A Woman in Death

December 24, 2011

The unseen cord to your life is slowly detaching
You, a mother losing, a mother

Women dying with surrender is a process she knows
A secret shrine that moves life through her
She forgets the pain and lives the joy and agony of her children
The strength of mother if she is, with autonomy,
Putting her needs on hold for her children
without regret

A daughter losing a mother, a piece of her own womb
Once strong, now frail, the vitality of death releases the mother’s heart
to find its place in the daughter
The last lesson a mother passes to the daughter as life comes, moves,
departs into its own

Every great man comes through women
Every great atrocity is created by men

Woman eventually tire of man
Unless that man leaves his subjective mind
And finds in him his mother, the gift women offers
Unspoken, without intent, humanity embraced to hold peace
and well being to the needy


Without Disorder

November 9, 2010

There were about ten or eleven of them in a large gymnasium, pushing each other around on these little carts. One or two of them would get behind the other and push. Every time the driver would turn, three would go tumbling over the other and loud shrieking laughter would echo throughout the gym. To look and feel this gem of activity brought deep tears to my eyes and a large smile on my face. These children didn’t see color, race, sex or disability. They were enraptured in enjoyment.  One very little boy on the cart stopped all of a sudden and with the greatest attention became aware that the laughter had an echo and he gave out a loud yell. Soon all the others caught on and soon they were all yelling and listening. Then each gave the other a turn and the others listened and laughed.  The first boy on the cart became bored with it and again was off on his cart, soon being chased in tow by the others.

Central Huron rainbow-20101021-00070Innocent is how we all start out. Regardless of how bad our lives as children were, innocence finds a way to play and laugh. Even in the poorest conditions children will find a way to play, and find happiness. This is our natural state and we lose touch with it because the outside world moves in and we are brainwashed to believe the human experience is not enough, that we are incomplete in ourselves, and creation has left something out of the package.  Children who are genuinely happy don’t need anything external to be happy – they are too busy playing in the space of happiness.

Because we are pressured to become something, we grow up with the feeling we are not enough or something is wrong with us. The only option left is to conform to the wishes of our parents who, by the way, are already terribly unhappy because of the impositions of their parental and cultural conditioning.  They feel unhappy, and feel this huge void within themselves. Therefore they fill it with their parents conditioning then modify it a little and make it their own.

How do you know this is true? Because today we are a society of addicts we have to have a drink, smoke, sex, gamble, or become workaholics, sport-aholics, shopaholics, etc. People don’t see that the heart of addiction is to cover up the feel of the void within us. This void is created by our drug of choice. We all want to be happy, as we were as children, which is our natural state. But we use various addictions to cover up the fact we feel deprived.

Linked to the feeling of depravity is the feeling of inadequacy. This feeling is so deep in human beings and it is our greatest fear, the fear of being a nothing.  You smoke, drink, over sex, gamble, overeat, overwork, because you think doing these things will make you feel better. Well it does for that feeling of being deprived – a smoke, eating, or drinking something takes that feeling away. However, when the chemical has left the system, one must use again. Using is the closest thing to being in a natural of happiness. However, it is drug dependent and there is an illusion of happiness.  People who are not chemically addicted don’t walk around feeling deprived.   They don’t feel this huge void that addicts feel almost all the time.  As soon as the drug is out of their system, this feeling of void comes up.  So really the drug creates the void.

Religion, politics, and beliefs of any kind also cover up the deeper void created by our brainwashing.  The brainwashing that we are born inadequate is rooted in the fact that we try to fill a hole in ourselves with the product of thought and all the things that thinking has created. The universe was not created by our thinking process. Nor is love or nature created by thinking.  They are all realities independent of thinking. In order for us to develop and be whole human beings and reach our potential, we must have contact with a reality that is beyond thought. Then the next thing thought does is try to build a bridge to that other reality, which it can never do. Thus all human beings, when they are lonely, feel this deep sense of a void or insufficiency in themselves.

Woolwich-20101024-00094Our education creates children of the void.  Education in our culture is about stuffing in the things of thought, and the word education actually means to draw out. It is in the drawing out the illusions of self that there is really play and laughter, which is our natural state. To be innocent is to be free of all images about oneness and the other. In that innocence there is really joy. Watching these children was a deep blessing, and at the same time I wept for all those children who have to face the misery of this rotten society with its preoccupation with money and all its addictions.

Coach Bri

US Kids Represent Psychiatric Drug Goldmine

February 2, 2010

Saturday 12 December 2009

by: Evelyn Pringle, t r u t h o u t | Report
from http://www.truthout.org/1213091

Prescriptions for psychiatric drugs increased 50 percent with children in the US, and 73 percent among adults, from 1996 to 2006, according to a study in the May/June 2009 issue of the journal Health Affairs. Another study in the same issue of Health Affairs found spending for mental health care grew more than 30 percent over the same ten-year period, with almost all of the increase due to psychiatric drug costs.

On April 22, 2009, the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that in 2006 more money was spent on treating mental disorders in children aged 0 to 17 than for any other medical condition, with a total of $8.9 billion. By comparison, the cost of treating trauma-related disorders, including fractures, sprains, burns, and other physical injuries, was only $6.1 billion.

In 2008, psychiatric drug makers had overall sales in the US of $14.6 billion from antipsychotics, $9.6 billion off antidepressants, $11.3 billion from antiseizure drugs and $4.8 billion in sales of ADHD drugs, for a grand total of $40.3 billion.

The path to child drugging in the US started with providing adolescents with stimulants for ADHD in the early 80s. That was followed by Prozac in the late 80s, and in the mid-90s drug companies started claiming that ADHD kids really had bipolar disorder, coinciding with the marketing of epilepsy drugs as “mood stablizers” and the arrival of the new atypical antipsychotics.

Parents can now have their kids declared disabled due to mental illness and receive Social Security disability payments and free medical care, and schools can get more money for disabled kids. The bounty for the prescribing doctors and pharmacies is enormous and the CEOs of the drug companies are laughing all the way into early retirement.

Psychiatric Drugs Explained

During an interview with Street Spirit in August 2005, investigative journalist and author of “Mad in America,” Robert Whitaker, described the dangers of psychiatric drugs. “When you look at the research literature, you find a clear pattern of outcomes with all these drugs,” he said, “you see it with the antipsychotics, the antidepressants, the anti-anxiety drugs and the stimulants like Ritalin used to treat ADHD.”

“All these drugs may curb a target symptom slightly more effectively than a placebo does for a short period of time, say six weeks,” Whitaker said. However, what “you find with every class of these psychiatric drugs is a worsening of the target symptom of depression or psychosis or anxiety, over the long term, compared to placebo-treated patients.”

“So even on the target symptoms, there’s greater chronicity and greater severity of symptoms,” he reports, “And you see a fairly significant percentage of patients where new and more severe psychiatric symptoms are triggered by the drug itself.”

Whitaker told Street Spirit that the rate of Americans disabled by mental illness has skyrocketed since Prozac came on the market in 1987, and reports: (1) the number of mentally disabled people in the US has been increasing at a rate of 150,000 people per year since 1987, (2) that represents an increase of 410 new people per day and (3) the disability rate has continued to increase and one in every 50 Americans is disabled by mental illness.

The statistics above beg the question of how could this happen when the so-called new generation of “wonder drugs” arrived on the market during the exact same time period. The truth is, the “wonder drugs” cause most of the bizarre behaviors listed by doctors to warrant a mental illness disability.

Psychiatric Drug Goldmine

The CIA “World Factbook” estimate the world population to be about 6.8 billion and the US population to be a mere 307 million. In an April 2008 report, the market research firm Datamonitor reported that the “US dominates the ADHD market with a 94 percent market share.”

ADHD drug prices at a middle dose for 90 pills at DrugStore.com, are: Adderall $278, Concerta $412, Desoxyn $366, Strattera $464 and Vyvanse $385. Daytrana costs $437 for three boxes of 30 nine-hour patches.

The SSRI and SNRI antidepressants include GlaxoSmithKline’s Paxil and Wellbutrin, Pfizer’s Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro from Forest Labs, Luvox by Solvay, Wyeth’s Effexor and Pristiq and Lilly’s Prozac and Cymbalta. The average price of these drugs is about $300 for 90 pills at DrugStore.com.

The prices for anticonvulsants can run as high as $929 for 180 tablets of Glaxo’s Lamictal, and $1170 for 180 tablets of Johnson & Johnson’s Topamax.

In 2008, the atypical antipsychotics took over the slot as the top revenue earners in the US, and include Seroquel by AstraZeneca; Risperdal and Invega marketed by Janssen, a division of J&J; Geodon by Pfizer; Abilify from Bristol-Myers Squibb; Novartis’ Clozaril and Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa. The average price on these drugs for 100 pills at DrugStore.com is about $1,000. Lilly also sells Symbyax, a drug with Zyprexa and Prozac combined, at a cost $1,564 for 90 capsules at DrugStore.com in May 2009.

The briefing material submitted to an FDA advisory panel in April 2009 reported that an estimated 25.9 million patients worldwide had been exposed to Seroquel since its launch in 1997 through July 31, 2007, in the US, and the second quarter of 2007 for countries outside the US. Of that number, an estimated nearly 15.9 million took Seroquel in the US, compared to only ten million patients in the rest of the world. In 2008, the US accounted for roughly $3 billion of Seroquel’s $4.5 billion in worldwide sales.

For the full-year of 2008, Eli Lilly reported worldwide Zyprexa sales of about $4.7 billion, with US sales of $2.2 billion and only $2.5 billion for the rest of the world.

FDA as Promotional Tool

On June 12, 2009, an FDA advisory panel gave the green light to expand the marketing of Zyprexa, Seroquel and Geodon for use with 13 to 17 year-olds diagnosed with schizophrenia and 10 to 17 year-olds diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The FDA usually follows its advisers’ recommendations.

“Such approval gives manufacturers a shield from liability – for illegally promoting the drugs for off-label use,” said Vera Hassner Sharav, president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

“And such approval ensures increased use of these drugs,” she warned. “Manufacturers and mental health providers will profit while children’s physical and mental health will be sacrificed.”

“The body of evidence showing these drugs to be harmful is irrefutable,” she said, “it is documented in FDA’s postmarketing database, and in secret internal company documents uncovered during litigation.”

According to Dr. Stefan Kruszewski, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the atypicals increase the risk of obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks and stroke.

He said the drugs were marketed as safer and easier to tolerate than the older, cheaper antipsychotics because they would cause fewer neurological injuries like tardive dyskinesia and akathisia.

Those claims turned out to be totally false, he said, and “they continue to cause same neurological side-effects as the older antipsychotics.”

“Children are known to be compliant patients and that makes them a highly desirable market for drugs, especially when it pertains to large-profit-margin psychiatric drugs, which can be wrought with issues of non-compliance because of their horrendous side effect profiles,” according to a June 29, 2009 paper titled, “Drugging Our Children to Death,” in Health News Digest.com, by Gwen Olsen, who spent over a decade as a pharmaceutical sales rep, and authored the book, “Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher.”

Children are forced to take their drugs by doctors, parents and school personnel, she said. “So, children are the ideal patient-type because they represent refilled prescription compliance and ‘longevity.'”

“In other words,” Olsen noted, “they will be lifelong patients and repeat customers for Pharma!”

“The initiative to drug our children for profit has exceeded all common sense boundaries and is threatening the welfare of every American child,” she stated, and it “is up to each and every one of us to stop this madness!”

Drug Makers Busted

Most all of the psychiatric drug companies have come under investigation over the past several years for promoting their drugs for off-label use, especially with children. However, the fines they end up paying are trivial compared to the profits earned through the illegal marketing campaigns.

In September 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb entered into a $515 million civil settlement with the US Department of Justice for illegally marketing drugs, including Abilify, for off-label uses. In the first six months of 2009, Abilify had sales of $1.9 billion. In 2008, the salary and compensation package of Bristol-Myers’ CEO, James Cornelius, was $23,150,236, according to the AFL-CIO’s Executive PayWatch Database.

On January 29, 2009, Paxil and Wellbutrin maker, GlaxoSmithKline, announced that it would record a legal charge in the fourth quarter of 2008 of $400 million relating to an ongoing investigation initiated by the US attorney’s office in Colorado into the US marketing and promotional practices for several products for the period 1997 to 2004. The government inquired about alleged off-label marketing as well as medical education programs for doctors, “other speaker events, special issue boards, advisory boards, speaker training programmes, clinical studies, and related grants, fees, travel and entertainment,” according to a Glaxo annual report.

In January 2009, Eli Lilly settled with the DOJ and more than 30 states for $1.4 billion over the off-label marketing of Zyprexa. The agreement included a $615 million fine for a federal criminal charge. But $1.4 billion was chump change considering that Zyprexa was still Lilly’s best seller in 2008, with sales of $4.69 billion. Lilly also has paid over $1 billion to settle lawsuits filed by Zyprexa patients. In the first six months of 2009, Zyprexa sales were $1.5 billion. In 2008, Lilly’s CEO, John Lechleiter, had a pay package worth $12,856,882

In September 2009, the DOJ reached a $2.3 billion settlement with Pfizer related to the off-label promotion of several drugs, including the psychiatric drugs, Geodon, Zoloft and Lyrica, in the largest health-care fraud settlement in history. But even though Pfizer took the entire $2.3 billion as an earnings charge for the fourth quarter of 2008, the drug maker was still able to post a fourth quarter profit of $268 million. Pfizer’s CEO in 2008, Jeffrey Kindler, had a salary and pay package of $15,547,600.

Johnson & Johnson is also dealing with the DOJ and state-level investigations into the off-label marketing of Risperdal. The company’s latest SEC filing lists nine subpoenas received by the company involving promotions of Risperdal, including one “seeking information regarding the Company’s financial relationship with several psychiatrists.” In the first six months of 2009, Risperdal earned $660 million. J&J’s CEO, William Weldon, had a pay package worth $29,127,432 in 2008.

AstraZeneca’s third quarter SEC filing lists a $520 million tentative settlement agreement with the US attorney’s office in Philadelphia to resolve allegations related to the off-label marketing of Seroquel. At “least 34 states are pursuing separate investigations of AstraZeneca’s marketing practices as part of a joint investigation and others may be conducting their own probes,” according to Ed Silverman on Pharmalot.

“A half a billion dollar one-time settlement is just a small cost of doing business for a company that sold $17 billion worth of the offending drug in the last five years,” Dr. Roy Poses points out on the Health Care Renewal web site. In 2008 alone, Seroquel had world-wide sales of more than $4.4 billion.

As of July 13, 2009, AstraZeneca was also defending approximately 10,381 served or answered personal injury lawsuits and approximately 19,391 plaintiff groups involving Seroquel, according to SEC filings. Some of the cases also include claims against other drug makers such as Eli Lilly, Janssen Pharmaceutica and/or Bristol-Myers Squibb, the filing notes.

On September 23, 2009, Shire Pharmaceuticals received a subpoena from the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General in coordination with the US attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking production of documents related to the sales and marketing of Adderall XR, Daytrana and Vyvanse, according to Shire’s third quarter report for 2009.

In a November 6, 2009, SEC filing, Abbott Labs said the federal prosecutor for the Western District of Virginia was conducting an investigation for the US Justice Department of whether the company’s sales and marketing of Depakote violated civil or criminal laws, including the Federal False Claims Act and an anti-kickback statute related to reimbursement by Medicare and Medicaid programs to third parties.

In 2008, Depakote had sales of $1.36 billion and Abbott CEO, Miles White, had a salary and compensation package of $28,253,387.

In February 2009, the DOJ unsealed a lawsuit alleging that Forest Laboratories marketed the antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro for unapproved uses in children, and paid kickbacks to induce doctors to promote the drugs, including Dr. Jeffrey Bostic at Harvard University. In its latest SEC filing, Forest disclosed that it reached an agreement in principle in May 2009 to settle the civil aspects of US federal and state probes. “Penalties in the civil settlement are covered by a $170 million reserve Forest created in April,” according to a November 9 report by Dow Jones.

Forest also disclosed that the agreement “does not resolve the government’s ongoing investigation into potential criminal law violations” related to Celexa and Lexapro, and thyroid drug Levothroid, Dow Jones notes. In 2008, the salary and compensation for Forest CEO, Howard Solomon, was $6,565,324.

Over the past year and a half, a large number of so-called “Key Opinion Leaders” in the field of psychiatry have been exposed for not fully disclosing money received from many of the drug companies above through an investigation by the US Senate Finance Committee under the leadership of Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The list so far includes Harvard University’s Joseph Biederman, Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens; Charles Nemeroff and Zackery Stowe from Emory; Melissa DelBello at the University of Cincinnati; Alan Schatzberg, president of the American Psychiatric Association from Stanford; Martin Keller at Brown University; Karen Wagner and Augustus John Rush from the University of Texas and Fred Goodwin, the former host of a radio show called “Infinite Minds,” broadcast by National Pubic Radio.

Fines as a Business Expense

The fraud settlements are “merely a cost of doing business to these pharmaceutical Goliaths and, in fact, caps their liability for these crimes,” said Alaskan attorney Jim Gottstein, the leader of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights), a public interest law firm.

“Most importantly,” he noted, “these settlements have not stopped the practice of psychiatrists and other prescribers giving these drugs to children and youth and Medicaid continuing to pay for these fraudulent claims.”

“Because of the massive, harmful, increase in the psychiatric drugging of America’s children and youth, who are inherently forced, PsychRights has made addressing the problem a priority,” he said.

Gottstein conducted an investigation and determined that the vast majority of off-label psychotropic drug prescriptions for children and youth that are paid for by Medicaid constitute Medicaid fraud.

PsychRights now has a national “Medicaid Fraud Initiative Against Psychiatric Drugging of Children & Youth,” designed to address this problem by “having lawsuits brought against the doctors prescribing these harmful, ineffective drugs, their employers, and the pharmacies filling these prescriptions and submitting them to Medicaid for reimbursement,” according to its web site.

“Anyone who submits or causes claims to be submitted to Medicaid for drugs that are not for a ‘medically accepted indication’ is committing Medicaid Fraud,” said Gottstein, in a July 27, 2009 press release announcing the launch of the national campaign.

“Those guilty of this Medicaid Fraud include psychiatrists and other physicians prescribing these drugs, their employers, and pharmacies submitting the false claims to Medicaid,” he pointed out.

PsychRights estimates that over $2 billion in such fraudulent Medicaid claims are being paid by the government each year.

“Once one sues over specific offending prescriptions, all of such prescriptions can be brought in, which means that any psychiatrist on the losing end of such a lawsuit will almost certainly be bankrupted, because each offending prescription carries a penalty of between $5,500 and $11,000,” PsychRights explained.

It is hoped that once the doctors and pharmacies realize they are subject to financially ruinous Medicaid fraud judgments, the practice will be stopped or substantially reduced.

“Each prescriber may have a million dollars or few, at most, to lose, but the pharmacies’ financial exposure can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and it is hoped this will attract attorneys to take these cases,” the web site noted.

In September and October 2009, Gottstein gave presentations on the initiative at the annual conferences of the National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology in order to find people who are potentially interested and willing to pursue such cases.

“This was successful and we have at least a few such cases cooking,” he reported. “PsychRights stands ready to help people interested in bringing such suits.”

In late 2006, Gottstein won international fame by subpoenaing and releasing thousands of documents involving Eli Lilly’s illegal marketing of Zyprexa, which resulted in front page stories in The New York Times.

PsychRights also has an appeal pending on a lawsuit filed against the state of Alaska and responsible state officials seeking declaratory and injunctive relief that Alaskan children and youth on Medicaid have the right not to be administered psychotropic drugs unless and until a number of specific conditions are met. The lawsuit seeks to prohibit the state from paying for psychiatric drugs prescribed off-label to children and youth.

In responding to the lawsuit, the state claimed that they do have any control over or responsibility for the psychiatric drugging of children in their custody, or any responsibility under Medicaid, and moved for dismissal on the grounds that PsychRights does not have standing, or the right to bring the suit, because it was not harmed by the state’s actions.

The court agreed and dismissed the case. “We think the judge is wrong and have filed an appeal,” said Gottstein.

In May 2009, Gottstein sent letters to Sens. Charles Grassley and Herb Kohl and Reps. Henry Waxman, Bart Stupak, John Dingell and Barney Frank, describing the massive Medicaid fraud involved in the prescribing of psychiatric drugs to children in the US and asked for “assistance in stopping these illegal reimbursements.”

As of November 8, 2009, Gottstein reported, “I haven’t gotten as much as an acknowledgment of receipt from any of the members of Congress to whom I wrote.”

While pursuing causes on behalf of PsychRights, Gottstein donates all of his time on a pro bono basis.

from http://www.truthout.org/1213091
via Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license

A Tired and Angry Young Man

March 24, 2009

There was a soft rain that intensified and then slowly died out back. It seemed to move in waves, pushed and pulled by the warm wind. The snow was almost gone except for deep in the ditches along the roadside. It seemed so strange how the warmth of spring inflicted the snow with a sense of being out of place. Yet in the colder temperatures of winter, snow along the roadside seemed to define the season so well.

The warmer weather brought out the groundhogs and skunks and along the highway there was a lot of roadkill. Every couple of kilometers there would be another dead animal and the turkey vultures would return and have a feast.

He was a sad boy, yet deep in his guts he was angry, unloved and controlled. He wanted his life to be everything that it wasn’t. He had nothing to say that was good about anyone or anything. He spent the first thirty minutes of our time together trying hard to stay disconnected. He didn’t trust anyone except his sister. She was a few years older but only had time for him when it was convenient and she wanted something.

After that time had passed, he told me that there was no need for him to see me. He had life figured out. So I asked him to explain what he had figured out.

I know that life basically is full blown bullshit!!!

I think you’re right! How old are you?

Twelve, but what bullshit are you going to try and shovel down my throat? By comparing me with other twelve year-olds?

Well, I think nothing! I can see you do have life figured out. For twelve you’ve got quite a lot of insight into things.

More psycho bullshit! I’m not stupid!! It is pretty fuckin’ easy to figure it out.

Not for us all, it took me took me till I was forty to figure that out. You got it a twelve.

He sat in silence for several minutes and I remained quiet. Then I asked how he figured it out and could he share his secret with me.

Why would I do that?

Well you might want to put it in a book; you might help a lot of kids or parents.

Yeah right! Parents should be licensed!

Yep, only job I know that you don’t have to have any credentials for. Anybody can be a parent!

Well they shouldn’t let them! All they want to do is control us. Make us live up to what others think!

I know you’re right; I do it sometimes with my own kids. And I hate it. I see how they hate it and it hurts our relationship.

Well you should tell that to my parents. They’re both on drugs and I’m the one who has to look after them half the time. I do the fuckin’ shopping, pay bills and fuckin’ clean up their shit.

You seem pretty tired and angry!

No shit! How many degrees do you have to have figured that out?

I got through university, but you don’t have to have a degree to figure that out. You know that!

How the shit do you know what I know?

Hey you’re twelve, you have figured lots of things out and you don’t have a degree, unless you’re some genius child and are in university and you’re just playing me.

If wish I was in university!

Yeah, why is that?

Wouldn’t have to be in my home with my dumb parents.

That’s pretty tough eh?

At times!

How tough?

I think parents just use kids.

How do you feel used?

Well if you have them, aren’t you supposed to be there for them?

Yeah makes sense to me! You got another thing that figured out!

I hate my parents and so does my sister. She doesn’t even come home sometimes because she knows they’ll be wasted. The weekends are the worst.

Why do you say that?

Because they have their friends over and party and do drugs. And I have to cook and clean up their shit, they just use me.

That’s sad. I’m sorry. Is their anywhere you can go when that’s happening?

Sometimes I go to my Gram’s place. But then she freaks on my parents and then I get shit.

Do you think your Gram would come in and talk with me?

She’s the one who brought me here.

Are you alright if I ask her to come in and I talk to her?

About what? I can’t live there. My parents would freak, my sister already tried and the police came and everything and Gram got sick. Her heart’s no good.

Well I don’t want you to live there. We’d talk just about how when you come not to make a big deal with your parents. So you’ve got a safe place.

So Gram would call and tell them?

No, we’d talk about how she wouldn’t go at your parents and make things worse. She can just call and let them know you’re there.

She does that now!

Yes, but what else does Gram do that ends up making things worse?

She yells, gives them shit, but she should – they’re assholes.

Well, do you think your parents benefit by Gram yelling at them?

No! But they deserve it!

Yes they do but I’m concerned about you having a safe place to go. Is it safe there, do you like it there!

Yeah better than home!

Okay, so if Gram could not yell and get on their case when you have to get out, do you think you would spend more time at Gram’s?

I think so, but Gram’s not going to shut up. I know her. She’s going to be pissed at them.

You’re probably right but if she didn’t, what might happen? If she just had you call and say you are there.

It would be better I think!

Okay, so do you think she would come and talk with me? Could we do it together? I’d like to help.

I’ll get her to come next time. Can I come back tomorrow??

Well, I’m full tomorrow. How about Thursday and then it might be better for her if we give her some time to prepare.

Okay, thanks.

Coach bri

The Little Korean Boy

May 21, 2008

I sat in the Olympic Park in Seoul Korea for some time. This beautiful park was once the Olympic Village and the whole community within Seoul used it as a refuge. I sat on a small bench for about an hour, just looking at the trees and two birds and the play of the wind on the lake. The sky was holding the colour of the morning, and it seemed that particular day to rise quickly in the background of the green and majestic mountains.

A large group of little Korean children came over the hill. With their dark hair, big round eyes and small round faces they looked like little cherubs. The girls and the boys were all holding hands, and the teacher was constantly addressing the boys to stay in line and not be loud. They sat on the grass, very close to where I was sitting, because they had access to the water fountains. The little girls in the group would talk amongst themselves. And every so often they would call out to one of the boys and seemed to give him the same scolding as the teacher. As they set their blankets on the ground, they soon opened their lunch pails and began to eat. Most seemed to have some rice cakes, drinks and some type of seaweed. Every once in a while one or two of the boys would get up and chase each other in between the trees, until one of the teachers would call out and they would run back and sit down. Then the girls sat in a small circle and faced each other. The boys seem to sit in small groups that were constantly being dismantled and put back together quickly, with lots of laughter, and intention. There was, however, a boy in the middle sitting quietly by himself and who wasn’t engaged with the others. He seemed to be aware of them, but was too busy watching the girls’ teacher and the marvellous trees. Every once in a while our eyes would meet, he would hold my glance until another boy or two would come around and bother him and he would kind of shoo them away. When they finished their lunch, all the children began to play some games, and the boys were off making lots of noise and wrestling with each other. This young boy remained seated and was smiling and laughing at the children play. He seemed very content, and then became busy folding up the blankets for the teacher. It was very odd to see such a young person folding these blankets in such a well thought out manner. With the blankets on the ground, he simply would stand up and walk behind one of the blankets, pick it up and fold it over the other part of the blanket. Then he folded it again until it became a size that was manageable for him. He then presented the blankets to the teacher, who thanked him and they both bowed at each other. He then returned to his lunch pail and sat there for several minutes looking at me. He opened up his lunch pail and took out something and walked over to me and gave me a piece of what looked like a rice cracker. I took it and said thank you and then I nodded my head. A huge smile came over his face and his deep brown eyes lit up like to silver dollars. He took two small bows and then gestured for me to eat the rice cracker. I took a bite and then he laughed, and within seconds I had become the centre of the class attention. I said thank you again and then added “This is a very good!” The 10 or 12 kids began to laugh and giggle at my strange accent and words. The teacher came over and asked me, in English, where I was from. When I told her Canada, she turned and explained it to the class, and they all said “Oh Can-a-da”. The children thought this was fantastic. I took another bite of my rice cracker and all the children laughed. One of the other teachers gave the command and the boy who had given me the cracker was gone to his lunch pail, and stood behind that teacher. The girls seem to fall into line quickly, and the boys need an extra bit of time to gather their things and fool around. As they left the park and started to walk up the hill, the little boy looked back and waved. Then after that, a few others seemed to follow and waved back as well. As the children disappeared over the hill, I felt a deep sense of connection. The little Korean boy had something that was absolutely unique. I felt like I was in the presence of a very special person.