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, January 26, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

If a man going down into a river,  swollen and swiftly flowing,  is carried away by the current--how can he help others across?

Week 40

As I go along, week by week, I open my journal to find a good quote to learn from. Sometimes I search it out, sometimes I just happen to open the book to the most perfectly appropriate page for what is happening in my life. Mostly I've picked the lesson that I can relate to, leaving the more difficult to decipher quotes for another time. As I get closer to the end of this series and this journey, I'm finding those left-behind quotes more often, as they are becoming all I have left to choose from. As they get more difficult, I must really take the time to concentrate on understanding its meaning as it pertains to my life, and realize that, yes, it takes some time and effort, but truly learning to better myself is so worth it.

My main desire in life is to help others by sharing my experiences and show them that, even in times of what you feel is hopelessness, you still have the ability to rise above it and overcome desperation.  I have fallen time and time again, but the miracle of resilience and faith picked me up and brushed me off. I really do believe that if I can do it, you can, too.

That being said, what I interpret this week to be telling us is--how can we expect to help anyone, even if your intentions are pure and steadfast, if you are liable to get carried away by your emotions and /or lack of self-control in any given situation? Swept away by the current of your emotions or untamed, chaotic thinking, how can you be focused enought to lend help to another? If you jump in when you are not ready, you might just get carried away as well; and then you will both be swiftly moving down that dangerous path that could very well lead to destruction in which you both could be lost.

I am not implying that you stop trying to help others in need or to even stop giving advice that could be helpful. We all learn from one another and the many situations that we must endure. But to be able to offer service to anyone else, we first must have strong footing on the foundation of ourselves. We must work towards the strength and confidence we need to gain for ourselves in order not to get swept away by the current when we jump in to help someone else.

If we always sacrifice ourselves and what we need in order to become strong, emotionally sound individuals, always jumping in to help others and foregoing our own needs, what will we have to anchor us to the shore? Without knowing ourselves, we may not be able to remain neutral and may get in too deep to the turmoil that those we long to help are swimming through.

Like I said, you don't have to stop helping, all together. But make sure you know where you stand and that you have on your own life preserver before jumping in. It's ok to take time for yourself, to strengthen your own mental well being. It's admirable to always jump in to help, but it's also admirable to help yourself, too; it reflects strength. Even I live by the code "how may I serve?". But, I am learning that I must care for myself first or I won't be strong enough to be there should someone need me. I will always be there to serve,  but I am learning to throw the rope in first, and try and show them how to help themselves.

Thank you for reading,



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own thoughts, unguarded.

Week 39

I wrote a post week two that was very similar to the idea of this lesson. In fact, I used this quote as an example to further my point in that post back in May. That week was about succumbing to your dislike of another and harboring feelings of ill-will, bringing you down to your "enemy's" level, that is, those that you feel strongly about or those that have shown some sort of discord towards you.

The point is that, even when there are people that seem like your enemy, nothing they can say or do can harm you as much as your own chaotic critical thoughts, essentially making you your own worst enemy. People in our lives come and go, but we are with ourselves forever. Even their treatment of us moves out of our lives just as they do, or so it should. But our minds tend to retain that treatment we received, those scenarios we were participants in, and our thoughts continue about it as if they'd never left. Our own minds will continue the painful memories and, since our bodies can't tell the difference between what is really happening or what's just happening in our minds, we feel and react as if it is all still presently happening, thanks to our incessant and unguarded thoughts.

We often tend to put ourselves down more than anyone else in our lives. Negative self-talk seems to be prevalent in our culture, especially for women. I think it might mostly be due to the fact that we want to put ourselves down first to save us the pain of living through someone else doing it. Rejection and insults hurt, no matter what positive things we read or are told we should do to ignore them, but we still often sabotage ourselves with self deprecation before we give anyone else the chance. And, when this becomes a habit, the pain we think we are saving ourselves is actually forming a scar, just the same as if anyone else were responsible.

We don't harm ourselves with just negative self-talk about our bodies, hair, wardrobe or our accomplishments, or lack thereof. When we leave our thoughts unguarded and stop paying attention to keeping ourselves grounded in reality, such as what's actually happening as opposed to a fantasy of what is taking place, we are creating patterns out of this way of thinking and letting this negativity interfere with other aspects of our lives. How many times have you re-played an argument with someone over and over in your mind, changing the outcome to something more rewarding for you? Or re-playing the scenario and feeling the hurt inside each time just as if it were happening to you again and again?

Being a negative thinker becomes a habit, creating this new you that doesn't even realize the damage you are doing to yourself, let alone affecting how we treat others and forgetting how to have kindness and compassion. What kind of people will we become if we continue to leave our thoughts unchecked?  I know from experience it's easy to become hateful, depressed, angry, and lazy, even. The harm we can do to ourselves is much more than even our worst enemy can accomplish. Who needs enemies when we have ourselves?

We can make peace with ourselves and keep peace with others by simply taking the time to return to our center when we feel our minds wandering. The more effort you put into this practice of realizing you are off on a tangent of negative thought, the easier it becomes to return yourself to reality; to realize that the hurt you may be feeling is so unnecessary. You will eventually begin to quickly notice you are doing it and will be able to stop it before it raises your blood pressure. You will begin to notice that you are so much more than the "thinker". You will begin to notice the you that is observing the thoughts. The real you. And you'll notice how much you are worth.

Thanks for reading today. Have a blessed week.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

   (Image courtesy of  Sierra Club. Check out their "9 Sacrifice Free Resolutions" Here)

Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself. But exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial.

Week 38

Just in time for all of these resolutions we like to promise ourselves we will follow through with this year, here is a quote that seems to suggest even the Ancients might have wanted to get a jump on the new year, but realized the difficulty we often face.

It's hard to change, though we've all made the challenge to ourselves many times over, and we are not alone. Here is's top 10 most commonly broken New Year's Resolutions (2012).   I bet we have all promised at least one (or 5) of these to ourselves over the years; I know I have. We all want to do better and we all wish and intend to succeed. But, as this quote indicates, it's much easier to do all the "bad" stuff, like eating what we know we really shouldn't, putting off the exercise until tomorrow, drinking too much, staying out too late, spending too frivolously, or allowing too much stress into our lives.

Being lazy and complacent is easy. Eating take-out instead of cooking a decent meal is easy. Ignoring our financial responsibilities is easy. The longer we "put off until tomorrow" the harder it it becomes to break bad habits and incorporate more productive ones into our lives. Almost all the things that are good and beneficial to us take work to accomplish.

Finding the strength to devote ourselves to healthful eating and proper exercise is work. If willpower was easy to come by, we'd all be doing it with ease. Being diligent with our money is also hard work. Telling ourselves "no" is difficult. Giving to charity instead of spending money on that much desired 'thing' is a very difficult endeavor, indeed, for most. Opening ourselves up to faith and spirit for the sake of our spiritual health and well-being is a big change for some, as is asking for help or delegating responsibilities when we need time to ourselves to reduce our stress.

If doing everything good for us was easy, we'd all be 'perfect' and never need improving. But that isn't always the case. It takes commitment, hard work, struggle and a lot of dedication to keep at it. While we may get down on ourselves for not finishing our resolutions, I say keep making them. It's ok to dream, as big as you can. And it's ok to fail. Just keep trying. Maybe 2014 will be your year to accomplish all your resolutions. ;)

Here's to a great year to come.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sundays With Buddha

Speak or act with an impure mind and trouble will follow you.

Week 37

I often wonder if Karma could actually be a valid explanation for what happens to us. I guess it all depends on what you believe. From what I understand of Buddhism, the belief is that you inherit your Karma and bring it unto yourself based on actions in your past lives and that you must live by 'right' actions now to purify for past actions, as well as your present actions, to save you from Karmic 'difficulty' in this, and your next, life. (I am paraphrasing here, of course, as I am by no means a scholar on Buddhism. I am merely sharing what my understanding has come to be, so far).

In other belief systems such as Christianity, I don't think they believe in Karma per se, as this is roughly a Hindu and Buddhist belief, but they do have similarities such as the tenet of "you reap what you sow" and the golden rule --"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".  This also is similar to many 'old world' religions as well as beliefs found in the new spiritual movement that teach that what you put out will return to you.

I guess I fall into the category of just wanting to always have my actions and reactions in check because I most certainly do believe that the vibrations that you put out return to you in kind exactly what you seem to be asking for. I have definitely come to realize that when I am in a bad mood and act as such, some not-so-fantastic things seem to happen to me. It's as if we really do carry an 'aura' or dark cloud around us inviting trouble. Before I really started paying attention to myself and what I was feeling, I had these experiences all of the time. You can actually read about how I changed this in an article I wrote here.

No matter what your religion or beliefs are, I believe this quote rings true in any voice. If you do not use caution in what you say or do, or think, for that matter, and make a habit of acting with an impure mind, trouble will surely follow you. Whether it has anything to do with karma or just the vibe you put out with your attitude doesn't really matter. What matters is that you start to realize that you can change your outcomes-on just about anything in your life. If you are a faithful person, put some of that faith in you. If you are someone who believes in miracles, realize that you are a miracle, too.

Start knowing that you are a Divine creation made with perfection and you deserve great things. And everyone around you deserves it, too. I always try to keep that in mind. It helps me to see everyone in a new light; to give them the respect and support that I desire.

One of my favorite stories of all time is Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". I collect copies of the book, I own copies of the film (my actual favorite with George C. Scott has been almost surpassed the Disney version with Jim Carrey, believe it or not. If you haven't seen it, there's still time...).

Charles Dickens had it right way back in 1843 and the beautiful idea behind this story is still powerful enough to move me, now...

"...when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."--Scrooge's nephew, Fred, to his uncle's "humbug" of the frivolity of Christmas.

The "Golden Rule" moves me as well. We should treat others as we want to be treated.
We all have seen how negativity can spread like wild-fire.
It would be nice to see kindness burn through this world, now.

Have a blessed day and a cozy week-end.