I posted this on Facebook last week, but thought it was important enough to fire up the blog machine again!
For the last 5 years or so, my family has been struggling with my Dad's dementia. I don't even know where to begin to describe what this is like. Some of you may have heard details or snippets of phone calls. It's a very challenging form of acceptance, where the person is close enough to themselves that you can sometimes be in denial that this is happening to their brain. And then other times it's right in your face.
There are a lot of complications, craving for wishing things were different, letting go. Crisis happens, decisions have to be made, people get hurt emotionally and the dementia in my Dad even got physically frustrated with my Mom.
A lot of shit has gone down. My parents separated into different apartments in the same facility in South Carolina. Some shit went down during and right after AIDS/LifeCycle last year. So fucking stressful. I've cried a lot of tears. I've been angry and I've made emergency calls to my therapist. I've tried not to unload it on friends and family. It can be isolating. It's too much for a lot of people. It's too much for me sometimes. Having said all that, I try to look at things with the lens of gratitude.
So anyway, I needed something to help. Many roads ended up leading me to Friday night meditation at Against the Stream/Dharma Punx. I read the books. Downloaded some podcasts first from Diana Winston at UCLA , then I found the Against the Stream podcasts on iTunes, then I found more teachers whom I really like and that has expanded into a daily practice.
My partner is heavily involved in teaching at his workplace, and has gotten involved in the teacher training at AGT. We sit together M-F for 30 minutes a day.
Practice has taught me mindfulness, gratitude, generosity, patience, phrases like 'I love you, I forgive you, I forgive myself'. It's taught me that things will change. Anger and sadness will pass. Everything is going to be ok.
That's a lot.
Anyhoo, that's a fraction of why this new San Francisco center is so important to me. I want it to be successful. It's accessible and inclusive, it provides community (which is so important in this world), and meditation practice is life changing for real.
If you have a couple of extra dollars to share, please contribute. Here's the info on the Indie Go Go campaign: