The Best Mantra for 2018: Om Mani Padme Hum

I’m pretty new to meditation (dabbled a bit in college but it didn’t stick) and I’m restarting with the basics.

In terms of actually practicing mindfulness and compassion (to self and others) – these are things I’ve sporadically attempted for a few years.

I think it all started during an annual exam when my lady doc suggested something in between my Pap Smear and and the breast exam: every morning, I need to look in the mirror and say “I love you” to myself.

I told her I couldn’t possibly; it was embarrassing, what was the point, and she said in addition to filling my body with healthy foods and wheat grass, turmeric, ginger, and Vitamin D (I was deficient at the time), that loving oneself is another and very important piece of the puzzle needed to attain an optimal level of wellbeing.

When the La Costa Chopra Center used to host one-hour meditations in the afternoon, I attended a few times with friends and it was a good re-introduction, but I’m more of a solitary soul and would rather do my internal discovery not in the company of strangers, no matter how kind…

It’s all about rewiring our brain-using neuroplasticity to change negative thoughts and belief patterns into positive actions and a joyful future.

Meeting the Dalai Lama was a significant experience that opened my eyes (and my heart) and encouraged me to follow an inward searching path.

Om Mani Padme Hum is an ancient mantra related to the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, and with the Dalai Lama, who is considered to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara. It is believed that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained in this mantra.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that by saying Om Mani Padme Hum out loud or silently to oneself invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

From His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast …. The first, OM … symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha…. The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the … altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassionate and loving…. The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom…. Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable HUM, which indicates indivisibility…. Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha….

All I know for sure is that when I say or think Om Mani Padme Hum, no matter how sad or anxious or stressed I feel, even when I wake up at 3AM in a panic, a certain calmness and quiet joy washes over me.

As we leave one year and transition to another, I wanted to share this with you and hope you also find solace and wisdom in this mantra.

Happy New Year!

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You might call me shallow, but retail therapy is a THING, y’all

It’s been a DAY. Taking a deep breath. Home now, feet up, having a cuppa.
I had an especially joyous afternoon!

Let me tell you all about it.

OK. Last week I felt like crap. I had a viral lung infection (thank you for your potent little germs, Angel Boy 2.0!) that was quickly turning to pneumonia and on top of that bad news, I had laryngitis. I mean 100% no voice. I couldn’t even squeak out a whisper.  I was forced to endure a vow of silence for about 72 hours.

Now I’m almost all recovered, enough to get back to the gym and back to my real sport of choice…SHOPPING!

Yup, Retail therapy is a THING, y’all. It’s therapeutic; self care and all that new agey mindset.

I planned my day with laser precision, flexed my shopping muscles, said a mantra for extra patience, and first ran errand or two for my absentmindedprofessor son who forgot to take care of something important before he/family left for the UK, so that was number one.

Mission accomplished. (As an aside, I don’t care how old they are, it warms a mommy heart to be able to solve a problem for her child. To feel needed. SIGH.)

As soon as I got that out of the way (visualize the chaos of a post office a few days before Christmas ‘cos that’s where I was) I confess that I got a little tingle in my root chakra area (heehee) as I sped off to the Forum in Carlsbad.

Yes, a real physical reaction, like salivating over chocolate, to see what the world had to offer for purchase!

Breathe, girl. Breathe, I said to myself. Pace yourself.

Find a place to park. Universe, open up the best spot for Princess Rosebud. And then it happened. Someone pulled out of the perfect location at the exact moment I was rounding the corner. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

A quick check of my hair and lipstick, and I was off, gleam in my eye, rapid heartbeat; I bet my pupils were dilated just a bit, too.

Even though Angel Boy 2.0 already got his gifts, I can’t walk by Gepettos without popping in and getting something. Looky at this. A growing owl. Grow Owl: An owl will emerge from a tree stump. Just put the tree stump in a container, cover with water and after 12 to 24 hours, the critter will begin to emerge as the water is absorbed! Can’t wait to send it for a New Year’s Day prezzy. Just a little something cute and fun. Theo LOVES owls, so this will be something fun for the Angel Boys to work on together.

My inner GPS guided me to H&M, where I picked up some SUPER ADORABLE clothes for Mr. T. They were on sale!!!!! A total score. Three dollars for the striped shirt and seven dollars each for the sweatshirt and distressed jeans with suspenders. I cannot even imagine how precious he’s going to look. Such a little boy. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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Across the parking lot was my HOLY GRAIL…Anthropologie. I get it. It’s overpriced but their marketing and store decor is so amazing, you gotta appreciate their attention to detail.

Here I was, back with my tribe, my people. My PEOPLE. All Christmas-y. The mall was crowded and so was Anthro.

We were all rotating in our own little worlds of conspicuous consumption- women on a mission with a very few brave men who dared to cross the threshold, and omg they all looked the same: scared, dazed, deer in the headlights. trudging around and around not able to locate the door to exit the hell they were trapped in. I almost felt sorry for them. ALMOST. No eye contact cos I didn’t want them to plead with me for assistance. Not my problem.

The checkout line snaked around the store. I was looking for something for myself. I had a “secret Santa” who gave me a little cash and I wanted to spoil myself because I’ve been a VERY good girl this year. I found this beautiful pierced tin candle. The scent is Mahogany Amber and it’s filling my bedroom with love and joy. 30% OFF! The bag and wrapping paper adds so much to the shopping experience. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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I forgot to tell you that I went to Macy’s yesterday at Carlsbad’s other (newly refurbished) mall and bought myself an extravagant Chanel lipstick. I know it was forty dollars and I could have purchased at least three or four others for that same price, but CHANEL. Plus lots of samples, so a good deal, right? Rouge Coco Etienne #446 LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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I had a follow up doc appointment to see if I needed an x-ray (I don’t, yay!) and their office is across the street from a hospice resale shop, so I stopped in for a minute. Christmas decor was on sale, so I picked up this adorable vintage bunny ornament for one dollar! ONE EFFING DOLLAR! LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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When I got home, I found a box at the front door!!! Nestled inside was a wrapped gift from my wonderful son and DIL. I can’t wait to open it!

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All in all, a wonderful, stupendous. amazing, joyfilled day! Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, but for me, retail therapy can turn my frown upside down, no matter what.

Love and joy to all!