Creative Brooding

Welcome to my blog. My name is Pat O'Connor and I wanted to create one little spot where I could share feelings, thoughts, even ramble if I want to. Perhaps too, reveal a side of me very few know about. If there are two words I would use to describe myself, those two would be iconoclastic and eclectic.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Anger - A Few Random Thoughts

I originally posted this on another blog, but felt it was important enough that I wanted to share it here as well.

It is 3:00am; Sunday Morning with the only sound is the clicking of the keyboard and the mellow sounds of BB King echoing throughout the stillness of the night.. What a beautiful time of the day, nourishing solitude and a special time for reflection.

Home at last after another week of being poked, prodded, disrupted and cut. I can’t help but wonder how long I’ll be able to stay out this time, and I remember what Dr. Stewart said about being caught in the cycle. For me the cycle goes only downward, and my eyes look upward, not downward.

We had an interesting incident in the Lipedema group this week, and I bade farewell to the group I founded. There was a member that simply in absolute anger went berserk over the fact that I questioned them on some treatment they had suggested.

How very very say to be so driven and consumed by such an emotion as anger. I have struggled against lymphedema, lymphoma, leukopenia…but there are worse things you can have…anger, bitterness and fear.

Those emotions have destroyed more lives then all the wars of human history combined and life is far too short to be eaten up by them.

It is easy to become angry when you have a serious illness and actually it is quite normal. What isn’t normal and what can be totally destructive is when you allow the anger to be predominant in your emotions.

Choose your path…choose your destiny…no matter what condition or situation your are in, you still have a choice.

Choose anger…and you choose death…lonliness….bitterness.

It may not be your fault, indeed it is probably no one’s fault that you have a terrible medical condition. But, it is your responsibility how you react to it.

You can also choose to be a blessing to others, or to be a curse. You can be remembered in their hearts with sweetness or with a relief that you are gone.

When you are consumed in anger, I do not have compassion for you or your medical condition. I do feel sorry for those who are going to be your victims. Those innocent people who come across your path that you hurt and lash out at to make yourself feel better. What a coward’s way to face life and you certainly don't have the right to take out your anger on others.
Some interesting quotes about anger:

If you do not wish to be prone to anger, do not feed the habit; give it nothing which may tend to its increase.
Epictetus (55 AD - 135 AD)

Speak when you are angry--and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret.
Laurence J. Peter (1919 - 1988)

When anger rises, think of the consequences.
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

He who angers you conquers you. My mother used to say, "He who angers you, conquers you!" But my mother was a saint.
Elizabeth Kenney

Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back -- in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.
Frederick Beuchner

How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.
Marcus Aurelius

People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.
Will Rogers

Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools.
Albert Einstein

If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your own foot.
Korean Proverb

Anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before - it takes something from him.
Louis L'Armour

Consider how much more you often suffer from your anger and grief, than from those very things for which you are angry and grieved.
Marcus Antonius

Anger is the handmaiden of self-pity and the toxin of death.
Pat O'Connor

When you were born, the world rejoiced and you cried. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
Old Cherokee Proverb

Pat O'Connor

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Courage - Some random thoughts

Some random thoughts

It has often been said, that it takes more courage to face life, then to face death.
For in death, you are given the answers you seek during life and your pathway is guided by the holy light of the Almighty.

But, to remain in this life, there are dragons to slay, demons to subdue, monsters to conquer.
What are these dragons and monsters?
Fear, bitterness, lonliness, sickness, hopelessness, self-doubt or even worse self-hate.

There are dreams long turned into dust, loved ones who have forsaken us, the over whelming sense of futility, the pain of rejection that rapes our soul.

Courage is more then simply the opposite of cowardice. It is the flowering of your spirit, knowing what is it to be beautiful in spirit.
It is the determination to overcome the great tragedies and sorrows of life without becoming hard, bitter and cynical.

Courage is the empowerment of the heart to care, to love, to forget onself and to bring comfort to the suffering of another.

Courage is remaining true to your own values, even if and when it costs you everything you have, or ever hoped to have.

Courage is holding onto your dreams, 
of being unafraid to dream again.

Courage is the discovery of hope, for if you lose hope, you lose the vitality of your spirit. 

Courage is continuing the spirirtual war, even when you lose the battle today.

Courage is forgiving and loving the very person that brutalized you the most.

Courage is a way of life. It is as much a habit as anything else. Like getting up and brushing your teeth in the morning, or drinking coffee. It’s a matter of routine more than anything else. For it has also been said that the real test of courage is in our daily lives.

Courage is someone who feels fear, recognizes fear and still goes on to do what he or she believes is right.

Courage is the strength to speak our mind and not stay silent in the midst of hate and wrong doing.

Courage is giving freely without the expectation of reward or the feeling that the person you helped now "owes" you something.
Mark Twain has said, Courage is not the absence of fear. It is acting in spite of it.

Pat O'Connor

Janoary 24, 2007

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You're tired and you're poor, you long to be free, but in this Godforsaken land you find no home, no family on the many roads that you've wandered since the day of your birth. You've become one of the last, lonely and wretched.
Your hair is matted, your face and hands are dirty, and the years that you've toiled must number somewhere near thirty. The deepening of a sadness broke finally into madness. You are truly one of the last, lonely and wretched.
Your eyes are wild and frightening at the same time they are blessed and I wonder if God died, turned his back or only just rested. And you walked out on the seventh day through the big gates and on your way to become one of the last, lonely and wretched.
For once you were a child. Your cheeks were red, you were well fed. You laughed and played till you got teary, ran to your mother when you were weary.
But somewhere you were forsaken alone I'll not bear the blame and somehow all was taken, your mind, your body, your name.
Forgive us our unkindness, our desertion and our blindness, with you, all the last, lonely and wretched. Forgive us, all the last, lonely and wretched

1970, 1971 Chandos MusicWords, Lyrics by Joan Baez

Monday, January 22, 2007

When we are young, so very young our hearts were full of the joy of life.

We delighted in all that we saw, eager to learn, eager to grow.

Then time begins to take its toll and wears away even the essence of our spirit.

By the time we are adults, the sensitivity of our young spirit has been forever hardened. We hide who and what we are...safely locking it away in a prison cell.

We learn to play the game of life, give the world what it wants and what it expects. We are shorn of our ability to trust, to reach out, to care. We hide our sorrows, quickly wipe away our silent tears and protect our hearts with a solid impenetrable vault.

Slowly, even before we realize it, we begin to die. Our true self retreats further and further into the darkness, until there is only a faint shadow left, until we don't even recognize the stranger that lives deeply within us.

I don't wanna grow old and turn to stone. I want to feel all the joys and sorrows of my life. I want to create beauty and to delight in the simple things. I want to embrace the dawn and feel the resurrection of the sun filling my heart. I want to squeal with delight in learning new truths, discovering new epiphanies. I want to have the courage to not let the world and the brutality of life destroy my spirit or crush my heart.

I don't want to loose who I am, what I am, what I stand for in my heart and my spirit. I don't want to be afraid to care, to love, to be gentle, to create beauty, to give hope. For if I loose all of those treasures, then my life truely will be over and there will no longer be any reason to continue along life's path.

"I've Gotta Be Me"

Whether I'm right or whether I'm wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I've gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am
I want to live, not merely survive
And I won't give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am
That far-away prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won't settle down, won't settle for less
As long as there's a chance that I can have it all
I'll go it alone, that's how it must be
I can't be right for somebody else
If I'm not right for meI gotta be free, I've gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I've gotta be me
I'll go it alone, that's how it must be
I can't be right for somebody else
If I'm not right for me
I gotta be free, I just gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I gotta be me
Sammy Davis Jr
Pat O'Connor
January 22, 2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007


In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust;

let me never be ashamed:
deliver me in thy righteousness.
Bow down thine ear to me;

deliver me speedily:
be thou my strong rock,
for a house of defense to save me.
For thou art my rock and my fortress;

therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.
Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me:

for thou art my strength.
Into thine hand I commit my spirit

thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
I have hated them that regard lying vanities:

but I trust in the LORD.
I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy:

for thou hast considered my trouble;
thou hast known my soul in adversities;
and hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy:

thou hast set my feet in a large room.
Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble:

mine eye is consumed with grief,
yea, my soul and my belly.
For my life is spent with grief,

and my years with sighing:
my strength faileth because of mine iniquity,
and my bones are consumed.
I was a reproach among all mine enemies,

but especially among my neighbors,
and a fear to mine acquaintance:
they that did see me without fled from me.
I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind:

I am like a broken vessel.
For I have heard the slander of many:

fear was on every side:
while they took counsel together against me,
they devised to take away my life.
But I trusted in thee, O LORD:

I said, Thou art my God.
My times are in thy hand:

deliver me from the hand of mine enemies,
and from them that persecute me.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant:

save me for thy mercies' sake.
Let me not be ashamed, O LORD;

for I have called upon thee:
let the wicked be ashamed,
and let them be silent in the grave.
Let the lying lips be put to silence;

which speak grievous things
proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.
Oh how great is thy goodness,

which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee;
which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee
before the sons of men!
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence

from the pride of man:
thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion
from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the LORD:

for he hath showed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city.
For I said in my haste,

I am cut off from before thine eyes:
nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications
when I cried unto thee.
O love the LORD, all ye his saints:

for the LORD preserveth the faithful,
and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart,

all ye that hope in the LORD.
Psalms 31

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I am Free
Pat O'Connor
March 17, 2005
I was born with lymphedema. Slowly over the years, I have watched helplessly as my body swells more and more, destroying so much of my abilities of doing
"things." Then came the cancers, the depletion of an already tattered immune system.... the slow ebbing of a life.
I know what it is to hurt so bad...your body screams to die just for relief. I have felt that despair that says, "if only I could go to sleep and not wake up."
I have wrestled with the anger that comes and cries out "if only this stuff would do its job quickly...instead of slowly stealing away my life."
You struggle with the shadows of the night...the quiet tears that stain your cheek.
I know the shame of being made fun of....laughed at....rejected because my legs were so "wierd." The heart break of being called a freak. The feeling of hopelessness and isolation.
Some would say I am prison bound...locked away in a body that is overwhelmed by pain, disfigurment, continually eaten up by non-stopable infections...sorrow and frustrations face my every day.
But, I am free.
I am free to embrace the bask in the warmth of the morning sun.
I am free to wander through the stars at behold the glory of my God and worship His goodness.
I am free to be intoxicated by the aroma of a rose...glistening with the dew. To rejoice in all the glory of a wonderous creation.
I am free to create beauty, whether through the pen, a camera...a create beauty in a world where so many create ugliness.
I am free to laugh and to bring laughter into anothers sorrowful life.
I am free to go beyond my own bring comfort to bring healing to an aching heart.
I am free to go beyond my choose a life of selfless giving to others.
I am free to reach out and touch the heart of bring comfort and hope.
I am free to wipe away the tears of another hurting lift them help heal their broken heart.
I am free to journey face my overcome them with victory in my spirit...instead of living in fear and doubt.
I am free to allow be turned into a sweet nectar.
I am be me. Free to say "I don't want to be anyone else, but me"
I am free to look into the mirror and respect the person I see, to like my values... to know who I am deep inside.
I am so many many ways...seemingly to many to list. But...perhaps most important.......
I am free to choose who I am and how I live.
I am free to choose life...instead of allowing myself to be destroyed by the shadows of despair or even death.
I am free to choose kindess and gentleness.
I am free...

On Life and Death

Like an endless turbulent tide, the struggle between life and death ravages my soul and overwhelms my spirit.

To live is only to know pain and sorrow and to drink from the cup of forgotten dreams and vanquished hopes, to endure an endless struggle of aloneness and desperation.

We are born to know suffering. We journey through life attempting to create meaning and purpose from absolute futility and chaos. We run from the reality, that all we are is dust in the wind.

For we are here for a few short years, and then after we are gone, we are forgotten in only a few minutes. No one remembers or even cares that we were here.

Death is a sweet release. It is the time when you soul is finally freed from the weak and worn out body. It is the moment of rebirth when you spirit is allowed to soar through the universe and finally discover its fulfillment.

If death is a time of no more suffering and pain, no more sorrow and anguish, then why does humanity fear it so? As Kahlil Gibran, the Lebanese poet once said, “We fear death, yet we long for slumber and beautiful dreams.”

But always, I chose the path of life because it is the responsible thing to do. After all, the responsible person chooses that which will cause the less pain in others. I live because, I am told, they need me too. I live because it is expected of me.

Yet, as night covers the earth and the shadows race across the face of the moon, I am alone. My spirit weeps with the memories of silent sorrows. Tears that could not be cried, fears that could not be acknowledged to others. I am imprisoned in the darkness of the night and wonder when I shall delight in the dawn.
Pat O'Connor
January 13, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Big Brother Steve

January 1, 2007

What better way can there be to welcome the new year, then by sharing a little about someone who you love very much and for whom you have great respect and admiration for.

Like so many families and family members, time and distance had separated Steve and I for many many years. So much so, that we almost became like strangers to each other.

Then a couple years ago, Steve came down (from Alaska) for a visit. I suddenly came to know my brother, like I had never done before. I came to see a depth and quality, of deep inner feeling, that sense of humor, and a quiet but strong gentleness that came from within.

A big gap in my heart had been filled. I had my big brother back!

This year, Steve had retired as fire chief for the area he lived in Alaska and was planning to come down for a couple weeks to again visit and so we could spend time together. This was really going to be one the highlights of my excited about it.

Then a week before he was to be here, came that awful phone call. He had an accident on September 14th:

Steve was unloading a rototiller from the back of his truck when he got tangled with it and both of them fell to the ground. Steve's wife Linda found him unconscious a short time later and called for help. The Nikiski Fire Department responded to the call and transported Steve to Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. Steve regained consciousness and was evaluated for possible head, neck, and back injuries. He was admitted to the hospital for overnight observation. During the night his condition deteriorated and Steve required intubation and ventilation support. Further test results determined that he had intracranial bleeding and was subsequently Medevaced to Providence Medical Center in Anchorage at 5:30am on Friday, September 15th.

All of a sudden, it seemed that very brother I had just been restored to might well be taken away. I was shattered...think freaked out would be a good term too. He was in a coma and for the first few days was not doing to well.

Move ahead several months though, and we have our miracle. Not only did he come out of the coma, but his healing and progress and been spectacular. He has made it from critical care to a hospital back in his home town where he is receiving physical therapy. The old Steve is back....roaring to get going. I am again filled with excitment over the prospect of him being able to visit and of spending time together.

I know this isn't what I usually put in this blog...but just needed to share...and wanted you to know a little about my brother Steve.

Unlike the previous three posts, this could be more appropriately called

The Beauty of a Life Restored

Pat O'Connor

January 1, 2007