31 December, 2008

Not Standing in the Way

Waking up in the middle of night when a guest in the other room was snoring, I began to think instead of getting upset. The distance my partner and I have right now allows us to distill our relationship to what is really important. The time apart has matured it gracefully. He has just graduated BBA with 1st honors, and I am proud of him. I thought I was helping my partner with the tuition, because I know his salary even while working full time does not cover anything but the basic costs of housing and food. I was trying to put me out of the equation…it is not always about me. Reflecting about this I am really not helping him, but instead just not getting in the way of his future plans or happiness. Many times we get in the way of others trying to be happy. It might be a simple as letting them in first in line at the store. It actually takes more energy making your Me more important and not thinking about others Me. Like a gear turning and I was not something stuck in it, thus jamming it. I am trying to think of his happiness is not contingent on him performing for me in any way. I do enjoy his excitement and feeling of power after doing what was the impossible just three years ago. It was an idea back when I saw him not happy, and when I finally put myself aside it became obvious how I could change things. He had completed his degree, while working overtime in most cases. He never gave in to the idea that was too hard, because he thought of this as a rare opportunity. And now he did so well, and was inspired by a Professor to go for MA and on to perhaps a PHD. I will again step aside, and let his potential shine into the New Year. Meanwhile, when he is busy, I will quietly work on developing pure love and wisdom through meditation and contemplation. So, I ended up a couple hours later with an Ipod on with quiet music playing until I fell asleep again with good thoughts.

27 December, 2008

Your Plane Doesn't Go There

A bus driver named Reggie was talking to me outside the pool before it opened. I said that this is the first time back after being sick with a good cold. He asked me how did you get over it? I told him that I made a conscious effort to be happy regardless of how I felt this time. Instead of surrendering into self-pity and moaning about being sick, I just dealt with it with a happy mind. Of course it did not end faster, necessarily, but was less of a mental wallop where one normally piles all of life’s little miseries into the same pile. Reggie was quick to say this is just he wanted to hear, and when he first started he was told this way back. I told him that they are a lot of unhappy people in this world, but it up to you to not get on their boat. Maintain a smile, and it will make you a wiser person. I say this to remind myself.
I carried this idea on when I flew right into an airport closure full of unhappy people during the holidays. Waiting for my flight that was extremely late, when they had cancelled all flights when the agent kept our hopes up that we would fly out. Then they ran out of deicer. I maintained my relaxed attitude through finding my luggage in piles of bags with tons of unhappy people, finding a taxi, a hotel, etc in the snow. I made the decision to get out as fast as I could to avoid spending the night at the airport eating over-priced high fat foods and lots of sugar. The food alone would drive anyone crazy. I listened to several stories of three nights at the airport from others fortifying my position to remain happy or at least neutral about all that was happening. And in rapidly increasing difficulties as thousands flew right into a mess with no hopes of it being resolved fast. Being calm as I could possibly be, helped to maintain my overall happiness.

17 December, 2008

Why Did I?

I ventured out, knowing a little Dharma never hurt me and perhaps they need help at temple. Even though I emailed earlier that I was going to stay home sick with a good winter cold. Now most smart people stay in bed on a cold night. I enjoyed the talk and meditation, reinforcing the need to work on my weak points. Missing my bus coming back, and thought it would be smarter to walk than to sit in the cold and wait. About a mile I came to a bus stop, I found a old man hanging on to newspaper racks, obviously having trouble. Nearby were at least 8 people and more walking by. At first I thought he was drunk and I am sure many others did too, but his desperation to hang on to stand up...spelled “help me”. It was the way he was trying(and his intention) and the way his hand got caught in the door. He wasn’t trying to get a paper, he was trying to just get vertical enough to stand. My heart went out immediately. He never said help, but he did need to go home on the bus, that I got it out of him when I approached and talked to him. It is funny how in these situations my speech problem does not get in the way. I saw in his bag he was trying to pick up from the ground contained breakfast cereal and an umbrella. I just let it unfold, being as clueless as the next person. So I helped the guy to get to the stop, then on to the bus, even to sit down. Then I rode with him, trying to ascertain how he makes it, and how the hell did he get there in the first place. He never complained, and mostly what he talked about was feeling sorry for all those people that lost their jobs with this economy. I thought he really needed help, and this was a new problem for him even though he was old. Asking him where his house is, he was alert enough(an obviously not a drunk), so I rode with him to stop near his house past my stop. He did not expect me nor ask because it really caught him off guard. I thought there is no way he will get home, from the bus stop in this condition. He said thanks, we talked about where I live and what music he liked…jazz. I told him I have seen Ella and Sarah decades before when I was a “kid”. He said, “Saw Billie Holiday, and what a voice she had!” Expressing to him, that I could see me in the same place he is, and needing some help. He replied, “Age, creeps up on you fast!”
I felt bad for him while walking alongside him in slow pace, because it was very difficult on him. I supported him as much as he would let me. He was trying to rush to the safety of his own home, obviously. I carried his bag and his arm...carrying most of his weight up to his apt and unlocked his apt building main door that was even for me a difficult heavy door. Thinking he would never make to his room, and collapse in the lobby, so I came in, practically carrying him up two sets of stairs, unlocked his apt with him and led him all the way to his bed. He was very winded, but so was I. He was drooling, his heart racing from trying to make it home, but still ok enough to say, “I don't need help," or don't call anyone for him. I put his pillow under his head, unzipped his coat, got some tissue for his face, and asked him if he wanted water(although water after a stroke is not a good idea). As I took off his hat and laid his head on the pillow, there was a small fresh blood stain. I also asked him if he wanted me to call his lady friend or god daughter he spoke of on the way home. He replied, "No, god bless you and take a pen." Looking around a an apartment looking very spare, I guess it was the only thing he had that he could give away and I was touched. But knowing the weakness and the drooling were quite possibly a sign of a stroke, or head injury, I moved the phone close to him, so he could call, but I just not did feel right leaving him there. Even though he would probably want to die at home. It did not seem he was thinking of dying just yet, maybe his fear of hospitals or his financial status told him to say he was
Walked out, towards home still not feeling good about this. So even before getting home, I called the police while walking and had them come to see me to explain the situation arriving at my home as I walked up. They proceeded to his home after seeing me. Why did I see him and others nearby did not? There were quite a few people walking by him, like I was. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons why I survived my near death to come to help him and others.
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13 December, 2008

The Light is On, and This Time Someone is Home!

In process of living with a broken computer, and doing everything in my power to not let it bother me. If it stopped working, I would try to do something else, until I was able to ascertain the cause. I even bumped up my meditation practice, and tried to smile more often to more people or help them. I was trying to keep the repairs reasonable, so that happened to hurt me in time. But how can one see the future? On one hand not turning it over to Apple to repair, cost me a week without it. My alternative was to give it to a local repair shop with a great reputation. Who would know it would not repeat the same error and sleep a lot for them? I just laughed. In the one day it was ok, I was able to run a disc repair program quickly before it failed that told me what was the error code that caused this, which jived with what the help at Apple genius bar had said. So I took it back to the same place after emailing him my results. I kept the emails cordial, trying to hide my frustration. Then they, lucky for me, replaced the part and did not charge me the labor, since I paid the first visit when it was never fixed. I maintained my cool, because this whole process took me over a month without full use of it. I really have to praise them for being honest and fair which sadly is now a rarity in the U.S. That really is the point of telling you the boring details, as well as to remind myself. By being cool headed and trying to understand both sides, I actually ended up happier by not getting upset about things you can’t control. These are a just a few of great things that happen when you change your mind. It is not so much a religion but more a practical way to live your life. My idea is to hopefully become that wise soul that people come to for help and ideas, and to die peacefully not holding on to my existence in this body. I will only expose them to the Dharma …nothing new.
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