Everybody Is Different

Everybody.  And I mean every B-O-D-Y

     And different in a far deeper  manner than the obvious female/male way, too.   Stay with me.  My mind wanders here and there, and when something interests me, I follow, and my next step is to write about it.  Like today, I’m writing of breathing.  Yeah, in-haling and ex-haling.

     Before you switch to some other place on the Web, take a moment to watch your breathing and you might notice that one nostril is more ‘open’ than the other.  In other words, one nostril is dominant, and long ago when I noticed this, I used lots of Vicks.

     But I found that the nostrils weren’t  clogged, for if you keep randomly checking, you’ll find that the other nostril is then the dominant one. That they  switch.

     Well, it’s a happening that was known to the ancient Yogis thousands of years ago, and while they knew nothing of right-brain, left-brain stuff, the idea is somewhat the same.  They weren’t so dumb even though they wore/wear odd clothing and live in caves and forests.

     We breath equally with both nostrils only at certain times, and these times are always ones of danger, crisis,  great awareness, crucial moments of danger. Vital moments.

     Birth time is one such time for both mother and child, and those primal screams come with both nostrils going at full steam. Of course if the mother is drugged into unconsciousness, who knows? I’m speaking of when we’re awake and aware.

     And death, birth’s opposite, is the same. Both nostrils, and sometimes for a few days or hours before that vital last action and it was one of the ways the old Yogis knew of their coming Change and sent word out for their students and friends to gather.

     Stay with me because the equal  times get more interesting and not all with our Beginning and End.  Sexual climax comes with both nostrils equal, if you can remember to check.  If you see an accident coming, all your senses are suddenly alert and again, if you have time to check, you’re using both nostrils.  Equally.  We’re alert, awake, aware.  Both nostrils going at full steam.  Sudden, alarming noises, earthquakes, fires, you name the fright and you’ll find both nostril equally at work.

     Such a simple (?) thing as turning over in the night causes the nostrils, wham, bang, to switch dominance and here the old Yogis weren’t sure, (like the chicken and the egg), which came first?  Do the nostrils switch and then we turn over, or . . . do we turn over and then the nostrils switch. If you find out, you’re one smart person.

     The Alternate Breathing techniques taught in various Meditation groups  are exercises to help us become awake, and I don’t know how, but to become aware of our bodies (minds?) going  from objective to subjective moods.  In some way we are subtly ‘different’ with these unasked-for changes.

     If you’re easily amused, as I am, it’s fun to watch these breathing changes, because it can change within a few seconds, and then back again as your activities change back and forth. 

     And then nothing to do with breathing, but there’s the simple, action of crossing our arms over our chests.  Do it right now, and see which hand goes under the other arm and then try it make it the other way.  The one way is so natural we do not even think of it, and the other way is awkward and difficult.  Not natural or comfortable. 

     Then try the universal action of  ‘folding your hands’.  So simple, every school child is told to do so as the Teacher wants their undivided attention.  So  as you do it, you find one way to do it is right and the other awkward and unnatural.  But if you note, people differ in how they do such an everyday thing. 

     Also, when serious meditators  use the Lotus Position with their feet placed over the thigh of the opposite leg, you’ll discover the same variance.  Train all  you wish, but with one person, the right foot is on top and with others it’s the left. 

     Every B-O-D-Y is different. And the old mediation mantra of ‘Watch Your Breathing’ has more meaning than we recognize, and is not just a way of keeping your attention to the moment,  Try these ‘oddities’: the changing of the dominant nostril, and, and also how you cross your arms and fold your hands.  There are many others, but there are also times I step back and do not try them out . . . but that’s my choice.

     It’s a funny world, and I don’t mean a funny ha-ha, either, but funny peculiar.  Try these ‘foolish’ exercises  and see your own b-o-d-y from a different aspect.  And I’ll see you next week and be just ordinary Ethel. I think.

Kids Have Big Ears And Bigger Memories

G__  d_mn it!,  G__  d_mn it! 

     Never underestimate the intelligence of a child.  Their cognitive senses are operating at full blast long before they can communicate or comment.  And the memory of what they see and hear stays with them.

     My son, Bill, still in diapers, had a favorite cozy nook,  between a cupboard and a hall where he could see what as going on in the house, and one day I found that he heard and remembered far more than I thought possible.

     His older brother was usually busy with his stuff, Gram in her favorite chair, and as I went about my daily chores,  she and I talked about lots of stuff and later on, after Bill talked, I found that there had been another pair of ears hearing, all we said. And remembered it, too.

     Yeah, one day, after he could talk, he said, “Mom, do you remember when you and Gram were talking about. . . . ?”  and he then went on to tell me about that day, and, surprised, I answered, “Yes.”

     “Well,” he said, “that isn’t the way it happened.” And that dang kid went on to tell me exactly what had happened and Gram and I looked at each other in disbelief.  The child was right, and my ideas of the abilities children, barely out of infanthood, took a great big  turn-about.  

     I looked at Gram with eyes agog, and said, “Okay, thanks,” and the child casually went on with his play, but Gram and I knew  then that it had been no unthinking child hearing our conversations, and I began wondering what else he had heard.  And stored away.  Plenty no doubt.

     I knew kids copied what they heard, for his brother had proven that roundly. He, too, was still in the diaper stage, and  was sitting on the middle of the kitchen floor (where else?) and was swinging a small play plastic hammer his Dad had bought him,  and was pretending he was hammering with it. 

     And of all thing, over and over he was saying, “G__  d_mn it!  G__  d_mn it!”  Well, I hurriedly found something else for him to play with, hid the hammer, and couldn’t wait to tell his Dad that a few changes had to be made in  everyday ‘shop’ language.  Who told us that parenthood would be without shock?
     And, later on, I saw a daughter of a niece of mine do the same.  Oh, not the cussing, just the awareness of what was being said.  My niece was sitting near me with her less than two-year-old daughter on her lap.  She was telling me that she was expecting another child, but decided not to tell her daughter (the one sitting on her lap) about it for a few more months. 

     I laughed and told the expectant mother that she’d already ‘spilled the beans’, and that the child on her lap understood what she had said.  She looked at the child, the child looked at her, and  the looks in the eyes of both,  child and mother, was hilarious for both of them were surprised. 

     The mother to know that her child had understood, and by the look the child gave to me, it was evident that the child was surprised to know that there was an adult who knew that she understood.  I laughed again in delight.

     Stupid kids?  No, they’re all the same, and if you think not, you’re only fooling yourself.  No, they don’t have the ability to talk, but my oh, my, they have the ability to hear, and remember. 

     Think back on your own life, you simply  listened to what was being said, and it became part of you.  You knew and remembered.  There are no secrets around children.  They might not know all the inner meanings, or  have the ability to comment upon it, but, boy oh boy, do they ever  know the facts.  And have good memories, too.

I Stand Where Other Women Stood

I Stand Where Other Women Stood.  And I Wonder . . .

I stand where Jane, Rachel and Indian women once stood,
Seeing  the mountains, sky, earth and streams,  that they once saw.
Did they dream as I dream?  Did they dream of me?

Jane, pioneer woman, ekeing out a life in a cabin by the stream,
 Conceiving, Carrying and Bearing her eighteen children
On this same spot.  Did she dream as I dream?  Of me?

Or was she numbed by the cruel days and nights
Of ‘making do’ with ne’er a moment to stop and just be woman?
Did she dream as I dream?  And wonder?  About me?

And that sweet, child-bride Rachel, alone in a family of men.
The mountains, sky, earth and stream the same, but,
Did she dream as I dream? And wonder of the next woman? Me?

I see countless Indian women, standing where I now stand,
Seeing the same mountains, sky, earth and streams, and ask
Did they dream?  Did they dream, wonder?  Of another woman, me?

Today I stand where Jane, Rachel and Indian women once stood,
Circled by the same mountains, sky, earth and streams,
And I, too, dream and wonder,  about them.  Jane, Rachel, Indians.

The eternal mountains, sky, earth and streams are the same, but
 It’s a highway by my door; golf course, not pasture; Ipod in every hand.
And I dream and wonder, of a peace and quiet no longer here.

Bewildered, do the mountains, sky, earth and stream ever wonder, too?

Ethel Bradford
March 8, 2013

Psoriasis, Dry Skin – Gone!

Whatever it was, it seems a simple cure . . .

               I’ve put off writing this column because I’m no expert, and certainly no doctor, but it happened to me.  It’s no made-up story, and I wish someone had told me about it a few years ago.  So I write.
               My Dad had psoriases  and so, even as a child I was aware of that skin disorder.  Dry flakey, itchy  skin, and I think there must be dozens of varieties of that inherited disease. It’s a dang nuisance and one not at all attractive to see.  And itchy.
               So, when I saw it begin to appear on my skin, I rushed to a dermatologist as fast as possible and since then have tried and been prescribed I suppose every salve, lotion or nostrum people can think of and had some good results, but no control over it at all.  Dang, and one gets used to wearing long sleeves and never bare legged.
               It’s in your genes I read and  believed it.  Dad, one of my siblings, and now me.
               But then I heard the silliest idea ever, that of Vaseline, good old fashioned Vaseline that was in our parent’s Medicine Chest for cuts and bruises and also in mine, too.
               So, as nothing else really helped, I picked up the jar of that old fashioned all-use stuff and began rubbing it into my elbows, arms, legs and where ever.  Night and morning to begin with, and was surprised to see that, no, it did not mess up my bed linen, or blouses or stockings. 
                As I rubbed it in, my skin absorbed it like a blotter, a sponge, and I was scared to admit it, but the scales on my elbows were not as dry as before.  And, to put it bluntly,  my arms and leg and all else are now entirely free from that curse.
               I use the Vaseline, now, about once a week, and my skin is clear.  No dreadful itching, no blotches, no scales.
               I honestly don’t know, I am no doctor, whether my psoriases is cured, abated or it was something else, but whatever.  All I know is I can wear short sleeves with no flinching, and have no itching at all.
               Now, just maybe,  (How am I to know????)  just maybe I never had psoriases.  Maybe I began eating something that took it away.  Maybe it has a ‘life cycle’ that comes and goes.  Maybe I just imagined it (ho-ho-ho) and now it’s gone, But . . .
               It is gone.  And the only thing different I have done, is use Vaseline.  It didn’t happen over night, but once I started using that common salve, the change was constant, and now I seldom think about it, except to glance at my arms, say TYG, and go my way.
                So, don’t think I’m some medic who stumbled upon some wonderful salve, for I’m not.  But someone told me about it, as if a big secret.  But I tried it, for me  it worked, and I pass it along.  Maybe it’ll come back with a vengeance, but so far . . . . . and it’s been about three months now . . . I am free of it.
               I hesitate to even write of it, but, I’m a gutsy woman and there just might be someone ‘out there’ who, like my Dad, and me, know what it is.  Good luck.

Spring Has Sprung !

Spring means different things to different people. Yes, it’s the interlude between winter and summer, but the memories it uncovers are wide and varied.

To me, it’s when the dreary winter-dull grass down on the Golf Course turns to bright green, and people, not just the walkers, begin to people its pathways.

My friend jumped at my question with, “Oh, Ethel, yellow baby chicks.  They mean it’s Spring and warm weather will be here in two blinks of our eyes.”  She told me that the fertile chicken eggs were kept in the house and carefully cosseted in warm shallow shelters, where watchful eyes could keep track of seeing the chick, from inside of the shell,  would keep pecking at the shell until it broke and they found their way out.  A miracle to the child my friend then was and still a miracle to anyone watching such wonders.

I hadn’t thought of animals as Spring,  but, of course, young animals mean Spring to most who grew up in rural areas, and so it was no surprise when Bob recalled running in their pasture and playing with baby lambs. He says the mother Ewe would watch, but wasn’t disturbed, for the newborn ones have to exercise. His Dad, didn’t let him run them too long or too hard, but says it was good for the lambs and for him. And to remember, too.

For Wayne, who grew up in Lethbridge, Canada, Spring meant the Chinooks. “Oh, Ethel, the Chinooks came and the bitter cold was over.  I recall one day when it was 25 degrees below zero, and I was bundled  from head to toe to get to school, but later that morning a Chinook came swooping down and when I went home that afternoon, I carried all those clothes in my arms, not on me.  Spring brought the Chinooks, and the Chinooks meant the end of bitter cold and warmth for us all.” 

Bernice had nothing to do with green grass, baby chicks, or baby lambs, but, she remembered how our Mother, (she is my sister) would insist that we wear LONG cotton stockings all winter long, and how, when Spring came, on her way to school, and well out of Mom’s sight, she would unhook and roll those stocking down as far as possible so that all day long she walked around school with huge ‘do-nuts’ of rolled stocking around her ankles.  ‘Do-nuts’ that were carefully rolled back up and hooked (remember Panty Waists?) before Mom saw her.  Yeah, parental rebellion was Spring, too.

Nina saw herself  ‘helping’ her father Till the garden soil, as she walked behind him, barefoot, and enjoying the warmth of the just-Tilled soil against her bare feet and wiggling her toes within its warmth.  She had seen her Father put the dry fallen leaves on the garden spot before winter arrived, and now she saw those leaves as compost and being mixed with the good earth. Nina saw the ‘complete circle’ and you can’t get any better than that.

I will not forget one day when I saw that someone had scattered small pieces of bright orange paper over my back lawn, and as I tsk-tsk-ed over the ‘mess’, I  went out to clean up the trash.  But there was no trash, just the beauty of Crocuses (I know the plural is Croci, but I like the other) that Gram and I had planted, and now  had multiplied and spread over a large space.  They are gone now, for I belatedly found that Weed killer for dandelions is a killer of crocuses, too.  And I unwittingly did it.

My sons remember roaming the pasture (before it was for golf) and prowling  for frogs, toads, bumble bees, and turning over rocks to see the worms and bugs sheltered there while waiting for the warm sun to lure them out.  Everything came alive down there where, to the casual eye, there was naught but cows and horses.  Only kids would have the time and curiosity  see how much life really returned each Spring. 
Deanna remembers how her whole family, aunts, uncles and cousins, would go out to the West Desert for a great big picnic, and she didn’t really know why, but only how great it was. 

I think I know why.  One of her Uncles, Dominic and his kids, were Rock Hounds and that west desert was a bonanza for such hunting.  The Rocks were later polished and he made lovely pieces of art from them.  I have a beautiful Rock Clock, that he made from rocks, that maybe he found on a  ‘picnic’ day.  But it’s autographed by his daughter Joyce, and  hangs on my wall where visitors see and admire it. Rocks too, speak of  Spring.

Chicks, lambs, Rock Hunting, Crocuses, bare feet in newly tilled garden soil, long stocking rolled down to ankles, looking under rocks for bugs about to come forth, the Chinook winds,  lavender Hyacinths in full bloom with their heady aroma, all speak of Spring.  And maybe what reminds you of Spring is world’s apart from any of the above, but while you’re enjoying this 2013 Spring, take a moment to remember and enjoy again,  your childhood years.  They’re priceless.