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.

Christmas Diary

Well I hope everyone out there has had lovely Christmas days. Me and Amy have been full of cold, so plans for going to carols Christmas Eve and church Christmas day were dropped. So Christmas Eve we had a quiet afternoon, watched part of Scrooged then tried to give Amy time for a nap.

Then we let Alice have one present to gauge ow long present opening would take.  Not a bad grip on the paper. She has been highly amused by the crinkly paper throughout this first experience of opening presents. She would happily of just sat and rolled in the paper for the day.

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Her first present was a lovely Usborne book of garden sounds. It has lots of different touch pads which make different garden sounds. She was amused by the sounds and flaps. The usborne range of nature books for babies is lovely with lots of nice touchy feely sensory parts.

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We then lit the candle so Santa knew to come to our house.

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Alice seems to of decided Christmas is a serious business.

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She slept well giving Santa the chance to deliver over night without interruptions. A brief wake up at 1, then 4, then stayed down until after 7.

She had a nice gradual wake up and then opened presents. Haven’t gone overboard this year as her awareness is low of what is going on. But lots of friends and family have given lovely gifts.

She sat looking through her colour book.

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She liked my present of a mug with her face on best though. Which I have to say was a rather nice present.

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We worked through breakfast and then headed out to my parents house. Alice had a snooze on the way.

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My mum and dad had prepared a suitable feast for the day.

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My Parents, sister, bro in law and nephews enjoying their dinner.

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After dinner got the nephews out to the skate park. We were going to try their new drone, but needed more charge.

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After opening presents with the rest of the family we played pass the sprout, a festive version of pass the parcel.

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Then back to the table for pudding.

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All in all a nice day with family. I’m grateful to be surrounded by very loving people for Alice to grow up around people who care about her and adore her. Despite mine and Amy’s colds we can go to bed knowing our daughter is loved and for that I’m thankful.

Going back to the original purpose of this blog to share nature updates I will share some of my nature related presents.

I now have a good set of Collins guides to different aspects of British nature, to add to the couple I had already. David Attenborough’s planet Earth II, which I will enjoy watching again and again, then later on making Alice watch.

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A guide to ladybirds of the UK.

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A bat box to go up outside. We do have a number of bat species in the area, so hopefully get some nesting further down the line.

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I am very grateful for all I have. My life is full of joy, I am surrounded by wonderful people and I am happy Alice is growing up with plenty of happiness in her life. I had been feeling lacking in Christmas cheer and a disconnection with the whole affair, but I am glad to of had the day with family. Spirits raised.

 

 

 

Mr Moos

Today we went on a family outing to Mr Moo’s. Mr Moo’s is an ice cream parlour with the ice cream made on site.

The nephews Jacob and Joe had a cow pat. A mega mix of chocolate, vanilla, brownie and biscuit base. Me and my dad had the Christmas pudding ice cream. Alice chomped on some melon.

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A proud granddad and cousins.

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We went to see the cows. The boys didn’t believe Amy’s claims that the ice cream is made by feeding the cows the flavour of ice cream they’ll make. So banana ice cream is made by feeding the cows bananas.

I claimed they were being fed straw mixed with berries to makes strawberry ice cream. But they seemed highly sceptical, can’t think why. Saying that Joe’s explanation wasn’t much more exact.

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Alice watching the cows.

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It was nice to see a lot of birds coming and going to the feeder while we ate.

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