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IT IS. . . WHAT IT IS

I’m not a rose-colored glasses kind of person.  In fact, my experience is that I’m a little nervous about hanging out with the rose-colored glasses variety because there is a downside, which is:  It denies what is and expects others to also.  If there is a problem and you happen to speak about it, you just might find yourself referred to as ‘negative’ and/or excluded because it doesn’t fit the reality of rose-colored glasses, and this reality constantly needs adjustment in ways you may not ever be able to comprehend, as it is not actually going on in reality.  Yeah.

So, what am I?  A person trying to see life’s situations for what they are, as they are.  A clear view, in my opinion, eliminates much unnecessary drama, for you and others.  The happiest I ever felt was the moment I gave up the ‘eternal smiling optimist’ gig and opted for see it for what it is and evaluate.  I did not lose all emotional feeling or concern.  In fact, my concern became deeper, wider, rooted in reality and I felt I was able to see more possibilities for remedy when I took a breath and observed.  I gained a measure of deeper thoughtfulness, more moments of true laughter and kindness, not from other people’s words or behavior but from my own center, who I want to be based on my core values not on reactivity.  The journey continues.  Thank you, Lilie

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What’s It Really About?

On YouTube, there’s a Seane Corn (well-known and respected yoga teacher) video about the new president.  She says it for me.  I want to be part of that group that is watching in the direction of the creative thinkers and activists.  I want to be an assist in any way I can to advance the essential compassionate nature of self and others.  I want to hold a line for integrity and compassionate, ethical behavior.

Yesterday, after writing, I realized what I’m truly feeling – it’s grief.  I’m sad about what I see and hear.  I want to be there for others, stand up and protect the vulnerable because it’s right, because I saw too many who wouldn’t, couldn’t stand up.  If the rest of the world decides they can live without dignity, integrity and compassion, I can’t.  Regardless of the cost, I can’t.  I don’t think life is worth anything without it.  It’s the essential purpose of a living being:  Compassion.  I miss the mark frequently, lately, but I keep going back, keep looking for the influences that will draw me back to what is most important.  Those influences do exist.

In a high school civics class, the teacher (my favorite) went around the room and asked each of us to say what we wanted to be as adults.  My turn and I said, “A good person.”  Most laughed, two didn’t.  The teacher said, “Go ahead, say why.”  I said because I knew I was smart and would always want to learn and always would be able to make a living, but the work was to be a good person, to not hurt others.  I said that I was hurt a lot and this person also hurt others a lot, when I was grown and on my own, I didn’t want to see it anymore, I didn’t ever want to be that.  The girl behind me (my closest friend) leaned over the desk, hugged and kissed me.  I was ridiculed by others.  At that time, I didn’t seem to notice or care.  I meant what I said, corny as it sounds.  I realize that’s what the grief is about, I still do mean that.   That’s still what I want.  I want to see it in others, too.  I don’t want to see it fade away.

Mercy, love, compassion, grace, they aren’t just emotions.  They are the reason for life.  Whatever else we have created, the reason for life is to love and demonstrate it by being good to others.  I’m sorry for the ways I haven’t been and am back on my mission.

So, when we’re ready for that snarky remark to put someone who irks us in their place, they are a person, they came by their ideas somehow, they have a chance to awaken as we’re trying to.  Stand up, protect and be kind.  Have a day of kindness, delivered and received.  Thank you.  Lilie

 

 

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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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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