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, 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.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sundays With Buddha


Week 17
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserves your love and affection.

Wow. What a revelation. One many of us find impossible to comprehend. It has not always been Western Society’s strong suit to rear individuals to love and show themselves affection. We, contrary to our upbringing, hardly treat each other with love and affection, let alone, shower ourselves with it. Whether it leads to feelings that we are being too egotistical and self-indulgent or that we are just plain undeserving, for most of us it just is not a part of our everyday practice.  
But it should be.
I so wish I knew all the wonderful things I now know, when I could have shared it with the people in my life that really needed it, when they needed it. That’s why I open myself now. To share what I’ve learned, my experiences. If only my brother knew all of the things I’m learning. He would have had a better opportunity at leading a life not so filled with pain and self-loathing.
I'll never know if anything I could have done would have changed something, anything, in his life, but it would have been nice to try. We get so wrapped up in our lives, in what has "happened" to us; in our "stories" that we lose track of time and before you know it, a year has slipped by. There is a very long, detailed history with my brother, one I may share someday, but, for now, just know that pain is varied, and pain runs deep. And pain can be rectified.
If only we all knew this and honored it, everything hurtful anyone ever said to us would pass through us like water through a sieve. We would know the truth--that we are perfect just as we are, that our worthiness is not founded on another’s opinions of how we should be. That we are worthy, no matter what.
My brother's life is the most prevalent example I have of the urgent need for us to all know that we must love ourselves. Only after learning this, can we ever really realize the essential truth of loving each other. It is not only important for our own spiritual health, but it is equally important for everyone else who shares this planet.
You must know that you are worthy of all the love you hope to give another. This is the key to salvation; the spark at the end of the fuse that will ignite humanity into our fullest potential.
Thank you for being a part of this today.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sundays With Buddha

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Week 16

To share happiness, and to have done something good before leaving this life is sweet.


I buried my brother yesterday. How many deaths is this, now? Four-including my cousin, Elmer Ray. I don't know what to do with myself with this confusion and sorrow. My brother led a complicated life. His relationships with the family were strained, at best, as were the ones he formed in his own life, those that he could sustain, that is.

But, I had a relationship with him. I always did, rocky and tumultuous as it was at times (a lot of times). He did many things that some would consider unforgivable. But I just understood who he was. That thing in me that I am discovering just wouldn't let me turn my back on him over the years, because I kept regaining contact with him.

My brother was a complicated person. As I stated in last week's post, he struggled with mental illness and alcoholism. He was seeking treatment, but after our mom died, I think guilt of past actions sent him in a downward spiral straight into depression and acute alcoholism. He had a troubled life; a troubled past, but now, his present and his future will be forever untouched by strife.

I do have some not-so-pleasant memories of times with him, but I also have a ton of fond memories, too. I have found, especially in this last year, that when someone passes away, you tend to forget any disgruntled feelings you may have had towards them. All the other memories come back eventually, but you start to understand, or at least cease to be offended by, that which upset you. You start to understand the person and compare their life to your own mortality. It certainly helps you evaluate your own life and what you want to do with it before the very real possibility of it ending comes about.

But, back to my memories of Brian. From those fond memories I have of spending time with my brother who was funny and charming and very intelligent and quite the artist and musician, I know he had some happiness, if only for periods at a time. I know he made some bonds that brought him joy.

Last night, my husband took me to an observation tower near our home by the Mississippi River because there was a gathering of amature astronomers setting up their telescopes (very big telescopes) to look at the moon, Venus, and most spectacularly Saturn, as well as watch the Perseids Meteor shower that is happening in the northern Hemisphere this weekend. He stumbled upon the information about this on one of his bike rides in the bluffs at the visitor center. I thought it was totally appropriate as I am a huge fan of the universe and all that it holds, but mostly because my brother is the one who introduced me to the sky. That's one of my favorite memories of us together, besides the time he took me repelling off the side of a 100 foot bluff. He would take me out with his fabulous telescope and we would look at the stars and planets together.

The whole night all I did was think of my brother and how much he would have loved being there with us last night, as I watched the sky for those little trails of light. And there they were. Just a few, but they were beautiful. I thanked him for giving that gift to me.

I now have my brother's telescope and need to learn how to use it, as it is bigger than any I have owned. That's why it was so special that this night fell into our laps on the eve of his service. It was a very synchronistic evening, to say the least.

So my lesson here is this: Make sure you do all you can to live a happy life. Try to always be conscious of what you are doing and thinking. My story about my brother isn't about that he should have been "better", though he really could give those around him a very miserable existence when he was miserable, or so was perceived by the perceiver. It's about you and me having more tolerance and forgiveness and understanding in our own lives and maybe that could be the trigger for change in someone else. I know everyone is responsible for their own actions, believe me. Brian knew better that to do a lot of what he did in his own life. I'm not saying you must tolerate being mistreated. But if you practice compassion from the get-go, who knows whose life you may unwittingly, change.

Spread joy and do something good...It's what you're here for.

Thank you all so much for reading. I really do care about you all and want only happiness for each of you. It is deserved by you and it is your birth right. But know that you can create it for yourself, and share it with the world.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sundays With Buddha


Week 15

You too shall pass away. Knowing this, how can you quarrel?


This weeks lesson will be short. I have not had the time to really search for and think on, let alone write about, a more appropriate quote, and this quote is the most appropriate for what I've experienced this week.

Last Sunday I received word that my oldest brother, Brian, had passed away. This was a definite shock, especially after the deaths of our mothers this past year. A shock, but no real surprise. My brother was very ill, though not in the traditional sense. He was emotionally unwell and struggled with alcoholism.

After our mother passed away, his physical and mental health seems to deteriorate. I would have known this as it was happening had I been in contact with him this past year and four months, but, unfortunately, I was not.

I loved my brother, very much, and tried to stay close with him. His disease and everything that happened this past year did not make a good combination for proper communication, or so I thought. I regret not trying to get into contact with him to let him know I was there for him. I thought about him all of the time, but he never knew it. My only reconciliation to this is that he knows all of this, now. His terrible suffering is over. He has finally found his peace.

This is my lesson to you. We all pass away. We do not know when. Most of us do not know how. Knowing this, why do many of us still waste time with 'quarrelling'? We forget that our time here is limited; limited for ourselves and to be with each other. We forget that it can all change in the blink of an eye. We forget that time can pass so fast; within that blink. And, before we know it, a year has passed and we have lost time that of which we will never get back.

Though the real peace comes after we leave this realm, we do not require death to find it. We may have it in this place, as well. We bring it to ourselves, though. And, paradoxically, we have the power to bring it to others through our unselfish and pure-of-heart actions, though we must never rely on another to bring peace to us.

You can give that gift, unselfishly, to another through your actions of caring, understanding, tolerance, loving-kindness, and presence. I urge you to reach out and embrace your loved ones. Break silences and offer understanding. Live your authentic life, in a way that will keep you at peace and bring peace to everyone around you.

I wish you all so much luck on your journey's. Now, go give someone you love a hug or a phone call. And be sure to live each of your days as if it could be your last--with passion and compassion, love and abandon.