A Holy Tibetan

June 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I have a Dalai Lama story.  In the early 80s when I was married to my first husband (yes, I had a first one before I hit the jack pot with the second) he took me to a house in Long Island, New York where we were to spend a day with the Dalai Lama.  At that time I was 20 years old and cocky.  My writer husband somehow got invited by an organization (can’t remember which) to come and meet with the Dalai Lama and help promote his plight and his work in the US.  

I must confess that at the time I had no idea who the Dalai Lama was.  All I knew is that I was going to be meeting with someone who was supposed to be holy.

When we arrived, my ex-husband and I, were introduced to the Dalai Lama by a man wearing a dark suit who was our host and translator.

I remember what I was wearing, olive silk blouse, black silk pants and black boots.  I remember a swimming pool and I remember staring at the Dalai Lama’s face trying to find holiness in him but becoming disappointed when all I could find was the calm and lovely face of a Tibetan man.

Since that time I have learned that holiness is in the simple things; playing with my dog, having a meal with friends, kissing the lips of the person I love.  Holiness is almost never introduced by fire works but it is often readily available if we can calm ourselves down long enough to notice.

Below are some sayings I found attributed to the Dalai Lama; a simple, man with a holy heart.

1- Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.

2- If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.

3- If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

4- My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

5- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

6- The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual’s own reason and critical analysis.

7- We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.

8- We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.

9- Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

10- If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.

11- If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able of developing compassion for others.

12- Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, “I am of no value”, is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.

13- We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity. That the happiness of one person or nation is the happiness of humanity.

14- Through violence, you may ‘solve’ one problem, but you sow the seeds for another.

15- As people alive today, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is therefore part of our responsibility toward others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than we found it.

16- To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle.

17- There is a saying in Tibetan, “Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.”
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.

18- The creatures that inhabit this earth-be they human beings or animals-are here to contribute, each in its own particular way, to the beauty and prosperity of the world.

19- A spoon cannot taste of the food it carries. Likewise, a foolish man cannot understand the wise man´s wisdom even if he associates with a sage.

20- In our struggle for freedom, truth is the only weapon we possess.

Share

An Apology To Grace

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Grace Fulkerson was my neighbor and my landlord for many years. It has been some time since she passed, following a long battle with lung cancer.

 An Apology to Grace

Your girl Tracy came by today and I thought of you, how courageously you fought your fight against cancer. I don’t know at what point you realized you were in a no win situation, that there was no outcome left other than acceptance, but your undefeated demeanor rubbed off on the rest of us, made us feel better about things from one day to the next. When I think back on it, on the progression of that illness through your fading body, I remember imagining what you must have been seeing: the end of this whole thing moving right toward you. And somehow, remarkably, your big heart held ground, as though to ward it off, shining all the more brightly in the face of it.         

Chain smoking, lesbian drinker, lovable slacker, collector of knick-knack Americana, den mother to a small nest of rent control tenants, lifers all in this cozy commune of yours, you seemed as genuinely happy to have us residing here, as we were to be in on such a sweet deal.   

I miss the warmth you lent the place, the sense of being one of the characters in your watchful world; the vibe that went beyond the obligatory transactions that pass between landlord and tenant, that imparted our six unit complex on 20th Street with a communal kind of aura. That world has passed, and I feel its absence now.                                            

You were a landowner in desirable Santa Monica, CA. But beside all that you possessed real wealth. And it wasn’t in a fistful of rent checks.         It’s clear to me now, through the wisdom that hindsight sometimes really does allow, the miracle of gentle courage that was unfolding as I watched your body fade and your spirit rise over it. Its warmth is still floating around here somewhere.

I was pretty blind to all of this at the time. In the same way I’m often blind to the goodness inside myself – the very thing that the kindness in your eyes assured me was there. A relentless kindness that never wavered in the face of my dim appreciation for who you were, for what you were about, and of what you were imparting to me. So maybe the best way to honor you isn’t to make a limp apology, but to believe that the love you sent streaming my way came with an illuminating purpose. A reminder you served that there is something redeeming in my being that draws love to it, that is worthy of it; and you weren’t a naïve dope whose love had been tricked into shining my way.    

I’ll work on that Grace, I really will try to fully accept the gift you left here for me. I can’t plead that I didn’t have instructions for how to make use of it. The truth is that it’s been sitting around all this time, and I haven’t bothered to open it. The good thing though about love, is that it doesn’t go bad, its power doesn’t stop flowing, even when it has been buried deep in some crevasse of memory, and ignored for what seems like a long time. What’s a long time to something outside of time, that’s been spoken in a language that flows only one way – outward, from one soul to another. And because of this, goes on, on forever.

Share

Kenneth Chancey, 17, hopes to go to Harvard and become a doctor.

June 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Inspiring People

Kenneth Chancey, 17, hopes to go to Harvard and become a doctor.  This honor student, student body president and star football player lives at shelter in L.A.’s Skid Row, one of the city’s roughest areas.

“I have to dream because obviously my reality is horrible,”  he says.


Share

Steps to Love according to WikiHow

June 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

Love is a strange thing.  It can be the most amazing feeling in the world, or it can really hurt, but in the end love is something most, if not all of us, will face. It does not make you a bad person to desire someone else’s love, even if they do not love you.  However, to truly love someone, you must let them be free.  It is selfish to blame them for your feelings.  While there are many different ways to define love and there are many different ways to love someone (even yourself),  here is a general guide to loving.

Steps…

1.     Say it. When you say the words “I Love You”, they should carry with them the desire to show someone that you love them, not what you simply want to feel. When you say it make sure you really mean it and are willing to do anything for that special person.

2.     Empathize. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Rather than impose your own expectations or attempt to control them, try to understand how they feel, where they come from, and who they are. Realize how they could also love you back just as well.

3.     Love unconditionally. If you cannot love another person without attaching stipulations, then it is not love at all, but deep-seated opportunism (one who makes the most of an advantage, often unmindful of others). If your interest is not in the other person as such, but rather in how that person can enhance your experience of life, then it is not unconditional. If you have no intention of improving that person’s life, or allowing that person to be themselves and accepting them as they are, and not who you want them to be, then you are not striving to love them unconditionally.

4.     Expect nothing in return. That doesn’t mean you should allow someone to mistreat or undervalue you. It means that giving love does not guarantee receiving love. Try loving just for the sake of love. Realize that someone may have a different way of showing his or her love for you, do not expect to be loved back in exactly the same way.

5.     Realize it can be lost. If you realize that you can lose the one you love, then you have a greater appreciation of what you have. Think how lucky you are to have someone to love. Don’t make an idol of the person you love. This will place them under undue pressure and will likely result in you losing them.

Share

Time

June 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

Written by Deborah Calla

 Time, time, time, sometimes it’s too fast sometimes too slow.

 Time, time, time, I hear the cuckoo coming out.  Cuckoo, Cuckoo.  It strikes 8 PM.

 Time, time, time sometimes too much, sometimes it’s too little.

 What is the measure of time?  What’s enough time?  What’s not enough?

 So many conjectures about time.  Parallel time.  What does it really mean?

 People come and people go.  Time goes by.  Time goes on.

 I don’t really know but sometimes there is too much time and sometimes there is not enough.

 How do we handle time?  When it’s too little and when we need more?  When it’s too much and when we need less?

 I don’t know, but the clock keeps ticking and the cuckoo will be coming out soon.  It’s two minutes to 9 pm now.

 Deborah Calla is the writer of many articles for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and the author of three health and fitness books for Putnam and Scholastic.  She’s also the founder of The Love Project Inc.

Share

A Time To Reflect

June 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

What a week!  I feel this vibe that the world is in shock.  Neda, a young woman who lost her life while taking a stance for freedom.  Farrah Fawcett who lost her life to cancer and Michael Jackson whose heart stopped beating when he was getting ready to resume his professional life.

They were also many other losses this week that we don’t know about.  In fact these losses were huge for the people whose lives were affected but we just don’t know about.

Every day all around us our neighbors and distant peoples go through unimaginable things; good and bad.

I remember when my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, walking around the streets of West Hollywood with the sun shinning and the beautiful people walking by me on their phones and in their immaculate outfits without a clue of the desperation building inside of me.

I remember thinking how odd it all was.  I was afraid of losing what was the most precious to me and nobody walking by me knew that.

I’m not blaming or suggesting that we all need to know everything that happens to everyone but I’m suggesting that maybe we don’t know where people are coming from.  What is happening in their lives and so before we react maybe we should be open to find out.  We should all take a pause.

I feel the world is in shock.  Environmental and financial changes, war, death.  I hope all of this will amount to an awakening to our fundamental needs; love, peace and stability and that we come out a little healthier a little happier.

Share

Life’s Big Dance

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Every day is a day and a chance to live.  None of us know when we won’t get to laugh anymore with our friends and family or enjoy a refreshing breeze. 

Farrah Fawcett knew she would probably die but she continued to fight for her life.  Michael Jackson didn’t know that he’s heart was getting ready to stop beating.

I’m sitting outside and the birds are chirping and the sun is doing its dance as it casts its warmth on one side of the yard and then without warning withdraws its light and moves on.

And so is life.  Casting its light and then removing it.

Share

Note to Self #2

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

I’m in a foul mood.  I’m angry and feeling sorry for myself.  In my head the thinking “no matter what I do or how hard I try, nothing works “keeps my little rat brain busy.

Maybe I should not be writing this for The Love Project Inc. but the truth is I’m not perfect and I have never been much of a liar.  So while I spend an enormous amount of my time and energy talking about love and being of service sometimes life for me just sucks.

I’m feeling like crying or just running naked around the block screaming of the top of lungs.  What could have happened that is making you feel this way? you might be thinking right about now.   The answer is nothing beyond the usual.  The next question might be “are you PMSing?” and the answer is no.  So what’s up?

I’m overwhelmed.  My father has health issues, my sister is in crisis, my sister in law is in crisis, the economy (including mine) is in crisis, and my best friend is in crisis.  I have flown to Brazil and back three times this year alone.  I have tried to help everyone, even though I’m still healing from my own personal losses, and in all this I’ve forgotten to love and take care of myself.  So I’m overwhelmed and today I’m running on an empty tank. 

I’m irritated and maybe if I had taken sometime to love myself I wouldn’t be so stressed. 

Note to self:  remember that love starts with oneself or you won’t have enough gas to get to the finish line.

Share

From Iran With Love

June 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Although there are still facts to be clarified, there’s little doubt that there is an overwhelming majority of this world’s Persian populace that publicly demonstrated their blatant displeasure with its recent election results.  No doubt, there is a lot of doubt as to the integrity and fairness exercised by many of the country’s opposition to the present day regime.

The issue is primarily about freedom and justice.  It’s something pretty much about what we, as a new country, fought for and for many, were willing to die for.  It’s pretty much what we, as an established super power now, are still attempting to maintain.  

And so it is with love.  Love does not manifest itself just as a deep affection for two people or a family or a community, but, yes, for a nation, as well.  Whether it’s for Irene or Iran, that undeniable attachment which  mostly only the heart and soul can harbor is existent on so many levels … in this case, one of patriotism and the conduits by which this love can be expressed.  Certainly to starve the flames of a burning desire to love and to be loved by your partner or your government can have disastrous results. 

Risking your job, your way of life, even your life, for what you love commands an immeasurable amount fortitude which can best be augmented by freedom.  To be willing to forfeit your pleasures in life for something held to be more important, more necessary is definitely what the freedom to love is about.   Sacrifice and patience are often the pillars of support by which this objective is accomplished.

By now, you are probably well aware of the overnight popularity and praise for a true martyr in the quest for freedom in Iran. Her name will be forever emblazoned on the millions of hearts and minds that have participated, directly or indirectly, in this display of love for country and for her compatriots.  Her name is Neda and it translates as divine calling.  Think about that a moment more … divine calling … understandably to the ultimate, to be free to love what she believed in.

Share

The Cosmology of Taoism

June 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Every being in the universe is an expression of the Tao.

It springs into existence, unconscious, perfect, free,

takes on a physical body, lets circumstances complete it.

That is why every being spontaneously honors the Tao.

The Tao gives birth to all beings, nourishes them, maintains them,

cares for them, comforts them, protects them, takes them back to itself,

creating without possessing, acting without expecting, guiding without interfering.

That is why love of the Tao. Is in the very nature of things.

This philosophical reflection of Lao Tzu’s considers the process of Creation as it is depicted and understood in Taoist cosmology. At the same time, it is a plainspoken love poem that accounts for the presence of love throughout the universe.

The creative nature of the Tao, as portrayed in this poem, offers a rationale for a core belief embraced by the world’s great wisdom traditions – that love is embedded in the character of creation. The fascinating thing about Lao Tzu’s characterization of the universe is that it accounts for the presence of love without any attribution to a creator. The love depicted here does not flow in the expected direction – it is not showering down upon us from a heavenly source. Rather, it arises within creation itself, as a reflexive expression of gratitude, flowing back toward origins it has never quite forgotten and has never ceased to intuit. In the same way that there is an indelible sense of fondness for the land of ones birth, every being has been endowed with this metaphysical affinity, this beacon for the spirit. It is like an innate navigational sense pointing toward our existential birthing grounds; it is the wellspring of the religious impulse that has been given so many voices.

“The Tao gives birth to all beings / nourishes them, maintains them”, likens the activity of the Tao to the role of a doting mother. It is in this unfolding maternal activity that a perfect expression of love is manifested. The love that the cosmic order elicits and inspires in its inhabitants is simply reciprocal, a response in kind. Nothing additional is required to embellish or elevate the universe beyond its natural, perfect state.

In Taoist cosmology even death is an expression of a universal order that is deeply engaged with the beings under its heavenly mantle. The tide of death is not seen as a terminus of existence but as a return to its springs. The Tao is the ever-present custodian presiding over the arc of being, from first arrival to final departure. “That is why love of the Tao / Is in the very nature of things.” Love is woven into the fabric of life, as intrinsic and indispensable as the breath which sustains it.

While the cosmology of Taoism transcends personification, the Tao is not regarded as a mechanistic system. It is described as being “unconscious, perfect, free”, letting “… circumstances complete it.” Taoism does not imply a rigidly predestined template any more than it requires an architect whose blueprints lurk behind the façade of reality. The life-forms into which the Tao pours itself are organic and evolving; a dimension of uncertainty or contingency is characteristic of this system. No traits need be ascribed to the Tao that are not readily observable in the world that surrounds us.

The idea that love is an inherent quality residing in all things, implies that an authentic understanding of the world is only available to a mind that is informed by the heart. It is fitting then, that this account of creation reads like a love poem. It reflects a sensibility that regards creation and love as inseparable processes that animate the world. They are entwined in the fabric of the atoms; they are manifest in one reality.

That is why love of the Tao.

Is in the very nature of things.

Share

Next Page »