Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hating suffering?


(cross posted to my other blog –  )

Hate is an incredibly powerful word.  The feelings encompassed by the word are sharp and full of pain, anger, anguish.  It’s oppositional and defiant.  And it gets thrown at us parents by our children at times when they resent the parenting we have to do, the discipline and the consequences that we mete out when necessary.  It’s a momentary thing, an expression of anger and resentment.  But as adults, with a knowledge of history and the wisdom of experience on our sides, the word “hate” can fill us with fear – hate is, after all, what fuels genocides, wars, riots – painful, awful death and destruction.

It clearly isn’t something anyone with a conscience would want to cultivate.

But what about hating the bad stuff, like suffering?  What about hating that which causes suffering?  Opposing suffering is good, of course it is – who wouldn’t want to end hunger? homelessness? the pain of illness?

Especially if the one suffering is your own child?

Is “hate” right in this context? Is this the only right time to feel “hate”, when you mean to oppose suffering and that which causes suffering?

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days after a post from a friend on Facebook ignited a serious debate.  The article she posted was this one:

One of the author’s main ideas was that you cannot separate the autism from the person, so to say that you hate “autism” really means that you hate the person with autism.  Several people in the comments section on the article itself as well as my friend’s Facebook post wrote passionately and articulately that it is possible to hate the autism and love the person, that it is indeed right and necessary to separate the two, as the autism causes so much suffering for the person.

How can we not hate that which causes our children to suffer?

The last thing that I want to see as a parent is my son suffering.  And I think, as I look back, I’ve spent a great deal of time hating that which seemed to be causing his suffering, and doing my best to oppose it.

But as I look back, that feeling of hate, the sharp, gut-wrenching feeling, was also sapping my strength.

Hate, the red-hot angry hate that you feel sometimes, is a sort of way, I think (in my admittedly unprofessional capacity no-one-in-particular) to activate your energy initially.  My therapist once said that anger is a “call to arms”.  Don’t dwell there, but use it to get things started that you need to do.

So maybe it’s right and useful to feel “hate” for something that’s causing your child to suffer, but don’t dwell on it.  Hell, I don’t think we can help but feel some hatred for that which causes someone we love to suffer.

But it must be a momentary feeling.  Fleeting.  Dumping its lightning energy like a storm, then blowing away.

Dwelling on the hatred of something just makes for more suffering, as I can attest from experience.

But maybe that initial shot of energy can be used to do what we can to help mitigate the suffering as best we can.

Because ultimately, suffering can never be wholly eliminated.  We need our energy to help mitigate the causes as best we can, and to help each other cope with our suffering through love and compassion.




4th of July!  My (very basic) camera has this fun “Fireworks” setting, which allows you to take very nice pictures of fireworks if you have a steady hand, or even better, a tripod.  As I do not own a tripod, I decided to experiment with shaking and swirling the camera while it was taking the picture, thus capturing:





I like this firescribble a lot

I like this firescribble a lot

Unique is what he is.


We went to a birthday party today which included a performance by a magician.  Z was able to sit and enjoy it with the rest of the kids for about 15 minutes before he started laying on the floor, and then he came over to me and started climbing on me, then he took to trying to take a “nap” on the couch.

This is the same kid who willingly sits through 2 hour symphony orchestra performances.  With almost no fidgeting.

He is a unique kid, that’s for sure.

I’m never entirely confident I can predict his reactions in any given situation.  What’s going to engage him, what’s going to overwhelm him and make him clingy and needing to “nap” in a crowd of people.  Is it mainly a noise issue?  He’s always been overly sensitive to sound.  Maybe all the random noise of a crowd of kids in a small space just makes him need to check out.  And the orchestral music is loud, but not random, so he can be engaged with it instead of overwhelmed by it.

At least that’s my theory for the moment.


ooops, eek, argh… some housekeeping.


Sorry if I caught anyone out in my attempt to try to revive an old blog and post about it here – I had accidentally posted “Serene Sunday” to this blog instead of Salix’s Quick Fic, which is where I meant to post it originally, but I was confused by wordpress’s posting options, and it ended up here, and then I tried to fix it, and that went all wonky about 800 times… so sorry if my housekeeping got confusing for anyone 🙂

So here’s a picture of my son, with a poppy.

Zener with California Poppy

Zener with California Poppy


I have a “magpie” blog…


Z is for Zener is a blog primarily about parenting, but I’m more than just a parent.  I’ve had another blog for about as long, neglected and sitting in a server somewhere collecting dust.  (what does internet dust look like, I wonder?)  Well, it unexpectedly got some attention yesterday, and it seems like the perfect time to revive it.  So here’s my revival post from over there, reblogged here for those of you who might find it interesting.

Salix's Shiny Things


pic credit:

Hello again, world!  I’ve been inspired to blog more in the last few weeks over at zisforzener and then, out of the blue, this blog got some attention.  I’d been ignoring this one because it’s a bit more painful.  It was a useful way at the time to write about things to help me get through the emotional and mental abuse I was experiencing with my partner, but it also reminded me too much of that dark time in my life.  But it has been a year exactly since I left her, and I have been wanting to write more about my journey towards self acceptance and lovingkindness, and this is the perfect way to do so.  I want zisforzener  to remain primarily about parenting, of course, and so this blog will be my everything-else blog, my “magpie” blog.  Expect ramblings about buddhism, mindfulness, recovery from…

View original post 27 more words

Pipevine swallowtails


We saw dozens of these butterflies in the arboretum last week.  They were all over the lavender blossoms, and whatever these red flowers are. 


Apparently, they are like monarchs in that they require a specific kind of plant to lay their eggs on, and which is the only food source for their caterpillars.  In this case, it’s pipevine (big surprise there, I know!)  But what is pipevine?  I had no idea, so I looked it up:


pic credit:

Pipevine, also known as Dutchman’s Pipe, helps the caterpillars out by making them unpalatable to predators, like milkweed does to monarchs.  Plus, what an awesome looking plant!  I will definitely be growing these when we can. 


Natural things.


We’ve been having some spectacularly weathery weather  here in the flatlands of CA this spring, and it makes me so happy!  I love seeing those big, black clouds piling up on the horizon and building until they take over the sky and rain pours down.  Love it.  I was thinking about why I feel so much happier seeing dark clouds on the horizon rather than the nice cute puffy white ones or clear blue skies with whispy threads of white.  This morning, it came to me:  they remind me of home.  The dark, tall, hulking shapes on the horizon are like the mountains I grew up with, and miss every day.  So seeing those big, black rainclouds in the distance is like being surrounded by friends and family.  Yes, I do consider my mountains friends and family, thank you very much!

We went to the arboretum last week right as a storm front was charging up, and it was so wonderful.  Piles and piles of clouds of every description sailing across the sky, crowding out the blue more and more as the day went on.  Bliss, it was.  Plus, surrounded by nature and all kinds of green, growing things and dozens of butterflies really lifted my spirits.  Sometimes I feel kind of disassociated in the arboretum here, for a few reasons that I won’t go into here (big stuff requiring separate blog posts, really).  It’s close to the freeway, for one thing, and if there’s one thing I despise its the freeway.  I hate the roar of all those cars, hate it with every fiber of my being, and it’s not easy to let the visual beauty of the arboretum distract me from that aural ugliness.  But last week it did, and I had a lot of fun taking pictures and watching Z play.  Image