bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Category: parenting

Arms Wide Open

Children can teach us some pretty spectacular lessons.  After I recorded this video I continued to think about the twins – about their unselfconscious display of acceptance, joy and excitement.  As I pictured them bounding through the playground, I remembered that the other boys around them were following their lead, chanting and jumping for joy in step.  The twins inspired not only warm feelings in my son, but also naturally ignited a spirit of wholesome inclusiveness amongst all the boys.  The twins were (and are) the drop that causes the ripple that inspires the wave.  So beautiful.  What a blessing.

We are only a reflection of the people by whom we surround ourselves.  It’s important to make sure we like what we see in the mirror.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

bu-review: starry river of the sky by grace lin

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I can’t say enough about author Grace Lin.  She is a spectacular story teller.  My children and I have so enjoyed her books, and this latest addition to our home library, Starry River of the Sky published by Little, Brown & Co., is certainly no exception.  A companion book to Newbery Medal winner Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Lin’s Starry River weaves familiar Chinese folklore into the story of a young boy named Rendi who is discovered by an small village innkeeper while stowing away in a merchant’s cart.

Rendi is a runaway – angry, skeptical, judgmental and rude.  He finds himself stuck in a small, poor village that is not only sweltering hot and dry as a bone, but is also missing the moon.  The strange absence of light in the night sky only frustrates him while he begrudgingly works as a chore boy in the village inn.  And adding to Rendi’s list of disappointments in this pitstop along his escape from home, is how incredibly unimpressed he is with the townspeople – that is until a mysterious and breathtaking woman checks into the inn and entertains them with exciting stories and charming conversation.

This book, filled with laughter, frustration, mystery and suspense, is of Rendi’s transformation into a compassionate and courageous boy – getting there with a little help from his friends.

All of my children, ages 4, 6 and 8 loved this book.  I recommend reading WTMMTM first, as the children will be excited when they recognize similar themes and myths that are woven into SROTS.  Some themes to notice and questions to ask:

Appearances can be deceiving.  Can you tell me when something or someone ended up being very different from the way it or s/he appeared?  (There are countless answers, but a few suggestions are – Mr. Shan, Magistrate Tiger, Rendi, The White Tiger, Widow Yan’s tofu.)

What did you think about WangYi’s dream?  What do you think is the hidden message in the dream?  (Service.)

What did the white tiger have to do in order to turn back into a man? (Service.)

Is there power in forgiveness?  How does it make you feel to forgive someone?  How does it make the other person feel?

In Buddhism, we cultivate the practice of “The Four Immeasurables”, loving kindness (benevolence), compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity (composure).  Engaging in these mental states has the power to cause the practitioner to be reborn into god or goddess.  Can you think of an example in SROTS?

In the book “Buddha”, Deepak Chopra writes, “The fire of passion burns out eventually.  Then you dig through the ashes and discover a gem.  You pick it up; you look at it with disbelief.  The gem was inside you all the time.  It is yours to keep forever.  It is buddha.”  Can you think of how this could apply to Rendi?  To the White Tiger?  Do you think there is a gem hidden deep inside of Magistrate Tiger?  Do you think there is a gem inside of you?  What about inside of someone whom you think is mean or rude?

Enjoy the read…  and the special time with your children!

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

children’s lesson: samsara


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As I mentioned in my last post, for the past two weeks, my family has been hidden away at the foot of a small mountain in New Hampshire.  This quiet wintery retreat was an  ideal setting to connect and spend lots of time talking about my favorite topic:  spirit.

One of my favorite teaching moments was during a snowman-making session.  After a fun sledding adventure and snowy tromp through the woods, my 4 year old XG and I spontaneously began to build “Frosty  the Snow Gobes” in the front yard.  We rolled and packed and stacked.  I encouraged XG to take his time, to enjoy the process, to make each ball as round and smooth and perfect as he could.

The snowman, as it turned out, was a perfectly kid-size lesson in samsara.

Our efforts that afternoon would give birth, so to speak, to a wintery masterpiece.   Frosty the Snow Gobes would stand adorably near the entrance to our home and happily greet all who visited.  He seemed like a pretty sturdy guy, but, as I told XG, he was changing by the second.  Melting, freezing, shifting.  And soon, when the weather changes, when an accident happens, Frosty would only exist in our memories.  So it’s important that we enjoy the experience of building him and admiring him while he’s here.  And with the next big snow storm, we could come out and build a snowman all over again.

XG and I chatted about this as we played in the snow.  I told him that everything and everyone here on earth is part of a cycle called samsara.  We are born, we have experiences, we die.  We are born, we have experiences, we die.  We are born, we have experiences, we die.  The experiences live forever; but life that is born from the earth is only here for a short time.  It needs to be returned to the earth to make room for new life with new experiences.  This includes people, animals, trees, homes, cars, electronics and, of course, snowmen.  It’s how the earth works.  And it’s all okay.  It’s all natural.  And when we can understand that every atom on Earth participates in samsara, we can understand how perfectly connected we are to everyone and everything.

XG didn’t have much to say about the impromptu lesson, but he was listening carefully.  The door was open for him to ask questions if he needed, and that’s what was most important to me.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  Please share this with bu-curious friends.  Thank you!  🙂

bu-review for kids: the great gilly hopkins by katherine paterson

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I picked up The Great Gilly Hopkins last week at the library because it was recommended by Girl Scouts of America as a good read for Brownie scouts.  I did not expect this fiction novel by Katherine Paterson to offer up a great lesson in compassion for my BUBs.  (I also did not expect to be crying my eyes out over a book written for 10-year-olds, but that happened, too.)

Gilly is an angry 11-year-old who’s been shuffled from foster home to foster home since she was a baby.  She is guarded, sassy, manipulative, proud, prejudiced and destructive.  But under all of that difficulty is a little girl who desperately wants to belong and be loved.  The characters are fantastic, the plot is simple yet powerful.

The language is a little mature for my kids – ages 4,6,8 – but I read aloud and substituted darn for damn and heck for hell.  There was also a point when I had to stop reading the book altogether and offer an in-depth history lesson on racism in America.  (Gilly’s racist mindset is challenged by two black characters, her neighbor and her teacher, who are likely the most well-educated characters she meets.)

I found that my youngest child slipped in and out of attention – and the room – occasionally asking me why Gilly doesn’t live with her mother.  He was obviously disturbed by my description of the foster care system, hence the repetitive questioning.  My middle daughter was also disengaged.  She fell asleep twice while I was reading.  Other nights she ignored Great Gilly altogether and buried her face in Pokemon comics or math workbooks.  But Gilly provided an extraordinary lesson in compassion for my 8-year-old and me… tandem paradigm shifts.

If you are looking for a Buddhist or bu-curious lesson to teach your kids, ask them to point out moments when folks in the story practice compassion, forgiveness and/or acceptance.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to talk about deeper Buddhist ideas, too – basic karmic law, or cause and effect, and Buddhahood, that beautiful shining gem that exists in each one of us, just waiting to be polished.

Here are some great times to stop the story and discuss the above mentioned ideas:

  • the way Trotter consistently interacts with a grizzly-behaved Gilly
  • the assumptions Gilly makes about Trotter based on her physical description
  • how Mr. Randolph responds to Gilly after discovering her indiscretion
  • Ms. Harris’ reaction to Gilly’s card
  • the point Gilly decides William Earnest is her brother
  • the way Gilly took care of everyone over Thanksgiving

I’d also suggest stopping any time you see your child crying and asking him or her how they are feeling and what they are thinking.  In retrospect, I wish I’d done this more, because PG and I spent a lot of time whimpering and blowing our noses through the last third of the book.

Here’s a list of questions that would be great to ask after reading the book:

  1. When do you think Gilly realized she loved Trotter, W.E. and Mr. Randolph?
  2. Why do you think Gilly wrote letters to W.E. filled with lies and false stories?
  3. Do you think it was very hard for Ms. Harris to stay composed when Gilly gave her that terrible card?  Do you think you could have done that?  Why is it important to stay composed?
  4. Was Gilly a bad kid?  Why or why not?
  5. Was Trotter a good Mom?  Why or why not?
  6. Have you ever thought bad things about somebody because of the way they look, like Gilly did?
  7. What do you think is the meaning of Mr. Randolph’s favorite poem?  (Go through it with them line by line.  When they’re done, tell them what you think it means.)
  8. Why and how do you think people were able to forgive Gilly, even when she behaved so badly?
  9. What do you think Gilly learned from living at Trotter’s?  Could you see her applying her lessons in Jackson, Virginia?  Will Gilly be OK without her Courtney?

Last thing to share, Mr. Randolph’s favorite poem, written by William Wordsworth, which sings to my spirit:

“There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,

The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Apparell’d in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream.

It is not now as it hath been of yore: —

Turn wheresoever I may,

By night or day,

The things which I have seen I know can see no more.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home.

Thanks to the human heart by which we live,

Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,

To me the meanest flower that blows can give

Thoughts that do often lie to deep for tears.”

Love it.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

thanksgiving

I’m in the mood for a video post today, but just in case you’re at work and can’t press the play button, I’ve summed up in writing below…

Today I turn 37.  I wanted to stop for a moment and offer my gratitude for these many years of life and experience.  So often, when people give thanks it’s for the good things in life.  But today I’m feeling more grateful for the things that made me want to jump off a cliff.  And this is why…

I’m grateful for sweaty armpits, which tell me (and most likely others) I’ve worked hard.

Can I get an “amen” for long lines and traffic jams, indicators that families are gathering, that folks are going to work, that someone else is experiencing the same frustration as me, that we all have the freedom to travel long distances whenever the hell we want.

Feeling gratitude for PMS, as Eckhart Tolle taught us, every woman’s monthly opportunity to evolve by mindfully separating herself from the pain body that casts a shadow on her true personality.

Thank you crow’s feet and silver streaks of hair, proof that I am aging, a much more thrilling experience than the alternative.

Heartburn, diarrhea, hives, you are dearly appreciated.  You warn me when something’s wrong so I can get fixed up.

I’m grateful for spinach in my teeth, bats in the cave, poorly timed jokes, tampon strings hanging out of my bathing suit, all teaching me humility and reminding me and others of my humanness.

I’m so thankful for all the explosive arguments and screaming matches that I’ve had with my siblings, parents, spouse and children, because I know that even at my worst, they still love me.

I’m also thankful for doing so poorly at Bentley that I had to drop out and start fresh at a new college where I was able to graduate with honors with a degree I loved.

Feeling loads of gratitude for hot searing holy shit child birth, which not only showed me what I was made of, but also made way for tender loving motherhood.

Big thanks for landfills, for styrofoam, for disposable diapers and clear cut forests.  All bi-products of the destructive power of mankind and physical manifestations of our collective sleepy state which inspire us to WAKE UP!

I’m appreciative of confusion, loss and rock-bottom.  From these places, there is nowhere to go but up.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for blessing us with hurricanes, earthquakes, blizzards and tsunamis.  The pain and devastation they cause not only provide us with opportunities to balance our karma, but also force us to look the worst of the worst right in the eye and say, “If I can survive this, I can survive anything.”  They open the door for us to accept help and encourage others to reach out and give of themselves in service.

I’m grateful for bordem, because when I’m bored, nothing’s really wrong.

I’m trying really hard to be grateful for war, for human beings to learn about love through its absolute and extreme opposite.  And I have faith that these truly painful lessons are actively evolving a soul as I live and breath.

I’m grateful for life.  For this messy, exhilarating, confusing, synchronized, monotonous, ever-changing, roller coaster of a life.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

a potpourri today: acceptance, meditation & book review

please join us on facebook to participate in this three-week long meditation challenge:  www.facebook.com/everythingoldisnewageagain

from mine to yours,

vanessa

don’t. yes. wait, stop. okay, go.

I’m going to apologize for this post before we even get started.  So.  Sorry.  But I chortled and snarked all the way through.  Maybe a bit of an Andy-Rooney-meets-George-Carlin moment for me.

I was in my bathroom getting ready this morning, examining the silver hairs streaking through my locks and thinking about expectations.  A lot of my friends (and one extremely close family member in particular whom I worship and adore) would look at me in this slowly-advancing state of salt-and-pepper and use the word, “hag.”  Besides the silvers (they’re not grey, they’re silver), my hair is probably a little too long. A little too frizzy.  Oh, I could take the time to blow dry, grease it with Moroccan Oil, dye it back to its original monotone chestnut color, but I’m not sure I care.  Anna Wintour says that any woman of a certain age should cut her hair above her shoulders.  Hmmmm…  yah, no.

thanks, DD, for a nice, demonstrative pic of my hag hair 😉

There are lots of rules like Ms. Wintour’s here in America – social norms we call them, if I’m remembering the term from 11th grade Sociology correctly.  Don’t wear white between Labor Day and Memorial Day.  Don’t eat on public transit.  Greet people with one kiss on the right cheek (unless you are a New Yorker who pretends to be a European, then you deliver one kiss on each cheek while scanning for other more important friends in the room).  Do not invade a stranger’s 18 inch bubble.  Get married before you make babies.  Hold your tongue in an elevator.  Tip anyone in the service industry.  Etc, etc, etc.

And then there’s the cursing.  Oh, the cursing.

I know there are social rules about cursing, but I still go back and forth on how I feel about it.  Those who read my blog faithfully are familiar with my ease at dropping eff bombs.  Writing for me is a passionate release, a focused meditation – and often times my fingers fly over the keyboard so quickly that I barely know what I’m writing until I’m done.  If a few unclassified words end up in the mix, who am I to edit them?

Plus.  In real life, I quite enjoy the eff word.  I use it occasionally.  Maybe too occasionally.  But I don’t place any verbal value on it, except as a non-verbal verbal that lets people know that I am flawed.  (Though most wouldn’t need four letter word to see that.)

And then there’s always pressure to stifle the cursing in front of the kids.  Tell me.  When it comes to parenting, what is right?  Apologize for letting “shit” escape in front of the kids?  Don’t apologize for letting “shit” escape in front of the kids.  (Maybe they didn’t notice???)  Is hell a cuss or a place?  Is ass a donkey or a bum?  Is fart okay?  What about penis and vagina?  I think they’re good.  But not in school.  Boobs?  Butt?  Shut up?  How ’bout the modern alternative – Shut it?  Is it okay that my 7 year old knows all the words to “I’m Sexy and I Know It”?  Is it okay that my 5 year old sings “Red Solo Cup” and that I think it’s kind of funny when she says, “And you, sir, do not have a pair of testicles if you prefer drinking from glasses.”  (I mean, she’s almost 6, really, but that’s still pretty bad, right?)

I actually spend time pondering the spiritual repercussions of cursing.  Oh, yes, I do.  I mean, it’s about 49th on my list of priorities, squeaking in just after emptying my mom’s dog’s anal sacks, but the spiritual questions are there.

Is cursing an unmindful form of communication?  Is cursing offensive?  Yes, I suppose it is.  But why?  I guess I know why, but is it because God cares?  When I splatter searing hot bacon grease on my bare arm and shout, “JESUS!” does Jesus give a shit, ahem, I mean give a damn, ahem, I mean give a rat’s ass… oh whatever.  You know what I mean.  But really.  Does he?  And does he / He / HE care if I capitalize or not?  Honestly, I’m thinking no.  And if, by some small chance, I’m right and God doesn’t care, why do some people care so much?

(Whew!  Tangent.)

But, like I said, it’s not just cursing, it’s everything.  There are hundreds of social norms that differ greatly from culture to culture.  Wave with the back of your hand in Greece, cover your shoulders in Morocco, don’t be American in England, take off your shoes upon entering a house in Japan, wear thongs on the beach and bikinis to the grocery store in Brazil, wash your poopy bum with a communal bar of soap but only with your left hand in India, don’t write in red ink in China, stare at people past the point of awkwardness then let your dirty white lap dog eat off your plate in France.  What is acceptable changes so vastly from country to country, it just makes me laugh.  Because it’s all so funny, isn’t it?  All these rules about living.

The rules are all so particular.  And peculiar.  Are these socially acceptable (and unacceptable) behaviors cast offs from religious orders?

Don’t eat meat.
Don’t eat meat with milk.
Don’t eat meat with milk on Fridays before sunset on the fourth night of a Harvest Moon.
Sit cross-legged with your hands open on your lap.
Sit with your middle fingers touching your thumbs.  No, your index fingers.
Don’t sit.  Lay down.  Or stand up walk.  Just shut up and be quiet.
Wear an orange robe and only an orange robe.
Shave your head.  Let one piece grow.  Let two curls grow.  Let one long hair on your face grow.
Don’t cut your hair.  Don’t cut your beard.  Now hide it all in a turban.
Hide your hair, hide your shoulders, hide your ankles.  You know what?  Just hide your whole face.
Kneel down, stand up, cross yourself, repeat after me, say it again, say it again, one more time, say it again.
Eat this dry cracker.
Now return to your pew and continue with your dozing off.

Who made these rules anyway?  (Men.)  But seriously, who?  (Old men.)  Really, though.  We judge others so harshly when they don’t abide by the rules.  Meanwhile, the most important rules are often ignored – BE KIND, BE PATIENT, BE HONEST, BE HERE NOW.

Well.  Now that I have thought and pondered and assessed and analyzed the things we humans do and why we do the things we do, I have to go explain to my kids why they can’t say “fart” in the classroom.

From mine to yours,
Vanessa
*Reposted from my June 8, 2012 entry on Everything Old is New Age Again

aging with crazy, sexy confidence: listen up ladies, this one’s for you.

I have a question for my sisters around the world today.  Since when is it not cool to be your age?

I played tennis this afternoon for my team at home in Winchester.  Coming off the court, my partner and I shared a friendly handshake with our opponents and chit-chatted for a minute or so.  As we walked off the court, one of the away  ladies told me that before the match, her entire team was calling me a bitch b/c they thought I was young.  Ummmm…  huh???  I think she wanted to stuff the words back into her mouth right after they tumbled out, but it was too late.  I told her I’d be 37 next month and she blurted out, “Oh, well you just look young then.  When I was your age I looked young, too.  It goes downhill fast.”  Ummm….  again, huh???  I tried to escape from the awkward conversation by laughing through it with her, though honestly I didn’t think it was so funny.

Why do women do this to each other?

Women who are just a few years older than their peers can often be heard saying things like, “Oh, you’re still young,” with a tone especially reserved for the underclassmen of life.   As if those few extra years has significance in the relationship or provides them with an insightful edge.   Listen.  This type of chatter doesn’t come across as maturity or experience.  It comes across as what I call “the yuck.” I’m feeling insecure so I am going to dig you to give myself an excuse for being older.  

If I am to be considered one of the “young ones”, which is so flattering at 36 and 11/12, let me offer some well-intended, lovingly-delivered insight from my perspective.  I do not look at you and think, “Oh, she’s old.  I don’t want to hang out with her.”  I look at you and think, “Hi!”  That’s all.

So.  Here’s my very favorite You Tube video.  It serves as a gentle reminder for us anytime we’re digging a pity ditch for ourselves:

Okay, maybe not so gentle.  But we could all use a little dose of Cher once in awhile.  And with utmost compassion and respect for the extraordinary woman you’ve become, I beg you, please please please, stop talking about your age.  Stop unmindfully belittling yourself and offending the women who are a riding the life train just a few miles behind you.  The younger ones don’t likes to hear it.  To be lovingly honest, we think it’s really annoying.

You don’t want to be that person.  And I’d venture to guess that complaining about your age doesn’t make you feel good either; the words just tumble out of your mouth, like they tumbled out of my tennis opponent’s mouth this afternoon.  Try to use mindful speech to set a better example.  Think before you talk.  (Did I mention I’m sharing this with love?)

No one cares how old you are.  Seriously.  No one cares.  People love you because you are you.  So let’s accentuate the positive, shall we?  Why not be grateful that your life didn’t provide you with the alternative to aging:  an early grave.

You really wanna know what’s sexy?  Confidence.

You really wanna know what’s beautiful?  Grace.

You really wanna know what’s inspiring?  Acceptance.

Try to be *that* woman…  you remember *that* woman, don’t you?  She walked past you on the sidewalk when you were 19.  She looked older, put-together, confident, happy.  And you said, “I want to be like her when I grow up.”  Wrap yourself up in love of life and appreciation for all of the enriching experiences that the years have given you.  Be *that* woman who treats women as equals, regardless of age.  And show the younger ones how to live it up, love yourself and embrace your age.  After all, it’s just a number, and life at any age is a blessing.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

p.s.  Don’t forget to like, share, pin, tumble and tweet!  🙂

advice on dealing with difficult people: watch this. it’s fantastic.

My sweet sweet friend DM introduced me to a new teacher this morning:  Ajahn Brahm.  Enjoy this is a fantastic sermon about solutions to dealing with difficult people.  If you’re short on time but would like to enjoy a powerful lesson, fast forward to 12:45. the story will take about 15 minutes.  This is a great one to share with kids, too!  Have them watch and learn about how to deal with bullies in school or challenging teachers and coaches.

We do have a responsibility to help others, don’t we?  People aren’t born assholes.  They become assholes.  This means that they can become kind-hearted, too.  Let’s make our relationships more peaceful by spreading kindness and giving our children tools that can allow them to do the same.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

bu-review: great reads for budding buddhists

Buddhism is a lofty subject.  Or at least it can be.  Buddhist writing can be confusing, especially for someone who is new to the practice, like me.  I prefer not to translate riddles or resort to look-ups on Wikipedia while I read, but to focus on practical lessons.  For this reason, I’ve really enjoyed learning from teachers who write for the masses.  There are some really great authors out there who have an extraordinary ability to make clear and simple sense out of ethereal concepts like inter-being, oneness, karma, the here and now, macrocosms in microcosms and equanimity.  Here are a few:

If you are bu-curious and looking to learn more about the philosophy or if you are a new-bu like me, I encourage you to read anything by Thich Nhat Hanh (“Thay”).  My friend introduced me to him just last spring and I don’t know how I lived so long without his wisdom.  He reminds us that, while Buddhist texts and scriptures can be complicated, life is actually pretty darn simple.  One of my favorite teachings of Thay’s is looking into the eyes of our loved ones and telling them, “I am here for you.”  Simple yet profound, this sentence validates our loved ones’ needs while affirming our own loving commitment.  And it doesn’t require years of Buddhist training to understand or master.  It just takes the desire to love.  Beautiful.  He’s published numerous books (too many to list).  A lot of them are pretty short but the content will surely provide readers with many tiny shifts along the way.  The first shown above, Living Buddha Living Christ, might be his most famous.  The second, Planting Seeds, is an awesome workbook for moms and dads who would like to introduce children to meditation.

Another book that I’ve really enjoyed is one my sister loaned me a couple of years ago – The Buddha in Your Mirror by Woody Hochswender, Gred Martin and Ted Morino.  It’s an open door to Zen, the Japanese brand of Mahayana born in the 13th century.  Zen was introduced by a monk named Nichiren who saw that Buddhism could have a profound effect on ordinary people and offered folks a path to awakening that was understandable, manageable and downright doable.  In this book, the authors introduce bu-curious readers to the mantra “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo”, which, if my interpretation is correct, is the giving over of oneself to the laws of karma, allowing oneself the opportunity to see clearly and compassionately into life’s troubles.  But of course the meaning runs much deeper than that, as does everything in Buddhism.

I’ve been chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo quite a bit lately.  You’re supposed to chant it out loud for at least 5 minutes at a time, and sometimes I do that, apologizing to my kids for the noise while they play nearby or inviting them to join me.  In fact, I like chanting so much that I’ve been whispering Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to myself in half-pigeon pose during sweaty yoga…  or stepping to the beat of the chant when I’m out walking the dog.  I like the idea of discovering the natural rhythm of the world, and me in it, through chanting.  Although sometimes I’ve got to admit, I can’t help but think When did I become this person???  

Another really terrific, easy-to-read book is Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali, another gift from a friend.  (Damn, I’ve got some good friends.)  I love this book for a lot of reasons.  Sarah never delves into nuts-and-bolts Buddhism.  Instead she sites practical examples of the ways she and other mommies use Buddhism to get through squeeze-y moments with their own BUBs.  She shares her shortcomings and triumphs, reminding readers that just because she’s a practicing Buddhist, doesn’t mean she’s always Zen.  But when she draws from her practice during tough times, she finds clarity, peace and patience with herself as a mother.


Okay, okay, last one.  Making a Change for Good by Zen teacher Cheri Huber is a self-help workbook.  My friend recommended this book to me because I wanted to break my lifelong habit of being a quitter.  In Making a Change for Good, Cheri teaches readers that through compassionate self-discipline, we can tap into the best part of ourselves.  And our nagging little voices that tell us we’re not good enough or that we don’t deserve success can be gently diverted away from the main stage of our minds.  The end of the book lays out 30 days of assignments from meditation to journaling that help readers beat bad habits and create lasting positive change.  I liked this book because I could DO something with it.  It was a great tool for me and I highly recommend it to anyone else who’d like to implement a little Buddhism to help make a change for good.

Well that’s a start.  My bookshelf is crammed with great reads that I’m excited to share, but we’ll start with these.  If you have a title that you’d like to offer, please post it here with a short description.  Hopefully it’s not one I’m planning to review!  😉

From mine to yours,

Vanessa