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

I Have a Temper

One of my “triggers” is to be accused of something I did not do. When it happens I see red and I come out swinging. The other day a former neighbor left me a nasty message on my voicemail accusing me of something I did not do. I call him a former neighbor because he was in a serious accident a few months ago and will be gone at least a year rehabbing. He left me his house key in case there was an emergency at his house. Looking back, that was my first mistake.

After listening to the voicemail message, I called the neighbor back and unleashed my fury that included every cuss word I could think of. Like, I wrote earlier, I come out swinging. Twenty minutes after he hung up on me, the sheriff showed up at his house. I saw him and went down to give him the key… and my side of the story.

Later that afternoon, I was still angry, but not as much. I was more disappointed at myself for allowing myself to get drawn into my neighbor’s drama. I wished I had handled it differently, not that I wanted to show him love and compassion while he was being such an ass. I would have liked showing myself love and compassion for not getting so upset. I read somewhere that it can take the body three hours to recover from an angry outburst. My body deserves better treatment.

I also know I cannot control another person’s behavior, even one who is wrongly accusing me of something, but I can control how I react… and that time, I did not react well.

Sometimes, this compassion thing is hard as hell to put in to action.

Namaste,

ingebird

The First Precept: Do Not Harm Any Life Being

The first precept of The Five Precepts of Buddhism is; Do not harm any life being.

I work hard to not kill any sentient beings, even the ones who come in from the outside. I have a large plastic cup that I keep in the kitchen to capture spiders and ants that wander my house. My family thinks its funny to watch me coax an ant or spider in to the cup and carry it back outside. My son told me once that I’m probably catching the same bug over and over.

Since we moved to the country there are way more critters, especially ants than I’ve ever seen in the city. Yesterday I walked around my property and noticed armies of ants marching up the drain pipes on my house. Last year we had so many ants coming in our kitchen I taped the window sills with packing tape to keep them out. I don’t like using chemicals and certainly won’t use bug spray indoors. The tape is working so far, except the time ants came out of the wall socket, but that’s another story.

The upside to seeing all the ants is we will continue having warm weather. The downside is tens of thousands of ants are trying to get in my house.

Ants are sentient beings and they don’t know I don’t want them in my house, eating my food. They are just beings ants. I really, really don’t like the idea of killing any of them. And I really, really don’t like ants crawling all over my kitchen. So, I bought a bag of diatomaceous earth and sprinkled it around the outside of my house. I know many ants will die, but it is my hope that the other ants will see what happened to their friends and move someplace else. There is a property next to me where no one currently lives that has several rotting cars and a barn they could setup house in. Maybe they will find it.

I also told myself that the ants will reincarnate and come back as something even better that being an ant.

I hope that’s true.

So far today, there is no sign of them. Hopefully, I won’t need to use any more DE and we can all live in harmony this summer.

Namaste,

ingebird

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Spring is Finally (Unofficially) Here!

photo credit: amadorgold.net

Spring is finally here! And no one is happier about it than me! I am a warm weather girl. If the temperature drops below 65 degrees, I’m freezing. Living in Southern California for the past nine years spoiled me. The daily weather report was pretty much the same… nice.

Then we moved to the Sierra Foothills last April. I was loving the change of scenery; trees, wildlife, almost zero traffic, peace and quiet…then December rolled around. What came next was; power outages, snow (okay not a lot compared to the midwest, but it was cold anyway), rain, rain, and more rain, and did I mention freezing cold temperatures?

I’ve lived in cold climates before; San Francisco and Northern California but we had heat indoors. It was always at least 68 degrees in my house. We had electric and radiator heat.

Then we rented a house here. No one told us our heat would come from propane… and that the house has almost no insulation. Propane has got to be one of the most expensive, inefficient ways to get energy. I don’t know how people pay those heating bills every month and some use propane for everything! Yikes!

To keep our costs down we kept the thermostat at 60 degrees. And our bill is till too high for me. I never had to wear a hat and winter robe indoors before living here, but if I wanted to stay fairly warm that’s what I did.

The past couple of days I didn’t need to and I am sooooo grateful!
I’m also feeling more energetic. Along with warm weather, I really like the sun. I don’t get depressed during Winter but I do feel lazy. I have no motivation. I wrote about it in an earlier post and called it Yin. To be honest I think I told myself that I was getting in touch with my Yin so I didn’t have to admit I was just lazy. It doesn’t really matter right now because I feel better now and isn’t that what I should (I hate that word and need to think of a better one) be happy about? I’m living in the now and living in the now or present moment is what it’s all about.

Namaste,

ingebird

Cabin Fever

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(This is the entrance to our shared driveway. Those puddles are about a foot deep).

Its been raining since Monday and I am missing being outdoors. The vegetation and roads around my house that I usually go for walks on are soaked, muddy and flooded. Going outside is not feasible for me since I use a walker to get around. The least that could happen are the tires on the walker get all muddy, the worst is I slip and fall down and wait in the pouring rain for someone to come along and find me. Neither sounds good to me, so I stay inside with my dogs who also want to go for a walk and we look out the window.

How do people live in Seattle or Oregon?  I hear it rains in those places much more than California.

I know they get used to it. They must get tired of it though. Right?

And what about the birds? Where do the birds go when it rains? I don’t hear them chirping. Do they still eat or must they wait for a break in the rain to go out and forage for food? I did see a squirrel last week when it stopped raining for a few hours, digging up an acorn he buried next to one of the trees in my backyard.

To make myself feel better, I light scented candles. Vanilla is my favorite. I also burn incense and turn on the fairy lights. I meditate and tell myself my home feels warm and cozy. Netfilx is my friend.

When spring finally with dry weather, you can bet I will appreciate the hell out of it. I will no longer take warm dry weather for granted like I did when I lived in Southern California.

 

Namaste,

ingebird