bringingupbuddhas

suburban adventures in bu-curious mothering

Tag: joy

yes, thank you.

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Today is the day, the day I say yes.

I say yes to dreams.

I say yes to inspiration.

I  say yes to joy,

yes to love,

yes to hard work,

yes to perfect health.

I say yes to risk

and yes to faith,

yes to full expression

and alignment

and pennies from heaven.

Today, I say Yes, I am that.

I say yes to God’s divine love and yes to my unmistakable connection to it.

Today, I say yes to it All.

Yes, yes, yes!

From  mine to yours,

Vanessa

I look out my window and am thrilled by the unveiling of spring. Each day, a new display of color illuminates my yard, and my heart. Yesterday, it was the pear tree that lit me up. Its white blossoms burst like popcorn, the space between sparse branches giving way to hundreds of pink pastel teacups perching on the magnolia tree just beyond it. I’m excited to see what makes the earth happy today.

buddha stripped bare

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Relationships are incredibly challenging. Shards of complication stream toward us from multiple directions all day, every day. We are offended, we are wronged, we are neglected, we are stressed, we are overburdened, we are overlooked. Sometimes all we have to do is witness the toxicity, and just by watching, we take on its burden.

Other times, we create interpersonal drama where none need exist. We project our unassociated dis-ease onto neutral events and conversations, and we become tangled in a sticky web of thoughts. We obsess. We replay conversations that happened in the past, and imagine future conversations that might never happen at all. We assume what our counterpart is thinking and intending. We lose sleep and snap at loved ones. We talk about our drama with friends. We become distracted at work. And while our minds are very busy miscreating, we are not allowing space for that which is truly our natural state: JOY.

Joy is not found while beating another person over the head with their wrongness. In fact, sometimes the harder we fight to prove another’s wrongness, the more we realize we are the wrong ones, and are too proud to admit it.

Joy is humility. Joy is forgiveness. Joy is acceptance. Joy is surrender. Everything else is a life lesson.

Communicating with a joyful heart elevates all interactions. When we communicate with a fresh and open mind, we see the good in everyone and everything.

This makes good sense. Joy is a pretty simple concept. But when we’ve been trained over the course of our lifetimes that joy equals achievement, joy equals money, joy equals success, joy equals pride, suddenly joy seems a little more complicated.

Our challenge is to remember that joy isn’t complicated – ego is. When we clear our thoughts and allow space for higher thinking, we see clearly and love without reservation.

Joy is always accessible to us, but for most it takes some deprogramming – some Self work. I call this “Buddha stripped bare.” We’ve got to strip off the layers of pain we’ve been hiding behind all our lives, to dig deep and be vulnerable enough to admit that we project our pain onto everyone and everything. We have to open up to the fact that we are the ones who bring the toxicity to the table. We are not offended, wronged, neglected, stressed, overburdened, or overlooked by others. We invite those complicated, toxic situations into our lives because we are frantically searching for our joy in all the wrong places.

Thich Nhat Hanh says, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

Our joy is staring at us in the mirror. When we recognize it, we elevate.

Peace,
Vanessa

http://www.vanessagobes.com

Managing the Cold Mindfully

The mountain is so cold my son's head is covered in a layer of frost, but he's fearlessly reveling in the weather regardless.

The mountain is so cold my son’s head is covered in a layer of frost, but he’s fearlessly reveling in the weather regardless.  He doesn’t even have a scarf on!  Brrrrr!!!!!!

Close that door, it’s freezing out! has been the most often heard command in my house this week.  It has edged out, No candy canes before dinner!, Don’t throw ice at your sister!, and even the recurrent Put-on-your-snow-boots-we’re-gonna-be-late!!!!!

Welcome to winter in New England – five plus months of chattering teeth and cracked lips, drippy noses and numb fingertips.  The cold here is called biting for a good reason.  The wind has teeth and its nips can hurt.

This morning I took a quick drive downtown to run errands, nestled in my car’s cozy seat warmers.  I parallel parked and pushed the door open, gasping as a frigid shock of air flooded my car.  Heaving myself carefully onto the slippery pavement, I skated to the curb, searching for salty spots to plant my feet.

Making my way to the bank, I skidded over the brick sidewalk, involuntarily tightening my lower back muscles with a shiver and tremble, reflexively recoiling from the cold, adjusting my balance to stay upright while defending a blast of wind.  I hustled into the bank and scuffed the salt off my boots, relishing a few minutes of warm reprieve before heading back into the bluster.

As I walked out the door and immediately went stiff, I realized I was engaging in an internal battle against the cold – clenching my body so much my back felt achy.  The discomfort triggered my mindfulness practice.  I don’t need this discomfort.  It’s only here to tell me something.  And I’m listening carefully to what it’s saying. 

I took a deep breath, inhaling frigid air into my warm lungs, releasing it as steam through my mouth.  Warm steam.  I could produce warmth.  I relaxed my tense muscles and took a few steps, continuing to walk that way until I noticed my head and neck shrinking back between my shrugging shoulders and my lower back aching once again.  Then once again I mindfully melted the contraction and returned to the posture of a cold hardy New Englander.  Thich Nhat Hanh would’ve been so proud of me.

This time I wanted to hold onto the posture, so I envisioned warm blood flowing freely through my body, heating up my skin and keeping my muscles loose.  Cold isn’t bad.  It’s just another way of being.  Be comfortable, I thought over and over.  I considered my young children who dive into the snow hatless and spend hours digging out forts from the plowed white heaps along the driveway.  Why is it they don’t seem to battle the freezing cold like adults do?  Maybe it’s because joy trumps discomfort.  They’re not surviving the storm; they’re reveling in it.

I walked with this thought for a block or so, doing my best to fill up on joy, when another blast of wind surged, stopping me in my tracks.  My head lowered, my watery eyes squeezed shut, my hands plunged deeper into my coat pockets.  Be one with cold, be joyful in the cold, I urged myself, this time out loud.  I looked up and caught the eye of another soul braving the single digit temps.  “Brace yourself,” he warned.  “The Almanac calls for a harsh winter.”  I smiled and tried to feel thankful for all of the opportunities I’ll have to practice mindful freezing this year.

I climbed back into my car, the radio tuned to Christmas music.  “I really can’t stay…  Baby, it’s cold outside.”  You can say that again.

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

This article was originally published by Vanessa Gobes on Intent.com and has subsequently appeared in Vanessa’s column “Mine to Yours” in The Winchester Star.

permission to be yourself this thanksgiving

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Very cool age map photo by Bobby Neel Adams

I’m an adult.  A wife.  An experienced mother of several.  A spiritual seeker.  An educated woman.  But on family holidays I become the youngest of three girls.  An eight year old.  An oversensitive baby.  An insecure child.  A sloppy slacker.

So often when we reunite with family we regress to our youthful attitudes, behaviors, and sensitivities.  The oldest might start bossing around the younger ones, though their guidance is no longer needed.  The middles might perform for the others, demanding their time in the spotlight.  The youngest might be lazy, expecting the older ones to take care of them.  There are hundreds of roles that we take on, and often times the roles are not reflective of the people we’ve grown into.

Through mindfulness, there is a beautiful opportunity to release the roles of our youth and reclaim the essence of our present selves.  When we notice that we’re slipping into habitual patterns, we can take a breath and acknowledge the regression without judgment, then release the feeling and settle back into our present selves with confidence and ease.

A lovely way to kick off the holiday weekend is to meditate on joy.  By setting our frequencies to joy, we can filter our experiences through a sunnier lens and invite ourselves to engage in the best of what our families have to offer.  And as an added bonus, forgiveness and acceptance are more accessible when we come from a place of joy.

So take a few minutes before you engage with loved ones this holiday and connect with your heart, the sacred space where joy lives.  While you’re riding in the car, showering in the morning, stirring the risotto, or waiting for the next football game to start, take 10 minutes to meditate.  Imagine your joy as a beautiful light, radiating from the heart, and allow it to fill your entire body.  Watch as it extends through your fingertips and reaches far beyond your physical body.  End your meditation with a minute of toothy smiling then prepare to receive family and friends with big hugs and kisses, knowing that it’s okay to be who you are today, and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

From mine to yours,

Vanessa

 

 

cancer wife: thoughts from the edge

June 18, 2013

 

I’m sitting in a wimpy plastic chair.  Mick is snoozing, all hooked up, comfy in his enormous adjustable leather chemo glamour bed.  I can’t complain.  I mean, I want to complain, but I can’t complain.  Because Mick has cancer and I’m fine.  But between us hens?  This chair sucks.  It’s one of many chairs I’ve encountered during fluid transfers.  Some seem to be worse than others.  For example, there was this one chair that I sat in from 3am to 9am in the ER at MGH.  Well, “sat” is not the right word.  More like perched.  Or maybe endured.  Suffered through?  Call it what you will but I ended up in the chiropractor’s office twice that week.  That chair was a bastard.

 

This was my first chair, the little one on the left:

It’s not a great photo.  I think the chair feels so inadequate that it’s hiding from my camera.  This wood veneer piece of real estate with metal legs and pilled polyester seat bottom had a great view of the Charles, though.  Not bad there with the Salt and Pepper Bridge cutting over Boston’s dirty water.  Location, location, location.  The window made the sitting more tolerable.

 

Mick’s afore mentioned night from Emergency Room Hell followed.  Soon after that valuable learning experience I created a trifecta of chairs that worked for me quite nicely.  During Mick’s next infusion, I employed two chairs and a padded rolling stool to create a combination that allowed me to recline.  I call this the “C-S-C”, Chair-Stool-Chair technique.  Hips on the stool, shoulders and calves stretched to opposing stationary chairs.

 

Next came this little number, wedged between a thin curtain and Mick’s glamour bed.

No view to boast but by the second treatment I’d become emboldened.  I asked the nurse for a pillow and blanket.  I eventually arranged my white hospital accessories in just a way that I could comfortably sit straight and tall while my head slumped forward and jerked back up, slumped forward and jerked back up.  The Buddha would not have been impressed but I was surprisingly happy in this seat.

 

Today is the last chemo treatment and I’m finally getting smart.  I have three great things going for me:  a pillow from home, my seat overlooking The Charles, and our nurse who just delivered several warm blankets for padding and comfort.  Not bad at all.  Mick’s been passed out for four and half hours.  He begins to stir and opens his eyes.  He smiles at me and notices I’m really trying hard to achieve optimal comfort.  “Climb in with me.”

 

“Really?” I gasp.  “Are you sure?”

 

He scootches to the right and I squeeze my body into the crack between him and the armrest.  I am asleep within seconds and wake up only when it’s time to go home.  I haven’t slept that well in…  well, in a good while.

my last days: meet zach sobiech

so inspiring. grab the kleenex.