All posts by Moni

I am a Children's Librarian living in the Portland, Oregon area. When I am not Children's Librianing I like to play with cameras and film. I also like playing the ukulele, knitting, and hiking.
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“The most dangerous distractions are the ones you love, but that don’t love you back.”

James shared a really great article with me in the comments of my post from yesterday.  It has me thinking about my list.

The idea from the article is to limit yourself to 5  goals. Anything else is a waste of time. I think the first thing I need to do is make some goals. So what are my goals regarding the things listed? Let’s see…

  1. write – Goal: I don’t know. Become a published Poet? Become a published short story writer? I know I don’t want to write novels. I don’t have a novel in me.
  2. Read – Goal: I have lots of reading goals. One of them is to read through all of the Pulitzer Prize winners. Another is to read through the Graphic Novel canon. I have some work-related goals as well (get caught up on newly published kid’s books so I can do book talks on them).
  3. Practice ukulele- Goal: go through that Bluegrass Ukulele book I bought 3 years ago. But why do I want to do this? I don’t have any aspirations to be a ukulele performer. I just like to play the ukulele. It that ok? To just play it because it makes me happy? Is that a good enough goal? Or do I need to attain higher aspirations?
  4. Draw – Goal: go through the “Drawing on the Right Side Of The Brain” workbook I bought 4 months ago. Again, I don’t have any aspirations to be a great artist. I want to learn to draw for my own edification.
  5. Knit – Goal: Finish a Dr. Who scarf I am making for a Twitter friend.
  6. Photography - Goal: I don’t really know what my goals are for photography! I know that I enjoy it. I know that I love Pinhole Photography. I have a blog about Pinhole Photography that I’ve been neglecting. Perhaps I should make some kind of goal relating to my blog? I have some ideas for some projects, maybe I should clarify what those ideas are and set some goals.
  7. Running/yoga – Goal: I have a goal to run a half marathon next summer. I am planning on running the Huckleberry Half.
  8. Meditate – This is just something that I need to because of my spiritual practice. There are no goals in Buddhism.

This was actually kind of an interesting exercise. It makes me realize that I am generally not very goal oriented when it comes to creative pursuits. I wonder if that is ok? I wonder if those things that I don’t have goals for are the things I should cut out?

And as I was doing this I realized that there are some things I am more passionate about than others. Photography pulled more on my heart strings than writing. The goal of becoming a published poet didn’t really do much for me. Maybe that is something I can and should  let go of.

I have some other thoughts, I will continue to think out loud on this. It’s kind of helping me. :) Maybe in a future post I will break down each of these things to see what exactly I want to do with them and why I am drawn to them.

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How I want to spend my free time

  1. write
  2. Read (1 hour every day)
  3. Practice ukulele (go through that Bluegrass Ukulele book I bought 3 years ago)
  4. Draw (go through the “Drawing on the Right Side Of The Brain” workbook I bought 4 months ago)
  5. Knit (Already doing – in the morning with coffee)
  6. Photography (of course)
  7. Running/yoga (alternate days)
  8. Meditate (20 minutes everyday)

Can I do it? Can I fit all of this into my life? These are the things that I feel like will feed my soul. These are the things that my soul yearns for.  I need to figure out how to do all of these things.  Or am I being unrealistic? to work full time and do all of these things?

I am a seeker

I am going through a term student program at my sangha and our first retreat was a week ago. Those of us attending had to prepare a presentation about ourselves. In preparation for this presentation we were to write three outlines: A historical outline, A karmic outline, and a spiritual outline. The exercise was interesting. It was fascinating to see what bubbled to the surface. I thought I would share my spiritual outline on my blog.

 

  1. I was born into a Catholic family. I did all of the Catholic things: I received communion at the appropriate age, I went to catechism classes, we went to church every Sunday, and I can even still to this day recite the Nicene Creed by heart.  I had a pleasant experience as a Catholic. I was interested in God and prayed often. For me praying was “talking to god.” I started this habit early in life and it continued throughout most of my life, up until fairly recently. *

    Me on my first communion
    This is me at my First Communion, featuring a very interesting light leak.
  2. I became a born-again christian when I was 22. I had a very powerful conversion experience and I was very “gung ho” about following Christ. I read the entire Bible. I would spend hours studying the Bible and praying in tongues. I am actually really glad I had this experience because it was probably the only way I would ever read the Bible and I am glad that I read it.

    This experience led me to a Pentecostal church which was not a good experience for me. I think this church might have even been a cult. I left that church when I went to University and slowly drifted away from Christianity. It took a long time to “cleanse my brain” from the brainwashing that occurred from that experience. A lot of fear was planted in my at that time. I remember the day when I actually questioned the divinity of Christ and I didn’t feel fear. That was an incredibly good day.

  3. When I got to the place where I was able to question Christ’s divinity  I explored other religions and was drawn to Buddhism. I have been reading about Buddhism for a number of years but have been a bit shy about jumping in with both feet.  I think this is because of my experience with Christianity.  I might always be a little gun shy because of that experience.
    Buddhism resonates with me. It allows me to look at other beliefs without guilt. I am a seeker, I have always been a seeker and I will always be one. Buddhism supports this aspect of myself and I love that.

*At this point in my life I don’t believe in God. I guess technically I am an atheist, though I am still very spiritual.  Can you be a spiritual atheist? I do believe in something inexplicable that connects all beings together. If that is God, then ok. I believe in whatever that is.

“Do not indulge anger – cultivate equanimity. In the realm of the selfless dharma, not contriving reality for the self is the precept of not indulging anger. Not advancing, not retreating, not real, not empty. There is a brilliant sea of clouds. There is a dignified sea of clouds. “

- From the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts.

(note to self: Every time I read this my mind is boggled.  contriving reality for the self? what does that even mean?)