Buddhist advice for turbulent times

Yesterday I finished reading Pema Chodron’s book when things fall apart. This has been sitting in my kindle library for a while as a cheap purchase a while back.

Her writing had been recommended a number of times but I’d never given it a go. As life has been pretty good I hadn’t seen much need to read it, but came across it in my library having just finished one book. As a quick read I thought I’d give it a go and I’m glad I did.

Much of the focus of the book was on dealing with fears and difficult times through the Buddhist concept of loving kindness. First through love for yourself then widening to love everyone.

There was one passage that stood out as relevant to our current turbulent times. With uncertainty in America under Trump, Teresa May threatening to abolish the human rights act and more threats to the environment than anyone can track this stood out:

Times are difficult globally; awakening is no longer a luxury or an ideal. It’s becoming critical. We don’t need to add more depression, more discouragement, or more anger to what’s already here. It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times. The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others.

 

Pema Chodron-when things fall apart (1997)

Though written a decade back this advice has only become more poignant. The book was a good read going beyond the premise of the book with how to enlarge your own loving kindness and many interesting meditation techniques. It will be a book I’ll return too.

There has been some excellent advice on dealing with events of the last year from a Buddhist perspective but I hadn’t quite worked out my own way of moving on.

Jack Cornfield article

Buddhist responses to Trump

For me sitting back isn’t an option. I will continue trying to be a positive force within this world, pushing back against negativity and trying to do what I can to make a difference. Through loving kindness to myself and others around me, through my efforts to help the environment, through my work as a teacher.

I will finish with a favourite quote:

Be the change you wish to see in the world

Mahatma Gandhi.

A winter walk

Yesterday saw us getting out after a few days sheltering in.

We went for a walk along the sea front. The last week it’s been so windy I’d been avoiding the sea front for fear of the pram being blown over. The beach was full of men getting out to try out their new Christmas fishing gear and get out after being away from the fishing for a few days.

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The sun was the annoying low variety of Winter where it’s constantly in your eyes. But it did help put Alice to sleep.

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Then we went for a walk along the old railway line.

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Boxing day

After a busy day of back and forth to Hornsea for Christmas day boxing day was assigned as a chill day at home to recover from colds.

We had a quiet morning. Alice had a play with her new Noah’s Ark from her granny and granddad Johnson. Each of the animals makes the right noise when placed in the right place and it has a mini piano on the roof. The only oddity being the giraffe. The designers were obviously unsure what to do for an animal with no voice box, so gave it a horse sound.

Sound of a giraffe link.

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After breakfast (an hour long procedure with Alice at this point) we got a few more pictures hung in the house. Since moving in pictures have set leant against walls with us unable to find the time to get them up. So we got a few more hung, until we ran out of hooks.

Then we had a feast of leftovers for lunch. We have been trying the chutney I previously made from the apples in our garden. The recipe from https://thefarmuponthehill.com/2016/09/11/spiced-apple-chutney/ has been lovely. The spices make it taste suitably festive.

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We tried Alice around the house in my Christmas present, the baby howdah. Of all the ways to travel this has to be one of the best. Carried around by a slave parent in the lap of luxury, at a better height to see everything. Alice seemed to like it. I look forward to getting her out in it for more adventures.

The straps seem to support well, so hopefully will be comfortable for walking.

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Alice had a nap and we managed an episode of Christmas bake off and a Christmas drink each.

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Alice woke up with lots of energy.

A nice settled day at home.