Joy Haiku

Loss and sorrow fade

Laughter returns, love lasts,

Joy stays with us

Always.

How to Show Kindness to Yourself

I read this in the Kindness Blog by *Vidyamala Burch. The subject of being kind to oneself intrigued me, and I wanted to share part of the post with you. She was teaching a mindfulness class, and a young woman asked her a difficult question.

The question and Vidyamala’s thoughts follow:

“How do I keep turning up with compassion and kindness, when people just throw it back in my face, or don’t appreciate it?

We can all relate to this dilemma and the feelings of anger and despair when our efforts seem so misunderstood! This young woman is trying to make her way through life by giving the best that she can, and what is she getting back in return? Only her own tormenting feelings of bitterness, resentment and confusion.

Buddhism, which the secular mindfulness field has mostly drawn from, works from a different principle. Here we are taught that kindness always needs to start at home.

You can only really be there for others if you have a strong foundation of self-love, self-kindness and confidence to tap into.

It’s obvious when you think about it — if we can’t be kind to ourselves then we can’t be genuinely kind to others — it just isn’t sustainable and will lead to feelings of hurt, bitterness, anger or plain exhaustion.

Kindness to oneself doesn’t mean we become selfish and self-absorbed though. Being aware of and kind to others is at the very heart of Buddhism and mindfulness. Loving kindness to oneself, as it’s known in Buddhism, is more about being realistic and knowing your limits, how much you can give and your boundaries. If you have the rising feeling that you are giving and giving and resentment is building up, take this as a sign that you need to spend time being kind and loving to yourself.

So what is loving kindness to oneself?

I think of it as cultivating the same attitude to yourself as you have towards someone you love – you naturally turn to that loved one with kindness and an open heart. Or perhaps, a cherished pet? Recall the feelings of loving kindness as you spend time with it and stroke it – now turn those feelings back onto yourself. Breathe in and drench each breath with loving kindness for you.

If you do practice these steps of goodwill towards yourself, then magically, in the true spirit of Christmas and giving, you will be able to care and love others much more deeply, in a much more sustainable way.”

*Vidyamala is one of the world’s leading experts on mindfulness for health, and founder and Director of Breathworks, a leading UK-based not-for-profit organisation, specialising in Mindfulness-Based Pain and Illness Management. Breathworks have recently run pilot programmes around the country, working with numerous charities, the National Probation Service, Department of Health and NHS. Breathworks also provides face-to-face and online courses for individuals living with pain, illness and stress.

 

“To Those I Love”

A dear friend and cousin sent me this poem by Isla Paschal Richardson. It came in a sympathy card which I received after attending Mom’s funeral (which, by the way, was everything and more that she could have asked for!). I absolutely love it, and wanted to share it with you.

“If I should ever leave you, whom I love

To go along the Silent Way, grieve not,

Nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk

Of me as if I were beside you there.

(I’d come – I’d come, could I but find a way!

But would not tears and grief be barriers?)

And when you hear a song or see a bird

I love, please do not let the thought of me

Be sad…..For I am loving you just as I always have….

You were so good to me!

There are so many things I wanted still to do – so many things to say to you…

Remember that I did not fear…It was

Just leaving you that was so hard to face…

We cannot see Beyond…but this I know:

I loved you so –’twas Heaven here with you!”

“Your Life is an Occasion, So Rise to It”

This is a wonderful quote from “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” movie, circa 2007. I had never seen it, but was intrigued by the title. By chance, it was on TV last night and I watched most of it.

Long and magical story short, the time comes for Mr. Magorium to die and let another take his place running his magical toy shop. He tells his friend and assistant, Molly Mahoney, that she has all the magic she needs to run the Emporium herself. She doesn’t believe him, and although Magorium knows she can, he understands that she needs to figure this out for herself. He tells her, “Your life is an occasion, so rise to it.”

That quote just captured me. Here I am, getting ready to bury my mother tomorrow, worried that I won’t do everything that she asked for, and so on—and I hear this wonderful quote. My life, your life, all of our lives are occasions! So we must rise to them.

Even when we are in grief or pain or loss, we must go forward. We need to remember that our lives are occasions, as well as gifts, challenges and hurdles over which we must cross.

Just when I felt my heart shrinking away in sorrow, here is one more heaven-sent moment to make me realize how wonderful, how amazing, how incredible and how good my life is. I had 64 wonderful years with my mom, and I still have my dad. I have the love of my life as my husband, I have two wonderful step-daughters, an absolutely amazing granddaughter and another on the way, I have four cats whom I adore, I have dear friends, my body is healthy and strong, I have the privilege of being an American in America, and so much more.  I have this beautiful world and all it holds each day. I have laughter and tears, I have hope and dreams, I have love and joy, I have a beautiful life.

It is up to me, to all of us, to make our lives the occasions that they are meant to be. Let us all rise to the occasion!

My Mom is With the Angels Now

My amazing mom died on December 16 at 7:00am. The Crankee Yankee and I were on our way to see her, having been called by my dad earlier. He said that her breathing was getting labored and that we had better come soon. About 15 minutes later, he called again to say that she was gone.

As anyone who has watched a loved one decline at the end of their lives, there is a mix of grief and relief, sorrow and joy–joy for them to be able to leave their poor sick bodies and fly with the angels. Although I will miss her every single day of my life, I know that she is happy to be free and is able to be an influence for good in a higher realm.

Dad and I spent a lot of time talking about her, and alternately weeping and laughing. I made all the phone calls and wept with those who have loved her so well.

Mom and I planned her funeral months ago, and now everything is in place just as she wanted it. She had picked out her “going away” outfit, and asked for one perfect red rose to hold. Her hairdresser, Connie, who adored her, is doing her hair and I will be doing her makeup. Mom had a small collection of cards and letters from family and friends that she cherished. We decided to put them in the casket with her, surrounding her with all that love and affection.

Here is the obituary I wrote for her months ago (which she approved):

“Gloria Spaulding Bullock of Wolfeboro, NH, known to all as “Glo,” died peacefully and with the full knowledge that she had said, done and experienced everything she wanted to on December 16, 2015. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Ned Bullock, and her daughter, Jane (Bullock) Fraser.

Among her many accomplishments, she co-authored a children’s book, “Shopping at the Ani-Mall,” with her daughter, Jane, published in 1991 by Windswept House of Mt. Desert, ME. She also developed the genealogy of her relatives from the Feero line, “Christian Feero, Loyalist of New Brunswick,” published through Gateway Press, Inc. of Baltimore, MD in 1983. This

chronicled Christian Feero and his people from 1751 to 1983. All research was done by visiting libraries and graveyards, speaking with living relatives, collecting photos and handwriting everything; no computers, no Internet.

Glo was a beloved member of the Wolfeboro chapter of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO), and a regular at the Country Bookseller morning coffee and chat group. In her lifetime, she has been a wife, mother, saleswoman in the early days of WTWO TV out of Bangor, ME, managing editor for the Granite State News, business manager and partner for the

Ned Bullock Photography Studio in the summer, and Camp patrol in the winter, a ballroom dancer, writer, teacher, mentor, friend, advisor, excellent cook, Scrabble maven and jewelry designer. For the last 15 years she made and sold beautiful necklaces and earrings under her company name, Folie a Deux.

Glo had the great gift of knowing that her time on Earth was limited. With that knowledge, she was able to make her own decisions about her final days, speak and visit with all those she loved, and even pick out her last outfit. As she so often said, “This time is a GIFT! How lucky I am to have this wonderful time with my family and friends, and to say everything I want to say, to give away some of my things to those who will love and cherish them as keepsakes, and to leave a legacy of love and hope.”

One of Glo’s last requests is that any cards or notes sent to Ned Bullock or Jane Fraser be hand-written and NOT via email. Glo was a confirmed Luddite and never owned or used a computer in her life. She felt that nothing meant more than a hand-written card or note, and asks for everyone to please respect her last wish.”

It has been my privilege and pleasure to be her daughter and friend for every day of my life.