Tag Archives: Funny

Morning teaching on the way to the School Bus

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Karma1


10 yr old – Mom, what’s karma?


Me – Well, if you plant peaches you are always going to get peaches, and if you plant tomatoes you will always get tomatoes.  You can’t plant peaches and wonder why you didn’t get tomatoes, right?  Do you understand what I mean? … Well, karma is kind of that way.


10 yr old – Oh, so if I bother my brothers they’ll bother me back?


Me – Yeah, sort of.  Hey, here’s the bus!


10 yr old – Thanks Mom, that made sense.

 

Whew!

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Expectations and Adventures in Parenting

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Parenting is one of those skills that is never quite as clear-cut in Reality as in Theory.

 
We all had grandiose ideas about what we would “never do or say when WE became parents”, and all those places where our own parents “didn’t quite get it right” wouldn’t be problems for us.  Hah!

I remember back in the “Pre Chaos & Disposable Income” days of yesteryear, I had a friend who imagined her future child as a well-mannered, mini adult. She described how they would spend intellectually stimulating afternoons at the galleries, dressed in light shades of cream and white linen; finger foods and television would be unheard of, bed times never up for discussions, and she would magically be able to continue her successful legal practice AND be the perfect PTA mom.

 
Yes, I too had my ‘confusions’ … I envisioned ONE little girl to whom I would pass on my knowledge of cooking, knitting, embroidery and globe-trotting.  We would live in the city yet always have our backpacks ready for an adventure.

Well, here we are:  My friend has an athletic, tomboy who excels in engineering, rock climbing, and dirt bikes, and would rather die than be seen wearing a dainty dress for afternoon tea.

And how did things work out for me?  I can’t complain, I have THREE young men (none of whom have any interest in knitting) and I ended up trading the city for a bunch of acres in the country.  I get to have exciting “jaunts” to the supermarket and soccer fields.

loveAs I considered the few things over which I still think I have some control.  I realize that what matters most is the quality of person I bring into the world.  That means instilling core values such as integrity, compassion and mindfulness.

An awareness of how we affect other people, to be respectful of differences, and most importantly to maybe even generate a little happiness when we interact with the world.

Two things I try to inculcate in my sons are the principles of Patience and Non-Stealing.

Patience, as I present it, is an internal practice.

We all fall prey to the need to hit the elevator button a couple of extra measures because it will somehow make it ‘come faster’; and kids have little innate tolerance for long lines at the supermarket (or any other place for that matter).
I take the time to explain that such impatience is not only hard on themselves, gnawing at their insides even when they ‘appear’ to be calm outwardly, but that it is also hard on the people around them.
Bumps in the road will happen, delays are even more frequent, that’s Life – however, we DO have the power to decide how to react to these challenges.  They can choose to be miserable, or calm and serene, but either way the delay will run its course.
I read somewhere that a synonym for “Patience” is “Self-Possession”, I like that … to be in charge of yourself.

What opportunities do I use to illustrate my lesson?

  • I say ask yourself,  “What’s the worst that can happen?” and is it worth the hissy fit you are sharing with the world?
  • If you feel you are behind on your school project, try to look at what you have accomplished instead of grousing about what is yet to be done.
  • In an argument, try to count or take a couple of deep breaths before you let loose your snappy reply – “Engage your brain before your lips”.  I still struggle with this one.
  • And, remember to thank others when they are patient with you.  Try to remember how they make you feel by not grumbling at you, and be a person who can do that for someone else.prayer

Non-Stealing I express as an outward focused practice.

This isn’t the obvious rule about NOT taking physical things or the dangers of relying upon plagiarism to get that school report done on time.  This is a much more subtle teaching about the value of the intangible but equally valuable assets of Time, Energy and Praise.  It’s about showing consideration for someone’s possessions AND needs.
People who are always late, the chronic complainers … the little drips that wear away at the stone.  Who hasn’t experienced these people?

How do I try to inspire some “non-stealing”?

  • I express that debts should be repaid promptly – whether it’s money or a favor, it’s not kind to make people wait for having helped you.
  • Punctuality is always appreciated because it says that you recognize the value of the other person’s time.
  • Be honest when you catch a mistake at the register, give back extra change or the cashier will have to pay for it.
  • Pay attention when someone speaks to you, and be generous without thinking about potential rewards.  Generosity is more than giving money, it is also about giving some of your time or talents.  Generosity is the extreme version of ‘non-stealing’.

I can’t make these teachings lengthy exchanges or their eyes will glaze over, but sprinkled here and there I can only hope that some of these seeds will sprout and then … Victory will be mine!!!

Er, ahem … I meant … they will hopefully carry these lessons forward to their own children.  Whew!

 
Now, if only I could manage to teach them how to knit …

Monday’s Fortune

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5 AM … Ring, Ring, Ring …RING, RING, RING!!! …Ugh!  Yawn … What the heck?  Hello??

“Hello, this is your school district calling to tell you that ALL classes are cancelled for today. Have a lovely day!”

Huh?  Wait, what?  Why?  Am I being punked?

I shuffle over to the window, the tiniest of flurries are cascading down with a vengeance.  Again?  Sigh.  Fine.

Maybe I can still get back to sleep.

But such is not MY lot this morning (insert grumbles here), you see, I have three boys ranging from Elementary to High School.  Five more robo-calls and four robo-texts later, all spread over a total four different numbers, I am now fully awake and YES, I get it – it’s another Snow Day!  Yay?

Can’t wait to see what the rest of the day throws my way …

The first image I see this morning is that of Yellow Jambhala, as painted by his Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.  I can’t help but stop several minutes to savor and enjoy it.  Something about it appeals very much to me:  Is it the colors?  The style?  What comes to my mind?

Ah!  Yes, Yellow Jambala, it’s what he represents that is resonating with me.

Jambhala (also known as Dzambhala, Dzambala, Zambala or Jambala) is the God of Wealth and a member of the Jewel Family.  He is the protector of all Lineages and of all sentient beings from all sickness and difficulties.  There are five different wealth Jambhala, each a different color (white, yellow, black, red & green) – all manifestations of the compassion of Buddha and Bodhisattvas to guide sentient beings along the path to enlightenment.

Each has his own practice and mantra to help eliminate poverty and create financial stability. Aside from being different colors, and shown in different poses, they are all portrayed holding a mongoose in the left hand that spits out precious gems for the poor and needy. They ALL have the essence of generosity.

White Jambhala is said to be the manifestation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (he who listens to the sounds around him and embodies compassion).  He is able to stop suffering and to dispel bad Karma. Chanting his mantra can also bring wealth, avert disaster, and give you good health. He sits on a snow lion.

whitejambhala

Yellow Jambhala is considered the most popular and powerful of the Wealth Gods. He is thought to be the manifestation of Buddha Ratnasambhava, the Buddha of Giving. It is said you must practice Buddhism using correct procedures to gain the most powerful blessings from him, not just wealth but wisdom and intelligence are his gifts. He is usually shown sitting on a lotus, sun and moon disk.

YellowJambhala

Black Jambhala is also known as the Hindu God of Wealth, Kubera. He will fulfill your wishes, make you happy, and give you wealth and prosperity. He is usually seen standing on a corpse and with a Kapala (a cup made from a human skull) in his right hand.

black_jambhala

Red Jambhala is said to be the manifestation of Vajrasattva, the Buddha of Purification. Some say that he is the Hindu God of Wealth, Lord Ganesha, and has the head of an elephant. Others picture him as having two faces and four arms. His Tibetan name is Dzambhala Mapo.  He offers protection, wealth and popularity when his mantra is chanted with sincerity.

reddzambhala

The last of the five Wealth Gods, the Green Jambhala, is thought to be a form of the Buddha Akshobhya (who reigns over the eastern paradise). He is usually shown in tight embrace with his consort. He is actually blue in color. The Green Jambhala made a sacred vow witnessed by Buddha Sakyamuni that he would protect anyone who chanted his Mantra.

green jambhala

I connected the Yellow Jambhala image with what I realized were MY blessings of ‘wealth’, maybe not mega-bucks in my pockets, but certainly an abundance of creature comforts I often take for granted. I am rich in health, love and spirit (I hope), and if the inconvenience of yet another a Snow Day is my most challenging moment, well – I guess I shouldn’t be complaining at all!

Yeah!  The beauty of the snow, the playfulness of my boys around me … This day has turned itself around rather nicely.

4 PM … Ring, Ring, RingRING, RING, RING!!! … Uh, Hello??

“Hello, this is your local school district calling to advise you that due to inclement weather there will be a TWO HOUR delayed opening for all schools tomorrow.  Have a good evening!”

Sigh.

New Year. New Lessons.

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Horse

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
L. Frank Baum

(I think this quote best reflects how I feel about The Art of The Blog.)

Ok, Yes …I can do this … but it sure as heck will be a unique learning experience with three tech-savvy sons offering critiques and chuckles along the way!

So … Why Blog?  Well … Why not?

First business – To usher in the Chinese New Year as we are officially in the Year of the Green Wood Horse!

The 15 day celebration of the Chinese New Year began yesterday, January 31st, with the first new moon of the calendar year.  The day marks the end of the Year of the Water Snake and welcomes the start of the Year of the Wooden Horse.  For those who don’t know their yin from their yang or who haven’t visited a Chinese astrologist recently, here’s some stuff to ponder:

  • The Chinese zodiac – or Shēngxiào – is a calendar system originating in the Han dynasty (206-220BC), which names each of the years in its 12-year cycle after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, in that order.  According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead.
  • People born in the Year of the Horse are said to be a bit like horses: Animated, active and energetic.  They are quick to learn independence and have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty. ( Hey!! I’m a Horse … )
  • If none of this rings true, don’t worry. The animal signs of each year merely indicate how others see you or how you choose to present yourself. There are also animal signs for each month, known as inner animals, signs for each day, called true animals, and animals for each hour, or secret animals. (Whew, too much pressure!)
  • According to superstition, in your zodiac year you will offend Tai Sui, the god of age, and will experience bad luck for the whole year. To avoid this you should wear something red, which has been given to you by someone else.  In general, the lucky colors of Team Horse are green, red and purple; the lucky numbers are three, four and nine; and the lucky flowers are giant taro and jasmine.
  • The Year of the Horse is a year in which people are likely to stand firm on their principles, making negotiation difficult.  Years of the Wooden Horse are also associated with warfare.  The last time the Year of the Wood Horse occurred was 1954  — and it just so happens that the United States tested the hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands that year. Just something to think about.
  • If you were born in the Year of the Horse, you’re in good company. Fellow members of the horse club include Genghis Khan, Mongol ruler; Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the US; Louis Pasteur, a 19th-century scientist; Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon; the singer Aretha Franklin; and the model Cindy Crawford.  If you have Wood or Fire elements in your natal chart you will do well this year, if not – try to buddy up with someone who does (be sure to update your online dating profiles.)
  • The industries that are predicted to do well this year are those associated with the Wood element, including education, healthcare, and agriculture, as well as those that fall under Fire, like marketing, entertainment, restaurants, and (of course), social media.  My view? Tweet and Post til your fingers hurt, and if you are thinking of taking a class …  Do it.  Since education is a Wood industry, which is associated with growth, 2014 will be a good time to learn something new. (Ah! Blogging!)
  • Last notes … In order to stimulate the correct feng shui for the Year of the Wood Horse, consider rearranging the furniture in your home or office to face South, making sure your computer faces that direction too.  You’re also going to want to make yourself more yang — the sun, light, and male elements in Chinese philosophy —  by adding active elements to your home life. Suggestions include playing music in the house and having sex more often. (Hey, I don’t make this stuff up.)

So with ALL of that clarified,  Gong Xi Fa Cai (Mandarin) …  Gong Hey Fat Choy (Cantonese) … Happy New Year!