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, June 30, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 10
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act upon them?

I had a real hard time last night/this morning at work. I’m finding my tolerance waning drastically at being treated unjustly. I’ve seemed to catch myself in the very beginning of re-developing the attitude of “I’m not going to let myself be treated this way.” But, to be fair to myself, this was an incident worthy of attention as it involved patients and would do well not to become repeated behavior. Anyhow, I fear a slow reversion back to my more negative attitudes, using language I shouldn’t, showing actions I regret, etc.
This quote is a welcome reminder that, no matter how much I say I am a believer in ‘this’ or ‘that’, if I never keep to the practices of which I “preach”, what good is the testimony of believing in such practices? I understand that life is a journey, learned along the way, from very real, very human mistakes and experiences and it is an ebb and flow of 'good' and 'bad', yin and yang, but I think we all would like the positive to outweigh any negative, more often than not, especially when we are making a concerted effort towards change.
The whole idea of doing this weekly lesson series was to get, and keep, me thinking of one of these wisdom lessons from the Buddha all week long, allowing me to contemplate it and write about how it has already helped me, or how I plan to incorporate it into my life, so that I can write a little all through the week and have it ready for publishing Saturday night/Sunday morning. The idea was that I would keep myself focused in the mindset that I long for, and hopefully help someone else in the meantime.
Instead, I've been allowing myself to get overwhelmed with everyday life and rush through the week barely holding on to my sanity with my everyday dealings and therefore rush to finish it all on Saturday afternoon (like right now),evening ,or very late Saturday night.
Not at all how this was meant to be, in my mind, anyway.

But, then, sitting here, pulling out my journal, opening right to this quote…turned out to be just what I needed; a reminder that I can put myself first, sometimes. This isn’t a job, homework, or a household chore.  I do this for my Spiritual health and to offer whatever insight I have to anyone who needs it. That is a top priority to me.
I desperately needed something to help remind me that, if I can't follow what I believe in, how can I reassure anyone that there is something out there to have hope for? Turning to that page in my journal just restored my faith that we are provided with whatever we need at the time. We just have to be open to seeing it.
I am so grateful for the little ‘wake-up call’ I received this afternoon. It reminded me to start making myself and my needs a priority. It’s okay to do that. When you take care of you, you are better to serve others, however you choose to do so.
Thank you for reading today.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sundays With Buddha


Week 9

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared"

 You don't have a meter on you that reads "HAPPINESS METER: LOW" each time you share joy. You don't deplete yourself of joy every time you spread it. In fact, when you share happiness with a kind word, a smile, or even just holding the door open for someone else or letting someone pull out ahead of you in traffic you spread joy. It makes you feel good. It makes them feel good. It's actually a bit of a stress reliever, doing a kindness. And, it will probably catch the person you are showing kindness to off guard, possibly even making their day. It will probably make them feel so good that they will want to keep it going for the next person they run into. And then you will most likely feel like doing more for someone else after that, too. And then you're smiling at people that you pass at work or at the store...

If you are a chronic grump, like I used to be, this sounds impossible, I know. Sometimes there are things going on in your life that are so overwhelming that you may not even be able to muster one smile, let alone grin like a fool at everyone you meet. But you owe it to yourself to at least try it, for your own sake. Baby steps…after all, it's not the people's fault that you pass in the grocery store if you can't make your house payment. When you are treated badly by someone else it affects your mood, right? And when someone shows you a kindness that does, too. Did you see them melt before your eyes like the Wicked Witch of the West? I doubt it. And you won't, either, no matter how much you think you might.

Do a little experiment, if just for yourself. Start small if you think you might be overwhelmed. This may sound so funny to those of you who have no trouble with being an extrovert who can share themselves openly with loving-kindness. But for some people, getting there is a struggle. It took me years to learn how to break down my walls and let people in. Sometimes it even takes a major life event. But it doesn't have to. You can start breaking down walls by just opening one door.

Just because it's the door to the gas station doesn't make it any less significant.
Good luck on your journey...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 8

It is better to travel well than to arrive.


Ah…I wish I could say I believe this quote to mean for us to drop everything, pack up and ride off into the sunset on countless exciting adventures never to look back. But I know that is not what is to be taken from this wisdom. What I believe the Buddha is conveying to us here is that it is better to live a full and productive life filled with love and compassion than it is to “arrive” (make it big, make a name for yourself, acquire all the ‘stuff’ that we think will make us happy, build our status, gain popular acceptance, etc…) and that what we do along our journey is just as, if not more, important than where we are going. His urging of us to “travel well” is to invite us to explore our options to “living well”.

Just as was covered in the last post, we should not be living our lives just to have it be a ‘means to an end’—the “arrival” point in our life. Why do we live our lives this way? We’re always in a hurry to get to the next thing. Never taking the time to stop and look around to see what might be wonderful right here in front of us, right now.  

We must travel well on this journey—our life—and when we live it as if it is not that stepping stone to the end result, we won’t care about the arrival.

The journey will have been enough.
Thank you for being here today.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sundays With Buddha


Week 7
Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment



Very straight forward, this quote reminds me of what I learned when I first started reading about strengthening my Spiritual Being. I see now that the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and Wayne Dyer, as well as others with the same message, are very much influenced by Buddhist teachings. This is not to say that they encourage others to follow one certain path or another, but offer all that they've learned that they find beneficial to all humankind. That, I am finding out, is the essence of the Gautama Buddha's teachings, though I have so much more to learn.
In all of the books I've read, by multiple authors, the main tenet has been, "Live in the Now. It is no use looking to or living in the past. It is gone. Replaying past events in your head will only most likely torture you. You can't change what was done then.”  I understand this to mean that you can’t go on being reminded of all the regrets you’ve caused yourself in the past, whether it is huge life altering decisions or wishing a confrontation went a little bit differently.
Don’t we all do the replaying in our heads of how we would have liked a conversation to go—doing a sort of reverse rehearsal in our minds? “Oh, I wish I would have said this” or “I really should have done that.” I know I did. I would run myself ragged with regrets of things I wished I had done differently. Of course this does not mean to ignore all of your past mistakes and never learn from them. But constantly being ‘unconscious’ of the loop of tape playing a stream of events in your head that you can no longer change is maddening. If you really want to change something from your past, as long as it’s a positive change with the intent of a positive outcome, I don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as it does not become a type of obsession that redirects your attention from your present moment. Otherwise, for our own sanity, we must try to learn to let go of things that are nonconductive to our peace.
The second half of this quote is instructing us not to worry over the future, for it has not even happened yet. Preparing for your future is one thing, but projecting always into the future, especially to turn your everyday life or present situation into a "means to an end" just to pass the time to get to that point when something better comes along (which may never come, as expected, by the way) is a waste of your time and life that you should be focusing on.
 I have finally realized in the last few years that I have wasted so much time just “getting by”. It makes me sad that I missed out on so much before I learned to really stop and pay attention to what was right in front of me instead of just going through the motions. This might be a hard one to sell, especially with the state of the world’s economy and unemployment rates right now, but we are wasting ourselves if we just go through each day waiting for next week to come.

I remember that I used to do this like a pro. At one point, there were aspects of my life that I found so unsatisfying that I projected so much into the future just to escape what I was going through. I missed all that I could have had or been doing and learning that was right there in front of me. Had I known then what I know now, I would have been better able to cope with my situation and not had to escape by always daydreaming of the future.
Just as you really have no control over the past, you can’t always rely on your daydreams, either. I don’t mean to stop planning and dreaming of a better future. Being proactive in manifesting your dreams is a key to happiness, as long as you can stay unattached to what you manifest. Using daydreams of a future you are really never actually sure of is a form of escape that just keeps you from being responsible for your present moment.
Believe me when I tell you that I know life can be pretty unbearable at times. When I got tired of always avoiding my present situations and finally faced them, I was so relieved to have that chapter closed and to be able to move on with my life that it was worth whatever I had to go through to get there. And most of the time, I realized had I not avoided it for so long, I would have had an even easier time dealing with it or they weren’t at all as bad as they had seemed in my projections of it in my mind.  Eventually, with time, as I started to lose my fear and attachment, I was able to face each situation that came my way with confidence.
The third thing this quote talks about is that by concentrating on the present moment you remain in the Now. If you keep your awareness in the Now, as often as possible, with practice, it will become second nature and you will start to notice all that is here for you. Focusing on the present moment is keeping your sanity, for your mind will not be running rampant with past events or future desires.
What does it mean to “concentrate the mind in the present moment”? To be present in the Now is to be aware of what is going on around you without allowing your thinking to over run your mind. No one expects you to walk around with nothing in your mind or no thoughts in your head. But getting in the habit of bringing your awareness back to the present moment, whenever you remember to, is a start.
It took me a while to learn to stop the spinning thoughts that were constantly going on inside my head, but it is becoming second nature. Once I realize I am off in a world of thoughts, I can bring my focus to something else in my present moment and create a space for myself that does not include incessant thinking. I got to the point of being able to do this by practicing with things I had learned from a meditation lesson by Eckhart Tolle like paying attention when I washed my hands such as noticing the smell of the soap, the warmth of the water, or the feel of the bubbles.  
These short little moments for myself throughout the day helped me to learn to stay centered and focused, and that helped me with all the exhausting wandering thoughts.
I have come so far in the last 5 years, thanks to the teachers and lessons that I’ve come across. In most cases, they couldn’t have shown up at a better time. Because of the wisdom of those that came before us, I am finally able to pursue true peace. And it isn’t “out there”, in the future events that I might long for or back in the past.
It's right here. In this moment. Now.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read today. Have a wonderful weekend.
To learn more about my discoveries while on this spiritual journey, click the link below:
If you are interested in Eckhart Tolle, you can search through a nicely packaged version of some of his lessons from his book A New Earth at  Even if you are not a fan of this particular website, I still urge you to browse through the material provided as there are some valuable lessons found at this link pertaining to this post.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

Week 6

A Jug Fills Drop By Drop

When I was first thumbing through this journal and saw this quote, I thought it was so simple yet encompassed so much. This lesson can be focused upon for almost any aspect of your life. I take it to mean that each task you take part of in your life, it must be done one step at a time for, as “a jug fills drop by drop,” so our tasks in life will be completed.

I’m going to use this lesson as my motivator for getting back into shape. I feel I have fallen so far from what I used to be in this aspect. Health and wellness had been a big part of my life before my mother passed away. I had made the decision to better myself and I started right off the bat and it became such an easy daily habit for me to eat well and exercise. I had my routine down and enjoyed waking up every day.

Working the night shift is hard on the body, as well as the mind. I used to feel terrible almost every day. I didn’t get enough sleep, as sleeping during the daylight hours was not the best scenario. I was not eating enough or at the right times to keep myself healthy or energized. I eventually got tired of being tired and feeling ill all of the time. (I knew the way I was feeling was from lack of sleep and being up all night and from poor nutrition and lack of movement. I am not suggesting that you simply start an exercise regimen if you begin having symptoms that are new and unusual for you. Always check with your doctor first, as I did.)
I decided I was not going to go on feeling this way, let alone go on for all the years I planned on living on this earth feeling this way. I made the commitment to start eating better, to write everything I did eat down in a journal, to watch what I ate, to eat mindfully and to start exercising. And I did precisely that. It was easy, right from the start, even though it seemed a great feat. I just made the decision to be conscious of what I was doing. I even weighed and measured my food. It seemed like it would be such a great hassle, but in truth, it was not at all as inconvenient as it sounds. I focused on the fact that I was doing something for myself to better my quality of life and that, in turn, would make me a better person to be around.

I then started a healthy exercise regimen after seeing my doctor. Since I worked the night shift, I got into the habit of waking up and putting on my workout clothes right away. I would leave and pick up my son from school, come back to the house and get my water, a banana, my nook and my iPod and we would head to the gym. I had worked my way from only being able to endure 5 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill to running for over an hour straight. It became the love of my life. I loved to run. I was excited to wake up every day just because I was going to run. I had trained with my son in the early spring of 2011 and we ran our first 5k race in May of that year. I just kept it up after that.

I was just shy of my ultimate weight goal and was going to wake up Friday March 30th 2012 to start my first day of my 2nd six week training for my next 5k race in May, as I wanted to beat my time from the year before. Instead, I was awoke at noon to frantic attempts to reach me by several family members to tell me of my mother’s passing.
Life as I knew it came to an abrupt halt. Everything I was prepared for fell away, landing on its head. In the days and weeks that followed, I tried to keep up with everything. I was still trying to journal what I was eating, but it was becoming difficult, as was watching what I was eating.  I was keeping so busy with taking care of all that you must take care of after an unexpected death: my father’s well-being, his and my mom’s finances, moving dad closer (dads disabled and could not remain in the house they had shared or take full care of himself so many miles away), keeping up with dad's appointments, plus all of the funeral arrangements…you can only imagine.

Then, just three months later, my husband’s mother was taken from us, as well. It was like fighting against waves in the sea that are intent on keeping you from the shore.
The first 8 months or so, I only gained (and lost) the same 4 lbs. I was constantly in motion in those early months, with everything I was keeping myself busy with. I was doing a good job keeping my mind off of our unbearable losses. But, after I got most things in order, and was able to get my dad mostly settled into a routine, the holidays arrived (our first holidays without our mother's was a whole new chapter to deal with) and the weight started to creep on. It really does catch up with you when you are not being mindful of what you are doing. I had never changed my eating habits from when I was so busy. Now that I wasn’t as busy, and I was starting to have more time to think about my mom and to grieve more, food was turning into a comfort. This was exactly what I always feared and never wanted to happen. Even my husband and son gained weight because I had stopped cooking at home and we were relying on take-out to fit our schedules or our moods.

We kept telling ourselves and each other “we’ve got to get a hold on this. We’re active people! What are we doing?!” I know we’ve been through unimaginable difficulties, but it’s time we take back control of ourselves and our lives. We’ve been planning on being more active and eating healthier for months now, but can’t seem to put it into motion. It was so easy for me before, it truly was. But now, my motivation is sorely lacking. I’m trying to set goals to motivate myself. My birthday is towards the end of July, so I’d like to get as much of this re-gained weight off by then. My anniversary is at the end of October, so I would really love to be at goal by then, as well.
And that is what brings me back to the concept of this quote and the lesson it conveys to me.

A jug fills drop by drop

I must remember this to know that all things take time. It’s so funny how I can speak about these things so easily from my heart of hearts to help other people to realize that they are worthy and to be gentle with themselves and not to judge themselves or others, but it is so easy for me to forget when it comes to myself. But that's why I'm working through these lessons, to help remind myself to care for me, as well. 

So that’s what this lesson means to me. That everything takes some time to come into fruition. That patience really is a virtue, and you will save yourself from a lot of suffering and heartache when you come to realize this. You can accomplish your goals when you set your mind to it whether it is fitness and weight loss, becoming a better person, breaking a bad habit or building a new one, or getting back to life after a great loss. 

That’s why I feel blessed to have turned to this quote at this time. It is a reminder to me that everything happens in its time, with each step, just like a jug filling up with water. Drop by drop. 

Now it's just  up to you to turn the water on.