An introduction to Lynn Scott’s blog

May 22, 2016

An introduction to Lynn Scott’s blog

I’m an ordinary quirky woman with, if not an extraordinary life, at least a fully lived one. I am drawn to other quirky characters and write about them in my current memoir, Oldham Street. I welcome your stories about your quirky neighbors/ family/friends, or perhaps, more importantly, what you have learned as you have progressed along in life: all the emotions or situations you’ve experienced and what you have done successfully with them.

Never having focused on money earning (but still needing to earn), I followed my heart into work, travel, mothering, and now grandmothering, but still writing.

To give back a comment do this:

1. click on title bar above.

2. scroll down screen until you see empty boxes

3. fill in the boxes with your name, email address (if you haven’t an email address your story won’t get to me), website address if you have one.

4. compose your story in the empty box.

5. Once you press the send button, you’re published! Thank you. I look forward to reading and responding to your comments. Thank you.

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President Trump

November 11, 2016

It is three days since the election. I wasn’t so surprised by the overthrow of the status quo. The folks that run things, at the Democratic Committee for instance, haven’t been paying attention to the huge number of angry folks that were reaching the boiling point over the loss of so much we tied to our great Constitution and our daily comfort in all forms. They did all they could to keep Senator Sanders and the marvelously organized millions working for his vision from having any perks. I think he conceded too early, before his great team had a chance to plan what comes next, and they divided up. Then, the commercial media, so into drama that they virtually enabled Mr Trump to spend no money for publicity and had his face and awful comments on our screens round the clock. Together they brought their own privileged world down. Well thank you for that.

My various reactions to this stampede of voters: “Oh good, I don’t have to watch and scream at my tv screen because Hillary has just sent more money to countries with out-of -control violence against weaker groups and is waging yet another war.”

“OMG will i find myself out on the street with all my belongings, since i count on my Section 8 license that makes my senior housing affordable?”

“Will Social Security still pay out, even without a real bonus to catch up with inflation?”

“Can he change Medicare that leaves me out?”

“Well, I am giving him 100 days before i freak.”

“What! His first picks for his Departments are Gingrich, Guiliano, that arrogant pol from N.J., maybe even Sarah down from Alaska!”

“Well, I have seen him sitting respectfully beside President Obama where they had an hour and half conversation, and he said at the end that he hopes to continue seeking counsel with Obama. Now will Bernie reach out to him and become another counsel for him?”

Just three days passed in all those thoughts. Each day I get more. But i am still willing to wait till he is in before believing our world has ended. It hasn’t been so great for so many people our government affects. He loves his country he says. Maybe the position will grow him.

Hillary’s concession speech was what i would have wished to hear in her voice long ago. She was gracious, dignified, honest, and reasoned. No rough tones i have come to expect from her. Good for her. She will need lots of time to heal from this shock. May she not take the venge route. If this change-about came out so well, one wonders about all that vitriol and low blow scenes we were subjected to throughout the campaign. What a waste of time!

So I am back at “Wait and see. What is, is.” It is sad that the elites and big money folks enabled this revolution through chicanery and dirty tricks and the media so light-brained with their far overreach of Trump coverage, but here it is. Instead of sane Bernie and his young idealists, we get unstable Trump and his too often violent talking and acting followers. He ain’t no populist, he who lives like a king, nor accepted among the big money gang (BMG). He’s a reality tv star in the likes of the sisters whose name i have not mastered. But maybe he loves his country so much that he will pull back our troops for wars we cannot win, and concentrate more on our infrastructure and give jobs to those so desperate. Or maybe he will face up with of other leaders who run their world like a tyranny of one. It could go many ways.

One sad consequence today, November 11, is that the corporations that build prisons and military equipment have reopened their options to have MORE of everything. The Asian and European markets had two days down and are rising again. The mess will continue.Trump may make peace with Putin and bring one possible war to a non-happening. But his stance on China is risky. It owns much of this country, and we use most of its goods that used to be manufactured in the U.S. We will never be back to the 1950’s. (I look back with disdain at those suburban years of my youth: boring, dishonest, ignorant.) The angry hands-on workers may get work on the infrastructure (I so wanted to advise Obama to begin there, satisfy our working folks. He chose insurance as his legacy, which now can be changed all together next year.) Their children coming up now have to hop into the future in technology and science. The pick and shovel folks will be the homeless.

Women made the mistake of putting the glass ceiling as the focus in their rush to see the first woman in the White House, instead of responding to the useful anger of Sanders’ folks and the rabid rage of Trump’s first group of supporters. Their issues are more basic than a woman in the White House, just any woman. I held my nose as i voted for Hillary. I did not see a clear difference between her language and the right’s. Not Trump of course because he made no logical statements for change. But i am sick of militarism for our capitalists and the making of millions of homeless, landless people around the world. I was half sick most of the time. Still am. Feel helpless. Will have plenty of opinions later if that doesn’t change.

I have almost recovered from my other renewed knee and very healthy. I shall stay with the day to day events and speak my mind when i can. I do welcome rebuttals or agreements.

 

 

July 23, 2016

I came into the world being intensely empathetic to all vulnerable beings: animals, flies who seemed to watch me and move with me, people, kids especially, being hurt by neglect or abuse, handicapped people, and those i only saw in rich peoples’ kitchens or in old cowboy movies.

I was sensitive to victims of prejudice as i was blessed by my Norwegian grandparents’ messages of love for others. My close family message to me was ‘don’t be so sensitive.’  As a young adult, i developed a way to say what was on my mind by bursting out forcefully with my observations before I could be shut down. ‘Don’t be so vehement Miss-I-know-but.’ I was a singular child who felt things, and saw that I would have to handle them myself. No one would help me.

Of course the feminist revolution in the ’70’s appealed to me. But i had already been reading Richard Wright, Langston  Hughes, Eldridge Cleaver, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston,Ellen Kuzwayo, Franz Fanon, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and singing songs of oppression with my Paul Robeson record. I noticed that black women weren’t generally a part of that revolution. I made a decision that i would never allow a racist or abusive remark made in my presence go by without my admonition.I went out of my normal routine to help people of color. I was a good Quaker and later a good Buddhist. I was also way out of touch with my own pain, using world saving as a mostly satisfactory cover.

But when i turned 80 and said out loud, I am now old, I seemed to wake from a lifelong dream. I began to see more clearly my own sins, not just my former husband’s or loud speaking racists, but of the “lady bountiful” aid I sought to give especially to people of color. Had I asked those folks if my idea of a gift to them was what they wanted? Was i not being a ‘well meaning’ racist?

Now, as late a few months ago, I have found books by black Buddhists, often gay or lesbian, who are writing plays, starting people-of-color zendos, bringing up for examination words like ‘racist’ and ‘white’ and ‘supremacy’. They are ‘deconstructing’ religions, especially Buddhism. They are questioning my language and the assumptions behind those words. This is a powerful wake-up call, not to take on more guilt and lack of self-love, but to keep releasing the mis-information in my brain from my ‘white’ privilege.

These new young leaders are speaking their truths openly in congregations where they are being heard. They have found a rich field by questioning language usage. Instead of starting off with the color of our skins, they are gathering us back to our roots to the first people in Africa (or to Eden if you wish) where color of skin was irrelevant, and probably black. (Of course i have always taken issue with the idea that the sinner in Eden was a woman–actually the snake {check out the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel to see how Michelangelo painted the head of that snake!}) Thanks to these new thinkers, if I use the term ‘white’ i put in front of it, ‘whom I, he, she calls’ white. Racism isn’t of course just based on color of our skins, but renaming is heading in the right direction.

So dear folks, I have found a new use for hanging around in the late eighties. I will keep on releasing the ballast of my privileged past, and live in this old age no doubt  telling whoever is listening what’s new, even now.

If you want to read these folks, i am getting up a list, but you could start with “Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation” with essays by Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah.  Also, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and a dialogue i believe can be found on Youtube by Professor Glaude and his son, after the shootings in La. and Mn. and Dallas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynn Scott says “I’m back”

May 23, 2016

Lynn Scott says “I’m back”   January 2016

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Lynn Scott says Enter a caption

 

 

Two years ago I decided i had nothing to say and buried my blog. Yet, now, in 2016 and soon to be 86, I think i might be useful to someone. I am about to celebrate my 15th year in the women’s class at Spirit Rock in Marin county, CA. Lately, I realized how much i have learned from teachers and other women at Spirit Rock. When I was a feminist therapist, it would never occur to me to have someone who wasn’t moving toward freedom from her emotional pain look at what she might be holding that was actually causing it: to look inward at the concepts she might be running with. We were careful then not to ‘blame the victim.’

I have been sharing a senior house (studio and bath each, and shared living room and kitchen) with a sweet man. We have little in common except our view of the world, no small thing. Within a year his 15-year-old son needed a home quickly and moved in for several years. But lately i have been feeling angry about my house mate’s ‘lifestyle.’ I was inarticulate in trying to get him to understand what my needs were. And one day, as I drove into our street and saw his frequent visitor (i had judgements about) was there, I felt myself tighten, I said to myself, ‘okay, you have tried to correct things, and it won’t happen, so what can you do with yourself to be content?’  And it came to me that i had been trying all these years to recreate ‘home’ with this other family. I did shopping and cooking for years before stepping back from that. Now I saw that I was acting more like angry wife than was at all reasonable.

There are two apartments in this cottage, A and B. I had always ignored that idea, but now I took it up. This man wasn’t remotely interested in the tight role of man of the house, and I certainly had long tired of being a housewife (just check the dust around things) and so I became an apartment liver. In evenings during dinner that i make while my housemate is still having cocktail hour, I go back to my apartment and watch a movie or read a number of books. I hear people coming and going and I am content. My housemate and I sometimes meet during the breakfast hours (10-noon) and have a nice chat. I told him of my breakthrough and didn’t expect anything from him. He hugged me in relief.

I ‘get’ now that most of the pain I create in myself is because i am hanging onto concepts that, if they worked once, no longer do. Updating has been a very fine idea. It is how i have recently helped friends take back their power by doing their own inner research. One of the Buddhist tenets most needed by women, I believe, is being compassionate, starting with ourselves. Loving others cannot work very well if we show no love to ourselves;  the small child still residing in our psyches who tries to protect us from pain by hanging into old concepts, needs loving control from our grown-up selves. Buddhism is more of a guide for living life wisely than a ‘religion.’  I am grateful to still be learning how to free myself of tired old karma.

With thought, Lynn Scott

Click on book title A Joyful Encounter: My Mother, My Alzheimer Clients, and Me to see Lynn Scott’s memoir available through Amazon.com

A Joyful Encounter:My Mother, My Alzheimer Clients, And Me

Sitting with Limbo

March 5, 2016

This blog site that I started several years ago, has sat, as i have, without any excitement; in a state i have called ‘limbo.’ But now I see that any alive mind needs down time. Not to worry. Just see that the moment when I am ready to resume, I do take that chance. So this week it happened. I got into the wonderful essays and poetry of Mary Oliver, and, despite knowing i would never be better than a middling writer, I felt the passion to do it anyway.

More than once, but especially after retirement, seeing old friends pass back into spirit, and younger family members having busy lives of their own, it is time to decide on the rest of my life. My body that has contained my spirit for 87 years is wobbly, my heart is beating too fast without the passion behind it (well maybe it feels passionate at that speed), I have lost nouns within my over full brain so I can no longer trust myself to tell a story among young friends only to watch their eyes glaze over as I look for the punch line–okay, time to reevaluate.

A few months ago, i thought i had found my activist passion again at a rally for Senator Sanders. The young coordinators were so full of joy, having left their families and their jobs to take up the calling of a Sanders populist revolution. I fell right in, setting myself up to do different jobs. Then I discovered how much work is done on the computer or with the new phones that i never plan to own. I couldn’t do it, and had to back out. Despite living on less than i need from social security, I have sent several small donations. I do feel the passion of the possibility for a path back to democracy. But it taught me what my body is willing or not to do for even a national change.

At that point, i temporarily divided my body from my spirit. One was truly old. The other was ageless. My soul, like a raindrop out of the downpour sliding down the pane to join a pool of others at the bottom, had that power to look further for the passion I so missed. I bounced around: attending a Head Start nursery where i thought i might help by holding babies, and quickly knew my body would not let me chase 2-year-olds or sit on the floor with them.  Nope. Recently I have thought to use my old skills to be a listener who might have a bit of wisdom to offer a seeker. I still might work into that, but even the idea of having set schedules made my body sag.

I discovered that I really liked being home, being silent much of the day, not even surrounded by music. And that is when Mary Oliver returned to my library with a friend’s gift of her latest book, “Felicity.” She is 81 and has fallen in love again, with another woman of that  age. WOW! That isn’t my desire, but i loved that show of passion, and her new book.

This week, in my vital women’s class at Spirit Rock, a Buddhist center just three miles from my house, our teacher did an exercise where we felt who or what brought out that passion. I fell in love with the tree outside my back window that i put in when i moved to this ‘senior cottage’ sixteen years ago. It was a gift, a fir of some kind. Turns out it’s a giant red cedar rapidly heading upward to its 250 foot height. It now has two masts from its base, and branches that appear to float out gracefully from the trunks. (They go in all directions but not toward the house or porch. How do they make that wise choice kinetically?) 

The cedar is a daylong playground and hideout for the little brown songbirds who all have PTSD, dodging back and forth from seed holder and tree constantly. I watch for the field rats and chase them away a bit sadly. But they grind the seeds into chaff that covers the floor of the deck. I think they only eat the sunflower seeds. I used to enjoy watching a few generations of them tussling on the deck like a bunch of kittens. But I was chastised by the manager of these places and so have had to become their enemy. When they hear me approach the back door they make Knievalish leaps into the cedar and run its branches like their own superhighways.

I had such an urge today to bring out a kitchen step ladder and (carefully) crawl up into the tree and hug its dual trunks, feel its warmth and know how inside it is surging with energy like all of our bodies do. (I just found out that one person’s blood vessels could circle the earth 2 1/2 times!)

Martha Graham, who danced into old age, is to have said, “A queer divine, dissatisfaction.” What does my own grumpiness foretell for my journey? Thanks to Buddhist wisdom on how to live a most satisfactory life, I have given up hatred (still hard sometimes when communities in Latin American and the mid-east are wiped out by wars that suit a very few leaders). The teaching (not unlike the more familiar Jesus language) presents the opportunity one has from facing negativity in events and people. What is the learning in limbo, in someone’s rant at me, in knowing how little I can contribute to adding love to our beautiful star, earth?

It has to start with  discontent. Nothing much happens where there are no challenges. But today, the long-lost rain tumbling out of the gutter in front of my window, the world stilled otherwise, the birds filling up at the seed holder to get through the wet night, and me sitting here writing. Today, no grouchiness, a beginning.

 

I welcome your stories about your quirky neighbors/family/friends

March 6, 2010

I’m an ordinary quirky woman with, if not an extraordinary life, at least a fully lived one. I am drawn to other quirky characters and write about them in my current memoir, Oldham Street.I welcome your stories about your quirky neighbors/ family/friends, or perhaps, more importantly, what you have learned as you have progressed along in life: sadness, gladness and all the other emotions or situations and what you have done successfully with them.

Never having focused on money earning (but still needing to earn), I followed my heart into work, travel, mothering, and now grandmothering, but still writing.

To give back a comment do this:

1. click on title bar above.

2. scroll down screen until you see empty boxes

3. fill in the boxes with your name, email address (if you haven’t an email address your story won’t get to me), website address if you have one.

4. compose your story in the empty box.

5. Once you press the send button, you’re published!  Thank you. I look forward to reading and responding to your comments. Thank you.

Here lies an old lady

February 23, 2010

From my journal today: “Here lies the old lady, huddled beneath a torn patchwork throw made for a child, now in her late 50’s, by some friend of this woman’s mother, dead these 33 years. She says, puzzling, ‘What if I stopped writing? What would be the glue that held a day together?  Oh, I know what puts me here. I’ve completed the memoir and I’m ducking the awful job of developing a worthy query letter to a publishing house that i suspect will have little interest in a now-80 year-old’s memoir of being 58-70. So what if it was a hero’s journey? There are so few white older women whose heroics are noted by the world, unless, like Madame Curie, she dies while producing something needed.’

So, everyone is saying the internet is the way to go. I just complained to my friend Andrea Bredback, young writer extraordinaire, that reading endless prose on the computer made me tired and dizzy. Then i realized that i do that all the time, reading my own stuff. So I’m rethinking. Maybe I can placidly send this query off, with the help of good friends who shape it up for me, and let go of end results. Instead put out lots of tags and see if dialogues will form here. Anybody want to start a dialogue?

Endlessly Fascinating, this thing called aging

February 14, 2010

In all those years that have gone under the bridge, I never paid much attention to my body. No make-up, or hair or clothes styles. I wore comfortable clothes, and while maybe not the most stylishly dressed, I could shape up for occasions.

I had a rich life, trying out everything from commune living, to travel, to three long-term relationships that had their value; spending 10 of those years in the women’s community and being a successful counselor; becoming an author and still writing; living in glorious S.F. and the bay area; reconnecting with my roots by visiting my grandparents’ houses in Norway and Germany, and, best of all, having many deeply thinking friends and children. Not bad.

My body worked for me so I never thought to examine it specially. It had its losses that I recognized: no more time for babies or menstruation; becoming invisible to the opposite sex earlier than i thought right; a few accidents that I prophesied would haunt me in “old age” way off in the distance; the loss of a breast to cancer at 72 still not feeling old, and not particularly fazed except by the bra with filling. I’d given up bras years before, yet, if i wanted to keep my back straight, a friend said I should wear a silicone-filled one, so sometimes i do. I was blessed with an abundance of energy, so the loss of some of it as I marched toward my 80’s didn’t stop what i wanted to do.

Getting to be 80 must be like my granddaughter’s expected thrill at 10, or my older grandkids graduating from college. I was Free. Free of having to  drop everything to respond to yet another need, even from casual contacts. Now I could surprise folks by saying “I’m 80” and see a certain respect and an understanding when I said “no, i really can’t do that (whatever it was). This slightly dishonest new response is due to the messages I imbibed from the culture about me as girl/woman giver, and from an early message from my depressed mother that I must rescue her from whatever. (Impossible task of course, but i sure tried––with her and every other person I came in contact with after I grew up.) So now I have found that I can assess the request and actually make a choice based on the good it would do for the person, AND for me. “No, sorry” is now in my vocabulary. Not that the old impulse isn’t still there, but I catch myself faster, stop that instant leap into action.

As far as the body is concerned, it too is a learning experience. I am forced to pay it attention. I’ve discovered everything from hair follicles to the ends of toes can hurt! Sometimes an ache really can give me pause. But I know other things too. From my Buddhist women’s class where we practice embracing every part of our lives rather than, say, pushing pain away (always no solution), I know how to become the viewer of the situation rather than being caught directly in the pain. This can be physical or it can be emotional/mental. The kind of pain my body gets seems to come and go and never be so unrelenting that modern medicine’s drug stash has to be called on. What I have learned from slowing down through Feldenkrais treatments too has helped me carry my body with more caring, to forestall pain that I create.

And the mental pain? Having worked with a somatic experiencing counselor, it finally occurred to me that there is, yes, some really deep pain from my life located in my lower belly. It can rise and I can let my feeling rip; weep and release. But the pain that I cause myself through the delusions my mind can take–well that just isn’t necessary. I used to hang up from talking with a family member and begin the litany, “Oh my poor (whoever), how awful his life is, how terrible that I didn’t solve his problems a long time ago, instead i added to them….blah blah.” Meanwhile, that person has gone back from the phone call into his life, doing his karma in the best way he can, and I’m sitting in my comfortable space drumming up imagined pain ‘for him.’ That’s nuts, eh? 

It’s February 14, so, happy valentine’s day, whoever happens on this learning blog (my understanding of computer language puts me back to kindergarten).

May you find inner peace, even if it comes and goes.    Lynn

I checked out daughter leigh’s webpage

January 13, 2010

Leigh Scott lives in Ct. So she isn’t here on the West Coast very often. Check out this beautiful webpage: LeighMScott.com  She is a true healer. One of her skills is the practice of Feldenkrais, which she describes there. I have found that Feldenkrais is able to keep me on my feet and free of the old age aches. I am in an altered state when I leave Naomi Draper’s session. She is in Woodacre Ca. She takes insurance and Medicare and I can’t say enough about her work. Ask information for her number and try Feldenkrais out. it is gentle skeletal work, different from massage.

Every Woman Should Know about Body Positive

January 6, 2010

I have just watched “Lily” talk about going from such body hatred that she had started down the path of bulimia, and just happened to get random word about Body Positive (TheBodyPositive.org) She is a beautiful woman and turned her life around by joining the loving community of women who began with Body Positive when in high school and now are all of college age. I’m 80 but i wept like the 15-year-old I once was, so full of my pain of self-hatred that I too couldn’t be a good student. Oh that such an organization had been functioning then! I encourage women to check it out.