Karma ain’t no bitch, it’s a law

Yeah, that’s right!  lol…

But seriously,  this has been on my mind recently.  Everything in this world is ruled by the Law of Causation–which simply states that every action (be it physical, emotional, psychological, chemical, biological) has an effect and vice versa.  On a very simple level, for instance…if we exercise and eat a balanced diet, abstain from smoking and partying, we will have a healthy body.  If we are lazy and eat Taco Bell everyday, we probably will have an unhealthy, diseased body.

Now, let’s segway to karma…the Law of Karma states that not only are we a product of our past, but, we have the opportunity and freedom to control the outcome of our future.  That first part seems so disheartening…and yeah, it’s really hard.  It’s really hard to take an accurate assessment of who we are and where we are and admit that it was us who got us here…(maybe “here” is a complete and total mess…I don’t know!) 

A real trainwreck

Is this your life?

The awesome part is, that we can fix it if we want!  That’s right folks, I control my future!  If I want a certain person as a romantic partner…I can act presently on that…what I mean is, I can act in a way that is honorable and will help me to attain that goal.  I wouldn’t decide who I want to be with and then end up fooling around with other people…because if I did that, then the person I want to be with probably won’t want to be with me.  (So simple,yet sometimes so complicated!)  If I want a job that’s going to satiate me, I’m not going to switch from working at MacDonald’s to Ruby Tuesdays…get what I’m saying here?  It’s tough to examine these things.  And, it’s tough to implement these changes because we are so set in our ways of doing things.  

Every action I make is meaningful and has an effect (or consequence).  If I say something mean behind somebody’s back, and somehow it gets to that person…their feelings will be hurt by MY ACTIONS.  Even if my intention wasn’t to be hurtful…that action of gossiping IS hurtful, no matter what.  And even if it meant “nothing” to me (hello Ego! how are you doing today?), it surely meant something to that person.  Which, by default renders it meaningful.  Now, the tricky part is, is to truly understand this and take the time to THOUGHTFULLY decide if what I’m doing is right for me and who I aspire to be.  If I do not take the time to consider my actions, negative effects are sure to follow.  And, I have to ask myself:  Am I the type of person who is willing to sacrifice someone else’s feelings in order to gossip, cheat, steal, lie, whatever, etc??  Is what I want worth it?  Or, do I want something better than that?  Whatever the answer is, is ok…as long as I am honest with myself because that’s who I have to answer to when all is said and done. 

We can think all we want, which is wonderful…we can have the best intentions, which is wonderful…however, if we are unable to implement them into action, which requires assessing ourselves and the action at hand from all angles we cannot guide ourselves to change our futures for what we deem best.  I know it’s hard, but…

How empowering is that?!

What to do when your (and by your I mean my) entire foundation is shaken

Don’t get too excited about this post.

I don’t have the answer.

That’s right…I don’t really know what to do, but I have some ideas:

Idea #1:  Just because my foundation has been shaken so hard that some pieces have broken off and the entire thing is brimming with cracks, doesn’t mean everyone else’s is in the same shape.  With that being said, I can ask for help or an opinion or a thought from somebody who is a bit more grounded than I.  (Or even just to spend time with…because time spent with someone who has strength and kindness and good intentions will ALWAYS be time well spent.)

Idea #2:  Even though I am forced to question everything…and I mean everything.  (i.e. beliefs, values, rights, wrongs, purposes, meanings, friendships, familyships, spaceships…ok, so I got a little carried away with the spaceships) There are still some things in my life that are consistent and a safe place to go for refuge.  For me, this is practicing yoga on my mat and curling up on the futon with my cat.  Maybe you have something like that?

Idea #3:  Don’t judge or criticize myself.  This can NEVER be a bad idea.  And, if I all of a sudden have no idea (but clearly I have at least 3 so far) about who I am or what I stand for or what I should be doing…it’s inevitable that I might do something out of character.  Afterall, I have to test these things out and I’m a hands-on kinda girl.  So let’s say I do something that’s “bad”…well, I can brood over it and tell myself how terrible I am for committing such an act (even if we just think of committing such an act…let’s be honest–we can be really harsh on ourselves for the littlest thing)  Or, I can learn and grow from it. It was either right for me, or it wasn’t.  And, if it wasn’t, the last thing I need right now (or anyone for that matter) is to shame my behaviors and defecate all over my self-worth.  I can cut myself some slack.

Meanwhile, it’s normal and ok to feel out-of-whack, like somebody has whacked me or completely whack-o.  I think the trick is, is to let time be on my side.  To be ok with not being ok…afterall, no emotion lasts forever (a comforting thought!)

And I imagine that as I sift through all these broken pieces of what was once thought of as an unbreakable/unshakeable foundation, I can decide which pieces to put back into place and which ones to leave in the dust of my old-ways-of-doing-and-thinking.  As I examine closely and carefully all the tiny cracks and all the large cracks at the base, I can figure out not only how to fill them in…but with what I’d like them to be filled with–creating a better, brighter version of the girl that you guys know…(or don’t know, whatever.  But I’m pretty sure there has been only one person I don’t know who actually took time to read my blogs.)  Don’t worry, I definitely do not base my esteem on something like that!

When is it enough to just be?

Sometimes, this is a lot harder than it sounds.  When things are going “my way”…whenever I’m “getting what I want”…It’s really easy to be content with how things are presently.  And of course this is true.  I can just BE happy and content that things are unfolding according to my well-thought out  life plan. 

Occasionally, it is enough for me to “just be” when I’m feeling depressed or sad or lonely or angry or a host of other negative intangibles.  I mean, who can honestly be peaceful and content one hundred percent of the time?  So I know that when these emotions arise within, that they are momentary…they will pass, and I can be ok even when I’m not ok…but only because I know that I’m really ok.  (Hilarious, right?)  In Vedanta, this is known as using your intellect to govern your mind.  Or, in psychology, operating I/E.  (Familiar with that equation?  It’s intelligence over emotion.) 

However, when life-plan A has failed and I resort to life-plan B…which is really just transitional, things can get really tough.  At times I find my intellect weakened as I entertain less than productive thought patterns.  (To put it nicely.)  And all of a sudden, it seems that I am not enough where I am–my job, my finances, my hobbies, my living situation, the way I relate to the world.  Believe me when I tell you that this list could go on…

MALARKY!

I read an article on elephantjournal once titled:  Why It’s Good to Lay Broken in a Pile on Your Bedroom Floor.  I try to remember this article during a really tough time.  The author talks about this lesser known hindu goddess named She-Who-Is-Never-Not-Broken, who is a metaphor that we as humans are always changing…we are always being broken and putting ourselves back together again…and that when this process ceases, our life ceases as well. 

Also, my sister once said that we are like banks of a river.  All the people and objects of the world that pass by us, shape us (like the water of a river!)…and our shapes are constantly shifting and changing. 

Although I cannot hold on to life-plan A, I can at least have a say in how these events shape me as a human.  I could become bitter and self-loathing (not that this behavior exudes me 100% of the time…so I’m NOT perfect, ok?!) OR I could use these events to analyze why things didn’t work out…and how I can change my behaviors to better ensure a positive outcome for next time…and also learn how to better assess people and situations so I might have that Plan A, which by the nature of the world has already evolved and changed. 

And, in the meantime, writing this has already helped me to be OK with just being…even if I feel pretty miserable, I also feel pretty damn good too.

We Can Only Have What We Give

There are certain qualities that I would like to embody as a human.  I want to be compassionate, empathetic, kind, patient, truthful, loyal, humble, caring…I think this list could keep going.  But, those will suffice to name a few.

It is stated in Vedanta, that if we dedicate our lives to just one of these qualities, and can master it in our lifetime, then all the other qualities have been mastered incidentally. I used to be confused by this, but then I realized of course it’s true!  How could I be a truly compassionate person without exercising patience for those that test me?  Without being kind to all living creatures?  Without empathy for what other’s go through in their lives?  It’s simply not possible.  All these qualities are interrelated.  We cannot have just one…I mean, do you know someone who is kind but has no patience?!  (If so, please send me their name and address so I might witness this phenomena for myself.)

Okay, it’s great that I want to embody all these wonderful qualities…but now, the question resides:  HOW???

The answer:  By giving.

I begin to ask myself these types of questions:

How can I show compassion to all the creatures of Earth?  How can I be kind to this asshole?  How do I exercise patience with those who test it (or a situation for that matter)? 

Maybe, when a situation arises where myself and another both have something at stake…I can remember, “oh yeah, he  has something to lose, also…” and, instead of shooting a dirty look at my perceived opponent, I can smile.  Instead of making threats, I can maintain a calm composure.  He is, after all, a human just like me.  Now, I’m not saying to give in and “lose.”  I’m saying I can maintain patience and kindness without self-deprecation.  After all, my worth is no more than or no less than.  And, by giving the situation and all those involved patience and kindness, I also give compassion, truthfulness and empathy.

I don't like the way you're driving.

Maybe, instead of giving the finger (we all know which finger I’m talking about here) to the woman who cuts me off without using her blinker, I can give a wave.  Or, if the gentleness of a wave is not yet accessible to me, maybe a less threatening gesture…like sticking my tongue out at her.  Hey, we gotta start somewhere.

My point is, is that if I do not give those around me a listening ear…no one, myself included (hopefully, otherwise I have a whole other issue to sort out) will say, “Juliet is a really good listener.”  If I do not exercise patience in taxing situations, I am not a patient person. 
 
This is of course all practice…so I do not expect myself to be patient all the time.  I lose my patience…sometimes I say something that I do not mean…and I have been known to not say the truth from time to time. 

I know what I want, and I have a pretty good idea on how to attain these things.  Luckily.