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Fool Me Once: When the Universe is Really Trying to Tell You Something

The first of...April? (Photo by dhester, morgueFile free photos)
The first of…April? (Photo by dhester, morgueFile free photos)

So when I woke up on Friday, I knew it was the 1st.  And, my addled brain told me, it was April 1st.  Somehow my mind had skipped the entire month of March, perhaps because it knew better…

Not too long ago, I began getting really interested in Buddhist teaching and philosophies and the concepts of using mindful thinking and meditation as a way of reducing stress and improving myself, the quality of my life, and the quality of the lives of those around me.  As part of this exploration, I downloaded a few apps on my phone to help me think of things differently and look at things differently.

One is “Be the Change,” which challenges you to do something to change or affect the world every day.

The other is “Transform,” which is a book by Cheri Huber (the full title of the book is “Transform Your Life: A Year of Awareness Practice).

So on March 1st, not April 1st as my brain wanted me to believe, I discovered that they had apparently been monitoring my emails and personal life because they were trying to fool me.

The “Transform” assignment was to “Today, take a look at some of the familiar, comfortable hells that plague you.”

The “Be the Change” assignment was to “Think about a healthy physical or emotional risk you’ve avoided.  If it’s something you really want…go for it.

As anyone who knows me probably already knows, my own familiar, comfortable hell is overwork and overstress.  I write daily to-do lists that something, when I sit down and figure out how long it would take to actually do everything on them, top out at 25 to 30 hours of work per day.  Definitely a hell, right?  And I’ve been doing it for years.  I fall into it so comfortably.

Well, and what have I been avoiding?  Cutting back and doing things that are healthy for me.  I have been reading “The Buddha Walks into a Bar…: A Guide to Life for a New Generation” by Lodro Rinzler, and I really want to follow the four necessities that should be achieved every day: sleeping, eating, meditating, and exercising.

Apparently, the universe has come into alignment for me, though, and even though it’s only March, I need to go for it!  I need to actually get enough sleep at night, I need to eat right, and I need to exercise and meditate every day!

Will it fix my “familiar and comfortable hell”?  I think so…

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Facebook Friends or Foes

Southern portal and eastern (downstream) side of the Monroe County Bridge 114, which carries Friendship Road over Stephens Creek (a Salt Creek tributary) east of Bloomington in Salt Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana, United States. It was built in 1898.
Southern portal and eastern (downstream) side of the Monroe County Bridge 114, which carries Friendship Road over Stephens Creek (a Salt Creek tributary) east of Bloomington in Salt Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana, United States. It was built in 1898.

How do you know that someone has changed or not changed?

It may sound like a vague question, but I’m serious.  It all came up on Facebook.  One old friend asked another old friend if, since we were once again local to each other, half way across the country from where we grew up, if we ever hung out.  We had, once.  And while I’d extended several other invitations, all of them were shot down (although kindly).  And that reminded me of how our childhood friendship had ended (years and years before Facebook existed).  I had called this friend to hang out, and she told me that she thought I was “too weird” and she didn’t want to hang out anymore.  A crushing blow to a sixth grader.  Now, not so crushing, but another reason to think people are too judgmental of other’s choices in life.  This friend now seems rather “weird” herself in some ways.  But, hey, isn’t our own personal weirdness what makes us unique and fun?

But there’s still a little of that sixth grader in me, and I wonder, has this friend really become as enlightened as she seems?  Or is she still the same girl who was cruel to me all those years ago?  Do people really change?

I have one other Facebook friend I wonder this about.  She also blew me off oh-so-many years ago.  I learned where I ranked in her hierarchy of friends – as long as I was helpful, she wanted me around.  Beyond that, I was Queen in the Land of Blow-Off Land, and she would deign to shower me with her presence only when it was convenient to her.  But I still accepted her friend request on FB because somehow I still cared.  So has she changed?  Does she actually care about me and my life?

I have no idea.  I can’t answer these questions.  I’ve already culled the people who weren’t ever truly friends with me or who hadn’t changed from the pettiness of grade and high school, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

At the same time, I’ve been happy to rekindle some friendships – people who just fell out of my life for one reason or another: moving, changing schools, bad scheduling.  And there are other people I’d like to find and “friend.”  But what if those people have changed for the worst and would disappoint me?

So how to tell who’s a FB friend or foe?