Thursday, September 8, 2011

On Being Human

Rigpa Glimpse of the Day for today---

Enlightenment is real; and each of us, whoever we are, can in the right circumstances and with the right training realize the nature of mind and so know in us what is deathless and eternally pure. This is the promise of all the great mystical traditions of the world, and it has been fulfilled and is being fulfilled in countless thousands of human lives.

The wonder of this promise is that it is something not exotic, not fantastic, not for an elite, but for all of humanity; and when we realize it, the masters tell us, it is unexpectedly ordinary.

Spiritual truth is not something elaborate and esoteric, it is in fact profound common sense. When you realize the nature of mind, layers of confusion peel away. You don’t actually “become” a buddha, you simply cease, slowly, to be deluded. And being a buddha is not being some omnipotent spiritual superman, but becoming at last a true human being.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Shoes For My Heart

It’s just one of those days. We all have them. Today I felt like....

I’m nearly 51.
I’m divorced.
How many pounds...still?
My last child is about to leave the nest.
My dear friend is seriously ill.
I’m nearly broke.
I have no job.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (Psalm 121:1) I don’t even have any hills ‘round here in Middle-Of-Nowhere ™.

So I let myself wallow in that pity party for a little while, then attempted to drag myself out of it.

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition I follow, we are taught not to shy away from all the negative “stuff” that surrounds us, but rather to go toward that pain, to understand it, therefore to expose the tender heart of compassion that lies underneath. We can use everything in our lives to make our lives filled with happiness.

Obviously, all this piled-up pity stuff is a way of gently pointing out to me that I have not been practicing my meditation, my reading, my training.

Pema Chodron, the Buddhist nun I consider my teacher, has a wonderful analogy. She said that often we see our world and we are so pissed off by it...This lousy word, this lousy government, this lousy person ahead of us is too tall, lousy mosquitoes are everywhere, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, the toilet is leaking, we weight too much, we’re lonely, our stomachs are grumbling, the traffic is parked and we are late. The world is against us.

It’s like walking barefoot over hot sand or glass shards. We hurt. It cuts us, it causes us pain. We have the idea to cover it up...Put down leather everywhere!!! Get RID of the lousy government, that lousy person who’s too tall...get RID of everything that bothers us. Make everything perfect for us. And THEN we will be content and happy.

Our feet don’t hurt when we cover the boiling sand with leather. Our souls don’t hurt when we cover up our feelings. But these approaches aren’t practical. Isn’t it impractical to demand that leather be everywhere we walk??? Isn’t it impractical to demand that the world be perfect for us alone?

Why don’t we put the leather on the soles of our feet? Call them SHOES! Now we don’t have to cover up everything with leather...just a little bit of protection for us to manage. So we will be able to experience all the glories of this world. In the same way, why not expand our mind, learn to work with it, to train our minds to be open, acknowledge the aches, pains, suffering, sadness that is there, learn to accept it...and use it. To fully live in all the wonders of being human. Including pain, sadness and "pissed-off-ness".

It sounds good, but it is so hard sometimes to stay in that second of agony. To stay present, to stop yourself from diving under the covers to hide. To not give up for just a second longer. Then it’s two seconds. Then 30. Then a minute. Then an hour.

Maybe situations listed up above haven’t changed. It’s all still there. It’s just the way I perceive those situations that change.

Somehow, it’s not so bad anymore.

Little tiny sandals for my heart. To help me walk through the rough bits.

I wonder if I can find strappy, high-heeled, sexy ones?

See....I'm back.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Captain's Entertainment

My dear darling friend Jan-Olav is back in the hospital again. This time, my "internet boyfriend" (a nickname given him by a family member, but I can't remember who) is in isolation because some infection has gotten a stronger-than-normal of hold his impaired immune system. Poor thing can't have any visitors...which is difficult for such a gregarious people-person as the Captain.

So in an effort to bring the party to HIM, I will try to be a better blogger.... trying to make my quiet life here in Middle-Of-Nowhere, Georgia ™ (or as he calls it, MON) a little more visible...and interesting. And while I write this blog for my family and friends--so that all of you can keep up with me and the kids- if I seem to explain things that make you think "duh, E...." remember that he's not Southern...and, as a Thai guy trapped in a Norwegian body, some things don't translate.....

So, while you, Jack, (a nickname with at nod to our mutually favorite movie) have been lounging around in the Infeksjonsavdelingen of St. Olav's hospital (which, I might add, is a pathetic way of getting out of your 36-hour long day shifts as ferry captain...) we had Labor Day weekend here in MON....

I went to Atlanta weekend before this last one, on Sunday night to spend the night at AJ and Anna-Grace's apartment and run some errands. I had to make an IKEA run to pick up an IKEA starter pak for my housekeeper, Lily. Her house burned to the ground last spring, and, when I asked her what she needed, she said she would really need kitchen and dining that's what I am doing for her....

Ok, I'm back...I swear to Gawd, I just heard a cow moo-- like 50 feet from me. I had to go investigate. Either a trailer of livestock was just at the stoplight (yes, THE stoplight..the ONE stoplight in Tennille), Chip is playing with one of her chew-toys or I am starting to hear voices. Bovine voices. The last one is the scary one. Voices..yes...okay...but ANIMAL voices???) Where was I..oh, yes...IKEA.

So I went to stay with AJ/A-G. That was surreal.

Staying at your grown child's grownup apartment. I also found some great material for my office makeover ..for curtains and chair cover.

Very me, dontcha think? Remember all those years ago (I think now almost 3) when we laughed about sharing digs in the looney bin? I think we decided on a blue and orange color scheme...this works well...nothing changes...

Alix recovered from her first cross country meet. Her time, while not great in her book, was under 30 minutes, which was way better than she hoped for.

The week was quiet, and I got some projects around the house accomplished.

I replaced the peeling wallpaper in the dining room.

I weeded out cookbooks. Oh, and that horrible depression I just couldn't shake last week finally lifted. Thank you for calling me and "talking me down" in between ferry runs. And in the middle of the night for you. You are a true friend. I love Skype. Oh, you, too...but that goes without saying.....

Alix and Wesley went to spend Friday /Saturday with her dad, and he took them to the Auburn football game. No, not "real football", American football....the kind with helmets and protective gear. You're not a really WOULD NOT understand American football. I had dinner with Susanne and John* and sat outside on their porch on Saturday night and watched the hummingbird wars and drank wine.

Perfect evening.

I also worked on refinishing this old washstand I bought 2 years ago.

It's a slow process, because it's so DAMN hot outside. When I get it finished, it will go in the newly refinished breakfast room/bar.

Well, almost refinished...I still have to paint the countertops. Can't decide whether to go for a dark granite look or a light marble paint effect. Opinions?

Since Monday was a holiday (Labor Day, remember? The traditional end-of-summer weekend), John and Susanne came over for supper on Sunday. When I asked them what I should make, John said "make something Louisiana"--so I made a big pot of sausage and chicken gumbo.

I know you are a world traveller, but you might not know gumbo--it's like a real thick soup/stew made with okra, onions, bell peppers, celery, whatever meat you have around, and served over rice. Get well and get here, and I will make you some. Oh, and in honor of the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that was raining on my high school classmates partying in Biloxi, Mississippi over the long weekend (yes, girls, I will join you next year!!), I made a batch of hurricanes--coconut rum and fruit juices (which you would love, if all that medication you have to take would let you drink alcohol). Which accounted for my wee headache on Monday morning. But I digress.

Over the weekend, I got more photographs mounted for sale. I am thinking about getting a booth at the Kaolin Festival with some fellow amateur photogs to see if I can earn a little income. Or a LOT of income. Which reminds me.... I gotta find a job. Seriously. Fast. Being a goddess has its perks, but the base salary sucks. Do you know how ridiculously clever one has to be when one tries to write a resume when one has been a stay-at-home-mom for 20 years? The fact that I churned one out is a testament to my clever writing skills. (Oh, to anyone wishing to view said resume (or CV as they call it in the world outside of the USA), just email me. Happy to share.)

I went to see "The Help" last night with Wesley, Alix and Will (Wesley's brother).

Cried. Several times. PROMISE me that when you get sprung from isolation and this movie arrives in Trondheim...GO SEE IT. You will understand me even more. As it is set in 1963, I would be the same age as Mae Mobley. My early years. You will love it. It is a movie right up your alley. I am so glad the writer/director stayed true to the book. My mom and sister-in-law Julie kept saying "read it, read it," but I didn't want the whole "southern-upper-class, black and white race thing in the 60's" being thrown in my face...but I finally broke down and it was A-MAZ-ING!!!" Not at all what I was expecting. I would tell you to read it, but as I know you aren't a reader...oh, just go see the movie. Oh, and they make a reference to hitting someone over the head with a skillet. Just so you know I didn't make that up.

Well, I have to run. I have a Guild meeting to run in 2 hours (how I ended up as President I will never understand.....), and then a 2 hour drive for a cross country meet. Can't forget the vuvuzela. I am now a legend in the high school xc world for my least in my own mind.

Now, get some rest, Captain...and don't make me open up a can of whoopass on those t-cells of yours!!!!!

*For those of you who are saying "John and Susanne?" You know them. Susanne is my crazy friend who is like a sister to me. She's made a few appearances here.