Archive for February 21st, 2012

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Naomi is the Queen of compassion and has been actively trying to change our Dementia Care Culture for 30 years!  She is absolutely amazing and I promise you will not disappointed.


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Well, but not this year. . . .

Here is a link to find out more about Losar.

But this year, instead of celebrating a new year, a new beginning, we stand together to mourn for all those who have taken their lives in protest of the Chinese Occupation of Tibet and for all of those who have been killed, tortured, and have fled from their homeland.

During the past year, we have witnessed countless reports of young people who have died by self-immolation and more uprisings in the tortured country of Tibet.

I take a moment as Losar begins by to recite The Four Immeasurables for all those who have known pain and suffering during these decades of occupation and cruelty:

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes

May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes

May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss

May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger

from www.bodhichitta.net

Here is a Q&A from His Holiness that I found on the net asking about how we deal with those groups who have committed unspeakable acts. . .

From www.viewonbuddhism.org:

“How does a person or group of people compassionately and yet straightforwardly confront another person or group of people who have committed crimes of genocide against them?

His Holiness: “When talking about compassion and compassionately dealing with such situations one must bear in mind what is meant by compassionately dealing with such cases. Being compassionate towards such people or such a person does not mean that you allow the other person to do whatever the other person or group of people wishes to do, inflicting suffering upon you and so on. Rather, compassionately dealing with such a situation has a different meaning. When a person or group of people deals with such a situation and tries to prevent such crimes there is generally speaking two ways in which you could do that, or one could say, two motivations. One is out of confrontation, out of hatred that confronts such a situation. There is another case in which, although in action it may be of the same force and strength, but the motivation would not be out of hatred and anger but rather out of compassion towards the perpetrators of these crimes. Realising that if you allow the other person, the perpetrator of the crime, to indulge his or her own negative habits then in the long run the other person or group is going to suffer the consequences of that negative action. Therefore, out of the consideration of the potential suffering for the perpetrator of such crimes, then you confront the situation and apply equally forceful and strong measures. I think this is quite relevant and important in modern society, especially in a competitive society. When someone genuinely practices compassion, forgiveness and humility then sometimes some people will take advantage of such a situation. Sometimes it is necessary to take a countermeasure, then with that kind of reasoning and compassion, the countermeasure is taken with reasoning and compassion rather than out of negative emotion. That is actually more effective and appropriate. This is important. For example my own case with Tibet in a national struggle against injustice we take action without using negative emotion. It sometimes seems more effective.”

Let us hope that it is with this New Year that we find continued hope and renewed action in saving the Tibetan people and their hertiage.  Maybe this will be the year that the world leaders say, enough, we won’t stand by and watch innocent people die.  Maybe this will be the year that we help others selflessly rather than for what they or their country have that we can benefit from.

Perhaps this will be the year when the individual will matter more than the state and we will embrace our interbeing with all sentient beings and learn to live compassionately and congruently.

Metta, Jennifer

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March (Photo credit: flavijus)

Thanks so much for your kindness and generosity but most of all your patience.  I’m new to Blog Talk Radio and am feeling my way as I go.  I previously thought that this show had not taped, however, when I went into my archive tonight, I found it wait for me.

As I was doing some research for this show on the Four Boundless Qualities for Blog Talk Radio (click on the Blog Talk Radio Link), I found this information on an upcoming retreat at  San Francisco Zen Center.  They will actually be putting on a retreat during the Saturdays in March on these practices.

Look on their website for the Practices for a Boundless Heart and Mind retreat.  http://www.sfzc.org/cc/display.asp?catid=&pageid=2978

If you’re in the Bay area, check out these Saturday retreats.  Check it out on their website.

Other resources for using the Four Boundless Qualities in your meditation practice include Joan Halifax Roshi and Pema Chodron‘s work:



Why I chose these meditations for recitation tonight was because as Ani Pema stated in her book, they are power self-care meditations.

They are essential for those of us who are grieving losses, not just due to the death of someone we love but also the great and small losses we face in our lives every day like betrayal of by those who are close to us or betrayal of our bodies through disease.

We take so little time to be present to our everyday wounds that we are overwhelmed when we suffer one of those great losses in our lives.  So why not create a practice in our lives to be present to and cultivate kindness for those losses and wounds we are constantly living with?

When we foster kindness for ourselves, we start to touch the essence of compassion and with practice, we’ve able to foster that compassion for those around us and eventually for all sentient beings.

These are timeless practices that have so much relvance to our every day lives today, maybe more so than ever before.  People are stretched, stressed, and suffering.

We have less and less time, more and more worries, and we don’t know where to turn.

We don’t have extended families where we see older generations going through things that we will one day nor do we have their wisdom to help us with what we are going through right here and right now.

But what we do have is a global sangha and meditations that have helped ease suffering in individuals for thousands of years.  I hope that the recitation of these phrases will bring you comfort and will broaden your daily practice.

When you have been practicing the phrases for some time, I would love to hear how they have informed your daily life.  Please drop us a note and let us know.

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Sounds True presents:  Body and Mind are One with Thich Nhat Hanh  

This is great news as there is so much “On Demand” Dharma teaching right now with these kinds of courses, podcasts, audiobooks, etc.  Check out my Blogroll for a few of my favorite podcasts.

Their site states that you will learn the follow things by following along with this pre-recorded series recorded during a six-day retreat in the beautiful Rocky Mountain village of Estes Park, Body and Mind Are One.

“Body and Mind Are One invites you to learn more about:

  • The life-changing energies of mindfulness, concentration, and insight
  • Your presence, the greatest gift you can offer the world
  • Being there: the first aim of meditation
  • A magic formula for instant happiness
  • The profound teaching of “interbeing”
  • The truth of impermanence
  • Buddhism’s Noble Eightfold Path and the Four Noble Truths
  • The meaning of emptiness
  • Dharma as the practice of looking deeply
  • Touching the Buddha nature within you
  • Transcending discrimination, fear, anger, and other inner afflictions
  • Karma as actions of thought, speech, and body
  • Buddha’s seven exercises for mindful breathing
  • How to nourish the seeds of compassion and lovingkindness within you
  • The Five Mindfulness trainings—a tool for exploring the consequences of our actions”

According to Sounds True’s website:“Body and Mind Are One also has Live Session Dates are that are included with the excerpts from Thay’s Rocky Mountain retreat.

LIVE interactive video session with Sister Lang Nghiem on April 26, 2012, 8–9 pm Eastern Time

LIVE interactive video session with Brother Phap Hai on May 24, 2012, 8–9 pm Eastern Time

Please note all times are in ET.  To convert to your timezone, Convert Now

And not to worry, if you can’t make the April and May dates, they will be available for download a few days later!

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How Can You Sit There and Complain?

It’s your first day back whether that’s days or weeks.  You are nervous about going back to work.

You might be experiencing a multitude of feelings and sensations and wonder how they could be happening all at once.

You can’t remember what you just read.

You forget your son’s phone number and you are barely sleeping at night.

That’s what coming back to work might be like for the grieving.

I work with clients whom share stories about their first day, weeks, or even months back at work.  Some have good friends that are there with hugs upon reuniting.

For others, co-workers may say hello but avoid their glance.

Often the grieving person and the co-workers don’t know what to do or say.

One woman lost her husband and struggled having to raise two children alone.  For weeks she felt like people were avoiding her.

She often got upset while she sitting at her cubicle, listening to people complaints when their husbands didn’t take out the garbage or help cook dinner, or were off hunting too often.

She often left her space to go find a place to cry.

She wanted to tell others that she would give anything to have her husband to complain about; his snoring that made for restless nights for her or times that they wouldn’t agree on how to talk to their kids.

She acknowledged her sadness and owned that no one could make her cry.

She was crying because she loved her husband.

She just wished that the people around her could be more sensitive to the fact that she felt like no matter how much complaining their might be, she wished she still had someone to complain about rather than to grieve over.

Finally one day, with support from her group, she asked everyone together and shared her feelings and her needs, helping to ease the discomfort that they all felt.

Rather than hiding her feelings or becoming resentful to people she had worked with for a long time, she felt empowered to ask for help and for compassion for her situation.

Her co-workers and supervisor appreciated that they now knew how to help and that they could talk to her about the wonderful memories they shared of company picnics and little league games that they had attended.

The work place went from a place of misery to a place where she could find comfort from people who were close to her and knew her family.

Sometimes, even in the pain of our grief, we have to take a stand.

We have to empower ourselves to get our needs me.

Life for this woman was much different when she voiced her concerns, from her heart and shared what she needed without blame or judgment for the people around her.

Think about the situations you are in, whether you are an exhausted caregiver, an employee living with chronic or life-limiting illness, and ask yourself, What do I need for support?  What can I ask of others?  What am I willing to accept?  Am I willing to risk making a difference?

Photo from:  http://www.freelanceadvisor.co.uk/lifestyle-and-timeout/middle-aged-women-and-workplace-perceptions/

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