Wisdom from His Holiness The Dalai Lama

How to overcome negative emotions with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dalai Lama

Every single time I hear him speak, I’m filled with gratitude for the time we spent together and how he touched me: mind, body, spirit, and soul.

He’s a special, special gift of light and love and wisdom.

April’s Angst

I don’t know what the heavens have unleashed, but since April 1 every day seems to bring a new disaster, a series of unfortunate events…

—I tore or somehow injured my medial collateral ligament on my right knee, the one that had previous injury issues! Talk about collateral damage…It’s starting to heal; KTape is my new best friend.

—The day after our big rainstorm, I went out to my pond to empty the filled up basin so I could use the water for the garden. There used to be a waterfall with a motor that kept things moving along, but that’s no longer working cos it’s some sort of big job to fix the electricity.

—I very gingerly knelt down to protect my painful knee. I then leaned IN (not the kind that Sheryl Sandberg wrote about) with a small container to transfer the rain water to a larger bucket. Everything was still slick with the inch of rain we had and as I leaned my left hand on the rocks surrounding the pond (some cemented in, some not) I apparently leaned on a rock that was NOT cemented in which was super slick and my left hand slid right in the water, while my right hand which had been acting as a stabilizer got sliced on the other rocks. There was blood EVERYWHERE.

That’s not even the worst of it. I fell so hard and unexpectedly that the larger cemented in granite boulders directly collided with my upper left quadrant rib area. I have prominent ribs and oblique muscles so there wasn’t a whole lot to cushion the blow, which felt like I got hit by a bus. Now I have either bruised or cracked ribs or cartilage, not sure which as I’m going to wait as long as possible to call the doctor. I think that’s called “blunt force trauma.” I figure as long as I’m not having a problem breathing, I can be pretty sure that my lung wasn’t damaged, not so sure about the spleen, but I’m hopeful the ribs caught the brunt of it.

Did you think that was it?

Nope, there’s more…

—Yesterday I went in the shed to take out all the deck cushions and toys to get ready for a visit from the Angels. (My ribs are sore and I know I shouldn’t be lifting anything heavy.) I haven’t really been all the way in there for a while, maybe only briefly to get a rake or some clippers so I was absolutely SHOCKED to see that everything was covered in layers of fresh and old rat droppings. It is quite literally the most disgusting thing I have ever seen.

Apparently in our tight housing market, the first rats to move in must have communicated this free space to their entire extended family and they set up an elaborate condo development. The rats also ate completely through the plastic bags of fertilizer and snail killer, which was NONtoxic (unfortunately).

I thought about cleaning it up myself, but as I looked around at the filth and contamination, I realized that it was beyond my capability. I don’t even know what I’d do if I saw a rat run out of there; I’d probably be scarred for life. The shed also appeared to be a perfect breeding ground for the hantavirus which I definitely didn’t want to breathe in and become infected with, so I found a company that’s coming with biohazard gear and they’re going to take everything out, vacuum up the droppings, disinfect it all, and help me figure out how to avoid another catastrophe like this in the future.

I love all animals but the not the ones that bring disease.

You have to know that a situation has to be REALLY REALLY bad if I don’t clean it myself. I have pics but you probably don’t want to see them. The only one who seemed interested was Angel Boy 2.0 who wanted me to flip the camera around so he could see.

“Show me the rat poop, Grandma!” “Wow, that’s a lot!”

Yuck. I’ve lost my appetite, hope I didn’t do the same to you.

This garden has possums, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, and owls; all of whom include mice and rats on their menu. I’ve tried to make a hospitable environment for them here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells and all I ask in return is that they keep my space rodent free — and they let me down. They failed. I’m very disappointed in our relationship.

What more could April bring? I don’t even want to know. Tell me when it’s my birthday month of May, OK?

UPDATE: The rat guy left and the infestation was so bad that a lot of stuff had to be discarded!! It’s all clean and disinfected now, but WOW. If anyone’s in the SoCal area and needs similar services, I 100% recommend Pacific Coast Animal Control.

Strange Encounters

Do you listen to your inner voice? Do you pay attention when you’re in a situation and something doesn’t feel right?

I know it’s a been a good long time since we’ve gathered in groups. For me it’s been a bit more than two years because I had a feeling that this mystery virus was worse than anticipated and stopped going to the gym or any other public event at the end of February 2020, a couple weeks before the proverbial shit hit the fan.

Now we’re in this sort of post-pandemic limbo coupled with a country inhabited by repression and rampant racism, banned books, elected officials who want to turn the clock back to a time where women had ZERO rights (reproductive and otherwise), and schools are prohibited from teaching certain subjects and acknowledge individual gender identity — and if we add the genocide in Ukraine, the world seems bleak.

A few days ago I had every intention of attending an all day seminar but I left after a few minutes.

Here’s why:

Right off the bat I got some weird vibes (only way I can describe it) from a group of guys that were clearly in the military. There were about a dozen of them, very young and all unmasked although masks were still required. They stood in the hallway just outside the room. One of them, way too clean cut and extremely militant looking, for some reason picked me out and started interrogating me with rapid fire questions in an insistent, belligerent, almost hostile, overly assertive voice, “Are you the teacher?” “Do you know where we’re supposed to go?” “Are you taking this class, too?” I took a moment to breathe and assess the threat level (haha) and responded, “You sure do ask a lot of questions” and he tried to stare me down before he walked away to stand with the guys he arrived with. It’s not easy to intimidate me so he obviously picked the wrong person. I might be only five feet tall, but that’s misleading if anyone thinks I can be bullied. I can turn into ghetto grandma in the the blink of an eye. (Namaste, y’all.) My initial feeling is that they were white supremacist/Oathkeeper-types. No, I have no proof, only a feeling, and not a good one. Why they were there didn’t make sense.

I observed another man, older, also unmasked, making the rounds of the room before the seminar started. He seemed to think it was one of those instant speed dating events as he chatted with all the women. When he came up to me, I purposely made no eye contact but he didn’t seem to care. “You must be cold. YOU MUST BE COLD.” I glanced at him. “Your arms are folded, you must be cold.” I ignored him. I don’t play the “friend finder” game. He was annoying and obnoxious. He walked away without escalating his sales pitch, thank goodness.

I don’t think it was ME — I wasn’t spewing negative energy — I was minding my own business.

The instructor showed up and closed the door. I was sitting all the way in the back nearest the exit and counted about fifty people in the room with only ten masked, including myself. All I could think about was the newest variant and how it might not be prudent to be stuck in a room with no open windows or air circulation.

When I quietly told the instructor’s assistant that I didn’t feel comfortable being there, she was extremely gracious.

I feel like I totally did the right thing by leaving for all the reasons.

I wonder what the story was all about with those Marines because they were out of place. I heard the instructor and his assistant talking about them too, so I know it wasn’t just me. Something didn’t fit. Something wasn’t right.

Are things back to normal for you now? Would you have stayed?

Soccer Fever | Goal Oriented

Oh my goodness, this almost six-year-old is growing in all directions by leaps and bounds–and goals.

“Grandma Grandma Grandma, I kicked a goal, it was crazy!”
“I was running and running and then I kicked the ball and I scored a goal!”

“High FIVE to you, buddy! “

(We high-fived through the phone.)

“Do you LOVE It?”

“Oh yes, I love it so much. Daddy says I can sign up for lessons.”

And there you have it, the birth of a future soccer superstar.

There’s video but he’s just a blur, running back and forth FAST, curls bouncing along with him, eyes on the ball, giving an assist to a teammate (where did he learn THAT?)

I think back to when his dad was that age and had no real interest in team sports AT ALL. The coaches always asked him to join: soccer, baseball, football–cos he has those long arms and legs and he was fast too, but he never really cared about stuff like that.

I guess it skipped a generation.

The last time I saw my little buddy, we played ball in the backyard and he was so proud to teach me the proper way to throw a baseball.

“I learned this in PE, Grandma.”

“First you swing your arm, step your foot, and throw. Swing, step, throw.”

“No, like THIS.”

He was very patient with me. I followed his directions and he caught ball after ball and threw them back with determination and accuracy.

“I taught YOU something, Grandma!” “Don’t ever forget…swing, step, throw!”

“Don’t worry, T. I will never forget. Never. I promise.”

Fly, Dragon, Fly

Isn’t this the most vibrant orange? I’m in love with this little guy.

Flame Skimmer, Libellula saturata

Dragonfly species that are orange include a variety of skimmers, such as the flame skimmer, firecracker skimmer, golden-winged skimmer, or Needham’s Skimmer.

Orange dragonflies can symbolize joy, creativity, wellness, and sensuality. This relates to the second/sacral chakra, which is orange.

There is magic all around, if you stop and look.

As Robert Bly said, “To be wild is not to be crazy or psychotic. True wildness is a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown.”

Are You Worried, Too?

It seems to me that we’re all still worried about this and that and everything else; I was grateful to see Mary Oliver pop up at the right time to share her wisdom–as always.

Don’t worry though, I still won’t sing–nobody wants to hear THAT, so I’ll leave it to the birds.

I Worried

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Danger?

On this beautiful new moon Lion’s Gate day, I woke up extra early to walk to the beach and back, about six miles or so. I like to get home before the blazing sun gives me heatstroke.

As I walked past the house of a friend of a friend who’s a Shamanic practitioner, I heard her voice in my head saying, “You’re in danger.”

I mean, I heard it as clear as if she was standing next to me. I actually looked around to see if she WAS there. It was absolutely the furthest thing from my mind. I was focused on a spectacular morning, walking to the ocean, and awesome exercise.

In the old days, I would have ignored these voices, messages, warnings, but I have learned to pay attention.

“Oh well” I said to myself. “Forewarned is forearmed.” Right?

A couple blocks further, I noticed about five crows sitting on a fence. I swear, one of them looked right at me. I said, “Hi cousin”, because that’s how I always refer to my crow family.

One by one, they flew in front of me and away.

Hmmm. This was a bit strange but not dangerous.

I continued to walk. On the next block, I saw smoke billowing out of the garage roof of a house on the corner, It didn’t smell like barbecue-type smoke, so I knocked on the door. I knocked and knocked and no one answered. I walked back around the corner in time to see five foot flames and a woman throwing a bucket of water on them but it seemed as if that wasn’t working. At this point, other neighbors came out and we all called the fire department at the same time. The fire was quickly extinguished but it could have been really bad because the garage was packed with things and the entire house could have been lost.

Was that the danger I needed to be aware of? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire???

I continued my Odyssean-like journey to Lake Pacific. Not only were there no waves, but I didn’t see whales or dolphin, either.

Walking home, I looked down and saw a crow feather. A few feet away, I saw another, and this one I picked up and put in my backpack.

At a four-way stop, I crossed the street in the crosswalk. There were cars at all the stop signs, but I was clearly in the middle of the street when a car decided to inch forward, ignoring the obvious fact that my visible body was right there. I looked at the driver. He looked at me. I said WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK ARE YOU DOING and other un-princessy things like that. He continued, as if to hurry me along.

OH HELL NO.

This former Detroit ghetto girl still has the ability to be a stubborn beeyotch. I slowed down to a snail’s pace — so slow that a sloth would have won the race — while the people in the other cars gave me a thumbs up and shook their heads at the nerve of that entitled Range Rover. WTF was that all about?

When I eventually made it to the other side of the intersection, I wondered if THAT was the danger I needed to protect myself from?

The remainder of the walk was uneventful. I’m home now, the sky is blue, it’s sheets changing day. Maybe I’ll spritz a little Chanel on my thousand thread count linens to greet me tonight and envelop my body in the lingering fragrance of Chance.

Untying The Knots

What’s that sound I hear?

Melodic silence greeted me this morning.

Not at the godawful hour of 5:30 a.m. (their witching hour) but at a more respectable 6:30. The only sounds on this Sunday morning are the hawks and birds and the incessant warning squeak of a ground squirrel.

As I restore the house to a once again adult dwelling, moving the breakables back into their original position, I turn to the garden where I’m greeted with a massive knot installation by Captain Theo.

He had been deeply involved in a fantasy world of boats where he was the captain and we had to salute and respond to him with “Aye aye, Captain.” I asked him what my job was on the ship and he said I was his Mate, and so I was referred to as “Matey.”

Don’t even ask me where his creative little mind dredged up that scenario, but it was SUPER cute, as Char would say.

He wore a hat and gathered up all the rope he could find, along with some buckets and an old oar that was lying around, and proceeded to create a fairly sophisticated jumble of knots, all the more impressive because no one had ever taught him about the art of knot tying.

He designated himself as Captain of his world–that level of self confidence in a child is positive and healthy especially since he really really loves to give orders, which is why he’s been called Bossy Boots since he was two.

When it was time to untie the knotted structure because he wanted to build something else, he was frustrated and asked for help.

Always looking for the lesson in things–a teachable moment–as I sort of guided his unraveling, we chatted about what it feels like to be frustrated and how sometimes, a task like UNtying knots opens up an opportunity to learn to really pay attention (mindfulness) and practice patience.

Thereafter, his new phrase to Char was, “Just be a little patient and it will all work out.”

Hand to heart, that child is beyond precious. What a gift he is.

Now if someone could just get over here and help me untie the knots he left behind I’d really appreciate it!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Patience, Princess.”

PATIENCE.

BREATHE INTO IT.

Serenity NOW!

My life’s odyssey doesn’t seem to be a straight line to bliss, that’s for sure.

The oven situation was NOT the easy fix I’d hoped for. It’s going to take a whole new electronic panel which’ll take several days to get here.

On the glass half full side, the technician helped me purchase the part online, saving about $100, so I appreciated his honesty. He didn’t charge for today’s visit and diagnosis, and the cost for his labor is reasonable.

As I bemoaned the horrible timing, he suggested I purchase a toaster oven. I had meant to do that a long time ago and forgot, so this was a great solution to my dilemma. I ran out and got one that day AND it was on sale, a fact that makes this Grandma very happy.

If every cloud really has a silver lining, mine is now pure gold with diamond sparkles. Charlotte’s new behavior is to run at me from across the room, jump in my arms, wrap herself around me and say, “Charlotte hug and kiss Grandma!” Over and over again. That two-year-old with the titian hair and her curly big brother expressing their affectionate and exuberant joie de vivre wipe away any and all angst about the oven.

Just now from Theo at 5:26 a.m., “Wake up, Princess Rosebud!”
Right behind him from Char at 5:27 a.m.,”Grandma, where’s apple pie?”

It might be a day late, but they WILL have their apple pie!

Have a happy and safe 4th, everyone!

When Doves Cry: Life and Death

**This is so strange. I only published this post today, June 26, but it shows that it was published on the 24th, so I am RE-writing and posting again. Very odd WordPress, very odd.

We had a bit of rain, just a few drops, definitely not the kind of rain we need here in the Southwest, but I think my veggie garden was grateful for it.

When I went outside to check on the status of baby lettuce seedlings, I noticed a Monarch butterfly entangled in the netting surrounding the garden. I’ve been forced to use the barrier to keep out squirrels and rats and bunnies. There are plenty of other things in the garden those guys can eat, so I don’t feel too bad about restricting them from my yummy greens.

Carefully, I removed the netting from those delicate wings.

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After flying off, s/he returned with a mate and they circled my head a few times as if to thank me. “You’re welcome, guys! I was glad to help.”

Later that afternoon, right before dusk, I went for a walk. There were still beautiful clouds in the sky and I was thinking happy thoughts about the butterflies.

Suddenly, before I could even react, several things happened at once. A white van was driving down the street faster than the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. A dove flew low across the street, left to right. (Yup, you can see where this is going.) The driver MUST have seen the bird, I’m sure of it.

Without slowing down or trying to avoid the imminent impact, the van ran into the bird, and to make it even more horrific, the back tires finished the slaughter. There were no other cars on the road; simply slowing down would have avoided it completely.

It doesn’t matter to me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this tragedy. I ran out into the street to see if I needed to take the bird to a vet, but it was too late. Too late. I crouched down on my knees over the little dove almost in shock at the massive destruction the van did to his body. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the poor dear and honor his/her life, but it’s too gruesome to post and I feel it would be disrespectful to the innocent creature.

The bird was probably on his way home, and there might have been nesting babies that won’t be fed and won’t survive all because of the actions of one unaware or uncaring human. What if it was one of the doves I just wrote about that often visit me in the garden? How incredibly sad.

Well, that stripped me of the joy of saving a butterfly, that’s for sure. I’m a fixer and a helper. It’s a tough lesson for me to comprehend that sometimes things can be so terribly damaged that they can’t be mended or put back together, like this poor little bird who was beyond repair.

This made me think of Prince. When doves cry, so do I.