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Giving Yourself the Moments

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“Realize deeply that the present moment is all we ever have.” ~Eckhart Tolle~

Simultaneously I was voice-dialing my mumster and buckling my seatbelt when I was caught up in a moment.

Not a moment of city-driving-get-the-hell-outta-my-way. It was a moment of, “Ahhhhh…..” As in; big sigh of relief. Big sigh of, “I feel like I’m starting to pull myself together“.

After a long day, feet-throbbing, and 5:00 a.m. starts, I felt good. Satisfied, content, like maybe, just maybe I was ok.

As you all know, life has a way of knocking us around, and shaking our confidence. It also has a way of forcing you to surrender when the only fight you have left in you whispers, “I give up,” and then rolls over, gives your broken heart the finger, pulls the blankie over its’ head and goes to sleep.

Tonight, tired but happy, I gave myself the moment.

I let myself be grateful for just being where I was, simply in the moment. Grateful that I had a mumster to call, a kiddo to go home to, and especially that I have enough courage to keep moving forward.

We can only ever be certain of change, that our emotions can carry us to the most dark, frightening depths of the human condition and the loftiest heights of elation.

When we are in the moment; not anxious of the future or analyzing the past, we realize that it’s ok. We’re ok. Life is ok; As it is. Nothing less and nothing more.

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Kindness and Her Annoying Little Brother, Sarcasm

1 flowerWhen you find someone whose sarcasm is sharp and quick, likely two things are true about them; they’ve had to develop their sarcasm as a weapon against cruelty, and they have been shown very little kindness.

But that’s not your problem.  It’s enough of an effort to cultivate deep compassion within yourself. When you do that, it will eventually radiate outward and infect those around you.

Kindness is a rare and beautiful quality these days. I mean real kindness, the kind that just kinda hangs around with someone all day despite their being tired, stressed or lonely. It is not some magical quality. No, darlings. It needs to be cultivated like that six-pack of abs, or your ability to cook.

Now, given that my last post was titled, ‘I Took Etiquette Lessons – Asshole’, I openly admit, that my supply of kindness runs out rather abruptly when I’m encountered with someone who is plainly rude in order to make themselves feel superior to me, or anyone else.

This morning a social media pal posted something about someone  pointing out that he had gained weight. His quick retort was funny, but my pal, with what I can only imagine was a voice in his head wondering loudly, how the heck anyone thinks saying something like that is appropriate.

I on the other hand tend to land retorts deep and quick in the guts of my passive aggressive commentators. When  a colleague called me ‘pretty good looking for being so stout’, I smiled and replied coyly that he wasn’t so bad for a fat old man himself. I looked in his eyes and smiled for a one-two-three beat, and then turned my back and walked away.

I try to say something positive and kind every day when I enter my workplace, when I’m greeted, or before I tuck my kiddo into bed. That doesn’t mean that I passively accept rudeness, mean-spirited comments, or bow to sarcasm. I kindly return the bitterness to the sender on a lovely silver platter with a smile, as little sarcasm and as much honesty as I can muster.

Kindness is; telling someone you like a certain outfit, rather than telling them that something makes them look fat.

Kindness is; passing a breath mint instead of waving your hand in front of your nose and telling someone their breath stinks.

Kindness is; asking someone who’s put on a few pounds if they’d like to go for a walk instead of pointing out their weight gain.

Kindness is; seeing someone in distress socially, and buoying them up with your smile and gentle defense.

Kindness is; handing back mean words, rude observations and a bad attitude so that the person generating negativity has a chance to reconsider and come up with something more positive for themselves and those around them.

Sometimes, kindness is also just keeping your mouth shut, coming home, putting on your stretchy pants and having a nice, cold, white-wine spritzer while listening to Solomon Burke….well, for some of us anyway.

The Amazing C and I often used to say to one another when asked our opinion, ” Do you want me to be honest, or do you want me to be nice?”

Well, I’ve done a lot of living since those days, and I believe that you can be honest and nice all at once. So now, instead of honesty, I want honesty delivered in a kind way.

We’re all old enough to know when we’ve done something stupid or been duped. We know that we make mistakes when we’re vulnerable and in love.

At the beginning of my study of the dharma with monastics, my partner at the time laughed at me when I became emotional and said something about wanting to be a more kind and gentle person. Having been known as a strong, independent woman, it took courage to want to tear down some psychological barriers and it took courage to confide  in him.

His response was not gentle or kind, but sharp sarcasm…and that my darlings, was the beginning of the end.  In that moment, I knew he was not the one. I did not need sarcasm, discouragement, or belittling. I needed kindness.

This Sunday morning, I give you this recitation by George Saunders….

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Life: Your Wish List

Wishing everyone out there in ANDSHELAUGHS-land a very happy and relaxing Sunday. I think that I’ll write my list today…xo

Zen-Sational Living Photo
Zen-Sational Living Photo
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Grace; Clothed in Strength & Dignity

"Nude" by Julian Mandel
“Nude” by Julian Mandel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a big ol’Buddhist, I have a rather scholarly knowledge of the bible, which some folks in my home town liked to beat each other over the heads with on Sunday afternoons.

One of my favourite biblical-quotes-almost-always-taken-out-of-context is; Proverbs 31:25 – She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she smiles at the future.

Part of Proverbs 31 is an ‘Ode to a Capable Wife’. Wife schmife. Let’s go with plain old ‘capable woman‘.

We live in a culture rooted in capitalism. The collective ‘we’ praises independence and individuality. We also live in a culture where the number of single parent homes is on the rise, and the majority of single-parent homes are headed by women.

Women also happen to be paid statistically less than men for the same work .Even if you’re a starlet. Please see the recent letter to Miley Cyrus from musical legend Sinead O’Connor

You and I may not be mathematicians darling, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize the financial and emotional stress that can affect women who, as my bra-burning sisters before me like to say, ‘have it all’.

Without our network of girlfriends, life would be a lot less tolerable. Proverbs may have expounded on the wonders of a ‘capable woman’, but I think in today’s world, capable translates to grace.

I hate to disappoint you wonderful women out there who think I’m all that and a glass of wine, but I must confess, I too suffer from ‘single-parent-home’ overload on occasion.

Growing up in an environment where money was used as a power and control mechanism,  I have worked hard to not owe anyone anything. I have spent sleepless nights wondering how I will pay this bill or that bill, or make sure there’s enough milk in the fridge.

I have always counted myself very lucky to have not one, but three post-secondary pieces of paper hanging on my wall. I have never, despite sleepless nights, anxiety attacks and a genetic disposition to lunacy, stopped working, and trying to provide for my household.

Despite my work ethic, there have been times when working hard wasn’t enough. Being organized and prepared didn’t stop flu bugs, chicken pocks, pneumonia, torn ligaments, and surgeries.

During those times, my girlfriends have come through. It has always been with great difficulty that I am able to say to someone, “I need your help.” Those are the four most difficult words for me to say. They devastate my pride, and make me feel weak, vulnerable, and indebted to someone else.  But there have been times when I’ve had to do just that.

You will be shocked to know that I was not born with a boatload of natural grace. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe my sweet, delicate flowers.  Life, has an amazing way of giving us what we need, and it has indeed given me a number of challenges.

I like to think that as I age, I meet these challenges with just a little more grace, a little better sense of humor, and a lot more faith.

I believe deeply that if  I maintain my own moral compass through the storms, I will indeed arrive stronger, with more wisdom and grace on the other side.

It was not only my own experience that taught me this, it was the wonderful mentoring of my “Mumster”, and other older, wiser women who had travelled the path before me.

We are all clothed in strength and dignity my  darlings, and if we love one another we shall all smile at the future knowing that we are in good company.

Remember that when you see younger women struggling. Raise them up, help with their practical needs, and be the kind woman whom they strive to become.

Be grace in motion. Be fabulous 😉