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Poem: "Essential for Human Survival" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Essential for Human Survival"
This poem came out of the February 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from rix_scaedu, kestrels_nest, DW user Mirrorofsmoke, DW user Redsixwing, DW user Nsfwords, DW user Alatefeline, Anonymous on DW, Kellyc on DW, Shirley Barrette, and Stephen Laird.  It also fills the "nonsexual touch" square in my 2-1-17 Platonic card for the Valentines Bingo fest.  This poem belongs to the Cassandra thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: Stephen Laird, general fund, DW user Technoshaman, Anthony and Shirley Barrette

FULLY FUNDED
525 lines, Buy It Now = $263
Amount donated = $90.75
Verses posted = 41 of 172

Amount remaining to fund fully = $172.25
Amount needed to fund next verse = $.75
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $2.50


WARNING: This poem contains intense topics that may bother some readers.  Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers.  It's all about self-harm and other self-destructive behavior, and a place made to help people overcome those challenges.  It includes Cassandra's ongoing challenges, Groundhog's sensitivity over Flight and the outdoors, the option of locking up implements of self-injury, in which Cassandra and Groundhog use symbolic Earth and globe balls, a monk being mysterious, descriptions of various people's self-harm scars, awkward personal interactions, disabilities, fumbling around with boundaries, Darnell crying heavily and being embarrassed about it, various combinations of skin hunger and touch aversion, Sukeena's distance from her family, Darnell being startled by superpowers, and other challenges.  The overall tone is primarily fluffy because the Kwan Yin House of Compassion is a gorgeous place with lots of support.  Also the cuddle party may serve as vicarious snuggling for some readers. If these are touchy topics for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.


"Essential for Human Survival"


Cassandra wriggled into
the peacock-printed bike shorts
and Re-cycle T-shirt that had been
her treats to herself after completing
the weekend class to renew her license.

It was a beautiful day, and she
hoped to talk Groundhog into
going for a ride with her.

When he came home, though,
he proposed something else entirely.

"A friend tipped me to this place,"
Groundhog said, offering her a brochure.
"I thought we could go check it out."

"The Kwan Yin House of Compassion,"
Cassandra read. The cover showed
a statue of a serene woman standing
on top of a dragon. Inside, Cassandra
found pictures of the outbuilding, which
looked Japanese, and the main house that
seemed more Tibetan in style. "A sanctuary
for hurting people who hurt themselves."

The brochure described a variety of facilities,
including gazebos and gardens in addition
to the buildings. It also listed all kinds of
services and other activities available --
counseling, crafts, prayers, a library, and
private space for difficult discussions.

The back offered contact information,
a glossary, and a map with bus lines
as well as car parking. It even noted
the availability of indoor bike storage.

"It sounds interesting," Cassandra said.
"It's nice of you to think of me like this."

"That was my first thought," Groundhog said.
"Then I figured, I could probably use it too."

One hand came up to rub his chin
where he had scraped it on the pavement.
The mark was fading now, mostly hidden
underneath his beard, but Cassandra
still remembered where it was.

"Rough morning?" she asked.

"I'm still trying to get used to the idea
that I could fly again," he said, "and that
I don't need to keep looking overhead."

"We can go together," Cassandra said.
"If you start drifting, I'll grab you and
hold on tight. You know that you
can't lift both of us together."

"Yeah," he said. "Let's do that."

So they hiked to the bus stop,
which took a while because it was
not convenient to their apartment, but
the trip was too far to bike comfortably.

The ride went quickly enough, though,
and then the driver let them off at a bus stop
that looked like a giant banana leaf made of
bamboo over a serpentine wooden bench.

"That's memorable," Cassandra said,
and Groundhog nodded, trailing
a hand over the curving roof.

The Kwan Yin House of Compassion
stood beside a large park, so that
the grounds seemed to run together.
It looked like something out of a postcard.

It was peaceful, too; despite the sounds
of Onion City behind them, in front of them
were tufts of bamboo and trickling fountains.

The main building had layers of doors
to shut out the noise and any rough weather.
Inside stood a reception desk with a greeter.

"May I help you, or would you rather
explore on your own?" the lady asked.

"Oh, um, we're new here," Cassandra said.
"Groundhog found a brochure and thought I might
find it useful, but I hardly know where to start."

"This floor has a lot of group space like
the library and the snack room," said the lady.
"There's a craft class starting in twenty minutes
if you're interested in making a portable altar."

"That sounds like fun," Cassandra said.
She hadn't really expected coming here to be
fun. Maybe it'd work better than therapy.
She rubbed a hand across her wrist.
"I could use some fun these days."

"The House of Compassion is here
for whatever you need," the lady said.
"It's good that you have a friend."

Groundhog lifted an arm high enough
to show the old, pale scars. "I thought
about Cassandra first, but I could use
some extra support myself," he said.

"Recent challenges?" the lady guessed.

"No, actually, something great happened
but it shook me up enough that I'm jumpier
than usual," Groundhog said. "I don't want
it to get out of hand, so maybe this will help."

"Would either of you like to set aside
anything sharp or dangerous for a while?"
the receptionist offered. "We have lockers."

They were lovely things, dark wood with
shiny brass fittings, but Cassandra shook
her head. "I'd love to, but I don't think
the whole world would fit in there."

"Oh, you're an opportunist?" the lady said.
"We can accommodate that!" She brought out
a basket full of stress balls shaped like the Earth.

Groundhog laughed. "I'll take you up on that,"
he said, grabbing a multicolored globe.

The receptionist showed him how to lock
and unlock the cubby, then gave him the key.

Cassandra chose a blue-and-green Earth ball,
then stashed it alongside Groundhog's globe.
"What do you want to do now?" she asked.

"She mentioned a snack room," he said.

The receptionist helpfully gave them directions.
They followed those and the smell of egg rolls
into a room full of small wooden tables and
matching chairs with red cushions.

"Oooh," Cassandra said, staring at
the murals which wrapped around
the walls. There were mountains,
horses, and someone riding a yak.

The service counter held a huge menu
sprawling across a chalkboard, written
in several different languages and colors.
There were egg rolls, rice balls, tempura,
miso soup, chicken noodle soup, fruit cups,
hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and salmon patties.

A rack held packages of popcorn, kale chips,
seaweed chips, Jumble Munch, Hot Chicks, and
several brands of clinical-grade chocolate.

Colorful posters explained how to make
healthy smoothies, then variations of fruit,
green, protein, and skinny ones along with
specific recipes for different purposes.

A separate chalkboard in a gold frame
advertised the House Special smoothies:
Kwan Yin, White Tara, Green Tara,
and the Laughing Buddha.

At the bottom the menu read,
When was the last time you ate?
When was the last time you drank?
Rice, beans, tea, and water are free.
May you be free from suffering.


As soon as Cassandra realized
that the Kwan Yin smoothie contained
copious amounts of clinical-grade cacao,
she said, "I'm getting the Kwan Yin."

"The Laughing Buddha looks good to me,"
Groundhog said, pulling out his wallet.

The girls behind the counter were nice,
and the smoothies were mouth-watering.
Cassandra and Groundhog traded sips
just so they could indulge in both flavors.

"I am totally coming back here,"
Cassandra said. "This is so good,
I want to try the Taras next time."

At last they finished their smoothies,
set the tall glasses on the return counter,
and headed out of the snack room.

A monk in a sleeveless red robe
approached and bowed to them,
so deeply that he bent almost double,
his hands pressed against his chest.
He murmured something in Tibetan, then
added in English, "Skywalkers, you honor us."

Then he slipped away into the library.

"Uh ... did he just mistake us for Jedis?"
Cassandra muttered. She looked down
at her whimsical t-shirt and biking shorts.
"That doesn't make any sense at all.
We're not wearing robes or anything."

Groundhog frowned. "Actually,
I think he mistook us for monks.
The brochure had a glossary."

"Really? What did he say?"
Cassandra wondered.

"He said khandro or khandroma
maybe, that means something
like skywalker or skydancer,"
Groundhog replied.

A shiver flitted over her skin,
leaving a wake of goosebumps.
"Then again, maybe it wasn't
a mistake," Cassandra said.
"Both of us are fliers."

"Yeah," Groundhog said,
turning to stare at the library
as they passed it. "I don't know,
he could be a reader or something."

"Or just an ordinary guy who's
sensitive to energy," Cassandra said.

"I'm not sure there's anything ordinary
about Tibetan monks, whether or not they
have superpowers," Groundhog said.

"Whatever," Cassandra said.
"It still seems weird to me,
however you slice it."

"Craft session in five minutes,"
called a voice. "Who wants
to come make pocket shrines?"

Cassandra turned to see a woman
with hot pink hair and tattoos on
both arms, not quite hiding
the hundreds of scars.

"Tabbouleh!" said Groundhog,
grinning at her. "I'm so glad
to see you here today."

She hugged him, then said,
"Pardon me if I'm a bit worried
to see you here. Are you okay?"

"Things are shaking up for me,"
he said. "They're good changes,
but yeah, I'm kind of wobbling."

"Come to my craft session, it'll be
lots of fun," Tabbouleh invited.

"We're planning to," Groundhog said.
He introduced them along the way,
explaining how he'd met Tabbouleh
through SPOON and how much
she had improved since then.

The art therapy room had long tables
in front of sunny windows for work space,
cabinets and counters full of paint, and
shelves holding all kinds of supplies.

Tabbouleh brought out a big basket
full of tiny tin boxes from Altoids and
and other candy, then invited
everybody to choose one.

In addition to Cassandra
and Groundhog, there were
two other crafters at the table.

The big black man with thick scars
on his arms introduced himself as Darnell.
The woman, Batik, had blue hair smudged
with pink and purple, her legs covered with
horrible scars and more on her arms.

Cassandra rubbed over the few that
she had, and realized she was lucky.

"Pocket shrines or portable altars help you
remember whatever you consider special,"
said Tabbouleh. "It can be spiritual, but
doesn't have to be. This is a way for you
to be gentle and take care of yourself."

"How do we make these things?"
Cassandra said. "I've never done it."

"We have fast-drying paint for the outsides,
and you can cover the inside with paint,
cloth, or paper," said Tabbouleh. "Decide
whether you want a box to hold loose items,
or one with everything glued in place."

She brought over more baskets of
supplies and tools, explaining that they
could also rummage for other things
that they wanted to incorporate.

First they coated the outside of
their tins with paint, and then they
started sorting through the tidbits
for decorations that they liked.

Darnell promptly reached for
the package of Splae, a type of
plastic that softened in hot water
and then hardened when cool
to become almost unbreakable.

Cassandra went after a box
of feathers, and their hands
brushed each other in passing.

Darnell flinched away. "Sorry."

"It's okay," said Cassandra.
"You didn't hurt me. I'm fine
with a little casual touch."

Darnell huddled over
his project anyway,
mute and withdrawn.

"Pass me the dollies?"
Batik whispered.

Cassandra handed her
the box of tiny figurines.

Tabbouleh offered a few ideas,
and if people got stuck, she
helped them get unstuck.

Batik assembled
a simple shrine holding
a spoon and a nurse.

Sometimes things that looked
simple on the surface, weren't.

Cassandra found a charm,
a nest full of eggs, tiny feathers,
and a blue bird of happiness,
all of which she glued
carefully in place.

Groundhog stuffed his
with removable objects --
a pinecone, an acorn,
several stones -- but
around them curled
a single long feather.

They talked now and then
about what they were choosing,
but rarely about their reasons.

Darnell made an amazing scene
of a beach with sand and water.

"That's pretty," Cassandra said.

"Only place I can relax," he said.
"Figured I should carry it with me."

"That's a good solution, Darnell,"
said Tabbouleh. "I would love
to hear how it works out for you."

One corner of his mouth tilted up,
but he made no further reply.

"Mine's about things I've lost,
and some I'd like to get back,"
Cassandra said, not wanting
him to be the only one sharing.

Neither Batik nor Groundhog
said anything more about theirs.

"Would anyone like to help
clean up?" Tabbouleh asked.

Darnell said nothing.

"I'm out of spoons,"
Batik said, slumping.

"That's okay," Tabbouleh said.
"Think about how to recharge."

"I'm happy to help," said Cassandra,
and Groundhog said, "Me too."

So the three of them divided tasks,
with Cassandra gathering things,
Tabbouleh putting them away since
she knew where they all went,
and Groundhog wiping up.

"Thank you for coming,"
said Tabbouleh. "I hope that
your pocket shrines help you
to find some tranquility."

Cassandra tucked hers
into her purse, thinking about
the stylized sky it represented.
"Yeah, I think so," she said.

As they stepped out of
the art therapy room, they
fanned out to make space for
the young woman rolling down
the hallway in her wheelchair.

Her skin was deep mahogany,
her clothes flashy with designs
of rich mulberry on white.

"Hi, I'm Sukeena," she said.
"I'm hosting a cuddle party in
the Panda Room in five minutes."

Cassandra looked at Groundhog.

"I'm game if you are," he said, then
turned to Sukeena. "Where is this?"

"The Panda Room is on the third floor,"
she said. "Just look for the open door
with the hearts on the hanger."

"Thanks, we will," said Groundhog.

Sukeena completed her lap of the floor
and then rolled into the maglev elevator.
When she touched the smart glass,
it generated a touchscreen for her.

"Nice lift," Cassandra said
as they headed for the stairs.

Both Darnell and Batik followed,
although neither of them said anything.

The Panda Room was in fact decorated
with a huge mural of panda bears that
wrapped around the room. A desk and
its wooden chair sat in a wide niche, while
another part of the room held a full-size bed.

An Asian girl already lay on the bed.
"Hi, I'm Eun-a," she said. "Are you
coming to the cuddle party? Sukeena
wanted to find some more people."

"The more, the merrier," Groundhog said.

It was a little awkward at first, and they
all sat down without quite touching yet.

A few minutes later, though, Sukeena
returned. She hadn't found anyone else
to join the party, but she shifted herself
expertly onto the bed. "Give me a moment,"
she said as she used her hands to position
her legs. "Okay, cuddle party begins now."

Cassandra and Groundhog gravitated
to each other first, but that was all right.

Darnell inched closer to Sukeena.

"I'm a professional cuddler," she said.
"It's safe for you to touch me."

"Okay," said Cassandra as she
shifted position. "You have
the most amazing compassion."

"Thank you," said Sukeena.
"Sometimes that surprises people,
because I'm not a nun or anything
but it shouldn't. Compassion is not
religious business, but human business.
It's not luxury, it's essential for human survival."

"I wish someone had told my parents that,"
Cassandra grumbled, but did not go into
any more detail, just squirmed again.

So Sukeena wound up between
Darnell and Batik, Eun-a beside Batik,
while Cassandra scooted closer to
Darnell, with Groundhog behind her.

The awkwardness melted away.

The bed was soft and comfortable,
the pile of bodies warm and cozy
as people murmured and shifted
to get into the right places.

It was all very sweet until Darnell
began hiccupping with sobs that
he tried to muffle and hide.

"It's okay to cry," Sukeena said.

"Should move to the cry room,"
Darnell said, shifting again.

"Do you feel like you need
to yell yourself hoarse?"
Sukeena asked him.

Darnell shook his head.

"Then you probably don't need
the cry room," she said. "You can
stay if you want. Cry on me, that's
why I wear a handkerchief top."

The tears gradually washed away
Darnell's self-control until he finally
broke down and cried on her shoulder.

Cassandra patted him, too, unwilling
to just lie there and ignore him.

Eventually, the tide of tears
subsided, leaving them pressed
together tighter than ever.

Cassandra loved the coziness of it.

A soft whuff of air made the door move --
it wasn't latched, only pushed partly shut --
and then someone knocked quietly.
"Sukeena? I have a delivery."

Their cuddle therapist lifted up
on one elbow. "Come on in," she said
as the wriggled to the edge of the bed.

The perky Japanese girl wore a shirt
with Hug Dealer blazoned on the front.
"Hug from your mother," she said.
"Your family misses you today."

They hugged, and a soft riffle
of affectionate energy spilled out,
making everyone else scoot in.

Hug Dealer giggled. "Give me
your reply, and then I can take
a break to join the party for a bit."

Sukeena hugged her back,
saying, "Hugs for my family,"
followed by some language that
Cassandra couldn't recognize.

Hug Dealer stepped back,
then teleported away.

Darnell startled. "What the hell?!"

"It's okay," Groundhog said.
"Teleporters have good aim.
You don't need to worry about
anything going wrong here."

Darnell grunted and burrowed
back into the cozy people-pile.

"That hurts!" Cassandra yelped.
"Move over, somebody's on my hair."

Everyone murmured apologies
and moved out of her way so she
could drag the braid free. "Thanks."

Sukeena scooted farther back
onto the bed. People leaned away
briefly so she could readjust her legs,
then they drew together again.

"You work at SPOON, don't you?"
Batik said out of nowhere.

"Yes," Groundhog said.

"I thought you sounded familiar,"
Batik said. From the tone of her voice,
that wasn't a happy thought.

"Mmm," said Groundhog.

"You don't even remember me."

"I do," he said gently. "It's just
rude for me to mention that unless
the other person brings it up first."

Cassandra could see why,
considering how she met him.
SPOON got some rough stuff.

Batik had the scars to show from
her hard trail too, whatever it had been.

Some things were still too raw
to speak of, even with the cuddle pile
beginning to soften their boundaries a bit.

Cassandra wondered if that would
change over time, and if so, how.

Eun-a whispered something,
and Sukeena whispered back,
but Cassandra couldn't make out
any of the words. It didn't matter.

Hug Dealer reappeared with
a quiet huff of air, then slipped
into the big bed. It was getting full.

"This is niiiiiice," she said.

Cassandra pressed herself
a little closer to Groundhog,
and Darnell wiggled himself
into the inch that left, allowing
Hug Dealer to get comfortable.

Something settled into the group,
picking up Sukeena's compassion
and stretching it over them
like a soft, warm blanket.

Empath, Cassandra realized,
and no wonder Hug Dealer
had the job that she did.

She knew, of course,
that one cuddle party
couldn't fix everything,

but it put some padding over
the raw place in her soul
that sometimes made her
want to hurt herself,

and she could always come back.

Cassandra thought about
her Earth ball safely tucked away
in the lobby locker downstairs.

Then she snuggled into Groundhog
and let herself drift down into a doze.

In front of her, she felt Darnell do the same.

* * *

Notes:

"Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival."
-- Dalai Lama

See Cassandra's Re-Cycle T-shirt and peacock biking shorts.  The top is mostly white with touches of black and green; the shorts are mostly black and green.  Because of their color scheme, the shorts match best with black and medium green, but other colors include yellow-green, gold, pale turquoise, and white.  These garments considerably expand Cassandra's opportunities to mix-and-match her athletic wear.  Here are some articles about matching fun colors, making palettes, and coordinating colors in your wardrobe.

Kwan Yin (Guanyin, Kwannon, etc.) is a bodhisattva or Buddhist goddess of compassion, whose name means "she who hears the weeping of the world." In Burmese, the name of Guanyin is Kwan Yin Medaw, literally meaning Mother Kwan Yin (Goddess Guanyin). Several of the staff are devotees of her path in particular. Although many other sacred symbols appear throughout the House, hers are the most common, in assorted variations. Here are some ways of worshipping Kwan Yin.

Tara is a Buddhist goddess with as many as 21 aspects.  Of these, the two most popular are Green Tara and White Tara. Learn how to worship the Taras.

Buddha was a historic or mythic (depending on your beliefs) figure who attained enlightenment.  He founded the religion of Buddhism which teaches people to live a mindful life so that they too may become enlightened. The Laughing Buddha began as a monk named Hotei or Pu-Tai, famous for his cheerful and generous nature.  Now he appears in many styles of statues.  The Laughing Buddha is worshipped by living virtuously, saying his name, and rubbing the tummy of his statue.

The cover of the brochure for the Kwan Yin House of Compassion shows a gazebo with a Kwan Yin statue.  Inside are pictures of the outbuilding and the main house.

This is the bus stop closest to the Kwan Yin House of Compassion. The S-curve bench allows people to sit together for company, or face in opposite directions for privacy.

The entrance to the House of Compassion has layered doors to deal with Onion City's sometimes inimical weather.  A help desk just inside the door provides an opportunity to greet people and assist them in finding desired resources. Signing the guestbook is optional, not obligatory.

These lockers in the lobby of the main building provide space to secure self-harm supplies or other personal possessions for people who wish to do so.

For opportunistic self-harmers who don't have preferred tools, there are globe stress balls which people can lock up to symbolize a desire not to hurt themselves right now.  These come in geographic and Earth styles.

The kitchen includes an adjacent closet for storing cookware and tableware.  The pantry stores a wide variety of Asian spices and staple foods such as rice.

The snack room near the kitchen provides a place for visitors to eat. Hunger makes most other problems worse, so people are often directed here if they seem angry or exhausted and they haven't eaten recently. The snack room also holds one of the side doors.

This gold-framed chalkboard displays the daily specials.  The little shelf underneath it holds the chalk. Learn how to make your own picture frame chalkboard.

The art therapy room offers a selection of organized and freestyle activities. One end of the room has large work tables, racks for displaying finished art, big sunny windows, and lots of houseplants.  A counter with sinks makes cleanup easier. Shelves above the counter and cabinets below it provide storage space for tools and supplies.  The far end of the art therapy room holds shelves and bins full of arts and crafts supplies.

The Panda Room has a small niche with a desk and chair plus a larger niche with a full-size bed. It also has a small private balcony. This one is used for family therapy, including cuddle therapy. The offset spaces make it ideal for shy people who don't want to see or be seen by someone while talking.

Accessible elevators for homes and small buildings can be quite compact. In Local-America, they're often pneumatic. Terremagne typically uses maglev models.  Here is a closeup of the elevator and a tall view.  Make sure an elevator meets ADA standards.  Take a look at some home elevators.

The T-American version can put the touchscreen anywhere on the smart glass walls of the elevator. When you touch a wall, the program generates a control panel centered around your hand, so it's always at the right height for you, not what some designer thought the "normal" height should be. Like any computer, it can offer many additional resources beyond just a set of buttons, such as pictures of the destination floor or a map to the room.

A keypad with a speaker provides additional options for people whose disabilities prevent them from using a touchscreen.

Healthy comfort snacks include oatmeal, egg rolls, chicken noodle soup, miso soup, rice balls, tempura, mixed nuts, fruit cups, edamame, celery with nut butters, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, cheese, clinical-grade dark chocolate, kale chips, popcorn, chickpeas, salmon patties, avocados, and tea.

Ironically, "lactose intolerance" isn't a disorder at all -- it's the normal condition for adult mammals, including up to 90% of Asians and many other people of color. However, about 35% of the global population, almost all from northern Europe, developed an unusual ability to keep producing lactase as adults. The ones who can't do that aren't deficient; they simply lack the superpower of Adult Milk Digestion. But because it's so prevalent in northern Europe, there's a tendency to think of it as the norm and its lack as a problem. This is one of the more dramatic cases of a superpower spreading to the point that people have stopped thinking of it as one, even though it's nowhere near the majority globally, and only prevails in certain populations.

Many nondairy milk alternatives exist. Choose the best one(s) for you depending on intended use and other factors.  You can shop for these or make your own.  In Terramagne-America, you can also get lots of mixed-nut or other combination milk alternatives, but here there are very few -- I did find one, Silk Protein & Nut Milk -- so usually you have to make that yourself.  Due to the prevalence of lactase nonpersistence in Asian populations, a majority of recipes at the Kwan Yin House of Compassion either have no dairy ingredients or can be substituted with a nondairy option. Since they have plenty of monks, nuns, and lay assistants they make their own rice milk and often other alternatives.

There are many healthy smoothie recipes.  Here is a mix-and-match ingredient list for green smoothies.  Various supplements make good mix-ins for smoothies.

Green Tara Smoothie
This makes a thick, creamy smoothie with a sweet leafy flavor and a vivid green color.
1 cup coconut water
1 cup baby spinach, packed
1/2 cup kale, packed
1/2 cup kiwifruit slices
1/3 cup avocado chunks
2/3 cup yellow mango chunks, frozen
2/3 cup banana slices, frozen
1/3 cup shelled edamame
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 scoop Triple Greens Powder

Coconut water may be obtained fresh from green coconuts, or packaged.

Triple Greens Powder includes kale, spinach, broccoli, parsley, wheat grass, green tea, spirulina, strawberries, blueberries, bilberries, raspberries, bananas, cranberries, flax, fiber, and probiotics. Many dietary supplements can be added to smoothies for extra nutrition.

White Tara Smoothie
This makes a creamy white smoothie with a very mellow flavor.
1 cup rice milk
3 tablespoons coconut cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup banana slices, frozen
1 cup lychee fruit, frozen
2 tablespoons cashew butter
1 teaspoon rice bran
1 teaspoon Miracle Matcha White Tea Powder

Rice milk is made from rice and water.  You can buy or make it.

Miracle Matcha White Tea Powder is 100% white tea, ground fine.

Kwan Yin Smoothie
This makes a thick, creamy brown smoothie that tastes of chocolate with a bit of peanut butter.
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup banana slices, frozen
1/2 cup Asian pear chunks, frozen
3 tablespoons creamy, natural peanut butter
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 square (2.2 ounces) clinical-grade dark chocolate, grated
3 pitted dates
1 teaspoon Maca Adaptogen Blend for Stress
1/2 cup ice

Almond milk comes from almonds and water.  It can be bought or made at home.

Clinical-grade chocolate is organic and preferably grown with sustainable methods; the darker, the better.  I've found one source in L-America: NibMore.  Check out their Organic Daily Dose Extreme Dark Chocolate squares. Chocolate has many health benefits, including mood improvement. Raw cacao is a superfood.

Maca Adaptogen Blend for Stress includes, red maca, ashwagandha, astragalus, eleuthero, and licorice.

Laughing Buddha Smoothie
This makes a rich golden smoothie in a tropical-nutty flavor with a hint of spice.
1 cup cashew milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup yellow mango chunks, frozen
1/2 cup pineapple chunks, frozen
1 orange, divided into sections
1 starfruit, sliced
1 raw carrot, chopped
1/4 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
1 teaspoon Golden Bliss Ultimate Turmeric Powder

Cashew milk is made with cashews and water.  You can buy some or make it yourself.

Golden Bliss Ultimate Turmeric Powder includes turmeric, acerola cherries, blueberries, cassia Indonesian cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, organic date powder organic baobab powder, and probiotics.

Posters offer ideas for making healthy, fruit, green, skinny, and protein smoothies.  There are smoothie recipes for many specific purposes.

Bowing shows respect, with deeper bows conveying more respect.  This shows a Tibetan man bowing, and here is the Dalai Lama doing it.  Buddhist bowing can be a contemplative practice as well as etiquette.  Ideally, it is a joyful expression of submission to a revered figure, not abasement.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the term khandro (masculine) or khandroma (feminine) may be translated as Skywalker or Sky Dancer.  They are variously described as minor deities or enlightened souls. Tibetan Buddhism and some martial arts have a thing about jumping high, or cloudwalking.  It's associated with gods and enlightenment, as some monks develop the ability.  So to Tibetan Buddhists, people who can fly or levitate seem very blessed.  Because meditation opens the mind, monks may become very sensitive to subtle energies.  This one clocked Cassandra and Groundhog as flyers just from the way they feel, and being awed by their ability, bowed as a sign of respect.

Splae is a plastic clay which becomes malleable when submerged in hot water but cools into an unbreakable texture. It can also be melted and set in a gizmotronic liquid that makes it resistant to ordinary temperature changes, if you don't want to risk it collapsing accidentally. It is usually supplied in granules, but also comes as moldable slabs, the latter popular for making customized medical braces for things like a wrenched wrist. This WeGeex product is cheap and found in many repair kits now. The setting fluid costs more, but like Splae itself is reusable.  It is somewhat similar to local-Earth Plastimake.

Sand tray figures used in sand therapy also make excellent supplies for other kinds of therapeutic art. While the very durable ones sold for long-term therapy are often expensive, cheap versions are available that work fine in many art projects.  You can get a giant bag of generic thumb-sized babydolls for a few bucks.

Darnell's beach shrine features a palm tree with coconuts, a sea kayak, a manatee head, a shark fin, and a turtle nest (roped off with tape).  The loose pieces have magnets to stick them in place.  Inside the lid, a sunset is painted.  The tree can be removed and laid flat inside the tin for closure.

Batik's healing shrine has a figurine of a nurse.

Groundhog's pocket shrine represents Earth.  It is lined with green felt and has a picture of nature inside the lid.  Contents include a pine cone, a flat rock, a round orange spessartite stone, an arrowhead, and an acorn.  A feather for air wraps around everything.

Cassandra's portable shrine stands for Air.  It has a moon-and-stars charm, a bird's nest with eggs, and a bird, and a flower button.  The broken letters spell out "mother."

The Spoon Theory was originally created to explain how a physical disability both limits the amount of energy initially available to a person and requires extra energy expenditures to cope with the challenges it creates. Much the same is true of mental issues such as self-harm, self-destructive behavior, anxiety, and depression -- which often coexist with each other and/or physical disabilites. In particular, doing just one thing tends to make disabled people feel tired immediately afterwards, hence why half the craft class is sitting there going "Uhh..." as they try to count what spoons they have left, instead of helping to clean up. And that's okay.

Adaptive clothing helps people dress well in a wheelchair. Yoga pants are very popular for wheelchair fashion because they are soft, stretchy, and forgiving.  They also come in a wide range of colors and patterns.  Sukeena is wearing purple ones.  This type of handkerchief top is comfortable and convenient for wheelchair riders because it can be made backless or near backless, and can be fastened with flat snaps instead of bulkier ties.

Door hangers, such as this one with red hearts, are convenient for communication.  Sometimes they have a whiteboard on one side for messages.  In a place like the Kwan Yin House of Compassion, these make more sense for organizing room use than permanent slider signs, because many of the rooms can be used for different purposes.

Cuddle parties help meet people's needs for skin contact.  The official Cuddle Party website mentions boundary workshops, but the basic instructions are pretty casual.

Professional cuddlers can be hired to fix skin hunger.  Read about how to become a professional snuggler and how to snuggle.

There are a handful of cuddle apps in L-America.

Snuggabuds is a T-American social network that helps people find touch-buddies to snuggle with. Fully customizable, it allows users to decide how much information they want to give or receive, so profiles and matchmaking range from very simple (picture swipes or quizzlets) to very sophisticated (algorithms that calculate the most promising cuddle partners from detailed data). It can pair up two people or a whole cuddle party, one time or recurring, as desired. The service also offers online information about cuddling and other social skills, plus workshops for the general public and members only.

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Comments
pussywideeyed From: pussywideeyed Date: February 9th, 2017 10:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Its nice
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 9th, 2017 11:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm here for this, but *eyes donation button* *looks in wallet* *whimpers* I can put something toward this on Monday but not today. Argh. Making note of that plan because -yessss-. Thanks for this, so very much. -kellyc
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: February 9th, 2017 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

I'm glad you enjoyed this so much. :D

Monday is fine. The tally closes on Sunday, but in practice I often count from whatever's there when I wake up Monday morning. You can still donate after that, it just doesn't go on the ticker. The open epics are what help keep our budget flush between fishbowls.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: March 1st, 2017 04:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

*whimper*

I wish the "bike shorts" were proper bike shorts with a higher back, no crotch seams, and a proper chamois. If they did, I'd be all over them in a flash. Alas, from what I can tell, they are merely compression shorts of a length suitable for bicycling. Still pretty, though.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 1st, 2017 08:03 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: *whimper*

From what I have seen, bike shorts come in many styles, depending on personal taste and what one intends to do on the bike.

The longer the trip and/or rougher the terrain, the more you need padding. But many people hate padded shorts because it feels like wearing a diaper. Cassandra is riding short-to-moderate distances over urban terrain. Light padding would be nice but probably isn't essential.

I've seen very few bike shorts without crotch seams. Most companies seem to favor fitting them by sewing pieces together. If you have sensitive skin, no seams or inside-out seams will be a priority, but you have to hunt around. If fit is more of a priority, you'll have to put up with more seams, because there's only so much that stretch can do. I'm not sure what Cassandra's tastes are here.

A higher back seems to be moderately common. This is more important the farther forward you lean, which is to say, if your bike has low curly handles then you should look for high-back bottoms. If your bike has upright handles, it's less of an issue. If you have a full backside, though, that takes up more cloth regardless of what your bike is. Cassandra is slim and wiry, and her bike has adjustable handles, so that's variable.

So far, Cassandra hasn't had her cargo bike very long, and only has a few things to wear while riding it. Over time, she'll figure out what she needs to be comfortable. That discovery is likely to involve a lot of trial and error, as it does with most new bikers. Prior to this, she did some pleasure riding as a girl, which doesn't really have the same demands as serious erranding, and the type of bicycle is different. So there's a learning curve.

If you look around, you might be able to find something in the way of peacock bike shorts with the features you prefer.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 29th, 2017 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)

good medicine

You all really really really want this one to get posted. It is good medicine. I promise I will chip in what I can when I get my next paycheck. --alatefeline, a person who hurts sometimes
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: March 29th, 2017 03:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: good medicine

>> You all really really really want this one to get posted. It is good medicine. <<

Thanks for the vote of confidence!

>> I promise I will chip in what I can when I get my next paycheck.<<

Yay!

>> --alatefeline, a person who hurts sometimes <<

*hugs offered* I'm here if you need to talk.
mdlbear From: mdlbear Date: July 10th, 2017 03:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Japanese camera company Canon takes its name from Kwan Yin.

At first I was a little concerned about what might happen to a maglev elevator in a power outage, and then I remembered about eddy current braking. There's a very spectacular demonstration of this where you drop a strong magnet down a copper tube.

I like this a lot. I'd really like to have someplace like this to go to occasionally.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 10th, 2017 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thoughts

>> The Japanese camera company Canon takes its name from Kwan Yin. <<

:D I did not know that! Learning new things is fun.

>> At first I was a little concerned about what might happen to a maglev elevator in a power outage, and then I remembered about eddy current braking. There's a very spectacular demonstration of this where you drop a strong magnet down a copper tube. <<

I hadn't thought about this, but now that I have, I suspect it would have eddy current brakes to slow the carriage and a friction brake with either a separate battery-power supply or a mechanical trip to lock the carriage in place once slowed near a stop.

>> I like this a lot. I'd really like to have someplace like this to go to occasionally. <<

It's replicable with extant resources. People could start small and grow from there. T-America has a number of things that are designed for community health and run by local folks based on meeting an expressed need. The Kwan Yin House of Compassion does offer some counselors and support groups, but it's not primarily a therapeutic facility. It's meant to support people with certain issues so that they feel less stressed and, therefore, have lower need for major therapy. We're seeing some of the serious cases in this poem, but a lot of the visitors are people who are just starting to hurt themselves, such that going there soon teaches them the coping skills they need to handle problems in better ways.
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