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

 

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

 

How Much is That Buddha in the Window?

We drove to town today to do some grocery shopping. Normally we avoid the small, tiny downtown area and go straight to the grocery stores, but today we decided to drive down main street. The town has been around since the 1850s when people came in droves to strike it rich during the gold rush. Downtown is now a tourist attraction and the shops sell antiques and boutique clothing instead of picks and shovels. As we drove through, a small Buddha statue sitting outside The Full Circle Trading Company caught my eye. (I have six Buddha statues already but in my opinion, one can never have too many Buddhas!) This particular shop sells Native America art, beads and jewelry. I never saw anything related to Eastern religions or philosophy. I was excited! They must have expanded their merchandise!

I got out of the car and went inside and walked around the store. No Buddhas inside, so I asked the woman at the cash register if they were getting more Buddha statues like the one out front. “What?” she asked. So, I repeated my question. “Buddhas, are you selling Buddhas? There’s one outside your store.” That’s what I said, but judging by the look on her face, she heard, “Are you selling satanic ritual stuff?” She stood there looking at me for what seemed like minutes before she regained her composure and told me, “The statue belongs to the guy downstairs.”

I left and reminded myself this town and surrounding communities are not exposed to different cultures. Buddhism is about as foreign to them as well… Buddhism. The majority of people living here are white. The churches are your garden variety of Christian beliefs, each one thinking they are the “correct” one. The only thing Asian here is the one Chinese restaurant outside of town and the “Oriental” spice section at the Safeway.

Maybe the guy downstairs meditates. Maybe he is a practicing Buddhist. Maybe he knows if there is a temple around here that I haven’t seen yet. Those questions will be investigated another day; today we are out to buy food and for now I will be happy practicing alone with my six Buddhas.

Namaste,
Ingebird

Noah Levine on Buddhism

A friend turned me onto this guy’s Buddhist teachings. I never heard of Noah Levine before and I thought Dharma Punx was the name of a punk rock band. It happens to be the name of a book written by the guy whose in the video. I will be watching more dharma talks by Noah and I plan to buy his book. If you’re new to Buddhism and/or meditation, or have been practicing for years, you may enjoy this dharma talk. What I like about him is, he’s an ordinary guy facing the same day-to-day issues of being human that we all do.

Namaste,
Ingebird

Five Reasons to Meditate: Lion’s Roar Interview With Pema Chödrön

Photo by Liza Matthews.

 

“Yes, it’s a strange thing to do — just sit there and do basically nothing. Yet the simple act of stopping, says Pema Chödrön, is the best way to cultivate our good qualities. Here are five ways meditation makes us better people”. Read more here.

 

I’ve been meditating for about 8 years now and there are times I still lose my shit. It happened just the other day when I was driving and this crazy woman was in her car behind me, tailgating me, then flashing her headlights and finally honking her horn. It was the honking that put me over the edge. I unleashed a tirade of cuss words that would make a sailor blush….and hubby who was in the passenger seat and unaware of this woman’s actions behind us, said, “I guess all that meditating is really paying off.” I immediately saw how absurd my behavior was and how I allowed this woman’s erratic behavior suck me into her drama. I let my anger go and laughed about it. Before I learned about meditation, I would have stewed about what happened for hours but now I get over my anger more quickly.

Namaste,

Ingebird