Desire and the Chase

Relaxing on the porchDoesn’t it seem that the more we chase the things we want in Life, the more elusive they seem to be?

In Buddhist lore, desire and greed are interchangeable concepts, both being seen as “poisons.” The notion of chasing something we desire is the equivalent of ingratitude for what “is,” and can hook us into an insatiable quest for more, more and (yes) more.

Our culture worships those who make it big financially and materially.  As we see with various famous and powerful people in our country, those who have accumulated material abundance believe themselves to also possess virtue and wisdom.  This is often far from reality.  The endless chase for more makes us vulnerable to the addictions created by desire and greed.

I guess “sufficiency,” or having enough, doesn’t fuel capitalism.  But insufficiency and a sense of inadequacy, definitely create stress, anxiety, depression and a host of other maladies that allow the pharmaceutical industry to thrive.

The one impoverishment that may help us all is less and less desire and slowing down the chase!

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

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Let Your Heart Break

Broken HeartWhat a curious title, considering that we humans use so much energy trying to avoid heartbreak and its miseries.   Why should accepting heartbreak be a goal?

When the heart breaks it’s a sign that we were open, we tried, we were fully present.  When the heart breaks we rolled the dice and bet on Love.  And when the heart breaks the Jury of Angels celebrates our faith, even though the desired outcome wasn’t reached.

There’s a saying, “The heart breaks to open wider.”  I’ll try to explain:

We have a choice to bet on Love or live from fear.  To choose love, especially after heartbreak, it celebrates the courage to remain open, regardless of our pain.  To love again we’ve affirmed Love as our source of energy, and we’ve conquered fear.

How did I do?

If we think that we can avoid pain and still remain open enough to love, we’re sadly mistaken.  Openness includes ALL emotions.  There’s no filter that only lets the happy moments in and keeps the sad ones out.  All addiction is based on the distortion that we can pick and choose what we experience, only letting pleasantries in.

I’m interested in what you think about this.  I’m listening!

With THAT love, Rosanne Bostonian

“Despair = Suffering – Meaning”

Man's Search for Meaning

In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl documented his concentration camp incarceration during World War I.  As a psychiatrist, he gave meaning to his terrible experience by observing his fellow inmates closely.

What he discovered was those who made the conscious choice to give their lives meaning, survived at higher rates despite horrific conditions.  Those for whom each day had no meaning slipped into despair and gave up.

In the typical life, those with vibrant and energetic pursuits thrive while those who become passive observers don’t do as well.  We can see an illustration of this principle in retirees who envision a carefree life, but they find the lack of meaning taking its toll on their motivation and overall health.

The recent Parkland tragedy is another illustration.  Students and parents in that community have given the otherwise meaningless slaughter a purpose by taking on a variety of causes.  They made a choice.

The losses and tribulations of human life can either cause despair, or we can choose the antidote, “meaning.”  If we choose to invest our lives with purpose, we can thrive in painful circumstances.

Viktor Frankl stated that the last thing we relinquish is our freedom to choose a life with meaning.  It’s the one element no one can take regardless of circumstances.

I’m going to sit down and think of what gives my life meaning.  Sharing a few ideas through these blogs is definitely on the list.

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

The Turkey Trot

. Slowly, but gathering momentum, he charged. His “gobbles” intensified and my speed increased as I headed for the refuge of my vehicle. I can’t say I felt turkey breath on my derriere, but he was close enough.

Turkey Trot, turkey scratches on car door

 

I’m one of those people who marvels at living things, so much so that I majored in Biology.  The fact that I saw nothing alive during my entire program was discouraging, but that’s a tale for another day.

I was heading home last week from the Woodland Park Campus of Berkeley College where I’m honored to serve as an adjunct professor.  Driving past Garret Mountain Reservation there was a traffic backup…not usual.  People were honking, but no one was moving.

I looked down the road and there was a great big turkey standing proudly and blocking the thoroughfare.  I joined the honkers, but we were getting nowhere.  Nature lover that I am, I left my vehicle to shoo ol’ Tom Turkey back into the woods where he would go on his way and so would we.

“Shoo” I said, with gestures that were shoo-like.  “Hell” he said, furrowed his turkey brow and fixed his gaze on me.  Slowly, but gathering momentum, he charged.  His “gobbles” intensified and my speed increased as I headed for the refuge of my vehicle.  I can’t say I felt turkey breath on my derriere, but he was close enough.

I barely got into the car but couldn’t close the door because a red head with a hostile face was pecking and gobbling.  I finally got the door closed, but he continued to peck and gobble.  Traumatic!

When I looked at the other drivers expecting to see the horror I was feeling, I saw hysterical laughter instead.  That sort of broke the tension for me.  If the incident goes viral, you know the story.

Tiring of me, the turkey took up with the car behind me and I escaped.  I looked to the right as saw a harem of female turkeys and realized that Mr. Tom was doing his manly duty and protecting his girls.

Humility first in all things.

I will say I had the last laugh… I ordered a turkey wrap for lunch.

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

Be-Longing

Diversity and belonging

When I was 5 year-old I was marched off to kindergarten.  I had no idea what was going on, but I had motivation to be able to read.  When the Sunday papers arrived, I could see the bright colored comics, but had no clue what was in “the balloons.”  Kindergarten was going to be my salvation.

On the first day of kindergarten, there I was among many children my age.  I was amazed that there were that many in the world, so I guess I wasn’t listening to the teacher.  One little guy in overalls was racing for the door and dutifully marched back to his seat.  In retrospect, I should have joined him on his hot retreat.

I was different. I wasn’t listening.  This apparently was cause to send me to the coat room.  Over time I knew every figure on the coat room walls; Humpty Dumpty, Little Bow Peep (What kind of a name is Bow Peep? I guess she didn’t belong either) and a variety of others amidst an array of little coats. I can’t tell you what sins I committed to be relegated to that dark space!

In antiquity “belonging” meant surviving. There’s a part of our brains that wants to hide in a crowd, circle the wagons and have someone care enough about us to fight the good fight on our behalf.  There is no part of a 5 year-old that feels good in a coat room. To that I can attest.

The Coat Room Saga was exclusionary and made me feel different. I thought different was analogous “unacceptable,” so I compensated with high achievement.  I guess that’s better than drugs and antisocial behavior, but the root causes of extreme manifestations are the same.  Not feeling welcome in the world.

This is what I now know:  Those of us who are different are part of a mosaic of many colors.  Blue shouldn’t try to be red, but should find a beautiful place in the sky.  There is room for everyone in God’s world, but sometimes not in man’s world.  Driven out of man’s world, we can become the Child of God.  To accomplish that shift, we’ve got to see that belonging isn’t the same as to be-longing.

To be-longing is to reach for our highest and best, out-picturing our uniqueness to expand the human mosaic.  From the roof-tops (and from the Coat Room of the Past), I proclaim that we are ok, that we are welcome and that our longing will only be answered with our own authentic voices.

With love,

Rosanne

Family of the Heart

Family of the Heart

Amazing humans we are!  We’ve figured out ways to trace our DNA history and get to know our genetic ancestors.  There are options now to send a cheek swab to the lab and figure out where our ancestors came from.  We get to write our own sequels to the famous Alvin Haley book “Roots.”

Don’t tell anyone (ahem), but the previous generation can be both blessing and challenge.  If we’re fortunate, those relationships are authentic and filled with gratitude.  The fact is that some of those relationships are challenging and not what we would choose if they weren’t blood relations.

No worries, because we can create a Family of the Heart.  Some members of our blood clan can occupy that precious circle, while others are “ceremonial family members,” worthy of respect and a type of love.  But those we consciously choose on our Path are often a better match to our spirit than those we were assigned through ancestry.

Family of the Heart consists of our brothers and sisters of destiny.  They are those who mirror the most authentic spirit within us.  They are those who open our hearts and keep them open.

They know us in a deep way.  They accept us unconditionally.  Occupying this blessed circle are humans and sometimes our furry companions.  Regardless of what family-of-origin experiences we have had, Family of the Heart sustains, elevates and brings love into our daily experience.

Keep creating your “family” without genetic bias and with gratitude and (of course)…

With love,

Rosanne

Mini-Meditations

woman meditating

The whole notion of “meditating” can be intimidating.  We have images of Eastern folks sitting in ashrams with chanting monks in the background.  They seem transfixed and unfamiliar to the Western eye.  The imagery seems exclusive and in our rushed lives, impossible to implement.  And why would we “waste the time” when we’re only going to be sitting there thinking of what productive thing we could be doing instead!?

Steven Covey, in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” offers the practice of sharpening the saw.  He states that we can hack away at a tree with a dull saw, thinking we’re working hard and accomplishing something, or we can take the time to sharpen the saw and operate efficiently and effortlessly.

Maybe we don’t have to create a daunting ceremony to accomplish this and simply can take a moment here and there to close our eyes and breathe.  Maybe we can stop the mad rush and feel our own presence.  I call that a “mini-meditation.”

There are types of breathing that realign our scattered nervous systems.  One type is “4-6-8 breathing.”  Inhale to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 6, exhale to the count of 8.  Your nervous system will thank you!  Just noticing your scatter is a huge step rather than running on adrenal hormones to the point of burnout.

Quality of effort is more efficient that quantity of effort.  And it leaves time to read a blog from your friend Rosanne!

With love, Rosanne Bostonian