Our Move is Postponed

Things have changed since my last post from about two weeks ago. We were moving into a thirty foot travel trailer on a farm sanctuary. The owner of the sanctuary, John was buying a used trailer specifically for us to live in, but when we went to look at it, we (actually I) smelled and found black mold inside the cabinets. Bummer.

Of course me being who I am, I rented a storage unit to put all our stuff in and started boxing things up at the house, before we looked at the trailer. As far as I know we’re still moving but we don’t know when. There aren’t a lot of travel trailers for sale in our county right now, probably because people are using them for vacations. LOL.

We need a regular thirty foot trailer, not a fifth wheel, which seems to be the popular ones for sale. I cannot do steps and fifth wheels have three steps inside. I have balance issues and going down any steps are impossible. I would have to crawl up and down them and that isn’t appealing to me. Four dogs and four cats will live with us and I know they will do some running inside. All I need is to trip and fall.

I also noticed when we looked at the trailer how small thirty feet is. I mean, real small. I thought I could bring a bookshelf, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. I am bringing my Buddhas though. I need a reminder to stay grounded and looking at them helps.

So, for now we are still in a house. But instead of being disappointed, I will focus on gratitude for what I do have; a home, clean drinking water, a fridge, a stove, etc. Not everyone has these luxuries. I am also grateful for my “blood hound” sense of smell. John looked at the trailer before us and he didn’t smell mold and the person selling the trailer never mentioned it. John told us, he was going to buy it on the spot because it was so cheap. So glad he didn’t and I’m sure he is too.

Namaste,

Ingebird

 

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We’re Moving to a Farm Sanctuary!

We are moving to a farm sanctuary. Hubby and I have wanted our own animal (senior and disabled dogs and cats) sanctuary for years now. This move is taking us in the right direction. We’ve lived in this rural area a little over two years and found, or rather they found us through word-of-mouth. My life will change (once again) and I’ve learned to go-with-the-flow.

The major change is, we will move from an 1100 foot square house into a 30 foot travel trailer. Our four dogs and four cats will live with us. 99% of our stuff is going into a storage unit. Two roosters along with their chickie babes live one hundred feet away (Good morning everyone!).

We are moving to this sanctuary as caretakers so the owners can do some traveling. We will live rent free. I haven’t lived anywhere for free since I left my parents house, so we will be able to pay off our credit card bills (which are really medical bills) within a year. YAY!!!

I am excited about this…and at the same time…feeling a bit weird…that’s not really the word I’m looking for but it will have to do for now.

I wrote earlier that we live in a conservative area. The sanctuary is about as rural as you can get. It is surrounded by ranches. I’m a Buddhist-Hippie-Bohemian. My home expresses it  My clothing expresses it and (I hope) my vibe expresses it. The day we met the sanctuary owners, I dressed in my usual hippie outfit. Hubby thought I could have worn something more like an outfit I’d wear to a job interview. More conservative. Nope. Not me. What you see is what you get. I’m not one for hiding who I am.

The good thing is Mary and John (I made up their names) are from the Bay Area. They are used to diversity. That’s a plus in my column. I plan to meditate on this more because me just wondering about me being different is my “stuff,” and clearly I haven’t gotten over that. It is my perception of how others perceive me, which is none of my business…so my Buddhas,  my crystals, my spiritual-Buddhist life will start a new chapter on this adventure called life.

Namaste,

Ingebird

 

Life Through a Puppy’s Eyes

December 22nd, 2016, someone dropped this cutie outside a car (on purpose) in a Wal-Mart parking lot. This little guy’s guardian angel must have been watching over him because right behind that car was a veterinarian in her car who watched the whole thing happen. She quickly got out of her car and picked up the puppy (that turned out to be six weeks old) and drove to her friend, another vet and had him checked out. The puppy was healthy but the vets agreed he should stay at the hospital over the holiday. The staff fell in love with the puppy and named him Otis.

My hubby works at that vet hospital and offered to foster Otis until he found a new home.  Within two days we knew Otis would become part of our pack. I hadn’t had a puppy in over twenty years. There was a lot of things I needed to relearn about caring for a baby, not to mention cleaning up accidents (piddling on the floor).

Otis has been a real gift to me from the cosmos. He teaches me to enjoy the moment and be in awe of the world. I remember when he was a few months old. He was excited to see insects, birds, leaves falling to the ground. Everyday was and still is an adventure. Otis is a year and half now and he still loves to play and wrestle. He reminds me to have fun!

I will never understand what goes through a person’s mind to throw away a sentient being, but I am grateful that person chose to do it at exactly the same time, another person was kind enough to intervene and rescue this beautiful baby. Otis never knew he might be in danger. He probably thought it was another adventure. I am so happy we are experiencing the same adventure together,

Namaste,

Ingebird

Self Compassion

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Buddhism teaches us to be compassionate to all sentient beings and that includes the self. We can’t be kind to others when we feel cranky because we’re tired from doing things for others, like your boss, your mate, your kids or whomever. It’s important to carve out time for yourself everyday. I don’t mean a few minutes either. I mean at least one hour. You are worth that.

I have a senior dog and cat sanctuary and there are times I feel like I’m running a preschool daycare, only the kids don’t go home at the end of the day. They live here 24/7. There’s always something that needs to be done, so I’ve learned to take timeouts throughout the day.

Most meditation teachers suggest meditating as soon as you wake up. When I wake up, I have dogs to walk and feed. The cats eat breakfast too. Two of my cats have to be hand fed due to health issues. After they’re done, I eat my breakfast and then I meditate for fifteen to twenty minutes. After that, I do my yoga stretches and listen to a talk from a variety of Buddhist teachers like, Jack Kornfield, or Alan Watts.

When I’m done with that its time to walk the dogs again and feed everyone lunch. Even though there are lots of chores to do, I manage to take good care of me. I eat a healthy vegan diet and take supplements. I just started going to an acupuncturist to get my immune system back in balance.

When I take the time to take care of myself, I’m a much happier, calmer person (although there are times Hubby begs to differ). Before I learned about Buddhism and decided to practice its teachings, I ran around like a crazy person, helping everyone else and neglecting my needs. Cable news played on the TV in the background while I was at home doing chores. I even called myself a news junkie. What I really was, was a frazzled hot mess. Now I don’t have cable TV. I am still aware of what’s happening in the world but I don’t get myself all worked up anymore. I can’t control what’s happening out there but I can control my inner world. I’ve learned that there will always be something to be mad about and I have better things to with my precious time than listen to endless drama.

I can be more productive taking care of my needs first. I can contribute positive ideas to solutions that help my outer world be a better place for all sentient beings. My focus now is providing a safe, loving home for senior animals. It is how I choose to make a positive contribution to the world.

Namaste,

Ingebird

 

 

Compassion

Compassion (karuna) is a major theme throughout Buddhist history.  In early Sanskrit it was known as “metta”  which translates into loving kindness. In the West we use the word compassion more often, but there are Western Buddhist teachers, like Jack Kornfield, who says “loving kindness” in his teachings.

I like this quote, “Our compassion is our Buddha seed or Buddha nature, our potential to become a … Buddhas give Dharma teachings motivated solely by compassion for others.

It reminds me to be kind to others without expecting anything in return. If someone needs help and I can help them, then the compassionate thing to do, is help them.

Being of service is something I enjoy. I like feeling needed and I know I just wrote I should be kind without expecting anything in return, but the way I see it, there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about doing something good. A Buddhist teacher will probably disagree with me because my happy feeling is a sort of attachment. I agree with that, but I’m human and I like feeling happy. Don’t most of us? If I help another sentient being and I end up getting smacked in the head for my efforts, I won’t get pissed off about it. Knowing my intentions were good, is good enough for me whatever the outcome. Wait.. maybe that isn’t attachment. I just wrote that I would feel good no matter what. That’s non-attachment. Right? Maybe I could use some more time meditating about that.

There’s another compassion, Buddhism teaches and that’s to practice loving kindness to beings who (I think) are assholes. That one I have a harder time with. When I have a conversation with someone who rubs me the wrong way; they’re a grumpy ass or they say mean things about certain groups of people, I find it hard to think kind thoughts about them.

For example: In an earlier post I wrote about one of my neighbors who lives with his elderly mother. I didn’t give the guy a name in that post, so to make it easier, I will now. Let’s call him Bob. Bob is around sixty and his mom must be pushing eighty. She has heath issues and if Bob didn’t live with her, she’d probably be living in a state-run retirement home. No fun for sure. So Bob makes sacrifices to keep his mother happy. Bob sleeps on the sofa. There are two bedrooms in their mobile home but his mom sleeps in one and the other is her art studio. Needless to say, Bob has no space or room to call his own. As for privacy, the only privacy he has is inside his truck. That would make anyone cranky. I can feel compassion for him about his living situation.

The problem and I know it’s my problem, is that I attach my happiness on his mood. I can choose to avoid him and that’s what I’ve been doing for a couple months now. I used to walk my dogs on the road by his home. Now we go another way. But by avoiding him, aren’t I missing the opportunity to practice my Buddhist belief?  If he’s outside when we walk by and he sees us and stops me to talk or as I see it… talk at me, I can choose to see him differently. He may tell me he’s upset about those gays or those liberals or whatever FOX news told him to be angry about and I can understand that he isn’t angry about any of that. He’s angry about his life and his living situation. It’s easier to complain about things going on “out there” than to say how he’s really feeling. Only a few times has he complained about his mother and that was about her finding more chores for him to do.

Instead of feeling my anger bubble up as he’s talking “at” me, I can choose to feel compassion for his living situation. Its easier for me to do it later when I meditate on it, but as it’s happening in real-time, not so much. I never get into an argument with him but I am known to say something sarcastic which comes out as a joke, but really isn’t. It would be nice for me to remember that his harsh words are coming from a place of pain and that’s where I would like to focus my compassion. That’s where I can practice being a Bodhisattva instead of a smart ass.

Choosing to respond in loving kindness to difficult people is hard. It takes practice. Lots of practice. But it is something I am willing to work on.

Namaste.

Ingebird

 

Acceptance

Acceptance

  • 1.
    the action of consenting to receive or undertake something offered.
    “charges involving the acceptance of bribes”
    synonyms: receipt, receiving, taking, obtaining More

    “the acceptance of an award”
    undertaking, assumption
    “the acceptance of responsibility”
    yes, affirmative reply, confirmation
    “acceptances to an invitation”
    • a draft or bill that is accepted by being signed.
  • 2.
    the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.
    “you must wait for acceptance into the club”
    synonyms: welcome, favorable reception, adoption

    “her acceptance into the group”
  • 3.
    agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation.
    “acceptance of the teaching of the church”
    synonyms: belief in, trust in, faith in, confidence in, credence in, giving of credence to More

    “his acceptance of Thom’s promise”
    compliance with, acquiescence in, agreement with, consent to, concurrence with, assent to, acknowledgment of, adherence to, deference to, surrender to, submission to, respect for, adoption of, buy-in to
    “their acceptance of the ruling”
    • willingness to tolerate a difficult or unpleasant situation.

     

    The very last one, “willingness to tolerate a difficult or unpleasant situation” is what I meditated on today. “Tolerating an unpleasant, difficult situation” is what I did when I went through cancer treatments. Radiation therapy sucked. Getting hundreds of shots sucked. Staying in hospitals on and off for three months, REALLY sucked, but it was something I had to do… no, chose to do, so I could get well and live a fairly normal life.

    As much as I didn’t like it, I learned to accept what was happening to me. I could spend my time wracking my brain how this happened or I could live in the present moment, doing the best I could. The saying, “It is what it is” comes to mind. I had no control how the treatments went but I did have control over keeping my mind straight. I worked at staying positive and living in the present moment.

    Getting through that experience without freaking out required me to change the way I thought about things. Knowing that the treatments and pain were temporary, helped. Guided meditation helped. Reading books about Spirituality which included Buddhist teachings, helped and for the first time I took it all seriously. My doctors worked on healing my physical body and I worked on healing my mental and spiritual self.

    Accepting someone’s behavior …  well, that’s a tough one for me, especially when that behavior is mean-spirited. I know I can’t control someone’s behavior. I can only control my response. Acceptance, to me, means “live and let live.” It means accepting another person exactly as they are.

    There are individuals who push the envelope though. I’m talking about the ones who like who they are, and think everyone else should look and behave like them. They hate diversity. They seem to live in fear that someone whose different, will somehow make their lives awful. For example; I tried having a conversation with someone who didn’t like gays. We didn’t start out talking about gays, in fact I was asking a neighbor where he got his hair cut. I thought it was a pretty simple question. We were new to the area and hubby was looking for a barber.  In a matter of seconds this guy starting telling me about a guy who cut his hair that was a  “faggot” because the haircut he ended up with looked “gay.”

    I wasn’t expecting that response but me being me, asked him, “Exactly what does a gay haircut look like?”  He never told me but he went on and on how gays can’t get married because if they get married, it’s a slap in the face of real marriage…and the final answer was, “Because God hates fags!” All this crazy talk started from me asking this guy where he gets his haircut. I never did find out.  Oh, and as I was walking away, he yelled, “It ain’t normal. Being a faggot and all.”

    Normal? What’s normal? And who gets to define “normal?”  There are over seven billion people currently alive on this planet. We come in all shapes, sizes and colors, each one of us with our own unique beingness. Diversity is what makes the world an interesting place. Isn’t that why we take vacations, to get away from our “normal” mundane lives? We don’t travel to see the same things we see back home and that includes interacting with people who look different and speak different languages. We accept people for who they are when we are far away from home, so why not do the same when we are back home? We can learn so much from each other if we’d just stop being afraid and ask questions. Open and honest dialogue can defuse much of our unspoken misunderstandings.

    Another time I was out walking my dog and about a hundred feet away I saw some dragonflies buzzing around. They were flying in front of a mobile home and a man was close to them doing whatever. I don’t know what he was doing because I was watching the dragonflies. I really like dragonflies and I have one tattooed on my shoulder. Anyway, I was watching them and the man started looking at me. He seemed uncomfortable and then he looked annoyed. I finally waved at him and said I was watching the dragonflies having fun in his yard. He looked over at them and seemed relieved and smiled. If I had just walked away and never said anything, he might have thought I was just being rude by staring at him. Actually talking to each other cleared up what could turned into a misunderstanding and might have affected our future encounters. He might have thought I was some jerk staring at him for no reason. Never knowing I was looking at something else.

    Now let’s take that same scenario and have me be a young black male instead of a middle-aged white female. Would that neighbor have seen the young man as a threat? I live in a community that is 99% white and very conservative. The only thing diverse around here is the brand of truck you drive.

    It doesn’t matter what color our skin, our sexual orientation or the language we speak, we all have the same thing in common. We all want to be accepted for who we are. I mean the person we are when we’re at home, where we can relax and just “be.” We all, or at least most of us have a private “self” and the one we show to the outside world is the one we hope will fit in. You know, look normal. I think the younger generations are better at being themselves no matter where they are. Those of us over the age of fifty have been trained to hide our true selves from the time we were little. It was important to fit in and be like everyone else. I am hopeful the younger generation will be accepting of all people, no matter their skin color, their sexual orientation or lifestyle. People will finally be able to “live and let live.”

    My next post is about compassion.

    Namaste,

    Ingebird

     

     

 

Tolerance

tol·er·ance

noun: tolerance
The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

Example: “the tolerance of corruption”

For the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about the concept of tolerance, acceptance and compassion. For the sake of time, I decided to write my thoughts about each one in different posts. So, today’s post is about tolerance (duh, Ingebird it’s in the title. LOL).

When I think of tolerance, I think about the times I lived in communities where my neighbors lived a few feet away and sometimes, like the condominium I lived at a couple of years ago, my neighbor was in the condo above me. She had hardwood floors and I could hear walking. I had to learn to tolerate people who at times played their TVs, video games and music way too loud, especially during the summer months when everyone’s patio doors were open. I lived in Southern California and the freeways were usually packed. I had to tolerate rude drivers who got angry when I didn’t drive fast enough (to be honest I am a slow driver. There just isn’t any place I need to get to in a hurry). Now that we moved to a rural area, there’s mostly two-lane highways so I piss off a whole new group of people. The way I see it is, they should thank me. If it weren’t for me driving slow, they would miss out seeing the beautiful trees. Driving slower gives them a chance to take in the sights while going to their destination. There are places where passing is allowed, so many drivers take advantage of that.

There are other forms of tolerance. I read a transcription from a talk by Ratnaghosa about tolerance which he called, The Art of Disagreement.

From a Buddhist perspective, tolerance is extremely important and it has been a hallmark of Buddhism down the twenty-five centuries of its history. Tolerance is the acceptance that other people hold different views from ourselves. Tolerance is the willingness to allow others to be different in their views and actions. Above all tolerance is the absolute avoidance of using power, violence or coercion to force other people to think and believe as we do<!–em>.

I get where he’s coming from and at the same time I wonder just how much tolerance should be tolerated before one says enough is enough? Hate speech comes to my mind. For the past year (not as much now) more and more hate groups are gathering in public squares, universities, or marching in the streets, spewing plain old hateful words against certain people who they seem to think are getting more rights than them. In other words, the members of these groups think they are getting a smaller and smaller piece of the American Pie. They feel their way of life is threatened (with the help of certain news channels, right-wing talk shows and our own president.)

On the other hand, I don’t like political correctness. It smacks of censorship which reminds me of Fascism and book burning. If we can’t talk about things that might offend some people, then how we can begin to understand each other and hopefully someday get along? Where is the middle ground? Is there one? Can we have a dialogue without mudslinging? What about active listening? With all the yelling, how can anyone hear anyone anyway?

I limit the amount of news I read because there is only so much time in the day and I prefer to spend my time listening to those who have positive things to contribute to our world. I did read some social media accounts belonging to hate groups were deleted which prompted comments from people who are against censorship and want free speech no matter what. Like I mentioned before, I get that…but this hate speech has led to violence and for the past year hate crimes are increasing. It seems as though this speech empowered some people to act out, who probably weren’t emotionally stable to begin with.

Having a disagreement can still be done using Right Speech. One can still get their point across without attacking another. I believe many people join hate groups out of fear. They are fearful of people who look different and they have been convinced that they are about to lose their freedoms (happiness) by those persons who have something to gain by keeping us divided. I think if we all were exposed to many types of people at an early age, no one would feel threatened. Even where I live, there are hardly any people of color. The majority are white and conservative. When I do see a black person shopping in a local grocery store, I notice them. I never did that before. I always lived in diverse neighborhoods.

I don’t believe people all of a sudden started thinking hateful thoughts. I think we are all guilty of thinking mean things, at least some of the time. A long time ago an African-American college classmate told me she would rather have someone say a racist word to her face so she would at least know why they were acting weird around her. It would never dawn on me that someone hated me because of the color of my skin. I can’t begin to understand what that must be like.

Tolerating someone because they look different or live a different lifestyle, isn’t the same thing as tolerating their driving or loud music, which brings me to acceptance. I will write about my thoughts on acceptance in my next post…

Namaste,

Ingebird