Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Finding peace where there is none


Let's face it. We need peace the most when it's hardest to find. Silly humans. Always longing for what's missing, rather than opening our eyes to what's actually there. I raise my hand in guilt. I have been there so many times. I mean, a house filled with 10 of your closest relatives isn't exactly peaceful. Or so it might seem.

Our house is slowly “clearing out” now. It may be a little too quiet. 

Once upon a time, I wished for this very thing to happen. And OK. Ya. It is a relief in some ways. The workload is definitely decreasing. Whew! What a crazy whirlwind it's been!

But something really great came out of the experience of having most of my descendants under one roof. I really did learn to find peace where there is none. And not surprisingly, I found it within myself and grew it outward, just like I'm always telling everyone else to do.

It all begins with you, you see? Because whatever you tell yourself about a situation, that's exactly what it will become for you. You create your own reality and therefore, you can also create your own peace. It's all about the attitude, boys and girls.

There was a time when I was beside myself dealing with the mess, the confusion and the utter chaos of having multiple generations share one home. I was cranky, negative and playing the sympathy symphony to anyone who would listen. And my sense of peace reflected that negativity. I was miserable.

Because I made myself that way.

Then, somewhere along the way, I took my own advice and started seeing things differently. Just look at all the beautiful people I have in my life! How could I not? I started appreciating them for who they were and not who I thought they should be. I started seeing how society had made me expect things of them that no mere mortal could accomplish.

Heck, even I'm not that perfect. Ha!

I said to myself, “My friends and family love me so much. They're always there for me, good bad or ugly.”

Of course, part of that was because they lived with me 99% of the time. Tee Hee! Whatever. We are still a close bunch, despite our diversity and the fact that due to the modern world's demands, we didn't have much choice but to do the roommate thing.

Anyway....

While peace starts within you, it can also spread to permeate your whole life, bathing you in sunshiney goodness even in the most difficult, trying situations. The trick is simple. You just have to believe your life is great and it will be.

Yup. When it comes to bringing peace amid chaos. positivism is absolute magic. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Taking the eight-fold path – The right view


My last post explained why I'm studying and following the principles of Buddhism on the peace path now. In this post, I'll be talking about taking my first step over again, with the purpose of aligning my path based on those principles.

First of all, I was delighted to find that Buddhism refers to our life journey as a path. This is fundamental in my belief system as well. Enlightenment, or whatever you may call it does not happen overnight, as we are flawed individuals with many obstacles cluttering our paths.

I've been studying Buddhism through a reputable online study guide. The following is a quote from that guide.

Note: For your greater understanding of the context, the paragraphs in the guide, previous to the quote describe the human struggle to overcome obstacles and the general negative human conditioning that prevents us from achieving a peaceful life.

The path to liberation from these miserable states of being, as taught by the Buddha, has eight points and is known as the eightfold path. The first point is called right view -- the right way to view the world. Wrong view occurs when we impose our expectations onto things; expectations about how we hope things will be, or about how we are afraid things might be. Right view occurs when we see things simply, as they are. It is an open and accommodating attitude. We abandon hope and fear and take joy in a simple straight-forward approach to life.”

So, my first step on my new peace path has to do with perception. How do I see the world? Am I seeing and accepting it as it truly is or merely how it has been presented to me over years of conditioning? Am I muddling it with my own jaded expectations and preconceived notions of how it should be? It's vital that I grasp this before moving on. Because unless I learn to see the world for exactly what it is, free from my own notions, I begin my path with a lie that escalates as I go, rendering my entire journey fruitless.

From this moment on, I will be working on taking each experience at face value, passing no judgment, accepting what is. I will have to realize that many of the things I “know” to be true, simply aren't as they have been presented to me. I will have to accept that the things I expect from the world may never come to pass. Some things may never get better.

While that may sound defeatist, it excites me that by leading a peaceful, more accepting, more realistic life, I may actually have the power to bring about a sense of calm that I have never experienced before. This is due, of course to the fact that, like most people, my view of the world is one cluttered with the aforementioned conditioning and unrealistic expectations.

By also detaching myself from the “responsibility” of carrying all the burdens, pain, suffering and mental anguish (caused by trying to control everything around me, people included, in the hope of finding the peace that already exists inside me) from now on, I will simply accept the existence of unpleasantness as a part of life. Because it is and always will be.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why study Buddhism?


First of all, for those concerned with my spiritual well being, there is no need for worry. Buddhism is a philosophy of life that can be practiced along with any religion, not that I follow one anyway. It accepts all and excludes none. 

That last bit being is main reason for my interest in it. I have never been one for exclusion, cliques or even overly patriotic behaviors as I believe each and every one of us to have equal value, regardless of our racial heritage, origin, orientation, location, beliefs or standing in life.

I also believe, as you know, in living a peaceful existence, as far from the trappings of a materialistically inclined society as possible. I find doing so to be liberating, rather than limiting as some might believe.

I am a realist. A believer in seeing things as they are, rather than as how I wish them to be or perceive them to be, based on hearsay, dogma or tradition. I find that when I am able to leave those preconceived notions behind, much of the blockage is removed from life, so that I may freely navigate “my” path and reach “my” goal of greater understanding and unity.

I believe humans are naturally flawed human beings. However, I also believe, that with practice and focus on kindness, goodwill toward others and acceptance, we can learn to overcome our more negative characteristics.

All this being said, accepting and overcoming while remaining serene and positive is not an easy task for me. It's especially difficult, as a bit of an anti-socialist, to leave “me” behind and meld with the greater energy/good.

I need guidance on “my” path and the guidance I have chosen is Buddhism. This is because Buddhism very closely resembles “my” own beliefs.

Why do I keep putting “my” in parenthesis? Well, folks, it's complicated. On the one hand, knowing “my” true self, short-comings and all is vital for my journey. On the other hand, accepting the fact that we are one, there is no self-containment in life and that “my” duty is not merely to the illusion of self is “my” eventual goal.

So, friends, “my” peace path is in a bit of a do-over right now. One that might take a lifetime to travel. I am now following the guidelines of the eight-fold path laid out in the principles of Buddhism. Why? Because it makes sense. Because I believe it's the key I've been seeking, in fact, that many of us have been seeking.

Buddhism seems, at least on the surface, to be a solution to revealing the cause of the restlessness, anxiety and common woes of all mankind, so that we may heal and live lives free of undue worry and fear. It offers freedom from the burdens that living in an unnatural, human created society has placed on us.

In short, the study and practice of Buddhism speaks to me like nothing else ever has. It seems to coincide with my own beliefs like no other philosophy or principle ever has. Not only that, it does not seek to limit, but to guide me on what I know to be “my” right path.

Why study Buddhism? Because it rings true, does no harm and seeks unity, not division. That's good enough for me.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Soul Suckers and the Peace Path


Everybody knows one or has one and as the saying goes, “There's at least one in every crowd, so if you don't know one, it's probably you.” Soul suckers can be people. They can also be things. Whatever sucks out the core of your soul, no matter how hard you try to maintain your integrity and composure is a soul sucker.

The most frustrating soul suckers are those you can't easily walk away from. You know. Like the job that you need in order to pay the rent, the house with the cheap mortgage in the place you don't really want to be or even those ever present, constantly needy, but much loved individuals you just can't bring yourself to give up on. They all have their merits. But still, they're sucking the very life out of you.

How can you possibly make your way down the peace path in one piece with them incessantly draining your energy?

Ha! Tell me and we'll both know.

I do have a theory, though. Naturally. I'm chock full of theories just waiting to be tested. Here's how this one goes:

I plan to let the soul suckers carry on with their nasty business. That may not sound like a viable solution, but here's the kicker. I plan to change the way I react to them as well as how much I let them get to me. I also plan to stay away from them, whenever necessary or possible.

As “they” say, “A stands for attitude.” In my case, that's as in adopting a new one. In other words, let them do their worst and I'll put my energy into being the best me that I can be, in spite of their quest to destroy me.

Which, in my opinion, is all we can do in any case. We can't control some of the people, events and circumstances that impact us. We can't change some things in life. But we can definitely control and change our own choices and our own lives. So, that's what I'm off to do. Will it work? I don't know, but I think if I put my mind to it, maybe it will bring me a little closer to peace of mind.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Facebook Light


I'm still totally over scrolling through Facebook for hours. No worries on that score. There's too much life to live. And staying away entirely for a bit really gave me some perspective. But I do have a hard time giving up the aspect of keeping in touch with friends in an efficient manner, much for the same reason. Life is short and that's why I'm now doing “Facebook Light.”

What I mean by this is that when I get a chance, I'll scroll through for a few minutes at most, see what my friends and family are up to, lend support, comment positively, etc. And that's about it. Every once in a while, you might see an auto post from something I've written or a brief positive post.

And while I'm OK with others posting as they wish, I'm kind of done with getting too detailed about my personal life, feelings, politics and other beliefs on Facebook. I don't mind my friends knowing about my life, it's the trolls and advertisers I have a problem with. It's simply none of their business how I live and I intend to keep it that way.

Isn't it nicer to learn news through someone reaching out to you personally, than by seeing a public post on Facebook anyway? Kind of makes you feel like someone cares enough to give you a piece of their time, right? It does me anyway. So, I figure, I'll do the same for others.

It's nice to go back to the days of personal communication sometimes. Or all the time. LOL Heck, I might even write my Mom a good, old fashioned snail mail letter. She loves those!

Yup, Facebook done as per usual just doesn't have the same feel as good old fashioned, one on one, face to actual face interaction with a real human being. It also pales in comparison to a heartfelt letter someone thoughtfully composed just for you and penned with their own two hands.

But you know, it isn't so bad just hopping on Facebook once in a while to say hello, post an encouraging or inspiring message and ignoring all the assorted animosity, etc. Stay only a few minutes, scroll, scroll, scroll past the madness, don't create any grief myself and leave everyone, myself included, with a smile is the plan.

Yup, "Facebook Light" works for me right now. Life is so hard. Why not make it a little less full and a little more positively productive?

Now, I'm off to try and figure out how to weed my garden with a claw for a hand and a body that refuses to get up once it's down. LOL Another benefit of doing "Facebook Light." Things actually get done.

Well, most things, anyway...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dream or do – My move – Just do it?


I once heard it said that dreaming is more enjoyable/satisfying than doing because once you remove the fantasy, reality kicks in. And reality is not quite as polished. Well, you know what? I'm OK with unpolished. Dreams can only take you so far. And while dreaming is certainly a pleasant pastime, doing is the stuff dreams are made of for me.

Huh?

I guess what I'm saying here is that I'm tired of sitting around waiting for someone to wave a magic wand over this mirage of an existence that modern society has us pandering to. Pretty darn tired of watching loved ones waste their life away on the non-existent American dream. (Let's face it, the only place that ever happened was in our heads anyway.)

I'm sick of hearing how people miss the good old days when things were like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way. Because they never have been.

We glamorize the past when we reminisce. We leave out the negative aspects of living “back in the day” because they're unpleasant to think about. And so, we go around with this jaded view of past decades that makes us long for “the good old days” we have conveniently placed in the forefront of our childhood memories.

And let's face it, part of the reason we fantasize about the good old days is because we are now adults, dealing with adult issues, which is something we didn't have to face as a child.

However....

We all know that there is something to be said about the simplicity of the past. You know, life in the times before everyone became so involved with their gadgets and devices. The times when we actually talked to each other, face to face, all the time, because that's all there was.

Ya, I do miss that. It did exist.

Good thing I figured out how I can bring it back.

Yup. Because, as it turns out, the disappearance of simplicity in my life was my own darn fault. I had my face in my phone and computer just as much as everyone around me did.

No one took the good old days from me. I took them from myself when I stopped living in a way that brought me peace. My disdain for the modern world was blinding me to the fact that I was becoming an integral part of it. That was the real problem.

So now, rather than preaching to everyone else about their detached behavior and lifestyles, I'm working on my own.

Now, you may miss something else entirely, about the days before technology, but I miss things like playing cards and games, doing jigsaw puzzles, creating not so great (sometimes totally crappy) works of art and making things for my home. Those things never made me especially rich or famous. But they did make me happy. So, as a part of my peace path, I've gone mostly off social media so I can have the time to pursue them daily again, rather than just on rare occasions.

And you know what? It's contagious, this actual, RL (not virtual) face time instead of Facebook thing, that is. Today, my oldest grand-daughter and I are going to refinish some old beat up furniture together. We're going to live our own lives instead of watching other people's lives on television or social media. And what's more? We're excited about it. Really excited.

I hope it's the start of many more peaceful pursuits in the real life zone for us. I hope we have so much fun that we inspire the people around us to do the same on a regular basis. Because, folks, as I am learning more and more, we can't change the whole world overnight. But we can certainly change our own little piece of it.

So... Dream or do? What is my move?

I move to make my dreams of a simpler, non-virtual existence a reality and ignore the social pressure to Stepford wife my way through life like a zombified, insane, brainwashed, “good” citizen. After all, no one's going to do it for me. And if I sit around waiting for society to change before I change? Well, you've seen those skeleton memes, right? I have no desire to become a skeleton while waiting for anything.

Ain't nobody got time for that and I have less time than most!

Dreaming of a different kind of life? I highly recommend you do something you love, that brings you closer to your dream every day, my friends. Who do you want to be? How do you want to live? Be that. Do that.

Now!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Something you don't know about empaths


There is something about deeply feeling people you likely haven't been told. And if you have one of these people in your life, it's important that you be aware of it. Empaths generally walk a peaceful path, however....

Empaths can be surprisingly vengeful when wronged or used.

Empaths are highly sensitive and caring individuals. They normally have your best interests at heart, for sure. They can also turn “evil” when you have loaded them up with too much for too long. If you become destructive, disloyal, negative or violent, they will see right through your “cleverly” disguised manipulations. They know you inside and out. Sometimes, better than you know yourself.

Empaths know their way around your head because they are right in there with you. Don't take that lightly. Empaths can play games you didn't even know existed when they've been wronged. They are experts at both emotional healing and emotional warfare because they experience constant emotional input from absolutely everyone they encounter daily.

They know your secrets and they will use them to destroy you if they feel taken advantage of.

So there you go. Empaths can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you treat them. And they know everything about what makes you tick. That makes them a powerful force.

If you have ulterior motives, tread carefully around the empaths in your life. Treat them with the respect they deserve. They will nurture you through those bad times with great enthusiasm and insight. However, they will also turn on the unappreciative in a heartbeat.

Literally, oh snap!