“The way to stop the war is to stop hating the enemy. It starts with seeing our opinions of ourselves and of others as simply our take on reality and not making them a reason to increase the negativity on the planet…
…It’s up to us to sort out what is opinion and what is fact then we can see intelligently. The more clearly we can see, the more powerful our speech and actions will be. The less our speech and actions are clouded by opinion, the more they will communicate, not only to the people polluting the rivers, but also to those who are going to put pressure on the people who are polluting the rivers.”
– Pema Chödrön . When Things Fall Apart; Heart Advice For Difficult Times.

I bought When Things Fall Apart about 6 years ago, when my stepdad died and never read it. It’s just been collecting dust on my bookshelf. A few weeks ago I attended a workshop for work and one of the speakers talked about the concept of self compassion and how it can help us as library workers in dealing with compassion fatigue (or Secondary Traumatic Stress). One of the books recommended was this one, so I thought I’d pick it up since I had it handy.

I am really glad I did. And I wish I’d picked it up a lot sooner. The name of the book put me off, I think. I think I felt like I had to be in a really bad place in order to read it, but, as it turns out, the book has a lot of practical advice for just everyday living. It is a classic American Buddisim text and very jargony, so I am not sure if non-buddhists would get much out of it, though I think if you are interested in learning about Buddhism from a practical standpoint this might be a good book to read. I have a lot of non-Buddhist friends who have read this and liked it though, so.

Anyway, I like it and recommend it. I just read this from the book a few minutes ago and feel like it is very timely, considering the circumstances of the world.

More on what I am learning about self-compassion in a later blog post.

they are just opinions

Books

Christmas

Thoughts and Opinions

Raf and I decided to spend Christmas at the Beach. This was prompted by my desire to try to get away for Christmas. I’m going to tell you right now, I hate Christmas. I have come to this realization. I hate the holidays. I’m not sure what exactly it is about it that I hate so much but I’m pretty sure much of that hate has to do with the consumerist culture surrounding it and all of the stress that comes with it.

So I wanted to get away. We decide to go to Ocean Park, WA. We’ve visited Ocean Park for years and love it there. We go at least once a year. We drove over on Christmas Eve, arrived at around 5:00 PM (it took way longer to get there than I thought).

We didn’t bring any food with us to prepare so we went to the store. Guess what? Everything was totally locked down until the day after Christmas.

I was kind of irritated at that point. I actually said, “I want to go somewhere where Christmas doesn’t exist.” I think I bummed out my poor husband when I said that (He really puts up with a lot. He’s a trooper).

Things ended up being great though. We had a really yummy dinner of Thai food. We stayed up late watching scary movies. And the next morning we got up early and walked on the beach. Which is all I really wanted to do in the first place. Walk on the beach. It was really wonderful. I brought my camera with me and took some pictures and had lots of fun doing it. I have missed my camera these past few months and am thinking I should bring it with me more often.

Emilie, one of my friends from my mediation group reminded me that there are lots of places in the world where Christmas doesn’t exist. Most of the world, in fact. So Raf and I talked about it and I think we may go visit one of those places next year. We were talking specifically about Thailand. I’ve never really had a huge desire to go to Thailand but Raf wants to go and I’m always up for an adventure. So. Perhaps we will spend next Christmas in Thailand?