A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Three More Kittens

I had to take in three more kittens this past week. They are about a month old and I can't keep them. I will take care of them till they are old enough to adopt and then I'm just going to have to find homes for them. The bigger problem is that there is a fertile wild female cat outside and at least one fully endowed male out there too and there will be more and more litters of kittens. It's so frustrating, but I don't know what to do. I called the SPCA, but they have over 100 cats that need homes. And this is precisely why, if you let your cats outside, you must have them neutered. It's just cruel having litter after litter left outside to fend for themselves. Right now, all I can do is take it day by day and try not to worry about the future.

Because the kittens are so small, I have to keep them in a kennel and feed them every four hours, but not through the night. I let them out of the kennel to feed them and then I also let them out when I'm not feeding them, just to give them some extra space. So I've been adjusting to the new schedule once again. Maybe in a week I can let them loose in a back room, the room that my first group of kittens stayed in till I let them out into the rest of the house.

So the kittens are beautiful and cute, but it's still a bit of a pain in the butt. I haven't been able to do the Buddhist practice very well because of it, but I think things will settle down soon. The online Buddhist site E-Sangha appears to have crashed and when I googled them again, there was a warning that going to their site might damage my computer. So I've stayed away from the site and began looking for new message board forums. So far I found and joined two--NewBuddhist.com and Buddhism Without Boundaries. I've been posting a bit about myself at the latter site, how I suffer from schizophrenia and how the practice of compassion has helped me work with my voices. I said I was looking for people to study Lojong with, but it turns out there are not a lot of members and they are pretty busy. Plus, I've been told that I really need a personal teacher in order to proceed properly.

I might contact a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Ithaca, NY and see if they can give me any advice about studying Lojong and about finding a teacher. In any case, I will visit them or a center in Rochester, in the Spring when the weather has cleared up and the roads are good to drive on. Till then, I'm on my own pretty much, though I'm hoping to learn from the people at these new Buddhist forum sites. I am really enjoying watching videos on my computer now and there are quite a few Buddhist teachers to choose from. I've already watched a bunch of relatively short videos on Pema Chodron and others as well. There's a wealth of information on the internet of course, which is a bit daunting, but I have to make time to just meditate and study my books and audio recordings of Pema Chodron, The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, etc... Time to review the slogans and my notes. And then there's also the time spent around others while I practice. And time spent with the cats and kittens....

With any luck, this practice will take hold over the winter. I hope so. Tomorrow I go to another support group meeting. This one will be about whether we can join NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Illness) or not. While I would like to be a part of NAMI, I'm also eager to get the support group going for just those who suffer from mental illness. I have met the other four people who will be the core of the group several times now, but I still haven't really gotten to know them. So I will be patient and as long as the weather holds up, I will go to the meetings. I've written down the email address of two of the men (the other two people, a couple, don't have email) and will ask them tomorrow if it's okay to email them this week.

Though I'm back online, I have not been reconnecting with my online friends. Most of my friends are on Facebook, except for Pam, who does not like Facebook. I have only to reach out to them, but for some reason I hold back. So this week I will return to checking out their Facebook pages and reading their blogs and start to leave comments again. I also haven't been drawing or painting and I'm starting to miss it. That's a good sign that I'll return to it.

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