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Live and Learn

Having fun just living life. I think the reason kids don’t learn these days is because they don’t know how to live. And I’d like to go one step beyond kids and say that most adults are the same way. I don’t know what has happened to people over the years. They have evolved into these thin-skinned bitches who worry and make excuses about everything and have no idea how to live life or raise a child.  Everyone wants to accomplish these huge goals and have all their dreams come true but don’t want to get off their asses to even try to make it happen. They just sit up on their little imaginary pedestals thinking that everything will just come to them and that change is an inconvenience. What happened to just living life for the moment. Getting lost in what you were doing and having passion and desire drive you. These kids just sit around in their damn rooms glued to a computer or tv screen and their “parents” let them. I don’t get it. When I was a kid you had two choices, you can play outside or you can stay inside, and inside consisted of some sort of house cleaning. There was no way my mother would let me sit in the house all day watching tv or sitting in my room. What’s even more ridiculous is these “parents” will complain about what their kids are doing, how they play too much xbox, text on their smart phones or how they dress but don’t stop to realize that they are the ones supporting this shit. The kids aren’t buying the clothes or video games. The kids aren’t paying for cable, putting a tv in every fucking room, or buying their cellphones, the “parents” are. It’s quite ridiculous. Buying your children everything they want and not spending any time with them is not parenting and is not teaching them a damn thing. Take some time out of your day and listen to your kids, spend time with your kids, laugh with your kids.  Turn of technology, put your damn phone down and  go for a bike ride, a walk, or go puddle jumping in the rain. Teach your kids that life is about living and in doing so you might just live a little yourself.

It’s all good

Greeted several people on my way to work today with a cheerful Good Morning only to get a bunch of ‘it would be ifs’. If it wasn’t so cold. If it were Friday. If I didn’t spill my coffee. Absolutely ridiculous. You are breathing aren’t you? You’re not lying in a hospital are you? I just don’t understand the mentality of some people. It’s as if they feel that everything should just be as the way they wished it to be, but even then they wouldn’t be happy. When you continually rely on external influences to be “happy” you are only setting yourself up for more suffering. External happiness is temporary and will constantly leave you searching for more. Life is filled with ups and downs, but that doesn’t mean one cannot remain happy. You must remain open and fluid. Life just is. Stop taking it for granted and once again, stop thinking you are so damn important. It’s not about you. It’s not personal. It just is. Breathe and be my friends. Life is beautiful. Have a wonderful day.

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Wasted energy

People get so caught up on the ist’s and the ism’s. Why not focus that wasted energy on practicing loving kindness and letting go of the idea of self importance. Those two things will be of more benefit to you and others than any dumb ass label will.

Be you

You don’t have to change who you are to be who you want to be. There’s nothing wrong with looking different or being yourself. You don’t have to hide your ink, take out your piercings or change the way you dress to be a compassionate person. Drink a beer, smoke a joint, who cares.  I see way too many people read some books on buddhism or just generally feel that they wish to change to be a better person or a more positive about life,  then go and cut their hair, buy new clothes etc and then they are miserable. They blame whomever and then become worse that they started out.

Being a better person means think before you speak or act, treat all beings with compassion. Who we are on the outside has no reflection on who we are on the inside. External change is as temporary as the happiness it brings. Be mindful of your intentions, question your motivations and just be you.

Enjoy your day.
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Open your eyes and be grateful

I remember opening my eyes slowly thinking it was some kind of a blurry dream. I could hear muffled voices in all directions and the repetitive sound of high-pitched beeps. There seemed to be a lot of commotion, people scurrying about with determination and importance in their stride. It felt surreal. I decided to close my eyes. A few moments later I tried again. Vision still blurry, I tried to focus a bit more, tried to remember what was going on, why I was here. I looked down across my body lying peacefully still, tubes and wires protruding out of me like I was some kind of bio-mechanical being. Then I noticed the tubes coming out from my throat. I could see my chest rising and deflating but I wasn’t taking a breath and I could hear the faint sound of the ventilator in the background. Then everything became crystal clear. “I” was not my shell. Although body and mind rely on each other, my mind is not my body any more than my body is my mind and neither of them are truly “me” to begin with. “I” did not exist. This solidity that I have been trying to let go of for decades never even existed. On this day, one year ago today, I awoke. Not just from surgery, but from ignorance, from delusion, from the idea of self-importance and the solidity of “I”.

This was me, exactly a year ago today. Apologies for the photo being a bit graphic. 2012-01-13_16.47.57 For me, this was the greatest day of my life. A new beginning. Sure I had open heart surgery, yes I might not have woken up and you wouldn’t be reading this right now, but I did, more than any words in this post can ever express. I’ve always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Do we always know what those reasons are? No. And sometimes the reasons might not even be for us. This “obstacle” as many at the time called it, was not an “obstacle” at all. It was a lesson. One that continues to teach me everyday. A lesson not just for me, but for my family and friends as well. We all know we are going to die. It’s a natural part of life, but I strongly feel that many don’t reflect on it as much as they should because they feel that growing old is a prerequisite for death. This is so not true. Death just is, and it does not need to be defined by any means. We take so much for granted each day. How many times do we truly stop and focus on our breath, our heartbeat, our surroundings, not from a meditative standpoint, but from an “I am truly fucking grateful for this Moment” standpoint? I seldom did. Life is a gift, and one that should not be placed upon a mantle to look at from time to time, but one to truly embrace, enjoy and learn from. We need to approach it with an open mind and open heart. Embracing each and every moment, not just the “good” ones, but every one. For within each moment is life. You see, it is a gift that continually gives and what do we do? Abuse it? Misuse it? Neglect it? Take it for granted? STOP! Just stop. Stop complaining about the mundane bullshit. Stop telling yourself you’ll change tomorrow. Stop loving with condition. Stop the lies and stop thinking that you are so damn important. We are all important. Equally. We are all sentient, animals included and we need to stop taking each other for granted and start loving each other unconditionally. Everything we need to do this we carry within ourselves. Stop looking for the answers outside of yourselves and start living today. Be grateful. Be kind. Be compassionate. Be mindful of your thoughts and actions and constantly keep your motivation and intentions in check. Start Now. THIS MOMENT. THIS BREATH. You never know when it will be your last. You are my reflection, my breath, my teacher, my student. I offer each of you all my love, empty of condition, full of compassion. Namaste. _/\_ Michael

May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness.

May all beings remain free from suffering and the cause of suffering.

May all beings remain unseparated from the sacred joy and happiness that is totally free from sorrow.

May all beings come to rest in the boundless and all-inclusive equanimity that is beyond attachment and aversion.

May all beings be happy, content and fulfilled.

May all be peaceful, harmonious and at ease.

May all be protected from harm and fear.

May all have whatever they want, need and aspire to.

May all be healed and whole.

May this planet be healed and whole.

May all beings awaken from the sleep of illusion.

May all beings be awakened, delivered, liberated and free.

May all realize their true nature and awaken to the Buddha within.

May all equally enjoy, actualize and embody the innate Great Perfection.

When I Tweet, I Tweet.

Lately I have been noticing how so many are completely disconnected with their surroundings. Every where you go someone is attached to some kind of technological device. Whether in the store shopping, in the car, walking down the street or even at their children’s school play. They are constantly checking their Facebook status, posting on twitter or playing some mindless game on their phone. It made me look at myself and how I react to the little sound my phone makes when I get a text, email or other social interaction.

Now I know there are some people who need to check their phones for work purposes or if their children are out and they feel it may be them contacting them, but otherwise, how much do we really need to constantly check our devices. For me personally I only mainly use two apps. Instagram, because I have been taking pictures for over 20 years and love being able to share what I see. And Twitter, because, even though at times I partake in idle chatter, hope that my words and thoughts may inspire and/or be of benefit to other people.

So why I am I telling you this? Not quite sure, maybe just to hear myself say it. Yesterday I thought I had the answer. I thought, hey, I will just delete all my accounts and that will be that. But it wasn’t as simple as I thought.  Yesterday I posted that I was going to delete my twitter account and after a lot of thought it made me sad. I thought it was just attachment, and maybe to some degree it is, but I have made some friends and close connections on twitter that I just don’t want to delete. We all use social media/networking in different ways I’m sure, and some of you are probably laughing at me right now thinking this is just some childish post. But my friends on twitter are my family to me. My Sangha. I enjoy their company, their thoughts, and hearing about their day. I have met people from all over the world whom I would never have met if it weren’t for this interface, and I don’t want to just delete that connection.

So after talking with a good friend, whom I always tend to confide in, he helped me make some sense out of what I was feeling and some ideas on what to do. Sometimes we already know the answers to our questions, but we just need to hear them from someone else. I’m not going to delete my account, rather, I am going to set some time each day to use it more wisely.  I removed the app from my phone and this seems to be helping. I just don’t want to be another disconnected zombie, always distracted by what I can post, and who might like it. Too many people are caught up in this ‘look at me’ mentality. Craving for that retweet, the new follower or someone to click the like button on their post. They want to feel special and important. To be placed on some imaginary pedestal. We must be mindful of our thoughts and especially of our words. We think that people will get what we are saying, but we sometimes forget that our words are only truly defined by how they are interpreted by the reader.

Now I’m not telling anyone what to do, nor am I am pointing fingers. I just wanted to shed some light to those who were wondering why I was thinking what I was thinking. Do what you like, but be mindful. Like it is said, ‘when you eat, eat. when you sleep, sleep.’ Slow down and be in the moment. If that moment consists of tweeting, then be mindful of it. But if that moment consists of driving, shopping, or attending your child’s school play, then please, be mindfully in that moment.

My love to each of you.

Michael

_/\_

Jumping to Conclusions

Sometimes while walking my path I still seem to get caught on little roots of my ego.   In the past these roots would hold me back and I never felt like I could break free from their grasp. Now I realize that it was never the roots that were grasping, it was me. I would get caught up and hold on so tight that it would affect my whole day or even longer. Recently I got hung up on a little root that I was certain I would never get caught up on again. That root is me jumping to conclusions. Let me explain.

During the spring of this year I was volunteering for the Meal Ministry of the local Congregational Church. Even though I am not a patron they were kind enough to let me participate in this wonderful program where volunteers could cook meals for those who were unable due to injuries or ill health. Upon delivering the last meal I prepared to this family, although very grateful, they seemed quite taken back by my appearance. Since then I have not received any emails asking me to prepare any other meals. This was back in June. As time went by I immediately assumed that these people may have complained or at least brought up the fact that maybe they felt uncomfortable by my presence. I let it eat at me. I told friends and family members that I was annoyed and passed judgment on something that I didn’t even have the facts on, and I owe them all an apology.

While sitting in meditation this morning in freezing rain on top of a mountain I realized that I was acting a fool and should just go down to the church and find out the truth of the matter. So I did. The truth is, there have been no requests for meals since June. It had absolutely nothing to do with me, my appearance or anyone passing judgment. The only one passing judgment was myself. I expressed my gratitude to the church for letting me take part in this program and how happy I was that no one was suffering to the point where they required assistance.

None of us are prefect and we will all face obstacles along our path. Some from others, some from within ourselves. All I ask is that you have the integrity to question yourself, your thoughts, your motivations and your actions. When we open our grasping fists we will realize the truth. The truth that we are holding onto nothing but our delusions.

I am truly sorry if I hurt or brought ill feelings to any of my friends or family members that I so wrongfully complained to. And I owe an even greater apology to the family whom I passed judgment on. I can only hope that from this point on I will no longer jump to anymore conclusions. But for now I will just live in this moment, in this breath.

May we all have clarity to see through our own delusions.  My love to each of you.

Michael

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