Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday Doldrums: Integration with Reality

I've been lazing-ass around since returning last Thursday from points South, but I'll get over it soon.
Picked up sniffles and wee cough that are now going away without infecting anybody else, I hope.
Lots of rest, warmth and liquids -all kinds- have helped; now to answer the mail that accumulated will require all the attention that I worked so hard to minimize during my meditative retreat.
Guess that's called 'integration', or applying calm to the material world.

So, if identifying a problem is half of its solution, I should only need a few more lines...
The drive home was longish, but it mostly broke into bite-sized chunks, since I came late to the realization that the journey is just as important as the destination. That's something Joan knew since birth I believe.

Picking up from where I left off in Dec blog; all the visitations planned were enjoyed, plus an additional one! Vitaly Kolesnikov, Irina and their 4 kids were in Sacramento visiting his Pop & Mom, so I went by Tuesday AM for a reunion and the picture below:
Front: Mama Yelena, Papa Fedor, Mr John
Rear: Dina, Leah, Irina, Andre, Vitaly, Tanya
Missing: 16 other children of Papa & Mama K!
After having a great dinner with Tom & Peggy at the historic Jacksonville Inn, near their new home, I drove to Eugene, OR for rest before returning to good 'ole Bham. In-route, I was extraordinarily lucky  in dodging potentially dire storm warnings and pulling into the garage just prior to more snow on Thursday afternoon.

Then, I crashed. I'm still semi-crashed, but satisfied about meeting many friends and getting 'stuff' done. Haven't left the building since arriving, except for rounds of electronic volleys in all directions.
Actually opened the mail, not answered it mind you!
Now, Christmas has passed, along with my son, Tom's, birthday and mine, without watching a single minute of football - or the news. Silence has been golden! I'm thinking I prefer no sound to the types of sounds that now pollute our space.

Silence ought to help me in coming to grips with the so-called 'reality' situations in which we find ourselves these days.
But, so much for ranting about silence; after all, if you rant about it that requires interrupting silence!

My wish is that 2017 is a better year than many of us expect! 
It's just that simple; don't enter a 'reality' you can't deal with in equanimity.

Here's hoping we all experience the type of simple, basic meditation we need, know how to do, and that brings peace to the world as we know it....

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Greetings!

As 2016 draws to a close, many reflections and thoughts arise in a grand mixture of joy, sadness, hope and some concerns. So much has happened, much of it unexpected and troubling, yet my predominant state of mind remains hopeful and at peace. And, that is the way I want it to be until the end comes, whenever it will... I do believe that is what Missus Joan prefers, and so do I.

Since I've begun receiving Christmas letters from friends and family, it must be time to respond in kind, now that over two months have elapsed since my posting which summarized my activities for the 6-months prior period.

At this moment, I am in Joan's house in San Francisco, where our friends Ilya & Rina Kolesnikov and their family have recently moved in at my invitation. Missus Joan's direction was to have them occupy her home as long as they wish. That's happening, despite the fact that Probate and transfer to my name won't happen until early 2017.
The Holiday Season has already been made real in the neighborhood, as evidenced by several dinners with neighbors, colorful lights and decorations and carols being sung - just what Joan would have wanted!

I've been in California since driving down in my new Honda CRV just before Thanksgiving.
Weather has been good except for a few days of needed rain.
My 10-day Retreat with the RIGPA Fellowship in Ventura was wonderful, as I rejoined the study of Buddhist teachings while meeting many old friends.
This has inspired me to continue learning mindfulness, regularly and peacefully.

After the Retreat, I met with my paternal 1st Cousin Robin McCarthy in Woodland Hills for the first time in 64 years! Can you believe it? Of course, I had communicated with her by phone and e-mail, but not in person all that time.
At 17 months younger than me, Robin remains at her professional fighting weight of 92 lbs on a 5' 2.5" frame! BTW, she was a world class ice skater, who with her husband and partner starred in Ice Capades, Holiday on Ice, and various Hollywood productions - a true celebrity.
While her current husband is seriously incapacitated, her main companion is Sunday, a feisty little Rescue dog, part West Highland Terrier, part Poodle, part Chihuahua. What a treat to spend time with Cousin Robin!

While in Southern California, I swung by Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage to meet Joan's Cousin Clifford McCormick and his wife of 68 years, the wonderful Juanita.
They are both 91 and planning next year to move East to be closer to their 7 children + umpteen grand kids.
What great friends they were to Joan; inviting her to family functions, reunions and the like!

Coming back to San Francisco, I was able to take care of business; visit with Lawyer re Probate; visits to the Sausalito Presbyterian Church; minister; friend Paul Meade at VA Hospital; California Alpine Club on Mt Tamalpais; San Francisco Parks Alliance; Fromm Institute of Life-Long Learning at San Francisco University.

Five Memorial Benches were donated in Joan's Memory -count 'em 5- each with a different inscription. Glen Canyon Park [2 blocks from Joan's home], Golden Gate Park [Concert Concourse between DeYoung Museum and CA Academy of Science], CA Alpine Club Lodge [close to Mt Tam], SPC [outside front entrance to Church], Fromm Institute [outside concourse/patio].

These 5 memorial benches will supplement the three I have already donated in Bellingham; Point Whitehorn Overlook above the Beach [Whatcom County Parks]; and 2 for Bellingham Parks & Recreation Dept- [locations to be determined].
Truly, future Missus Joans will find places to sit in many of her favorite places!

This weekend marks both my son's and my birthdays; Tom the 17th; mine the eighteenth.
RIGPA in SF will have a meditation on 12/18, after which I will begin my return to Bellingham, by way of Sacramento, Jacksonville, OR, then on North.
In the Sacramento Area I will visit friends Sherri & Peter Brown, Nancy Carleton -maternal 1st Cousin, and Lynn & Carol Stradley - very good friends since 1970.
Then, to Jacksonville, OR, where good friends Tom Pratum & Peggy Leviton have recently relocated. Thence, to home - Lord willing and the ice permitting!

That's it for now, unless something happens quickly of note.
So, please enjoy this Holy Holiday in safety and Happiness!


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Reverse 9/11; 11/9 What we've done to ourselves: A Poisonous Dark Day for America

The cause of human suffering, as explained in Buddhist terms, are greed, anger and ignorance. 
These negative traits and fundamental evils are called the Three Poisons, because they are dangerous toxins in our lives. 
These poisons fill our lives with suffering, and unhappiness.
A cockerel, snake and a pig represent what are often referred to as The Three Poisons
The cockerel is greed, the snake is hatred and the pig is ignorance
I believe this Election was won largely based upon negative emotions, including a large dose of apathy on the part of many who ought to be ashamed they let this happen, and doubly ashamed of letting Trump get away with a campaign based upon ignorance, fear and greed. 

Unfortunately, it may take a long time for America to recover from this gross lack of collective wisdom. But, let's hope we do without bringing on more grief than we -and the world - can handle.

It is well known that emotional appeals have a time advantage over more rational arguments. We can see this demonstrated everyday. Maybe it would be helpful to examine this simple phenomenon from an ancient perspective, including the Greek Philosophers and Buddhist Scholars.

Emotion, in everyday speech, is any relatively brief conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a high degree of pleasure or displeasure.

Destructive emotions and Their Antidotes

Greed/Attachment - Generosity

Anger/Aversion - Compassion

Ignorance - Wisdom

Several years ago, when I was just starting to study Buddhist philosophy, I learned about these negative traits and fundamental evils that are called the three poisons. 

Fortunately, I also learned these also have antidotes; meaning if we are aware of the causes of the Three Poisons, we can counter them with three effective cures, but first, we must become aware!
Sometimes pride and jealousy are added, with pride being a combination of ignorance and attachment, and jealousy a combination of attachment and aggression.

Plutchik's Wheel of EmotionsRobert Plutchik's theory says that the eight basic emotions are:

  • Fear → feeling afraid. Other words are terror (strong fear), shock, phobia
  • Anger → feeling angry. A stronger word for anger is rage.
  • Sadness → feeling sad. Other words are sorrow, grief (a stronger feeling, for example when someone has died) or depression (feeling sad for a long time). Some people think depression is a different emotion.
  • Joy → feeling happy. Other words are happiness, gladness.
  • Disgust → feeling something is wrong or dirty
  • Trust → a positive emotion; admiration is stronger; acceptance is weaker
  • Anticipation → in the sense of looking forward positively to something which is going to happen. Expectation is more neutral.
  • Surprise → how one feels when something unexpected happens
  • Shame, opposite confidence (shame: how one feels about one's past bad actions or thoughts; shamelessness: one does not feel shame, but others think one should.)
  • Kindness (benevolence), opposite cruelty (kindness: when people are good to other people)
  • Pity (when people feel sorry for other people)
  • Indignation (feeling angry because something is not fair, such as undeserved bad fortune)
  • Envy, jealous (pain when people have something that one wishes for oneself)
  • Love, a strong emotion of attachment one feels for someone else. Ranges to family, pets, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband.
Emotions are what drive us and what drive us astray. You cannot persuade without understanding them well.

This leaves us with four "basic" emotions, according to another study: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. 

It is common to think that emotions interfere with rational thinking. 
Plato described emotion and reason as two horses pulling us in opposite directions. 
Modern dual-systems models of judgment and decision-making are Platonic in the sense that they endorse the antagonism between reason and emotion.

We are persuaded by reason, but we are moved by emotion. Several studies conclude that up to 90 percent of the decisions we make are based on emotion.

Unfortunately, this seems all too true regarding the American public's selection of Trump as the most important elected official in the world!
God help us, and may God save the United States of America from the dangers of hate, greed and ignorance.

That is my fervent wish for us all, and the World....

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween: My Irish Colleen

I received this today from a dear friend of Joan and asked her if I could post here.
She agreed, so here it is:

As you might expect, this brought a tear to my eye, as I remembered our unique time together...

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

An E-blast Update: Six Months After Joan’s Passing

Hi Folks:

Sorry I've been too slow in updating this blog.
One week from today will mark six-months since Dear Joan passed away.

I thought about that today, while driving to/from Seattle under a gray sky that drizzled intermittently.
Amidst the grayness, tree leaves stood out in their changing colors, yellows, reds and in-between green.
The seasons are definitely passing, as they always do, even in a man’s life; I thought that while remembering a book on the same theme which helped me through an earlier tough patch - a mid-life crisis.

That other time, hard lessons were learned and much suffering endured, with memories of sadness, a sense of irretrievable loss, questioning of what had gone wrong and why, and yet somehow knowing that despite this set-back, I needed to get on with my life. [so glad I did!]

Maybe, that earlier time helped prepare me for the suddenness of Joan’s departure, but it’s hard to say, because this current pain doesn’t seem to fade much either, despite my determined efforts to focus on the love we shared as true kindred spirits. All I have to do is watch that 8-minute You-Tube clip of our wedding. Talk about the experience of joy!

In the car this morning, every time I reached over for her hand, it wasn’t there. Hard to not miss that warm feeling…
But, I know her beautiful spirit lives! 
Just knowing that really helps inspire me to keep going strong, and rejoin the world of the living.

This last 6 months there has been so much to do, getting affairs organized and beginning to plan for my own ending.
I am very thankful for the help so many people have given me to make this transition proceed so remarkably smoothly!
Here’s a synopsis:

Memorials - The series of six planned Memorials served to allow many of Joan’s circles of friends and family to remember her bright smile, love of life and joyous spirit! Those events also helped me share the wonderful support of the many others who also loved her. I greatly appreciate that! Also, many other gatherings and remembrances were held in Joan’s honor, and these were truly amazing in their combined effect! Thank you all.

Legal - I’ve now gotten much more familiar with lawyers and their trade, both in Bellingham and in San Francisco. These folks have been essential in handling the provisions of Joan’s Will and the Probate process. I’ll be using them again soon, for my own end-of-life planning.

Real Estate - Our beloved Bellingham home of 26 years has been sold and is now occupied by a couple with 2 teenage sons. I know they will love living there as much as we did.

I have purchased and moved into a Condominium in the Fairhaven [Old Town] section of Bellingham, near the Bay, trails, eateries and instant social life - should I want it.

Joan’s wonderful Victorian house in San Francisco’s Glen Park Neighborhood is in Probate, now being valued so that her Estate can be finally settled. Her wish was have our good friends, Ilya & Rina Kolesnikov, live there with their 2 sons, and this will happen soon. 
Joan bought that house in 1978, as a single woman, and paid it off! Wish I had made such a good investment! [Come to think of it, I did - by marrying Joan!]

Joan’s beloved Cabin of 18 years, called "Moose Lodge" in Winthrop, WA has not yet been sold; but it has been rented for 6-months over the Winter and will be put back on the market next year.

Monetary Assets - These are all being consolidated to simplify accounting needs, including the IRS, using the expert advice of advisors who will coordinate these efforts with me and the Legal folks.

Autos - I sold my 2003 Volkswagen Eurovan, traded in Joan’s Subaru Outback, and bought a 2016 Honda CRV Touring model that seems much smarter than I am! It does fit my needs, and my basement parking spot better. 

Ongoing Stuff - I've already gotten rid of, literally, a ton of stuff just to fit into my smaller space; now, the job of sorting through remaining books, correspondence, files, pictures, slides, memories, Buddhist publications and notes demands attention. 

Next Steps - What are my plans now, you might ask? 
Several essential tasks include updating my Will, developing a Revocable Living Trust, Updating my Advance Healthcare Directive and creating a Durable Power of Attorney. 

Next, I’ll be getting IRS returns prepared and submitted, using a CPA this time! 

I am also now motivated to maintain a better level of physical health to help enjoy life; practice regular spiritual meditation; visit relatives and friends; stay in touch with others better; continue reading and all-life-learning pursuits.

Above all, I am going to continue to honor Joan’s Memory in the very best way I can...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Another Joan Casey Tribute: Special Thanks to the "A" Team!

This last month has been a bear!
Never thought this much could be done in so short a time, but now it's happened and the home Joan & I thoroughly enjoyed for 26 years will go on the market tomorrow, Thursday July 28, 2016.
Meanwhile, I am ensconced in my new Condo in Fairhaven - something Joan & I had considered for some time, and that I am sure she would approve!

Here are six pictures taken by my good friend, Mark Turner, which will be used to advertise our former home at 1015 West Toledo Street:
Interior, showing view to NNW across deck
Interior, showing Living Room & Kitchen in background
Interior, from Kitchen through Dining Area to Deck & View
Master Bedroom
View from Deck to NNW, Canadian Mountains
Exterior, showing Solar Array atop Garage & Front Entrance
Not much of this progress could have been accomplished in so short a time, without the amazing help of my "A" Team! 
All of these folks were friends of Joan and me, who pitched in and greatly helped me make this transition happen so smoothly and -relatively- painlessly. 
I am very thankful for the help they all offered.
Here's a list, that hopefully includes -almost- everyone:
  • Ilya Kolesnikov
  • Klara Weis
  • Anne Mosness
  • Mary Durbrow
  • Jim Hildt
  • Roni Lenore
  • Mike Kaufman
  • Naomi Bunis
  • Helen McLeod
  • Kurt Lindemann
  • Regina Montano
  • Shelly Murray
  • Ann Davidge
  • Donna Rushing
  • Tim Burnett
  • Bob Davis
  • Margaret Weiland
  • Bob Carlitz
  • Katie Carlitz
  • Rina Kolesnikov
  • Vladimir Kolesnikov
  • Anatoly Kolesnikov
  • Laurie Heck
To these special people goes my heartfelt thanks!
They prove that when things are tough, true friends arise to occasion!
Joan is smiling - as always...

Monday, June 6, 2016

Joan Casey Update # 26: BUF Celebration of Life

The DEE Cloud
From a friend: As I left the fellowship celebration I snapped this picture of a singular cloud floating above and lingering well beyond the others leaving. 
Whispering marvelous wishes. 

PS: for some reason the email from my phone on Saturday went around the world for a few days and back .

Does this remind you of  anyone?
Missus Joan was famous for lingering at an enjoyable event until she was the last to leave...
Would it surprise you that she may have enjoyed this last celebration of her life?

The event at BUF worked well, with about 60 folks signing the guest book and 12 rising to say a few words recalling experiences they had with Joan. All seemed to really enjoy seeing 8-minute short video of wedding, which displayed the joy which pervaded our lives together.

Afterwards, the reception continued for about an hour.
Then, it was over - except for the memories of a life well-lived.
No wonder Missus Joan may have lingered!
It really was a celebration of her life...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Joan Casey Update #25: Our Wedding @ SPC

This is a 8-minute video clip that highlights our wedding on June 17, 1990

What a Happy Day our wedding was!
And, what a happy marriage it produced.
The Celebration of Joan's Life at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church on May 21 recalled the earlier event and infused its happiness into people's hearts all over again!
It certainly lifted my spirits to recall, experience again, and anticipate such infectious joy in the future.
And, I know Joan was very happy!
Just take my word for it...

A trip to the Sausalito Church website will provide another chance to view the above clip, plus more pictures taken and posted by our friends afterwards - which was also amazing!
Enjoy this as I have.
I expect to show it at the final Memorial for Joan - at the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship on Saturday, June 4 at 2 PM.
Come one, come all to remember Joan's irrepressible persona...
Recorded music and light refreshments to follow.
An AD in the Herald will repeat this invitation more widely, starting this Sunday and running for 3 days...

Joan Casey Update #24: On Clowns

Joan - before John
Joan as Lily
Lily & Big Red - A Clown Couple

Joan meets Corpulent Critter (Big Red has grown really big!
Critters as Ushers @ Joan & John's Wedding

Friday, May 20, 2016

Joan Casey Update #23: Celebration of Life Video

Ms Joan Casey

I arrived in San Francisco yesterday and came straight to Joan's house with our friend Ilya.
The house was immaculate and I can imagine Joan exclaiming it was so wonderful. The weather was bright but windy, giving motion to trees and clouds outside the kitchen windows.

Joan's oldest Cousin, Clifford McCormick and Juanita, his wife of over 67 years, arrived before 6 PM after driving up from Palm Springs in one day.

Our friend Fedor came soon after with bags of groceries to cook his famous 'weapon', a potato dish with other veggies, herbs, etc. 
It smelled wonderful and tasted even better! 

He also made a great salad with cabbage, lemon and pomegranate seeds which complimented the 'weapon' very well. 
And, he made a terrific mushroom dish with beef that rounded out the meal. 

Of course, a little wine was also in order, followed by cookies and chocolate.

This welcoming dinner ended up including 8 people, plus a neighbor who dropped in. 
Missus Joan would have been proud - and very happy!

Afterwards, we watched our Wedding Ceremony on DVD/TV - all 90 minutes of it, with just a few fast-forwards. 

A good time was had by all, especially under the circumstances under which we had gathered. 
A really good sleep followed.

This morning, Rev George McLaird came by to meet with me and ended up talking with Cliff, Juanita, Ilya and me for almost 2 hours! 
He had brought a printed program that looks just great.

So, tomorrow is the day we travel to Sausalito for Joan's Celebration of Life. 
Joan with some Lad in Dingle, Ireland
I expect a pretty good crowd to exchange pleasant memories in good fellowship - another thing much valued by Joan.

Our friend, Robin Sinclair - who sang at our wedding - produced a short clip of our wedding from the original tape which will be added to the website at Sausalito Presbyterian Church.
John with some Irish Lass

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Joan Casey Update #22: A Rose 4 U

Mt Baker - Photo by Friend who also took 'Mountain Bliss'

Mountain Bliss
I'm now getting ready to visit San Francisco again, this time to participate in Joan's Celebration of Life at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church. 
That is expected to be a big event, just as she might like. 
The Program looks great, as does the Video of our Wedding, the Music selected, and the Speakers.

But, the main thing Joan liked were the People! 
Many will be there, missing a few who have also passed away.
Yes, the occasion will be as joyous as possible, even without Joan's delightful presence!

My son, Tom, sent me a picture of a Rose from Joan's Memorial Service in Yonkers.
This is for you, Wee Lambie...

A Rose for Joan

Monday, May 16, 2016

Joan Casey Update #21: A 400-Word Speech +/-

View from our deck
After Joan and I were married by Reverend George McLaird on June 17, 1990 at SPC, I made the small mistake of introducing her as my wife, Joan. 
She quickly informed me that she was Joan [COMMA] my wife! 
I ever forgot that again...

Joan was unique among anyone I ever met. 
She seemed to operate at a faster, higher, and more motivated pace in her life. 
I saw this as good, and immediately was drawn to her - as fortunately, she was to me. 
We connected on many levels, and still do.

Joan was/is a true seeker for the meaning of life. 
The Dalai Lama's simple definition of Buddhism as a school of thought was "loving-kindness"
That resonated, and was all Joan needed to begin her vigorous exploration of Buddhism!

Buddhism is based upon the Three Jewels; Buddha, Dharma and Sangha
Buddha means enlightenment. 

Dharma means the path one chooses to achieve enlightenment. 

Sangha means the people one chooses to associate with during their search.

Joan also found all three elements at SPC; inspiration, opportunity to turn inspiration into good works, and wonderful people who helped and were with her along the way!

To Joan, the number 3 had significance: The Three Jewels; Body, Speech and Mind; and the Holy Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Other numbers were also significant: 05/16/1941,  01/14/1984, and 06/17/1990. (Her Birthday; the Day we met; the Day we married).

As I flew home today from Joan's Memorial in Yonkers, NY - her home town - it occurred to me that she may still prefer those numbers, all with the years left out.

I also suspected she may have become reborn as I was thinking about it! 

I hope she was, so she could continue her loving-kindness from a new, broader and even more beneficial perspective!

Maybe as a 
Dakini or even a Bodhisattva?  
Why not?

That would be very good, and I'm certain she would love her new Role in the Greater Scheme of Things!

I will always love Joan, as her Spirit will live into Eternity. 

The singing group, Alabama, created lyrics, which said "She's close enough to perfect for me".

Little Joanie Casey; 

Lily of the Pink Spirit, 
Lambit: J-KC; 
my Dear Dee!

A very small part of you is now reunited with your Father, Mother and Brother, under the Casey Headstone at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Valhalla, NY.

Just like you said when you first saw the Home we bought together, "What do I have to do to live here?" 

Easy answer!
Just "keep beaming your radiant Dee-ness" through your bright eyes and wonderful smile!
Padmasambhava Thanka hanging in our home

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Joan Casey Update #20: Yonkers Memorial

Tom & John @ Rory Dolan's
Kathy Casey & Patsy McCann @ Rory Dolan's
Joan's Memorial Celebration of Life at Flynn's Memorial Home was done well, including Fr Michael Connelly, a Franciscan Priest. He had prepared by reading about Joan in this blog and in talking over the phone. He read from Saint Francis of Assisi, recognized Joan's Buddhist beliefs and Christian upbringing, said a moving prayer and recognized several people who had vivid memories of Joan.

I had selected music to play on my computer and said a few words about my dear Joanie.
About 2 dozen were in attendance, including the following relatives and friends: Me and my son, Tom Watts; Sister-in-Law Kathy Casey & and her friend Karen Sharman; Cousin Barbara Hollander & her husband Ted; Cousin Bob Casey & his wife Kathy; Cousin Brian McCormick & his wife Lynn; Ethel Bridbury, friend of Sister-in-Law Kathy Casey; Catriona Borlan, friend of Sister-in-Law Kathy Casey; Cousin Eileen Morison; Cousin Kathleen Wallace; Cousin John Wallace & wife Carolyn.

There were 2 nice pictures of Joan displayed, 4 Flower arrangements, and 3 artifacts I wanted interred with Joan's cremains; a Necklace made by her Teacher, which she wore as she passed away, a Tele with relic she often wore, and a piece of GIDDY's [her favorite Cat] - collar. 
Printed Prayer Cards were also available. Those attending were invited to take a red rose in remembrance of Joan.

Afterward, the group was invited back to Kathy Casey's home -1 block from where Joan grew up - for a reception and viewing of Joan's Wedding DVD. Later, a smaller group met for dinner at Rory Dolan's, a local Irish Restaurant & Bar.

The following day, Sunday May 15, Kathy took us to Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, NY, where we viewed where Joan's final resting place the Casey Burial Plot, where her name will be added. Now, on to the next Memorial - at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church - on Saturday May 21 at 1 PM. All are invited...

Tom, John & Kathy @ Casey Headstone

Friday, May 13, 2016

Joan Casey Update #19: Rarest of the Rare!

Dancing in Arizona
All Rainbow Bodies Are Welcome to Our Home

During our early relationship, I found myself at a career crossroads, having to seek help from a professional Career Councilor in an effort to seek a new job.
This was the first time anything like this had happened to me, but I determined it was needed.
The guy was quite helpful and proved a relief from the do-it-yourself approach of using the book ‘What Color is Your Parachute’.

As part of the counseling, a Myers-Briggs Personality Type test was given, and because Joan & I were a couple, we both took the test, individually.
The results were interesting to say the least; showing that we were very similar, sharing the indicators N (intuitive), F (feeling) and J (judgmental).
Only the first indicator showed a difference; Joan was an Introvert and I was an Extrovert.
Go figure!
Joan was about as outgoing a person as I have met, while I an somewhat reserved most of the time.

But the difference between an I and a E can be big, I’s represent about 25% of those tested, while E’s account for 75%. The types just view things from a different perspective, both necessary and important. 

Joan reacted to these findings with joy and amazement, because she found answers to questions about herself that she had often wondered about.
The MBPT test revealed to her things that explained why she had always felt a little different from most people, almost a misfit at times.
At last, she felt satisfied with this explanation.
After all the years when she worried, now she didn’t have to.
What a relief that was to her!
She actually became proud of her uniqueness, literally as the rarest of the rare Personality Type; only 1% of those tested were INFJ’s.

As it turned out, my type -ENFJ- is the second most rare, at about 4%. Together, we made a rare couple, that shared rarities!
This was a memory that we never forgot, because it helped both of us better understand ourselves. 

Green Tara Thanka

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Joan Casey Update #18: Photos from Mt Tamalpais 1998

Joan on Mt Tam 1998
Mount Tamalpais in Marin County is a very popular hiking destination, especially in the Bay Area.
There are good reasons for this; it's close to SF and the Golden Gate Bridge; there a variety of trails traversing several types of terrain; there are world-class views! At the summit -a little over 2500 feet- one can see panoramic views of San Francisco & beyond, East Bay cities and skyline, the Bay itself; the GG Bridge & surrounds, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Pacific Ocean. Trails range from coastal, to steep, to ridge lines, to wooded areas, to creeks with waterfalls. It is a uniquely beautiful area, and it hosts many hikes every day of the week. No wonder it is so popular!
John & Joan on Mt Tam 1998
This day, we took good friends from east of Sacramento up to explore a few trails and views, despite the blustery weather. One of Joan's oldest friends, Maryanne Beckford, with whom she came to California in 1965 - that's right - and her husband Joe with us to see what we could see, which was plenty!
Joe Beckford & Joan on Mt Tam 1998
Joan posed with Joe, while Maryanne took the picture. Both Maryanne and Joe came to our wedding in 1990. Those were happy days! Unfortunately, Joe had passed away about a week before Joan did, in April 2016. Maryanne didn't want to tell us while Joan was in the hospital, which was a good thing. Maryanne will attend Joan's Memorial Service at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church on Saturday, May 21 at 1 PM. Bless her, she will say a few words...

Monday, May 9, 2016

Joan Casey Update #17: Happenings You Might Like To Hear About

Our Wedding @ Sausalito Presbyterian Church - June 17, 1990
• Hey Deebit, remember this day?
I just had our wedding video digitized so I could watch it again on my computer.
Guess what? It was even more of a happy event than I recalled!
Maybe, I can get it edited enough to show the highlights on May 21!
You were absolutely stunningly radiant - something I have remembered, as have many others who were there...

• Another interesting development is that the US Corps of Engineers have now officially denied a permit to SSA-Marine for the huge Coal Terminal proposed for Cherry Point!
The reason given was that the expected additional negative impacts to tribal fishing rights violated the Treaty of 1855.
Remember the day we went to the Lummi event at which they burned a big check in effigy? 
It must have worked! Now, maybe a realistic use can be found for this site.
What? You want to buy it for a memorial park? Maybe, a buyer can be found who will protect this fragile shore area....

• Also, remember when you had doubts about the weather here? One of the things that helped ease that anxiety was when you first drove past the Mt Baker Winery and Vineyards - that convinced you that if grapes could be grown here, the weather mustn't be so bad!
Well, today, that winery is for sale - is that a harbinger of worse weather? I don't think so, but you never know...

• Regina came for a third day to gather, sort and list your clothes; still not finished. Hate to remind you, but you had WAY too many clothes!
Don't worry they're going to a place where they'll be put to good use - the Assistance League. I know you'll approve...

• The Memorial Service in Yonkers is coming up next Saturday. I'll be flying into Newark where son Tom will meet me for the trip to Yonkers and back.
We'll stay with Kathy Casey, your brother's widow, whose been very helpful in the arrangements. Brian is coming and bringing your Cousin, Jeanne.
Your friend Patsy will be there, too. We plan an Irish meal at Rory's after the Memorial.

• Your Cousin, Jed, sent me a great poem that will be included in the Sausalito Memorial the following Saturday.
Bud & Juanita will be coming and stay at Surrey Street with me.
The Brothers K will be cooking a 'weapon' the day I arrive.
Rev George is going to officiate at SPC and has been a terrific help, along with your friends Mimi and Georgianne.
And, the Dzogchen Community has been invited, along with your friend Nora.
No idea how many may come, but a bunch!
I picked a lot of songs and music, but expect the main ones will be One Hand, One Heart - sung at our wedding - and the Song of the Vajra, also chanted at our wedding...
Joan & Cousin Jed, the Mountaineer
• Here's the Poem Jed sent, especially with you in mind!

Here in Kathmandu 
by Donald Justice

We have climbed the mountain.
There's nothing more to do.
It is terrible to come down
To the valley
Where, amidst many flowers,
One thinks of snow,

As formerly, amidst snow,
Climbing the mountain,
One thought of flowers,
Tremulous, ruddy with dew,
In the valley.
One caught their scent coming down.

It is difficult to adjust, once down,
To the absence of snow.
Clear days, from the valley,
One looks up at the mountain.
What else is there to do?
Prayer wheels, flowers!

Let the flowers
Fade, the prayer wheels run down.
What have they to do
With us who have stood atop the snow
Atop the mountain,
Flags seen from the valley?

It might be possible to live in the valley,
To bury oneself among flowers,
If one could forget the mountain,
However, once looking down,
Stiff, blinded with snow,
One knew what to do.

Meanwhile it is not easy here in Kathmandu,
Especially when to the valley
That wind which means snow
Elsewhere, but here means flowers,
Comes down,

As soon it must, from the mountain.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Joan Casey Update #16: Obituary

Joan Casey - Beaming Radiant Dee-ness!
Joan Kathryn Casey - Born 05/16/1941 in Mount Vernon, NY to her parents, Paul E Casey & Eleanor Hunter Casey, she took her last breath on 04/12/2016 in Redding, CA with her husband, John and her Vajra Sister, Nora McKay, at her side.

Joan’s death was peaceful, resulting from respiratory failure and other complications while at Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding, CA

She is survived by her husband & life companion for over 32 years, John Watts of Bellingham, WA, her Step-son, Tom Watts of Charlotte, NC, and her Sister-in-law, Kathy Casey of Yonkers, NY

Joan valued the higher meanings in life, and having viewed Catholic, Presbyterian and Buddhist perspectives, she saw commonalities rather than differences. 

Joan was a devout Buddhist, first introduced to Buddhism by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, leader of the Dzogchen Community, in the Vajrayana tradition. She passed away while surrounded by precious Buddhist prayers, artifacts and friends, which greatly eased her transition from life toward rebirth. She valued meditation as a skillful means to discover Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and to practice with translating Body, Speech & Mind into action.

Joan dearly loved Nature, in all its aspects; Mountains, Forests, Fields, Streams, Ocean, and especially, Birds of the Sky. She freely supported causes dedicated to conservation and preservation of the natural world.

She strongly supported the cause of Social Justice and helped people through giving to various charities, as well as issues including Water Supply protection and Public Parks.

Joan was a believer in World Peace, and often participated in the political process to make her values known. She also gave tangible assistance to worthwhile organizations to help people of Tibetan culture.

The people Joan loved most were her family and friends, which were many, because she made friends easily and often. She was a member of a number of circles, both formal and informal, which discussed and advocated good will. Her extended family included in-laws, outlaws and special persons, including a large Russian immigrant family she loved.

Music was important to Joan and she loved opera, theater, and meditative music best.

Joan lived for adventure and having memorable experiences! Outdoors, she enjoyed hiking the best, followed by van camping, backpacking, kayaking and cross-country skiing. She was a Taurus Earth Mother and liked being that! She was a member of Sierra Club, CA AlpineClub, Mountaineers, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Whatcom Land Trust, WAKE, Nooksack Nordics, Mt Baker Hiking Club and others.

She was an avid traveler, constantly seeking new places to visit and explore. Her travels extended through Southeast Asia, Nepal, India, Europe, Scotland, Ireland, Central America, Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Russia.

Joan was naturally smart, but continued to love learning and read prolifically on religious themes, popular books, NYT Editorials, New Yorker, health, and food. All-Life-Learning was a frequent pursuit, in particular the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco.

Joan was a Feminist, and cared about the special roles that women play, and their growing roles into the modern day and beyond. She was strongly independent in her thinking, and comfortable in her own skin, but also valued the opinions of others. As a single woman for 49 years, she excelled at computer programming, using intense focus and intuitive skills to determine solutions to problems. She and two friends made their way to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1965, where she made it her home until moving to Bellingham, WA in 1990, the year she married for the first time. She was proud of the fact that she was able to secure a loan in 1978 for the purchase of a small Victorian house in the Glen Park Neighborhood of San Francisco, a place she made a Home, and continued to own and remodel until her death. She loved all her neighborhoods and frequently was involved in gatherings - her specialty!

Joan enjoyed ‘pinking and fluffing’ in a hot shower every day, and was the willing recipient of many nicknames assigned by her husband. Most of these contained reference to the word ‘Dee’, as in ‘Bird-a Dee’ and the like. Her look of love she called ‘Beaming Radiant Dee-ness’!

Joan loved Food! She cooked, endlessly reviewed recipes, and ate with gusto - whether at home, dining out, or with groups of friends. But, she had to be careful with food because of a severe allergy to peanuts and tree nuts in general. 

Joan had a bit of a clothes fetish, enjoying the search for comfortable, yet classy looks. Most of the time she wore outdoor wear, like hiking shorts, T-shirts, fanny pack, rain gear and the like. But, she ‘cleaned up’ nicely - as the Irish say - and felt at ease in almost any setting. In short, she was a ‘Class Act’!

She became an Apple nut, when introduced to iMac, PowerMac, iPad and iPhone. Though opting not to become a ‘techie’, she enjoyed using these electronic tools as a means of keeping up with news, contacting her friends and generally having a good time on the Amazon site and other Internet venues.

Joan seemed to have boundless energy, even when challenged by various physical ailments. Nothing seemed to slow her down for very long, although she also liked relaxation, too - when she had time for it. 

But, the main memory of Joan has to be her innate honesty, strength of character, clean-cut features, her outspokenness, bright smile and absolute love of laughter and joy. What a wonderful, loving spirit she was! A lasting legacy for such a beautiful human being can only be inadequately described….