Neighbours… or sometimes it would be nice not to have any

After a week of grey rain, gray clouds, grey people and gray dogs the weekend came with sunburst and starlight. Warm days, warm nights and people acting stupid drunk at 2am on the stoop next door on Saturday night.

 

With their annoying whiny loud voices discussing earth, movies and fake friends, the drunk and stupid woke me at 2am.

An engaging discussion it was not, so I turned on a Spotify’s white noise selection.

Ocean waves and hypnotic rain drops blended with annoying whiny loud voices and the not engaging discussion, pushed me over the edge. The edge of my bed that is.

Obviously, this did not help.

311 did.

The cops arrived on the scene and off the stoop went the whiny loud voices along with their not engaging discussion.

Good riddance, good night.

Alas,

hanging with Sandy (Mr. Sandman) was not to be.

Fine…

got up at 7am and ran 10 miles around Ppark.  Afterwards came home, showered, dressed and dragged my reluctant Greyhound, Katie out the door.

Reluctance on her part because if she had it her way, she’d sleep for 14 hours instead of pounding the pavement! (Some bad habits must be broken)

We walked.

Up the block, past Ppark, past Brooklyn Public Library, past the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens to the Brooklyn Museum.

Wowza.

(Brooklyn surely in the house with this writing)

We sat, or rather I sat on the steps of the museum, as Katie refused to sit or lay down or just about follow any command coming from my mouth.

All good.

“Neighours…or sometimes it would be nice not to have any”.

On our return home I ran into a neighbour I have not seen in a long while sitting in a chair outside her home. She did not attend my mom’s prayer service. (Not good, so not good)

I listened to her wail over the loss of her own mother, how my mother loved me very much, how she should have come to visit my mom when she was at home, how her son treats her bad, how her daughter treats her bad, how she’s suffering from Dementia, how her hair fell out, how she’s not feeling well, how she’s glad my mom listened to her lawyer advice, how the world is against her…

Enough.

But, at least she asked me how I was.

As Katie and I stood there listening to the never-ending misery of her life (wanting to trade this encounter in for the whiny drunks on the stoop at 2am) another neighbour joined the one-sided conversation. He was on his way to Target to buy a present for a co-worker. (He did attend my mom’s prayer service)

(Thank goodness, my escape excuse to get away from drama and go home).

Neighbour on the way to Target, walked down the block towards where I live, with Katie, and five cats.

Neighbour on the way to Target: “Well, you know my birthday was this month?”

Me: “Oh really when was it?”

Neighbour on the way to Target: “June 5”

Me: “Oh”

Neighbour on the way to Target: “Well don’t bother taking me out to dinner as I’m all dinner out. **** and her husband****took me out to dinner on Wednesday, then I invited them to my student’s recital, and now I’m just dinnered out. Have to buy a gift for a co worker and don’t know what to get her. I’ll get her a vase. Gift certificate you say? No, that’s not a real gift. She’s an older woman and would appreciate a gift than a gift card. Now I don’t mind gift cards but other people really want a gift.”

Enough…

And, he didn’t ask how I was.

That’s okay.

Just another day in the neighbourhood…

with neighbours you wish you didn’t have.

 

 

*****This post is dedicated to quotation marks and I’d like to thank the ellipsis for being accommodating.

Sometimes…or have a lot of time on hand.

 

‘Sometimes you need bad things to happen to inspire you to change and grow’

Sometimes…

Growth has no end or beginning.  Image result for sometimes

Sometimes…

Change is constant with no restrictions, boundaries or cut offs.

Sometimes…

Inspiration comes from places least expected.

Sometimes…

Things happen for a reason.

Sometimes…

There’s no logic to why things happen.

Image result for sometimesSometimes…

Bad things happen to good people.

Sometimes…

Bad things happen to bad people.

Sometimes…

Good things happen to good people.

Sometimes…

Nothing happens at all to anyone.    Image result for images of sometimes

Sometimes…

The way to win a battle is to walk away.

Sometimes…

Walking away leads to the battle.

Sometimes…

Dark, rainy grey clouds bring a smile.

Sometimes…

White cotton candied clouds make you sick.

Sometimes…

Silence is golden.

Sometimes…

Screaming profanities at high volume is bliss.

Sometimes…

Bliss.

Sometimes…

Disruption.

Sometimes    

Image result for images of sometimes

 

Muchness

More words…

Soon to come.

For a bit of a spell,

 I lost my muchness.

But… 

IT’S BACK!!!!

 

40 days…

LENT has arrived!

Forty days meditating and fasting in the wilderness left HIM hungry. The Not so Nice One turned hunger into opportunity and tried to tempt and persuade on three occasions. Each temptation met rejection. Each persuasion met rejection.

Every year at this time within churches around the world, this passage from the Gospels is read and discussed. This year while figuring out what Lent means to me and how I plan to celebrate, three words, Contemplation, Action and Resolve have settled into mi alma and are now my personal goals for LENT.  Supposedly,  LENT represents doing without or giving up, a sacrifice of some kind, but it also represents a chance to deepen our faith, study scriptures, discuss, argue, about our faith, our church, goals and most importantly acknowledging spirituality within and amongst each other.

Contemplation-Meditating on scriptures, mindfulness and fasting (no alcohol, fish on Fridays)

Action-to give more of what I can which is volunteering and to put into practice the Four Agreements

Resolve– what was experienced after 40 days, what stays, what goes…    

 

 

 

 

 

***Photo taken from internet

On turning the big…

A major milestone birthday passed.

So major was this day that the words ‘anti-wrinkling cream’ and ‘Oil of Olay’ are now part of my vocabulary. ‘Life Style Lift’ would gladly join the ranks but plastic surgery costs let alone the thought of going under anesthesia with the scalpel standing by is-well- I’ll leave those three words by the curbside.

The milestone birthday…

Of course reaching this birthday is in itself a milestone. I feel fortunate, lucky and grateful, for many do not have the opportunity to live this long. Although celebration is in order, reaching this birthday also stirs the pot of regrets, disappointments and failure.

Yes, midlife does come with a price tag.

It serves as a thermometer to the highs and lows of life’s accomplishments or lack of. I guess the most important thing at this point in ones’ life is to concentrate on the GOOD, ignore the UGLY and pretend the BAD does not exist.

For me the GOOD is where the gratefulness and gratitude flourish:

-Finding out what I really want to do work-wise instead of sitting in my rocking chair later in life regretting not finding it
-Having a warm bed to sleep in at night with the security and comfort of two mini schnauzers and a tabby by my side
-Not going to bed hungry, having a roof over my head and not waking up to hunger out in the streets of NYC
-Being an Anglican-Episcopalian/ Roman Catholic/ Wanna be Buddhist –surprisingly it does work, just don’t let the Anglican/Episcopalian priest know about the Buddhism and don’t mention the Anglican/Episcopalian stuff to the RC priest

For me the BAD is where reflection comes into play:

-Not understanding or caring to understand the sometimes-psychotic nature of the interim priest at my Anglican-Episcopalian church
-My home living conditions-sometimes finding what one wants to do work-wise requires great sacrifices such as sharing a living space
-Not making enough money to buy that bread maker or take a trip to Germany or better yet BUY A GRAND PIANO!
-Feeling completely helpless in dealing with life’s drama
-Wanting to have five dogs and six cats but lacking the space or resources or better yet money for therapy to figure out where the desire to have that many animals comes from

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on…”

For me the UGLY is where regrets linger and ferment:

-Not owning the condominium I so longed to purchase when the funds were secure and growing
-Leaving California
-The What if’s, Should haves, Could haves that refuse to go away and just die
-The why the hell did you allow this to happen scenarios and now you have no recourse dramas
-The, Why did I marry? Sorry M.
-The years lost spending time being angry with my dad, Noel before our reconciliation

“One of the happiest moments ever is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change…”

Thoughts on meditation…

As I continue my meditation practice, I‘ve come across writings, chanting, music, attended meditation sessions and the 14th Dalai Lama (no, we have not met, just through his writings). Needless to say, I am in the Buddha zone of the most delightful kind.

Exploring Tibetan Buddhism continues to be an adventure in discovery, critical thinking and practice. As I read various writings and teachings by lay persons and lamas, I gain clarity and new perspectives. Of course putting what I’ve learned to physical practice is different than reading about it.  Words in print can be glorified, oohed and awed over. Trying to get them to leave the page is another matter!

The Eightfold Path is one of many tenets within Tibetan Buddhism and shares similarities, in a strange way, with the Ten Commandments in that both are implemented towards spiritual growth and an enlighten way of life. The difference between the two, in my opinion, lies in presentation and tone. The Eightfold encourages changes which strive towards enlightenment while the Commandments, command. Do good, go to heaven, do bad…well we know where that leads to.

I was baptized a Catholic, attended Jehovah’s Kingdom Hall while a Catholic, later confirmed as an Episcopalian and now meditate as a Buddhist (or attempting – after all I am in the beginning stages). And no, I’m not imitating Pi Patel’s religious dabble from the book but at times it feels as if curiosity fuels the skipping, stumbling and jumping down the spiritual journey path.

The Eightfold

  1. Right View-See things as they are not what you wish them to be
  2. Right Intention-commitment to ethical behaviour
  3. Right Speech-abstain from false speech, no lies or deceit, abstain from harsh words or slanderous speech or to speak maliciously against others, abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose of depth
  4. Right Action-abstain from harming sentient beings,
  5. Right Livelihood-no dealing in weapons, in human beings (slave trade/prostitution), raising animals for slaughter, working in meat and production and butchery, selling alcohol or drugs
  6. Right Effort-to prevent unwholesome states
  7. Right Mindfulness-contemplation of body, contemplation of feeling,
  8. Right Concentration-meditation

The Ten Commandments

  1. Do not worship other gods
  2. Do not worship idols
  3. Do not misuse God’s name
  4. Keep the Sabbath holy
  5. Honour your father and mother
  6. Do not murder
  7. Do not commit adultery
  8. Do not steal
  9. Do not lie
  10. Do not covet

Compassion…

Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others; thus, it is called compassion. It is called compassion because it shelters and embraces the distressed. – The Buddha.

Practicing compassion on a daily basis is not easy and at times I wonder if it will ever be. I would like the practice of compassion to be infused within my being so it becomes like breathing -done without much thought, except when I inhale someone’s disgusting cigarette smoke.

But, every day experiences or situations where compassion is most needed, at times, is almost impossible to produce.

Situations like:

1. Dealing with emotional bats, otherwise known as emotional vampires-those lovely people who literally suck the marrow outta ya then fill the crevices with their overbearing problems. I prefer to use the term emotional leeches for literary visual impact. Bats are pretty cute while leeches, (those crafty blood suckers) are flat-out UGLY!

Bat5[1]Z2050095-Medicinal_leech-SPL[1]

OR

2.  Viewing yet another rape crime on the media and plotting with friends on how to introduce legislation that allows male castration as a form of punishment or better yet castration with a dose of Frank’s hot sauce after the procedure. Yes, compassion is not available at this time, only revenge on the p***s kind…now, what if the perp is a woman…?

thCAJDHBLQ

Yes, the examples are not nice but that’s the irony of compassion-it’s not meant to be utilized solely for the feely good things, the charities, the Hurricane survivors, the down on their luck person, etc.

For me, compassion does come easy when the situations or events fall under the feely good things. It flows endlessly, no questions pondered or second thoughts. But, place in front of me a complainer, an agitator, a supervisor who uses me to do his work while he sits in his office and watches movies on his NOOK, neglected animals at the hands of neglected humans, verbal bullies who hurt emotionally with words…this can go, but it stops here, and my compassion which normally resides in mi alma has conveniently moved to my foot.

Yes, the complainer may have painful things going on inside, the agitator may be acting from pain, the supervisor…well…the supervisor may feel his work is inferior and therefore engages in movie viewing on the job (while raking in a big salary) to pacify his deflated ego and now my compassion has moved from my foot to my stomach.

My meditation practice of Tibetan Buddhism centers on compassion, which is essential towards enlightenment. In order to put forth compassion unto others, I must first have compassion towards myself. There are a few things about me that do not permit my compassion. I can be a complainer, an agitator but not one who watches movies at work or neglects animals or bullies with words. If I disdain those traits in others, how do I deal with them within myself?

Right now, I read, I try to practice and hopefully in due time a teacher will find me and gently lead me on the correct path towards compassion.

**photos taken off the internet

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: