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Feb 28, 2010

Check out Six Ways to Overcome Devastation
by Terri Hall-Jackson
(the following is an adaptation from the article)
Taking the actions below helped me navigate those choppy waters...
1. HOMEOPATHIC SUPPORT
Dr. Bach’s Rescue formula (Note from Jenny: this worked for me. I was surprised at how effective it was in reducing the fearfulness I felt in the days following cancer diagnosis.)
2. FAMILY & FRIENDS
When under extreme stress, do not isolate. Reach out to people in whose presence you feel safe, or who you know can keep a confidence...Be open to receiving the comfort and care offered by those who care about you.
3. PHYSICAL ANCHORS
Everyday tasks are easily ignored when we’re mentally and emotionally overwhelmed...keep checking to see if you are hungry, thirsty, or tired; take care of these needs, plus personal hygeine and appearance.  
4. KEEP MOVING
If you are able, exercise. The release of adrenaline and the boosting of serotonin in your system will help ease anxieties.
5. HAVE FAITH
Crises test our faith; we may lose confidence...we may doubt that we will be okay. Now is a good time to pray, to pour out your heart, to be still and listen. According to your own leanings and beliefs, now is the time to pray, meditate, affirm.
6. YOU ARE NOT ALONE 
Everyone goes through difficulties...it's part of being human. Be kind to yourself and know that the persistent intensity of your pain shall pass.

Feb 23, 2010
"The Heart of the Path" by Lama ZopaExerpt from Lama Zopa Rinpoche's book The Heart of the Path, found in the chapter titled The Benefits of Correct Devotion to a Guru. In these paragraphs Lama Zopa describes his own experiences. 
   Some years ago when I was staying at Tushita Retreat Centre in Dharamsala, I offered some beautiful begonias to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Offering the flowers was a little tricky as, although they were incredibly beautiful, they flowered only briefly and would lose all their petals within a day or so. I offered the flowers in painted butter tins, along with a money offering of thirty rupees in an envelope, on which I'd written a short request for the development of my mind. At that time His Holiness was in retreat, so I left the offering at the Private Office.
(Note from Jenny: photographs show The Heart of the Path bookcover, Lama Zopa, and begonia flowers) 
Lama Zopa  I think that His Holiness must have been pleased with the offering of the flowers, because that night I dreamt that His Holiness, seated on a throne in the temple, gave me a little inner offering from the skullcaup on his table, and I drank it.
  The next morning when I woke up, my mind was somehow different. Normally, I'm extremely lazy, but during that time, I think because of the influence of the many lamas there in Dharamsala, who energized me, I had a tiny bit of energy to meditate a little in the mornings. I tried to do a little lam-rim meditation as a motivation for the day and as a result, that next morning my meditation was much more effective than usual. I had a strong wish to be reborn in hell for the sake of others. I wanted to be in the hot hells right that minute. The feeling was unbearable. I couldn't suppress it. This wish was so strong that I cried out loud for half an hour, sobbing like a small child.
  I think His Holiness had prayed for me the previous night; he definitely did something that blessed my mind. My mind was different. The dream and the meditation experience were definite signs of His Holiness's blessing. There might also have been some purification from having offered the flowers. From the three types of kindness of the guru, such an experience is an example of the guru's kindness in blessing the disciple's mind. Of course, the effect completely disappeared after a few hours.
Lama Zopa offered begonias to His Holiness  After that I became very interested in buying flower seeds and planting them. When they grew well, I then offered the flowers to the lamas there in Dharamsala. I discovered that the best offering was a flower offering.
  Also, when we do a Vajrasattva retreat or any other retreat that our guru has advised us to do, we sometimes have strong experiences of impermanence, feeling that our death could happen at any moment, so that we have no other thought except to practice Dharma. Or strong thoughts of loving kindness and compassion arise. All these are signs of the kindness of the guru in having blessed our mind. Even those small, transient experiences prove that if we continue our practice of guru yoga, we will definitely develop realizations. It is proof that realizations can definitely happen and can be increased.
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Posted: Feb 23, 2010 9:29am
Feb 21, 2010

Exerpt from chapter 12, How To See The Guru As A Buddha
from "The Heart of the Path" by Lama Zopa Rinpoche
There is nothing to trust in our own view.
__________________________________________________
There are many stories in the lam-rim about great yogis who looked very ordinary even though they were actually buddhas. There are also many stories of enlightened beings who appeared to be ordinary beings engaging in killing and other unethical actions, as if they had no compassion. Many past yogis, including Lama Yeshe, were seen as great yogis only later, after they had passed away.
When the lineage lama Buddhajnana met his guru, the great yogi Manjushrimitra, he saw him as an ordinary family man. He saw Manjushrimitra, his head wrapped in a monk's yellow robe, plowing and fertilizing a field. His children were picking up the worms he turned up with the plow and making soup with them, which the whole family then ate. Buddhajnana saw this great master as an eccentric person.
This is similar to when Naropa first saw Tilopa - Naropa didn't think that it could be Tilopa. People commonly saw Tilopa as a beggar or a simple fisherman, even though from Tilopa's side he was an enlightened being, the actual Buddha Vajradhara. When Naropa first saw Tilopa, Tilopa was cooking live fish in a fire and eating them. When Naropa saw this he doubted that it could be Tilopa. At that time, when Naropa asked, "Are you Tilopa?" Tilopa shook his head. At a later time, when Naropa had developed some devotion and could see some of Tilopa's qualities, he began to think it was Tilopa. At that time, when Naropa asked, "Are you Tilopa?" Tilopa nodded his head in agreement. Tilopa's response was determined by what Naropa was thinking.
Also both Krishnacharya and his disciple Kusali saw Vajravarahi as an ordinary leper woman, her skin black and oozing pus.
When Milarepa met Marpa for the first time, Marpa appeared to be just an ordinary farmer, covered in dust, drinking wine as he plowed a field. Even though Marpa was an enlightened being, the actual Vajradhara, he appeared to Milarepa to be an ordinary being.
The Guhyasamaja text 'Twenty-one Small Letters' explains that both Nagarjuna and Saraha remained in their old bodies after achieving the unification of no more learning and commonly appeared to other people as ordinary beings.
Maitripa saw his guru, the great yogi Shavaripa, as simply an ordinary person hunting animals in the forest. Shavaripa's cave is the Mahakala Cave near Bodhgaya, which many people go to visit: a small monastery has been built nearby. Shavaripa wrote the praise to Six-Arm Mahakala ater seeing Mahakala at that cave.
The great yogi Luipa appeared externally to be a destitute beggar but when King Dharigapa and his retinue took teachings from Luipa, they became enlightened. With his psychic powers, Luipa also tuaght Dharma to the creatures in that place and even they became enlightened.
The great Sakya pandit, Kunga Nyingpo, had two sons, Dragpa Gyaltsen and Sonam Tsemo, who he always held close, often in his coat, as if he were very attached to them. The people around hm were upset by this and lost faith in him because he appeared to be an ordinary man living an ordinary family life.
Kunga Nyingpo, understanding what they were thinking, warned, "You mustn't give rise to wrong views about the vajra master," then said, "Look at this." He then stretched his legs out toward the people, showing them vivid mandalas of Chakrasamvara and Hevajra, complete with all the deities, on the soles of his right and left feet. When the people saw this, all their wrong conceptions of him were destroyed and they generated much devotion to him. Even though Kunga Nyingpo was the actual Chakrasamvara, the actual Hevajra, his neighbours saw him only as someone attached to ordinary family life.
Even Lama Yeshe appeared differently to different people in accord with their karma. Many practitioners with great devotion saw Lama as an actual buddha in human form. Some, who didn't have devotion, saw him as a very ordinary, difficult person.
Our not seeing the guru as a buddha doesn't prove at all that the guru is not a buddha. Our seeing faults isn't logical proof that our guru really has faults. All the manifestations that we see accord with the level of our own mind. Our own karma determines how many good qualities and how many faults we see in our guru. Our seeing beings as enlightened, or pure, depends on our purifying our karmic obscurations. Therefore, there is nothing to trust in our view of reality.
Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo explains that since we have such great obscurations, we can't see our guru as a buddha, and adds that we should be grateful that at present we are able to see him in human form, as even this is quite a high level.
___________________________________________________
The great yogi Chengawa Lodro Gyaltsen said,
   Since our karmic obscurations are so heavy,
   We should be happy to see our guru even in human form.
   We have great merit not to see him as a dog or a donkey;
   Therefore, generate heartfelt respect, sons of Shakyamuni.
We are very fortunate to see our guru in an ordinary human form and not in the form of a dog, as Asanga saw Maitreya, a donkey or some other animal. If we saw our guru in the form of a dog, a donkey or a pig, what could we do? Even though in our karmic view we do see faults in our guru we are still lucky because we are also able to see many good qualities.
__________________________________________________
It is practical to think as Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen explained,
   I am fortunate even to be able to find a few good qualities
   in my guru. If even my impure mind is able to see this
   many qualities, how many more good qualities there must
   be for someone whose mind is purer.

Think of how so many more non-virtuous than virtuous thoughts arise in our mind each day. Our mind is overwhelmed by disturbing thoughts and negative karma, which constantly obscure and create obstacles in our mind. It's a miracle that with a mind so heavily obscured by impure karma we are able to see the guru as purely as we do.
.
What appears to us and what we believe don't necessarily accord with reality. There are so many aspects of reality that we don't see or that we see wrongly. Even without taking LSD or any other hallucinatory drug, we see many hallucinations in accordance with our wrong conceptions.
We don't necessarily see an object in the way that it actually exists. Our life, our possessions and all other causative phenomena are impermanent in nature, changing, or decaying, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second, and even within each second because of causes and conditions. Because of that subtle impermanence, there is then gross change, which is noticeable, such as when people become old and wrinkled. Although impermanence is the reality of causative phenomena, we don't see them in this way. They appear to us to be permanent and we cling to our belief in that appearance of permanence.
Also, even though Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, Nagarjuna, Lama Tsongkhapa and all the other great enlightened beings have explained that there is no inherent existence, we cannot see this. Even though everything - including I, action and object - is empty of inherent existence because it is merely labeled by the mind, we don't see it that way; everything appears to us to be only inherently existent. We see everything in a completely wrong way, as existing from its own side without depending on our mind.
From morning until night, from birth until death, from beginningless lifetimes until enlightenment, everything comes from our own mind through being merely labeled. That is the nature of phenomena, but it doesn't mean that they appear that way to us; it doesn't mean that we realize this is the way they exist. Even though in reality everything exists in mere name, it doesn't appear to us in this way and we don't see it in this way. We see something else, a total hallucination. The permanent, independent, inherently existent phenomena that we see don't exist at all; they are simply not there. The way they appear to us and the way we apprehend them completely contradict reality.
Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo tells the story of a monk who, in previous times in India, one night experienced the karmic appearance of being a preta. Feeling incredible thirst, he went outside to the big river nearby but couldn't see even a drop of water. He walked across where the river should have been, put his ceremonial robe in a tree, then returned home.
When he awoke the next morning, the karmic appearance of the preta realm had finished, but as proof that his experience wasn't just a dream, he found his robe hanging in the tree on the other side of the river. For that one night the monk had experienced the appearance of preta karma. All those appearances - feeling incredible thirst, being unable to find water even though it was normally there, seeing the water the next morning - came from his own mind, from his own karma.
In Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo suggests using some of the logical reasoning from du-ra and ta-rig, such as "a person who doesn't have the karma to directly see a guru as a buddha has no chance to see the guru as a buddha because he doesn't have a valid mind that realizes that the guru is a buddha."
By using quotations and logical reasoning, we're trying to establish the valid mind that is able to directly see the guru as a buddha. Our mind is so limited and ignorant. Since our mind is so obscured, how can we judge whether someone is a buddha or a sentient being?

Nov 23, 2009
Signs of Caring Too Much
(posted by Mel selected from Caring.com)
.
Compassion fatigue –aka caregiver burnout–is what happens when a well-intentioned caregiver crosses a hard-to-see line from One-Who-Helps to One-Who-Needs-Help. And it can happen to anyone. It happens precisely because you care so much. Are you at risk of caring “too much”? Here are ten warning signs:

1. You use words like “always” and “never” with regard to caregiving. These are 'absolutes', e.g.
I promised Mom we’d never put her in a nursing home; or
I’m sorry I can’t go to lunch because I always feed Sam by myself.
Being overly rigid can put you at risk for burnout.

2. Your friends seem to have stopped calling.
You may be feeling isolated or annoyed that your old circle no longer seems to check up on you and how you’re faring. But is it possible that you’ve turned them down so often because of your caregiving duties, or that caregiving concerns so dominate your life and conversation, that they got the message you’re just not interested in them? A social life is a two-way street.

3. The last time you felt happy was “uh…um…let’s see…”
Nobody ever said looking after a sick or aging loved one was a romp in a field of wildflowers. But if your everyday life has lost even its grace notes, so that you find no pleasure in it, you’re at risk. Every day needs at least one happy petal or two.

4. Everyone assumes you’ll step forward; nobody asks.
Have you become the default go-to girl (or guy) in your family?
When the sick person is your spouse, this is logical. (Even then, you need a support system to pitch in.) But it’s a different matter when the family member being cared for is a parent, grandparent, or other relative — and the entire burden of responsibility seems to have settled on your shoulders whether you’ve volunteered or not.

5. You’re overweight or out of shape.
True, it may not be your caregiving that’s to blame for poor health.It could be a long list from pollution to allergies to unfortunate genes. But the fact remains that poor self-care is a big red flag for caregiver burnout. Being selflessly focused on others by definition means you’re not focused on yourself. And yet you need to be the #1 person you look after, in order to be shipshape (or at least functional!) to look after others... give yourself permission to be selfish..

6. You can’t remember the last time you took a vacation...
Vacations are really hard when you have a disabled or impaired person to consider...not being able to even remember the last break you had is a sure sign you’re due for one. It doesn’t have to be three weeks in France. Start small if you must: a simple overnight at a friend’s house or a local B & B. To stop caregiving stress, stop caregiving sometimes...

7. All conversations turn to caregiving...
Maybe you remember when your kids were babies and you’d hire a babysitter–and proceed to talk about the kids all evening? Not a great idea. Or worse, you call home to check up! If every conversation with your partner or other family members concerns one subject, it’s a warning sign that topic is monopolizing your life. Diversify!..

8. You have no hobbies...
You say you have no time for hobbies? Your hobby doesn’t have to be a conventional one like stamp-collecting or bird-watching. It just needs to be an outlet away from caregiving. Reading trashy novels uninterrupted, taking up knitting, joining a book club, taking adult ed courses, being a matinee-movie addict, or enjoying your children and grandchildren all count, too–anything that takes you away from caregiving for bursts of time. Bonus points if it takes you out of the house, too...

9. You can’t sleep through the night...
Two common causes: You’re up tending to a sick person (or Alzheimer’s wanderer, or someone else who gets by on just a few hours of sleep a night) or you’re sick with stress or a physical problem yourself. A sleepless night or two go with the territory of caregiving–but if it’s become your lifestyle, it’s a problem you need to correct. Sleep isn’t optional!..

10. You dread waking up in the morning...
We all have this experience, usually when we’re in the midst of a health crisis that seems like a bad dream (but isn’t). Health nightmares can go on for years, unfortunately. But when the crisis has passed and you’ve sunk into a new routine–and you still feel heavy-hearted and hopeless, your body is crying out for you to enlist some support.

Nobody–not even the most well-intentioned, big-hearted, and selfless among us–is meant to endure a tough situation all alone, day after day, year after year...
............................................................................................................
Caring.com was created to help you care for your aging parents, grandparents, and other loved ones. As the leading destination for eldercare resources on the Internet, our mission is to give you the information and services you need to make better decisions, save time, and feel more supported. Caring.com provides the practical information, personal support, expert advice, and easy-to-use tools you need during this challenging time.
http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-signs-of-caring-too-much.html  
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Posted: Nov 23, 2009 3:46pm
Oct 20, 2009

To eat mindfully is to live in the present.
It calls for paying attention to every act, every sensation and perception, for its own sake, in the moment. From the start to the finish of your meal, your intention is to link the moments together into a continuous stream of sensory awareness.
Some suggestions:
 Be mindful.
To become focused, become silent and breathe in a relaxed manner. Choose a time when you’re not hurried or distracted by other things.
Visualize the meal. Become focused in your mind’s eye on what you’re going to prepare, its appearance, aroma, ingredients, etc.
Plan the meal. Mentally focus on all the steps involved in preparing the meal. Will you prepare it? For whom will you prepare it? What will you make?
Prepare the meal. Be mindful of the action of washing the food, such as vegetables you may be preparing for a fresh salad. Notice yourself reaching for the refrigerator door, and other preparation activities.
Set the table. The table on which you eat can be as sacred as the rest of the meal. Create a table that is inviting, for both you and the food.
Serve the meal. Be mindful of each action associated with serving the meal: selecting dishes and utensils, setting the table, bringing food to the table, etc.
Eat the meal. As with the Zen monastic meal, be mindful of each aspect of the food you’re eating. To begin consider saying words of thanks or appreciation for the food. Savour the aroma of the food by inhaling deeply.
Clean up. Regard this as a sacred process, too. It is just as important a part of the meal as the other phases.
Digest the food. After you’ve eaten, be aware of how the food feels in your stomach, how you are feeling. Are you aware that you overate? Under-ate? Are you still hungry, or ate just the right amount?
From start to finish and throughout the dining process, continue to witness the effects of having prepared, eaten, and digested the meal.
For in the witnessing lies the essence of life itself.
       ===============================
Adapted from A Mindfulness Meal Meditation, by
Veronica, selected from Intent.com Care2's Healthy & Green Living.
Reference:
Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul by Deborah Kesten.
Deborah Kesten, MPH
, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, nutritionist for reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes without drugs or surgery, and Director of Nutrition on similar research in Europe. Author of The Enlightened Diet, Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul, and The Healing Secrets of Food. Visit her at
www.Enlightened-Diet.com .

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Posted: Oct 20, 2009 5:01pm

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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\\r\\nCOME TO: \\r\\nTucson\\\' s 32nd Annual Peace Fair and Music Festival2014 Theme: Climate JusticeThis FREE event is Arizona\\\'s largest gathering of Peace, Justice, and Environmental groups, with Live Music, Tables, Food, Entertainment, Children\\\'s ...
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