Personal Note

My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From your thoughts, you can create greatness.

This is what I need to remind myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create. Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgemental, love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are love.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Knowing that the other person is angry, one who remains mindful and calm acts for his own best interest and for the other's interest, too.

Week 36

The holidays are officially over, save the New Year's Celebration, and while I love this time of year and what it represents, the sights, sounds and smells of the Yuletide, I am a bit relieved that it is all but over.

It seems this year (as is oftentimes the case during this time of year) that there were a lot of disgruntled folks trudging their way through the holidays. I have had more than my share of "run-in's" with people these last couple of weeks while out and about. I am so grateful that I have learned the lessons that I have, so far, that have helped me practice the lesson in this quote while dealing with these "difficult people".

Common sense can tell you that becoming irate and matching the other person's level of anger can only intensify the situation. If we can keep mindful of the fact that they may be experiencing some difficulty in their lives much like we may be or have in the past in our own, we are better able to relate to their pain and stay calm and understanding, instead of reacting angrily because our own ego has been challenged.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone were to care enough about our feelings to have done that for us in the past? By acting in this way, you are not just giving to them, but to yourself, as well. This type of generosity spreads much like a shared smile. It will, hopefully, at least plant a seed of thought in them that someone cared enough about them to set aside their own ego and being 'right' to stay calm and let them have the floor in the situation, giving them room to vent their frustrations, right or wrong.

Believe me, they will eventually realize on their own that they were "wrong" without you matching their ire and pointing it out to them. Even if you don't seem to have 'come out on top', you really did because you kept calm and understanding, gifting them the space they needed to figure it out. They will realize the gift you gave them.

It may take them receiving that gift a thousand times before they 'get it', but your job was done. You never know what the other person is going through when they act out angrily, so don't react. Diffuse the situation with calm.

This time may be the one-thousandth time they needed.

Thank you so much for reading and following me along my journey. Many blessings to you on yours.



Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Look within. Be still.


Week 35

I am possibly having one of the worst feeling holidays I have ever had. Worse even than last year, being my first year without my mom. It could be that more has happened since then, therefore compounding a sadness that continues to grow in me. There are overwhelming things that just continue to arise in my life that I sometimes feel that I just can't win. Situations that occur that make me lose faith in my fellow man, this world, even my own family. It fills me with a sadness, if not a bitterness, that causes me to lose faith in myself. What a terrible way to feel, especially at "the most wonderful time of the year."

I try to remind myself that no matter what is going on in my life, someone else probably has it much, much worse. But, I don't have their life or their experiences. I only have my own, and everything that has rained down on me thus far is getting pretty unbearable; things I have not disclosed to my closest friends.

I know that I am not alone. I know that many of you have struggled with things that make you question your faith. I'm talking about earth shattering things that make you question your desire to even share in this world any longer. But, no matter what your faith may be, if you are struggling at any moment with things that affect you this strongly, it doesn't really matter what faith you have, if you can't believe in yourself to be strong enough to reach in and find it.

After reflecting upon the things that are troubling me and allowing myself to feel the feelings that were grieving me so, I made the choice to not fold under my perceived dire circumstances. That my faith in mankind, higher spirituality, myself, is all my own and I get to choose how I react to all that comes my way and how I process all that 'happens' to me. I get to decide to dig deep and find what I need to get through whatever is handed to me. Whatever you find when you dig deep is all yours. It belongs to you, it comes from you and whatever you believe put it there for you to find. When it feels like all else is failing you, know that you have that; a place within you  to retreat to, so that you may find the answers you are looking for.

Know that, no matter how bad things seem to be getting, you have that inner space to retreat to. A serene space you can create that is all your own to pray, meditate, be with God, whatever you need in that moment of your dark hour to help you find your way. This quote reminds me of Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God..." Everyone is entitled to their interpretation of this verse, and everyone is entitled to the peace it brings to them whether they are followers of any certain faith, or not. And for me it brings peace to my heart the same as the Buddha's words "Look within. Be still."

Look within. Find your meaning. Be still, and hear it speak.

Many peaceful blessings to you during your journey of this life.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 34

May all beings be happy at heart.


Today I messed up, a little. I've been on "vacation" all week, something I do every year to prepare for the holidays. I make a lot of my gifts for family and always have shopping to do with and for family members. It's always so busy, I feel I need a vacation to recover from vacation. Add in some totally unexpected  personal strife that I've been helping my sister through, and before you know it, a week is gone, and Sunday was here before I knew it...AND, I go back to work tomorrow.

This is not, however, an excuse as to why I seemed to have completely 'flaked' on my weekly writing responsibility. But I had a long day ahead of me today and didn't even realize it was Sunday; easy to do with my routine being off all week.

Anyhow, I sit here, now, to do what should have been done earlier this week, but literally could not find the time to get done, and I realize that maybe this is exactly as it should be. I believe we constantly need lessons in our lives to help remind us of what is important and, though it is true that everything I did this week was for my loved ones, I need to be reminded not to spread myself too thin. I love giving and doing for others but I really need to practice better time-management. My writing is important to me, and I hope it is to some of you, too, and I truly appreciate all of you who read and support my blog, so I humbly apologize for being late this week.

All of this brings me to this weeks quote.

May all beings be happy at heart.

Most everyone in this world wants the same thing: to be happy. This weeks quote is the wish from the Buddha for all beings to be blessed with what they long for--a happy heart. We all get there in different ways, as different things make each of us happy in different ways. This is how I need to use this quote as a reminder in my life especially at this very busy time of year.

"All beings" encompasses us all. While you are working hard to do your best to make others happy, be sure to remember yourself, as well. Take a little time for yourself, find a way to relax and regroup, so that you can focus on what's important.  In this way, not only are you making others happy with your actions, but also with your presence of mind, and you are benefiting by gaining a happy heart by sharing your own happy heart, as well. This isn't just for the time surrounding the holidays, but for always. It just comes to our minds easier now because we are more focused on giving this time of year, but if we learn to focus on helping others and ourselves to be happy more throughout the year, we will be better prepared for the bustle of next year when it comes. Happy hearts will be second nature for us, and the focus on what matters will be that much easier. I just need to remember this quote when I am starting to take on too much and ask myself if what I am doing is going to result in my heart being totally and completely happy.

Doing all the things for my family and making all the special gifts, shopping for that special and meaningful gift that I know my father-in-law will love, does make me happy, but all of that also caused me to overlook my Sunday post, and that doesn't make me happy. I know there are some things that I let take my time up that I could have, and should have, avoided so as to not burden myself with trying to get everything done. So my solution is to remember this short quote to keep me focused while I am making these decisions so that I may stay focused and keep my own heart happy and light.

That's a gift I don't feel guilty for giving myself.

Thanks for reading,




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sundays with Buddha

With gentleness overcome anger. With generosity overcome meanness. With truth overcome deceit. 


Week 33

What more can be said about this straightforward quote? Just as in the quote from week 11, to what exactly is the Buddha referring? Is it our own anger, meanness, and deceit, or that of another? Either way, this practice can only help to guide us to understanding each other and ourselves.

With gentleness overcome anger.

If we exhibit a gentle nature with ourselves when we are feeling angry, we can learn to overcome the anger that often arises in us for whatever reason. Often we feel guilt for our angry feelings or admonish ourselves for them. Our emotions are a natural occurrence,  we should understand this and treat ourselves gently when they occur. I don't think this gives us free range to let our emotions get away from us, but taking care with ourselves and allowing our feelings may help us in our reactions next time. I also believe that practicing gentleness towards another when they exhibit anger, will eventually if not immediately, diffuse the situation, and help them to learn to exude a gentleness in return. Being gentle with someone when they are feeling vulnerable (because anger can make rise in you a whole variety of emotions, including insecurity) shows them that you are interested in their well-being instead of the argument to be 'right'. I think that is an immediate "situation-diffuser".

With generosity overcome meanness.

I'm not as sure about the correlation of generosity to meanness but I'll do my best here. Meanness can also be miserliness, I suppose. But what I'm feeling here is the actual state of being hard-hearted.  Generosity can often soften ones heart; not just generosity of the monetary means, but of the spirit, as well. Sometimes having a generous heart towards someone else is all that is needed to melt theirs. A lot of people live their lives on the defensive. Know anybody like that? In any given situation, you may come across someone like this and not even know it. Or maybe you will from their body language or demeanor. In a situation with a potential 'meanie' you never know what the situation may turn into. Sometimes the only control you have is your own behavior. Like I said, sometimes all it may take is a softening of your own heart to stop their 'meanness' in its tracks. It's worth trying. You can catch more flies with sugar, and all that...

With truth overcome deceit.

Always trying to practice truth in your daily life will surely help you to start to overcome the habit of deceit and deceitful acts. Practicing truth and truthful habits, especially as an example to our children, will teach them that truth is a sure way to a life of honor, whereas living your life always surrounded by dishonesty is a means of unnecessary stress and worry. I also feel that this can be applied to living your truth and being authentic. When you break the fear of living to please everyone else you can stop the charade of deceit and can live truthfully and honestly. Live your truth, live by truth, and you will surely overcome deceit.

With these three practices in mind, especially this time of year when so many are experiencing such a different range of emotions that are masked behind depression and anger, be the light you wish to see spread. It has to start somewhere.

Thanks for reading today,



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their own suffering. Some suffer too much, some too little. 

Week 32

This is the time of year that is a great source of stress for many. The holidays bring with them mixed feelings. Some are overjoyed at what this time of year brings, while others carry the burden of trying to figure out what they are going to do to try and have or give a happy holiday, if they are in dire emotional or financial straits.

When we are feeling the stress associated with the holidays, especially the financial strain of trying to juggle bills with providing "things" to all who are expecting them, we tend to hold resentments. I know from either personal experience or through observance that we especially resent those who have "more" than we do. Those that can breeze through the holiday season seemingly without a care in the world can be a great source of contention for some. Those that tend to appear to have all they need to perform all their duties this holiday season with ease, comfort and joy, while the rest of us struggle to figure out a way to make ends meet. In this situation it is best to calm our worries and remember that, despite what appears to be true, what your perceptions are, everyone has their own set of struggles.

The more you resent someone, for whatever reason, the more suffering you bring upon yourself. While it may be true that some certainly struggle less intensely than others, it is not our job to decide who deserves what. Only we can control our own suffering. Holding on to resentments will only add to that suffering, whereas practicing the art of "letting go" and reserving our judgments will keep us free of heartache, as we won't be comparing 'ours' with 'theirs'.

Just focus on what you can do this season, whatever your traditions are. I'm sure you really want this time of year to be about connecting with family (in a good way...), enjoying all the things you only get to do once a year, focusing on and reconnecting with what this time of year means to you and your belief system/religion so that you can, hopefully, carry it with you all through the year. And, of course, gift giving.

Sharing with others those special tokens of your love and appreciation for them, whether it's your time and attention, your help, or something handmade or store-bought, is what we all look forward to this time of year. It's not about the size of the item, but the size of your heart.

Open it to others this year. Really try to see them as individuals, just like you, trying to get through this season that can often be trying and confusing, when it doesn't need to be. Be the example you want to see from someone else. When you are out in the hustle and bustle, be kind, considerate, loving even. Show them that this is the time of year to actually slow down, not speed up, and really notice the joy around you. I think by now you have figured out that I strongly believe that our actions have the power to trigger chain reactions, good or bad.

Contribute to the good. You will, undoubtedly, change someone's day. That's the greatest gift of all.

Have a wonderful weekend.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

How easy it is to see your brother's faults, how hard it is to face your own. 


Week 31

I'll bet we are all quite guilty of this: easily spotting someone else's faults while conveniently forgetting our own. It is so much easier to pick at and pull apart someone else while avoiding ourselves in the mirror. We use many distractions to avoid self-reflection, actually; directing the focus onto someone else is just one way we escape the hard truth about ourselves.

We, as a human race, also have a great tendency to escape reality with drinking, drugs, food, shopping, promiscuity, television, the Internet or gambling. Most of us do these things plus point fingers at everyone else and avoid working on ourselves for the greater good. All are distractions from dealing with the hard work it takes to be better individuals. Sometimes it is easier to concentrate on the faults of others than to do the hard work on ourselves.

The 'faults' of others may not even be faults at all. Maybe just differences. Differences in opinion, how we raise our children, what foods we eat, who we love, what religion we choose, what philosophy we follow, our beliefs, our politics, even our morals. Different doesn't necessarily mean wrong.

If we open our hearts and minds, we may see that all of our differences may not be all that different, after all. We must realize that we're all in this together and we all basically want the same things--happiness, peace, love. Our differences don't really matter, anyway. What matters is that we accept each other for who we are, with respect and dignity. Our contrasts and diversities, and our ability to consciously accept them, are what make our species unique. Acceptance brings us together, acceptance breaks down barriers, acceptance eliminates fear.

 When you learn to accept others for whom and what they are, you are better able to accept yourself. Looking in that mirror and practicing a bit of self-reflection won't be so hard. I guarantee you'll stop wanting to focus on everyone else's 'faults' and want to start fixing your own.

Be gracious in your thoughts of others. Be gracious in your reflection of yourself.

Thanks for reading



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

Week 30

Well, if ever there was something I was abundant in, it's ideas. Being brave or audacious enough to see them through...well, I'm getting there. Afterall, I have started these two blogs and submitted a few articles to a well traveled website.  So I think I've done a pretty good job of stepping out of my confining walls of doubt or fear that have been holding me back.

But, it's feeling like the time to really start focusing on putting more of my ideas into action; bringing them into fruition.  I don't believe that it's completely due to fear that I am so slow to find my motivation, but it is still a factor with me, even though I've learned so much about letting go of fear and doing what makes me happy and not holding myself back due to what other's opinions may be.

I also suffer from periodic ALML-Acute Lack of Motivation and Laziness (pst...I just made that up, by the way...). Again, this could be a by product of fear, and I'm working on figuring that out, too. It is important to realize where your actions, or lack thereof, are coming from so that you are properly equipped to conquer those not-so-good-for-you actions.

Whatever the reason, an idea that just stays inside you as a thought is useless. If you leave the seeds in their packages in the shed they won't grow. They must be planted, fertilized, cared for and the weeds need to be pulled out to give them room to root well. They must be nurtured until they are fully grown and ripe for harvesting. But it's important that you DO reap what you sow. What's the use in doing all of that hard work, if you are just going to let the garden rot and never enjoy the benefits of your labors?

The same goes for all of your thinking and planning. I do a lot of it, myself. But there comes a time when you have to put your "what-if's" aside and believe in yourself enough to take the risk of putting yourself out there. You never know unless you try. What's the worst that could happen? You could be told 'no' if you're looking for an approval for something, you could be criticized by other people, you could outright fail.

Well, then, ask the person telling you 'no' the 'why' and work on fixing it to turn it into a 'yes' next time. You've probably been criticized before in your life, and while it doesn't feel very good, use it to your advantage and be open minded. If it seems like constructive criticism, use that to your advantage. Learn from it, don't be angry at it. It's all in your perception, after all. If it just seems like cruel naysaying, ignore it. You know what the purpose of that is, and you don't need that in your life. You can choose to disregard that which does not serve you. And if you just outright, 100%, flat on your face fail...well, you can choose to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from your mistakes.

It worked when you were five years old learning to ride a bike, and it will work the same way now. You wanted it badly enough to keep at it then, so why not reach back and pull from that same determination you had when you were an innocent youth?

I think I'm ready to take the training wheels with me?

Have a great week, and thanks so much for reading.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

"As I am, so are others; as are others, so am I." Having thus identified self and others, harm no one nor have them harmed.

Week 29

The world has a lot to learn from this quote. The moment we stop seeing ourselves as separate, different, and start realizing that we are all One, is the moment we start to heal. We will heal from the inside out; inside us, and out into the world.

It's a big lesson for most, "As I am, so are others..." If everyone would think of each other as the same--same families to take care of, same jobs to work, same bills to pay, same life struggles, same joys, same sorrows--maybe we could start to feel a kinship with one another that should encourage us to not want to harm each other. And there's more to harming someone than with a hand.

Our cruel and unfair judgments or even outright selfish disdain for someone 'different' or 'beneath' us is a slap in the face with just as much sting. What makes us so supposedly 'different' is our reaction and preconceived thoughts about who someone is based on the external and our treatment of each other. We are all basically the same: human beings who need a connection.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking..."Well, not everybody has the same job or bills, struggles or even sorrows..." Yeah, some have it perceivably 'better' than others. But do you really begrudge them their good fortune? You don't know how long that's all going to last for them, and you most likely don't know the work that they did to get there. Would you want them to begrudge you for your good fortune, whatever it may be, without even knowing you or what you went through to get it, or even how grateful you are everyday to have it? Or would you rather they encourage you and congratulate you, with honest love and goodwill in their hearts?

It certainly is a nice sentiment, isn't it? Being happy for someone else?

Try to open your heart to others. You will be surprised at the gifts you receive in return.  This practice may not create global peace just yet, but it's a heck of a good start.

Thank you so much for sharing with me today.



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sundays With Buddha


Teach this triple truth to all: a generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.

Week 28

Though these lessons are about 2500 years old, and the time between our modern age and the time of Shakyamuni Buddha is spanned over two millennia, the basis of the "Triple Truth" he speaks of has not changed all that much. Here, I give a breakdown of my interpretation of how I can use the three aspects of this lesson in my everyday life. I think you will see that it won't take you too far out of your way to bring some light of your own to humanity.

A Generous Heart: being generous can mean so many things. Yes, the first thing you are probably thinking of is being generous with your money. Donating money to a good cause or charity is important. Helping others in this way is great, not only for them, but you will reap the rewards of tuning your vibrations into being one who gives freely; and the Universe will reward you right back. You can also be generous with your time. Volunteering your time to help others is a fantastic way to give back and share some generosity. Even just taking the time to do something nice for someone else on a day to day basis is a great way to show generosity and selflessness.

Kind Speech: Always try to be mindful of what you are saying. Take a split second before you speak to gauge whether or not what you are about to say will be beneficial or harmful. Be the one who 'gifts' someone else with a kind word. Words are so powerful, for those who hear them, and those who speak them. Try to remember to think first before 'stirring the pot', so to speak, with gossip, or anything you know in your heart will be hurtful to someone else. Really decide if it's worth it. This is one of the difficult changes for me, personally, because we tend to do it without a second thought, and it is such a habit to 'speak our minds'. I have to really be diligent in asking myself "is it worth it?" when I want to argue or feel the need to be 'right'. It took a bit of practice, but I really do feel so much better when I concede and keep my undue opinions to myself. I'm not always successful at it, but it's becoming the new habit for me.

A Life of Service and Compassion: "How may I serve" is a new thought I have very recently familiarized myself with. It's a shocking concept when we are so used to being a selfish breed. Think of all the different ways you can serve; you might be surprised with what you come up with. Pick one, practice it. See how that makes you feel. Notice that you have not lost anything from it, but more than likely gained something invaluable. There are many different ways to serve another. Again, volunteering is a great way to serve your community, but the way I have come to learn to serve is by lending myself to being there for someone else in need, the best way I can. If that just means being a good friend and listening, you are serving. Or if it means being a little less selfish and stepping up to be available when needed, for whatever reason, that's servitude, as well. This does not mean to completely sacrifice yourself all off the time. Just be a little more conscious of another's needs, not just your own, and serve with an open heart, out of love and compassion.

Speaking of Compassion, I've just recently come to the realization that everyone wants the same thing: to be happy. If we can look at each other in this way, that we are all in the "same boat", that we are all basically the same, our compassion for each other will grow. Our love will expand to them as we should love ourselves. When we see in another the suffering that we ourselves have endured, our compassion for their suffering will grow, and we will want them to suffer no more, just as we long to end our own suffering. When you start to see other people like this, hopefully your compassion for them will grow into something that will encourage you to treat people with a more kind, open heart.

I know I always say this, but just imagine what would happen if each person set aside their differences, their selfishness, and their fear and lived with a more compassionate, generous and kind way about them, thinking of others before themselves a little more. What kind of world would we live in? I really want to see that world, and live in it. It's up to each one of us to decide to be better. We can create that world, even if it's just the small "world" of your everyday life within your circle of existence.

When you drop a pebble in the water, no matter how small, it still forms concentric rings that affect the whole body of water. Let your smile, your generosity, kindness and compassion be that pebble.

Thank you for being here today.



(*Note: The wisdoms that I speak of here are taken from the multiple teachings that I have observed through books and video along my journey from authors and teachers such as Dr. Wayne Dyer and the Venerable Thubten Chodron, a Western (American) Buddhist Nun who speaks very plainly about how to relate our Western modern selves to becoming better people through compassion and wisdom)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Let a man overcome anger by love.


Week 27

It was my eleventh anniversary yesterday, and with my mind on my marriage, I can't think of a better example of this quote than my husband, Noah. I've never known a more loving man, slow to anger, quick to forgive.

He is a wonderful example of what I have been striving to become since I had the luck of becoming his partner--a peaceful soul. Some are just born with the natural ability to be peaceful and kind, and that's Noah. He has taught me through the years that I can have faith in 'mankind'. He has shown me that anger and upset is not a natural part of every human being, and is not a necessary reaction.

This is not to say that he doesn't get upset or disappointed or angry, but this is almost always short lived. Where I have had to work very diligently on my reaction to whatever it is that is happening to me, he has always been the calm one. Over the years I have been the one to study and learn new ways to live a more peaceful life, and I have passed on what I learned to him, but he has always just had an inherent peace, a natural calm about him, for the most part.

So, what does this have to do with this week's quote? Am I just going to go on and on with stars in my eyes about how wonderful my husband is? I'd love to, because, though he can still be less-than-perfect just the same as anyone else, I think he's pretty terrific, but this is not my intention (I saved that for Facebook). I'm just wanting to show the gratitude I have for him this week, and to share that he is my constant reminder to overcome anger with love, because I have had the honor of having his example in my life for so many years.

I believe love can cure many things. Loving kindness can bring together many people. You just need to open your heart to try it. Who is the example in your life that proves this to you? Who would you like to emulate in order to become a better person? Just observe what they do and how they handle themselves and try it for yourself sometime. You can never go wrong with love.

Have a great week and be safe.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: above, below, and all around, unobstructed, without hostility or hate.

Week 26

Being at the half-way point to my one year journey of exploring this journal of quotes, I wanted to start to really understand more of what was being taught. Though I believe I understand this quote relatively well without much need for further explanation, that understanding has become much deeper as I continue to learn about the Buddhist way of life.

On the one hand, I can take this lesson right at face value, like anyone could. But, after researching the teachings of the Buddha, I have a deeper understanding that Buddhists believe that it is important for ourselves, and all of mankind, to nurture an attitude of unwavering goodwill towards all living beings.

When we open our hearts to caring for one another it changes our views immensely on our feelings of separation from one another. When we see each other with a sameness, we are better able to drop our judgments and criticisms of each other, helping us to also drop our fears and see one another with that 'sameness' and familiarity that will unite us instead of keeping us separate. We will then understand true compassion for our fellow human beings, and all life forms.

When we begin to see that we are all much "in the same boat", and that we all want pretty much the same things: to be happy, to love and to feel loved, to be fearless in our endeavors, to know that we are truly worthy of our space here and that we are lovable, we can begin to feel that kinship with others where only differences stood before. We can truly have that feeling we usually only have reserved for our closest family and best friends--a camaraderie that enables us to walk across hot coals to help one another.

I know. The little pessimist in me is saying the same thing you're thinking, "yeah, right. If this ever does happen, it's a looong way off."

But I'm more optimist than pessimist. Call it naivete, but I really honestly believe if we all start to change our thinking, we can actually accomplish this. In this lifetime. I'm not talking about changing our political views, switching religions, or dumping all of our beliefs. All of that's not necessary to become a kinder thinking person (well, for some it may be... ;). Why don't you try it, for just one day. Or one hour. Maybe just tell yourself you're going to look at everyone differently just while you are at the grocery store or while you're in Old Navy. Call it an experiment. See what happens.

I dare you.

Good luck finding your path to better living, and thanks so much for being here.



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sundays With Buddha


Week 25

The mind is everything. What you think you become.


I think most of us have heard this notion "what you think, you become", especially after the wave of popularity of the book The Secret. While I don't necessarily take stock in everything that this book had to offer, ie: all of the focus on money and the material, I do seriously take stock in the belief that our thoughts are things,  and we have the power to create greatness or failure with our thoughts.

I know you've heard instances where a parent has driven it into a child that they would never amount to anything,  or husbands with wives, boyfriends with girlfriends or vice versa, even in platonic relationships. And, while not all cases result in those individuals not becoming successful at their endeavors, a great many of them very likely did not, all based on the fact that they believed what they were someone else. If they heard it every day, they thought about it every day and they became what they believed.

Now, think about any story you might have heard about the opposite occurring; something possibly bordering on the impossible--the miraculous. Someone believing in themselves so faithfully that they overcame all odds and truly became what they believed they could. A girl gets attacked by a shark, but becomes a surfing champion. Or even the super rich and famous like Oprah or Jim Carrey, who both grew up impoverished but believed in themselves even though others may not have. They continued to work hard to strive to be what they believed they could be.

I'm not suggesting you have to be rich to be happy, but your hopes and dreams are no less important than theirs. This is just an extraordinary example of what can be accomplished with faith and perseverance.  No, you don't merely have to strive for riches to accomplish happiness. I say 'merely' because there is so much more to existence than that. Wealth is not the ultimate prize. Knowing yourself and finding your truth is the prize. Get that in order, and all the other riches will fall into place, whatever those might be for you.

Believe in yourself. Believe in what you want. See it in that miracle of an imagination of yours. Know that you deserve it. Know that you can accomplish it. Know that whatever you want to be, you can become.

I wish you good luck in all of your endeavors.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 24

Let go of anger. Let go of pride. When you are bound by nothing you go beyond sorrow.

"Let go of anger".

Easier said than done, sometimes. That often requires forgiveness of some sort. But, it can be done. Pride, however, is a little more difficult to define; or at least to let go of. What is pride? Being proud of your accomplishments can be a noble feeling. But, when you base your identity on those accomplishments, such as awards, recognition for your work/job, house, car, possessions, even your looks, that's when danger arises. What I feel the Buddha is teaching here is that when you form attachments to these things, identifying with them, priding yourself on them, what happens when you no longer have those things?

A lot of anger, for one.  And disappointment.  Not only should we try to let go of our attachment to all of these things that make us believe we are happy, we also need to let go of the anger that is a result of losing these thing, should they leave us. Furthermore, learning to become unattached to these things will, inevitably free us of our anger, as we are not bound any longer to them. Life is cyclic. Everything works on cause and effect.

I believe it is perfectly ok to have goals of attainment, but when it becomes "all you've got", what you've got is trouble.

What have you lost in the past that has been devastating? Job? Car? House? Relationship? Why did it upset you so? Did it leave a void? Were you worried about what everyone might think? You identified with those things, making them a part of you. When they went away, did you then think, "Who am I, now? What will people think of me? I just lost my house!!"?

Sorrow is caused by such strong identification and attachment. The same goes for anger. If you stay bound by your anger, and can't let that go, you can't live a free life. You mustn't stay attached to your feelings of being wronged by someone; not the people who took your house, or repossessed your car, the boyfriend who cheated or the co-worker who stole your thunder.  The act of forgiveness isn't just to bring another person peace, it's to bring yourself peace of mind, as well. Don't harm yourself by keeping anger bottled up inside of you. Sad, sorrowful, angry people live a sad, sorrowful, angry life. Let go of attachment. Let go of anger. When you are bound by nothing, you go beyond sorrow. You are truly free.

Thank you for reading today.



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 23

Chaos is inherent in all compound things. Strive on with diligence. 

No matter what you wish of this world, chaos is to humanity as death is to life: inevitable.  You must find a way to fulfill your destiny in a way that brings you peace. You must identify your goals and dreams and be diligent in the work to attain them. I struggle with this as much as anyone else. When chaos is all around us, and it certainly is; in our families, swarming all over the news, on your Yahoo home page, it's hard not to get "sucked in" when it has become such a prominent way of mainstream life.

The chaos we deal with isn't always just the kids at home or war on the news. Think about all the chaos you went through yesterday. Write it all down, whatever you can remember. Now really devote some time to figuring out alternatives to how you dealt with it. How could you  have done things differently? This is a perfect example of "striving on with diligence".

You are capable of bringing yourself some peace. No one is waiting in the wings to do it for you. Not really. It is attainable. Conquer small goals at a time. I actually wrote an article for about getting things done in the midst of chaos.

Though I have accomplished a lot of this myself, I know how difficult it can be to fall back into old, chaotic routines. And, as I am working diligently on mastering this myself, I also know the difficulty in sticking with it; and the power of faith in your accomplishments. You may not be able to change the headlines, but you can certainly change the channel.

What channel will you tune your life into?



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sundays With Buddha



Week 22

There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.


I've been thinking a lot lately about the events affecting my family over the last year and a half. Though I have lost two of my own, my mother and very recently my brother, my husband’s mother has really been on my mind. I wrote a piece following her passing about all the peaceful feelings of love and closeness everyone had, even after being rocked to the core as everyone was by the awfulness of what happened.
I haven’t revisited my stance on the situation since then, but now that a full year has passed, it’s easier to get honest with myself about what I’m feeling. The shock of what has happened is all but gone and all that remains are raw thoughts and feelings that have had the time to be processed and evaluated. I can tell you, I spent a lot of time not thinking about what happened because I was afraid I would have different feelings about it than I originally had. I didn’t want to feel angry, or cheated, or saddened by the state of this world and what happened because, truthfully, there was a lot that I could feel angry about, cheated out of, and saddened by. But ignoring these feelings doesn’t help. Feeling them, recognizing them, allowing them and then accepting them is what helps you through.

I'm not sure if I was actually doing that as best I could. I know this because I have let myself 'go'...farther than I thought I would revert to, but not as far as I could have, thank God. I've just now started to realize the effect this has had on me, and, like I wrote in this post, it's time to get it together and prove the "purity above all."

Noah and I, from the start, though we had calm feelings about the events, had many questions, as well. Why did this have to happen? What is the purpose? Is there a purpose? And we didn't just have these questions about our own tragedies. There has been so much that has happened in our world, our country alone, that everyone has questions regarding their faith, the state of the world, our future as a society and as the human race . It's a hard thing to swallow, accepting that there must be evil in order for good to prove it's purity above all. But, if you think about it, we've all come together at our best after major events. We stand together at our strongest in our darkest hours. The most touched I have ever been was watching people pull together to help make things right.

I don't know all the answers to why things happen as they do...I'm sure I don't know any answers to why they do. But it brings me peace to think that there may be some reason for it. Some great, perfect, cosmic reason for all that happens to us. That, even though we may not understand all that does, we are free to have all the faith we need to believe that all of our trials are to better us as a race and that the sacrifices that the fallen have made were, indeed, not in vain.

May you find your own peace and comfort in your days.

As always, thank you for reading.




Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Another Note...

I haven't written any other post besides the Sundays With Buddha in a really long time, so I thought now would be a good time to sort of get back to my 'old' writing style. I've written many posts about the power of positive thinking, how to love yourself first, the importance of being authentic, and how I need to follow my own advice. I've shared my struggles with my journey to becoming what I envision for myself, and have vowed to do better.

The vow is still alive and I am still working on getting myself in gear, but no matter how much I can write about doing it, I just don't seem to be able to get it done myself...not as fast as I would like, that is. And, since I'm a "think-a-holic", I'm really entering into super analyzation mode. The problem, right now, has been my continuing lack of motivation to take care of myself and commit to the healthy lifestyle I left behind the day my mom died.

As you know, we've had a lot going on this past year and a half, but I really need to stop using that as an excuse. My whole summer has gone by and now fall is just on the threshold and I'm letting my days slip on by.  I'm really good at writing and giving advice about letting go of your fear and how to go get what you want, but I can't seem to break my own cycle of monotony.

After my brother died this past July, life was a little harder to swallow. I had been dealing with my mother's death, and Noah has been dealing with his mother's death (at least we think we are) and we were starting to settle into our day-to-day life. But, we weren't getting back to our lives as we knew them before. Thank God I started on this change in myself way before our mothers were taken from us because I don't know what I would have done with myself had I been the same frustrated, angry, blame-laying person I was before.

Then my brother died. We still don't know exactly what happened, we're still waiting for the toxicology report and death certificates, but I waited four months for my mom's to come back so I suppose I can wait for his. What I do know is that, at age 49, his Aorta was 75% blocked. He was an alcoholic. And he was terribly depressed. And, apparently, the months following the one year anniversary of moms death is when he started to decline rapidly due to these compounded circumstances.

Very scary. I made my sister promise that she would get on board and get healthy with me. She's the oldest, at nearly 51, and more unhealthy than I think she'd care to admit. Needless to say, this has not happened, either. There's a lot of talking about starting, and not a whole lot of doing any starting. That goes for Noah and I, too.

And that brings me to the apex of my "Get it in gear, girl" decision. At the time I write this I've got a tiny bit of concern on my mind. A few weeks ago I was at a my Doctor's office for some lab results following treatment for a major vitamin D deficiency and had to tell him about the death of my brother and the possible cause. He decided to run an in depth cholesterol panel on me to make sure I don't have the markers of heart disease. I already have a slight heart condition that I was born with that has continued to develop over time. I have mitral valve and tricuspid valve regurgitation due to an apparent hole or leak in my heart from birth, and  PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) and PACs (Premature Atrial Contractions), all very common, and I've never had abnormal cholesterol (I find out the results tomorrow). While I was there, I mentioned to him that I had been having left flank pain. Lo and behold I had blood in my urine when they tested it. I had a CT to look for a kidney stone, that came back negative (and I just so happened to leave for Milwaukee the evening after the doctor, the CT, and the waiting around for the results to identify my brother's body.) So I saw a Urologist. I'm set to have a Retrograde Cystogram in the OR under sedation (thank goodness since this is a test using a camera to look into the bladder and filling the bladder to look at the ureters, or tubes for draining the kidneys into the bladder) on the 30th. Also a fairly routine procedure, and hopefully they can figure this out now. The day after I saw the Urologist, I had my routine Mammogram. Then I received a letter that it was abnormal. They found a spot on the image of my right breast. Now, even the Radiologist said it's most likely summation (the sum of two parts, in this case the sum of two veins overlapping one another) but I have to have further testing with spot compression on Tuesday.

So, I wait for tomorrow, I wait for Tuesday, and I wait for the 30th. But I have kept myself relatively calm. What should I do, worry about what has not even happened yet? Nothing is set in stone, even after the results are in. Even though I don't know what else could possibly happen, or why what has happened has, or even if there are definitive reasons for such occurrences to happen, I would like to think I can at least take my own advice about not projecting into the future and causing strife about the non-existent. So far, I'm actually doing that.

What I need help with is the motivation to take this into account and get on the path to changing my health. I can't think of a bigger slap upside the head than what I have gone through, thus far. I'm keeping my cool, and I think these events are finally hitting home. I have to make a promise to myself and my husband and son that I will take the good fortune that I have had and be grateful for it and live each day as if it were my last, so that I can live a long and healthy life. I have found some practices that I want to start but have been putting off for so long I almost forget what they are.

But I haven't. Practices for peaceful, healthy living. Things that will be scheduled that keep me on track, because I do well with lists and schedules. I am realizing that this is who I am, for the most part. I'm not a fan of labels, but finding oneself and doing what makes you feel complete, as long as it helps you become successful at what you long for, I say "go for it".

So, that's what has been happening in my life. I've been putting off my writing until the last minute, neglecting my other blog and projects I want to finish, and living day in and day out with no real ambition. I have a head full of ambitious ideas, mind you, but until now, I didn't know how I was going to get out of this funk. This has been an overwhelming testimony to the power of gratitude. I'm actually grateful for the events I've gone through because I don't know what else would have shaken me into evaluating my life and what it is, and what it could be.

I am still living without fear, as I have written about before. I'm really not afraid. I think that went away after my mom and Noah's mom passed. Those life-changing events changed me forever. Maybe I'm just numb, I can certainly see why I would be. But, after living through the devastation of losing my mother, it changed everything I knew. I started to realize there was nothing worth worrying about so much that I sacrifice my well being, my peace. I've taken care of so much this past year as a result of the tragedies we have endured , I can't even begin to list it all; now it's time to take care of myself. I pray that everything in my life is an example for you. That is my goal. I hope that as I journey to find my peace, I can help you to find yours.

Thank you for listening,


Sundays With Buddha

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
Week 21

I've passed this quote up many times, until I could truly appreciate its meaning. Sometimes, though I have the basic understanding of a quote, I wait until I fully understand the deeper meaning enough to relate to it and share the insight I've gained, and I take this quote to mean that you can speak thousands of words, but if they are all just "filler"--hollow words with no heart and soul behind them-- they are meaningless.

One meaningful, heartfelt, kind, true sentiment holds more weight if it is spoken with love and brings peace or comfort; one word of 'truth' is better and more valuable than a thousand hollow, meaningless words. I am really beginning to understand the value of my words and the effect that they have. It is one of my goals to master myself enough to not only become master of my thoughts, but also of what I say and put out into the world. This has proven to be one of my biggest challenges. We get used to being a certain way; speaking and acting the same way our whole lives. We often find it difficult to believe that we can change or expand our horizons to become different people. It certainly isn't as easy as flipping a switch.

I definitely struggle every day with watching what I say or how involved I get in certain conversations, whether in public or especially with family. Family can be the most difficult to monitor yourself around because you've known them the longest. You may find it intimidating to declare the changes you have made or are planning to make to better yourself to your family; they are often our most staunch critics. But it is important to remember that you are your number one priority. You must make decisions based on what will make you happy. Your desire to become your best you must outweigh the desire to please everyone else.

It is also of much importance that you learn to speak to yourself with kindness and truth. Don't fill you own head with excuses and hollow half-truths. It has become a common past time in this age to lie to ourselves and give in to reasoning that allows us to remain less than diligent with what we know we need to be doing. Being honest with oneself is liberating to the point of peace. There is no judgement; learning to be kind to yourself should relieve you of that. There is enough harshness in this world, enough judgement. Make yourself a sanctuary. Go within. Find that word that brings your peace.

Until next time,



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 20
Let a man overcome anger by love.
I'm sorry this post is a little late. I had a bit of an epiphany and decided to rewrite this week's post. Today is my husband, Noah's, 40th birthday, and I wanted to talk about him. He doesn't always get the recognition he deserves, and he definitely deserves it. If there ever was any representation of acceptance and forgiveness and love, he is it. I often take for granted the fact that he is the way he is because I've known him for so long (since I was 15 and he 17 and in art class in high school together). We started dating when my son was 18 months old and have been married since 2002 this October 26th. He is, undoubtedly, the best thing that has ever happened to Tyler and me.
This young man took on a ready-made family and never looked back. He worked two jobs at times while I was in college and raised our son. I have never been judged by him or called names, not even once, and, boy, I know I deserved it quite a lot, sometimes.
I often catch myself just thinking of how good he is; better than me at his resolve and non-judgment, though he is even investing in improving that, too. Now, I’m not making him out to be a saint, here, he has his faults, too. Nothing worth mentioning, though. He helps clean the house, washes and folds laundry, washes dishes, waters the flowers, loves flea-markets, loves our pets, and loves me. (He also loves muscle cars, engines, rock-a-billie, punk-rock and heavy metal with a side of classical, neo-classical…the list goes on. He’s no softie, is what I’m trying to say.) He is a true partner.
 He tries his very best, so there isn’t much that I would ever get up in arms about. When I did in the past, it took all of the work I’ve done on myself these last few years to realize that most of my upset was unwarranted and based in my own insecurities. I am so grateful that I have gone through all of the processes that I have to change myself and my outlook on what is important and what to let go of.
Noah has an inherent peace and calm that I have had to work so hard for. He’s working on things, too, but he has a natural, kind spirit. He is the perfect representation of overcoming anger by love. He is a natural loving being and anger is not his way. He has learned as he has gotten older to assess a situation before reacting to it. He may have gotten some of that from listening to me talk about how wonderful I feel now that I’ve learned this and that from this great author and that great teacher, but Noah has never really read any book that I own. I talk about what I’ve read. He’s interested in learning what I’ve learned. But, for the most part, it's all him.
My biggest realization was that he has been my greatest teacher, all along. He is my best friend, ally and partner. I have never known a better man. I am grateful that he is our son’s father, because I know why Noah is the way he is. And I can rest assured that because of him, Tyler will be a great man, too. People are born who they are; they either realize it and live it, or don’t, and they are also often products of their environment. Noah was raised by two wonderful people who loved each other dearly for over 50 years. He was raised by a kind, gentle, calm, loving soul with all of those attributes surrounding him within his family. I have them to thank for Noah. And God.
It’s Noah’s birthday today, but I got the gift.
Thank you for sharing in this special post today. Have a great Sunday.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 19

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

When I first started to read about ‘truth’, I didn’t know exactly what was being said. Now I know it to mean “your truth”; what you believe, what you want to accomplish, what you want to become. And your only mistakes in getting there, seeing it all into fruition, is to never start along your journey in the first place, and not giving it your all, if you do.

What keeps us from acting? What keeps us from following our dreams?

Procrastination, doubt…fear?

It’s (or can be) incredibly hard to set those feelings aside. What if we fail? What if it’s not good enough or we lead ourselves to criticisms? It’s a terrible doubt, but one we all have had at one point or another.  The trick is to cut through that. So what if it doesn’t go exactly as you planned? At least you tried. Without doing so, you would never know. Not knowing, always wondering…that’s a doubt not worth living with.

The best "mistakes" are ones you learn from. The greatness you may achieve the next time is well worth the risk. The greatest fear for me now, is getting to the end of my life and having the regret of “I wish I had done…” I’m beginning to change that. I’m devoted to learning to live every day as if it were my last. When you stop worrying what others think, you liberate yourself from fear. Fear of failing, fear of embarrassment, fear of inadequacy. Those things don’t really matter. What matters is that you tried.

There is so much bravery in that.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 18
Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.

Good advice, though hard to always remember to follow. All the things that you would like to have as a permanent fixture in your life deserve the practice it takes to get there. As I’ve said before, you are worth being gentle to yourself. All great things take a little time to perfect, and you are no different. You cannot expect to change a lifetime of learned behaviors in a week. You are who you are, but know that you have the power to change anything you want to, regardless of what you’ve been told.
That being said, one thing that I have deemed worthy of my attention, or at least the promise to myself that I will strive on with diligence as best I can, is to remember the basic tenet of what this quote conveys: Always mind your tongue.
No matter whom you are talking to, or in front of, or whatever about, your words are being listened to. They are being heard. They are being remembered. It’s up to you what you represent yourself with.
It is hard to stop ingrained personal and social behaviors ‘cold-turkey’. I’ve been at the front of the line for a slice of humble pie more than once, and watching what you say, or even learning to watch what you say can be quite the undertaking.  I began learning (and I am still in this process) to ‘notice’ my thoughts, even if it’s after I’ve said or done something I regret.
As soon as it’s out of your mouth, you can’t take it back. But you can learn from it. Each time it gets easier to listen more, to yourself, before you act. Your awareness and judgment sharpen, and you are then able to make better decisions about what you are about to say or do. You will be better equipped to choose your words more wisely; carefully—for they will be heard and remembered—good or bad.
Thanks for reading.