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Being a Good Friend September 8, 2009

Posted by Living Abundance in Uncategorized.
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I try to think of myself as a good friend. I like to spend time with friends, and I like to prioritize time spent with friends in my life by pushing other things aside to make this time happen. I like to think of myself as kind and generous and honest. I take it upon myself to do good things for my friends, to try and ease their suffering, sometimes by actions or words, or other times by just offering advice or listening to their problems.
The dharma talk at group meditation tonight got me thinking about responsibilities; of my own responsibilities and the responsibilities of others. When you are in a relationship with someone, there is always going to be a fine and hard to discern line about where someone’s responsibility ends and the others takes over. This just has me thinking about my friends responsibilities towards me and whether I allow myself to ask for help from my friends. I’m curious as to whether my friends take up the same responsibility I do for being a good friend, or keeping the relationship going. I’m curious as to whether my friends try to do the helpful things for me that I do for them. I also wonder if I’ve spoken up to my friends if they haven’t been good friends to me–and I also wonder if I’ve even made myself be aware of something like that happening.
Are there times when I’ve asked my friends for help? When I’ve asked my friends to do something important for me, and not just making the time to visit with me. I think maybe I’ve recently seen myself as above other people’s psychological or social needs. Where I’m an introvert and I’m independent and I don’t need to ask others for help. This has got me thinking because as I become more and more busy over the school year, will there become a point where I really need to spend time with the people I know, and what if they aren’t willing or able ot make that time? What if something really bad happens to me? Because lately its been pretty much smooth sailing as far as life traumas go, I really haven’t had too many big things on my plate to deal with. But if something did happen, would I be able to ask people for help? I’m not sure I have much in the past.

Learning from the Weather September 5, 2009

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Last night, I went to my brother’s house for some delicious barbecued steak. He explained why he wanted to have people over for a barbecue because this has been one of the nicest weekends our city has had all summer. This was probably one of the coldest summers on record; it never got much higher than plus 30, which is quite remarkable as the previous two summers I worked outside and remember the temperature getting to around 37 or 38 and staying there for several days. Also, I actually have pictures from waking up in the morning in the middle of May and seeing snow on the ground! In May! It’s supposed to be summer and we have snow!
I’ve heard a lot of people say how their summer didn’t go as great as they would have liked because the weather really didn’t give them the opportunity to do “summer” things. Personally, I don’t like the temperature getting much higher than 25, unless I’m going swimming (which is very rare), when I like it to be really hot. So for me, I really didn’t have a problem with the weather, I thought it was wonderful.
Living in a cold part of the country also means I get to hear people complaining about the cold weather in the winter, and how it’s not warming up fast enough for people. Its amazing how people can always find something to complain about. It’s like the joke you hear around here about the farmers complaining about the weather (my dad is a farmer), if its not raining the crops are drying out, and if it is raining then they can’t do any fieldwork–or some variation on that theme.
I try not to complain about much, and this is reflected in my way of thinking about the weather. It will do what it wants to do, there is nothing we can do about it. Why worry about something we have no control over? Honestly, unless you’re planning an outdoor event (only in the summer months) and your event depends on it being nice out, what else does it really matter?
Another thing that helps me get through poor weather is realizing that there is always a balance in how patterns go. If it is way below normal temperature for two weeks at a time (like it was last December), there needs to be some balance to the system. Therefore, it can only warm up later on to make up for that shift in the balance. Therefore, if it’s freezing cold outside, instead of complaining about how its so cold, I just go, well this is what happens where we live, we can only expect it. It’s going to change eventually, and that means it will be much warmer a few days or weeks down the road, we have that much to look forward to.
Seriously, sometimes hearing people complain constantly about the weather just cracks me up; I just want to laugh out loud at how silly people are. Especially when you read people’s comments or status updates on facebook and the majority of them are complaints about the weather. Is that all people can think about? Is that the most important thing in your life that you need to complain about it? It really is quite amusing.
I’ve always seen the weather as determined by god, so I try to accept what god does. If the weather is not as nice as I would like it to be, I just accept that, and think, who am I to determine how things should be when god is in charge? And when the weather is nice out, I thank god for a beautiful day and the chance to enjoy his creation.

Renewal and Revitalization September 2, 2009

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I recently traveled to my parents’ farm for a few days before classes start up again.  It was a time of transition, when my summer job had ended and school hadn’t started yet.  I brought with me some dharma talks on my mp3 player and computer and a few buddhism and meditation books.  My intention was to spend as much of the weekend as possible meditating.  I had a stressful week and wanted to just clear my mind and settle down. I tried to meditate about a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the evening, some of it walking; this is twice as much as I usually accomplish in one day.  I didn’t know if I could conjure up the stamina or concentration for it, but it worked out great and was just what I needed.

When I was on the farm I left behind a lot of things that were causing me stress in the city.  I was inspired by a blog entry I recently read that talked about “unplugging” from your daily life or pushing the reset button: getting rid of all the things you do and taking a break.  Then after a couple of weeks of being away from everything, you slowly start pushing the power button back on for daily routines and activities.  I tried to cut my day down to the bare minimals–reading, studying, watching movies, going outside.  I unplugged from visiting friends, work, shopping, wearing nice clothes and makeup, styling my hair, and exercising, among others.

The result after this combination of unplugging and some intense meditaton?  Pure simple abundance, happiness that sprung up out of nowhere after I accepted the way my life was.  Just resting in knowing what is was so liberating and calming.  I feel much happier now, my sense of humour is back after “losing” it for a while there.  I laughed at things I wouldn’t have laughed at before, especially the silly and crazy things my family does.  These past few days showed me something very important about what a good period of meditation will do.  I can easily change the way I think about things and re-evaluate my life.