N I N A A. I S A B E L L E
NINA ISABELLE INTERVIEWED BY LINDA MARY MONTANO
transcribed by Brian McCorkle
L: We ask the angels to inspire us. So Nina, um, tell me the story of you and Sylvia and her illness.
N: Well she had never been sick, really. Never really been to the doctor or, I mean she'd had like a cold or a couple of fevers in her lifetime, she's 9 now. So I usually, when she would get a fever in the past, I would just, wait it out. We never really went to doctors - I would of course if it was an emergency but we never had to. In this case she had a fever on Monday morning so she stayed home from school and - I just kept taking her temperature that day and thinking that she would probably just have a regular fever and it would just be a couple of days and she would be back in school. By that night her fever was getting higher it was like 103 and 104, and the next day, at the end of the second day, her fever was 105. So I brought her to the emergency room in Kingston and they took her temperature in the waiting room and it was 105. And, they gave her some Tylenol and Motrin, which i'd been giving her at home also. When the doctor came to see her at the emergency room her fever had come down to about 102.7 - and they tested her for strep and the viruses by doing nose and throat swabs - and they sent those to the machine in the lab to determine if she had strep or any viruses - and those came back negative and they listened to her lungs and they couldn't hear anything. And they sent us home saying that she had another virus that their machine just couldn't detect and to just continue treating her with Tylenol and Motrin or Ibuprofen. I had the feeling that something was wrong and that they were missing something and I wasn't in the right mindframe to say so or speak up - it was like every time I went to form my thoughts and say something to the doctor it was like he was talking and I just couldn't figure out what I needed to say or wanted to say - it was like I had a feeling something was wrong but - I think I thought I said that having a 105 fever was pretty high for a virus. And he said "Oh, no it wasn't 105" And I was just thinking, well it just was in the waiting room with the nurses, but he was saying it wasn't. It was this weird feeling of believing him because he was a doctor but knowing that he was wrong when he said that she didn't have a fever of 105 with such authority. So, when we left I was really irritated by that whole experience. The next morning she was still not better, she was - I would look at her and she would kind of look like she was blue, and I would look again and she didn't look blue. So, there was again this feeling of, did I, am I correct in that? It was this continual process of checking in with my perceptions and not really knowing what was real, but also being a person that has experienced a lot of things that have caused me to learn to trust myself. So it was like a whole other level of that way of being. So I took her to the pediatrician that afternoon, and he, by that time she had a rash on her body and her mouth looked weird and she had been throwing up all day, not able to keep any fluid down. And he tested her again for strep and his machine said that she tested positive for strep and he said it looked like she had scarlet fever because she had a rash all over herself. And her tongue was white. So he gave her some Amoxycillin to take, and I thought "Oh, well, good, so it was something" - I knew it was something - I was feeling hopeful that this would - that she would take these antibiotics and he said they would work really quickly and that she would turn around really quickly and that scarlet fever isn't really as big of a scary deal as it sounds, and that it responds quickly to the antibiotics and she should feel better the next morning. So she still wasn't able to keep any fluid down, she was looking blue and green and really pale and really lethargic - her breathing was starting to be really rapid, and it seemed as if she in pain. She kept saying she had pain in her lung, I didn't know it was her lung then, I thought it was her stomach, where she was indicating. So, we got home and I tried to give her the antibiotic and she just threw it up, so I called the doctor and asked how long does it need to stay in her stomach until it had gotten into her system and they said "Oh it should be fine, just give her another one in the morning." So I was just sort of getting her ready to go to sleep and in the morning we would get up and she would be better, or at least starting to be better. But I had this feeling, like maybe I should take her into the hospital again because something just didn't seem right. So I kept going back and forth with that thought, "just wait until morning she'll be better" and "no you should take her in again." But then also we've already been to two doctors and they'd sent us home and it just seemed ridiculous to go to a third emergency room after hours. And I didn't want to go back to the Kingston Hospital because they already missed the fact that she had strep and sent us home and said she had nothing wrong with her.
I was really on the fence about going back to the hospital - I just felt like they were going to say "oh nothing's wrong - go home and wait it out" - but I think this is the scariest part of it is that I almost didn't go to the hospital. I decided to go to Poughkeepsie, which is a half an hour drive, but I knew it was a better hospital, and by the time we got there there was all kinds of Christmas traffic because it was night, it was December 16th or 17th. She wasn't able to walk or move, and she had turned blue, we pulled into the parking lot - I didn't know if I should call 911 but I was in the hospital parking lot so I just hoisted her onto my back and fireman carried her from the parking garage to the hospital. It was dark and windy and everything was vacant, it seemed like there were no street lamps. It just seemed really like, time slowed down, like I was carrying this near-lifeless child through this parking lot towards this light of the entrance of the hospital. And I went in the front entrance and they said "This isn't the Emergency Room it's around the other side of the building." So I just quickly turned around and started running as fast as I could with her on my back. And we had to traverse the side of this giant hospital in the dark, like we were going through alleyways with dumpsters, it seemed. And there was just no one around. It just seemed really unbelievable - one of those moments when time is just stretching out and you're aware of the urgency and ridiculousness of your situation. So I got into the Emergency Room door which was around the other side of the building it was a really small entrance. And they wheeled up a wheelchair behind me and I plunked her down into it and they saw that she was blue and not moving and didn't really look alive so they quickly hooked her up to a monitor and it said that her heart rate was 180 and her oxygen level was like 58 or something, really low. They kept hitting the machine saying "this can't be right - this can't be right" and a couple of them were just taking their time, trying to get the machine to be accurate. Then one nurse came rushing out and she said "The machine's fine! Get Doctor -" um, the pediatrician who was on call there, I
forget his name. And they rushed her back there and they immediately gave her a shot of Venkomyacin, she'd gone septic and they didn't know, initially, what was
wrong with her. They were asking all kinds of questions, had she been exposed to something. They just put her in an ambulance and I got in the front of the
ambulance and we rode to Westchester Hospital, and they put her in the intensive care unit for children and we didn't know what was happening at that point.
They gave her an ultrasound of her body and it showed that her left lung was full of pus. They couldn't hear that, neither the emergency room or the doctor's
office could hear that for some reason when they listened to her chest, I guess because it was so full. So, they drained her lung the next morning by putting her unconscious and putting a tube in. Then she - they showed me a picture of the X-Ray and you could see her esophagus going off at a 45 degree angle from her throat, and her heart was shoved up into her left shoulder area because her lung was so full of pus that it was displacing her heart and her esophagus - it was the worst looking X-Ray I've ever seen. Like a person's body parts all in the wrong spot. It was just this feeling of time being altered and not having any control over the situation and knowing that I needed to be fine with that.
L: Nina do you need to take a break right now and put your hands on your heart?
And thank yourself for - just thank your heart, thank yourself, just be -
gratitude. Thanking Nina.
- pause -
L: Can you imagine Sylvia in your arms, healed.
N: Yeah, and I've recited the facts of this situation so many times and it's much
different than the actual experience.
L: And what's your feeling today, where are you vibrating with it today?
N: I think this whole situation is sort of in another compartment, it's like
frozen there for the sake of reflection or study. Because, I don't think I could
go around each day actually with this memory in my - like the memory and
awareness that I use in my every day life. So, it still feels kind of unreal, and
as if it never happened, and also as if it was no big deal at all, and also as if
it was a life-changing event. As if there was life before this and life after
this. So it has - you know I don't know if it hasn't been enough time but it
hasn't settled, it feels like the time that we spent in the hospital was, could
have been like an entire year. It could have been 20 years ago, or 3 years ago,
or yesterday. It feels like it could have been much longer or much shorter, it
feels like it could have been 3 days or an entire year. The time around it and
having to do with - everything having to do with this is just warped in this time
and space way.
L: So there's Nina the mother and there's Nina the artist-mother, and you were able to be in touch with so many people via your iPhone, the group chats. But you
also, just from photos and with stories, Nina the artist really came to that situation, in terms of how you dealt with room, and the people and the doctors
and the nurses and the visitors, so could you tell me about Nina the artist, in the room with your daughter?
N: Yeah I thought about this a lot because I was talking with you Linda on the phone, most days we would check in and you would ask how we were doing and we kept in close touch and I - I remember, I don't know how many years ago it was, but I was talking to you about this time Sylvia and I were in the grocery store. And she was throwing a tantrum, and my cart was full of groceries, and I just had to abandon the cart and leave, these really difficult mothering moments. And you said something like "What would the mother that you would want to be - how would that mother be performing, and how could you perform as a mother in that situation?" And I remember having this huge realization when you said that, that I had a choice how I responded to Sylvia, that I could perform in that moment as a mother having a child who's having a tantrum in the grocery store. Just this realization that performance could be - that could be a coping mechanism - but it's not really a coping mechanism it's like a mechanism, so - ever since that point I've really used that performance mechanism in my mothering, because I've really had to because we wind up in so many difficult situations. And it's not performance in the way of being perfect, it's more like what is my role here and how can I embrace that role? That mechanism of awareness really creates that ability to view multiple possibilities and then choose one. And then even if that possibility that you chose isn't working out - you're still able to step out of that role, view a hundred more possibilities, and chose another one. So it gave me this really maneuverable framework for navigating mothering and life. So I already had been sort of practicing that, in a way that became very natural to my just daily way of going about, that I didn't realize until this latest hospital experience how much I rely on that mechanism as a mother and as an artist and all throughout my life, it's now something that informs my choices and my awareness about my artmaking projects, circumstances and situations I find myself in life, or if I'm envisioning and conceptualizing different possibilitie - that sort of performance mechanism that you introduced me to has really informed my approach to life, mothering, and art. So that was one of my big realizations, in this process, or in this experience.
L: You're also a scientist, you know, you're a trained and practicing massage
therapist - you're multi-multi leveled, multi-talented, so you have access to so
many different personas, and quote characters and other voices that you can use
and you really pulled out or pulled into all of them. Because I remember either
reading or hearing from you that the scientist was wowing the doctors and nurses
and the artist or the artist-mother was creating an installation in the room, the
mother was in bed with the daughter - it was just an incredible, incredible
experience for us, who knew about it online and knew about it being connected to
your heart and to your heart, we all love you, and then Sylvia, and then Brian.
So it was just - literally, I couldn't do anything while this was going on, I was
just with you every second. I couldn't I couldn't function outside the persona of
being Nina's love and Nina's friend. That was my, my practice.
N: Yeah it was essential, and I can't even express the web that we all became,
people coming and going, so many people were involved and connected and just
wanting to help in so many ways - and helping in so many ways, that it was like -
I'm not a person who's able to just sit around, and there wasn't a lot of
sleeping over the 17 days but - it was Christmas and we had construction paper,
we were making daisy chains and decorating the room, and the room became filled
with hanging paper chains and cut-outs and it became a really exciting room that
We were studying all the different antibiotics she was on and what their scope of
treatments were - which things they would kill and which things they wouldn't.
Making lists and crossing off things because the doctors couldn't really - they
weren't really able to identify which bacteria had caused the lung to fill up -
so we were - I was trying to figure that out by processes of elimination. And
that became these long long lists and learning about how antibiotics can have
antagonistic effects on each other and it seemed like the two that they were
giving her were canceling each other out and they would add a third one and the
fever still wouldn't come down and the white blood cells would still go higher -
she was on three antibiotics and it was just getting worse.
So it was definitely entering science mode, definitely entering busy mode of just
manipulating material with my hands non-stop, talking to people, just really
being outside of myself. And I was remembering, I'd worked many years ago in
search and rescue in Yosemite Valley, and there was a similar thing that happens
there when there's an emergency and you just get down to doing the work. And that
I remember that time shifts, time stops, and you just have - it's like
everything's in slow motion.
So I guess as a scientist and artist who's thinking and working with perception -
in this case I'm still stuck thinking about the role of perception, I'm thinking
about why we percieve certain situations - why time is warped and bent, and for
what purpose, what parts of us make that happen? And how can we control that or
L: Do you think your early training as a gymnast and as a high-flying, risk-
taking performer, that that internal persona allows you to confront high-flying
life-art issues, in this case? All of your past actions and trainings came
N: Yeah, I think - my Dad was a gymnast and an acrobat and a trampolinist, and so
from the time I was little he would be tossing me up in the air and having me
balance on his hands - we would be doing hand balancing and acrobatic things -
and training me on trampoline, I would be launching myself in the air. So I was
really, had this, I think maybe in a way that puts a person outside of their
body, so I had this really strong sense of my physical body, and an equally
strong sense of the space outside of my physical body, so it's almost like I
inhabited two spaces. So, I think it created the ability to see myself from
outside, which is why, Linda, when you introduced the idea of choosing roles,
that was really a surprisingly simple thing - as much as I'd been able to see
myself from outside my body I had never imagined this possibility of seeing that
self choose - make choices.
So, as much as I have this experience of being outside my body sort of naturally,
I'm missing a lot of experiences that seem very natural for other people that
have to do with awareness of choice. So I think it has its pluses and minuses,
being disconnected - not disconnected but having a sense of the outside-the-
L: Is that because there's a level of suspension that comes from having been
suspended - it's almost like an angelic timelessness, an angelic suspension,
N: Yeah I don't know I've thought about this in relationship to having been a
trampolinist because, I remember, when I was maybe 15 or 16 I had quit gymnastics
and I just wanted to focus on trampoline. So I was learning these really
complicated skills on the trampoline, one of them was a double-twisting double-
backflip, which you do in succession with a bunch of other tricks. So it requires
jumping up in the air and flipping around two times while you spin around two
times. So it takes these really tiny muscle movements and you're going really
high in the air, and it's so many tiny movements that it feels like you have a
year when you're up in the air doing that trick. I can still, even to this day,
feel the microscopic movements inside of my body that you need to do in order to
make that trick happen. Yet, in that split second, the amount of time it takes to
perform that trick, it expands and it seems like you have, maybe an entire minute
or five minutes or something.
So, we used to use video cameras to record ourselves and you could see this, just
this human going up in the air and spinning around really quickly and then
landing. And when you slow motion the thing down you can see: "Oh, my elbow was
sticking out, I need to pull my elbow in" - you just saw these really microscopic
things that you needed to do with your body, like just tuck your chin in a
quarter of an inch or something.
So, I thought about this when I was studying body work, and I forget which
practioner was talking about people who'd been in car accidents, where their body
comes to a direct halt. They've been speeding, and then the physical body comes
to a quick halt, that the etheric or energy body continues to move past the car,
and outside of their body, and their energy body didn't come to a halt, it just
kept kind of gliding into the space in front of them. So, I thought about my
experience as a trampolinist and this high-impact kind of jumping, this being-in-
the-air, maybe that was happening.
We wouldn't call it "traumatic experience" because you were choosing to do it and
you didn't usually get hurt but it caused this similar thing to the "outside
body" that maybe happens when people are in car crashes or other high-impact
injuries or something.
It's just a perception of time being weird and altered. And the perception of the
body, the physical body and the outer bodies.
L: So, it's almost like three personas, I'm sure there are more, there's Nina the
artist, with all kinds of things happening in that room: the stars and paper cut-
outs, and iPad games, and there's Nina the scientist, which you are also, who's
doing all of this medical research, there's Nina the partner with Brian as
collaborator, and there's Nina the Mother. There's no which one is second, third
fourth, and I'm sure there's more, there's Nina the spiritual seeker.
So there's these five to seven, to twenty-faceted - there's Nina the daughter,
who's relating to parents what's going on, Nina the communicator. It's this
multi-faceted opera of care and love, that is unbelievably fertile, rich, and
What would be your advice to other mothers, to other fathers, to other others in
this situation? What - it's a teaching, what you did, is a teaching, it's a
course, you could study what you did for years! What all you went through. What
do you think people studying what you did will come away with or learn, or need
N: The first thing that I kept telling other mothers when I would see them is
just, "Go to the doctor, don't try to ride it out, it doesn't matter." I have so
many friends, myself included, we try to avoid going to the doctor, because maybe
it's expensive, or we don't trust them, or something.
The first lesson, practical and the lesson that can save the most lives
potentially is just go to the Doctor. It doesn't matter if you're wrong, just
keep going. If you know that something is wrong don't trust them, just keep going
to the Emergency Room over and over and over if you have to. I think that's the
most urgent, pressing message that I found myself wanting to tell my other Mom
friends. I think I'll probably be more inclined to go to the doctor all the time
now. Also, from being involved in athletics we were trained to never go to the doctor,
you know. So it was sort of overriding this programming I'd had my entire life
that the body is invincible and it can heal itself no matter what, you never need
to go to the doctor - that's the most practical advice.
And probably I think - I don't know, there were times when I was thinking "I
don't know how I'm doing this, I don't know how I'm not falling over or screaming
or having an anxiety attack or being really scared or crying." I don't know how
all of those things didn't happen, other than to say it was thanks to this
performative mechanism that allowed me to really be present with what was
happening and to realize I was in control of my anxiety and my fear, and that
those sorts of responses wouldn't have any impact on the outcome.
So, that sort of awareness and logical thinking kind of let me off the hook. "Oh,
I don't need to have anxiety, I can see how that's not useful."
L: As a practicing artist, you mention four or five things: screaming, anxiety,
et cetera. Do you feel that the coming-down-from-the-suspension, or from twirling
or twisting, from being put into the air of this situation; do you feel that
those are things you'll be dealing with in your work, or in therapy, or that you
will scream in your house when you're alone in your house, or do you feel that
these kind of detrituses and these left overs, this material, do you have any
idea how you'll be using the material?
N: Yeah, I feel like it's probably not ready to come out, like it's sitting,
solidifying a little more, I think when it comes out, then, it's going to be
really directed, and that might show up in having - I mean I know this from going
through things like this in the past that it gives me this ability to be really
clear in my impulses and my choices and my instincts. To recognize when an
institnctive notion is occurring and to direct it really quickly and not question
So, I think maybe all of these sort of difficult experiences in my life are
continually fortifying that mechanism of choice-making and embracing and owning
decisions and actions. Where there's not really a lot of - it's been training me
to function in this way that's just sort of following impulse, but also the
impulses have been correct in a lot of ways. Or it's like they're getting to be
better, they're not always the most useful or beneficial thing, but it's like
honing that mechanism, to where I feel like, eventually, a person, if they keep
going through stuff like this for their whole life, might be able to direct that
process really effectively.
L: And you said persons going through this, I'm kind of thinking, like my
brother's a surgeon, and my niece is a pediatrician and an internist: I'm
thinking medically right now, and, you had 17 days of really being in close
proximity with the medical, more than that, close proximity with people in the
medical world. What did you learn from them?
N: They have these slogans, like "We operate on Occam's Razor!"
L: What was that?
N: "Our protocol is developed based on Occam's Razor!" The most likely scenario
is the most probable, is probably it, or something.
"All of our decisions are informed by protocol, we don't-" they don't use, if
they have a hunch or a notion, they have to bend their protocol to sort of force
a way for their instinct, whereas operating as an artist I might have an instinct
or a notion and I might have to force some sort of rules or material, physical
material, to suit my notion.
So I could see - just, that they have this kind of comfort with fencing
themselves in with this, because it's like life or death, when you're on the
fence and making a decision like this about whether a child lives or dies, you
can't, as a human, be like, making a quick instinctive decision. Because you're
not going to be 100% correct. So they have to put these parameters in place so
that they're not accidentally killing children.
L: What does that look like?
N: They're working with something that's more important I guess, it's not more
important, but it's much different than "Oh I'm going to make a sculpture and the
welds didn't hold" or "I had the welder set on 4" or something, it's like "Oh I
made a mistake" but it's not like somebody's going to live or die because I chose
the wrong color or, you know, my seams didn't hold, or someone disagreed with
what I was doing, or one of those things like, as an artist, being misunderstood,
like worst case scenario you do a project, no one understands it, everyone
misunderstands it, it fails, or something, it's like "So fucking what" there's no
children who just died so it doesn't really matter, so that's sort of liberating.
L: It makes us glad to be artists?
N: I guess so, not to say that it's just frivolous, I think we're all searching
for real useful ways of going about that translate to how to live life
effectively, and that can save lives.
L: I always felt that I wanted the same level of integrity as my brother had when
he was doing surgery on a child. I wanted that same brilliance, that same,
integrity again, that same attention, that same, care, that same, knowledge.
Because that's a level to aim for, and that's a level that I could feel in a
family member and want to emulate.
N: Yeah it's probably great if we have that level of care and awareness in
everything we do in our lives, and I agree. Because even, I guess on the surface
it doesn't seem like anybody lives or dies based on any of my successes or
failures with all of my art projects, but they're, they're little spirit ideas,
little spirit babies or something.
So it's, I mean, I guess it would just be, if we were to decide that human
spirit, human beings were different or more important than idea-babies or spirit-
It's probably not true that there's a hierarchy and one is more important than
L: But the endurance that you participated in with your daughter and with your
partner, Brian, and your ex-husband being there also in the picture, has, was an
invitation to the next level of excellence. Because there's a graduation from the
heart, our hearts, our hearts expand from these life endurances. And then it's
like the art, the art will, the art will benefit.
Or the life will benefit.
N: Yeah, and that's really sticking with me, more and more, as I know you, and am
influenced by you. There really is no difference between my life projects and my
art projects, and that they both deserve equal levels of integrity.
L: How is your relationship with Sylvia altered, changed, moved into or out of,
or... what's new, what's old, what's?
N: Well, I've made a point of, I have my observations of she and I's
relationship, and I've tried to be really clear in not articulating her
experience as my experience, or my observation of her experience may not be
correct. So I, kind of refrain from imposing my observation of her experience,
and what it might be.
I witnessed her working with certain things in this circumstance, being
confronted with things she had no choice over. Kids are given a lot of
encouragement in this era, lately, that they have choice, and that they have
choices about their bodies and what things they say are okay and what things are
not okay. That they need to make good choices and use their voice, and make these
So she's been raised that way, except in this case, she was put in a position
where she didn't have any choice, they had to take blood when they had to, and
they had to do stuff to her, she didn't choose, and she didn't want to.
And so it was difficult for me to watch that sort of reckoning and realize, we've
been wanting to give our kids this, idealized notion that they have choice and
autonomy and their body is theirs, and it's all great and well-meaning things,
except in a case like this, you also have to be able to give over, to give over
control of the things that you can control, and to know the difference - the
ability to know, when you don't have a choice, and the ability to be okay.
So she's 9, and she hasn't had many experiences like that, so watching her, have
a crash course in that, is one things that I noticed, as far as she and I's
relationship, that's a tough one to speak about. We're still so connected, that
we sort of have an understanding of each other and our relationship to each other
Just, feeling and knowing each other in a way that is still really instinctive
and connected in some, sphere that doesn't have language. And then also
experiencing the stuff that does have language, just being really tired of
whining, and all of the regular mother things, like really needing her to do what
you're asking her to do, and being really tired, with those regular sorts of
L: The ability - what would you say to mothers about honesty? What I've observed
in your relationship with Sylvia, in general, you have a rule that being honest
and forthright and saying the truth, no matter how truthful or puzzling or
upsetting or shocking it might be, never stops you, and so in a way that really
helped, because I could see that some people might not have been as able to be
truthful in the circumstance you were in - to talk about blood and guts, and
sickness and life, in front of your daughter and also - anyway, I think you're
very brave. And would you recommend - how would you get other people to be as
brave as you? And is that from being suspended in the air?
N: I don't know.
L: Why are you so brave and how can you teach that bravery?
N: I don't know because, brave, I might have just learned it, you know,
parenting, you learn a little bit of it from the way your parents raised you, and
some of that is good and bad. I mean, my Dad was kind of a fearless person and he
talked a lot about violence and fighting and blood, so a lot of his speaking was
really straight forward and graphic and, he had been in a lot of fist fights and
he was kind of a rough and tumble person, and his father was - he had a lot of
experiences growing up in a tough area where he, found a finger, this guy jumped
him and he punched him and just kept punching him, and so, I just grew up with
these - I kind of question it now. That is a defense mechanism, I think, to speak
about bloody and graphic things with such ease, it's partly conditioned, I don't
think it's great, because as I've gotten older and I've gotten more respect for
the body, I think that's, not such a healthy response, to be so vocally graphic
about things that are so important. But that's how he was, and my family is still
kind of like that, so I don't know, I guess the other thing is being
disinhibited, which could be from head injuries, or it might just be a way or
being that I am, I can't really not say what I'm thinking, and I never think it -
I think it benefits everybody involved to know the most information, and if
everyone said what they were thinking, I think everyone would appreciate that.
L: Ra, ra! Applause for all that, fabulous, thank you for mentoring that. And I'm
sure those nurses were applauding you, and doctors.
N: Yeah, maybe doctors and nurses are used to that, sort of, speaking.
L: How did the animus of Brian's presence, who actually has a lot of anima in
him, how did you feel, he supported you, and how would you recommend, future
people who would be in a similar situation to ask for the kind of support you got
N: I mean, he was just continually there, there wasn't a question of whether he
would be there for us, he just was, and that was really comforting. The feeling
of, I didn't even have to ask, there was no resentment, it was just, straight up,
unconditional help and support. Neither of us, I mean we were tired, but that
wasn't even an issue. So I think, just having another person there was really
great, and really gave me a lot of stability and comfort. And Sylvia too, he was
able to, a lot of times, defuse things that were happening, then he would pick
up, and start reading books to her and stuff.
I guess, just having the ability to collapse a little bit and know that somebody
else was going to be there.
L: If you were to interview Nina right now, what would you ask her, about this
N: I would ask her, how is she going to be, how is she going to be better the
next time this happens? What is the thing to carry and learn, the next thing? I
don't even know if there's a way to answer that because it will just evolve over
Or, how will she, I wonder if these spheres of reality will, over time, converge?
And how would she know if that has happened and what would it matter?
L: What does converge mean, to you?
N: I guess the experience is kind of fragmented from my awareness, I notice when
I start to retell the facts of this experience, that they're kept in another
compartment of my awareness that's really far from the awareness I use to go
around in my daily life. I wonder if there will come a point when the distance
between those two modes of functioning becomes closer.
L: What does she say to Nina?
N: She would say, "Why does that matter? Between those things. Why are you
fascinated with where things are, the location of perceptions? Why do you care so
much about wanting to know where things are and how they get from one place to
L: I could answer that.
N: You could?
L: I am Nina, and I am up in the air! My dance threw me up in the air, and I
don't know where in the name of God I am! I'm twisting, I'm turning, I'm
trampolining and I'm jumping, and I'm up and I'm turning around and I'm falling
down - I don't know where I am, and the distance, relations, so that's -
N: Right, that makes sense, thanks Linda.
L: My God! My God! Oh my God, where am I? What's the relation to the next - I'm
an angel, flying.
N: Hm, good point.
L: So, Nina says to all parents [long pause]
You talked about money today, before we began, it was so beautiful, and you
talked about bills coming to you, through her birth father, that she had
insurance, it was so touching, you talked about money, because most people are
just like cray-cray about, totally cray-cray. And you said, with all beauty, yeah
there was one bill, about $15,000 or eighteen and then you said, I want you to
close your eyes, and feel this, you said "I don't care if it was a million
dollars, I don't care if I had to pay for the rest of my life, if it was a
million dollars, I would pay and pay, because it was my daughter's life that was
And that's, that's the other Nina. That's the new Nina.
N: Yeah, it was a perspective shift, at the same time we were in the hospital my
septic system was blowing up in my house, and, you know, before we went to the
hospital that was a terrible ordeal, and, you know, I hired this plumber, it was
$300, not fixed, hired another guy, $900, kind of fixed, you need another thing,
it's going to be $8000. And then, that very day, "your septic needs to be
rebuilt, it's $8000" - we go to the hospital. I was on the verge of caring about
that, you know, and in relationship to something like this, those other things
that would really just be a really big deal in a person's life, just doesn't
matter. I don't know how that will happen, it just will, I don't even care, right
We're just not using much water for now, it's fine.
So then all these other things, oh we hit a deer! I had to have my car repaired,
just all these other things that at other points in my life would be like "Oh
this is terrible, why is all this terrible stuff happening?"
And now, it's like, it's like nothing, it doesn't even matter, all this stuff
that used to matter, it just doesn't.
L: You know I'm thinking like Castaneda's, commandment, that we keep death on our
left shoulder, is so lovely, because, if, and sometimes the translation is "Oh my
God! Fill-in-the-blank is going to die! And I'm so, cray-cray, about what I'm
thinking about Fill-in-the-blank right now!" But, if I was looking through the
lens of, they're going to die some day, how would that change my direction, my
position, my being-in-the-air, my endurance
N: That's another one of those magical Linda-perspective-shifting mechanisms
L: And you did it, you did it, you had a perspective shift, you had a large
shift, and a very very powerful life-death journey, endurance.
N: Maybe the distance between those spheres of perception I was trying to measure
and locate will become evident when I go back to being comfortable and I get to
this point where I start to get mad about some stupid thing like, I'm thinking of
my neighbor lady was mad because we drove on her yard and it made a dent on her
lawn and she was so mad. And I could just sit there while she was yelling at me
thinking "wow, she cares about different things than I do." So maybe when the
experience, the near-death experiences and the mundane idiocy of daily life
problems like holes in your yard, when those things start to become so far apart
that you can't see the near-death experience any more and you start to care about
a hole in your yard or something, maybe those things could indicate distance. I
don't know if that would mean, like, getting closer together or farther.
I don't know.
L: Somehow, it all boils down to love, and the vibrational frequency of love.
And, and then translating that love and death and love and fear and how to come
out, how to come out of these wonderful teachings with the banner, the banner
for, the flag of love.
I mean I'm thinking of, in the exact same scenario, you know, [xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] - this is, off record maybe.
N: We'll stop here [shuts recorder off]