All posts tagged: Buddhism

Want a ‘deep transformation of character’? Sit down & breathe

During the one hour ‘Blog Mentoring’ session I paid $250 for 3 years ago, I was told I had to find my ‘niche’, and write to it [with all the appropriate hashtags/images/Facebook groups aligned etc etc.] The ‘niche’ hunt continues. Last week I wrote about bushfires; 6 weeks ago it was a shortlisted Short Story, and next month it will be about a wilderness walk in Tasmania, similar to my Kakadu one (but hopefully without the drama). Would I be doing better with a timetable of topics, and a calendar? Maybe. Define ‘better’ though? I’m happy, I’m having fun, I feel connected and supported, I enjoy my blogging; there’s my motivation. And big credit has to go to my increased Meditation practice. It’s not daily [yet], but definitely at least three times a week. Plus one glorious Sunday a month, when I get to sit in a circle with amazing women from all walks of life, and meditate pretty much all day 9.30-3, except for a gloriously chatty lunch hour. Even the 30 minute morning tea …

Grappling with the spaciousness of uncertainty, by Yoda herself (Part 3)

Having finished our first 30 minute meditation from Part 2, and admitted any latecomers we’d locked out in a boundary-setting exercise in Part 1, the lesson began. ‘Uncertainty is one of the 3 main characteristics of human existence,’ Yoda Carol said, sitting her 70+ self on a floor cushion like the rest of us. ‘It’s difficult to endure, so we all cling to certainty. Yet clinging creates further suffering, doesn’t it?’ Well I know I’m clinging to my meditation aspirations as a way to calm anxiety, channel greater creativity, and nurture more peaceful personal relationships, that’s for sure. Is it not going to work? ‘We always want to make the “right decision”, weighing pros and cons, grasping for certainty. But we are just creating more attachment, and more eventual suffering.’ Damn. I thought my pros/cons list-making was a fabulous strategy. ‘There is more ease and wellbeing in letting go, so that we can focus on our actual needs in the situation as it unfolds in real time…’ Would that work for astronauts? Or brain surgeons? …

Does setting boundaries make you uncomfortable? Good: you’re doing it right (Part 1)

Sunday was my Women’s Buddhist Meditation Day, and the group’s facilitator Yoda Carol began by shutting the door on any latecomers. ‘If you arrive late next time ladies, you will have to wait outside for 45 minutes while we finish our introductions and first Meditation circle,’ she cautioned. The group of 20 women shifted on their cushions, and glanced round the room, calculating who may be missing. ‘Oh, have I made you uncomfortable? It’s simply too disruptive to admit latecomers; we must each just plan to arrive on time.’ More rustling and looking. ‘We all have families, partners, children, pets, or jobs that may make us run late to Meditation, but that’s not the point. We close the door at 9.30am sharp, and that’s the boundary. I’m setting it, and happy to. If you’re uncomfortable with that, sit with it. Boundaries are not always easy, to set or receive, and especially for women. We are so trained to be ‘nice’, to be ‘good’, to not make a fuss or upset anyone… But boundaries are healthy, …

Leaving flowers on an altar for peace after the New Zealand shootings

For New Zealand: “If you hate one person, you hate the world. If you love one person, you love the world.”

So spoke my Buddhist Dharma teacher last Sunday, as we 32 women sat in a circle, meditating for the day. We were grieving the shootings in New Zealand, the hopeful joy of the climate change striking schoolchildren, and the intimate loss of one of our women, who had just died from breast cancer, leaving behind two children and her husband. The teachings of the Dharma encourage us to take Wise Action, use Wise Speech, and choose a Wise Livelihood. Much has been made of the photo of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern mourning after the shootings, and rightly so. It’s easy to see: she’s in her sad heart, feeling and expressing both empathy & sympathy for the Muslim community, and the larger New Zealand population and culture. Her wise speeches and actions are inspiring people all around the world. Why is this such an unusual phenomenon? World leaders NEED to be empathetic, generous, kind, and most importantly, compassionate. We all do. The Dharma Circle involves meditation, sharing a brief check-in of where we’re at, listening …

“How much time have I got left?” Part Two

Deep in my essential core, I’m a dancer. I may be 52 now, and not quite as nimble as I used to be, but I still go to Swing Dance once a month, and my beloved 5Rhythms every week. Not to mention the regular groovy late-afternoon outdoor queer dance parties I sometimes see my son at. At age 28, living in Newtown, Sydney, and dancing at techno raves all weekend, I began to wonder if I could make a living with movement somehow… which led me to an extraordinary teacher, Janis Claxton. Her free, wild, & fiery moves still live in my body, while her feisty attitude found a match in mine, inspiring me to pursue performing/Clown/dance & Improvisation (which all still rock my creative world). Last week she died of lung cancer, aged 53.  At the Women’s Buddhist Dharma Day Part One last Sunday, facilitator Carol Perry asked us to reflect on the question I’ve titled this post with; of course, none of us know the answer, and therein lies one of the causes of …

“Let your body be a soft & steady place for emotions to land.” Part One

I just spent 9.30-3pm Sunday in a yurt at a Women’s Buddhist Dharma Day. What does that actually mean G? Well, it meant I got up at 6.30 to cook a spinach pie for the shared lunch, drove there too fast because I left a bit late and didn’t know where I was going, was the second last one to bumble into the serious silent sitting circle of women, and then spent hours listening to a wise elder speak about Ageing as we meditated together. It was a great day, and such a huge gift to myself. The day’s facilitator Carol Perry also taught at that Eco Village/Permaculture Week Intensive I did- remember that? I love her. And guess what? Because I’d almost arrived late, I got to sit next to her in the circle- I began soaking up her wisdom vibes like a thirsty sponge, hoping she wouldn’t notice the intense draining. Last time I heard her give a presentation, she said this, which almost brought half the room to tears: “My first Invitation to …

‘Give me avocado or give me death’; oh what the hell, give me both

Today, Sunday in Australia, is my last day living without my beloved avocados. I have two waiting for me in the fridge, seducing me with their perfect green curves every time I open the door. Which I’m trying not to do very often, surviving on official Refugee Rations as I am. Last day today! OMG I am SO READY for this to be over. There is a part of me that feels lightheadedly content to drift along in this new, vague, low energy, who-needs-to-really-eat-food-anyway kinda cult mindset… but the other 90% of me really misses the energetic, dancing, beach-jogging, feast-cooking, sharp-brained, nut-eating, green-smoothie-making, utter-food-pleasure-loving G. Seven days isn’t long I know; many refugees live for years in camps of uncertainty and severe restrictions. My Western privilege has stood up in front of my face for this whole week, don’t you worry, as well as my complete addiction to greens, as I mentioned before in last post ‘I want to eat my lawn’. I’ve also really missed the sheer simple pleasure I get from food: dreaming …