Mindfulness Monday: Miscellany

“Who looks outside, dreams;

who looks inside, awakes.”

Carl Jung

 

“You must live in the present,

launch yourself on every wave,

find your eternity in each moment.”

Henry David Thoreau

 

“Writing can be an

incredible mindfulness practice.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

image: © Lorraine (please do not use without permission)

I’d like to thank Lorraine for all her help during my recovery, she’s just the best!  Be sure to jump over to her blog and say hello.  Lorraine’s Frilly Freudian Slip

I wanted to give you all a little update on my surgery.  I’m doing very well, much better than I expected.  I’m able to do much, much more than I thought I would.  (Dr. Google was very wrong on that one)  I’m working on a post giving a proper update, I’m just slow going right now, but wanted to let everyone know that I’m doing very well, and thank you all for your well wishes through this challenge.  I don’t know what I’d do without my blog family.   “See” you soon.    ~ Wendy

 

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Mindfulness Monday – Storm

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Monsoons 2018, by W. Holcombe. all rights reserved

 

“You can’t calm the storm,

so stop trying.

What you can do is

calm yourself.

The storm will pass.”

~ Timber Hawkeye

 

“You will not be

the same after the

storms of life;

You will be stronger,

wiser and more alive

than ever before!”

~ Bryant McGill

 

“The great benefit of

practicing mindfulness…

is the presence of mind

within a storm

 of emotions.”

~ Phillip Moffitt

 

*photo was taken in Tucson, AZ , off my front porch, during monsoon season 2018.  It’s am amazing time, I wish I could get better pictures for you.  The monsoons are full of beauty and power, but…another of it’s secret powers is to cause super duper migraines.  Ahh.  Please do not use this image without permission.

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – Judging

After writing this it dawned on me that judging is not always negative. However, in this post, please assume all references to judging are meant negatively.

I found myself judging people recently.  I touched on this a couple of weeks ago when I posted on Kindness.  I realized just how much people judge others.  I don’t think many of us mean to, it just happens.  There is something, someone does, that simply doesn’t mesh with what you believe in, and, let’s face it, gossiping is so easy.  Often I find myself not having anything in common with someone I’m forced to talk with except for out dislike of someone else, this often leads to gossip, does that happen to you guys?

In Buddhism, one of the Eight Fold Path is “Samma vaca: Right speech: No lying, criticism, condemning, gossip, harsh language. Right
Speech involves abstaining from lying, gossiping, or hurtful talk.”   I find this very hard to follow.  In further teachings, one is taught that you much have Right thought: This goes one step further than Right Speech, you don’t simply not talk ill of someone, you don’t even have that thought.  Now that is something to aspire to!  If I have to do that one to obtain Enlightenment, I probably won’t be getting there any time soon.

In Christianity, the Bible states in Matthew 7:1 “1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”  (there are several other mentions of judging people, but the all pretty much repeat what Matthew has said here or they have expounded on it.  You can find out more here. 

In Islam, Allah said : “O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other.”, among other verses that condemn judging others.

If being non-judgmental is taught by so many religions, why is it common practice amongst almost everyone one?  Heck, most religions judge other religions and their followers.  I don’t know if it’s even possible to go through life never judging anyone, but wouldn’t it be a much better place if we could.  I doubt I’ll ever get there, but I am going to try my best to not gossip; well, I might bitch a little to Stuart just so I won’t hold explode, but other than that, I will try…I can’t promise, but I’m going to try.

(I mean how could you not judge someone who signs a car financing agreement without looking at how much the car cost?  She’s either stupid, or lying.  Since moving to Tucson I’m listening to this kind of thing a lot, I’m judging, and it’s stressing me out big time!  I’d go so far as to say, it’s making me sick.  What am I going to do?  The judging seems to be automatic, that guilt is causing enough stress, add to that the stress of feeling like I shouldn’t talk about it, I’m wound up tight as a tick!  (if you aren’t from the South, you can find out what they means here.  Suffice to say, pretty darn stressed)

Don’t judge yourself by your past. You don’t live there anymore.  ~Unknown

The world would be a happier, more peaceful place if we all tried to understand instead of judging, paused before reacting, and gave each other the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst.  ~Lori Deschene

Please don’t judge people. You don’t know what it took someone to get out of bed, look and feel as presentable as possible and face the day. You never truly know the daily struggles of others.   ~Karen Salmansohn

 

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Aqua Caliente by Wendy Holcombe    Hmmm, I’m judging these oranges to be beautiful.  Funny how an adjective that change the meaning of a word, isn’t it?

Mindfulness Monday – Kindness

water scene2“Three things in human life are important:

the first is to be kind;

the second is to be kind;

and the third is to be kind.”

~ Henry James

 

What does it mean to be kind?  Often kindness is confused with compassion, but there is a difference.  Kindness is simply being friendly to a person whether they are suffering of not.  Compassion is reaching out to someone who is suffering. 

When I read Toni Bernhard’s book, How to Wake Up, (and later an article she wrote about kindness) I was touched by what she calls “friendliness practice”.

She describes it like this, “As I turn the front doorknob to leave my house, I consciously resolve to maintain an attitude of friendliness toward all the strangers I see…If I’m waiting in line, I look at each person around me and silently say to each one: ‘May you enjoy this day’; or ‘I hope you have fun today.’”

I have tried to do this practice and have found that it lifts my heart, simply sending loving kindness to those around me fills me with joy.  

I find it so fulfilling to see the joy on a stranger’s face when I am nice to them, whether it’s a complement or simply saying having a small conversation, kindness can make your day so much more joyful.

However, there are times when I find myself automatically judging people I don’t even know.  For example, recently we were riding in a “questionable” part of town and were suddenly stuck because someone pulled out in front of everyone, just to go from one convenience store to another on the opposite side of the street.  The man was driving a new Cadillac that was all tricked out, and when he smiled you could see gold teeth.  We both automatically thought, drug dealer. We knew nothing about this man except what we saw on the outside, yet we found ourselves judging him.  This is something most of us do, and I’m sure I’ll do it again, but I’m trying to be kinder.  When I find myself having these judgments I’m trying to follow Toni’s example and silently say something kind to this person anyway.  Just as Toni said, I found that this action normally stops the judgment…but sometimes it doesn’t, it’s at those times I need to be kind to myself and continue to try my best.

 

“Kindness is within our power even when fondness is not.” ~ Samuel Johnson

 

I’m certain that no one is fond of everyone, but being kind to someone doesn’t mean we have to like the person.  In this day of political tensions, prejudice, racism….I know I have never been surrounded by so much hate.  The Buddha taught, “Hatred does not cease by hatred, only by non-hatred.”  We can “not hate” someone without liking them.  When you don’t hate it’s much easier to be kind.

It has pained me to find out that some of my ‘friends’ have such differing views than I have, many of these views are, in my opinion, unethical and morally wrong.  Because of the extreme differences in our views, and often the venom that I hear spoken by others voicing their opinions, I’m finding that I don’t really like many of these people any more, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be kind to them.  I try to find what we have in common, I think we all want to be happy and to stop suffering, when I look at someone in that light, I find it much easier to be kind.  I don’t have to agree with someone to be kind.  That doesn’t mean I’m okay with their views, it means I can be nice to them, that’s a lot more than I sometimes think I can do, but let’s face it, being kind to someone feels a whole lot better than hating them, hatred makes me feel really bad.

 

That brings me to this quote:

 “Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.” ~ Eric Hoffer

The more often you are kind, the more natural it will become.  Kindness becomes a habit and it grows within you, by being kind to others, you are in turn, kind to yourself. 

 

** I hope you enjoyed this different take on Mindfulness Monday, be sure to remember to be kind to yourself.

I highly recommend Toni Bernard’s books, especially “How To Be Sick; A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers”.  This book changed literally my life, and I refer back to it over and over.  If you, or someone you know, is dealing with chronic illness, do yourself a favor and check this book out.  (This is completely my opinion, no one asked me to post this, and I’m not being compensated for it.  I simply love this book.)

 

(image created by Wendy Holcombe using Autodesk Sketchbook, please to not use without permission)

 

Mindfulness Monday – Birth(day)

silly goose
doodle by wendy – silly goose

“May I be easily able to let whatever needs to go, go.

And may whatever wants to come

be radiantly and joyously born.”

~ Tosha Silver

 

“The purpose of our lives

Is to give birth to the best

Which is within us.”

~ Marianne Williamson

 

“Every morning we are born again.

What we do today is what matters most.”

~ Buddha

 

You might be able to tell from the the quotes….Today is my birthday!  I hope you have a wonder filled day, and have a grand un-birthday. (unless of course it is your birthday too, in that case, I hope your celebration is grand!)

Image is “Silly Goose” a silly doodle by me.  It’s one of those doodles that comes from a stray mark on a page in my drawing journal.  Try it, make a swoop on the page and let it be the start of a doodle.  You can even make it silly.  😉

 

 

Mindfulness Monday – Family (Ohana)

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“I don’t care whose DNA had

recombined with whose.

When everything goes to hell,

the people who stand by you

without flinching-

They are your family.”

~Jim Butcher

 

“That’s what people do who love you.

They put their arms around you

and love you when you’re

not so lovable.”

~Deb Caletti

 

“You must remember,

family is often born of blood,

but it doesn’t depend on blood.

Nor is it exclusive of friendship.

Family members can be your best friends, you know.

And best friends, whether or not they are related to you,

Can be your family.”

~Trenton Lee Stewart

 

*photo taken at Wendy and Stuart’s wedding (I’m the one in yellow)

Thank you to all who are members of my Ohana.  I love you.  ( Part of Hawaiian culture, ʻohana means family (in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional). The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.’)

“Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” ~Lilo and Stitch

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Just because they are gone, doesn’t mean they will ever be forgotten.  Pets are Ohana too.

Meaningful Monday – Suffering

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“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching,

and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be.

I have been bent and broken, but

—I hope—

Into a better shape.”

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“There is the solitude of suffering,

when you go through darkness that is

lonely, intense, and terrible.

Words become powerless to express your pain;

what others hear from your words is

so distant and different from what you are actually suffering.”

John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

We must look deeply in order to understand

the needs, aspirations, and suffering

of the person we love.

This is the ground of real love”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

 

*photo by W. Holcombe.  Baby Opuntia (prickly pear) Cactus.  Please do not use without permission.

I did things a little differently this week, the not all of the quotes would be considered “mindful”, but I felt they were more meaningful this week.

 

 

I want to be a better friend to those who are in pain.

 

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*Content warning: This post discusses suicide and depression.

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook and I had to share it with you.

Why “I love you” and “Please reach out” are the crappiest things to post after someone has died by suicide – by Deanna Zandt

I have been one of those people with good intentions who have simply said the wrong things, and for that, I’m deeply sorry.  I have been there, yet I still don’t know what to say when a friend is in their darkest moments.  I need to always remember, I didn’t want to die because I didn’t feel loved, I simply wanted the pain to stop.  It helped me to have someone sit with me, hold my hand, and simply be a witness to my pain.  It helped me to know that they would help if they could, but that they didn’t try to force this false help on me.  I know these things, but it’s very hard to do these things for someone from afar.  I can’t simply sit with someone when they are in pain if I can’t be physically with them.  Often, when I reach out to someone through texts, or messages, I don’t know what to say after that initial contact. Silence is unacceptable when you are texting.  I want them to know that I care, and I simply want to be there for them.  I know I can’t fix it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to.

I also read another article I found interesting: Depression and Suicide: Being mindful and accepting of the pain of the dark days – by Jack C. Surguy M.A. 

Jack Surguy mentions something that I found helpful for me; by accepting that everything changes I can take solace in knowing that these feelings will not last forever.  (even if they feel like they will)  When I’m am suffering I know that it will end, that is actually my mantra when my emotions are all out of wack, “this will end”.  I guess it’s a variation on “this too shall pass”, but that sounds trite to me for some reason.  I promise no matter what you are going through right now, good, bad or indifferent, it will change.

I hope you find both of these articles interesting and possibly helpful.

Right now my wrist is killing me, so I need to stop typing, but after the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, I felt I needed to talk about this, I want to do better.  I want my friends (you) to know I love them, that I care, and that I respect their pain.  I want them to know this every day, not just times like these.

 

* photo by W. Holcombe.  A red yucca plant viewed while lying down looking at the sky.  I found it stunning.

 

Mindfulness Monday: to be in the moment*

“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.”

Victoria Moran

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

Mother Teresa

“Welcome to the present moment. Here. Now. The only moment there ever is.”

Eckhart Tolle

* Wendy is settling into her new life in Tucson and asked me to fill in for her today. When she gets the chance, she’ll post about her adventures.

This week, I’m returning to the simple principal of mindfulness (as Wendy has taught me): be in the moment.

© Lorraine (detail of tile mosaic, Natural History Museum subway station, NYC)

Mindfulness Monday – Travel

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“Everything I was I carry with me.

Everything I will be lies waiting on the road ahead.”

~ Majian

 

“Wherever you go

There you are”

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

“We travel,

Some of us forever,

To seek other states,

Other lives, other souls.”

~ Anais Nin

 

 

* Photos are from the road traveling from North Carolina to Arizona, We aren’t there yet, we’re in New Mexico should be in Tucson this afternoon.

Safe travels.