I wanted to send out a little update to anyone who’s been a reader here: Our own lovely Erin Myers, who has been writing about living with cancer on her own blog (The View from the 21st Floor) and cross-posting here on Rational Creatures, has transitioned into hospice care. She’ll be leaving us soon.

Erin was a fantastic writer. She spoke about her diagnosis and her experience of her disease with a bald honesty and wry humor that made me lean forward in my seat, eager for more, even while dreading what she might tell me. Lady had some big brass balls to be as truthful as she was with us. And her impulse to share it with the world was part of what made her an incredible person to know.

Erin was a fantastic artist. While going through cancer treatments, she performed regularly in a 12 hour long (!!!) collection of Greek tragedies . . . and then, later, sicker, performed some more in an all-female Titus Andronicus. She wrote about her art, how important it was to her, even as she was physically less able to do it. She grasped, clung to, clawed at her art, holding it to her and pushing it out into the world simultaneously. Another way she shared herself with us.

I find myself typing “Erin was” and hesitating, wanting to go back, delete it, type “Erin is” instead, hearing it in my head like a mantra, Erin IS, Erin IS, Erin IS. She is and was and she will be. She will be in the hearts and souls and memories of all those who knew her and loved her.

Other contributors here knew Erin better than I, and I hope they can at some point share some of their thoughts and memories here, maybe not right away, but some day. For now, feel free to comment below with any thoughts of Erin and what she shared with us.

If you’re looking to DO something, as I know I do whenever stupid death comes around and reminds me I don’t control anything, I will make these suggestions: See some theater. Make your own art. Share yourself with those around you. Love expansively. Give cancer the middle finger. And say thanks to Erin for everything she gave us while she was around.

“Fuck you spiritual people for using gratitude as a bypass to your anger.”

Some people are Recovering Catholics…I’m a Recovering Spiritualist.

Working at a spiritual center for a long time had major perks. I learned a lot about myself, a lot about communication, a lot about trusting the capital U universe, was reminded that everyone is doing the best they can, I had a consistent meditation practice, and met some of the best people I’ve ever known (and still know).

I also learned a lot about hypocrisy, the dangers of groupthink mentality, spiritual bypass, gossip lives everywhere, and that having Big Emotions was a good thing and accepted…unless it wasn’t, depending on the person or the day you did or didn’t share them with.

I’ll pull it back around to the point of this post to say, the reason that this article (where the opening quote is pulled from) resonated with me is it felt like a really wonderful tool for my Recovering Spiritualist tool box.

I saw said article going around on The Book of Faces, and it was the first good thing I’ve ever read about What To Do With and maybe even How To Invite And Move Through anger.

Like, a solution to acknowledging and living with The Feeling that doesn’t turn to dialectical behavioral therapy techniques involving snapping a rubber band on your wrist or holding an ice cube–both cause physical pain response to “distract” from the feeling, which I’ve found more triggering than helpful.

It was not an elephant-journal-style Go Do Some Yoga And Become One With A Flower article…which, are sometimes helpful, but sometimes make me feel WORSE for not being able to just click in to nature and feel oneness because FUCK ONENESS I’M TOO MAD TO BE A DELICATE FLOWER RIGHT NOW. (more…)

Editor’s Note: A new author to Rational Creatures, Jan Blixt, joins us today with some reflections from her Easter.

My children dyed their eggs last night and just finished finding them all this morning. They opened their Easter baskets (lovingly created each year by their grandmother, Poppy) and had their brunch, and now they are watching Sherlock Holmes with their father and grandfather.

You may note that church is not a factor in our Easter morning. Because god is not a factor in our Easter morning.

I was raised in a very Catholic family with a devout mother and a seemingly devout father – I learned in my late teens that he was an agnostic who’d been raised Episcopalian and loved my mother and was willing to go along with the trappings because they were important to her. I have a brother whose lovely family is devout in their Evangelical Christianity. I also have a brother who’s become rather militant in his atheism and whose family has no patience with religion. And I don’t believe in god. I just don’t. I don’t know if I ever did and I don’t lose sleep over it.

And now I have two children, ages 6 and 8, who are being raised without religion and without the concept of capital-G god.

This shocks some people. (more…)