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

 

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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

 

Why I Became a Practicing Buddhist

The short answer to why I became a practicing Buddhist is; Strangling people who I felt deserved it wouldn’t work for me because #1) Orange is not a good color for my skin tone and #2) I don’t like confined spaces.

The longer answer is; Most of my life I did things so I wouldn’t “rock the boat”  which left me feeling angry a lot of the time. I put up with way too much shit from people who cared less about me and more about what I could do for them. I took jobs because I didn’t think I could get something better. If someone was giving me a hard time about something I would sit and listen to them while I fantasized stabbing them in the neck with a fork. Those thoughts usually popped into my head when I was a waitress and a customer was ripping into me because his or her food either took too long to cook, or the food wasn’t as good as they expected. Some customers (although not all) think people working in food service are not only food “servers” but are actually their personal “servants.”

Then I worked other jobs where the boss thought he or she could boss me around all day long for the only reason being, he or she was the “boss.”  I did work for myself for a few years as a massage therapist and that was awesome. It was during that time I learned about treating my body as a temple. I still needed some lessons about nutrition though and I don’t mean what is taught in medical schools that are a sorry excuse for nutrition. That’s what happens when major food corporations hand out huge donations to schools. Students learn what those corporations want you to learn which is “buy my junk food.” it’s healthy for (our bottom line).

I stopped working as a massage therapist when we moved from San Francisco to Chico. I couldn’t make the kind of income I did in the City because there wasn’t enough people wanting to relax. At least that’s what I told myself, so I went back to restaurants.

Then we decided to move to Southern California. At the time I was in my early fifties and I couldn’t find work. It was the first time I found myself competing with much younger people who were also looking for work. I couldn’t get hired as a food server but I did get a job as an assistant manager at a major restaurant chain (famous for their homemade pies). Now I had to deal with angry customers, as well as a wait staff that acted more like kids in a nursery school and a boss who thought he could say what ever popped into his head, no matter how outrageous it sounded. I did stand up for myself. I was never one to put up with verbal or sexual harassment but I found myself stewing about the event hours after it happened. Anger whether it’s verbally expressed or festering in my mind has to manifest somewhere because it’s energy. I’m sure the occasional outburst isn’t that big of as deal but as in my case, over the years that shit built up and manifested itself in my ass. I got sick for the first time in my life. Yes, I had the occasional cold and flu but this was “big one.” It was the c-word and my life was on the line. Sitting in waiting rooms in doctor’s offices and spending time as an inpatient in hospitals gave me lots of time to review my life. How the hell did this happen to me? I always knew I would beat the dreaded c-word, but I didn’t know how I could prevent it from coming back.

I went back to reading books on spirituality that I read when I was a massage therapist, only this time I took them seriously which led me to meditation. I had some experience with meditation when I lived in San Francisco. I sat sazen at the Zen Center once a week for almost a year. I loved going but when we left, I stopped meditating altogether. There were no Zen centers in Chico, although there were lot’s in Southern California but I was too caught up in the “rat race” again. I lost my groove when it came to finding peace in just sitting and being in the moment. The c-work brought my desire to find that place again and never let go. I now watch several YouTube videos on Zen and follow different Buddhist teachers online.  At the moment I do not belong to a Sangha. Being part of a group where I have to show up in person on a regular basis isn’t for me but that doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind in the future.

I have been meditating daily for almost eight years. I still get pissed off but I see myself doing it and before that I didn’t. Now I can decide if getting angry is really worth possibly making myself sick again and for the most part, it definitely is not. I learned to say “no” to anything that didn’t feel right to me. I learned to enjoy my own company. I am still learning not to be a control freak. That’s probably my biggest lesson to work on. I cannot control events or people’s actions outside myself, only my inner being. I remind myself of that sometimes a hundred times a day. But most of all, I am learning to take care of me.

Namaste,

Ingebird

Reincarnation: What Are My Options?

 

Lately I have been thinking about reincarnation (probably because I turn sixty-three this year). Buddhists believe in reincarnation as well as many other religious groups… and I pretty much believe it, although I can’t say I believe 100% because I’m not dead. I’m not arguing if  reincarnation is true or not. I’m not even giving that part any thought, but what I do think about is this; What if I get reborn into another fucked up family? I barely made it through seventeen years in this lifetime. Why would I want to go through that again or maybe something worse? Seventeen years are a loooong time to put up with crazy people, two people for sure who had no business having kids. I have a younger brother, eight years my junior. He had it pretty good until I ran away when I turned seventeen. Then he got the brunt of their fuckedupness. I lost touch with him years ago so I have no idea how he turned out (as an adult that is). As for my parents (and I use that term loosely) I don’t speak to them either for reasons I already mentioned. I am happy with my decision of cutting ties with those people and I think I turned out to be a pretty good human being. In fact, I never gave it much thought until I became a Buddhist or at least practice Buddhist teachings.

I was never formally admitted nor do I belong to a Sangha… at least for now. I was never a “joiner.”  I’m not good at following rules when it comes to groups or showing up consistently at a certain place and time. I am definitely not orthodox in my beliefs, that’s why I consider myself a Bohemian Buddhist.

But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about reincarnation. I have questions and lot’s of them: Do I really want to reincarnate? Do I have a say in the matter? Is their someone in the afterlife I can discuss this with? Can I find out what my options are before I decide to stay or go back? There will probably be more questions I haven’t thought of. But for now these keep my brain busy. (So much for practicing living in the moment. LOL).

Do you think about stuff like this? Or am I just plain weird?

Namaste,

Ingebird

My Blog is Moving to My Face Book Page

I’m moving my blog to my Face Book page. If you want to read any updates, you will find them there. It got to hard trying to keep up with all my social media sites and I felt stressed updating all of them.

It’s hard enough keeping up with all the meditating and practicing kindness. Living a Buddha life these days is hard enough without me adding extra stress to my day. LOL!

See you over here!

Namaste!

Ingebird

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