happiness

Indra’s Net

I woke up at 3am today. Lately I’ve been doing lots of waking up at 3am which means I must be hella stressed. Usually though when I wake up in the middle of the night I lie there and stress about the problems of the world, while lately I just lie there and think about God and where I fit in the universe. Much lighter thinking haha.

This morning (is 3am morning? I feel like it’s still deep night time, or when I was younger it was time to come home) I woke up to a vision of Indra’s Net. Perhaps I’ve been feeling very disconnected lately. I think Covid has a lot of us feeling disconnected and confused. Alberta in particular seems to be filled with anger, confusion, and chaos as we are being divided between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. While I am one of the vaccinated, and strongly believe in it, I don’t like how we are fighting with each other when we would do better to work together.

So anyway, with that I’m feeling a bit separated and confused and waking up to the image of Indra’s Net was kind of perfect.

Indra’s Net is a spider like net that spreads infinitely in all directions. In each “eye” of the net, or where the threads join together, there is a beautiful jewel. Each brilliant jewel reflects every other jewel, which are infinite in number, and every reflected image holds the image of all the other jewels. Infinity to infinity, whatever affects one jewel affects them all. Everything contains everything else, but at the same time every individual jewel is not hindered or confused by the other jewels.

I love this idea because I often get hindered or confused by the other jewels.

In his book Hua-yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977), Francis Dojun Cook wrote,

“Thus each individual is at once the cause for the whole and is caused by the whole, and what is called existence is a vast body made up of an infinity of individuals all sustaining each other and defining each other. The cosmos is, in short, a self-creating, self-maintaining, and self-defining organism.” (Source here)

Instead of thinking that everything is part of a larger, collective whole, the idea is that everyone is the larger, collective whole, but also simply themselves at the same time.

I find this idea so completely abstract that it actually makes perfect sense to me. And I love the way it allows me to see how we are all connected. What affects one of us affects all of us. We are one being working together, but we are also our individual selves with the freedom to choose who and how we are. Some people I find it easy, and a beautiful privilege to think of being connected with, and some make me want to cut their jewel out of my beautiful web. The challenging ones are probably the most important ones as they probably reflect some unhealed aspect of myself. If their behaviours didn’t trigger something in me, who they are and what they do wouldn’t bother me and so I know there is more internal work for me to do in those areas.

Hopefully the 3am wake up time comes to an end soon, but until it does I find gratitude in the comforting thoughts that are coming to me during this time.

Namaste.

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happiness

I’ll be home for Christmas

The announcement of our lockdown has confirmed what I was trying to deny, which is that we will be having a quiet Christmas at home this year.

For years, I would look forward for months (sometimes the whole year) until I could come home for Christmas and see my family, spend time at the ranch, and chill in Grandma’s kitchen. A few years we had our trip extended by bad weather, and the kids and I would spend anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks without leaving the property. Never once did that feel like we were trapped at home, instead we had the luxury of spending quality time at the place we loved (and where we were loved) most.

So, as I sit and look out the window at the snow, thinking about how we need to get a tree and decorate soon, I’m reminded of how much I love this place, how being home for Christmas was often the only Christmas wish I had, and how grateful that now this is home all of the days of the year.

And, having a quieter Christmas has blessings too. Although we love the sledding and visits with family, and we will miss that part, there is a certain kind of peace one can find in the quiet moments. One of the best (and most emotionally difficult) Christmases was the one the three of us had with mom right before she died. We all stopped and really lived in that moment because we knew there weren’t going to be a lot more of them. Like we learned in Inside Out, joy and sadness need each other, they compliment each other, and we can tolerate them when we are open and present in the moment.

I’ll be home for Christmas
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happiness

Cheese, UNO, and the Simpsons

We have a tradition of having fondue on Christmas Eve, so a few weeks ago I picked up some ready to go packages for our supper. However….. we discovered a new bakery in town (omg the doughnuts are to die for) and had some good bread that needed to be eaten. So we broke down and had fondue.

I love meals where you can play with your food. It’s part of why I love meals like fondue, sushi, and charcuterie boards (I’m not sure if you’re supposed to play with your sushi, but I do). We’ve all been stressed out, feeling COVID fatigue, and ready for all of our classes to take a break for Christmas. So a pause in the regular routine for some fun was necessary.

While we were getting ready, we stopped for a quick round of UNO which is our official family game (even though the girl kicks our ass all the time).

One thing this year has reminded me is how grateful I am that I deeply love the people I live with, and I’m so thankful we all get along. Honestly as a teenager I can’t think of anything much worse than having to spend 10 months locked in a house with my mom (sorry mom) and I’m feeling pretty lucky that these two are doing it with grace.

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happiness

Staying connected

It seems that often in the darkest of times we see the most beautiful rays of light. People are calling each other and checking in. People are using Facetime and Skype to visit and catch up. We are able to spend more time with our families if we live with them, or virtually if we are not.

Of course, this is a more dangerous time if you’re living in a house that was unsafe to begin with and I am mindful to say prayers for those people often.

I’ve got a cousin who is on lockdown in Rome with her family, and over the last few days we’ve been sending videos back and forth instead of texts. All pride goes to the side as we stop caring how our hair looks or what we are wearing, and just send our faces and voices back and forth sharing little moments of our lives.

That human connection is important, and while we may feel isolated in our homes we are so lucky that we have other ways of communicating with each other and we need to take advantage of that.

As an introvert I often find going out of my way to socialize uncomfortable, but I’m discovering that for my extraverted friends being forced to stay at home is the same level of discomfort I experience at loud parties or busy places. These extraverts in my life I’ve allowed to “adopt” me and look after me in stressful busy life situations, and I feel now that it’s the job of us introverts to adopt our extraverted friends and show them how we live life on the inside.

I love all of you, my friends and family. I’m so gratfeful to have a strong circle of love support.

Everything will be ok ❤️

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