Tag Archives: Bodhisattva

August Break: Three

threeOn my writing desk, I have a tiny shrine. On one side, there are two ceramic dogs and a Bodhisattva. I found all three at different times at the Waldport Flea Market. The trio reminds me that one of my practices is dog, that the relationship I have with my dogs is something sacred.

On the other side of my tiny shrine, there’s a picture of me as a baby. In front of that is another Bodhisattva, sitting on the back of a foo dog, a powerful protector, a guardian. At both their feet is the tiniest Ganesh.

tinyshrinetinymeWhen I was first practicing meditation and studying Buddhism and heard about the Bodhisattva and her vow, learned that anyone could take that vow, I thought to myself “what kind of wacko would commit to that?” The Bodhisattva promised to keep coming back, to be reincarnated again and again, to continue to return to an existence where suffering existed and to help, to do what she could until there was no more suffering, until every being was free from it.

The more I think about it, the more sure I am that I will take this vow, that maybe I already have in some other life and I’m only just remembering. I feel certain that my mission, my purpose in life, my joy even is to ease suffering, in myself and the world.

This morning, it started with us three, me and my dogs, taking a long walk together.

#smallstone: Bodhisattva

writingbodhisattvaOn the small shrine on my writing desk is a white ceramic Bodhisattva with two dogs. I found her first and the bigger dog two summers later at the Flea Market in Waldport, Oregon. The tiny white plastic poodle with her is one of the only toys I ended up keeping from when I was a kid, my Barbie Doll dog.

I look at the three of them and it reminds me who I am, where my power rests. The feathers she holds remind me that softness is strength. It is also not lost on me that the same form that allows flight can also be dipped in a well of ink and used to write. The card I pulled this morning, a ten of cups, urged, “do not doubt this power.” This is who I am.

Day of Rest

Sweet, lionhearted Henry, a beautiful beast of a dog, died yesterday. Only one day before, his mom learned he had an inoperable tumor on his liver and was already very sick, too sick, and she’d have to let him go. I never met Henry, or his mom, but the pictures and stories she’s shared made me love him, and her, anyway.

Every loss like this is folded into my own. I almost can’t separate the sadness of losing my Dexter (or Obi before him) from the loss of every other dog loved and missed by someone, just like me. And certain dogs, for whatever reason and especially if they have cancer, touch that tender raw spot that I carry with me everywhere, always.

That’s what they don’t tell you about a broken heart — it’s not that it gets broken and then fixed, restored to its former state, but rather it gets broken open. Sometimes it feels like I’m walking around in the world not just naked, no clothes on, but with all my skin peeled off, my chest cracked open, utterly vulnerable and wounded, nothing to hide behind, no armor or mask or shield, no protection.

Oddly enough, this is an experience I chose. This is my path. You can armor up and numb out, run away or reject this way of living. It’s entirely possible through all sorts of means to disconnect from reality, to opt out. And yet, two years ago I made a distinct, conscious choice otherwise.

Committing to benefit others is traditionally called the path of the bodhisattva…the path of the spiritual warrior whose weapons are gentleness, clarity of mind, and an open heart. The Tibetan word for warriormeans “the one who cultivates bravery.” As warriors in training, we cultivate the courage and flexibility to live with uncertainty–with the shaky, tender feeling of anxiety, of nothing to hold on to–and to dedicate our lives to making ourselves available to every person, in every situation. ~Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

This is my path, to ease suffering, in myself and the world. There are days like today when I am feeling sad and a little stuck that I wonder if I can really do this, and yet when I give any attention to contemplating the matter, I understand that for me there really is no other way.

Full Buck Moon Dreamboard

Jamie isn’t hosting this month’s Full Moon Dreamboard, (she’s taking a break from blogging after losing her sweet mom), and I’m a couple of days late making mine. I almost skipped it. I’ve been feeling depressed this past week (missing my Dexter) and not wanting to do much of anything but lie on the couch, eat all kinds of wrong, sleep and watch tv and feel sorry for myself — but after doing this practice for more than a year, it just felt wrong to not do one, to not share it. I appreciate the comfort of this practice, the routine, the space and clarity it provides.

Jamie said last year about the Full Buck Moon, “There’s such gorgeous, lively energy under the Full Buck Moon! On the new moon, as we began gathering for our dreamboards, I invited you to ask yourself, ‘What are my most powerful dreams? Who am I when I am powerful?’ The Full Buck Moon is a time for stepping into that power. Now is the time to set intentions for bold action and big dreams, the time to take action and assert your presence in the world. Now is the time to take a stand and say, ‘Here I am! Here is what I’m dreaming!'”

The Full Buck Moon asks: “What are your most powerful dreams? Who are you when you are powerful?”

fullbuckmoon13

My teacher, Sakyong Mipham, said once,
“We think we are rocks, but we are gold.”
Awake, open, free.
Called to shine.

“I am constantly humbled by the ocean —
it teaches me that we can never control nature
or anything.
Rather, it is all about dancing with these dynamic waves
in ways where you are
poised between sensitivity and power.”

It’s not about being tough.
It’s about being tender, awake, open.

“Each of us feels
some aspect of the world’s suffering
acutely.
And we must pay attention.
We must act.
[Called to shine.]
This little corner of the world
[of our heart]
is ours to transform.
This little corner of the world
[of our heart]
is ours to save.”

I am the water, reflecting your light,
You are the echo of my heart’s song.

“We are all inextricably connected
to a field of awareness that is
infinite, unbounded, and eternal.
Meditation, yoga, and other practices
[writing and dog]
give us direct access
to this field of silent awareness.

By allowing our intentions
to drop into this state of silence and joy,
we put ourselves into the best position
for those intentions to manifest.”

There is a song in my heart,
a sleeping Bodhisattva,
but now it is dawn,
morning is here,
the sun is golden in the sky,
reflected off the water,
and it’s time to shine,
time to wake up.

Something Good

1. 75 ways to live a positively present life from Positively Present.

2. Karen Walrond at TEDxHouston 2012, shared on Upworthy in their post This Is Why Your Lover Thinks You’re Gorgeous In A Holey T-Shirt And Sweatpants. I recommend her blog too, maybe start with this recent post, random thoughts: on happiness, gratitude & meaning. She’s a speaker, photographer, writer, and all around superwoman “wildly convinced you’re uncommonly beautiful.”

3. Sh*t Hipsters Say.

4. This wisdom from Aart Van Der Leeuw,

The mystery of life
is not a problem to
be solved,
but a reality
to be experienced.

5. When I Read This I Think of You and 10 Things to Do When You Get Up Before the Sun on Elephant Journal.

6. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

7. Wisdom from J.M. Porup, “The job of the writer isn’t to answer questions. The job of the writer is to ask the questions for which there are no answers.”

8. The Daily Life of a Grandma and Her Odd-Eyed Cat, a sweet series of photos by Miyoko Ihara on demilked.

image by Miyoko Ihara

9. The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Bonsai Trees.

10. One of my favorite websites, Humans of New York, now has a theme song, and I have a new favorite band.

11. This wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, and what she said about morning.

12. 11 Habits You Need to Give Up to Be Happy and 7 Effective Ways Happy People Think from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

13. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : make peace, and your daily rock : recharge your soul, and your daily rock : wholeheartedly.

14. What if the Gift is the Ending? We Can Reimagine Our Lives? from Rachael Maddox.

15. Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son on Huffington Post. On her website’s about page, this mom says,

Although I am a Christian, I feel broken-hearted by the things that the church in America has become most known for. You will never find me marching in a parade against gay rights, abortion rights or immigrant rights. I do not resonate with those who are known for being AGAINST things, especially when what it amounts to is being against people’s hearts and souls.

16. How to Enjoy a Chore-less Weekend from Be More with Less.

17. Turning kindness inward, what Judy Clement Wall had to say about her Self-Compassion Saturday post.

18. How to Let Go: 5 Essential Tips on the Positivity Blog.

19. Home Retreat: The Practice of Doing Exactly What You Want from Susan Piver.

20. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

21. Wisdom from Natalie Goldberg,

There is no ultimate goal in meditation. Meditation is an acceptance of the mind, however it comes to you. And the mind changes all the time, just as the ocean waves change. Sometimes the water is turbulent, sometimes calm. Thoughts rise and then disappear; you don’t grab hold of them. The heart beats, the lungs breathe, and the mind continues to produce thoughts. Even if you’ve practiced for a long time, it will still produce thoughts, but you’re no longer thrown by them. You don’t have control of your mind; it goes where it wants to go. But with practice, you can have a relationship with it.

22. Discipline, devotion & dazzling charm: what I learned from three of the most famous bloggers in the world from Alexandra Franzen.

23. Wisdom from the book Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong by Norman Fischer,

We admire people who are wealthy, famous, or skillful in some way, but it’s not hard to be like that. If you are born with some talent, a little luck, and you know the right people, you can do that. Many people do that. Much more difficult and much more wonderful is to be a bodhisattva. Not someone that many people know about and talk about but someone who has the almost magical power of spreading happiness and confidence wherever he goes. What a vision for your life, for your family, to be a light for those around you! To think of everything you do, every action, every social role, every task, as being just a cover for, an excuse for, your real aspiration, to be a bodhisattva, spreading goodness wherever you go. This requires no luck (even if everything goes wrong in your life, you can do it), no special skills, no need to meet special people and get special breaks. We can all do this. This is the aspiration we should all cultivate for training the mind.

24. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

When I was younger, “being different” cost too much. I did anything I could to fit in. These days, “being normal” costs too much. I’m not willing to fit in with the pack, if it costs me my soul, my strength, and my reason for being. I didn’t come here to duck. I came here to fly.

25. Becoming More Authentic: Accept Yourself and Stop Seeking Approval on Tiny Buddha.

26. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

For any spiritual training or mental activity, we need concentration. Learning how to concentrate makes our minds strong, clear, and calm. Concentration protects our inner wisdom, like a candle flame sheltered from the wind. If our minds are cluttered with plans, concerns, thoughts, and emotional patterns, we have no space for our true selves.

And

Learning to live in the moment is a great and powerful skill that will help us in everything we do. To ‘‘be here now,’’ relaxed and engaged in whatever we are doing, is to be alive and healthy. In Buddhism, the awareness of what is happening right now is called mindfulness.

27. Every place is under the stars, a really great quote shared on A Design So Vast.

28. Appreciating My “Regular” Job and 50 Ways You Can Be Brave Today on The Self-Compassion Project.

29. Twenty seconds away from more joy! on Cherry Blossom Soup.

30. Whitney Cummings on The Conversation

31. From Brave Girls,

Today we have a sweet little challenge for you. What if for the next 24 hours, you focus on what is right, and not waste a single minute thinking about what is wrong? What if you run towards what you want, instead of running away from what you don’t want? What if you notice the beautiful little miracles and ignore the big distractions. What if you listen to the voice inside of you and let all of the other voices go? Just for 24 hours? Will you take us up on it? We suspect that it might just end up being one of the best days of your life. Enjoy it! Every single second of it! You are so loved. xoxo

32. Wisdom from Mr. Rogers, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”

33. Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread recipe. I make a biscuit like this that my friends call “crack biscuits,” so I am totally going to try this one.

34. From Positively Present Picks: How to let go of your ego, How to buy happiness, and A Dad had some weird conversations with his two-year-old daughter. So he reenacted them with two grown men, (two new episodes!).

35. From Rowdy Kitten’s Happy Links: Xanthe Berkeley Photos and Films, which led to this, her video set on Vimeo — really beautiful work.

36. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: honeysuckle biscuits with sea salt peach butter + honeysuckle mint vinaigrette, gorgeous food, luscious recipe.

37. Lots of new episodes on Why We Rescue.

38. When Facebook Likes Meet Real Life, Things Get … Complicated on Upworthy.

39. This wisdom from Hafiz, “You yourself are your own obstacle – rise above yourself.”

40. This wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention, which is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go. Everything in our lives can wake us up or put us to sleep, and basically it’s up to us to let it wake us up.

Full Moon Dreamboard: Full Strawberry Moon

6-Full-Strawberry-Moon

I swear, kind and gentle reader, I had no idea this month’s dreamboard was for a Strawberry Moon when I wrote my Day of Rest post earlier today. It’s a happy accident, a bit of magic, some kind of message from the Universe. At first, the color palette, the images and words I was finding were confusing to me, but when I found the beets, I totally got it.

Here’s what Jamie says, “The Full Strawberry Moon, the Full Honey Moon, the Full Rose Moon, what evocative names for this luscious, sensual moon. As we began to gather our supplies and images beneath the new moon, I invited you to consider the question, ‘What would I love to delight in this month?’ Let this moon set you free to dream with wild abandon, to bust through any barriers that have been in your way. Fill your dreamboard with whatever stirs your spirit and catches your soul – without censorship. Let yourself experience the luscious abundance of this moon and fill your dreamboard to overflowing. Let the pictures drip off the sides of the page. Run wild with your dreams under this full Strawberry moon.”

The Full Strawberry Moon asks: “What delights are you dreaming of?”

strawberrymoon13

Strawberries, obviously.
Flowers from my garden, inspiring me,
encouraging inner joy to bloom.
A touch of kindness.
Well-being off the mat.

Pure food, passion.
Great taste, joy.
Now, make friends with food again.
Eat what you want…

Moment to moment,
surrender is the choice
to open up to what is actually going on
inside us and around us.
It is the most profound form
of alignment with reality —
and it opens us to love.

An intuitive told me
I’m a sleeping Bodhisattva.
My spirit, my root chakra,
is literally a root,
a beautiful red beet
being sung a lullaby, a whispered shhhh…
and my own hands, thick with color and energy,
my heart listening to first thought,
my spirit trusting intuition,
will wake my true power,
the expanding light.

Full Flower Moon

Jamie asks: “What are you dreaming under this Full Flower Moon? This is the time when the buds have transformed into blooms, reminding us it is time to do the same. What are your full flower dreams? Who are you when you’re in full bloom?”

As seems to be the case with many things in my life, I’m a late bloomer — two days late making this dreamboard. And yet, it’s because I have been manifesting something pretty big (I can’t wait to tell you about it — details on Saturday!), using my energy to bloom and create, so it seems right that this one took a little extra time.

Full Flower Moon asks “How would you like to bloom? Who are you when you are in full bloom?”

fullflowermoon13

Practice: yoga, meditation, writing.
Light filled space.
Breath, words, and music.
Love.

All the memoirs that had ever been,
the entire alphabet,
breath and magic.

Cultivate softness.
Dream.
Breathe.
Radiate yourself.

You are a Bodhisattva,
a wisdom being,
fueled by mountain and ocean,
flower and tree,
bird, feather and flight,
green ground and vast blue sky.

Shantideva said:
May I be a protector to those without protection,
A leader for those who journey,
And a boat, a bridge, a passage
For those desiring the further shore.

Shantideva said:
May the pain of every living creature
Be completely cleared away.
May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world

I said: Life is tender and terrible,
beautiful and brutal —
may I keep my heart open.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be peaceful.
May I live with ease.
May I ease suffering,
in myself and in the world.