Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Well, I was feeling pretty low when I made my last post. Furthermore I was unfair to my friends and family. My father would have checked on A for me and probably I could have talked K into checking on her as well. I definetely could have called D and N for help. In fact, after reading my blog, N called to tell me that she and D hoped I knew that I could count on them and that would be have been willing and happy to have checked on A for me. It warmed my heart and made me realize just what a funk I have been in lately. I have isolated and distanced myself from my friends and even the Zen Center. I have just been working and watching tv and reading and not getting out of the house at all. I think spending so much time in my own company has not served to make me any happier. I have decided to force myself to get out more. I am always reluctant to get out and socialize, but I always feel better when I do. As such, I have decided to impose myself and my company on D and N for Superbowl Sunday. I do not think I have to work and while I am clueless to all things regarding sports, it will do me good to get out of the house and socialize and Dand N are perfect for that.
Where ever you go, There you are!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Where oh where is my frigging helmet? I am enjoying the winter blahs as it is and feeling frustrated and unappreciated at work, then A calls me sobbing telling me she has stepped on a nail and is in a lot of pain. S was at work today and I knew she would give me crap about leaving so I stayed. In fact, I did not even ask to leave. It about broke my heart. To think my baby is at home in pain all alone and I am stuck at work getting screamed at by some 60 yr old guy who is mad because his wife has to sign a new contract because the account is in her name and not his. It just brought home to me how unsatisfied I am right now. Then, when I do get home I take A to Urgent Care and in the waiting room I am reading Oprah's "O" magazine and it is all about how to find a career that suits you and a perfect partner and to make your first million. It just made me feel worse. The article was about people who work as career counselors and hospice workers and charity fundraisers-where are the magazines with articles about people like me? That is why I do not watch Oprah-her show only applies to the upper class and I do not care if they are unhappy-they really have no right to be. The article did talk about change and I know I am blue because it is time for me to move on at work and I can not find an opening that works for me. I remember how much I did not want to transfer to where I am now. I remember how anxious I was and nervous and how hard it was to find my niche. I fit really well now and am happy except for my boss and the demands somewhat-more the lack of support and appreciation for what I do. I am just overwhelmed today. I have no support. My mom moves heaven and earth to help K but has no time for me. My father is not reliable, my friends are not reliable, my ex-husband is not reliable-it is just me. Most times I do not care, most times it does not matter-but today I want help. Today I want someone I can call who can actually help me. I was even desperate enough to call Je-who did not answer or call back. It is so odd to think that this time last year he was probably my best friend and I talked to him everyday for hours and saw him at least once a week. It does not really matter, A is my responsibility and not anyone elses-not even her father apparently. My glass is most definetely half empty today.
It is what it is. As L says, "My life sucks and I have no helmet!"
~~~~Whever ever you go, There you are!

Friday, January 20, 2006

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Dhammapada(Path of Truth)
Awareness is the path of immortality;
thoughtlessness is the path of death.
Those who are aware do not die.
The thoughtless are as if dead already.
The wise having clearly understood this delight in awareness
and find joy in the knowledge of the noble ones.
These wise ones, meditative, persevering,
always using strong effort,
attain nirvana, the supreme peace and happiness.5
There is no fire like lust, no chain like hate;
there is no snare like folly, no torrent like craving.
The faults of others are easy to see;
our own are difficult to see.
A person winnows others' faults like chaff,
but hides one's own faults,
like a cheater hides bad dice.
If a person is concerned about the faults of others
and is always inclined to be offended,
one's own faults grow
and one is far from removing faults.6
Lift up your self by yourself;
examine your self by yourself.
Thus self-protected and attentive
you will live joyfully, mendicant.
For self is the master of self;
self is the refuge of self.
Therefore tame yourself,
like a merchant tames a noble horse.
Joyful and faithful in the doctrine of the Buddha,
the mendicant finds peace,
the joy of ending natural existence.7
****Selected quotes from the Dhammapada
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Why religion? Why Spiritualism? Why Buddhism?

Religion comes from people feeling alienated and separated;

from each other and from their own suffering.

The Buddha's teaching is about direct experience.
Buddhism is not a 'belief system'.

The basic Buddhist teaching is 'The Four Noble Truths'
Suffering; it's cause; it's end; and the way to that end.

The goal of Buddhism is freedom from suffering:
(Nibbana in Pali, Nirvana in Sanskrit).

Religions usually start when one person has a profound understanding of life (the universe and everything). They try and share their insight - they teach. Other people get interested in religion because they see something in that person's TRUTH; they too want to know about the truth.

The word 'religion' is from the 12th century Latin 'religio', meaning fear of the supernatural and from 'religare', to tie up, from 're' and 'ligare', to bind or to join with..

So then, what is this 'some-thing' that we are to join with - or be afraid of? Most religions say that this 'thing' is God. But what is this God thing? And it goes on like this and on like this and on like this. The trouble with words is that they are limited - the word can never be the same as the thing it is describing.

You can listen to many different teachings but only through your own study can you actually realise THE TRUTH.

What is absolutely true?
What is always, forever good?
Where is freedom?

Religion points to the unlimited - the REAL thing - which is no-thing.
Infinity is where parallel lines meet.
In the beginning there was . . . nothing.
My true nature is outside my self
In the beginning there was everything - it just didn't know it was god!

Religion can be a bit of a mind bender.
Take a break here and have a look at the word 'PARADOX' - and relax. Enjoy - or change channels!

paradox: A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement that is or may be
true: religious truths are often expressed in paradox. A self-contradictory
proposition, such as: 'I always tell lies'. A person or thing exhibiting
apparently contradictory characteristics. An opinion that conflicts with common

Because life - religion - everything is a bit of a paradox, the Buddha didn't teach about whether there is or isn't a god or gods. He said that just because you believe in something doesn't mean that it is true. I am writing this and I say to you 'I am a monk'. You can believe me if you want but you don't really know if it is true. And then you meet me and see that I am just some crazy punk - ''NO! NO! its really true! I am not a punk I am a monk. Believe me.'' And you use your intelligence and wisdom (you have got some for sure) and you decide -- 'is it true or not?'

The Buddha based his teaching on what can be directly experienced. Like, if I have a bad feeling then I can know that. God I can't be so sure of but when I am grumpy I can be sure I am grumpy. What you believe is really grumpy might be different but I know what I know, for me.

Religion is about solving life's problems. So that's where the Buddha started. He began with the one thing that every human being has - problems. Because this is something that everyone has at different times it is called a 'truth'. The Basis of the Buddha's teaching is:''The Four Noble Truths''

''The Four Noble Truths''

They are called 'Noble' because they lead to peace, to freedom. They liberate. And - yes, you guessed it (clever, clever) - there are four of them - TRUTHS that is.

Usually people get interested in religion because of some problem or difficulty in life. This tendency to problems is what the Buddha was pointing to in the first Noble Truth. The word he used is from the Pali language - DUKKHA. It is usually translated as suffering.


''There is suffering.''

I have never met anyone who disagrees with this.

The suffering is not so much physical as mental. It is what we 'add on' to a situation. For example you have a nice china coffee mug -- you drop it and it breaks. Maybe it drops on your toe and there is pain. I'm sure you can survive this much. What is difficult to deal with are the add-ons . . . ''Oh, that was my favourite mug. My best friend gave me that; I will never get another. What stupid idiot left it balanced there anyhow? How can I tell my friend? And look at the stain on the carpet. My mother will kill me. It's not fair. Why do these things happen to me?''

Grizzle, whinge, whine, moan, complain, whimper, snivel

S U F F E R I N G !

It's difficult to accept the facts of life the way they are!
Mug is broken -- sweep it up and make another drink!
Your boy/girl friend leaves you -- oh well, things change!
You want to go to the beach and it starts raining -- no worry;
'I'll stay home and read a book.'

To be content with things just the way they happen is not easy.

So the dukkha, the suffering is something we actually create -- we make the problem. Mugs break, friends come & go, the weather changes -- all of this is natural. Do you suffer because of these kind of things? Would you like it if they didn't happen?


''There is suffering because of desire.''

We don't want things to go wrong we want them to go right. This is only natural. But the bad news is that it is natural for things to go wrong (sometimes). Most people can see this but it is very difficult to fully accept it. The good news is - it will change (eventually).

'I want my mug in one piece'
'I want my lover back'
'I want to go surfing'

Because we do have some control in the world, and can often get what we want (and that is nice) we want that all the time. SORRY. No can do. Sure, you are careful with mugs; you try and look after your friends, but ... you've got to allow nature to do its thing.

Go with the flow.

If you can see when it is time to stop wanting and just leave things be your suffering will decrease. Like if you are trying to push start a car with a dead battery. You push -- and it nearly goes -- push -- and push again -- its worth making the effort. You want the engine to go. But maybe the nature of that engine means it won't start. Know when to stop. Take a break. Flag someone down. Call the repair man.

Knowing when to let go of desire is using wisdom.


''The end of suffering comes with the end of desire.''

Pretty obvious really.

An itching story:

Maybe you know what poison ivy is? There is one variety that really itches. You get it on your skin and little blisters form -- and do they itch. Drives you crazy. So -- you scratch. And does it feel good? Only trouble is that the blisters burst and the liquid spreads on the skin and -- oh no! and more blisters form -- and do they itch. Drives you crazy. So -- you scratch. And it feels good. Ahhhh! But this goes on and on until you begin to think 'This is suffering. I've got to stop scratching and just let nature heal all these blisters.'

How does your suffering appear? People itch after material things: cars, money, etc. -- after sensual things: drink, drugs, sex, etc. -- after emotional things: love, praise, etc.

You're itching to be ... what? intelligent; good looking; cool; tough; fast; loveable; rich; artistic; whatever. You know your not all of that but you want it so much. This desire is the itching. So you go for it -- the scratching. And it kind of feels good? Only trouble is ... if it is against nature ... there is a bad result. Fakes fall over. If you're not tough and you scratch someone tough ... Ooooow.

Desire (itching); leads to bad, unwise action (scratching); leads to more itching; leads eventually to suffering. Somewhere down the line you've got to stop scratching.

Just be yourself. Be true to your own nature.


''There is a way to let go of desire.''

This 'way' is called 'The Eightfold Path' - because there are eight steps. They steps are usually divided into two groups
wisdom - morality - concentration

1 · Right View - understanding human nature - understanding The Four Noble Truths.
2 · Right Thought - or right intention. Thoughts free frrom greed, anger and cruelty.

3 · Right Speech - avoiding: false; slanderous; harsh; frivolous speech.
4 · Right Action - not killing; not stealing; avoiding sexual misconduct.

5 · Right Livelihood - it should be by legal and peaceful means.
6 · Right Effort - to overcome ones unwholesome mind states.
7 · Right Mindfulness - developing mental clarity, being awake & alert
8 · Right Concentration - is 'one pointedness of mind'

This eight-fold path leads to the goal of Buddhism - enlightenment.

Every one wants to be happy. True or false? You may get some (weird) people that like physical pain. But that is their way of seeking happiness. We all have different ideas about what will make us happy - free from unhappiness.

What we really want is freedom. This is the goal of Buddhism.

But what is freedom?

It is very difficult to define freedom so let's start by looking at what it is not - SLAVERY!

What are you a slave to?
Who me? A slave?

Yes you. Slavery is: 'being subject to some influence or habit that has power over you.' If you smoke cigarettes (yuk) then chances are you are a slave to tobacco. Surf the net a lot? Maybe you are a cyberslave. Television slavery? "I've just have to watch!" Sweet, sugary things? These are all quite obvious addictions for some people. Physical addictions are easily seen and, with something 'visible' to work on, not such a problem. It is the mental things we are addicted to that are much more difficult to notice. These mental things tend to be ideas we have about ourselves as a person. Who we think we are. How we think others see us or, how we want them to see us.

We are slaves to self-view.

We are all a bit of a slave to fashion. How our hair and our clothes look. 'I wouldn't be seen dead in those colours.' Slave to beauty? Clear skin, good looks, not too fat . . . get a big zit and SUFFER? Changing your hair style is not such a problem but can you be content with how your body is and the way changes?

How about praise? Everybody likes it but how is it for you when you get blamed or criticised? 'You're such a jerk. What a really dumb thing to do.' 'You're not really going to wear that revolting thing are you. You've got no taste at all.'

When you want things to be a certain way - well dressed, good looking, etc. - and someone points out that they aren't that way - do you suffer? Can you let go of your desire - to be chic and attractive - and just be the way you are. Sure, you can make changes, but right now -you're reading these words - is it OK? Do you like yourself? Can you accept that right now you have to be like this?

Freedom is being able to not make it a problem.
Freedom is not being a slave to anything.
Freedom is allowing it to be.
Freedom is free.
Freedom is.

The Charge of the Goddess
Now listen to the words of the Great Mother,who was of old also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride, and by many other names. At her altars, the youth of Lacedaemon in Sparta made due sacrifice.
Whenever ye have need of any thing,once in the month,and better it be when the moon is full,then shall ye assemble in some secret place, and adore the spirit of me,who am Queen of all witches.
There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery,yet have not won its deepest secrets;to these will I teach things that are as yet unknown.
And ye shall be free from slavery;and as a sign that ye be really free,ye shall be naked in your rites;and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit,and mine also is joy on earth;for my law is love unto all beings.
Keep pure your highest ideal;strive ever towards it, let naught stop you or turn you aside;for mine is the secret door which opens upon the land of youth,and mine is the cup of wine of life,and the cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality.
I am the gracious Goddess,who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man.Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal;and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom,and reunion with those who have gone before.
Nor do I demand sacrifice;for behold, I am the Mother of all living,and my love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess; she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, whose body encircles the universe.
I who am the beautyof the green earth and the white moon uponthe mysteries of the waters,I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
For I am the soul of naturethat gives life to the universe.From me all things proceed and unto methey must return.Let My worship be in theheart that rejoices, for behold,all acts of love and pleasureare My rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength,power and compassion,honor and humility,mirth and reverence within you.And you who seek to know me,know that the seeking and yearningwill avail you not,unless you know the Mystery:for if that which you seek,you find not within yourself,you will never find it without.
For behold,I have been with you from the beginning,and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

I am the Mistress of the night~ The three and the One
I am the Moon, the Sea and the Mother Earth
I am all that was, and is, and ever shall be.
I am the gentle breeze and the rain which nurtures all living things
I am all these things and more.
I have been with you with from the beginning
And shall be with you at the end of time~
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Forgive me dedicated blogger readers it has been....... weeks since my last post:) At least a month since I wrote anything of true substance. Yikes!!!!!!!

New years resolutions, hm, did I cover this already? My major goal for the new year is to live totally and completely in the moment. It feels like I spend my life just getting through, getting by and getting over something or other. The truth is the moments are my life and rather than trying to just survive it, I want to live it. Every little argument with A, every customer having a huge meltdown over the $10.00 phone book transfer fee, every time I tell A for millionth time to BRUSH HER TEETH!!!!!!!!!, everytime I ignore my mom's calls and let the voicemail get it, every time I do dishes or laundry or drive to work. I need to truly be present in the moment, every moment.

Then there are the things I would like to see happen in the new year. First and foremost to take better care of my health. I have been sick quite abit this year and I think I can eat better, sleep better, excercise more and meditate more and benefit loads from it. I would also like to see myself partnered this year. I think I have had a nice long-mostly enjoyable-time of being exclusively single and I am ready to be a part of a couple again. I want to finish my bachelors and perhaps even start my masters-but at the least finish my bachelors. Perhaps move or purchase a house? I am still in the air about that one:) I also want to try and be a more relaxed parent and try to focus less on A's short comings and more on our good times together. That is much easier said than done. I tell you, each day with A has to be taken moment by moment and see how it goes and what develops, sigh. If this is her last year as a pre-teen I am almost scared to experience her first year as a teen. I am also hoping that my sister B still comes to live with me. I love her dearly and would like to have her here everyday. I would also like to develop my writing abilities perhaps. I am an excellent writer, but not to good at fiction. I would like to take a writing class maybe or even just to try my hand it untrained and see what develops. I am not looking to be published or famous, but I do think it would be a good hobby for me. Now all I need is an idea to write about:)

Lets see, I saw King Kong and sadly it sucked. It was so darn boring and it seemed to take at least an hour to even get a scene with King Kong in it. I found the back story boring and did not feel as sorry for King Kong as I thought I would. Well, I am not really that much of an animal lover anyway and honestly, King Kong could hardly be left to run around New York killing innocent people. I do think more of an attempt could have been made to return him to his forbidden island and that he should never have been stolen and exploited anyway.

I find myself pulling more away from my witchy beliefs and more towards my Buddhist beliefs. I am not sure if that is good or bad and if I care or not. I still feel a pull towards all things pagan but I focus more and more on the present and less and less on the mystical. Not that I do not believe in the mystical as much as it is less important. Buddhism focuses so much on this moment, honoring the past, recognizing the future-but truly focusing on THIS moment. As that type of thought and practice becomes a part of me, I focus less and less on witchy things. It is sad in a way. I think I will always be a witch at heart and in some of my practice, I very much "cling" to my pagan roots. Part of the core definition of myself is very much tied up in both my witchiness and my blackness. I find myself focusing less and less on these aspects of myself and more and more on the present. In a way I fear losing this definition of myself and sometimes panic at how detached I have become to the very things that most defined who I am. In other ways I am very proud of myself for growing beyond the need to cling so strongly to these aspects of myself. Life is change and letting go is to fear less and live more.

I have become fascinated with idea of 'locs-dreadlocks. I have always liked and kind of wanted them. This year I decided to really look into it. I know they are expensive to maintain and require quite abit of work to look good. I have also heard that the best ones are grown from scratch and for that I would need to shave my head and start over. Normally this would have been enough to make me forget the whole thing. Now, I find myself fascinated with the idea. I cling to my hair and what it represents for me and I know a common Buddhist practice is to let go of that which we cling to and I believe that shaving my head would be ideal for that. I could let go of my ideals of beauty and what my hair represents to me, both as a woman and an american. I also like the idea of a more tradionally african hair style. I am going to give it further thought, but right now I think spring or summer might be a good time.

Well, currently I am home, off of work sick as a dog. I have a blasted bladder/kidney infection and I feel like absolute shite. I was already off this weekend but due to my illness I had to also take off yesterday and today. My boss is such a complete and total biotch. She acted like I got sick on purpose or was lying about being sick to spite her. She insisted on my discharge papers from the emergency room. What makes me so angry is that I have worked sick the vast majority of this winter. I mean really sick, feverish, hoarse, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, no voice at all-you name it. I have left A at home alone and gone to work and then she acts like I am lying for some time off because I am sick. I am honestly at home, in my pj's in pain and feeling totally miserable. The more I work for her, the more I believe that perhaps there is a devil in human form. Lol! Anyway, I have decided to take a stand against het unchecked and rampant biotchhood and I am going to make her clal HR and HR back her up in seeing my hospital papers before I hand anything over to her. Mostly because we had an employee-a sales rep-who called in two weekends in a row and I KNOW she did not have give documentation of her illness and I am just sick to death of S acting one way with some employees and totally different way with others. I truly believe I have ill so muc because I am constantly working sick and therefore never truly recovering from my illnesses. Also, I really give my all to that job, come in early, stay late, even coming in on my days off and vacation time. I deserve better from her, way better and I am sick unto death of her bullshit behavior. So, we shall see what develops and see if she can not be knocked down a peg or two from her high and mighty throne:)
~~~~Where ever you go, There you are!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

By Phil Stewart
ROME (Reuters) - Forget the U.S. debate over intelligent design versus evolution.
An Italian court is tackling Jesus -- and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.
The case pits against each other two men in their 70s, who are from the same central Italian town and even went to the same seminary school in their teenage years.
The defendant, Enrico Righi, went on to become a priest writing for the parish newspaper. The plaintiff, Luigi Cascioli, became a vocal atheist who, after years of legal wrangling, is set to get his day in court later this month.
"I started this lawsuit because I wanted to deal the final blow against the Church, the bearer of obscurantism and regression," Cascioli told Reuters.
Cascioli says Righi, and by extension the whole Church, broke two Italian laws. The first is "Abuso di Credulita Popolare" (Abuse of Popular Belief) meant to protect people against being swindled or conned. The second crime, he says, is "Sostituzione di Persona," or impersonation.
"The Church constructed Christ upon the personality of John of Gamala," Cascioli claimed, referring to the 1st century Jew who fought against the Roman army.
A court in Viterbo will hear from Righi, who has yet to be indicted, at a January 27 preliminary hearing meant to determine whether the case has enough merit to go forward.
"In my book, The Fable of Christ, I present proof Jesus did not exist as a historic figure. He must now refute this by showing proof of Christ's existence," Cascioli said.
Speaking to Reuters, Righi, 76, sounded frustrated by the case and baffled as to why Cascioli -- who, like him, came from the town of Bagnoregio -- singled him out in his crusade against the Church.
"We're both from Bagnoregio, both of us. We were in seminary together. Then he took a different path and we didn't see each other anymore," Righi said.
"Since I'm a priest, and I write in the parish newspaper, he is now suing me because I 'trick' the people."
Righi claims there is plenty of evidence to support the existence of Jesus, including historical texts.
He also claims that justice is on his side. The judge presiding over the hearing has tried, repeatedly, to dismiss the case -- prompting appeals from Cascioli.
"Cascioli says he didn't exist. And I said that he did," he said. "The judge will to decide if Christ exists or not."
Even Cascioli admits that the odds are against him, especially in Roman Catholic Italy.
"It would take a miracle to win," he joked.