ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE GETTING MARRIED? HERE IS A WONDERFUL POEM TO READ AT THE CEREMONY.
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.
~ James Dillet Freeman ~
THE PRACTICE OF TONGLEN
In order to have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves.
In particular, to care about other people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean —you name it— to have compassion and to care for these people, means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves. In fact, one’s whole attitude toward pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one could open one’s heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify us and make us far more loving and kind.
The tonglen practice is a method for connecting with suffering —ours and that which is all around us— everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem
We begin the practice by taking on the suffering of a person we know to be hurting and who we wish to help. For instance, if you know of a child who is being hurt, you breathe in the wish to take away all the pain and fear of that child. Then, as you breathe out, you send the child happiness, joy or whatever would relieve their pain. This is the core of the practice: breathing in other’s pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness. However, we often cannot do this practice because we come face to face with our own fear, our own resistance, anger, or whatever our personal pain, our personal stuckness happens to be at that moment.
At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment of time are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for yourself and all those countless others. Maybe you can’t name what you’re feeling. But you can feel it —a tightness in the stomach, a heavy darkness or whatever. Just contact what you are feeling and breathe in, take it in —for all of us and send out relief to all of us.
People often say that this practice goes against the grain of how we usually hold ourselves together. Truthfully, this practice does go against the grain of wanting things on our own terms, of wanting it to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to the others. The practice dissolves the armor of self-protection we’ve tried so hard to create around ourselves. In Buddhist language one would say that it dissolves the fixation and clinging of ego.
Tonglen reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure and, in the process, we become liberated from a very ancient prison of selfishness. We begin to feel love both for ourselves and others and also we begin to take care of ourselves and others. It awakens our compassion and it also introduces us to a far larger view of reality. It introduces us to the unlimited spaciousness that Buddhists call shunyata. By doing the practice, we begin to connect with the open dimension of our being. At first we experience this as things not being such a big deal or so solid as they seemed before.
Tonglen can be done for those who are ill, those who are dying or have just died, or for those that are in pain of any kind. It can be done either as a formal meditation practice or right on the spot at any time. For example, if you are out walking and you see someone in pain —right on the spot you can begin to breathe in their pain and send some out some relief. Or, more likely, you might see someone in pain and look away because it brings up your fear or anger; it brings up your resistance and confusion.
So on the spot you can do tonglen for all the people who are just like you, for everyone who wishes to be compassionate but instead is afraid, for everyone who wishes to be brave but instead is a coward.
Rather than beating yourself up, use your own stuckness as a stepping stone to understanding what people are up against all over the world.
Breathe in for all of us and breathe out for all of us.
Use what seems like poison as medicine. Use your personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.
Thank you to Pema Chodron
What are you holding onto that prevents you from experiencing true joy and happiness? We are like children who have our favorite toys. But even a child will let go of a toy quickly and move on. “Unless we become like children, we won’t enter into the kingdom of heaven”. – Shar
1. Give up caring what other people think of you. I know it seems counter intuitive as we humans are primal pack animals that don’t want to be cast from the village, but spending time worrying what others think, is a waste of energy. You’ll never please everyone and it’s none of your business what others think of you.
2. Give up trying to please everyone. Unless you’re living life to the beat of your own drum, your tribe won’t be able to find you. Be the best version of you you can be, and you’ll naturally attract in the people that are supposed to surround you.
3. Give up participating in gossip. 100 percent of the time, those sharing gossip with you will gossip about you. Believing gossip is like gambling everything on a horse sight unseen. It’s naive.
4. Quit worrying. Where thoughts go, energy flows. Worry is investing time and energy in something you don’t want to have happen. Learn to let go and trust.
5. Let go of insecurity. When we take ourselves too seriously, we think everyone else does too. There is one version of you on the planet. Be it, own it and quit worrying about it. No one really cares or watches you that closely.
6. Stop taking everything personally. Truth is, most people are too consumed with their own life to really consider what you’re doing. As my first boss said so well: “The world doesn’t revolve around you. Most people’s reactions have nothing to do with you, so let it go.”
7. Give up the past. We’ve all been hurt, we all had parents that made mistakes and we’ve all been through hell. You didn’t listen to your parents when you were younger, so why are you still listening to their voices in your head now? Every experience in life has taught you something or made you stronger.
8. Give up spending money on what you don’t need in effort to buy happiness. Living simply allows the space for life to flow. We complicate our lives by spending too much money and filling our home with “things.” Less is truly more.
9. Give up anger. Anger burns a hole in the hand of the person still holding on to it. Move it out once and for all.
10. Give up control. Control is an illusion. We live in an out of control world. Learn to embrace the new and welcome change; otherwise you’ll grow old through your own rigidity. Learn to let go. – Tamara
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women who make room.
Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.
Let us be women who carry each other.
Let us be women who give from what we have.
Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.
Let us be women who live for Peace.
Let us be women who breathe Hope.
Let us be women who create beauty.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.
Let us be a garden for tender souls.
Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.
Let us be a womb for Life to grow.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us rise to the questions of our time.
Let us speak to the injustices in our world.
Let us move the mountains of fear and intimidation.
Let us shout down the walls that separate and divide.
Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of Love.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us listen for those who have been silenced.
Let us honour those who have been devalued.
Let us say, Enough! with abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.
Let us not rest until every person is free and equal.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women who are savvy, smart and wise.
Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.
Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.
Let us be women who say, Yes to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.
Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.
Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.
Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.
Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.
Let us be women who Love.-Idelette
Have you had this happen to you?
How do we improve our relationships and and learn to truly value ourselves? First, we have to see it in ourselves, accept where we came from, where we are now, and decide to live in the present moment with joy and freedom. We need to commit to change. We can’t blame others because we are all responsible. When you develop inner strength and dignity, you will be able to move freely and at ease with everyone…no matter how difficult others might become or how difficult life may become.
Dignity is our inherent value and worth. It doesn’t change because others don’t see or acknowledge it. Dignity is something we all want. Do we recognize it? Do we treat our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers with dignity? If we weren’t raised being treated as worthy, we may tend to hurt others rather than help. We will surely hurt ourselves simply because we don’t believe we are worth anything. While we all enter the world with inborn dignity, it is our responsibility to learn it and teach it. Dignity matters to us all. We all share this need: we must know our value. We must give it our utmost care and attention. How many times have we experienced being treated as if we didn’t matter by others? How many times have we lashed back and returned the dignity violation? How many times have we walked away from an interaction with someone and are left feeling bad? Most likely we have experienced a wound to our dignity. These wounds to our dignity prevent us from resolving conflict if they are not acknowledged and addressed. Our ignorance of all matters related to dignity has caused so much human suffering. It has had a devastating effect on our relationships, yet very little attention has been paid to it. There is no where in our school systems that teach us about dignity and the result is that we have unresolved conflicts everywhere we turn–in our families, in our friendships, in the workplace, in our schools and between nations. What can we do about it? How do we learn to recognize and embrace our own dignity and be convinced that we are worthy?
If you have a sense of self-doubt and unworthiness, it is time to find the cause and change your course. Having low self-respect can be traced back to being treated badly as a child. Kids need to be shown that they are worthy by their caretakers. When they are abused, mistreated and neglected instead, they think something is wrong with them; they believe they are flawed, not smart enough, or not worthy of their caretaker’s love and attention. At the root is this: a lack of awareness of the negative impact we have on others.
Here are a few actions that you can take right now to realize your value and treat all beings with respect and loving-kindness.
1. All human beings have inherent value. We are all vulnerable. When we treat others badly, we create pain and suffering. When you honor others worth – dignity – you strengthen your own.
2. There are ways to show others you that you value them and recognize their worth. Approach people as being neither inferior nor superior to you. Give others the freedom to express their authentic selves without fear of being negatively judged. Interact without prejudice or bias, accepting the ways in which race, religion, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, age and disability may be at the core of the other person’s identity. Assume that others have integrity. Make others feel that they belong, whatever the relationship–whether they are in your family, community, organization or nation. Put people at ease at two levels: physically, so they feel safe from bodily harm, and psychologically, so they feel safe from being humiliated. Help them feel free to speak without fear of retribution. Listen to people, show appreciation and gratitude. Treat people with equality, Start with the premise that others have good motives and are acting with integrity. Believe that what others think matters. Actively listen in order to understand them. Take responsibility for your actions.
3. Don’t be afraid to speak up when someone violates you. There are ways to defend your dignity without violating the dignity of the person who violated you. Take feedback from others. We all need the loving eyes of others to help us see the ways we are unknowingly hurting them.
You are worthy!
Accept his hand and guide him gently to your hearts blood
Where he can feel your warmth upon him and rest there
And burn his heavy load in your fires
Look into his eyes look deep within and see what lies dormant or awake or shy or expectant there
Look into his eyes and see there his fathers and grandfathers and all the wars and madness their Spirits fought in some distant land, some distant time
Look upon their pains and struggles and torments and guilt; without judgment
And let it all go
Feel into his ancestral burden
And know that what he seeks is safe refuge in you
Let him melt in your steady gaze
And know that you need not mirror that rage
Because you have a womb, a sweet, deep gateway to wash and renew
If you want to change the world Love a man, really Love him
Sit before him, in the full majesty of your woman in the breath of your vulnerability
In the play of your child innocence in the depths of your death
Flowering invitation, softly yielding, allowing his power as a man
To step forward towards you…and swim in the Earth’s womb,
in silent knowing, together
And when he retreats…because he will…flees in fear to his cave…
Gather your grandmothers around you…envelope in their wisdoms
Hear their gentle shusshhhed whispers,
calm your frightened girls’ heart
Urging you to be still…and wait patiently for his return
Sit and sing by his door, a song of remembrance,
that he may be soothed, once more
If you want to change the world, love a man, really love him
Do not coax out his little boy
With guiles and wiles and seduction and trickery
Only to lure him…to a web of destruction
To a place of chaos and hatred
More terrible than any war fought by his brothers
This is not feminine this is revenge
This is the poison of the twisted lines
Of the abuse of the ages, the rape of our world
And this gives no power to woman it reduces her as she cuts off his balls
And it kills us all
And whether his mother held him or could not
Show him the true mother now
Hold him and guide him in your grace and your depth
Smoldering in the center of the Earth’s core
Do not punish him for his wounds that you think
don’t meet your needs or criteria
Cry for him sweet rivers
Bleed it all back home
If you want to change the world love a man, really love him
Love him enough to be naked and free
Love him enough to open your body and soul to the cycle of birth and of death
And thank him for the opportunity
As you dance together through the raging winds and silent woods
Be brave enough to be fragile and let him drink in the soft, heady petals of your being
Let him know he can hold you stand up and protect you
Fall back into his arms and trust him to catch you
Even if you’ve been dropped a thousand times before
Teach him how to surrender by surrendering yourself
And merge into the sweet nothing, of this worlds’ heart
If you want to change the world, love a man, really love him
Encourage him, feed him, allow him, hear him, hold him, heal him
And you, in turn, will be nourished and supported and protected
By strong arms and clear thoughts and focused arrows
Because he can, if you let him, be all that you dream
My husband and I will be married 25 years this June. So many people have a fear of commitment. They are astonished that we’ve stayed together all this time and are more committed today then we were in the beginning. We have had our share of drama, disagreements, misunderstandings and hard times, yet we kept on pushing on. Where would we go? Who would ever understand us better than this person? People who knew us back in the day are shocked to find that their mates have moved on and we’re still together. At the beginning I was set on changing my husband. Making him act like I thought a good mate should act. I would cry, I would scream, I would threaten to leave him, I would throw an adult tantrum. Nothing I did changed him in the slightest. I would stay away for a few days thinking he would be jealous and come home to find he never got the point. Here is my simple secret for staying married for 25 years. Ask yourself “Do I want him in my life? Is he basically a good man?” if the answer is yes, then decided that nothing he could say or do will make you leave. Don’t sweat the small stuff, as a matter of fact don’t sweat the big stuff. Once you’ve made this decision, it get’s easier and easier. You no longer have to the participate in the drama. You start looking for solutions for disagreements rather then just trying to get your way. Your here for the long haul and you really start to bond. Stormy
There are certain growing dynamics that can occur only within the dynamic of commitment. Without commitment you cannot learn to care for another person more than yourself. You cannot learn to value growth of strength and clarity in another soul, even if that threatens the wants of the personality. When you release the wants of your personality in order to accommodate and encourage another person’s growth, you attune yourself to that person’s soul. Without commitment, you cannot learn to see others as your soul sees them, as beautiful and powerful spirits of Light.
The archetype of spiritual partnership..partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth..is emerging within our species. This is different from the archetype of marriage which is designed to assist physical survival, and in which partners do not necessarily see themselves as equals. When individuals enter into a marriage, the ability of each to survive physically is enhanced. They are more capable together of finding fire, shelter, food and water, and defending themselves, then they are individually.
Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul