Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy Birthday, Like, Like, Like

"Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world."
Etty Hillesum

I decided months ago what I would give up for Lent this year. If anything, it's more of a gift I am giving myself, than a sacrifice. What will be hard is breaking the habit. What will be hard is resisting the urge. What will be hard is the FOMO.

I'm reading the story of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu's week-long communion in Dharamsala, THE BOOK OF JOY. It's an antidote to all the fear and hate that abounds. It restores hope. It is not complicated, we just make it so. Peace begins with us. There is suffering, the First Noble Truth. What we do in response to that suffering, is our choice. If we were to be pierced by an arrow, we would feel pain. To remove the arrow and keep stabbing ourselves with it, would be ridiculous, but mentally, that's what we do.

I'm teaching a little class at church for school-aged kids that are going to be baptized at Easter. We are talking about Lent - a dedicated period of time in which we increase prayer, giving and fasting. Over the years I've fasted from coffee, alcohol, one year I even fasted from Target. This year, I'm going to fast from social media, and with the time I would ordinarily spend on that, attempt to spend that same time in prayer.

With all that's going on in the world, in this country, and even in my own neighborhood, I am aware just how much I'm taking those "arrows" and stabbing myself over and over and over again with them. I am clear that this isn't working, and that if all this turmoil doesn't call me to action, it's wasted turmoil. I know I can't solve all the ills of the world. I know that I can't react and respond to every cause. How and what I do in response, needs greater contemplation. Greater clarity. Greater peace within myself.

For all of you having a birthday, happy birthday. For all of you posting cute pictures of your kids, pets, vacations and loved ones, know that I "like" them. For all of you posting what's on your mind, the outrage, the opportunities for action, the galvanizing of forces, know that I support and appreciate those efforts.

I am Peace, surrounded by Peace, secure in Peace
Peace protects me
Peace is in me
Peace is mine - All is well.
Peace to all beings
Peace among all beings
I am steeped in Peace
Absorbed in Peace
In the streets, at our work, having peaceful thoughts,
Peaceful words, peaceful acts.
                                                         Buddhist meditation

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dishing Up the Dirt

OK, all you foodies, you will want to be first in line for this amazing cookbook! My "niece," Andrea, is one kick-ass organic farmer, creative, healthy cook, and over-all wonderful person. There's not at thing not to love about her, not a thing.
Andrea has been posting daily recipes on her blog for years, yet, somehow, she created all new recipes for this special, season-by-season, farm-to-table cookbook. Her ability to put yummy ingredients together in ever-new ways, astounds me. 
Andrea's mom, the liz (whom I've often written about), drove out to Parkdale, yesterday, to be with Andrea as she opened her advanced copy. Only Andrea would bake something to give the UPS man:

You can pre-order your copy of the book right now! Her local bookstore is happily taking orders of the book which will be signed by Andrea and can be shipped worldwide. Follow this link for that.
You can pre-order on Amazon right here.
Pre-order from Barnes & Noble right here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wishing a Life Away

I remember a brief conversation I had with a co-worker, over 25-years-ago. "I can't wait for the weekend," was how it started. Then, she went on to say, "then I'll say that again next week, and then how I can't wait for summer, then how I can't wait for retirement. I guess I'm wishing my life away."

You know how sometimes it's the "accidental" exchanges like that, that stick with you?

Personally, I struggle with holding the paradoxes of time. I don't want my birthday to roll around again. I don't want the school year to end. I don't want my 13-year-old, beloved Flicka Link to get any older. I don't want the parts of my life that are working, to stop working.

I can't wait for the era we're in, politically, to end. I want the hazards and inconveniences of winter to be over. I want it to hurry up and be bedtime. I want the humming to stop, the thumping, the steady beat that permeates the house. I want some of my seemingly endless responsibilities, to lessen.

I sit with the conflicting feelings, the want of endless peace and quiet, for instance, while knowing that for that to be the case, I would have to lose everyone I hold dear.

I fully believe everything is on a continuum. Everything. And what I really am needing to do, is just move the needle a few ticks, back into the "normal" zone - out of the red zone, to feel "better." I don't need endless quiet, that would drive me mad. I need more quiet.

I don't need bedtime, weekends, retirement, etc. to "come." I don't need days, seasons, phases to end. I need to sit with it all, hold it all, be with it all and let it all co-exist in the messy, chaotic, growth-producing, ass-kicking way that life does.

We incarnated into our particular lives for particular purposes, I believe. Original soul reasons. To try and shortcut through them doesn't serve our highest good.

The mess is where the learning is.

The chaos is where the clarity lies.

The noise is where we find our quiet.

Sorry Not Sorry

I'm sorry I keep pointing you towards BrenĂ© Brown's podcast,  Unlocking Us , but I'm not that  sorry.* I've appreciated ever...