Four Principles I did Not Learn

As a student of Buddhism I am also a student of love. I did not know how to love because well,I wasn’t taught it properly as a child. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, my parents taught me what they knew. I didn’t learn anything about how to love others or myself. What was leaned in Church was filtered through the lense of suffering. If I was suffering then I was doing something right. Love and sacrifice…sacrifice to me meant pain.

No wonder I’ve spent 25 years involved in painful relationships. How can you love someone when you don’t know how to love. To love without knowing how causes suffering. To not know what Love looks like, leads one open to misinterpreting intentions.

Matri -loving kindness
Karuna-capacity to make you suffer less and the other person to suffer less
Mudita – bringing joy
Upeksha-inclusiveness

I’ve included a video to describe in greater detail.

Learning anything takes practice, soooooo…how am I supposed to practice when I’m not in a relationship? Well…I can practice these principles with myself. If I don’t know how to love myself, then how the heck will I be able to love another person??

Anything before knowing this would be grasping and asking someone to give me love (which I have done in the past) without knowing or being able to give it fully back. Now that is selfishness.

These 4 simple principles make love less complicated. Love is not complicated. The only thing that complicates love is ego.

This is why we love animals so much. They understand love better than we do sometimes. Like my cat Schumann he just curls up in my lap, brings me joy, is kind, eases my suffering, is kind.

There is some zen for you. Just love yourself and others like a cat. Lots cuddles. I’m pretty sure most everything is solveable though open hearted hugs.

It is always darkest before the dawn

I came across these videos on Facebook today. They are from 2016 and I am at a loss for words to describe the absolute beauty.

I think this is what heaven looks like…no….I don’t think…I know this is heaven.

It’s not without suffering, it is the connection and the community in the suffering. It is how God is. God is with us in the suffering.

The amazing amount of energetic healing in the video transcends beyond Florence and the young girl, but to people like you and me who watch long after she has moved on. I love watching Florence’s hands as if she is envoking a blessing. Through the sound of her voice and then motion of her hands she is bringing peace, love, joy. This is true selfless love. This is how we should come into the world and leave this world…in song, envoking the ancient wisdom of no death…with music.

Musicians are healers. For those of us who don’t have the talent to create this good medicine, let us support and love those people who do. May we heal each other with song.

Damn…Sister Warrior..Nailed It

Dear Ones:

I found this note on my phone this morning, from last year. This is something that my friend Martha Beck had said to me, when I was suffering through a white hot rage at somebody.

It doesn’t matter what the incident was, or who had brought on the anger. What matters is the understanding and wisdom about how to restore peace.

Something I have learned in life is that people who have no boundaries are constantly furious. Furious, victimized, hurt, offended, and outraged. If you cannot figure out how to uphold the healthy, accurate, and appropriate distance between yourself and every person in your life (and it will be a different distance for every person in your life) then you will never know a moment of serenity.

Not everybody gets to have full access to you. Trust and intimacy must be earned. (People will help you with this project by constantly showing you who they really are. Create your boundaries accordingly. To do anything else is naive and immature.)

So: Who are you furious at today? Now look closely at your history with them. Find the moment when you allowed that person to come closer to you than they had earned the right to come.

Now figure out how to reestablish (or establish for the first time) a wiser boundary.

When they are held the correct distance from you, you will stop hating them. Until then, you are just using this person as a weapon to beat yourself up with. Put an end to it. Stand in your dignity and set your own terms.

You can do this.

Onward, LG

Thou and Thou Only

“Thou and thou only first in my heart. High King of heaven my treasure thou art. Heart of my own heart whatever be fall. Still be my vision oh ruler of all.”

Be thou my vision is one of my favorite hymns, it is one of the most beautiful love songs I have heard. I often imagine myself saying these words some day to someone, to look into his eyes and say thou and thou only first in my heart…high King my treasure thou art. Thou in me dwelling and I with thee one. It is purity of spirit purity of love.

Love, meet me under the Magnolia Tree, and there we will marry.

The Call

Modern romance, like Greek tragedy, celebrates the mystery of dismemberment, which is life in time. The happy ending is justly scorned as a misrepresentation; for the world, as we know it, as we have seen it, yields but one ending: death, disintegration, dismemberment, and the crucifixion of our heart with the passing of the forms that we have loved.-Joseph Campbell

Well that’s a bit dark, true..but dark which means I love it. And distracting while I was really going for this quote:

Refusal of the Call. Often when the call is given, the future hero first refuses to heed it. This may be from a sense of duty or obligation, fear, insecurity, a sense of inadequacy, or any of a range of reasons that work to hold the person in his current circumstances.

As I sat in the library with my head nestled in a book, I felt home. Home is the call for me, I have refused the call for a very long time. Im always easily distracted, by my own insecurities and heart. I remember in college how much I loved reading, lerning, discussion, and hours at the library alone. Yet, I traded that in for coolness, boys, and partying. Which really was a refusal of the call. The call that I didn’t think I was smart enough to do…insecurity tied to childhood.

Discussion with my potential PhD advisor reminded me…of the call again, the ease and flow of contact, triggering words, a yes from my gut. It’s how I felt on Princeton’s campus, home…I was home among books and minds. I was home among people who thought. I fell in love with thinkers very easily…they were home. Always a bit quirky, always interesting.

I’d been hiding from the call for 20 years, amazing how that works. I’d been sidetracked by a few villain Types and my own negative self talk.

But it was still there.

Waiting for me to answer.

The Test

Several months ago my daughter took a Cognitive Abilities Test that said she was in the 20th percentile for everything…meaning she was borderline learning disabled. Her teacher stated, “Well…she has many gifts, academics will not be one of them.” This was shocking to me, it devastated me actually, because…I felt responsible. Silly, I know…but parents feel responsible for everything, our children have our genetics and we spend countless hours raising them, and loving them, and teaching them. As my ex said, “You’re the one with the Masters applying to a PhD program, what happened?” As I looked at him, with tears in my eyes, I simply…walked away, then spent months contemplating what to do. What did this mean? My daughter wanted to be a doctor, how could she be a doctor with this sort of test result? The test said she couldn’t comprehend reading. Would she be made fun of? Would she always be behind? Story after story of fear mongering in my head filled my worrying days and nights. Visions of my child being left behind.

But what kept nagging at me was…

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see a girl with a learning disability; rather the exact opposite. A little girl who was very intuitive and smart. One that enjoyed reading and could carry conversations with adults. She was learning violin and her homework came back with decent scores.

However, schools are excellent at labeling children, and so my daughter was labeled as such, and I began to prepare myself for years of extra educational needs, and potential teasing, and the insecurities that sometimes come with being in the group of children who are in remedial courses.

Inwardly I seethed, labeling a child that early by one test didn’t feel right, nothing felt right about it. It didn’t make sense, this was not the bright little girl I knew who enjoyed watching brain surgery (yes…she really watches youtube videos on brain surgery).

She began the third grade in the public school system this year. The change from the Catholic school was harder on me then her, she embraced the new district. I took all the tests to the teacher, I gave her all the information, met with the school counselor. The school year started, then…nothing. No calls, no notes, no your child is behind. Silence.

She was tested again. I fully expected a phone call. Again…radio silence. If there was a problem, the teacher would have contacted me along with the school counselor.

I have paid attention to her school work. It all comes home with almost no corrections. Then today, my Mom pulled me aside.

“Cindy…the school must have been wrong, look at this.” She pulled out a rather challenging reading comprehension worksheet, every answer was correct with no help from my mother.

I tell this story because a child’s promise and intelligence can absolutely not be quantified by a test. If she had a learning disability or not, that does not matter. And it didn’t to me, what mattered was, I didn’t see what the teacher was telling me. It didn’t resonate one bit. I could have gone with what the test said, and not doubled down on continuing to expose her to higher reading material, the arts, and conversation, science, museums. If she was autistic or truly of lower cognitive ability it didn’t matter to me one bit. Education and learning is our birth right.

If there is one thing I would eradicate in schools, it would be standardized testing…it does absolutely no good, and sorting children by one test is ridiculous. Sorting people any which way is.

Moral of the story…

Do not be afraid, trust your instincts.