On the subway, in a mine, at a gas station
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness — that is the friend who cares.
It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions but hard to get one single remedy.
Stephen Harrod Buhner On Plant Intelligence, Natural Healing, And The Trouble With Pharmaceuticals
When you use a living medicine and get well, you feel that the world is alive and aware and wants to help you. People often talk about saving the Earth, but how many times have you experienced the Earth saving you?
I first became interested in alternative health practices as a teenager, when I began practicing yoga. I was also a drug user. My father thought this was a contradiction, but I said they both were about feeling good. When I took speed, it was easier to get into difficult yoga positions — although I didn’t have the patience to hold them for very long.
Christmas, New York City, 1979
I’d broken up with my boyfriend, and my sister had broken up with hers and sprained her ankle. She was furious and weeping and mad at herself for weeping, because her mascara was running. She sat in front of her mirror and stroked on fresh mascara, picked up her false eyelashes and stuck them on as if she hated them, slapped her cheeks with her powder puff so hard that powder floated around her in the air.
The Good Patient
I placed a check mark next to the box on the insurance form that said “pre-existing condition.” I placed a check mark next to “nonsmoker.” I placed a check mark next to dog owner, homeowner, married, employed, college educated, drinks socially, and has no savings or family members with money to turn to for help. I placed a check mark next to I want to live to be twenty-six.
My Left Eye
You’d think at my age I might realize that the spinning bottle of medical fate would eventually stop and point to me. I have known too many people who have passed away: diseased hearts, prostates, and colons; the effects of Agent Orange; or just plain bad luck. As I approach sixty, Why me? is evolving into Why not me?
We all have to borrow in life. We borrow money to buy a home or to travel. We borrow from our independence and our spirit to make a living. I borrowed from my health to try to become Hawaiian. And somewhere a ledger is tallied.
Stars And Moons And Comets
Is there something wrong with me that I don’t seem as bereft as some widows, that I’m handling it so well? That’s what everyone says: “You are handling it so well.” I know he is dead. I just can’t believe we will be separated forever. Whoever wrote, “Till death do us part,” didn’t know what he was talking about.
The Dog Watched Television
The summer of my mother’s illness, / a season so hot and dry it might / have erupted in flames, we discovered / the dog liked television.