in faith


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In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’t.

Blaise Pascal, quoted in Thoughts from Earth (2004), p. 9

How does this impact you?

What questions does it stir up, or how does it encourage you?  Feel free to leave a reply below — thanks.

trouble me


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While the words to “Trouble Me” are simple, they are profound. They are not not exclusively as I’d like to believe just for lovers 💏 but for all of those we love and for those with whom we need to loved by. There are so many things I love about the lyrics to this song.

The words are simple, straightforward and unadorned. They speak to me because they are pure and truthful, as it was intended. The words serve as a reminder to all those who care and love us whilst also expressing our offer of comfort to the people we love.

These words are from the 10,000 Maniacs albums Blind Man’s Zoo and Unplugged:

Trouble me, disturb me with all your cares and your worries.
Trouble me on the days when you feel spent.
Why let your shoulders bend underneath this burden when my back is sturdy and strong?
Trouble me.

Speak to me, don’t mislead me, the calm I feel means a storm is swelling;
There’s no telling where it starts or how it ends.
Speak to me, why are you building this thick brick wall to defend me when your silence is my greatest fear?
Why let your shoulders bend underneath this burden when my back is sturdy and strong?
Speak to me.

Let me have a look inside these eyes while I’m learning.
Please don’t hide them just because of tears.
Let me send you off to sleep with a “There, there, now stop your turning and tossing.”
Let me know where the hurt is and how to heal.

Spare me? Don’t spare me anything troubling.

Trouble me, disturb me with all your cares and your worries.
Speak to me and let our words build a shelter from the storm.
Lastly, let me know what I can mend.
There’s more, honestly, than my sweet friend, you can see.
Trust is what I’m offering if you trouble me.

life is in the right, always


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I try everyday to live my life with trust, faith and acceptance with what is and less of what I want it to be. It’s not always so easy to do and dealing with my control freak within is an ongoing, constant battle! But, and there is always a but, there are words of wisdom that exist from those who have lived and gone before us. Rilke, is one of them for me, and his words below help me with trusting life; maybe they will for you too? Wherever you are today, I wish you meaningful, fulfilling and blessed hours.

What should I say about your tendency to doubt your struggle or to harmonize your inner and outer life? My wish is ever strong that you find enough patience within you and enough simplicity to have faith. May you gain more and more trust in what is challenging, and confidence in the solitude you bear. Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right in any case.

Furnborg, Jonsered, Sweden, November 4, 1904
Letters to a Young Poet

dukkha


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This morning with sleepy eyes, I read a helpful article, courtesy of Facebook.  Not all articles I read are helpful but this one was.  It was basically very simple, 3 Buddhist beliefs (there’s always 3, or 7 or 10 principles that can magically transform your life but these 3, I liked) that could speak to us all universally, regardless if we practiced Buddhism in our lives or not.  Last night my heart was heavy when I went to bed, but I held on to the knowing that had proven true in the past — in that nothing stays the same and all things shift.  Sometimes clichés, tediously over-used as they can be, do offer some solace.  So this morning I did indeed awake to a lighter sense of being, and it wasn’t because I hadn’t had breakfast yet; I don’t normally anyway, not till I get in to work.  But it was lighter because I read this helpful article.  Carrie, I think, shared it on her Facebook page.

Anyway, the article.  It talked about life, this glorious thing called LIFE; it being painful and causes suffering.  Dukkha as it’s known.  A word used by Buddhists, but not just Buddhists as it is also used by many others in their own languages. It isn’t saying, albeit pessimistically, that life is suffering, so end of and deal with it.  I told someone recently that I’ve started this blog, started writing online and I told him that it was mostly about life, love and bastards!  I laughed a little when I said it and I could hear the smile in his voice.  He said ‘well, that’s life isn’t it?!’ I guess he’s right, to an extent.  It is not ALL there is to life, no, I’d like to believe there are good things too.  But it is the acceptance of the more challenging emotions and experiences, that makes life, life.

Loss, anxiety, sadness, heartache, they appear and then disappear, only to reappear again. Like a trusted friend. Like a familiar shadow. Like a bad smell.  So I know this.  Yet I suffer. Why? I’m not just a sucker for punishment.  I don’t find happiness in my unhappiness so I ask myself why.   Why does society suffer with difficult emotions?  Why was Prozac nation born?  Why hasn’t it died? Why do we avoid or supress difficult emotions with anything we can get our hands on – fluoxetine, Ritalin, Paxil, Citalopram, Xanax, Valium, pinot, shiraz, merlot, crack, popcorn etc.?  We actually end up creating even more suffering in our lives by trying to avoid or suppress these troubling emotions that cause us to suffer so. We know all this but yet we reach out for things that suppress these troubling feelings; to numb ourselves, to medicate, to not feel.

So yes, our lives are inevitably filled with things we rather not go through, but we can’t stop it, well not permanently anyway.  All fixes are quick fixes and the results merely fleeting. Maybe, just maybe, there’s nothing to fear? Society in large is partly to be blamed for the idea that life should be easy and pain free. When I say society, I am referring to the media, pharmaceutical companies, fashion magazines, cosmetic surgeries, cosmetic surgeons, reality TV, them lot.  The ones who try and brainwash you in thinking that you are one messed up individual but HEY, YOU CAN BE FIXED FOR A PRICE!  And for those of us who buy that, who believe that, and on a level we all do and more so when we are alone and vulnerable and in a dark place, we therefore think if we are not experiencing the ‘good life’ then we must be broken.  I must be broken.  I must be flawed, messed up on some deep, unrepairable, level.

But then again society is also made up of You and Me (and Marley). The ones who care and think deeply about stuff and who want to do some good with the time we have on this planet and be kind not just to ourselves, but to each other.

So to the person who told me that writing about life, love and … is, well, part of life, I thank you!  You may never see this but I’d like to say that I don’t fear these things any-more.  I don’t fear (not as much) my suffering nor seek answers where they can’t be found because all of this futile attempts keeps me in a hole I have no wish to spend my life in. I have learnt, I continue to learn.  I am not buying into the idea that I’m broken (neither are you by the way).  I’m trying to accept life on its terms, trusting that life is always in the right because deep down, in spite of what I may think, feel or wish for, life IS in the right.  And one day I’ll know why and how this is true.  But one day is a long way away.  I need something now.  So for today I’ll remind myself to say hello to imperfection, give a nod to the things unresolved, open my heart to uncertainty and try not to close off, to live with my many questions that reside in my heart. I hear Rilke’s words of wisdom whisper quietly to me now as I type this.  So I’ll end with his words that have helped me.  I have his quote on a fridge magnet.  It’s on my fridge (!) and has been for the last 13 years.  I am no poet, no Rilke, nor writer, but I must say that damn, it has felt good to get all of this stuff, onto a page (or two). If you’re still here with me, thank you for your company. I wish you well.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

a letter, from father to son


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In New York on November 10, 1958, John Steinbeck wrote this letter to his son, Thom, who had fallen in love with a girl named Susan while at boarding school. Steinbeck’s words of wisdom — tender, optimistic, timeless, infinitely sagacious — should be etched onto the heart and mind of every living, breathing human being.

The letter below is precious in many ways but this is what stands out for me: Nothing good gets away. Read it again. Nothing good gets away. Therefore, what is truly yours, can never be lost. Hold on to that when you struggle to hold on. Instead just believe and let go.

Here is the letter from father to son:

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First — if you are in love — that’s a good thing — that’s about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don’t let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second — There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply — of course it isn’t puppy love.

But I don’t think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it — and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone — there is no possible harm in saying so — only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another — but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I’m glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.

Love,
Fa

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on friday the 13th, i have 13, zen inspired, valentine’s cards


There is a Buddhist teaching found in the Sallatha Sutta, known as The Arrow. It says if an arrow hits you, you will feel pain in that part of your body where the arrow hit; and then if a second arrow comes and strikes exactly at the same spot, the pain will not be only double, it will become at least ten times more intense.

The unwelcome things that sometimes happen in life—being rejected, losing a valuable object or person are analogous to the first arrow. They cause some pain.

The second arrow, fired by our own selves, is our reaction, our storyline, and our anxiety. All these things magnify the suffering. Many times, the ultimate disaster we’re ruminating upon hasn’t even happened.

So fret not, I believe, is the lesson here along with living and accepting your suffering. After all, no mud, no lotus. So if your painful arrow comes from unrequited love, breathe that in, and breathe it out.

Trust in the process.

Water the flowers 🌸 in you, and in others.

Enjoy these cards….

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the one; is there the one?


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I read a really lovely article and thought I’d share it here with you. It may be helpful and put things perspective if you’re looking for “the one” person to share your life with.

Often, and because we are human, we tend to overcomplicate matters especially when it comes to Love. Often, the answers are so simple and easy.

So do away with your lists, and trust instead in the wise voice within and your soul.

As Rilke once said:

“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”

In the meantime the article below may help. Enjoy reading and be kind to yourselves and each other.

The One. The one. Is there a One?

And if there is how will I know? And what if I’m wrong? And what if there’s really two or three or…

We humans complicate things so. There are many animals who mate for life and don’t lose sleep trying to figure out if their mate is the only one. Wolves for example. And coyotes, those wild wild nocturnal maniacs—yes, they have it all figured out.

Owls, beavers, eagles, swans, cranes, pigeons, hawks, ospreys, geese and some apes are a few more. My guess is that they don’t spend 10 minutes asking themselves if they have made the right choice or if something better awaits them right around the the next corner.

They just know.

For years I have seen articles that describe in great detail how to know if our beloved is the one. I have read articles and books that strongly suggest that if I answer, “No” to any of their questions I might be in the wrong relationship. Books that ask hundreds of questions and no matter how you answer them you put the book down feeling like you just ate rotten fish and wondering what you ever saw in this person you love anyway.

We talk to friends and therapists and priests and experts. We take quizzes online and haunt the self help aisles in bookstores and libraries. We look for “signs” and ask question after question.

Does she make you feel…?

Does he say…?

Does he have…?

Does she give you…?

Can he read your mind?

Do you speak the same love language?

And oh my God, what do you mean he forgot your birthday?

It really is so much more simple than all of that and it all boils down to two very simple questions.

1. Do I love this person?

Not, is this person hot or sexy or fun; not, do I enjoy this person; not, are we compatible; not, is it a good idea— but, do I really and truly love this person? Would I give them half of my paycheck, the last bite, my car or…a kidney? Is it that kind of love?

If the answer is yes then you’re already more than halfway there. Real love is motivation for growth and understanding and compassion. Real love drives us to be better people who rise above petty difficulties and fleeting emotions. People who do whatever it takes to nurture what we hold dear, kidney donation or not.

2. Are both my life and my partner’s life better because of our relationship?

Sit back, put your feet up, close your eyes, imagine your life without your beloved and ask yourself: How would I live without this person? How would I feel? How would I spend my time? Would I feel full? Would I feel empty? Would I sleep well or would I lie awake longing?

Who would I confide in? Who would I spend my time with? Who would lift me up when I am down? Who would be my rock? Is my love my best friend? What would I do on Saturday night or Tuesday afternoon or everyday for the rest of my life if this person disappeared from my world?

A thousand questions could follow and we should be mindful of how we would answer them but not get too caught up in the details. We need to keep it simple. We need to put aside all secondary emotions like envy, put aside fear and attachment and know that no matter what happens we will survive. With a pure, courageous, open heart we need to ask the simple question: How would my life be without this person I call my love?

I’m not suggesting that we settle for an unhealthy relationship, nor am I suggesting that there is necessarily only one one. I am saying that we complicate things with mountains of questions which can create doubt and confusion. Sometimes the answer is obvious if we simplify. If we can take a step back and answer these two questions honestly and fearlessly I believe the answer as to whether we should be with our chosen one, or not, will be obvious. If we really and truly-give-up-a-kidney-kind of love our partner and we recognize that our lives are better as a team then with a little attention and a lot of commitment everything else will fall into place.

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