Skip to main content

On April 27 my life changed forever with a seizure and following that: the diagnosis of brain cancer.  I am beginning full spectrum treatment on Thursday the 28th with radiation, chemo, and cannabis.  Here is a post from my blog series on cancer and personal transformation.  My hope is to document my efforts to find connection and healing in the battle with cancer. that deals with my changing relationship to Buddhism.

  It is necessary to change that now.  I am blending my inner and outer worlds in a necessary union of oneness which is needed to generate healing cancer curing energy. No more blockages and compartmentalization of my life force.  I need to openly live the path that I have been studying for a lifetime. Let me begin to share some of it with you.
It would come out in hints.  I have been a vegetarian for 42 years  and had just become a vegan. I have no military stories to tell.   I was a conscientious objector during Viet Nam.  My two years of alternative service was at Gateways Hospital (a private psychiatric facility within crowd cheering noise of The Dodgers Chavez Ravine).   I still carry the vow to hold all life sacred and not participate in killing.  I wear Buddhist prayer beads under my shirt and occasionally sit in meditation when Panorama holds all day retreats.  My religion was a private thing.  I sit every day and dabble in books that evoke the spirit of Buddha.  Looking at my practice now I have to laugh.  I said I loved all sentient beings, but they were actually too much trouble for me  to connect with in my daily practice.   Shame would whisper in my who are you to talk about universal truth?  Hunker down, meditate  in isolation, read those books that give you spiritual  goosebumps,and try to live a vital, authentic but private religious life.  Being a visible Buddhist elementary school teacher in rural Central Oregon, the land of prayer breakfast PTA moms, would  have complicated my teaching.  I learned how to  go and be an active practicing Buddhist in stealth mode.

My concept of meditation since my brush with death has profoundly changed.

Pre-seizure Pete had used meditation as a treasured daily quiet time for  settling of the mind.  Like dirty muddy water in a jar, the act of sitting still and waiting in awareness of each breath going i. pause out,  pause  in,  pause out,  paus noting thoughts,  notice  pause out, pause feelings, notice and on til an arbitrary time is reached when I bow and arise to join the world refreshed.  Arise, toilet, brush teeth, start coffee, meditate, drink coffee and bow, shave. wash, dress.
Then I would enter Panorama social activity a mind a little less muddy,  wearing the hidden prayer beads.   Meditation was basically  an automatic wired- in mental health habit right between bushing teeth and the first cup of coffee.

I knew from my readings that meditation promised transformation into a deeper  awareness of our inner being, but I was content with the cozy spiritual life of a comfortable retired seeker on a graceful aging glide path.

Enter the dragon of a brain induced seizure.  I was brought gasping & kicking to the edge of being and then allowed to return with my eyes wide open.  When I came back, that little me that was running the religion practice had abandoned ship.  That little voice that knew so little about spirit but was running the practice had flown the coop.  My new religion now is" I dont know what religion is".  All I want to do is experience the moment, be truthful, be kind, and be helpful.  I trust the ancient Buddhist tradition to help me better understand my new sense of being.  I will be attending our local Nalanda Institute mediations and lectures.

Anything else right now  is too much distraction.

Now I look at my former meditation practice as a very nice daily activity that kept my busy little self  calm and relaxed my mind.  My little self was also pretending to have the potential to become enlightened if it just sat long enough or read the right book, or dropped into a magical state by chance.  The magical drop-in part happened but the little self just wasn‚'™t able to handle the ride.  That little self isn'™t able to sneak into the big dance.

Continue Reading
Crystal Eyes (Pete Farr) (with his wife Snapples (Maureen Farr)) experienced the shock of a seizure April 27 which revealed a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumor.  May the ongoing diaries of our subsequent   experiences serve to become as  source of information, inspiration, education, and support for all those who also ride the cancer dragon.
What  begins as a challenge of the survival from cancer becomes a call for the transformation of the planet.  The cure for both lies in  learning how to summon and apply our  vast stores of untapped cosmic energy towards healing.
For background info :

I talked with my wife,  Maureen,  about bloging today on the topic of how we are dealing with the cancer as  a couple and share something  about our biological and Panorama extended families.  I asked for her advice.

Her answer was immediate and clear.

"Make it Short. Keep it Simple."

Maureen is the daughter of a Navy Chief who was a Pearl Harbor Survivor.

We were frequent visitors in Al Paulek'™s Southern California home.  The Navy routine of clear decks and polished wood floors was a given.  No clutter and a natural functional way that everything is stowed in a logical fashion and available on demand.  His home was an exercise in thoughtful living.  I'm  certain that my father in law had never read a zen book in his life.
I am  just as certain than he would never need to.   Al is a model for the way forward.  Thoughtful intelligent attention to the detailed  operation of how a well run home should work.  His home would sparkle with homespun care.  Functional uncluttered awareness of the every day moments of home life makes for a strong container.  Because I live in love  with Al's daughter,  I live in a sanctuary where there is  refuge from those wild dragon rides .

Now I understand the electric blue lit toilet seat, the brand new circular stainless steel kitchen waste basket, and the completely reorganized kitchen corner cabinet, With each attack on our routine and normal way of life, my wife engages in a counter attack of order and joyful house taming.

In our house we call cancer "‚"little c"  All the calendars, documents, books, schedules, and confusion that cancer brings into a home is confined to the guest bedroom at cancer central.   "Little  c" is not going to take over our house.  We're back to volunteering, exercising, schmoozing & eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. We'™re also looking into joining cancer support groups.  It got in there, but " little" c" isn't calling all the shots around here.  We're taking our lives back one housekeeping triumph at a time.!

Albert Victor Paulek passed away last month in Carlsbad, California at the age of 96 with his loving family at his bedside.  He lived a rich and wonderful life on his own unique terms. Albert always gently taught us by his example why it is iimportant to do things well.

The Chief is sorely missed in our lives, but he is still reporting for duty every day in our home.


The mixing of tribes......

Mon May 18, 2015 at  1:43 AM PT: I posted this today on my community blog  linking my neighbors with DKOS.   That might make for an interesting experience.  Some of my Panorama senior friends are stout conservative Republicans.  They are dear sweet loving  people that enrich my life each day.   We just agree not to let politics get in the way of enjoying each other.  Sometimes our differences are the launching pad for joyous teasing in an ongoing playful game of wits.  

So here they are being encouraged to start reading my stuff on this radical progressive blog.. I wonder what will happen next?  You may be getting some visits from conservative seniors who have never been to the land of orange.  What fun.  Just a heads up and a wish that we treat them with respect and compassion.

Here is what I posted on my Panorama blog.

I am intentionally putting cancer blogging where it will get attention,  gain influence, and boost readership.  The more eyeballs, the more we can bring change.

I belong to a progressive political blog called Daily Kos.

I posted a new cancer blog there.

I list my post here at some risk that my local friends who are politically conservative might feel this to be uncomfortable.  Please don’t take offense.  My brain tumor is apolitical and so will I be an apolitical advocate for cancer healing.

Let me reassure you.  We are all brothers and sisters  who share so much more in love  than when are creating distinctions about what particular brand of  thoughts a person collects.

Cancer does not have a political cure.  Our political system does not work . The United States is behaving as if it had a cancer in the responsibility center of our governmental brain.  I want the special interests out of government but then I want us to heal our political polarization.

Cancer will be cured by the  skillful application of love as brothers and sisters,  secure in their uniqueness,  are holding hands and smiling.

.  Let the mixing of Americans begin.  Let's break up that strata of polarization that keeps us from making friends with those of different values and beliefs.



This is the magic of cancer. It generates a radiant healing love from those who wish to help.  This love melts the frozen energy of identity politics and allows people of all political stripes to be free to love each other as beautiful human beings.
This is how today feels for me.
Something that is supposed to hurt and be a bummer, has turned into a happy buzz of wonder.
Thanks again guys for a beautiful day.


4:24 PM PT: Thanks  to all  you Kossacks for helping me make the rec list.

I'm getting tons of cannabis info and fantastic emotional support.

My community  cancer blog stats are climbing through the roof.

You are helping big time get the word out.

Big Orange was a lifesaver today.

My dear Kossacks, please gather round for a second.
Crystal Eyes( AKA Pete Farr) here on the intercom.
I got some really bad news and could use a hug from my loving cyberfamily at DKOS.
The results of my brain biopsy from the Catherine  Ivy Cancer Center at Swedish Hospital  in Seattle give me a grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma tumor on my left motor cortex.  My statistical prognosis of survival is from three to five  years.

My blog-
is about so much more than cancer.
It is about cancer as a launching pad for transformation through awareness, healing and love.

 This week I begin chemo, radiation and cannabis treatments.   I'm getting energy massage and energy counselling.  I'm exploring meditation, and reaching out to alternative healers that deal with cancer as a symptom of a dysfunctional energy process not a specific troublesome molecule.  

On Monday April 27 I was hospitalized for a seizure.
I was on a volunteer crew picking up donated furniture.
My right calf started spasming and the vibrations snaked up my body.
As I fell I remember not being able to breathe.
My friend gave me cpr for what he thought was 20 minutes as 911 response was a cluster f@#k and twice went up and down the stairs of a five story building to to find me.
I have returned to consciousness a changed man.
There is now little room in my life  for all the petty and little things that used to bug me.
There is no room in my life for stage fright, shyness and personal shame.
Time has become a priceless gem of rich and full experience.
Love is taking over my life.
I have been richly compensated for  all that has been taken from me on that Monday morning,

I have been given the gift of profound meaningful personal transformation.
and a powerful taste of universal cosmic love.

School teachers are always big on making lemon-aide out of lemons.   This cancer has inspired me to kick it up a notch.  I'm hoping  to make a magical mystical lemon elixir that lovingly heals cancer.
I want my brain cancer journey to become an educational support for all who have that lightning strike of cancer moment come out of the blue.
I want to explore the medical response to cancer and the non traditional cancer healing that is becoming available.  (On Wed, I hope to begin Cannabis oil to supplement the traditional radiation and chemo)
I want to improve my local health care system and help develop community healing support services.
I want to leave my community a guide blog - cancer patient 101- travel tips learned on the wild and wonderful road of healing.  
(and here's my Kossack coming out)
I see cancer as our primary American social disease.  We have a Koch tumor that needs to be dissolved.  There is a powerful metaphor in understanding that our political behavior is cancerous.  Traditional medicine doesn't understand what cancer is but tries to blindly cut it out with limited results.  Energy healing understands that everything (including cancer) is interconnected energy.  Cancer is healed when the energy flow is restored back to health.
I think our fight against the Kochs will become more skillful when we spend less time blindly striking out against something outside us and more time growing our power to flow healing  energy within us.  Developing the cancer paradigm for political action gives me goosebumps.  It is the rarest of blogging events.  It is actually a useful reframe that brings with it an actual focus for effective action.  Let's cure our collective political mind by understanding energy and how it heals.

Here's the bottom line from my death scare experience.  We are all beautiful interconnected loving eternal energy beings hanging out in these fragile temporary earth bodies lost in the illusion of separate selfhood.  We  are here to love.

Take a sad song and make it better.
Remember to let it into your heart
Then you can start
To make it better.


Life is good

14%27 votes
11%21 votes
6%12 votes
58%109 votes
8%16 votes

| 185 votes | Vote | Results

Continue Reading

Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 07:37 AM PDT

Michael Sam is going to Dallas

by crystal eyes

The first openly gay football player is on his way to join the Dallas Cowboy practice squad.  

I am enjoying the wonderful saga of a black gay NFL football player who is going to change hearts and minds in red state Texas.

Sam was cut by the St. Louis Rams and has been waiting for another NFL team to pick him up after a solid pre season performance.  

It's been a roller coaster this past week but I'm happy where I'm at now," Sam told MailOnline. "I'm just looking forward to being a Cowboy, my focus is on making the team."

"It has all happened so quickly, but it's exciting, I just wanna get back to playing football you know," Sam said. "I haven't had chance to speak to any of my family yet, not even my mom, but I will. I never followed the Cowboys growing up because I never had a team. I am a fan of defenses and Dallas need some help, that's why I'm going."

I have just become a Cowboy fan.

Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 07:53 AM PDT

It's time to do more than blog

by crystal eyes

Rev. Lee has a message for us all.  He is a black pastor  at Community of Hope AME Church in Prince George's County, Maryland.  He has a message for America.

We need to lock arms amidst all of this. If the police feel they are above the law with any one group, they will feel they are above the law with others. We need to learn from the civil rights movement. It wasn't just black folks, it was everybody, because it wasn't a black problem it was a moral issue. We are remembering 40 years after the Freedom Summer. That wasn't just black people risking their lives, it was a community that went down to Mississippi because they knew that when any group within the nation is marginalized then we can't be the nation we want to be.
It is time to stand with our brothers and sisters in protest to bring much needed social change.  
It is time to do more than blog.
A Huff Post article What White People Can Do  has the following quote...
The way I translate Rev. Lee's generous invitation is 'show up.' White people need to get off the computer and get involved with our voices, feet, votes and resources to help make sure that this epidemic of black deaths in America ends. This is not a 'black problem it is an American problem and it will take all of us working together to solve it.
Check the internet for a local event where we can show up and lock arms with our  brothers and sisters.

Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 07:54 AM PDT

Let us pray, Dumbledore style

by crystal eyes

The invocation for the Sioux Falls City Council in South Dakota was given  by an atheist.
The Mayor gave permission for  Siouxland Freethinker’s president, Amanda Novotny to open the meeting with a  non-theist prayer.

Amanda opened with the benediction:

....but instead of asking those in attendance to bow their heads, she asked them to ” lift your head up and look around. Turn your attention to this room — a room that has heard countless discussions, frustrations, and successes; a room where important decisions regarding your city are routinely made…Think of the hundreds and thousands of others who are also affected by the ideas shared here. Let all voices be heard and understood equally.”
She then read a passage from the good books of Potter. (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), and quoted Professor of Magic, Albus Dumbledore.
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
Novotny concluded with asking ...
those present to join me in showing gratitude to the men and women that serve the great city of Sioux Falls.
It is wonderful that Raw Story is giving this prayer national coverage.

If the courts are going to expand the influence of religion, it is time to give free thinkers the status of churches.

Here are links to the Siouxland Freethinkers.


Paul Krugman  writes in The New York Times that Cantor's defeat is a very big deal.
Movement conservatism is  "unraveling before our very eyes."
Eric Cantor and the Death of a Movement

The Rovian bag of tricks has long been used by conservatives to win elections.  Emotional conservative themes such as the threadbare Guns God and Gays are trotted out each election campaign only to be put away once Republicans are elected.

movement conservatism,” a term I think I learned from the historian Rick Perlstein, is something more specific: an interlocking set of institutions and alliances that won elections by stoking cultural and racial anxiety but used these victories mainly to push an elitist economic agenda, meanwhile providing a support network for political and ideological loyalists.
With the defeat of Cantor, this is all changing.
By rejecting Mr. Cantor, the Republican base showed that it has gotten wise to the electoral bait and switch, and, by his fall, Mr. Cantor showed that the support network can no longer guarantee job security. For around three decades, the conservative fix was in; but no more.
What does this mean for 2016?  Fasten your seatbelts because the crazy can no longer be cosmetic.
Mr. Cantor’s defeat shows that lip service to extremism isn’t enough; the base needs to believe that you really mean it.

In the long run — which probably begins in 2016 — this will be bad news for the G.O.P., because the party is moving right on social issues at a time when the country at large is moving left. (Think about how quickly the ground has shifted on gay marriage.) Meanwhile, however, what we’re looking at is a party that will be even more extreme, even less interested in participating in normal governance, than it has been since 2008. An ugly political scene is about to get even uglier.

The Republican party is about to go nova. The conservative movement has been feeding itself on the marketing deception that it was crazy.  Now Republican candidates have to actually be divorced from reality to get elected.

Popcorn Time!


Thu Mar 06, 2014 at 07:34 AM PST

CPAC Live Blog

by crystal eyes

There is a Comedy Central gold mind happening right now.

Tune in and see the clip live as it happens before it gets set up by Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert.

Paul Ryan opened by saying something like... At CPAC we save the best for last, that's why I'm first.
He also said that liberals are tired and out of ideas, so conservatives are ready to take over because they have so many good ones.

Here are the highlights of the schedule..and the live stream link.

Now Speaking... Mitch McConnell for some turtle talk.


Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 10:13 AM PST

Number 98

by crystal eyes

I'm not a big basketball fan, but today I am going to be buying a number 98  Nets t-shirt.

Nets center Jason Collins presented an autographed No. 98 jersey to the family of Matthew Shepard in Denver on Thursday.

Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, wears the No. 98 in honor of Shepard, a homosexual man who was tortured and murdered in 1998 at the age of 21. The 13-year vet also donned No. 98 while playing with the Celtics and the Wizards during the 2012-13 season, before he came out as gay last April.

“The number has great significance to the gay community,” Collins explained when he announced his sexuality in a Sports Illustrated essay. “One of the most notorious antigay hate crimes occurred in 1998. Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, was kidnapped, tortured and lashed to a prairie fence. He died five days after he was finally found.”

Jason Collins is trailblazer of courage and class.  He is using the publicity as the first openly gay NBA player to highlight Matthew Shepard's tragic story.  It's not often when wearing some sports gear is all about making things right.
“I’m so fortunate to have met Matthew Shepard’s parents and brother tonight after [the Nets'] win tonight in Denver,” Collins wrote on Twitter.

”It was delightful,” Judy Shepard said of the meeting, according to the Associated Press. “We were happy to finally have the opportunity to meet.”

Collins’ No. 98 was the best-selling jersey on the NBA’s online store earlier this week.

”I did not want to give them a sweaty jersey, so this is a backup,” Collins said, according to the AP, adding that his meeting with the Shepards was “one of those cool treats in life.”

Here are some links if you would like to join me.


Sat Jun 08, 2013 at 06:56 AM PDT

The Tyrant's Checklist

by crystal eyes

The Atlantic has a must read analysis of the erosion of rights and safeguards under Bush and Obama.

To an increasing degree, we're counting on having angels in office and making ourselves vulnerable to devils.
All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama by Conor Friedersdorf makes the compelling argument that we are becoming a nation of men not laws.

We are trusting our leaders to be ethical and lawful.

We have created a tyrant's checklist of precedents for any future president who dwells in the dark side of human nature.

*  A precedent that allows the president to kill citizens in secret without prior judicial or legislative review

  *  The power to detain prisoners indefinitely without charges or trial

  *  Ongoing warrantless surveillance on millions of Americans accused of no wrongdoing, converted into a permanent database so that data of innocents spied upon in 2007 can be accessed in 2027

  *  Using ethnic profiling to choose the targets of secret spying, as the NYPD did with John Brennan's blessing

 *   Normalizing situations in which the law itself is secret -- and whatever mischief is hiding in those secret interpretations

  *  The permissibility of droning to death people whose identities are not even known to those doing the killing

 *  The ability to collect DNA swabs of people who have been arrested even if they haven't been convicted of anything

 *   A torture program that could be restarted with an executive order

The conclusion is clear.  The over reaction to terror is killing our Constitution.
The national-security state, loosed of the Constitution's safeguards, is a far bigger threat to liberty than al-Qaeda will ever be.

Imagine a Dick Cheney sitting in the oval office with a tyrant's checklist in his hand.


Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:30 AM PST

OMG! Marco Rubio Drinks Water!

by crystal eyes

OMG! Marco Rubio Drinks Water!

GOPUSA is fighting back.
Here is the mind bending spin that Marco's water lunge might actually have been a good thing.

The introductory paragraph begins.....

A parched Marco Rubio's awkward reach for a drink of Poland Spring water during his Republican rebuttal to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night became an instant online sensation. Predictably, the video clips, jokes and Twitter hashtags that have become so familiar in such situations took the social Internet by storm.
After the orange bubbling fountain, the GOP finds a positive for Rubio's famous thirst.
Continue Reading

It begins with a promise.  The one I made to myself after the Sandy Hook shootings.
I will not forget.  I will support gun control.  I will get involved.

Last week I attended a grassroots community meeting on gun violence in Lacey, Washington.

This week I decided to make a linoleum block poster.

It begins with an idea "Stop the Madness....   Now"
This becomes a pencil sketch with letters inverted for printing.

Continue Reading
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.


Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site