Saturday, July 14, 2012

Late Night in the Hood

I was up until 3 am last night. A neighbor came over to my yard at midnight while I was out letting my dogs go potty. She beat around the bush for a bit with small talk about the dogs and then suddenly burst into tears. It turns out her dad had just died and she wanted to talk to someone "spiritual" about it. By midnight I'm all done in, but I couldn't turn her away. I invited her in and just let her talk.

I knew I'd pay for it big-time today. By the time morning came I could barely stand up. I've had to double my steroids for the day, maybe tomorrow too. But you know, she was at peace when she left.

We didn't talk about Buddhism, we didn't talk about any religion. We talked about compassion-- for one's self and for others. We are all united by the common denominator of suffering and by the ability to transcend it through compassion.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Urgent Help Needed to Keep the Doors Open at KPC

Please chip in to help us pay our electric bill. For more information, see this post and/or this one. Thank you!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Stuff Healthy People Say to Sick People

I've heard every one of these, except the skinny comment of course.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Oppose the War, Not the Warrior

There is a hashtag on Twitter today called #HowLiberalsSpendThe4thOfJuly. I cannot speak for others (and it's a pretty stupid hashtag anyway) but this liberal is spending the 4th of July remembering what Republicans have done to John Kerry, Max Cleland, and are now doing to Tammy Duckworth. They have demeaned these veterans not for their political views, but for their actual service to our nation. They have lied about their service records and their heroic actions. And beyond anything even remotely comprehensible, they have made truly despicable comments about Cleland's and Duckworth's injuries.

My father was in the Air Force for 19 years. He was gone for most of my childhood-- a tremendous sacrifice for him and for our entire family. He served honorably and with dignity, believing that he was protecting our country.

My stepfather was also an Air Force veteran, a bomber pilot. He was in his early twenties when he was shot down over Germany in WWII, lost his entire right arm and was taken prisoner. He harbored not a trace of resentment about what he endured, not even towards the Germans, who treated him quite horribly. He was proud to have served his country.

For over 40 years of my life I have been witness to at least some of what it means to serve in the military. It isn't a path I chose myself; I have always been opposed to war. But I have deep respect for those who are willing to live on meager incomes, relinquish all control over where they and their families live and work, and walk into battle risking life and limb for others, for me.

After what we did to Vietnam veterans our nation supposedly learned that it was fine to disagree about wars but not to dishonor those who fight them. When Republicans "swift-boated" John Kerry's military record and heroism (led by John McCain, of all people), they sank to a new low. I don't know how they can even live with themselves for that. And yet they continued on and have done even worse to Max Cleland and Tammy Duckworth.

Personally I don't believe that wars make us safer--not a single one ever has. Maybe temporarily but the conflicts always deepen and resurface later when the weapons are more advanced and when much greater harm is done. But opposing the war is one thing and opposing the warrior is another. By expressing gratitude for our soldiers we don't necessarily condone war.

As a Buddhist, I contemplate the choices Republicans are making and feel great sadness for them. To deliberately harm another being results in future suffering for one's self. To denigrate people who have volunteered to risk their lives for you is some pretty awful karma. To denigrate people who have voluntarily lost limbs for much worse. I will dedicate many prayers to those who would do such a thing AND to those who would remain silent in the face of it. And in a mundane way, I will take every action possible to see that they are stopped and that all participants are called out for their actions.