Is that you?



Friday. First dose of Morphine. What can I say? Both the Doctor and Chemist missed the written details which come with pills. Do not crush or halve! This can be lethal. No wonder I was out of it for much of today. I was drugged. Oops! A small dose. Not fatal. A full pill works over time. Time release. Tomorrow we will see. It did help my breathing though. Zoned out in my chair though.


A full morphine pill today. Slow release, fingers crossed. It’s a tiny dose to trick my brain. As if it needs tricking! Sitting outside I took myself down memory lane from age 13 to age 44. It’s amazing to me how my memory has sharpened, the details come back so clear. A bonus to balance being buried in a degenerating body. Bloody constipation :) however, managed to be quite productive with my photography.


Summer Solstice the longest day down here in Aotearoa. Sun beaming down on us. My dear daughters Alice’s birthday? Born Sydney, Australia 1975 with Down’s Syndrome. The Doctors at Royal North Shore suggested we put her in a home and get on with our lives. Arseholes!
Alice lives with her Mother and Sister. Her Mother has raised Alice lovingly, beautifully. Her sister Emma is also loving and loyal. As for me, her proud Dad, I still twinge at having left Australia. I returned often and never stopped loving my daughters. I am not, by nature, a family man.


“. . . I came—though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents—to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of this experience, a skeptical attitude toward the convictions that were alive in any specific social environment—an attitude that has never again left me, even though, later on, it has been tempered by a better insight into the causal connections. It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the ‘merely personal,’ from an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings. Out yonder there was this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection and thinking. The contemplation of this world beckoned as a liberation, and I soon noticed that many a man whom I had learned to esteem and to admire had found inner freedom and security in its pursuit. The mental grasp of this extra-personal world within the frame of our capabilities presented itself to my mind, half consciously, half unconsciously, as a supreme goal. Similarly motivated men of the present and of the past, as well as the insights they had achieved, were the friends who could not be lost. The road to this paradise was not as comfortable and alluring as the road to the religious paradise; but it has shown itself reliable, and I have never regretted having chosen it.” – Albert Einstein


Morphine has a side effect that has me in its grip. Constipation! It’s a killer. Literally! For three days. Merde! Not in the spirit of Xmas :)


Happy Xmas :)
A glorious day here in the South Wairarapa. Relaxing. Doing nothing apart from sitting on the Loo!
Took about four trips. But the relief is worth the discomfort. Do not now need a pessary. No more details :) now for Bollinger :) and seasons festivities! Gratitude.

Muy dearest Emily :)
What can I say but that I love you.
my dream was that you would
Be loved by me and me by you,
together, would be sharing our love and life
And now, I am dependent on you. Totally vulnerable.
I guess that is a form of love :)
Not what I had in mind.
However :) we are here, together.
Our reality. I can but hold you.
I can but touch and look at you, fondly
I can’t verbalise but I can tap my thoughts.
You fill my mind. You fill my days.
More so, You fill my heart.
A very humbling lesson.
I honor your love for me.
It’s hard to show but, at least I can put it In words.
You provide the love I have yearned for, all my life
and here we are, together. As one . . .
Thank you muy love.
Thank you for your love.
I offer you mine. Unconditionally.
Thank you.
your Superman.


3:30am . . . Panic Attack!

Weird but sitting here in my PWC I feel okay. My Stomach is gurgling.
Darkness outside. All quiet inside. I was in bed but lost the plot.
Muy Emily and Me both sitting in the lounge. Both on iPads :)
BBC on the Telly. An Art Doco. Jonathon Yeo. Portrait Painter.
In days gone by a panic attack would get me out of bed and I would write it out of me. It worked for years. Today, to simply get out of bed, into my PWC is a real challenge. I cannot move my body my self. Muy Emily is no weightlifter. Changing my breathing device. Another challenge. My stomach is under attack. Constipation from Morphine followed by diarrhoea A race to the bathroom. Getting me onto the Loo! All this at 3:30 in the early hours! MND! Shit! I am so over it. I am totally powerless. Totally dependent on others. Challenging indeed and not just for me.
The irony is however, that I feel just fine. As though there is nothing wrong with me. I sit on the Loo and smile.
But then again, feelings aren’t facts. Are they?

BBC interview with Richard Holloway ex Bishop of Edinburgh. Caledonian. An excellent listening and learning experience. A man after my own heart. Doubt is indeed freeing. Questioning. Simply not accepting the status quo. Letting go and Letting God does not mean I simply give up. God is a Verb. I need to take responsibility and . . . Action. And That, includes asking for help. Yuck :)

Evening news, as usual, full of death and destruction. Once more Beirut is targeted. Power corrupts!

28:12:2013 = 1, a new beginning?

Slept in my wheel chair all night. ‘Twas surprisingly comfortable. Morphine is changing my status. But not in a pleasant manner. This morning I feel the call of the Universe, of God. I feel drugged out. Not the way I wish to live. Our stupid, religiously driven laws dictate I cannot take ownership of my life. The Universe is my Higher Power aka God. The God of my understanding. The Sun of God flows through me. Religions around the World appear to me as Man Made power structures.
‘ My God is Better than Your God! ‘
In my Life, God is a Mystery. That is the Beauty of Life. The Unknowable. Doubt even. Life on Life’s Terms. It is what it is I like to say. It appears that we fight this to our own lost ness. I close my eyes, focus on my breath and experience peace. Thank God for Meditation.

“Those who view the prospect of life without abundant drive as unutterably dull and boring should examine the life of members of Alcoholics Anonymous who have truly adopted the A.A. program. They will see people who have been stopped — and who, therefore, do not have to go anywhere — but people who are learning, for the first time in their lives, to live. They are neither dull nor wishy-washy. Quite the contrary, they are alive and interested in the realities about them. They see things in the large,are tolerant, open-minded, not close-minded bulling ahead. They are receptive to the wonders in the world about them, including the presence of a Deity who makes all this possible. They are the ones who are really living. The attainment of such a way of life is no mean accomplishment.”

Dr. Harry Tiebout

I have practiced the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions daily for over 23 Years via Al-Anon Family Groups.

“Since medieval times, the mystical tradition of Kabbalah was restricted to qualified men over forty—because it was believed that only the most mature and pious could grasp its complexity and profound, life-changing implications. More recently, Kabbalah nearly disappeared—as most of its practitioners perished in the Holocaust. In the national bestseller God Is a Verb, this powerful spiritual tradition, after centuries of secrecy and near-extinction, is explained clearly by one of its most prominent teachers.

Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get there? These questions have fuelled Kabbalists for nearly a millennium. Rabbi David A. Cooper is the first to bring this obscure and difficult tradition to a mainstream audience in a way that gently leads us to the heart of the subject, showing us how to transform profound teachings into a meaningful personal experience—and appreciate fully this great mystical process we know as God.”

- ‘God is a Verb’ by Rabbi David Cooper

As I have shared before, my change in life, attitude, came when I listened to my Self. Age 40. Now, age 70 I am in a deep, deep place of vulnerability. Fear. I am powerless. I am wholly dependent on ‘others’. For me, this a game changer. I am wholehearted. My body is dying. I write with one finger. I can barely breath. Eating has become a chore. I am taking morphine to trick my brain. I cannot dress, wash, shit, travel, photograph or film. Why Morphine? Is this for my wellbeing or for others? Some days, like today, I step across the divide. Enough. I feel the pull. Is the Universe calling me home? God? Is that you? What do you want, wish of me? No answers. Action. Keep doing what and when I can. Embrace the challenge. Surrender. Don’t fight. Simply Do. Write. Edit my Photography. Love my situation. Love muy Emily. Love my Daughters. My friends, my carers. Love Life. Wow . . . Love MND! Therein lies the Journey. I was going to say , therein lies the ‘Answer’ but realize, accept, there is no answer. Simply Do! Amen.


About kiwicafe

1955 . . . as a teenager in New Zealand, according to friends :) I talked incessantly of photography & philosophy, in my early twenties I hung out with photographers as I began my film editing career in Australia, I bought a variety of cameras, a faux snapper I guess, more interested in film editing, travel and back deck philosophy through which my curiosity took me from Sydney to New York & Venice Beach. For 45 years have I enjoyed working with some truly great creative directors, writers, art directors, film directors, photographers, producers et al . . . hopefully I learned a thing or two! I did win a bunch of awards and went from Editor of the Year in Australia to one of the top commercial film editors in America, not bad for a skinny kid from New Zealand. 2003 . . . newly divorced, I took the pledge, became 'one of many', an American Citizen & went Searching for Zane Grey's America. For two glorious years I filmed, photographed & blogged my way around the American West. 2006 . . . returned to Aotearoa NZ, restoring a small vineyard and continuing to film, photograph and write. I exhibited & sold some images, harvested a great vintage of both red & white, sold the vineyard, edited a movie or two & now, 2013, I have discovered a whole new journey for myself, via motor neurone disease. I continue to practice my love for film | fotography | philosophy as best I can, I am in a good place, there are no mistakes in life!
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10 Responses to Is that you?

  1. Bobby Smalheiser says:

    Hi Richard
    Sorry to hear about your status. We had a great time at First Edition. Fond memories. Hope you and Emily have a great year. She sounds like a winner.
    Bobby smalheiser

  2. Hello Dicky sending you love and huge hugs thinking of you often thank you for sharing your thoughts and life with such grace best wishes to you Emily. Emma, Alice. kiri and Amigo love you always Stella x

  3. jpistorio says:

    More bravery, ticked out one letter at a time (I wondered how or if you were typing). We have some friends here who just celebrated 33 yrs of sobriety and are big supporters of AA. They go to meetings to support the new members and to remind them that they are not alone. All you say here is emblematic of them: non-judgmental, open, curious, loving life and lots of laughter. What can I say, Richard? I’m constantly blown away by your wisdom, clarity and humility. Truly a great example of dignity under fire. I feel fortunate (I’ve got a problem with “blessed” too) to have the chance to share some of your musings. Hang tough.

  4. The shortest day here. Keep on hanging on for us.

  5. kiwicafe says:

    Thank you Brandon. That is a beautiful reply :) I have just finished re-reading The Rainbow Trail my fav. I am gathering my photos that illustrate the journey, will post soon. Enjoy the Journey!

  6. Brandon says:

    A fine couple of brothers, musicians, calling themselves “Boards of Canada” seems to help me so much.
    I gather that the inclusion of Morphine means something rather grim? My grandmother died many years ago and I remember in the end they had her on this contraption that would feed drips of it to her to help her with pain and things. Funnily enough, I found out that I had an uncle with a habit of dipping his finger into the container and helping himself to a bit of the effects of that stuff. Now that I think about it, they would deliver her jugs of the stuff, about a gallon each, and it looked like liquid detergent or bleach for the laundry.
    I am constantly on the lookout on the internet for more videos from you, pictures of your trek in the American Southwest, and last night I had a dream which was surely based upon those beautiful pictures you’ve posted of the old shack with bullet holes here and there. It looked like a house in the middle of the Grand Canyon or something to me. It reminded me of where Lassiter and Jane might have lived if they built themselves something to live in.
    My wife has happily agreed to allow me (and actually accompany me!) on a journey which I will proudly call “Richard’s America” and although I’m sure to miss a lot I hope to be able to one day tell some children about the man I’m coming to know a little more with each of your blog posts, and how Zane Grey inspired you who, in turn, have inspired the hell out of me.
    I hope it’s not offensive for me to say this, but damn it all that you have to deal with MND. I cuss that damned disease every time I think about you.

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