Friday, September 25, 2009

Martian Anemia, and Emptying out our Emotional Catboxes….

First of all…Martian Anemia.
You know what Martian Anemia is, right?
If you don’t here’s the definition.

Martian Anemia occurs when all the iron in your blood rusts, turns to lead and settles in your ass.

Or so sayeth JW.

And I had a bad case of it this morning. The alarm rang, I peeled open an eyelid looked at the alarm and thought, oh HELL no.

Sometime during the night Martian Anemia struck. My blood rusted, turned to lead and promptly settled into my neither regions.

I so didn’t want to get up. But I did, got dressed, did my morning run in the fullness of a beautiful golden blue dawn. Now after a big bowl of red grapes, walnuts and a bit of chicken, (and sunlight streaming through my office window) I feel energized. Sore as frak, but energized.

Everyone knows about spring fever, but I think there’s a fall fever too, where we become aware of the change of the seasons. The business of summer is replaced by the more laid back energy of autumn. The buzzing of cicadas is swapped for the chirping of crickets. The dragonflies are gone; replaced by flights of monarchs.

And I have an intense desire to sit outside by a quiet lake and paint while JW fishes.

So if you feel as I do, blame it on Fall, or Marvin the Martian…Either one will do….

After reading this entry, go out to a local farm and pick some fresh produce. You can thank me later.

Today is cat box duty. I do the grand emptying twice weekly and when it’s not pouring down rain on Saturday, I take the boxes outside for a good scrubbing with bleach and hot soapy water. But as of late I’ve been forgetting about the one box that lurks underneath a long table beside JW’s recliner. Maybe it’s just laziness on my part or maybe its because I secretly don’t want to face another litter box, but either way the box gets neglected and then on Friday morning when the trash is due out and I’ve got all the boxes emptied but the one that I forgot about and I stand in the living room, sniffing, trying to figure out where that funky smell is coming from…

And then it hits me.

Oh yeah, I forgot about that one.

So when was the last time I changed it?


Do you know what happens when you don’t empty out a cat’s litter box in a timely manner?

Yeah, I thought you did.

The same can be said of our emotions. Yesterday I talked about how catharsis is bad, causes you suffering and all the people around you as well. Case in point: Mackenzie Phillips and airing her dirty laundry on the airwaves. Who really wants to hear that? Honestly? Has it eased Mackenzie’s suffering? She might think so, but in the real world, no, not one iota. She’s taken her emotional cat box, and instead of carefully discarding old angers, hurts, and resentments, sufferings and so on, she’s taken the box out and tossed it into the middle of the public’s proverbial picnic.

Can I get an ew?

This catharsis has not helped, but harmed, and in the worst way possible. Harm to herself, to her poor mother, and created countless suffering for people who sat and watched her emotionally hurl.

But that’s another essay.

Let’s get back to the proper maintenance of our emotional cat box.

But first, a story. One of my favorite Jakarta stories in fact.

Ge-I (long ago) a woman sleeping in a tiny village in India woke one morning to find that her infant son had died during the night.

Horrified, she raced to the village elders with her dead child in her arms, and prostrating before the elders, begged them to restore her baby to life.

This was, of course, beyond the elder’s capacity to do so. But one of the men, feeling great compassion for the tearful woman, told her that the Lord Buddha was teaching at Deer Park and was capable of performing miracles. He, of all people, the elder told her, should be able to raise your son from the dead.

So…the woman ran to deer park (still carrying her child) and sure enough, the Buddha was there, with his retinue of disciples, giving a dharma talk to a throng of people.

After he finished teaching, and the crowd started to disperse, she approached the Lord Buddha and begged him to bring her son back from the dead.

The Buddha was filled with great compassion for the woman and her dead son. He said, “of course I will raise your son from the dead, but first there is something you have to do for me.”
“I’ll do anything,” the woman replied.
“Go back to the village, and find for me one person who has not experienced death in some form.

So the woman raced back to the village (lots of running in this story) and, breathless, knocked on the first door she came to.
She asked Buddha’s question, and the man of the house said no, that his grandmother died and everyone in the household was grieving.

She knocked on even more doors, and the answer was always the same; no, there was no person in the village who hadn’t experienced death in some form.

The woman sat and thought about it, then came to the realization that not one person on earth has not suffered. In fact, within in a hundred year’s time, almost everyone in her village would be dead.

So holding this teaching in her heart, she retrieved her dead baby, went to her husband together, laid the infant to rest..

The point of the story is, of course, that there is not one sentient being who hasn’t suffered in some form. We have, to coin a phrase, all walked a trail of tears.

But now, it’s time for my 11.00 a.m. practice.

I’ll continue this tomorrow.

But if you can’t wait, and want to learn more, please contact my kind teacher at



Be polite.