Peace Begins with Me


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.




The Spider’s Web

etsy spider web 004

Bingo, my dog woke me up this morning to go out for his morning walk. It was 7:30 a.m., his usual time, so out the door we went walking along our usual path, when I saw the huge spider web glistening in the morning sun. A large brown spider sat in the middle, waiting patiently to catch an unsuspecting insect flying by. It was about 15 feet ahead of us. Luckily for me I saw it before I walked into it. I turned Bingo around and we went another direction. While he was doing his business, I hoped that no one else would run into it, destroying the web before I could get my camera and take a picture of it.

Luckily Bingo finished quickly and I was back outside looking at the spider’s beautiful artwork. I know for him or her, its merely an intricate trap to get a meal, but I have a fascination with spider webs. I admire all the hard work and long hours it took that spider. It worked throughout the night. Too bad he or she didn’t know it was located on a busy path used by many residents walking their dogs or emptying their trash in the dumpster.  If it had only been built a foot higher there probably wouldn’t have been a problem. But what does a spider know about logistics? How could it know, humans would be the ones ending up in its trap?

The sun seemed exceptionally bright this morning so I couldn’t tell if I was able to get a clear picture of the web with my camera. I kept taking snapshots anyway, hoping at least one would turn out. Three of them did and I am happy.

I came out to look at it thirty minutes later and the web was gone. All that hard work gone with one swipe of a human hand, or was it their head? I’m sure the spider is ok because when I got close with my camera, it scurried towards the Redwood tree it had fastened itself to.

I would have liked seeing who walked into the web and what their reaction was. A few years ago I watched a neighbor run into one outside his front door. His reaction was pretty funny. He got a broom and swiped the air to make sure it was gone and when he came home later that evening, he used his hands to “paw” the air in front of him; I’m guessing to make sure the spider didn’t make a new web.

Since I’ve studied Buddhism, I look at spiders and other outdoor creatures (whom we like to call pests) differently. They are sentient beings who deserve to live as much as me. They are my neighbors and sometimes visitors, when they end up inside my home. I have cats who think they are entertainment, so as soon as I see these “guests” I put them back outside.

I feel bad for that spider to have to start all over and build a brand new web. I don’t know if it started one yet. It’s been so hot out today. Maybe spiders are used to it and XX