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WHEN. . . HOW DOES IT STOP?

Tea and Toast w/Kindness is supposed to be a beginning toward an answer, toward other folks who might share these feelings and be looking for, or practicing answers, wanting to promote compassion which is the way toward positive change, love and concern for self and others we all can benefit from.

I looked for relief from anger and resentment rising in this current political environment.  It was triggering terrible experiences from my past, making them seem as if they were occurring in the present moment, and I’m having difficulty holding center in this.  I will not give up my belief that compassion can be encouraged and that I do know by what means it can increase.  I’m talking meditation here and mindfulness training.

When we moved to our current situation, I got an eye-opening to some issues I was, turns out, very naive about.  I spent my teens and early 20s-30s, in an environment of inclusivity, learning, appreciation, respect and, yes, being loved.  That got blown out of the water and things didn’t get better.  Within the same month that we settled into our new home, we were drawn into a sexual abuse case.  I presented evidence against a pedophile, hoping he would be brought to trial, convicted and put in prison.  The community turned against us (my husband suffered for it, as well).  They didn’t want their good ole’ boy put away and, it wasn’t ‘Christian’.  After all, the child (a 10-year old, petite for her age, whom he had been sexually abusing since she was 18 months), was rather precocious and suggestive (yeah, well, those sexy 10yr olds), and he should be forgiven and reunited with his family.  Uh huh.  We were threatened, slandered, stolen from, intimidated and, in the middle of all of this, were told that they couldn’t take him to trial, they’d never get a conviction.  So, he had some conditions to meet, but didn’t have to register as a sex offender and went back home.  The little girl was taken in by relatives in another state.

What really made it horrible (to me) was that, more than once, I was told, “So what, it happens all the time.”  This, from women.  I just couldn’t get past it.  Now, it seems this is happening again.  All the battles fought to protect children, women, race, gender, vulnerable populations.  All the education against exclusion, bullying. .  where is that?  Why isn’t it taking us forward?  Why is it acceptable to say and do these things, anywhere in this country, in the world?  Why do we sit silent?  I have been in circumstances with people who have made these types of remarks with regard to bullying (gender, race, disability) and not one person (other than my, evidently, stupid self) said a word, with never an address of the issue — nothing.  Finally, I learned that I just can’t be there.  I can’t impose my feelings  on others, I realize that.  And, I don’t want to be in that place of judging others, for truly none of us is perfect,  but I must discern for myself what I want to companion in my life.  I walked away.

That’s when the Dalai Lama’s words and, surprisingly, an interview (on YouTube) with George Harrison, opened a ray of light through the window.  Watch what you think, what you say, what you do  — it matters.   Watch what you take in, what you’re willing to companion, if you can’t hold your line or your presence is supporting suffering for you or others, walk away.   I found working in my own life, on my own life is creating some relief and learning to see this high tension time in our history as a great teacher for checking and holding that center, looking for those who want and need support to do the same and for the new thinkers and innovators who are moving us forward.  Thank you, Mr. Rogers, your mother is right, Look for the Helpers.  They are there.  It’s ok to feel the anger and hurt, it’s ok to feel sad and hopeless and insignificant in the fray.  Know that’s what you feel and realize what you embrace is the essence of a precious human life:  Compassion, love and respect living deep within living beings and we, no matter what, can make it grow.  Old as time, ever present, ours.  Thank you.  Lilie

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ABSOLUT-ING

I was singing a song I learned at school that day, the policeman is your friend.  I was 8.  My Dad stopped me.  He said, No.  That’s a job, not character definition.   Because a person wears a particular uniform, does a particular job, that doesn’t tell you about the person.  You have to listen and pay attention to what they do to know a person.  Occupations do not define a person, nor do they tell you anything about them.  There are no absolutes.

I wish we would learn this and stop the absolut-ing.  It’s not truthful, but is divisive.

Look around today, see when you absolute and try a different thought.  Have an open, honest day.  Lilie

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PUT THEM IN JAIL!

I woke up, yesterday, to a notice on Facebook:  “We should put people who burn the flag in jail!  If you agree, type Yes.”  My first thought was, Are we in North Korea?  Second thought, Really?  We should meet a visceral, emotional reaction with another?  That’ll help?  No.

These are just the opportunities we have to think, to be the observer, and stand back from an emotional response in favor of logic and reason.  Do you really want someone dragged from their home, or off the street, and jailed because they did something you object to?   I don’t.

Both reactions are ill-considered, biased, narrow, emotionally overwrought, missing any sense of consideration or reasoning.  It’s a warning and an opportunity for all of us to see how this behavior, in either direction, does not help EVER.

In the early days of the Civil Rights protests, they were organized, educated in the art of protest and dissent, practiced, ready.  All of the aggressive, ill-considered, violent action against them was not able to dislodge the legitimacy of their protest, and their behavior remained unwavering.  This is the way change happens.  In those moments when we see clearly; when we put that initial emotional fire under control and let emotion be the messenger but reason take the day.

May you have a reasonable day, and be safe in this weather:  Drink water, practice kindness.  Thank you, Lilie

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Oh, . . . . The Snark. . .

I don’ know about you, but I could win gold for snarking, and I’m not proud of it.  I come from a family of extremely sharp-tongued folk.  I got that ‘characteristic’, righteously (lol).  Southern roots and an aunt who is so lovely, but can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will buy your own ticket and wait for the train.

That’s what Tea and Toast w/Kindness was built on:  To restrain the snark.  Because, that’s truly not what I want to be.  I don’t want to leave that.  I mean it when I say that what we think, say and do matters.  It does.  What you put out there rises at some point.  We are seeing that now.  Nothing comes from nothing – (Sound of Music – she was right).   These days, it’s terribly hard for me not to snark, not to feel passionately how wrong things seem.   But, I now have some resources for that.  I know I can feel that and I know I can find a way to express it that will, hopefully, be of benefit.

In reaction to our current political situation, there are so many positive, innovative things going on.  We have to look for them.  Mainstream media isn’t giving them much play.  There are a few PBS shows that are presenting these possibilities and it’s worth tracking them down.

We’ve seen the governor of California agree to the accords, and the state is trying to create their own single payer healthcare.  Seattle is making the same agreement and it will possibly go statewide.  All around the country, other countries, too, people are making a decision as to who and what they want themselves and their countries to think like, to look like, to act like.

Let’s face it, we don’t want to drive despair.  That ought to hold the snark back.  Look what happens when we drive despair.  We can demonize James Hodgkinson all we want, and it won’t change the truth.  Contribute to despair, to hostility, negativity,  and this is what will rise:  pain and suffering.  We can stand up and say all the prayers and talk about unity — then, we go back to our lives.  We must make a decision, must make a commitment, each day.  Those moments are going to rise.  Those hot tongued moments when we want to answer back, defend our position, be right.  It’ll happen.  We can meet those moments more successfully, for ourselves and others.  We can see with compassion and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a living being, how precious that is.  Yes, tell the truth in order to protect the vulnerable and look, read, check up on, listen for what’s happening near you, and around the country and world that you can hold onto for hope, for inspiration in your spot on the map.  It is there.  Hope is there.  Future is there.  Build a better rising.  It is up to each one of us.  Ok, I’m going now.  Make a better day.    Lilie

 

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OK. . . Karma

Let’s stop the silly stuff about Karma.  I think it’s important.

What is karma?  I’m not an expert, but I’m going to give it a go here and explain, the best I’m able with my understanding.  We often joke about karma, or we use a very generalized expression of it to comfort ourselves in times of suffering.  That’s not it.  If you are cheated by your neighbor, treated unkindly, a house is not going to fall on them. No. Very seldom is there such a direct line.

What goes around, comes around.  No.  Not that either.  You reap what you sow.  No.  If we look around, we know that’s often not the case.  There are people who create suffering and never seem to suffer for their actions.   So, what is karma?  What’s the redress, then, for wrongs?   Good news/bad news, there isn’t any.  But, there’s a better plan.

What you entertain in your mind, what you say, what you do matters.  Doesn’t matter your social status, income, etc., what you think, say and do matters.  Because it is you.  If you care about that, that’s where it is.  I care about that.  It’s the building block.  It’s a solution.  It’s an opportunity.  It’s an ‘anyone can change, at any time’.  It’s a second chance.

When you wake up to the realization that you choose who you are (not talking vocation/occupation), karma enters the picture.  It matters.

If you cheat your neighbor and ‘get away with it’.  You didn’t get away with it.  You’re a cheat.  If no one knows it, if the neighbor doesn’t tell – you’re a cheat.  You decided.  That’s your self.  That’s what you put out there.  It is going to change things.  You may never see it, but it’s going to create suffering beyond the limits of your vision.

Who do you want to be?  In any situation, that’s the thought to have.  No matter what someone else does, who do you want to be?  What do you want to leave about yourself?  The more you practice not to create, or leave, suffering for others, you suffer less and feel better.  Doesn’t mean you put up with negative behavior from others.  It does mean, you use that awareness to learn how to cope with situations that cause you suffering, in a way that is in alignment with who you are.

In case you missed it:  The justice, the good news, the redress is knowing deeply inside yourself the value of life, of living beings and making that commitment to choose what you pass on – – to end suffering in your moment, in your place, inside you.  This is how things change.

I usually oil my soapbox with orange and olive oil, I’ll go do that and wish you a good day.  Thank you.  Lilie

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NOW

We were invited to thanksgiving dinner, a few years back.  Here we go, around the table:  What are you grateful for?  I’m listening.  I look down.  What will I say?  Of course, my husband, son and Ruby.  What, though, something is . . . coming up?   My turn and I say:  The Dalai Lama was asked what he is grateful for.  He said, this precious human birth.  I think so.  I think that’s what I’m grateful for, this precious human birth.  And, I felt it.  It was now or not at all, not anymore.  Now, now keep going.  Now do it.  Go the rest of the way.

I had been making changes for a few years, but I had hesitated; fear of further isolation, exclusion and criticism/gossip.  Yes, that does hurt me.  But, it couldn’t be anything else.  Forward.  It was the absolute desire of my heart.  Tea and Toast with Kindness was coming.  It is what I wanted for myself, and if I could just leave some of that — give it away, be that every day.  Now, it’s  now.  Thank you.  Lilie

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NOT LIKE ME

So, I was told that the peacemakers, solution seekers were those who don’t make waves, don’t stir things up, don’t rock the boat.  Here’s my response:

 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Gandhi

Jeanette Rankin

Eleanor Roosevelt

Rosa Parks

Anwar Sadat

Robert Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

Gloria Steinem

Bob Dylan

Pete Seeger

Howard Zinn

Stephen Judd

Ok, you get it.

My idea of the peaceful, the solution seekers are those who cannot bear, cannot stand, will not tolerate the abuse of another’s person, rights or property.  They seek peace through the promotion of awareness, change, equality and the protection of the vulnerable.  Rather than the oh so many silent, non-rocking types whose silence encourages, enforces and entrenches all forms of abuse and violence, calling it peace by shaming and manipulating others into silence, thereby ensuring suffering continues.

I’m a rocker.