Sunday, October 24, 2010

one good day

One good day can erase an entire week of stress and strain. I don't know how it works, but I do know that it does. Yesterday was perfect. Really. A beautiful day, with brilliant blue sky, perfect temperature. I had some morning time with my beloved husband, and then we went with friends to the American Visionary Museum for an exhibit "What makes us smile?". We laughed a lot, were amazed, impressed and amused. Can't ask for more from an art exhibit. We went upstairs and had a lovely brunch out on a terrace. Great food, even better company, and more talk and laughter. If we had gone home, and done nothing else all day, it would have been a great day.

Instead, we went to an MLA happy hour. Great conversation, good beer, good people. I could feel the stress just falling away. If we had just done this, and done nothing else all day, it would have been a great day.

We went home, I made dinner, and we watched a dumb movie together. And that was good too.

The whole day was full of laughter and love. A day like that goes a long way. It makes the hard days, the days full of work and struggle, all worth it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

taking another step on the path

I have been on a path for several years, a sort of personal journey, to try and be a better person. I have focused on being grateful for what comes my way, on being charitable, on being kinder. I have tried to stifle the judgmental part of me, and be understanding of the behavior of others. I feel like I have made incremental progress, inching toward where I want to be.

This weekend, I took another step on the path. I've decided to commit to being a practicing Buddhist. I just don't feel like I can go much farther without leaning on the wisdom of others, and without a framework outside my own head. I accept the Four Noble Truths, will attempt to follow the 5 precepts, and will work on the eightfold path.

There -- I said it. It seems odd declaring publicly something that I think I've been doing privately for several years. And it smacks slightly of "religion" -- that thing I have avoided for decades. I don't think it really is a religion, not in the way most folks mean the term. It is a spiritual practice, and a spiritual example, but it does not involve worship, or an omnipotent deity, which would be deal-breakers for me. It doesn't even involve "faith" -- which is another word I avoid. Understanding, acceptance, patience, virtue, persistence, reverence, I can handle.

It's a little weird for me, and maybe even a little frightening. I have to give up some of my stubborn trust in my own self and my own way. I have to give up a measure of control, and that is so not my best thing. I have to accept help and guidance, also not my best thing. We'll see where this takes me.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

freedom of speech

I've been thinking a lot about freedom of speech lately. I think we have strayed a great deal from the original intent of this right. The freedom to dissent, to speak out against the government, to freely express political ideas is an amazing gift, one that protects and strengthens our democracy. It does not seem to me that freedom of speech extends to saying anything you want to anyone at any time, without consequence.

The Westboro Baptist Church has a right to say whatever vile thing they want about the war and it's causes. They have a right to do this in public. This doesn't mean they have the right to disrupt a private funeral with their protest. They can picket a courthouse, or the state house, or Congress. They can picket in front of the White House. They can hold a march or a rally to get their point across. No one is stopping them. They can't attend your wedding, or your birthday party, or grandma and grandpa's retirement party. They can't picket a serviceman's funeral, just because he died in service. That is insufficient to make it public property or a public event.

Saying they cannot protest at a funeral does not impinge on their freedom of speech. They are free to protest 364 other days of the year, or to picket 365 days in a different public location. They can talk to the press, get on the tv news, whatever. THeir message will unfortunately be heard. No one is stopping them. Just telling them they don't get to harm anyone else while exercising their right to free speech.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

slowing it down

People who know me, know I love change. So what I am feeling now is new, and oddly unsettling. I am actually hoping, wishing, that things would slow down, and not change so fast. Our son is growing so rapidly, and maturing at a pace that scares me. I can see him getting ready to be on his own, and I am not ready yet. I am taking my last class for school, and I just finished my forms for graduation in May. I really don't want it to be over. I see us aging, and I'm not ready for that yet either.

The biggest thing is that I am happy, really and truly happy. And I don't want that to change. I'd like to gather up everything and hold it, just as it is, for a long long time.