Thursday, December 14, 2017

Making peace with zero page views


I've been in love with writing since I first learned to form letters, make words from them and put those words together to make thoughts appear on paper. In short, since I was about 5 years old. Back then, I didn't care who read my thoughts. Surprise! I don't care now either.

I write for myself. If no one reads what I write, well, that doesn't make it any less valuable to me. I also don't care if my grammar is picture perfect or my punctuation is on point. I write how I talk. It's legible enough. It's not completely ghetto. And anyone who doesn't like it doesn't have to read it. So there!

If all that makes me sound a bit narcissistic, well, I don't care about that either. People can think what they want because I also don't judge the way others write. Practice makes perfect and maybe they're not there yet. Or maybe they're like me and don't care if they ever get there. Ha!

I have a lot of blogs that nobody reads. They make me about a penny a month. OK, maybe a little more. But hey, since I don't ever cash it out, I might have a whole dollar by now. Woo-Hoo! Celebration time! Maybe I could frame it and hang it on my wall.

Meh, who cares? I think the almighty dollar gets enough air time. I save my decor space for family photos and other things that really matter. Like dream-catchers, tapestries, artwork, various handmade dangly things, cute signs and such. Most of which is truly “unprofessional” and maybe a bit sloppy. I love it!

And sure, there is an off chance that someday, someone, somewhere will find that either my meanderings or my artwork warrant a deeper look. Maybe there's even a ,little monetary compensation in my future. Still don't care. Besides, likely that would mean writing/creating the way everyone else thinks I should; conforming to consumerist demand, etc.

Nah, I'm happier just the way things are. Doing what I love to do, the way I love to do it. No promises. No demands. No battlefield. No blood shed. No deadlines. No editors. No rules. No pressure. Just the freedom to write/create as I wish.

I'm at peace with my non-existent page views. In fact, I prefer them. They represent my aforementioned freedom to be who I am. They reflect my true self; good, bad and ugly combined. They empower me like no amount of money ever could.

And you can take that to the bank.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Merry Sleigh Bells on the naughty list?


I love a good Christmas tune as much as the next person. In fact, maybe a little more. I start singing Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. I also grew up in the country, where animal husbandry is huge a part of life. Nevertheless, on my path for inner holiday peace, those merry sleigh bells are high on my naughty list. How so?

Folks, we've been using horses to do our dirty work since, well, I don't know when. In any case, it's been a long, long time. And we certainly have it in our heads that being pulled around town for a holiday joy ride is a joy. That's probably because it is a joy for us. But what about the horse?

Due to how deeply ingrained the use of horses and other animals is, we may not even think about that. Maybe we should. After all, finding peace within yourself begins with giving others peace. And I don't believe that horses being shackled to a sleigh and forced to pull us around are having a good time of it, no matter how you look at it. They're certainly not at peace.

Sure, they're strong enough. They look absolutely regal doing it. And yes, they may be well cared for. Still, it's not exactly a pleasant task to undertake. It's not fun for them. They didn't volunteer to do it. Who would? In fact, if you allow yourself free thought, you'll quickly realize how wrong we are in thinking it's OK to do this to a living creature, especially in the name of entertainment.

Now, I know a lot of “horse people” would say that “their” horse enjoys being ridden. I know because I've heard them say it. But is it really the ride they take pleasure in? Or is it the companionship?

The fact is that riding horses is physically damaging for the horse, no matter how much we tell ourselves they enjoy it.

We even refer to trained horses as “well broken.” 

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that you don't have to “break” anyone into doing something they enjoy. If it was natural and pleasant for horses to be ridden or pull us around in carriages, we wouldn't have to "break" them to do it would we?

But it's not natural. It's not peaceful. It's not even wholesome. Bits cause injury as do saddles, spurs, whips and other gear. Then there is the actual burden of carrying the rider. We literally ride directly on the horse's spine. Take a good look sometime at a horse that's been ridden a few years and you'll plainly see the curvature. It's just not healthy and in fact, causes shortened life spans.

In the case of pulling sleighs, well, imagine yourself as a rickshaw driver. Does pulling others around town all day in a cart seem like fun to you? No?

You see folks, ultimately it's really just long standing tradition that gives those sleigh rides the illusion of being merry and wholesome holiday fun. Pulling sleighs is not and never has been fun for the horse. It's not wholesome and harmless in any way.

It may not be fun for us to realize that. It may not even be widely accepted. Once our neuropassageways are programmed, it's a real b**** to convince them they're out of line. But it is the truth. And in the case of those merry sleigh bells, the truth shall set you free to live in peace. But more importantly, it will do the same for the horse.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mistaking my ego for my identity


Oh wow! Today's revelations are huge, much like my currently over-inflated ego. They came to me like most things do. That is, after experiencing, reacting to or passing judgment on something/someone and realizing that I'm not, nor will I ever be perfect myself. And that, while I like myself, I have a few things to work on. OK, quite a few. And a lot of those things stem from ego.

Now, those of you who know me well, likely think of me as very simple and humble. Not exactly someone who lords it over people or thinks their you know what has no odor. For the most part, yes, I do try to remember that I'm just a speck on a tiny planet in an infinitesimal universe among more infinitesimal universes.

But folks, my ego really does get the better of me sometimes, just as it does every other human on this earth. And like every other human being, I have a tendency to think of my way as the best way of living. And if you don't think we're all wired this way, at least to a certain degree, just go on Facebook and spend some time in those comment sections. Do you see it now?

Socializing in general, at least lately, seems to have an underlying current of proving others wrong, therefore proving ourselves right. Heck, I can't even go to a restaurant for a peaceful meal without overhearing conversations of judgment passed on others or how they live their lives. And the nauseating thing is, that I see myself slipping into that mode.

Therefore, in order to be at peace with myself, I have decided to make an effort in recognizing whether it is my reasoning brain or my diabolical, self-defeating ego that is running my life and determining my actions. Because, I am not my ego. And my ego, much like everyone elses, does not have the power to reason outside of it's own selfish agenda.

My ego likes to tell me that I am right about everything. That's a problem. But the real issue is that my ego doesn't seem to be aware that being right is not all that important in the scheme of things. So, while my identity, or self, if you wish, is on a path to peace, my ego is constantly running interference. In my opinion, a superior attitude has no place in a mindful, peaceful life.

In fact, one can drive oneself literally nuts by living life according to one's ego and opinions. And yes, this is my opinion, but honestly, I just feel it's better for me personally, more peaceful, if you will, to practice understanding, rather than condemnation, spread joy, rather than focusing on the negative news of the day, etc.

I find that it's better for me, psychologically, to practice being humble/kind/considerate and admit my own faults, rather than exhausting myself by trying to disprove others or add more air to my ego balloon in an effort to make myself feel better. Because, you guys, we really are, much as our egos hate to admit it, quite small in the scheme of things.

And maybe my theory doesn't hold true for you. That's OK. You do you, as they say. And I am no better than you for following my own inclinations or feeling the way I do. That's the whole point. Folks, none of us really knows how to do life. We're all just winging it and hoping for the best. No point getting a swelled head over our triumphs or kicking people when they're down.

So, it seems I have discovered another huge step to conquer on the peace path. Better break out those walking sticks. This one's a doozy.

Your “mistakes” are not my problem


Taking giant steps today, at least mentally. Putting them into action may take time but here we go with another one. I have to stop taking responsibility for the “mistakes” of others. For one thing, they may not be mistakes as far as they are concerned. Either that or they haven't seen them for what they are yet, just as it takes me a while to see my own missteps.

For another thing, when did I become the logical choice for deciding other people's fate or how they live? Have I really done a perfect job of mapping out my own destiny? Of course not. Because none of us have life 100% down, do we? If we did, surely things wouldn't be so difficult, would they?

Why are we all so hell bent on reminding others of all their faults anyway? Isn't it more important to support their triumphs and allow them to deal with their own issues as they see fit? Don't we have enough on our plates without getting over-involved, handing out unsolicited advice and generally knocking on doors all over town, “spreading the word” of our choosing and annoying the heck out of people?

Wouldn't it be more constructive to allow them the peace required to come to their own logical conclusions concerning the areas in their lives that could use improvement? Wouldn't it be more productive to set a positive example by minding our own lives well and allowing them to draw their own conclusions concerning theirs?

And what do we expect to happen once we dish out our unasked for opinion, anyway? Do we really expect people to have revelations based on our ego-elevated opinions, raging firestorm fits and harsh judgments? Isn't that a bit egotistical, not to mention unrealistic?

And wouldn't it be healthier to allow others the freedom to make their own choices so that we, ourselves, also have the much needed time and energy for our own extensive self improvement?

I'm still working on what to do when someone elses choices negatively impact my life. Socialization is not my strong-point. It's hard for me to get past the hurt and express myself lovingly when my ego feels that I've been wronged.

Still, I'm going to try my utmost to leave people to their own devices and conclusions. And maybe that's a good first step toward not being hurt by their choices as well.

Learn and grow. Learn and grow.

Growing a smart mouth zipper


I've never been the mouthy type up until the last few years, so what the heck happened to me? I was raised to be humble and helpful, not harsh and rude. I really need to regrow my smart mouth zipper, you guys. But in order to do that, I have to figure out how I got to a place where doing so is necessary.

Now, I've always been a “nice” person. That is if the opinions of those around me are to be believed. But appearances can be deceiving sometimes. I'm not as perfect as some might think. Shhh... don't tell, but inside, there have been unexpressed aggravations building up. Lots and lots of aggravations.

So, from time to time, over the years, those aggravation have led me to release my frustrations with hurtful sarcasm and on occasion, all out rants.

I'm not proud of this and I'm not making excuses. Just stating facts.

When you are a caregiver/helper type person. It is inevitable that there will be a few people on the receiving end of your good will who take advantage. Sometimes they are aware of this, sometimes not.

It's a circle. It really is. Frustration and negativity beget more frustration and negativity, which in my case, leads to me spewing forth years of hateful baggage from the depths of my soul. I need to grow a smart mouth zipper, however justified my rantings and ravings may be.

Because there really is no justification for spewing anger, no matter how truthful or constructive it may be. It only serves to hurt everyone around me and bring them down.

But how will I grow this mouth zipper? Maybe I need a rubber-band on my wrist to snap whenever I feel the other kind of snap come on. I don't know. But I'm determined to find that sweet girl I used to be somewhere under all this baggage.

Yoda would say, “Do or don't do, there is no try.” But I say you have to start somewhere and even a slow start is better than not trying at all.

Finding peace through gradual changes

Adapting takes time
I used to be a true “all or nothing” person. In some ways, I still am. But when it comes to making certain changes, I've altered my tune a bit. I've learned that it takes time to create new habits, replace the old and eventually move on to that new and improved version of myself. And I'm beginning to accept that I cannot change the world or even myself in an instant.

Changing could be a bumpy ride. I may fall off the lifestyle change wagon entirely. I may sometimes have a hard time climbing back on. But eventually, with enough determination, me and my scraped knees will clamber back on and stay there for good.

Meanwhile, while working my way toward the goal line, trying to stay the course, I just keep promoting the type of peaceful, kind, loving life I wish to lead, even though I'm not quite across the finish line. Hey, don't judge. 85% is better than not at all.

Now, some might see that as hypocritical. Why promote a lifestyle that you have yet to fully attain? Well, for self inspiration, of course. For self encouragement. But mostly, for reinforcement. Because all those things help create new passageways in my brain so that I can get there one day.

Better yet, the awareness I spread may help others to make positive, peaceful changes as well. Some of those changes may be huge. Some may be seemingly insignificant. Still, every little bit helps, right?

Wishing you all peace through gradual change because sometimes you're just not ready to yank that bandage!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Is Buddha-like peace possible in the modern world?


Busy, busy, busy. That's the modern life. And when it's not, we fill our “spare” time with consumerist oriented activities. I don't know why. Maybe it's the commercial brainwashing we receive daily from obvious and not so obvious sources. Maybe it's because we've become so accustomed to being pushed to “be somebody” that we're afraid to just be. In any case, the modern lifestyle seems ill-suited for Buddha-like deep thought processes or even ordinary, old-time, simple living, does it?

To complicate things further, independent living is being phased out at a rapid rate. That cabin in the woods has to pass a multitude of inspections, comply with meticulous building standards, etc. Gone are the days of sod houses and “forty acres and a mule.” Heaven forbid that we would take it upon ourselves to live off the land.

Oh, you can't even camp on your own land now, except for 2 weeks out of the year in most places. Really? I could swear that I paid for this piece of dirt. I can't live on it how I choose?

Of course, the real issue is that if someone, somewhere isn't making a buck from it, chances are, it's illegal these days. Heck, in some regions, even collecting rain water, which falls freely from the sky and literally belongs to no one, is illegal. Because by collecting it, you reduce the profit of the water company. Wow!

What a difference this is from the days when Buddha walked the earth, spreading his message of peaceful awareness. He saw the birth of commercialism and was appalled and revolted by it. Imagine what he would think of the world we live in now. Would he be able to find a quiet corner to ponder life in? Would he be able to find serenity in the here and now?

Because, you guys, I'm having a heck of a time doing just that. And sure, my house is a little fuller than most. But that's not the whole issue. In fact, most of the problems I have with finding peace involve dealing with living up to modern standards of acceptable existence. I'm not exactly ghetto, but I am old school. I enjoy a little bit of roughing it. Perfect is boring with a capital B. And working just to support my possessions? I don't really care for that, thank-you.

I guess the “American Dream” falls a little short for me.

I do enjoy home ownership. I was raised in a home built by my Dad and Uncles. But once I left home, things were getting less affordable, so I rented for many years. Now, while I'm happy enough in our little suburban fixer-upper, I still long for the simple country life I had as a child. So uncomplicated. So conducive to the peaceful, Buddha-like existence that I'm striving for. So nonexistent these days. It seems that even most country folks now strive to conform to societal success. Sigh...

Anyway... I'm not sure I can get as close to awareness, peace and enlightenment as the Buddha did. I'm an independent thinker, for sure, though. I haven't met many others who are actually able to leave behind all preconceived notions and societal ways while mulling things over. Most folks think within the realm of their learned thoughts and behaviors, which, these days, consists of a lot of consumerist hogwash.

Newsflash:

If adopting a particular way of life requires you to buy something, it's probably a load of crap. You don't even need that cabin in the woods. What you need is already within you. You just need to embrace it and give it some room to breathe.

Folks, we're exhausting ourselves, trying to keep up with all these false impressions of who we should be. If the Buddha were alive today, I believe he would say, “Just be.” I guess the modern equivalent would be, “Don't worry, be happy.” You know, we really should stop feeling guilty about not being super-productive every second of the day. It's so nice to just exist, ponder and reflect.

So, yes, attaining Buddha-like peace is possible in the modern world. You just have to clear your head of all the years of nonsense that life in a consumerist society has put into it. Life is short. Be the love.

Now, I'm off to do just that.