Diversity Makes Life Interesting

I used to live in San Francisco. Seeing street entertainers is not only a common occurrence there, they are one of the reasons so many visitors come to the city to vacation.  People enjoy seeing and experiencing different things than what they see back home. We now live in a rural community. We moved here two years ago. Life here is completely different from what I’m used to. I like living among nature; the forests and seeing the occasional deer walk by, but when it comes to people there is no diversity. I’m a hippie, bohemian kinda chick. I’m the one who stands out when I go out in public and maybe some people think I’m weird. Living in large cities I blend in. Nobody cares.

You know what else you don’t see in small towns? Street performers…until today.

Imagine my surprise when we drove into the grocery store parking lot this morning and I saw a man singing his little heart out, holding a sign that read, “Singing for my supper.”  I was delighted! Finally there was someone interesting to look at and hear! When I got out of the car he was singing “Moon River” which made me think of the movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” one of my favorites. He didn’t sound too bad either. I knew I was going to contribute to his supper fund when I came out of the store.

Hubby saw him too and commented, “Another crazy person.”  He thought it was ridiculous for this guy who looked to be around sixty years old, to sing in a grocery store parking lot. It was just plain weird. I thought it was weird Hubby felt that way. He lived in San Francisco for over thirty years and saw lots of different people and lots of street performers. I doubt if he saw any of them as crazy. They were part of the City. Maybe this guy needed extra money because his monthly Social Security check wasn’t enough to live on. Who knows? Who cares? I certainly didn’t. I thought it took guts to do what he was doing.

I did my shopping and gave the performer a few bucks. I told him I enjoyed his singing. We chatted a few minutes and I learned his nephew had performed in a band in the 70s.   He was proud of his nephew for making it in the music industry and that I could watch the band perform on YouTube.

It’s interesting how we view things differently depending on where we live. I’m used to diversity. I like diversity. It makes life interesting and who knows maybe we see someone doing something and we decide we want to do that too. Maybe next week I will sing in a parking lot, or inside a store for that matter.

Namaste!

Ingebird

 

 

 

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An Important Lesson From a Stranger: On Loving Kindness

Last October I wrote that I would stop writing here and my posts could be found on Tumblr and Face Book. Well, for the most part I didn’t write there either. I just shared memes and pictures I found on other Buddhist/Bohemian sites. I guess I just didn’t have much to say…until today. I won’t promise I will post on a regular basis. I will say, I’ll write when I have something to say. And today I felt like writing. Here goes…


Yesterday I went to town to do errands and buy food for the week. We live in a rural area and the closest town to shop is ten miles away, which means the only human contact (besides hubby when he comes home from work) is when we go to town.

Now that I got that out of the way, I can go back to the real story I wanted to write. Hubby stopped into a shop while I waited in the car. To the left of me was a woman sitting in her car looking at her phone. (Isn’t everyone doing this these days? I never see anyone just sit and be still). As I glanced over at her for the second time I noticed another woman walking towards her car. I recognized the woman approaching the car as the same person Hubby once called “crazy.” When he called her that I asked why he thought she was and he said, “Because I see her all over town and she’s always talking to herself.”

This woman stood next to the driverside window. She didn’t say anything but she kept looking at the other woman who was still staring at her phone. She only stood there about a minute and then continued to walk…toward my car. Without hesitating I looked for something I could look at so I wouldn’t have to interract with this person. What did I find? The car registration. I kept looking at that paper, hoping she wouldn’t approach and ask for what I thought would be money. She never stopped at my car. She continued walking…and that’s when it hit me.

I felt this overwhelming sense of shame and guilt. How could I claim to practice Buddhist teachings and ignore this woman? All I knew about her is that she walks around town and talks to herself. Is she homeless? Is she hungry? The only thing I did know is that she is a sentient being who deserves compassion and respect. I turned to look at her but she disappeared among the cars in the parking lot.

Just then Hubby came back and I decided we would find her and I would give her money. It was the only thing I could think of. My voice cracked as I told Hubby what happened while he was gone. He pulled out of the parking space and less than a minute later we saw her. He stopped the car and I called to her. She came right over, a big smile on her face like she knew us. I can’t remember what I said but I gave her a ten dollar bill. She was so thankful and wanted me to wait. She wanted to give me something in return! As she searched her coat pockets she asked my name and where was I from. After a minute she gave up looking. Her pockets were empty. We chatted a few more minutes and I said I would see her later.

This woman “who talked to herself” had no trouble having a nice conversation with me. Maybe she talks to herself because she can’t find anyone willing to talk to her. I still see her warm smile and I can feel her hand squeezing mine in gratitude. That day I may have given her some money but she gave me so much more; the reminder that we are all in this life together. We all need to be seen and heard. We are all worthy of love. And to never judge someone because of what we “perceive” them to be.

Namaste,

Ingebirds

 

 

Strangers tend to tell me their life stories (and problems) within minutes of meeting me. Friends can do the same and I used to give them advice but a wise person told me, “words don’t teach, life experience does.” So now I listen (sort of) and say I’m sorry to hear that…then I am on my way. As an empath, I can absorb their energy and leave the conversation feeling zapped. while the other person feels better. (The same thing happened when I was a massage therapist. My client felt great and I had their aches and pains. I learned to ground myself before each session and that problem was solved). As for what some call “holding space” I learned that I need to take care of myself first and the best thing for me is to listen and remain detached (Buddhism taught me this). If someone sees me as someone to constantly vent to, I learned to stop spending time with them and not feel guilty. It’s normal to have problems from time to time but there are those whose lives are nothing but continuous drama. I do think drama can become a form of addiction.

Namaste,

Ingebirds

This morning I woke up grouchy. I’ve done this before but this time I decided to look at my behavior. While doing my morning chores which starts with taking care of and feeding my furbabies, I tried to change my negative energy. It didn’t work very well, so instead I observed my thoughts. They are only thoughts, I told myself. It’s funny how one negative thought will remind me of another and before I know it, I am remembering things that irritated me years ago that have nothingg to do with what’s happening right now.

As the morning progresses, I decided to go with the flow. I’m grumpy, I told myself because its hot…again. It was probably 85 degrees in my house and it was only 9 o’clock. I don’t have air conditioning but I do have a box fan, so I focused on that and was grateful to have it. There are plenty of people living in hotter climates than mine who don’t even have the luxury of a box fan. From there I gave thanks for living in a house that has clean running water and I have two refrigerator/freezers that stores fresh food, I can eat anytime I want. There are people who do not eat everyday because they cannot afford to.

My mood started to change. I listened to one of my guided meditation videos and after a while, I felt my heart soften. My mood was changing and i felt like my old self. I really am a happy person so when I feel negative emotions, I REALLY feel them. I don’t like it and I don’t like my grumpy behavior.

As I write this, I feel better. There isn’t anything I can do about the weather but I can do what I can to stay cool (both physically and mentally).

Today will be a good day and I am grateful to be alive to experience it.

Namaste,

Ingebird

Do You Want to be Right or Kind?

photo credit: rawayurveda.com

Has anyone else noticed how much fighting goes on in social media these days? It got so bad that I turned off my news feed notifications and unfriended a few people who wrote endless angry posts (I did not know them personally so I didn’t feel bad about it). For the most part social media is a good thing. I have learned so much from bloggers and websites about health and Buddhism and spirituality. If it weren’t for social media I would have no idea how many inspiring people are out there.
Before FaceBook I got my information from the library. If i liked an author like, Dr. Wayne Dyer, I would buy the book from a brick-and-mortar bookstore. I still buy books old school but there are online writers who don’t publish and the only way I can follow them is online.
While this is one of the upsides to socia media there is an obvious downside (and I won’t even get into the amount of “misinformation” floating around). I’m talking about the mean stuff that some people post or comment on. Yes, the mainstream media probably plays a big part in creating fear and anger but it is us (me and you) who don’t have to buy into their manipulation. There are over seven billion people on this beautiful planet and there are almost as many different opinions. I believe in free speech, even if I don’t like what’s being said. I have the choice to listen or not. I have a choice to argue or be kind.
Let’s be honest, are we ever in “listening mode” when we are in a heated argument? Does the disagreement ever get resolved when both parties are pissed off? Isn’t it better to take a breath before we speak and ask ourselves “Is what I am about to say (write) kind?” and go from there.

My Spiritual Journey (So Far)

Lately I’ve been thinking about my life journey so far, especially my spiritual journey. How did I wind up choosing to live by Buddhist teachings and incorporate other spiritual practices?

I wasn’t raised in any particular religion. I can’t remember ever going to church with my parents. God and religion were never topics of discussion in our house. When I turned twelve I did go to a local church a few times. Actually it was bible school for kids whose parents were next door listening to the sermon. I don’t know why I wanted to go. Maybe it was the arts and crafts. I always liked art. I still do.

When I was nineteen, I met a guy who I later married. When I was looking for a church to get married in, I clearly remember sitting at the desk of a minister and getting yelled at for not “knowing Jesus”. Forget about getting married in his church, I was on the fast track to Hell (at least, as far as he was concerned).

I finally did find someone to marry us but I was afraid of anything having to do with church or religion for quite a while.

Many years later (and married to my third husband) we were at a friend’s house and the dinner topic was about the “Sandinistas.”
Politics was something I didn’t care about. Shopping was my thing. I considered myself quite the “clothes horse.” I politely listened until the person sitting next to me asked for my opinion. After what seemed like an eternity of silence, I admitted I didn’t know what a Sandinista was. The group (without judgment) gave me a crash course on them and our president who was Ronald Reagan. Then someone suggested I take a course at the local city college if I wanted to learn more about politics.

It turned out I did. That Fall, I enrolled as a full time student. I soaked up the course teachings like a sponge and before I knew it, I was an activist. That went on for almost a decade. It was the critical thinking classes that really got me to think about why I believed the things I did. Where they my beliefs or were they handed down to me? I discovered most of them were given to me by others.

During that time I got interested in religions. I even took courses on them. I wanted to know why everyone believed the things they did. At the time though, I read those books through the lens of an anthropologist. None of the teachings had meaning in my life. They were simply words on paper. I ended up going to a university and got my bachelors on Social Science. I admit, I never did anything constructive with that degree but I did know who the Sandinistas were and could carry on a political discussion.

In the 90s a friend was moving and didn’t have a place for his large bookshelf that contained an assortment of books on spiritual beliefs. I agreed to keep the shelf and the books until he found another place for it. Within two weeks I felt those books “calling to me.” That is the best way to describe it. I started reading them and to be honest many of the books like ones about the Pleiades aliens were to weird for me. I did find some writings that I resonated with.

At the same time I had trouble with anxiety. I went to a psychologist who assigned me several self-help books to read. I found most of them at the library and began to practice the exercises in them. Those books led me to spiritual authors, some of who, crossed over from psychology to spirituality, namely Dr. Wayne Dyer. His writings changed the way i looked at life. He is still my favorite teacher.

In my mid fifties, I was diagnosed with cancer. That is when I discovered Buddhism, along with Louise Hay. My life completely changed that year (2011).

I discovered who I really am and decided to live an authentic life. Buddhism, Goddess energy, Angel teachings and Abraham Hicks became part of my spiritual life. I resonate with all of them.

So that is how I ended up on my spiritual path.

There were lots of twists and turns which on the outside seemed disconnected but looking inward, I now see everything in my life experience were like bread crumbs leading me back to my true self.

What is your “spiritual” story? Feel free to leave a comment.

Namaste,

ingebird

 

The Man Who Quit Money: An Interview with Daniel Suelo (Repost)

I just read an interesting interview with a man whose been living without money since the year 2000. I paired down my own stuff since we moved to the mountains. I probably could get rid of a lot more but the possesions I do have, have sentimental meaning to me and I feel good being around them. Living a lifestyle with zero money, I admit would be hard for me.

Read the interview and tell me what you think.

Namaste,

ingebird