interesting side notes

Acupuncture has had a couple of unexpected effects; and one is that I don’t really want to eat meat anymore. This is nice, because as a human I’d like to eat lower on the food chain whenever possible (to make up for Texas of course), but confusing, as I’ve always wanted meat. I didn’t eat a lot of it, but I really liked it when I did. But somehow, when everything started coming off, I just didn’t feel that I need to eat anyone else to live.

It’s a strange feeling, because it’s a profound sort of change, but there was no action taken on the part of my forebrain to arrive at it. I don’t feel emotional or judgy (that’s a Bill word- he once humorously told me that I sounded all “judgy” when I used the words tarnish and patina, as if one was lowly and one was lovely) about it, and I can’t say that I won’t ever eat anyone again, but I can say that I just would really rather not do it as a normal practice.

I ate a fish the other night, and it was delicious, and nourishing, and caught from a farm, but honestly, I didn’t feel that the taste of it on my tongue was worth the taking of a life. I no longer seem to have the film between the two ideas in my mind. When I ordered that fish, I ordered a killing; that is just a simple fact, and facts are not by nature bad or good. (I originally said “I ordered a murder,” but people felt uncomfortable with that.  So I changed the words. Does it help?)

I have to decide as an individual where I come down on each decision. And decisions can be made individually, I don’t have to set policies.

It’s just one of the many things have shifted in me. All of them strike me as positive, but many of them could be confusing if I wanted them to be (I don’t) because they are state changes, you know, system rewires.


last night’s sky, shot from my front door looking North over Tucson- see the lenticular shapes at the bottom of the towering cumulus? Cool.

My bones have shifted in my skin; I look different (even more so than usual, with usual being me looking different every time you look at me) and the bones of my hands are closer together. I weigh less; apparently the things that I was storing in my body had become physical, material; energy will transform to matter, we all know this, and so if that is the case, it can also transform back. It’s not mysterious, but it is beautiful to see. It’s metaphoric, like a Star Trek terramorph, or a religious miracle.

I also arrived, and also without any effort, at the understanding that I will no longer take part in passive-aggressive conversations. If someone has a problem with anything that I say or do, or if they want me to do something for them, or if they have a stored L.O.G. on me (this stands for “List Of Grievances”, which sadly I must tell you many people keep) then they can talk to me about it, and we will resolve it together, and that will be that. If the answer is “we will be happier without each other”, well,  sometimes that’s the answer, and we have to accept it. But I now have a zero tolerance for repeats from L.O.G.s.

There isn’t anything I won’t talk about once. And I’ll talk about it considerably more if it’s healthy, or needs deep talking, or if we are family. But silly things, like “That time you said that you stopped eating meat to make up for Texas really offended me!” would be a One and Done.

It isn’t like I have any questions about any of this, again, the changes just seem natural. In a million years, I couldn’t have predicted that this simple, ancient medicine could be so flexible, could merge with my being and simply and easily restore me to factory settings. I can’t get away from the aptness, the rightness, of the imagery of Photoshop, of cleaning an image or a computer drive, separating signal from noise, deleting duplicate or damaged files, sorting like things together, and keeping core programs and the stuff I need to access frequently free from error and disarray.

What I want in life is smallness and lightness, and a giving back, and I could write the sum of my hopes and dreams on a tiny slip of paper and roll it up into an acorn, with room to spare, because all of my dreams have already come true. And that also is just a fact, no more, no less, and I am grateful beyond my ability to express it.

13 thoughts on “interesting side notes

  1. I have been following your acupuncture adventures with great interest, because for a long time I have been both fascinated by it and repelled – because I have a real horror of needles. However, I also have a real horror of all the medications I’m currently taking and the way I seem to be sliding faster and faster down the hill of decline with nary a branch or root in sight to stop the fall. I am intrigued by the “factory default” aspect of what you’re experiencing, and Nick and I are both interested enough that we’re looking into what’s available here. Is there a particular method of acupuncture we should be asking about? (I’m thinking about yoga, and the fact that there are varied methods and approaches…) Is it possible your practitioners know of a good studio here in San Antonio?

    And inquiring minds really want to know: does it hurt?

    • It doesn’t hurt at all, Francesca, the needles are slender and small. Sometimes they feel… electrical, but that is only your own natural system and nothing to fear.

      Many people report freedom from medications with treatment, but of course I am a novice, and don’t know anything beyond my own experience and what I hear from others. Asthma, depression, weight issues, circulation, fear, loathing, digestive, immune, whatever you have that you feel is “wrong” with you might be something you could fix at a system level, just as you would defrag a hard drive, overwrite bad sectors, so it could do its job. Obviously sometimes you need a doctor, or a hospital, or an Xray machine. This is simply an ally to help you separate signal from noise, so that you can decide for yourself what is real.

      The thing is, it simply cannot hurt you; it is a non-invasive way to see if you might be able to heal yourself, and there is no harm in trying. I recommend community acupuncture if it is available in your area- it is very democratic, very affordable, very full of compassion and simple caring- no judgment, no nothin except the desire to help you help yourself.

      I really encourage you to try it.

  2. A murder is an unlawful killing of another human, with malice aforethought. I don’t think you ordered a hit on a farm-raised fish. Sure, fish are sentient beings, but one could say that fragrant jasmine rice, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes, and succulent, juicy blackberries have consciousness as well. Then what? A Tibetan might look at a sparkly gemstone and recognize its spirit through the energy that collects in that perceptual moment.

    Whatever will you eat in la belle France?

    • Sure, it’s a loaded word, is it gentler to say “the taking of a life?”
      I was thinking about that in terms of the abortion debate, everyone cringes at the word “murder”, but it is also the taking of a life. Facts aren’t one thing or another, they just are. But words that describe them have power.

      I could see terminating a pregnancy, I could imagine killing in anger or for justice, I can easily imagine eating a burger at Blueberry Hill. I am not saying that they are in any way alike. But each involves the taking of a life, and obviously each must be assessed on balance with the situation. I’m not some kind of goddamned Won’t Bend a Blade Of Grass all of a sudden, but I think it’s OK to be more thoughtful about what I am doing if I kill a bug or eat a fish. Everything alive wants to be alive; it is my prerogative to make it dead or not.

      Also- eating rice or fruit doesn’t take a life, it’s generative. What I am trying to say is that I don’t think I need to take a life just to eat lunch. There is so much else to eat, and it’s all delicious.

      I’m not saying that I won’t eat anyone again, just… not today.

      Just out of intellectual curiosity, my friend, not because I’m emotionally invested in it (I’m not) how does the word “murder” apply only to humans? Are we above other life forms, to get such a special word? To me, it’s a word that means the taking of life without reason, for personal enjoyment or gain. Dinner kind of fits that bill.

      If there wasn’t so much else to eat all around me, you bet your ass I would hunt to feed myself or my family. But actually, there is. I am surrounded by abundance; I don’t need to hunt.

  3. I am on the same plane as Francesca, I think. I had started some massage/ bodywork earlier this year but have not kept up with it. I think there is an acupuncturist here in Sequim. One of the things I love about Sequim is that there seems to be a lot of appreciation for alternative methods of healing. Thanks for sharing about your experience, Kate. It is helpful insight.

  4. Oh, you know me, swirling in legal definitions…like “murder,” which technically applies to humans, since its legal root is in the Judeo-Christian tradition (um, English translation from Latin from Greek from Aramaic). And the Judeo-Christian author/interpreter-translators did think we are above other life forms, like fish. However, you’re absolutely correct: Thinking about the cause and effect of one’s actions, assessed in balance with the present situation, helps us recognize the soma of our personal responsibility and the depth of our hearts.

    • (edited to add things)

      I know, I always puzzle over the (Christian-based?) idea that humans are supreme over other life forms. What an (pardon me) asshole thing to think- it’s one of my big problems with Christian doctrine. The idea that we are above other species, that slavery is reasonable, that war can be just, that we should slay non-believers, meh. That’s all horrible and Christians should reject every scrap of it. I mean, we know that those things are morally wrong. So if the Bible says they are right… well.
      Obvious implications follow.

      Even if it happened to be true that we are right to lord it over animals, which I can’t think of a single reason to support, wouldn’t we be better, bigger, more wonderful beings if we chose to treat our “lessers” as our equals? I think about this a lot, not really so much about food, more about things like rich and poor, white supremacy…

      It’s so interesting, how some humans just feel superior to others, or other creatures, by benefit of their DNA. We euthanize wonderful cats and hunt sensitive elephants and deafen oceans full of whales and poison old growth forests and blow mountaintops off yet we keep loathesome fuckheads alive in prison, because they are human, which apparently is sacred.

      It fascinates me. Personally I would reserve judgment until we learn to genuinely communicate with even one other species. Can you believe that all we have managed in that regard is to teach a few monkeys some sign language? I am amazed by that.

      • Nature is a mighty thing, and it’s lucky for we humans that she uses the same building blocks for just about everything, from yeast to worms to flies to zebrafish to mice to humans. THAT’s why yeast and worms and flies and zebrafish and mice are used as model organisms in the study of human disease–we are all that similar on a genetic level. The way our cells communicate with each other is so close that the not-so-lowly yeast is studied to understand human processes. There is true unity in nature.

        BTW-Miss Fish would be shocked to learn that the whole time she’s been crafting pithy punchlines with Q-tip placement you haven’t understood a single joke!

  5. OK, I’ll weigh in just long enough to stir the pot – not because I think I have a chance of changing your mind on matters of faith, but just to clarify a few things. First, scripture doesn’t say slavery is reasonable – in fact, the New Testament lists slave traders as those who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. The portions of the Old Testament which address both slavery and the treatment of unbelievers have to be taken in the context of both the OT’s purpose and the people for whom it was intended. It is the story of God’s relationship with the Israelites in the days before Christ’s coming, and as such, the scriptural instructions, prohibitions, and promises were intended for them and tailored specifically to the circumstances in which they frequently found themselves – including those times when they were themselves enslaved and being warred against. The New Testament is very clear that slavery is wrong and that we are to be gentle and thoughtful in our dealings with non-believers.

    As for treatment of other non-human beings, we are instructed to be good stewards – and steward means “to manage another’s property.” Essentially, we are given responsibility to manage and care for all that belongs to God – one another, the earth, and the creatures on it. There are times we need to make use of the things of creation for our own good, or sustenance, or growth. But that does not mean we should squander it, or be wasteful, or leave nothing for future generations. I think that’s in line with what you’re saying. (I too am fascinated by the experiments being done with primate communication – so exciting!)

    As for war, as long as there are people in the world, there will be bad people intent on doing harm to others. And as long as that’s the case, it will sometimes be necessary to stop those people through the use of force. I don’t think it’s possible to say all war (force) is bad, and still say, for example, that we need police officers – the two things are very similar in many respects, except for matters of scale. As horrible as it sounds, there is such a thing as a just war, because it doesn’t matter whether you think we’re at war or not – if your enemy thinks you are, you are. I am not saying all war is just, but to fail to take action – even forceful, violent action – against evil would itself be immoral.

    And finally, I’ll just say that there is something objectively different and unique and sacred about human life that isn’t true for other species. That isn’t to say that other species don’t have value, because they do. But human life is special – and I can’t imagine that in the moment of being faced with the real choice between a saving a dog and a saving a human being, you would really say, “It depends.” I agree that keeping people alive in prison forever when they have done terrible things chafes and frustrates our desire for justice and vengeance but I also think that the alternatives (including the death penalty, which I very reluctantly support) have to be carefully and soberly applied – because each individual human life has unique potential that just isn’t found in other species.

    I recognize that there are matters about which you and I will obviously never agree. But since I genuinely admire so much else about you, I hope you can accept these few comments without offense – I truly mean none.

    • Right, I don’t engage with you on matters like this, because there is no point (as you know) and a full page might be a bit long for a blog comment. I respect your right to your opinion, but honestly, this is not the place, because this isn’t a public forum, it’s my personal log. However, I feel very fondly for you. Just maybe next time, give the page-long defense of religion the skip.

      An engaging argument can be made for any point of view in the Bible, and quotes and interpretations are available to support any point of view. It’s frankly absurd.

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