Monday, February 26, 2007
Monday, February 19, 2007
Cervical Posterior Foraminotomy: ANIMATED
When I got my new laptop, I made the mistake of thinking I was in my late teens and in art school, and began having marathon typing sessions in which I tried to get everything down on paper that had been stuck inside my head for the past six months. My mistake. I do this all the time: I get an idea in my head and I rush out of the starting gate like a race horse that hasn't peed in a year, just trying to achieve my goal. I don't know how to pace myself. Couple that with the fact that my pain levels have doubled since my last surgery--and that my hands have also been afflicted with two new physical conditions due to the surgery--and it's easy to see how I shot myself in the foot by typing as if I don’t have physical limitations.
I must confess, the first few days I had my laptop, I went a little overboard with the typing and didn't listen to my body when it let me know that I should stop and rest for awhile. I enjoyed my reentry into the blogosphere so much that I even created my Bhakti Love Poems blog. Then, the proverbial shit hit the fan and I began waking up unable to open my fingers (my hand clenched in fist position), and got sharp, lightning bolt pains down both sides of my back. Now, I get burning sensations from my neck down either side of my spine when I type too long --the same pain as in my left arm. It's quite painful. I know I am to blame for some of this because, as stated above, I didn't honor my body when it told me to stop typing (who can stop typing after a mere half hour when there are so many ideas waiting to come to fruition?), and, I must admit, I hadn't been sitting in the most ergonomically correct position while typing.
I'm telling you about this because I just found an animated version of the surgical procedure I had done on my spine this past November. After watching the video animation it became a little clearer to me why it is so important to hold my head up straight while typing--and throughout the day in general; my spine is, as my doctor says, "very unstable in the back of the neck."
Anyone who has been reading JAI BHAKTI since it’s inception knows that the front of my neck fell apart and is held together with a four inch plate and eight titanium screws, however I never actually understood what my neurosurgeon did to the back of my neck until I watched this animation.
CLICK HERE to watch an animated video illustrating what a cervical posterior foraminotomy looks like. I was enlightened; perhaps you will be too!
Click here to see both x-rays of my neck.
Maybe now that I've seen the, cervical posterior foraminotomy animation I'll be a little easier on myself with regard to why I feel so much pain all of the time. On a physical level, I understand why I am in so much pain. On a spiritual level, I do not understand the 'why' of it at all; but it certainly has been one heck of a ride.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
CONTEMPLATION: Death WILL Knock...
" What is the most important thing for you to do at this moment, knowing that death is certain, but time of death is uncertain?"
tags:Jaibhakti, Bhakti Brophy, meditation, contemplation, death, life, spirituality,
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
BHAKTI LOVE POEMS
Saturday, February 10, 2007
HOW'S YOUR NEWS?: Bhakti Film Review
A couple of weeks ago, Netflix recommended a documentary film that I was unfamiliar with. The cover of the DVD had a shooting star coming out of it; that meant that it was not only recommended, it was highly recommended. The title of the film was How’s Your News. The Netflix write-up said “this film, a favorite on the festival circuit, dispels the notion that disability limits opportunities and choices by showing just how the quintet, who cruised the country in an RV, knocks down myths with plenty of humor and heaps of grace.”
I put the movie at the top of my queue--meaning it would be the next movie I'd receive from Netflix--based on two things: 1) the fact that Netflix said that this film ‘knocked down myths’ about disabled peoples’ abilities; and 2) the fact that I am 100% disabled and wanted to see this cast of five people with various disabilities ‘knock down’ these myths.
The DVD arrived in about a week. I put it on and waited enthusiastically through previews for the film to begin. I was astonished—not in a pleasant way—when the music began playing over the MENU screen. I couldn’t believe my ears. I thought to myself, What is this? Is this a mockery of disabled, mentally challenged people? Who in their right mind would put this person’s voice on the menu screen? It got worse. The opening scene introduced the cast: two of whom can’t even talk! Who in GOD’S name would include two people who can’t even talk to go across country to report the news?
I was so angry I stopped watching the film and put it back in the Netflix holder with the intent of throwing it in the mailbox the following day.
Later that night, I told my mother about the film and my reaction to it. She said, “Oh, I think you should watch the rest of it. I bet there’s a bright side to it that you just haven’t seen yet. I really think you should give it another chance.”
Thank god I listened to my mom’s advice (I’ve learned to ALWAYS listen to her advice. She is ALWAYS right—without fail. If I had listened to her and not ridden the bicycle in New York City like she asked, it's likely I wouldn’t be 100% disabled right now.) I watched the rest of the film the following day and realized that part of my initial disliking of the film was due to the fact that I was watching it while experiencing high levels of pain; so high that by nighttime I had literally thrown up from the pain-induced nauseau. My patience was slim; such intense pain tends to close this usually open mind of mine. Nevertheless, by the end of the movie I had tears in my eyes (beware—last scene end spoiler coming up!), especially when Susan began running full-speed into the water. I was sitting in my bedroom--all by my lonesome-- clapping my hands and saying yes! they made it!
In my opinion, How’s Your News ? did not, as Netflix attests, “knock down” any myths regarding disabled people. Netflix’s statement implies that the five disabled cast members pulled off anchoring the news with the agility and deftness of a dime-a-dozen network news anchor; thus "knocking down the myth" that it could never be done. How’s Your News? doesn’t pull that off, but the important thing to note—and the point that Netflix missed altogether—is that How’s Your News? probably didn’t set out to knock down any myths, especially that disabled people can’t present the news like your average network anchor. How’s Your News? made it totally okay for disabled people to take a cross country trip, report the news that they felt was important enough to be reported, and present it to the general public with no reservations. That is totally different than dispelling myths. I also think it is a far greater achievement. The film makers went beyond dispelling myths; they broke new ground.
The great thing about How’s Your News? is that it doesn’t coddle the general public. It doesn’t make any excuses whatsoever with regard to how ‘difficult’ it might be (for the public at large) to watch Larry try to get a word out while conducting an interview—if anyone actually stops to be interviewed him at all; and doesn’t have any problem showing Robert for who he is—a grown man who understands everything that is said to him; who appreciates social interaction, but who does not have the ability to talk in the ‘normal’ sense of the word.
Not only did I give the film 5-stars when I rated it and wrote a review on Netflix, but I also contend that How’s Your News? has the best Special Features of any DVD I have ever rented or bought. I read a review on Amazon.com where the viewer said that the film never showed you any insight into the five main cast members. Quite obviously, this person did not watch the Special Features, of which I list below:
*Commentary by: the entire castUnknown Format
*The original pilot
*Foogate of festival appearances and Q&As with the cast after screenings in Toronto, New York, L.A., and Amsterdam
*IFC's vanguard show, Split Screen, goes behind the scenes at HYN?
*NPR's This American Life talks to director Arthur Bradford and to reporters Ron Simonsen and Sue Harrington
*Reporter Ron Simonsen interviews actor Chad Everett
*An interview with Matt Stone and Trey Parker conducted by the HYN? reporters
I highly recommend this movie. I will end my review here because, quite honestly, I could go on forever singing the praises of this film. In closing, I would like to say thank you to Arthur Bradford for making such a lovely film, and I trust that he may have a better understanding of how someone could initially find this film exploitative towards its stars; I certainly hope he understands that his (and the other crew members) selflessness changed my mind.
Click on following link for the How’s Your News? website:
ABOUT HOW’S YOUR NEWS
tags: Jaibhakti, bhakti, bhakti+brophy, How's Your News?, Arthur Bradford, Bhakti Film Review, people with disabilities, overcoming disabilities
Monday, February 05, 2007
TODAY...ON MY MIND:
If one were also to compare the Gospel of Thomas to basic Hindu texts--say the Katha Upanishad--one would find that our two religions are basically saying the same thing, but with different symbols and languages. Joseph Campbell was right in saying that all 'myths' tell the basic need of each culture to make sense of their own existence/divinity. And as one of my teachers, Baba Muktananda, says--"All paths lead to the same door."
This is lovely! It is my contention that if people stopped paying attention to the mere words of their religious texts, but took them to be symbols of a deeper meaning, more people would realize that most of the major religions are talking about the same concepts. It is the language and the cultural plurality (and the human interpretation) that cause the differences and the strife. Think about it: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are ALL Biblical religions (that is, they use the 5 books of Moses as a basis of their religion)--and yet they are the three religions that are causing the conflict in the Middle East.
Literal interpretation of the Bible is dangerous. My experience of Jesus 'ascending to Heaven' means that He ascended above the solar plexus chakra (energy field/circle) and rose higher to the Heart Center, Ajna Chakra (Third Eye), and then finally to the Sahasrara, located at the top of the head. To me, this is the literal meaning of 'ascension'. Science (not to mention mere logic) has proved that a physical Heaven couldn't possibly exist. Think about: what is above us? The sky. Other Universes. Other Galaxies. What is below us? There is no 'below', because the Earth is round. There is only the center of the Earth.
That is not to say that Dante was wrong in his description of the 12 gates of Hell. I believe in the existence of Hell, although not a physical place. Hell, to me, is when we descend into the lower chakras. These are the energy places in the body where, when situated there, they allow us to cheat, lie, steal, murder, etc. This is NOT, by any measure, anywhere near the seat of the Lord. The purpose of our being born is to find the path that leads to the ascension of our spiritual energy to union with the Lord within (hence the word 'yoga').
Since globalization is the wave of today, and is obviously going to be the way of the future, we (the collective people inhabiting planet Earth) need to start taking into account that we come from not only different places, but we have different stories. Our forefathers all told different stories based on their own experiences. The story of Jesus of Nazareth is not going to make as much sense to a Native American as it does to a Christian European. Native Americans have their own myths and legends (in using the word 'myth', that is not to say that I don't believe that Jesus was an actual man); their stories illustrate the pursuit of man in finding his own Divinity; his own purpose; his highest good.
Let's come together and start comparing our religions before we wage wars over signs and symbols that may have the exact same inherent meaning, even when written in different languages, by different cultures. The time is now. There are no more excuses for faith based wars. We are ONE world.
""It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it." --Gospel of Thomas
"The self-existent pierced the openings outward;therefore one looks outward, not inside the soul.A certain wise person, however, seeking immortality,looking within saw the soul." --Katha Upanishad
Heaven is right here, right now. Look inside and find it.
TAGS: Jaibhakti, Bhakti, mysticism, Joseph Campbell, Bhakti Brophy, religious war, peace, spirituality,
Saturday, February 03, 2007
BHAKTI LOVE POEMS BLOG
In other news, I have decided to start a separate blog devoted exclusively to my poetry. I have found that my devotional ('bhakti') poetry doesn't truly fit in with the feel of this blog; somehow my poems are a bit esoteric. Therefore, I've created a new blog called BHAKTI LOVE POEMS in which I am going to post all new poems, as well as my 5 year archive. Please click here to check it out (if you want, you could let me know what you think about the layout, etc.).
It feels great to be a part of the blogging community once again.
tags: Jaibhakti,bhakti,Bhakti Brophy, poetry