean. I saw a whale most clearly and drew a picture of the wale just having complete a dive, with its tail still visible above the ocean surface. I wrote:

“I’ve created a ‘whale’ of a problem that needs to be solved. What I need to do is follow the lead of the whale and allow my tail (how about tale – Yellow Stream!) to float freely on the waves.”

By the end of the evening, I was feeling much better. Anna placed me in the middle of the circle so that everyone could send me healing energy for the upcoming ordeal. Each person found a spot to touch me and bring even more healing energy into focus. It was a wonderful experience!


It’s May, It’s May!

I started the day off by taking the girls to school. From there I went to Cascade Falls in Mill Valley to do the immune system building exercises and meditated, but it was too cold to sit quietly that early in the morning. Nevertheless, I did the exercises and walked for about thirty minutes up on Mount Tamalpias, going uphill from the falls. The walk was very pleasant and I enjoyed it very much. I was able to be mindful most of the way.

The meeting at Cancerport was rather typical. I announced the Julie Motz lecture next week, and told everyone that she was going to be at my surgery. Other than that, all I had to report was my nervousness over the procedure next week.

Alan Sheets was gentle and caring. He is really interested in doing something about the pain in my knees. He wants me to videotape my tennis play so that he can see just why I’m wearing out the toes of my right shoe faster than any other part of the shoe.

At night, I went to my Evolutionary Circle group. Many people were feeling tired last night, especially me! Once again, the theme was laying on of the hands healing, and I was the first subject. The healing felt good. I remember one of the healers saying that I was surrounded by love and joy in my life! What a nice idea!


The Frog on the Leaf…

April 14, 1997 – The Frog on the Leaf…

Compared to yesterday, this was a fine day, but I was still haunted by the cost of cancer. I worked in the morning and then went to have a session with Alan Sheets. He worked on my knees, lower back, shoulders, cranium, and bladder. The session was very relaxing and I didn’t feel the need to nap for the rest of the day.

From Alan’s office, I met G. S. at the California Conservatory of Music to pick up twenty copies of Yellow Stream which my son had made for me. These copies go through the beginning of chapter eight, and are expressly for the purpose of finding a publisher for the web site as a book. I might change the title to “Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves” before final publication.

From there, I went to Golden Gate Park for a walk and a time to be alone in nature. I just had a feeling that this would be better for me than rushing back home to get more work done on the Sniffer. On the way to the Redwood Grove, I passed a small pond with beautiful, broad leaves in it. Perhaps they were water lilies not yet in bloom. It was a beautiful pond, and then I noticed a frog sitting on one of the leaves. The frog was as big as the leaf, about three inches long, and two and one-half inches wide. I stood and watched the frog for several minutes. When I thought about it later, I thought about this poem:

The frog on a leaf
In the pond
In the Arboretum
Just sitting
Doing Zazen!

I wandered off to the Redwood Grove and found a place to sit on the stump of a redwood tree to meditate. I was surrounded by redwood trees and sat next to another pond (no frog) for about fifteen minutes. Then I searched out the incense cedar tree that my son and I often visited when he was young. In fact, it was after playing in that tree that he told me something was wrong with his stomach, and a few weeks later he was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor. I hugged the tree and offered prostrations to it for helping heal my son and now I was asking for its help to heal me. The prostration was humbling and healing at the same time. Hopefully, no one saw me doing such a strange thing.

Next I visited the moon viewing platform which juts out over another pond (no frogs here either) in hopes of running into Itzzy, who often does Tai Chi on that platform. Then it was time to go and I slowly left the Arboretum being mindful of each step and each breath.

At night, I went to Anna Halprin’s class and offered her the first printed copy of Yellow Stream. She seemed really grateful. The class got off to a slow start, with Anna’s boom box not working. We sat and did breathing exercises and I noticed that several people were having a tough time. I thought that this would have been a good evening for a long check-in, but we moved forward anyway. Anna spent much of her time with the woman that was having the most difficulty, and I enjoyed dancing to the rhythms of the drums that were playing when we finally had some music.

My drawing came right out of my gut. I looked at the box of crayons and noticed that there was a small piece of a thick, red crayon that appealed to me. I picked it up and started drawing bold, thick curved lines that eventually resembled a large hourglass, but in reality, it was my anger of the cost of cancer coming through. I wrote, “I want to see my anger red!” I wanted to have an intuitive feeling for why I was so pissed off about the cost of treatment, or at least have someone tell me what I was feeling. The expressing of anger in the drawing was quite strong, and I received a lot of good feedback about it during the ensuing discussion.

As people shared their drawings, I felt the group coming closer together. I stated, “I finally feel that the group is coming together. Even though we are still having a tough time, we are having a tough time together.” Many agreed with my statement.

I headed home feeling much better and with a strong desire to write. However, as I walked in the door the phone rang and the call was from New York. I was told about a healer named Winefred Wager, who I’m supposed to call tomorrow to see if she can help me “long distance!” I also had a message from Dean Ornish, but I haven’t spoken with him yet. He is starting a prostate cancer study with Dr. Carroll.


Following the “Yellow Stream!”

April 4, 1997 – Following the “Yellow Stream!”

Last night was quite difficult for me. I felt really exhausted and didn’t like what was going on in my body. I prepared a modest meal and got in bed to read more of That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist. I enjoy it thoroughly, but the chapter on the holocaust moved me to tears and longing. I felt rejected by god and Jews as a child, but something is still trying to make itself felt in the way of devotional practice. I can’t wait until my conversation with Sylvia Boorstein on April 15! One other thing about the book: If you take a combination of traits from my siblings, including myself, you get something that resembles the life of Sylvia and her family. David is orthodox and lives in St. Louis and is a grandpa. Joe is orthodox and lives in Israel with his family. Brenda is a drama therapist, and Manny is the owner of Art and Science of Computer Imaging – a very creative outlook!

My wife went with me to Leslie Davenport’s cancer group. Many of the people in attendance were also at Cancerport the day before. During the meditation, I was filled with images of Hebrew school and the Miriam Hebrew Academy, which I hated so much. But I did remember and continue to reflect on one moment one fine day in April or May of 1946 or 1947 when I was filled with and experience of awe and wonder that has been with me all my life. I believe that this might have been my first transcendental experience, in which I became fully aware of the sun, the sky, the back yard of the academy, all of the other boys and girls playing their little games, the grass, and the brick garage with its attached brick ash pit. This moment was special for me, and I knew then that I was different from all the other boys and girls. I had no friends and played alone. At that point in my life I didn’t know rejection, but I did feel left out. I used to sit in class and day dream about this and that, but never a clear image. I drew a picture of the garage and the ash pit and a boy playing ball.

In the afternoon, I went to a Feldenkrais session with Alan Sheets. Alan and I had worked together on an article which appeared in Enneagram Monthly on The Enneagram of the Body, which is Alan’s method of teaching the enneagram. We had a really nice connection while we were working on the article and he express his gratitude for how much he appreciated my work.

Before the session, Alan asked me what I wanted to work on. I explained to him the importance of reality anchoring in the body, especially when you are ill, and that this is what I wanted to continue to work on. I told him about the weakness of my knees, lower back, and shoulders, and that this is what I wanted him to work on. For this session, Alan chose to work on my knees and lower back. I could feel the subtle movements as he proceeded to heal my body. The session was magnificent, but I really felt exhausted afterwards. One of the nicest moments came near the end when I could feel the energy flow from the bottoms of my feet where Alan was working all the way up to my skull. I believe that this has the wonderful effect of aiding lymphatic return and circulation.

Reality anchoring in the body is one of the foundations of the Abhidhamma, or Buddhist psychology. The principle is that out of all of our experience, what goes on in our bodies is of prime importance and it is what we share in common. It is based on the idea that we share reality from this common ground of being. We don’t easily share thoughts, feeling, or emotions, but we all know what it is like to overeat, cut our fingers, burn our hands, or have a good night’s sleep. Reality anchoring in the body provides us with a reality check on our condition. When we have a strong sense of reality anchoring in the body, we can proceed to manage our health care in a realistic way, without denial or fear.


That's Funny, You Don't Look Buddhist: On Being A Faithful Jew and a Passionate
That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Buddhist:
On Being A Faithful Jew and a Passionate

Copyright © 2004-2018, Jerome Freedman, Ph. D.