Now that my high-speed has been restored, I was blog-surfing again and saw this. Rebecca presents the idea of choosing a word for the new year. It's a good alternative to the "I won't [that] anymore" or "I will do [this] from now on."
The idea of the word is to create a theme for the year. It is around a central concept that will change the way we look at things. It's amazing how a different lens can change our perspectives.
My word is "reconciliation". The idea behind it is to begin building bridges instead of walls. I began working with the concept a few months ago, deciding that bearing the responsibility of changing an entire culture was a bit more than I can handle. Concentrating on finding the things that unite us rather than the things that separate us is what I will be doing in the future. It does take a conscious effort.
I started by reading a lot of books that are well outside my worldview to discover the commonalities. Talking to others who see things differently and listening with an open mind has revealed many things we share. We just say them differently. If we stick with the dialogue, we'll find that we mostly want the same things.
In the micro, it means "restoration of harmony".
That includes moving from a place where there is a lot of chaos, anger and upset to create a more peaceful environment of my own in a new residence.
It means restoring harmony to my body by treating it well.
It means restoring harmony to my relationships by stretching my own worldview to include new people.
It means making a conscious effort to honor the beliefs of others without finding a need to criticize or correct them.
It means participating in activities that promote a positive change. The paraphrased quote of Mother Teresa comes to mind. "I won't participate in an anti-war rally. Have a pro-peace rally and I'll be there."
It means finally being able to relax. It means an end to the feeling of urgency that propels me into warrior mode. God's business is God's business. Mine is to be a bit gentler, to step a bit more lightly.
That's my word. Reconciliation.
What will be your word?
Wishing all a peaceful, kinder, more fulfilling 2009.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
I am still on dial-up, perhaps for another day (assuming the problem can be solved). At any rate, I figured it was still time to post something.
This past month has been one of many changes for me, all of them good in the longrun.
By some weird twist of fate, I was able to spend an hour on the phone with Mona Grayson. For those of you unfamiliar with her, she does a lot of work with the methods developed by Byron Katie.
Ordinarily, I don't go for that kind of thing so much ~ finding it rather shallow and ineffective. Furthermore, "success-motivation" is extremely unappealing to me.
Still, the conversation evolved between us rather naturally and we skipped the superficial stuff and got right into some more global concepts. She taught me how to use the Byron Katie method which is basically a series of questions we can ask ourselves about any given situation. The situation itself is irrelevant. It's our beliefs that matter. The real purpose of the questions is to challenge our own beliefs.
1) Is this true?
2) Do I know for a fact that it's true?
3) How do I react when I have this belief?
4) How would my life be different without the belief?
As an example, one of my beliefs has been "I have to remain angry about the world because it proves I care".
That belief certainly brings me no peace and is disrupting the natural flow of life. I can't be a 24/7, wall-to-wall, 365-days-a-year dissident and remain in balance. It is a belief I have to release. It doesn't mean I don't care. It just means I have to be willing to look at things differently and develop a new approach.
The method is not the be-all and end-all, but it's a good method to use, just to check in with ourselves and see what we're believing and why. It's a good starting point.
Another thing that occurred is the last tie I have to this area has been released. I no longer choose to have a tie to the wat because the people are unreliable. It's constant false starts and people not following through on commitments. The person I was closest to here and I have decided to move on. Basically, it was about the same issue: unreliability. She was constantly setting appointments with me and not showing up or calling. Her excuse was the usual "I've been busy." Yeah. Well. We all are. Time to move on.
The final tie was to my doctor. When we find a good doctor, someone who understands the integral nature of all of our health issues, it's good to stick with the guy. You know? That was my intent and I was willing to stay here to continue working with him.
Well, according to the news reports, he was driving on a foggy night at a high rate of speed (90 miles an hour) and may or may not have been drunk. He totaled his car and died on the scene. Of course I am sorry for his family and friends. I hope he has found peace on the Other Side.
From a purely selfish perspective though, I will be looking for a new doctor. I have several health issues that all combined create a need for someone who is willing to use alternative methods of care. Without that willingness, I'd be doing nothing but taking pills and dealing with side effects. I'm not willing to do that.
And there's nothing saying I have to find a new doctor in this location. I can literally go anywhere.
I've been on the wrong path for a while. There's also an aphorism that fits for that, too. "If it brings fatigue, frustration or fear, you're doing the wrong thing. You're on the wrong path." I've had more than my share of frustration.
It's not anything I feel the need to detail.. but I've been on the wrong path and I'm changing course.
I'm broadening my range of possibilities in terms of housing. Because I need subsidized housing, that takes a bit more time than a typical house-hunt would involve. The fact that I can now look anywhere in Northern California makes the possibility of results much higher. A coastal area would be nice.
I'm also setting a firm boundary in my life when it comes to unreliable people. I'm no longer willing to deal with that. It's been hard to set that boundary because I've been overly invested in always being understanding, always feeling the need to make excuses for other people's bad behavior and living with the fear that if I don't put up with it, I'll be completely alone. Of course that is a false belief.
So that's what I've been doing in December.
I'm wishing for a better 2009 for all of us.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
If you have an ideology that empowers you, I am happy. It doesn't matter if it is Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam, a shaman or simply a belief in the goodness of all. If you are learning to trust yourself, if you are becoming more open in your mind and your heart, then I am happy for you. It doesn't matter what path you are on, what symbols you believe in, or what scrolls you consider sacred. It is the fruit of your beliefs that matter, that you are seeing divinity.
May you all have peaceful, happy and contented days, regardless of how you choose to acknowledge them.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thanks to those who wrote and asked where I've disappeared.
I am still on dial-up and can't see most of your sites because of the slow page loads. That means I can't comment. Some sites, I can't even read. That takes away half the pleasure of blogging because it's the interaction that makes it meaningful. The back and forth of commenting and sharing with each other is what makes this worthwhile. Without that element, it doesn't hold much interest for me at all.
Supposedly, my Linksys will be fixed on 12/24. When that occurs, I'll be back to commenting, reading and writing.
For those who celebrate, I hope you have a good holiday. For those who don't, I hope you have a relaxing week.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Yesterday while I was doing laundry, my cell phone chimed off in my pocket. Normally, I don't carry it around but was expecting a few return calls and didn't want to miss them.
The call was from someone I know from the wat, the one I wrote about last summer. It's something I thought was gone from my life. Lots of things happen behind the scenes that we never know about. I'm coming to learn that.
The guy (I'll call him Ta) told me about several things that have been going on there and asked for my help with straightening it out. There was a criminal act committed and because of language barriers and so on, they're not getting the response they need from the police. I agreed to talk with the police for them and continue following up until it resolves.
That's not the real point of this message though.
I am the sort of person who needs to be needed ~ and I need that community as much as they might seemingly need me.
But I've discovered now a second person in my life who seems to consider me to be a personal service object. Both of them like the idea that I should be sitting home, exclusively available to them when they might happen to have a moment in their overcrowded lives to acknowledge my existence. The people at the wat wanted to reach me some time ago and she denied them my phone number. She had a conflict with someone out there and is angry. I get that. I know what happened and I would be angry, too. I supported her choice to remove herself from the community. I just question her right to use me as part of her revenge. It's impossible to even fathom that kind of self-serving meanness.
Ta told me that they'd asked for my number several times and she said "no". Just "no".
And by doing this, she has denied me the right to make my own choices. She had no right to do that!
I may or may not choose to talk with her about it. For now, I will ignore her calls until I am over these negative feelings. If I talk to her right now, I will burn the bridge.
My thought at this point is that I will just carry on and do what I want to do and not discuss it. The thing that makes me so upset about this is that she knows I've been wanting community, that I don't like being alone. Rather than honor my need and be a part of making my life better and allowing me to help her make her life better, she intentionally isolated me for her own purposes.
I am beyond pissed off. I'm far too hurt to be pissed off. I'm disgusted!
What I want to do is concentrate on how to recognize people like that so I don't draw any more people in my life who figure I exist for their convenience.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
So how about this Blagojevich business? Can you believe it?
I just heard that he is refusing to step down as governor.
Given the tapes and the other evidence against him, he should have the sense to step down until he is either proven innocent or convicted. This tells me he has no respect for the office, for the citizens of Illinois or for the nation in general. He has no respect for the office itself. If he had any integrity left at all, he would resign and lay low.
The tapes were particularly difficult to hear. Blagojevich spoke with such blatant greed, such blatant entitlement, such blatant vulgarity that I don't believe the issue of his character is up for debate. It's obvious.
As hard as it is sometimes to respect a position or an office, I believe anyone assuming the office is duty-bound to respect it. That is part of the glue that holds a society together and anyone in one of those positions has a higher expectation of good character than those who don't. Abuse of power is probably one of the highest crimes I can imagine. It is a betrayal of trust. Trust, as we all know, is hard won and easily lost.
Corruption in government is not particularly surprising. It happens everywhere, in every country, at every level. It would take a particular naivete that I do not possess to assume otherwise.
At the same time, I do believe that those who engage in corruption should be subject to harsh consequences for their betrayal. This crosses all political and ideological lines. A spy for our own country is just as bad as a spy for another country. There is no moral neutrality in deception and betrayal.
Just my opinion. :)
Monday, December 08, 2008
I'm still here. Still on dial-up (as I will be for the rest of the month).
I've been doing a lot of meditation work over the past several days. Deep stuff. Yoga. Part of the reason for this admitted self-torture is that I've decided it's time to move past judgement, into a place of acceptance and compassion for all people, not just those who think and believe like me.
Wow. There's a strong statement.
I put up a fairly good front in terms of always sounding fairly compassionate and accepting. And on some levels I am. But it never ceases to amaze me how quickly I get pissed off when I'm exposed to too much western thinking. (Sorry... but this is a truth place. I hope everyone knows that I am not trying to be offensive or disrespect anyone's belief system - but to maintain my integrity here, I try to speak my truth. My objective is that by speaking my truth, maybe others will feel free to speak theirs as well ~ and that is where healing begins.)
In meditation, I'm exploring that place, that angry place, the remembrance of how betrayed I felt by that kind of thinking and how many painful times there have been because I couldn't cram myself into that little box and live there. I couldn't be who I was expected to be. The isolation, the feeling of being brutalized and traumatized, the feeling of not being able to understand it ~ it all must be acknowledged and processed through because without doing that difficult work, I run the risk of continuing to over-eat and ~ worse case ~ end up back on the bottle. Even worse, we all miss out on the healing that comes from being exposed to different types of thinking and reconciliation.
The interesting part of the meditation is that on exhales, I've found some long-buried feelings that needed to come out, lots of old tears. (If you try, you can tell the new tears from the old tears. The old tears come from the core place, the center of us. The new ones come from the surface and go away fairly quickly.)
It's hard work.. but I'm committed to it so ~ on it goes. Every morning. No matter how long it takes.
In my readings, I found this really wonderful quote:
Insight opens your mind. An open mind leads to an open heart. Open heartedness leads to justice. Divinity is oneness with Tao. Oneness with Tao is freedom from harm, indescribable pleasure, eternal life.
The times when I am not doing that, I've been reading a book, recommended by one of my blogging friends, called "The Hour I First Believed" by Wally Lamb. It's a wonderful book and I can barely put it down! Wally Lamb is a very good author but you have to be in a certain frame of mind to take it all in.
The rest of the day ~ this cloudy, foggy day (my favorite kind), I'm going to read that book, make some pineapple fried rice and settle into my most comfortable chair ~ lap blanket in place.
Wishing you all a comfortable chair and a lap blanket!
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
My cold has turned into bronchitis. Oh my gosh.. I am sick!
The past few years, I get sick a lot more often. Part of it is probably a natural consequence of getting older but certainly that's not all of it.
Yesterday, Charles Eisenstein's latest article on health, obesity and culture showed up on Reality Sandwich. It's a good read. If you get the chance.....
He makes many good points.. but that isn't the real point of this post...
I almost got robbed this morning. This is something that's going to come up frequently for a lot of people during this season.
It was in the parking lot at the grocery store. (At Fulton and Hurley, for you Sacramento readers.) I can't live without Havarti cheese so I decided to go buy some, along with drinking water and some tortillas. The drinking water is quite heavy in those large cases and I was putting it into the trunk.
As I tossed my groceries into the passenger seat, a guy came up right behind me. There were other empty parking spaces. It was still fairly early. He wasn't just trying to pass me to go into the store. I turned around, looked right in his eyes and said (or croaked, as the case may be), "You scared the hell out of me! Stand back!"
Surprisingly, he did just that ~ muttered a weak "I'm sorry" and took off in the other direction.
I mention this because it is one of the very good recommendations I read somewhere. When someone approaches in that manner, look them straight in the eyes ~ letting them know you've seen them and will recognize them ~ and then speak up so that others will hear you.
It may not work in every case but it worked in this one.
(Just in case anyone is wondering, I did make a police report so there is a description available if he tries to do that again.)
Wishing everyone safe shopping!
Monday, December 01, 2008
We are going into the time of year when I live in a nearly constant state of cognitive dissonance. It's hard. No kidding. I can't even escape it temporarily by getting stinking drunk! Gee, sometimes there just ain't no justice! :)
So I've decided to be a big girl and try something this year to avoid falling into some of the old traps I've fallen into in the past which inevitably lead to unhappiness for me and some of the people who surround me. Even though I understand a lot of things intellectually, sometimes my emotions get away from me and my patience is short.
It's time to work on staying away from judgment. Admittedly, I can get very judgmental and righteous this time of year. It's easy to get into that frame of mind when the over-saturation begins to play a symphony on my last nerve.
The judgment comes when I hear people talk about the stress of the time and then start whining a bit too much. My internal and immediate reaction is "well, you chose it!" I know I should be kinder and more understanding because this season is something that means a lot to many people.
I'm not saying my reaction is okay. I expect more of myself but here's the confession: I often do snap to judgment and it's not always compassionate.
On the other hand, I'd like to think I am mature enough and decent enough to try to grow beyond it. I'd like to challenge myself to be more compassionate, more understanding, more respectful and more generous with my resources, emotionally and spiritually. If I behave differently, I give you full permission to verbally swat me upside the head.
I'm also going to give myself permission though to retreat when I need to do that. I may not be here as much or at your sites as much. I'm really going to try to balance this out in a more healthy way.
So it's going to be up and down.. a bit here and a bit there. The commitment I make though is that I will do my best.