Parenting Through Non Attachment

I have an adult son, a forty year old adult son. He is a wonderful person and a drama queen. He will go on stretches (albeit short ones) where he seems to be happy…then all of a sudden BAM! He’s on the drama roll and me being his mom, I worry about him. So, I was going to ask for advice on some private Buddhist group pages about what to do… and then I meditated on it and finally it came to me.

I can’t do anything to secure anyone’s happiness, not even those I love. Happiness is an inside job and it is up to him (and each of us) to find happiness on our own. I can advise him until I’m blue in the face and he will still do what he wants. To be honest everytime I try to offer advice he argues for his limitations, even if his argument is irrational (to me anyway).

I decided not to ask for anyone’s advice because the answer is in me.

Leave him alone. He is on his own life journey. He must be getting something out of living in drama otherwise he’d stop. All I can do is love him (and myself). I can choose to listen and I can choose to draw boundaries about what i will and will not listen to. I am in charge of my life and my happiness and that is it. I raised my son the best way i knew how and I have to let go of any guilt. I made mistakes like everyone else but I always encouraged him to follow his heart and supported his choices (I still do)… but there comes a time when he must take responsiblity for his life choices and either make new ones or stop complaining.

So…from now on I will relate to my son with love… and detachment because I realized today that my wanting to make his life better was causing me suffering. I was attched to his outcome and one of the Buddhist teachings I do remember clearly is that my attachment causes suffereing.

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.

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

No automatic alt text available.

Peace Begins with Me

16299538_10211436567605477_2687308684220256256_n

Unless you’ve been living in a cave (or on silent meditation retreat) you know about the chaos (an understatement) that has been happening this past week in America.

An attack on our environment, our agencies meant to protect us (EPA, scientific community, The National Park Service) by stopping their free speech; removing environmental protection acts, banning Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States. There is more but it would take all afternoon to list them all.

What I want to write about is the Muslim ban and the reaction from individuals, mainly one, who considers herself a spiritual teacher and teaches classes on spiritual development. I understand how someone can get caught up in the fear mongering but someone who sees herself as an enlightened being?

Not so much.

I will not mention her name or the spiritual group she manages; there is enough hate speech going on and for me to “out” her makes me just as bad as the next hater. She is already vocal about her political views on her radio show and Face Book page. She is “outing” herself.

The way I see it, living an authentic spiritual life means questioning what is going on around me and especially questioning my response to it. There was a time (not that long ago) I lived in the same world that so many call, “the true reality.” I reacted to every thing I saw and read. I didn’t question the news or government leaders. I never thought to ask if there were ulterior motives by any of them.

Then I had a huge “aha” moment and my world perspective changed. There were mini “aha” moments through out my adult life but it was a cancer diagnosis in 2010 that changed everything. For the next year I learned a great deal about my body, how I probably got sick and about the people (agencies) who I thought were protecting us… and that led to my spiritual awakening.

It was the Buddhist teachings that spoke to me, along with other nature based spiritual teachings.

Over the next few years I questioned everything and everyone; especially my own behavior.

I know now, I am part of this Universe and every sentient being who is a part of it.

That being said. I am also aware there must be a way to help those in need in an orderly way. I do not think open borders is a good idea. Our social structure would surely collapse. I am a woman who is walking my own spiritual path, using the teachings I’ve learned so far to light my way. I certainly don’t have the answer, but there must be sane people who can come up with a compassionate solution that will benefit all.

When I started writing this, I wanted to write about how disappointed I am with this woman spiritual teacher, but as I write, I am reminded that I cannot control the behavior of others. Even this woman’s. I did send her a private message expressing my thoughts and she defended herself (of course), sending me political commentary from news sources that she believed were correct. In her mind, she is correct and I am the one who is misled. We will never come to an understanding and that’s okay. It has to be. Like I said, I am in control of my behavior, no one else’s.

All I can do is remain true to my beliefs and be compassionate to all sentient beings, including this woman. I will remain positive and hopeful for our future, including Mother Earth and the animal kingdom. There are so many who will come to her defense.

I truly believe that LOVE will win… no matter what.

Namaste,

ingebird

A Winter Storm in the Foothills of the Sierra

af49f5287f6d9fe955c60155320a73af

We lost power around 5 am and it was so dark inside my house, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. Of course being from the “city” we weren’t prepared. So hubby and I went back to sleep until daylight and then we used are “one” flashlight to get around the house and feed the critters and ourselves. Then we went in to town and noticed… no lights on any of the stores. About half way though the lights were on so we went to the hardware store that just opened. We bought supplies…batteries, 2 small battery powered lamps and another LED flashlight. By now others were coming in…many were from up the mountain getting supplies.

Next we went to the local market where Thank the Goddess!!! They sold freshly made coffee! There was a line to get some. I guess I’m not the only one addicted to my mourning cup of Joe. One guy drove 15 miles down the mountain to get his coffee. We also bought more bottled water and some food from the deli counter .

It was now after 10 am and there was a steady stream of cars coming down the mountain…my guess they were needin’ their coffee fix too. We went back home and settled in. Our propane stove worked so we had heat, food, lights and water… all the luxuries I take for granted. The guy at the hardware store said we could be without power for days. It was a good lesson about “going with the flow.” We had plenty of books and magazines and if I felt like it, I could just watch the storm move through, like hubby. He enjoys watching the rain. I could also have thought about how Buddha said, “Weather is like our thoughts, always changing but the sky always stay the same,” which I think he means the sky is our mind, or something like that. Either way I knew the storm would end and we would eventually have our power restored.

I could also have thought about our interconnectedness. Somebody had to go out in that weather and turn the “lights” back on. I could definitely focus on my appreciation for having electricity so I can live a comfortable life.

The wind had been howling for hours and we waited for the coming down pour of rain… and then 1:30 pm the lights came on. (That’s how I’m able to type this). I’m grateful that hubby was off work today, otherwise I could have encountered problems, but I won’t think about that. I will buy a Coleman stove to cook on and a battery powered or wind up clock for future use.

Living in the country is an adventure and I’m still happy we made the move.

Namaste,

Ingebird