My No Guilt Life

I have caused suffering. We all have. We try so hard to not harm. But it’s impossible. For example, my thoughts on being vegan or vegetarian were to be innocent of shedding blood. To not stop another’s life. It sounds noble. It sounds wise. And one day we may all be able to live without causing harm to other beings just to survive. There is another side to the “plants only” diet. Agriculture. Whether we farm thousands of acres or raise herds of cattle, we still do harm. To the environment, to the habitat, and to the creatures who live there.

It is a baby’s nature to be born. That baby that was born didn’t think of the pain she caused. She didn’t try to be gentle. She herself wasn’t in control, but the timing of nature was propelling her to be born. The child in the act of being born is surviving and thriving and asserting, but at the same time she is also at the mercy of the environment around her. In the same way, we, the people of Earth, are propelled by nature and the forces that came before us. Here we stand with the blood of those we have harmed, but we are still as innocent as the baby that is freshly born. We didn’t ask for this. We didn’t cause the destructions that came before our time. We can only adapt to where we are now.

Bloom, bloom, bloom where you’re planted.
You will find your way.
Bloom, bloom, bloom where you’re planted.
You will have your day.
http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=102393

Today, I drop my guilt and walk away. Just like the newborn baby innocent but yet guilty. I’ll live my life the best I can. I will take what I need and give to others as well. Each day, I will take the steps that are in front of me and I will use whatever tool I have in my hand, for myself and for those around me. What more can any of us do? What does the lord require of us, but to love mercy, to do justly and to live humbly before our god.

…Walk tall, but don’t get cocky.
Know your limits.
Deal with the things you can, and let the rest go.
Like the saying goes, “Your arms are too short to box with God.”
http://www.rawtimes.com/tao.html

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Skin on a Snake

I have a theory about the people in our lives. We come and go, in and out of each other’s lives. It seems that when a person moves out of your life another person or thing of similar vibration takes their place. Which reminds me of the Buddhist’s teaching, even though a flower falls and dies from a bush, a new one will take its place. All things continue.

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
― Rumi

The form things come in our lives refuse to be planned. You may want love and kindness, but the more you try to control the form it comes to you in, the less likely you are of getting it. Control distorts.

I once had a beautiful birthday present. It was a year when I was very alone. Once, at work, I was talking to a complete stranger. I didn’t mention it was my birthday or about being lonely. I had been on break from my job and stepped outside to see the stars. While standing there someone started chatting with me. It was relaxing, refreshing, and exactly what I needed that moment. A casual friend.

Expect love, expect good things, just don’t demand that they walk into your lives on two legs. Love can come into our lives on four legs or even no legs at all.

“Today matters. Yesterday ees skin on a snake, to be shed many times.” – Beyond the Highland Mist, Karen Marie Moning

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I’m Picking Daisies

After watching the season finale of Sons of Anarchy, season 6, I think I’ll hold on tightly to my uncertainty. My inability to make a decision seems like a blessing compared to crazy head long rush of taking things in my own hands.

A bit of living with life as it is, seems very wise. Let it be.

I will no longer curse my slowness to make a decision. My over-contemplation, my over-thinking, these may be some of the best character traits of my life. They’ve seen me through many tight spots, but more importantly, they’ve kept me walking a straight line.

So while others were ripping through life at a young age and taking life by the horns, I was watching and learning. I cautiously stepped forward until I knew what I wanted. Then went for it. Others can go on ahead of me if they want, make those rash decisions because as they say, any decision is better than none, but no thank you. That’s not for me.

I’m out here picking daisies.

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Story Eater

Philadelphia Story

Stories are the way we navigate our world, our chance to make sense of who we are and what we do. -Seth Godin

I like TV shows. I love to get into a good story and the very best ones you can get so lost in them, you forget they aren’t real. I’ve watched so many that it’s hard to remember them all. Some are still going strong, some have ended whether gracefully or not. Doctor Who, 24, Lost, Supernatural, Sons of Anarchy, just to name a few. I’m not sure what captures my attention. It’s not all in the suspense. It’s not all in the realism. It’s really not in the looks or sex appeal of the actors. I’ve watched shows that didn’t cast the best looking, but by a few weeks into them you adored the character and the actor. There’s usually an emotional tug of war. You can feel their struggle, either with their own temptations or their failures. Sometimes they are weak, but yet there’s some part of them you relate to. All I know is they have sucked me into their drama.

I sometimes wonder if this life is like that. If there is an afterlife, maybe we will look back and say, that was a damn good story. It might be like walking out of the movie theater after an intense show. Everything else seems a bit unreal and you just want to run back in and watch the movie again. Yeah I can imagine that.

What do you want your story to say? What emotional flavor is it? Happy? Charming? Cozy? Horror? Eek. That one’s not for me. I have mine pictured in my head. Lots of golden lighting. I update it now and then. I see the person I want to be as I grow older and how I want to live my life. With a name like, Wisdom and Grace. Or Sunlight on Raindrops.

Here is an interesting look at charity as it relates to stories:

What do we get when we give to a good cause?

Why on earth would a rational person give money to charity–particularly a charity that supports strangers? What do they get?

A story.

In fact, every time someone donates to a good cause, they’re buying a story, a story that’s worth more than the amount they donated.

It might be the story of doing the right thing, or fitting in, or pleasing a friend or honoring a memory, but the story has value. It might be the story that you, and you alone are able to make this difference, or perhaps it’s the story of using leverage to change the world. For many, it’s the story of what it means to be part of a community. – Seth Godin

Seth’s  full blog is available if you follow the above link. Thanks for stopping by and being a part of my story..

Not All Who Wander Are Lost

The Christianity of my youth was a bubble of protection for me. I didn’t realize how effective the sheltering was until recently. When faced with the opposing belief system, I find myself feeling exposed. Atheism doesn’t believe in God, but it also doesn’t believe in life after death. This is it. No floating towards the light. No reunion with loved ones. None of the comfort of mom’s Thanksgiving dressing and pumpkin pie.

Why don’t I go back home? Back to Christianity or even a milder form of religion? I’ve asked myself the same thought. My goal was to have a view of Christianity from the outside. I wanted to see without the bias of being raised in the buckle of the Bible belt. I practically cut my teeth on a church hymnal. All of my memorization and early explorations were from the Petri dish of religion. I crawled out of this swamp on purpose. I wanted a different view. I wanted to see the world without the limitations of religious doctrine.

Now I realize that I was sheltered. As much as growing up in a large family is different to growing up an orphan. Well, here I am. A lot of limitations are in other’s beliefs also. Why does everyone have to lock down their beliefs? I hate closed doors and locked boxes. Why do we have to believe in anything in particular? What if I went the entirety of my life and never believed any belief. Does that make me a Buddhist? It might take me on the path of Buddha now that I think of it. Humorous how our lives are. We aren’t comfortable with people who don’t decide. The first thing we want to know of someone is their work. What do you do? Then marital status. Married? Children? Then we migrate to political and religious notions. Define yourself, we say.

As I ponder life after death or even just this life, I realize it truly doesn’t matter what I believe. Life is, now. If there is a reincarnation then I’m coming back to fix bad karma and enjoy the good that I have created. If this is all there is, I won’t realize it since I will be gone. As it was before I was born. It will be no matter what I believe. I can’t swallow a pill or chant 1000 times to force a belief. Once exposed, a lie is no longer deceiving. You see it for the illusion it once was, much like the saying, What’s been seen cannot be unseen. I stand in the valley of the shadow of death, but I fear no evil.

“Not all those who wander are lost.” ― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Why Others Don’t Bow to Me

I’m important. Can’t they see that? If I’m driving and want to go faster, why don’t get out of my way. If I’m shopping and the line is long at the check out, a new lane should be opened and I should be first in line. After all I’m important.

We spend most of our lives feeling this way and suddenly it dawns on us that we aren’t important. Psychologist call this entitlement. Did they have entitlement in the Bronze ages? Or in the 1800’s? I know in our culture it’s huge.

The alternative, the truth you realize when you learn you’re not the center of the universe, is that life really doesn’t notice you. The ants keep working. The rain keeps pouring. The birds keep screeching. Life keeps moving. If anything, we are in it’s way.

44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. – Matthew 5:44-45 New International Version®, NIV®

I have to remind myself of this a lot. Especially when I’m in my car and the other drivers are in my way. It’s not personal. We are all travelling and we just happen to be on the same road.

 

Find Your Soul, Find Your Fun

Otherwise known as LIGHTEN UP!

So, you’re feeling grumpy.  A little out of sorts?  Maybe the house is a mess and the kids aren’t doing what you think they should.  Sometimes we are so mired in our tasks that we forget to look at the whole picture.  The details.

 “Our life is frittered away by details,” – William David Thoreau

Before your life fritters away, don’t forget fun.  Like medicine, fun can revive us and keep life in perspective.

Here are 15 options.  Join me as we dance to the song of freedom.

  1. Turn on some music and dance.  Either alone or with your family.  Just don’t complicate it too much.  Dancing is the key.
  2. Get out the crayons, colored pencils and paper.  Remember the smell of new crayons? What color makes you smile? Does one of them bring back a special memory? Mine is cornflower blue.
  3. Plant a flower.  Go to the flower shop and pick out one plant that draws your attention.  Take it home and plant it.
  4. Play ball.  Find an old ball, whether it’s a football, soccer ball, or whatever.  Just get outside and PLAY.  I can hear my mother now.
  5. Get out the photos.  Find the pictures and browse through them.  Take your time.  Find the one you like the most.  Put it on your desk at work or your refrigerator. Change pictures every month or so.
  6. Make a mess with shaving cream.  The preschoolers that I once taught loved this one. Take a can of shaving cream squirt it on a clean counter top or table.  Now draw pictures in the glob.  Pile it high, then smash it down. Go ahead and make a mess, it cleans up with a wet dishcloth. It’s just soap.
  7. Go to the zoo or park and feed the ducks.
  8. Get an ice cream cone.  Enough said.
  9. Have a foot race.  This one obviously requires someone else to be with you.  Run your hardest for a change.
  10. Remember hula hoops? Get one. Practice at it for a few days, then surprise someone with your new skill.
  11. Go for a drive.  Find an interesting or unusual neighborhood and cruise through it.
  12. Blow some bubbles. Make your own with dish washing soap (Dawn, Palmolive, etc.) or buy a bottle at the store.
  13. Sing in the shower. It doesn’t even have to be a full song. Make up a song. Hum your own tune. Just let the music flow.
  14. Take 20 bucks and spend it on whatever thrills you. Don’t have $20 then do $5.  It’s the attitude behind the spending not the amount.
  15. Let it rain. On you. Stand in it. Feel the water run down your face. Look up in the sky. Jump in a puddle. Then when you dry off, remember what it was like to have no worries.

As adults we forget what it feels like to run as fast as we can. We forget the patience involved in watching a cloud float by, or a leaf drop to the ground. Keep it simple and you’ll have a good time.  It’s about doing something for yourself. It’s not about doing what others would approve of or what you think you need improving on. We do so much for others in our lives that we often put ourselves last on life’s to-do list, then never get to the last item on the list. There are no rules. Just be yourself. And remember your soul.

About Being Noble and My Many Questions

0804-hrh-05-01Who told me?

Who said I should be in the 6 a.m. meditation group? Do I know what is holy? Can I decide for the future what I should do, where I should go, with whom I should be, and still remain open to what is needed now? Am I quite sure I should answer every question?

Who told me that?

Do I know the consequences of even one word I write?

Who told me it is kind to laugh at every joke, be on time for every appointment, get less sleep and not more, keep certain thoughts to myself, always do what I have agreed? How can I know what the situation calls for when it is clearly impossible for me to see the whole situation? Do I claim no distortion in my perception? Why then torture myself about fulfilling every unexamined claim of conscience? Why not consider the alternative? That there is something within me that does know and I can hear that something more clearly in comfort than in guilt. Maybe I should ease up and let things be.

“No matter what we talk about, we are talking about ourselves”
― Hugh PratherI Touch the Earth, the Earth Touches Me

“I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful I will not fall from heaven. But a ‘mistake’ is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder I am not dealing with the facts. When I have listened to my mistakes I have grown.”
― Hugh Prather

This is a page I wrote in 2005. I was reading from some of my journals and ran across this little piece and thought that it is just as relevant to me today as it was then. 

Get off your pedestal. You’re going to hurt yourself. 

We Never Get There

It is one thing to climb a mountain. It’s hard. It’s tiring. It’s character development. But it is a completely different thing to climb a mountain, go back down, and then lead a team back up the same mountain, just so another can enjoy the view also.

I know it’s rewarding to do something you never thought you could do. Stick it out a moment longer. Take the difficult path. You come out stronger. You value life more than you could have ever dreamed. Your fears that go bump in the night seem less frightening. But that’s not the end.

Do you know that we never truly arrive. We never get there. It’s all a journey and we continue until the day we die. I know mostly everyone’s heard the saying by now, but I can’t help repeating it.

If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.

Most people have heard the first chapter of the Tao,

“Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” (So if you think you see the real Tao, kill it and move on). http://www.dailybuddhism.com/archives/670

If you think you have arrived, or even haven’t arrived yet but should have arrived, stop what you’re doing. That picture you have in your head, that fantasy of perfection, is only a lie. It’s as fake as plastic flowers. Throw it away. The discomfort you feel, the coffee stains on your shirt, the lost socks, and the spilled milk, are all part of your real life. Side by side they are the threads, the knots, and the whirls that create your life and there’s no true finished project. Although there are moments that leave you breathless and the view is spectacular.

You may not have made it to the top of the mountain, but you can still help someone else. Give to a charity. Hold someone’s hand during a crisis. Help out at the food bank. Pass a tissue or a smile. If you’re not quite as far along the path as you thought you should be, it’s okay. You’re farther than the person behind you. Rest a minute, let them catch up. Help each other out.

B4Peace have committed to dedicating at least one post a month with the theme Peace.  Here are few others:

theworldoutsidethewindow

Comments from Cathy

melanielynngriffin

Dare to Be

When I was very young I didn’t think about who I was or what I looked like. I played. I sang. I danced. I argued. I cried and I laughed. I lived.

All of these are names given me by other people, but not names I would have given myself.  My name is not mine, it’s theirs.  It’s a series of costumes put on my life by other people. Robert Fulghum (1937 -)

Source: Maybe (Maybe Not) (Maybe Not : Second Thoughts from a Secret Life)

Psychologists tell us that the ego is the part of us that makes us aware of who we are. They say that until the ego has developed we just are, like a tree or a flower.  We don’t think about who we are or if we even should be as we are. If our voice is too loud or our hair is too red. Before our ego has developed we don’t sit and wonder if the other kids would like us better if we shared or if mom would give us chocolate cake if we wore the pink dress and looked cute. More likely we would cry if we didn’t get the chocolate cake. And the funny thing, that’s a healthy childhood.

If you were born in a household with violence, addiction or abuse, you would develop other coping mechanisms, add-on behaviors to “work around” getting your needs met. These actions might even appear normal or beneficial to outsiders. The extremely calm child is sometimes one of them. He may sit quietly in the doctor’s office and not cry when the needle goes in his arm for his immunizations. The nurse pats him on the head and tells him what a good boy he is. Mom needs him a big boy, just like at home.  He has seen what dad will do when he or his mother misbehaves. The little girl who hides from strangers and won’t take the candy offered may be shy, but she may also be unsure if mom is with her behavior. When you’re two feet tall and  three or four years old, the world is a foreign land. The language is obscure and people say things that you don’t understand. You learn early to be agreeable, don’t you. This is an unhealthy childhood.

Good behavior is just that, behavior. We learn early to watch our behavior. Watch our speech and our inflections. We keep things hidden so people don’t see our ugly parts. We learn these things and adults that are in charge teach it well. The difference between the healthy childhood and the unhealthy childhood seems obvious, if you are reading it on paper. If you are the adult looking back at your own, it’s not nearly so easy. The difference is the overcompensation that you learn to do, that little extra that you know keeps people liking you or ignoring you.

But we are the adults now. In a perfect world, the ego would develop naturally in the child and by the time you have matured it would become less and less. Unfortunately none of us have our citizenship in that perfect world. We have learned to put on a show for others, go along with dad’s rants, don’t step on toes or say what you really think. And as you get older, instead of this ego getting smaller over time, it becomes more complicated. The facade get’s heavier and the resentment gets darker. Sometimes we develop depression and anxiety because of our facade.

It’s time to unlearn and to relearn some very important lessons. Being good is not the goal anymore. Mommy doesn’t need you to stay quiet and sit still. Those behaviors that helped you before, now need to drop off just as the training wheels on your bicycle came off. You have outgrown them. Dare to BE. You are in charge of your life. And it’s time to give yourself the permissions you need. Your ego is there for a reason. It is your training wheels. We can now let our personality fully integrate and the ego will either become one with our personality or it will adapt to a more reasonable structure.

There are several authors I would recommend. You may have heard of them already. Caroline Myss and Pia Mellody are a couple that I enjoy. There are many blogs and sites available on the internet. One of my favorites is Meadow Devor.  Another one I like is Bravegirlsclub.  Whatever allows you to bloom and be strong; whoever encourages you and inspires you; anyone than tells you that you belong and that you have a right to be here, that’s the ones you need to listen to. I also like hypnosis New You.