by The happy hippie Hippy Coyote
I can tell I've made spiritual progress. I'm happier in some new and different ways. Even though I understand more, I also realize there is more that I don't understand...but I know it's possible.
Thanks to our Shaolin Zen Buddhism, I've got my health back.
After moving to Tujunga in 2001, I got bit by a black widow spider. There are more black widows in Tujunga than anywhere else on this planet. During the eradication of the black widows in our backyard, mistakenly done in a swimsuit on a hot spring day, a huge female black widow climbed into my pants and got caught in my swimsuit nylon web inside my shorts.
The black widow stung me repeatedly right in the perenium. Yep, could've been worse if it got my _____ only a half inch away, but that poison went straight down my left leg first, because that leg swelled up the biggest and my left foot was so huge and swollen you couldn't even see my toes.
I will never forget how painful it was to try and just stand on my feet to wash the dishes. Swollen hurts!
The black widow poison went through my entire body with the hospital on hold, an ambulence ready, and noone yet knowing what had happened to me. Unfortunately, due to my legs and especially feet swelling up, we thought I'd been stung on the foot, although we couldn't find the red sting location.
This was another reason I was on hold, we didn't even know that I'd been bit by a black widow and it was still in my pants.
That night was a near death experience as I clung to each choked off breath and difficult raising of my chest ribs. I was fighting for my life all night.
The hospital and ambulence didn't know what antivenom to administer and the only thing they said they could do was to hook me up and keep me alive until I rode this out. At that time, no income, no money... I chose to stay home with my kids in a panic hovering over me and my ex-whatever spending a rare night in our house instead of her boyfriend's condo.
Surviving that night wasn't the worst of this black widow journey. My welcome to Tujunga was like a rebirth in a horrible horrible way.
Evidently black widow poison isn't just a paralyzing poison, it KILLS the cells. My body was dead, from the inside out. Walking to the bathroom was like a heart attack with me fearful of passing out dieing on the carpet in front of my children.
I'm not going to say I struggled to live for my kids, or that they gave me additional inspiration. Almost the opposite. As soon as everyone was sure I wasn't going to die they expected life to be normal and my Ex split. Noone took over my housechores or helped me with the kids. I somehow cooked, cleaned and cared for the kids even though it took two weeks to be able to walk to the end of the driveway.
Young Rory, only three years old needed a lot of care and attention, and somehow I still managed it.
Then came Coyote rehab: We'd walked up our mountain to the reservoir before my bite, but now it became my life challenge. Day by day I made it farther and farther and farther up the hill. The next album may contain the song, "Reservoir," about those experiences.
Little Rory would poop out and want me to carry him on my shoulders, even uphill. I took up the challenge and never refused him. A few times I remember having to put him down and try as hard as I could not to reveal the fact I was very very close to passing out or feeling like my heart would explode.
I went to the doctor. "Am I going to have a weak heart from this black widow spider bite for the rest of my life?"
The doctor said, "As far as I can tell it's beating properly and there's no damage to it."
Reassured I continually shocked and impressed my daughter as I packed books and sometimes rocks into my backpack as we continued our hikes up the mountain on a daily basis.
After 3 months I was able to walk all the way to the Albertson's from our house. Michelle wouldn't leave me with a car, or an allowance, or even grocery money. She said she was afraid I'd take the money and leave.
Now, 7 years later I am finally a new man. They say that every seven years your body replaces most of the cells inside of us. So, I'd finally replaced the dead and injured cells in my body?
Oh yeah, I gained 55 pounds while I was all bloated and swollen that first couple months. Without being able to walk and exercise, I kept eating...
I'll tell you more about the weight loss later, but for every hour of Kung Fu I added back to my life each week, I lost 10 pounds. It wasn't until I worked up to five hours of Kung Fu each week that I lost all my excess weight, and it ain't comin' back.
So, with my new body, my new LEVEL 3 mind, new home, and new life, I'm excited.
Love? If you only know me through my music and lyrics, you know I'm a romantic. Often, a frustrated romantic. But that's the problem with love, it creates expectations. That is why love fails. Eventually, we all fail to meet some expectations of our lover. Unless you are like clay, and easily molded -- like me -- you will soon find yourselves battling like kids in a playground.
When love becomes a relationship -- well that's like when friendship becomes business -- it changes everything.
My last experience with marriage really taught me that a family IS a business. Most marriages break up over financial problems, business problems. Michelle's last words as she finished packing up her kitchenware and we divided up the cutlery, was, "I love you, but I'm leaving you for financial reasons."
That's what my mom told my dad when I was 12 years old, when she left.
I really was trying not to repeat history. It's hard. You go into the past, you see the future, you try to make things turn out a certain way and something still goes wrong.
Buddhism teaches us, that when your expectations are not working, change them. That's what the song, "Change Your Mind," is about.
But I don't think my expectations were wrong. I just chose the wrong person to have the expectations with.
Even as I look back and try to figure out, how did I get into this horrible situation? I realize and remember that I thought I'd picked right. She fooled me. She was the perfect partner in many ways - until she had a kid. Then she changed into someone else, her mother, and I never saw my lover again, ever.
I haven't completely figured all of this out, but I've learned that women think, act, and expect different things than men do. I'm becoming aware of many differences that can be expected of women and limitations in their behavior that I before thought were equal to men...
I tried explaining this to someone as, "Men and women are equally unequal."
So love? I've lived, loved, and learned, but I'm still lonely for a partner. The lyrics of "I Just Want To Be With You," are my shopping list for a new mate. I wrote the lyrics to that song and sung them only minutes later. Ironically, the original lyrics were written to Michelle, about wanting to be with her. During my rehearsals for the album, I asked her several times if she recognized or liked the song...and she said she didn't recognize it and had little interest in the song.
Green light. I didn't want to sing it to her. I couldn't sing it to her. But now, since she had no attachment to the song, the song could be detached from her. I knew I was going to write new lyrics, but to who?
By the time I recorded the song, I still had a zero lovelife so I wrote it as a prayer to the universe to please deliver the perfect girl into my life.
That website, www.actZEN.com, really changed my life. I used myself as a guinea pig to test the site and see if it works. It works! Check out the podcasts of the American Zen Buddhist Rock Podcast at www.CoyoteRadio.NET
My progress into LEVEL 4 has been strengthened and sharpened by graduating the www.actZEN.com website. I recommend it for everyone.
With the founding of the Buddha Kung Fu schools by Buddha Zhen in 2008, I have another kickstart and vehicle for climbing to the next level of Zen Buddhism. In order to graduate the Buddha Kung Fu beginner program, I need to study and be approved in all pages of the Buddha Kung Fu Student Manual. I suspect this book will be another catalyst of my spirituality.
We've decided the name of the next level will be: LEVEL 4 = Kung Fu Cowboy.
CD Album Title: "LEVEL 3 = I Want You To Love Me"
Artist: American Zen
Record Company: Shaolin Records
Released: September 11, 2008