On Marriage

To you this day am I wed
And to you do I make these promises:


I will love you from my deepest self
Sharing my life with you, I will be joyful
In your sharing your life with me

I commit myself to you , to a life
Of service to our marriage, and our family
And will keep my agreements with you
In a spirit of love and acceptance.

I will love you without conditions
No obstacle, no action will divide this pledge
And I will take you as you really are
And as you will become, as you grow
Into the person you shall become

I will be joined with you in a common bond
To a life of love, acceptance, and growth
To reach out beyond ourselves, and make
Our contributions to the future of our family,
Our people, and our world

I will love you without seeking to own you
Give freely of my abundance, while
Receiving joyfully from yours.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wrote this poem in 1984 and my wife and I based our marriage vows on it. Our marriage was my second marriage, but her first, and so far, only marriage. These words bound us together in a marital relationship for the last thirty-five years. Our marriage was always unconventional in many ways, and the way it started made it necessarily so.

It turns out that we are quite different in our points of view, on a lot of issues, including, and maybe, especially, what marriage means to each of us. For many years we chose to leave our differences unfocussed and just slightly behind a curtain of apparent and superficial conformity. To our community, and mostly to our children, our marriage appeared to be pretty much according to common community values, one man and one woman, with a raft of kids, going through the process of life. Our initial agreement to be unconventional in being polyamorous was a whisper in privacy.

It was implicitly and explicitly understood that I would be discrete in my external relationships and not bring them home, even in discussion. The policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell applied because she really didn’t want to deal with it, and as long as I stayed away from her circle of friends, she was mostly fine with it. In a sense, she had been a special “friend” with me and mothered our first child while I was in an “open marriage” with my former partner.

Over the many years which followed those early times we both followed what we believed was applicable under the terms of our promises. Suffice it to say that my external relationships and experiences were kept away from the family, and never discussed with her. Any time she did bring up the issue of marital fidelity, I would always remind her of the agreement we made at the beginning. She believed that our agreement was purely a “pro forma” agreement, an agreement made purely to serve as an artifact of our original relationship.

Most importantly, she believed that I merely maintained my commitment to it to retain my intellectual independence, and was not involved with any outside relationships or sexual engagements.

And so we continued until a few years ago, when a time came when I had to explicitly introduce evidence that I had not only engaged intellectually, but had also engaged in sex with someone else. In my view, I was never unfaithful, as our promises never included any promise from me that I would not be involved with other people. In her view, when confronted with specific evidence confirming my external relationships, I’d been screwing around, and unfaithful, for all of the last 35 years.

Front Door
There’s no place like home?

It didn’t matter that we had this agreement, because she felt that it was obtained under duress, or without her full understanding of what it really meant. Over the years when she challenged me on whether or not I was seeing other people, I had always confirmed our original agreement as still being valid, and refused to specifically acknowledge when or with whom I was involved. She’d had many suspicions over the years that I was sexually active outside of the marriage, but had never felt that she wanted to push the issue, knowing that I would continue to adhere to our agreements, regardless of her fears.

The proof that I had been sexually active for years came when I took a battery of blood tests, including one for STDs, that indicated that I was a carrier of Hepatitis B, a disease that is generally contracted by an exchange of body fluids during sex. The first thing I did when this result was made known to me, was to inform my sexual partners, including my wife. Ironically, the test was a false positive, which the specialist stated to me when I went to see him, upon referral by my family doctor. So I’m not a carrier, not even remotely, but by then the damage was done, and the cat was out of the bag.

Suffice it to say, my wife decided that she no longer considers us married, and wants a divorce. I urged her to reconsider on the basis that nothing really had changed, our agreement from 35 years ago is still in place, and I still consider myself bound to its terms.

All of that took place about a year and a half ago, and we’re still living together and cohabitating. We no longer consider ourselves “married’ exactly, but we are both comfortable that we are still “partners” “nesting partners” or even just “friends” living in a common household. Sexuality has not been a facet of our marriage for a long time, so it really wasn’t an issue for either of us.

We have had a really difficult set of discussions and for now are in agreement to stay together for mutual benefit, if not in fact in a marriage, we are still in fact deeply caring people who still love each other, if not the way either of us had wanted. She will remain monogamous and I will remain polyamorous. Where we go from here is anybody’s guess.

Couple holding hands; Shutterstock ID 33263227; PO: aol; Job: production; Client: drone


What I can say for sure, is that we still love each other, and will remain friends always.

.

Certificate of Survival

Jenn / SunnyDazzled /Flickr
Ghost Train

An antique engine still haunts the yard from the collection at The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg.
Happy Halloween!
This train goes between cities, further  
between nightmares and dreams, it travels
on track laid by dying
men that formed the body nightmare.

Familiar faces leave
our darkening world, when shadows answer no cries in the fog.

Have we forgotten who still rides the empty boxcars
searching for something to live on
a country of dreams for their own sons,

We travel with their souls, they are here in the dining car,
where they feel distinctly uncomfortable
because of the smell of broiled lobster and sizzling steak. Have we the right to say or the guts to whisper -
You had it all WRONG
and can we take the pervasive laughing
clacking of the tracks

I wrote the poem above when I was in second year university, many years ago, influenced mostly by my experiences working on the Canadian National Railway. In the poem I am present to the existence of the thousands of workers imported into Canada to build the railways, and how many of them died in the process.

Many of the construction and railway workers were sent back home, mostly back to China, where they reunited with their families. Many, however, ended up staying in Canada, effectively separating them from their wives and children forever.

It is easy to forget that modern civilization was built on the backs of indentured and enslaved people, who still are denied any recognition for their real lives and losses.

In the current era, in a Canada now highly ethnically and racially diverse, these ancestors can finally have a say in who we are as a people. Acknowledging these people also opens the way to rediscover the indigenous peoples who have always been here. Long before European settlement the first nations were already here.

Before we can truly be the civilization we could be, we need to see and acknowledged these people, as well as the part of ourselves still enriched by their sacrifice.

Diabetic Pain – Neuropathy

Neuropathy

DIABETIC NERVE DAMAGE (neuropathy) affects approximately 60-70 percent of patients with diabetes. Once again, the longer the duration and severity of diabetes, the greater the risk of neuropathy.

There are many different types of diabetic nerve damage. Commonly, diabetic neuropathy affects the peripheral nerves, first in the feet, and then progressively in the hands and arms as well, in a characteristic stocking-and-glove distribution. Damage to different types of nerves will result in different symptoms, including

• tingling,
• numbness,
• burning, and
• pain.

The incessant pain of severe diabetic neuropathy is debilitating, and the symptoms are commonly worse at night. Even powerful painkillers such as narcotic medications are often ineffective. Instead of pain, patients may sometimes experience complete numbness. Careful physical examination reveals decreased sensations of touch, vibration, and temperature, and a loss of reflexes in the affected parts of the body.

While a loss of sensation may seem innocuous, it is anything but. Pain protects us against damaging trauma. When we stub our toes or lie in the wrong position, pain lets us know that we should quickly adjust ourselves in order to prevent further tissue damage. If we are unable to feel pain, we may continue to experience repeated episodes of trauma. Over the years, the damage becomes progressive and sometimes deformative. A typical example is the foot. Significant nerve damage can lead to the complete destruction of the joint-a condition called Charcot foot-and may progress to the point where patients are unable to walk, and may even require amputation.

Dr. Jason Fung, The Diabetic Code p.28

Diabetic neuropathy has led directly to my willingness to undergo a radical lifestyle change, including intermittent fasting, and major changes to my overall dietary behavior. In particular, major pain to my hands and feet has increased exponentially in the last couple of years.

This type of pain is almost invisible to the people around a diabetic. They often wonder, I’m sure, what the hell is wrong with me, as I stumble from step to step, at times looking for all the world like a drunk after one too many.

Despite my best efforts to appear normal, it is sometimes impossible for me to avoid an outburst from a sudden onset of sharp pain in my hands or feet, without any advance warning that my chronic pain will suddenly become extreme, even if only for a few moments.

Dr. Fung mentions that it is worse at night while a diabetic sleeps or rests. Well, there are many times when neither is really possible, and my partner lays across from me worrying as I toss and turn in pain. And neuropathic pain is only one of the causes of pain in my body at night. Others are arthritis, bursitis, and severe muscle cramps.

Combine these with fibromyalgia and I guess that I have won the sweepstakes of pain, so far without winning the big prizes, premature death or paralysis. Even without the immediate threat of dying, chronic intense pain is exhausting, often leaving me so tired that days go by without being able to accomplish even the smallest things. Even I tend to feel like a lazy sonofabitch because my progress in so many things is fractional or even non-existent.

I wish I were faking it, of which I have been accused at times. If I could make it go away, I would indeed. The best thing my doctor ever told me about neuropathy is while I can still feel the pain, it is still at least possible that my nerve damage may partially recover as I reduce my diabetes and stop making it worse. Once the nerves are deadened to the point where my feet are simply numb, there would be no hope of ever recovering any of the la\ost sensitivity in my feet or hands.

This is one of the reasons why I am so determined to take any measure that has even a promise of helping me eliminate or radically reduce the effects of diabetes in the future.

Acting in a Violent Sexual Assault scene

My experience in the aftermath of acting in a scene.

Even acting in a film scene that included a rape scene was quite traumatic in ways I didn’t really expect at the time. It has given me a lot to think about.

Last week I played a violently sexual Christopher Columbus in a scene in a documentary film. As an inexperienced actor (my first paid gig) I did my best to follow the directions of the Director, a Vancouver woman with many film credits and obvious confidence, and to keep my own feelings about the subject and the scene somewhat suppressed. I know that the character is not me, and it’s unlikely I will find myself typecast after only one scene.

The young indigenous woman actor who played the victim in the scene was raised in an adopted non-native family. She is reconnecting with her native roots, including her birth mom and blood siblings who she hadn’t met until her twenties. It was moving to hear her talk about finding her birth mom and siblings.

Christopher Columbus is most often portrayed in very positive ways in Western and American History. It is important to realize that to North and South American first nations he is a symbol of colonialism, enslavement and disease. In this film he is portrayed as a rapist, which he may very well have been, given the values and mores of his era and his position as supreme commander of this little fleet.

She and I had a good opportunity to connect as human beings before the scene was shot, and I was comfortable at the time that she felt positive about her experience in playing this role with me, despite her playing an extreme traumatic scene with implied violent sexual assault, which was also designed to be symbolic of the assault on the first nations of the Americas. The opportunity to meet and chat casually together before acting out the scene actually made it harder, in some ways, for me to act the villain, against this young woman, who seemed rather remarkable.

In the short time we spoke I learned enough about her to have a great deal of admiration for her search for her roots, her education in aboriginal history and laws, and the courage it took for her to seek out her birth mother and blood siblings. She is also a mom with a five year old child, raising the girl largely by herself, as the father is living far away in Haida Gwaii where he works as fisher. She’s also attending college to become a social worker, with ambitions to work with troubled teens and aboriginal youth.

The Director and Producer had a vision for the film we actors try to fulfil as best as can be done.

She is a great actor, and her performance was extremely credible. Her defensive struggles included physically attacking the rapist with her nails and fists, while she made loud and shrieking cries. I’ve never heard anyone sound so much like she was being actually raped and attacked, while we struggled to make the implied attack as convincing as possible, including beating her with a rope and tying her up, while I ripped off her blouse exposing her breasts. There was a lot of pushing and pulling with her fighting off her attacker as best she could. I was directed to make it look as if I was actually having intercourse, and kissing and sucking her breasts, without actually doing so. It’s likely that anyone seeing the film will wonder if the she was actually being violated during the filming.

However, it was all make-believe, and there was no actual contact between my lips and her breasts, nor was I ever pressing against her body in the way that the film will probably make it appear. During my attack against her, after I ripped off my shirt and was ripping open her blouse, she tore open wounds on my back and shoulders with her fingernails, with such ferocity that she actually opened wounds which bled during the filming. She was quite apologetic about injuring me in her enthusiastic performance but I felt that she gave the scene gravitas and believability with her focus and intensity.

The makeup artist took the minor wounds and made them look a lot more serious than they actually were, but nonetheless I have scratch marks on my back and shoulders that have only now begun to fade. Her defensive struggles only made Christopher Columbus become deranged and even more violent in his assault. Which made her cries and screams even louder and more emotionally expressive about what was happening to her.

This documentary is about two separate but related themes – the violent assault on indigenous women as a part of the conquest by the Spanish fleet and the enormity of the humiliation and defeat of the nations of the Americas by European invaders. My scene is only a part of the documentary, and obviously I haven’t seen any of the rest of the film.

fx artistry is used to enhance the impact of a scene in many ways.

What making this film has done to me however, is give me a lot to think about and to process, particularly in regards to the sexual and violent assault of a young woman, by a much older and more powerful man. I doubt that the invader would have given her a second thought once he was done with his depraved behavior, and simply would have gone on to the next act against the native peoples, including more attacks on defenseless women and children.

History is largely silent on what happens to vulnerable women and children during wars, although recently there has been a lot more discussion and literature on the subject. What I did as an actor was play out the most vile behaviour in as convincing a fashion as I could. That was my job, and the Director and the Producer were very complimentary about how the two of us did our scene together.

I still dreamt about the scene, and her pitiful cries during the scene, and her heartfelt weeping during the rape scene itself. At the time I felt my heart pounding, and my body was trembling with the emotional impact of this close encounter. The sweat on my face and my body wasn’t all from the makeup artist. I’ll carry a visceral memory of this scene with me for a long time, and this memory will inform me in ways I never would have expected about how intensely personal and intensely evil is sexual assault actual. The very fact that she was able to express the terror, the outrage and the aftermath so eloquently with her body and her voice means that I’ll never again hear or read about a sexual assault without being deeply moved.

painting by John Henry Fuseli

During the filming, the actress kept in character the whole time, until the very end. After the shoot was over she was very subdued, in the aftermath of shooting such an emotionally draining scene. I’d feel a lot better if I could be sure that filming the rape scene isn’t haunting her dreams in the way it has mine.


BCSC Bans Author and two others.

This is a reblog from September on my other blogging website. I think it’s important to be transparent as a writer, and thought my followers should know the information in this.

Out Here in Paradise

https://www.bcsc.bc.ca/News/News_Releases/2019/56_BCSC_panel_imposes_lifetime_bans_and_$1_7_million_in_financial_sanctions_for_fraud/

2019/56
September 20, 2019

Vancouver– The British Columbia Securities Commission imposed a total of $1.7 million of financialsanctionson three B.C. men and two mortgage investment companies after finding that they committed fraud.

Patrick K. Prinster and David Scott Wright were each ordered to pay $250,000 and Donald Bruce Edward Wilson was ordered to pay $150,000 for diverting investors’ funds from mortgages secured by real estate, which was the purpose described in marketing materials.

The panel also permanently banned Prinster, Wright and Wilson from the following activities:

  • Trading in or purchasing securities or exchange contracts
  • Using exemptions set out in theSecurities Act
  • Becoming or acting as a registrant or promoter
  • Acting in a management or consultative capacity in the securities market
  • Engaging in investor relations

The panel noted that Prinster, Wright and Wilson diverted the funds and carried out their misconduct “despite warnings and concerns expressed…

View original post 749 more words

Pushing on

Past the pain

It is Friday afternoon, and I’m sitting at my desk thinking about the past week. Wow! What a week it has been, and despite everything I’ve kept to my Intermittent Fast.

It has been a struggle, not to keep up with my fast, but to keep my blood glucose in tight control. I try to maintain my readings in a range between 4 and 7.8 mml, from my Free Libra meter. Twice in the past week my readings have been wayyyyy too high, up as high as 15 mml for a few hours after a meal, and even as high as 10mml all day long on my fasting days. Ouch! But I need to explain that in order to keep my levels in the right zone, it isn’t as simple as it seems.

I have to control not only my food intake, which I’m managing by eating low carb healthy meals on my eating days, without being obsessive about it, and fasting my three days a week, but also adjusting my insulin and other medications to balance off my fasting and feasting.

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

This week, for the first time, I haven’t been taking my jentadueto which up until I’ve been taking twice a day, once in the morning and once at dinner time, even though I’ve been skipping on my fasting days. This week I’ve stopped taking them altogether, largely as a result of concerns about chronic pain, which seems to have become much worse since I switched from pure metformin a couple of years ago. My pain this week has been terrible, and I’ve thrashing about trying to figure out what’s triggering it.

Metformin itself can cause chronic pain, either as a standalone drug or as a component in Jentadueto.

I probably should have increased my insulin even more than I did, both on my fasting days and my eating days. As an adjustment for not taking the metformin I increased by long acting insulin to 35 g from 30 on my fasting night, and 40 to 45 g on my eating days. On both days my blood glucose levels were high all day, above 8mml but even higher, up to 15mml.

Tonight I’ll increase my insulin long acting to 50 units, and see if that does the trick, along with controlling my carbs. I’ll get it right, sooner or later.

Christopher Columbus – This week I played Christopher Columbus in a short movie.

However, what made me say “Wow” to my week is that this is the first time in my life I’ve actually been a paid actor in a documentary tv series. I don’t know if my scene will end up on the cutting room floor, although I hope not, but in some way it doesn’t matter. I’m now officially an “actor” because someone has paid me to appear in a movie or tv show.

One of the things I’m determined to do is to try new experiences, and to expand my capacities. Having shot one show suggests that I can do more, if I want. And I think I do. It’s important for me to make some money, of course, since I don’t think anybody can live on their Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security checks. But I don’t need to make a lot of money, just enough to take the edge off, and be able to afford the luxuries of life, like food and housing.

Me as Christopher Columbus in a film shot in Vancouver, BC this week.

The fact that my acting debut happened the same week as my excruciating pain, and all my adjusting of my meds is perfect. Fasting doesn’t interfere with life, it is simply just another part of life. Pain interferes with life, for sure, but I won’t allow it to stop me from doing something fun and interesting.

Purpose based living

Travelling in Japan 2007

Life isn’t simple. Maybe it should be, but it isn’t.

The last thirty-five years I have lived my life based on a set of principles that I came to after taking a series of personal development courses. In those courses, which were a part of the Lifespring movement in the United States in the seventies, really hammered home to me that if I didn’t decide what I want, I could never get it. And that hanging around in uncertainty as to what I wanted was really simply a lie.

I always knew what I wanted. Still do.

What makes life hard to figure out is not about not knowing what I want, it’s about continuing to pursue my life purpose, even when things haven’t turned out the way I planned.

I never planned on getting diabetes, or becoming plainly obese. It kinda snuck up on me until one day I could no longer function properly. Repeated illness were striking me down, all the way from stomach problems to pneumonia. Chronic pain is now a part of my everyday, and every night, life. Neuropathy is a stalking horse, creeping into my hands and feet, with sometimes terrifying and intense pain.

Update on my diabetes this week

I saw my endocrinologist this week. He is a doctor with the University of British Columbia working at the clinic at Vancouver General Hospital, and considered one of the top endocrinologists in the city. I’ve been seeing him for quite a while and he has always been quite encouraging in my attempt to manage my diabetes. My glucose control has never been quite up to snuff, but he’s always emphasized the positive rather than the negative.

While I appreciated his words over the years, what I really would have appreciated more would have been if he had been in a position to help me actually get rid of the disease, or at least, control it far more. Whenever I saw him I left the office feeling better about myself, regardless of what my A1C said about my diabetes, or even after I started having some serious side effects from the disease. At his point I’m not blaming him for my inability to control my blood sugars or my diet or my obesity or my stress level or my neuropathy or my fatty liver or my damaged kidneys…

I am grateful that he supported my decision to do Intermittent Fasting, and follow Dr. Jason Fung’s recommendations regarding the fight against this disease. I’m still a long ways away from achieving my goal of eliminating all medications, including insulin, from my life. However, I doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate his feedback this week when we went over my results.

He was totally enthusiastic about my progress and the charts showing the rapid drop in my A1C over the past three or four months. My lipids are now perfect and all my other indicators show a radical improvement in my metabolic health. I’ve still a distance to go, of course, but he was highly complimentary to my willingness to stick to my plan, and reduce my weight so much in such a short time.

We also talked about the evolving institutional medical response to Dr. Fung and other doctors and researchers like him who are demonstrating radically different strategies from the standard treatment still offered by most diabetic clinics and doctors. My doctor explained that as a physician he still needs the clinics and their team of dieticians and other support people on board. And they haven’t come over to Dr. Funds recommendations by any means.

Some still publicly call these theories, just theories despite clinical results of thousands of patients and studies around the globe. Dieticians are among the last to adopt new thinking, especially when it goes against the National Health Association and the Canadian Diabetic Society recommendations. Change is slow and hard come by, and that is probably good, except in this case.

Tens of thousands of Canadians are getting worse every day following dietary advice that is just plain wrong.

We need to change the hearts and minds of professionals everywhere.