Tag Archives: Buddhism

monday morning meditation

3 Aug

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p a t i e n c e     is the     a n t i d o t e

Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. By patience, we do not mean endurance- as in ” grin and bear it.” In any situation, instead of reacting suddenly, we could chew it, smell it, look at it, and open ourselves to seeing what’s there. The opposite of patience is aggression- the desire to jump and move, to push against our lives, to try to fill up space. The journey of patience involves relaxing, opening to whats happening, experiencing a sense of wonder.

-Pema Chodron-

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lotus

20 Mar

3093282_7471115_lzYesterday evening at the end of a difficult yoga class we sat with our eyes closed, legs crossed & hands in prayer at our hearts. At this time most teachers usually end the class with a quote, saying or short story to inspire you. Yesterday the teacher talked about the meaning  behind the lotus flower in Buddhism and it really resonated with me.

The lotus has been a symbol of purity since before the time of the Buddha, and it blooms profusely in Buddhist art and literature. Its roots are in muddy water, but the lotus flower rises above the mud to bloom, clean and fragrant.

The mud nourishing the roots represents our messy human lives. It is through our human experiences and our suffering that we seek to break free and bloom. But while the flower rises above the mud, the roots and stem remain in the mud, where we live our lives. A Zen verse says, “May we exist in muddy water with purity, like a lotus.”

Rising above the mud to bloom requires great faith in oneself, in the practice, and in the Buddha’s teaching. So, along with purity and enlightenment, a lotus also represents faith.

Absolutely love this.

Happy Thursday.

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pema

6 Feb

…a little wisdom from Pema today and it was exactly what I needed…

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“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
― Pema Chödrön

Pema

17 Jan

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“Each person’s life is like a mandala- a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life. We enter a room, and the room is our mandala. We get on the subway, and the subway car is our mandala, down to the teenager checking messages on her iPhone and the homeless man slumped in the corner. We go for a hike in the mountains, and everything as far as we can see is our mandala: the clouds, the trees, the snow on the peeks, even the rattlesnake coiled in the corner. We’re lying in a hospital bed, and the hospital is our mandala. We don’t set it up, we don’t get to choose what or who shows up in it. It is, As Chogyam Trungpa said, “the mandala that is never arranged but is always complete.” And we embrace it just as it is.
Everything that shows up in your mandala is a vehicle for your awakening. From this point of view, awakening is right at your fingertips continually. There’s not a drop of rain or a pile of dog poop that appears in your life that isn’t the manifestation of enlightened energy, that isn’t a doorway to sacred world. But it’s up to you whether your life is a mandala of neurosis or a mandala of sanity.”
Pema Chodron

first taste of Kathmandu

18 Dec

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(ALL photos by BHG / facebook page )

Since we arrived in Kathmandu in the dark of the night, I wasn’t sure what to expect the first morning. Once we made it out of the confines of our hotel, I was immediately overwhelmed by it. It was an exhilarating shock to the senses. The narrow streets were packed with people, rickshaws, stray dogs, cows, traffic and new smells and sounds. I had read in my guide book that most travelers develop a throat infection the first few days due to the heavy pollution. When I read this I thought…how bad could it be? Well, I learned it was that bad. My eyes began to burn and my throat itch as soon as we walked out the door. This was the start of my love/hate relationship with the city.

Equipped with our Lonely Planet guide-book, Brian and I decided to take the recommended “walking tour” to see some of the major sites. Problem is, there aren’t street signs in Kathmandu. It was incredibly confusing and Brian and I began to get frustrated. As we stood on a street corner, dodging traffic and stray animals, going back and forth about the direction, a sweet smiley young kid in his teens approached us. He struck up a conversation with us in his perfect English. Where were we from? How long had we been in Kathmandu? Did we like it? He said he was a student and an artist. This was my first real taste of Nepali people. They are wonderfully open and friendly people. We answered his questions happily and made polite small talk, but after a few minutes we tried to keep moving- we had stupas to find! It was no use though, because he just walked with us and kept talking. In pure Kate fashion I kept the conversation going because I didn’t want to be rude. Brian, of course, was less engaged, opting instead to take pictures of me making conversation.

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After twenty minutes, I realized that not only was he not going stop talking to us but he was also now taking us on a tour of the city himself. I wasn’t quite sure how this happened but I was pretty sure it was going to cost us something. Two hours later we were buying his family groceries and let me tell you, a two ton bag of rice isn’t cheap. I’ll admit it- we got taken. We must have had a huge sign on our head that said “these two idiots just got off the plane and are totally overwhelmed- they’re primed for the taking!” Our unrequested tour wasn’t all bad though and I doubt we would have found our way around town without a little help!

My first taste of the history and culture of Nepal was intoxicating. Mixed in with all the chaos, grime and dirt, you find beautiful medieval alleys, Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas. Ancient history lives on every corner. You’re walking down a dilapidated street and all of a sudden you’re in front of a golden temple.

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Swayambhunath up next!

prayer flags

18 Oct

Nepal

20 Aug

Big news! Big news! You know how one of my goals for the year was to take a big trip with Brian? Preferably an overseas trip to a destination that neither of us have ever been to? Well, we booked a trip to Nepal on Friday night! Yes, NEPAL. I get seriously giddy every time I say it. I am going to Nepal in November. NEPPPPPPAAALLLL. The land of The Himalayas, Buddhist temples, elephants, tigers and oh the tallest peak in the world Mount Everest.

We have both been itching for a big adventure but were unclear on where we wanted to go. We have been throwing around ideas for the last few weeks. Thailand? Cambodia? Laos? Croatia? Argentina? Truthfully, we both would love to go everywhere, so there wasn’t a trip that sounded bad. So we decided to keep our eyes peeled for deals and see what felt right. Cut to Wednesday night. We were lying in bed on our computers and Brian came across a “trekking and yoga” trip in Nepal. We were both instantly excited by the idea. Brian is a fan of trekking, photographing landscapes  and he’s always wanted to go to Nepal- it’s on his short list. I am a fan of yoga, spiritual places (remember last years trip to a Buddhist monastery?), adventure and breathtaking scenery, so I was sold.  I also read that I will get to ride an elephant while there. I mean, amazing, right?

I will admit  that I am a little nervous about the whole trekking thing. When you think Kate McClafferty, you don’t see trekking either, do you? It’s ok. I’m not offended. I’m having a hard time picturing it as well. But I am always game for a good adventure and, I thought…if one was to ever go on a trek in their lifetime, what better place to trek than through Nepal. It’s kinda like the world’s trekking capital. So what that I will be walking for 6 hours a day. Totally doable, right? No. Big. Deal. In a moment of panic I did say to Brian that I hope I don’t die while trekking. He told me he thinks I am being a bit dramatic. Me, dramatic?

I’ve decided to just focus on the fact that I am going to Nepal in November with the man I love, instead of worrying about the whole trekking thing. After we booked the trip, I proceeded to spend the rest of the evening scouring the internet for pictures, blogs and info about Nepal. Getting more and more excited with each new picture. I am going to NEPAL!

Here are a few of my favorite shots…Oh and have any of you ever been to Nepal? Any tips?

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“That’s the best thing about walking, the journey itself. It doesn’t matter much whether you get where you’re going or not. You’ll get there anyway. Every good hike brings you eventually back home.

–  Edward Abbey