Monday, February 28, 2011


Everything is temporary, and my current life situation is helping me to learn that deeply. Our lives change minute by minute, not only in big ways but in tiny, subtle ways too.

Often I hear people talk about the divorce process as a roller coaster. I think it's a little more co
mplex than than. Roller coasters don't change second by second, minute by minute.

minute I am calm. I am able to think clearly. The next minute I am blaming myself for his affair. And the minute after that I am using every shred of self control to not rip his throat out.

He wants to reconcile. I want to forget this ever happened, deny deny deny, pretend it's okay. But I will not compromise myself and my values.

On the other hand, I do believe he is truly remorseful.

I hate that I have allowed his bad behavior to alter my thoughts so much. I hate that I allowed myself to be mentally Attached to him. Not attached like you might think, but Attached as a Buddhist philosophy. This describes it better than I can.

I am an angry, scorned woman. And yet I am compassionate. What a horrible mind state my soon-to-be- Ex must have been in all these years. What a terrible place for your heart to be. How awful must it have felt to be him.

I look to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his struggles with China. He is compassionate toward the Chinese and does not fight for Tibet. I think most people can't understand this, but I can. I am trying to apply it to my marriage and life. But I don't understand.

I feel as lost as I've ever been.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Anger Pt. 2

I lost it. I completely lost it. Flipped out, broke things, broke my pinky finger. (I never realized how much you use your pinky while typing ... damn!)

I am trying to tell myself that I am not destroyed. Instead of feeling like this, I should be invoking Chenrezig. I should be pouring out my compassion, forgiving, encircling the wrong-doer with altruistic love.

I am not there yet. Perhaps one day. Now, I am working with my emotions. It's my old friends, hurt, lies, dishonesty, betrayal. It's sickeningly reassuring to know I have felt this before, and I survived. It's disgustingly familiar.

Holy Shakyamuni Buddha said:

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you; depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Buddha said, "You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger."

Think about this for just a moment. This is karma - our actions coming back to haunt us, not by some imaginary divine being or universe, but by the actions themselves.

Think of a situation in which you were really angry. The last time I was really, really mad was at one of my children. I had asked her to pick up the playing cards that had been scattered all over the linoleum, but my request went unanswered. I asked several more times, and each time I heard an excuse.

I walked into the kitchen and slipped on the playing cards, and I was furious! I mean, I was ready to really knock some heads together!

And then I stopped.

What good does being angry do?

Honestly. Think about it for just a second. What good comes from anger?

The last time you were angry - did your anger change the situation? How do you feel when you are angry? If you're like most people, anger makes you feel ugly inside, twisted up, explosive. It's not a nice feeling.

So who suffers for your anger? Sure, the offender may suffer, temporarily. They may suffer the brunt of your actions, which are the result of your inappropriate response to anger. But do they suffer long term? Probably not.

No, the one who really suffers is YOU. You are the one stuck with the negative feelings, the hatred. The offender, be it a fellow motorist or a spouse or even your precious children - they aren't stuck with those feelings. They go on about their lives.

Acting on anger creates bad karma. How? Emotions wear grooves in our minds. Allow an emotion to take hold long enough, or frequently enough, and it will create a groove, a habit. Anger will become your go-to response, hurting you more and more.

The good thing about habits is they can be changed. Oh, I'm not saying it's easy - but it is.

First of all, realize that your emotions do not define you. They are just emotions, and they are temporary. Recognize your anger when it rears its ugly head - "Oh, anger, I know you." Recognize it, name it, see it for what it is - a temporary mind state. Now just as you watched anger boil up, watch it fade away. Don't act on it or feel it - you don't have to. It's just an emotion, just a hair-trigger reaction. It's not you. You are not obligated to act on your impulses.

"You, as much as anyone else in the world, deserve your love and compassion." Buddha wasn't wrong about this, you know. You wouldn't wish your unhappy negative emotions on anyone else, would you? You deserve to be happy. You are made for happiness. Your mind is there to experience peace and bliss. Help yourself. Dissolve your anger.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bowing exercises.

The children and I have been having fun practicing bowing like monks. You can try it yourself, Lama Jigme has a wonderful video available on YouTube on how to bow.

Where Lama uses the words "sky, scalp, lips, and sternum," we say "Sun, Head, Lips, Heart." It's easier for the kids.

Try it in the morning, as soon as you get out of bed. It's fun!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When I was infertile.

A lot of people don't know about my struggles with infertility and recurrent miscarriage. They look at my husband and I and our five kids and think conceiving has always been easy for us. That is not the case.

I had m first child when I was 19. I was in a relationship when she was conceived, but he left shortly after we found out I was pregnant. He doesn't know she exists, and that's the way I want it.

The Hubs and I met when I was 20, and got married when I was 21. I was four months pregnant when we got married, but that's not the reason we wed. It just happened to happen when we were planning our wedding.

I lost that baby a month after our wedding. He was a little boy that we named Jean Kelle. He would be eight years old this June.

We conceived our second daughter right away, and my pregnancy was uneventful. She was born right on her due date.

We wanted kids pretty close in age so we started trying right away. I could not get pregnant. I had ovulation confirmed by ultrasound, charted my temperatures and cervical fluid, took Clomid and Femara ... and no baby.

After awhile, I started to conceive, only to lose the pregnancy a few weeks later. This happened many times, and even though I took progesterone and did all I could to hold on, those babies just wouldn't grow.

I found myself pregnant again in June 2006. I was ecstatic! Everything seemed fine, the weeks went on and there was no sign that anything could be wrong. Then one day I started having brown spotting. I went to the Urgent Care, they checked my cervix and it was closed, and they sent me for an ultrasound.

The ultrasound showed a mass of white stuff with black holes in it, kind of like that bologna with olives in it. No baby, but I thought for sure I saw the flickering of a heartbeat. The doctor said it was a molar pregnancy but I refused to believe it. I wouldn't schedule the D&C but did schedule a repeat ultrasound the following week.

The next ultrasound was exactly the same as the first, except the mass was markedly larger. I then decided to go ahead with the surgery. I was devastated. I felt like my life was a huge joke. No one was supportive. The worst thing anyone has ever said to me was said during this time in my life. I won't dwell on it, but it hurt. It hurt more than any words have ever hurt before.

I had the surgery. The baby I had wanted so badly was gone, literally and figuratively. Later we learned it was a complete molar pregnancy and there had never been a baby, just placental tissue.

I had to have my hcg tested weekly to make sure all aws well -- apparently, molar pregnancies can become cancerous, and this is indicated by rising hcg numbers. That was hell. The receptionist at the lab was pregnant and was always so cheerful when I came in, excited to see my numbers. She never realized why I was really there, that there wasn't a tiny embryo growing but a mass of potentially deadly tissue.

A few months later, my hcg numbers started going up, and the doctor wanted to do a D&C right away. I decided I wanted an ultrasound first, and I will never forget that ... there on the screen was a tiny flashing heartbeat. It wasn't the mole returning, it was my baby girl.

She was born in July 2007, and after her birth we did not use birth control because my past experience had taught me that a healthy pregnancy was not something I had to worry about. I figured I wouldn't get pregnant, or if I did, it wouldn't go to term.

The joke was on me ... when my daughter was four months old I found myself pregnant again. And it stuck. The baby grew and grew and then finally he was born in September 2008, when my daughter was just 13 months old.

Five months later, while using reliable birth control ... it happened again. I got pregnant. I was shocked. How could this happen? I was infertile! I couldn't keep a baby growing! And now not one, not two, but THREE unplanned pregnancies??

That baby became my second son, fifth child, born just 14 months after his brother and 27 months after his sister. Three babies in two years, after two prior years of infertility and repeat miscarriage.

There are days when being a mom of five, three under three, is really, really hard. But mostly, I savor the days and am thankful for the opportunity to be their mother. It really is a miracle.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What happens to the souls of miscarried babies?

This is an edited version of a response I posted on a message board. I thought it might be interesting for those who do not practice Buddhism to read. It is a topic close to my heart, as I have lost nine little babies myself. (Actually, if I am honest, I only lost eight, plus a molar pregnancy where no baby grew. But I loved that imagined child as thought it were real, and I count it.)

Life is eternal. It goes on and on and on, in a cyclical manner. We live our lives, we die, we are reborn. Usually, we don't know that we are being reborn, especially if we don't practice the Dharma, so we have what some people call "visits to heaven," often described as tranquil and peaceful by those who have had near death experiences.

According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, we are given three chances to move on, called Bardos. You can read more about the Bardos here:

We choose our parents and come to them at the moment of conception.

I believe that miscarried babies are souls who have reached Nibbana (Nirvana) and simply needed a human life form to get there. We know that in our past lives we have already built incredibly good Karma, because only those with very good Karma can be reborn into human form. I believe that these little souls are actually very old souls who needed one last stepping stone to get where they were going, to get out of the wheel of samsara. They have reached the end of their journeys, after thousands, perhaps millions of years in existence. I am honored to have housed many of these souls.

It is a great gift to help another on their path to Nirvana. I don't know what I did in my past lives to grow such good Karma, that I was given so many souls to guide ... maybe I will learn, when I am deeper into my practice.

Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

May all beings in the universe
be peaceful, happy and free

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.

May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.

May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.

May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.

Ideas and weaknesses.

I've decided to go ahead and do something that's been on my mind for a long time.

I am going to start giving free childbirth education to all who need it. I can't possibly do this in private classes (which is how I've been teaching), so I'm going to use the big community room at the library and teach expectant parents what they need to know about the basics of childbirth.

It won't be as comprehensive as a normal 12 hour series, but it will be something, which is usually always better than nothing. I plan to teach the stages of labor, hospital procedure, natural coping methods, and circumcision education.

I am hoping that this will spiral into more. I want to do breastfeeding classes, postpartum support groups, babywearing classes, newborn care classes, sibling classes ... and the funny thing is, I don't care one single bit that they will all be free of charge. I really don't care. Hopefully I can pick up a few more doula clients to help pay for my expenses, but if not, I'm sure the funding will come from somewhere. Things always work out they way they're supposed to.

Now, what I need to work on for me. I have a huge distrust of doctors and hospitals. I don't trust the medical community to do anything in patients' best interest because they stand to make so much money from illness. A c-section can easily cost 20 times what a vaginal birth costs, even more if that vaginal birth is unmedicated.

The clients I normally teach also have this distrust, so it hasn't been an issue in the past. However, opening up free classes is going to bring in a whole new element of parents that I don't usually work with. These are moms and dads who DO trust the medical system and plan to have their babies in the hospital, not at home. It is ESSENTIAL that I not bring my own bias into the classes. I absolutely must not do or say anything to create more fear for these new parents. Acting like the hospital and doctors want to kill them is certainly not going to benefit anyone, and will be extremely harmful psychologically.

It is critical that I overcome these mental roadblocks before the classes start. I need to meditate on this, release my anger and resentment, come to terms with my own biases before I can open myself up to others.

Om tare tuttare ture svaha - Essence of awakened body, quickly, with boldness, taking away all fear, distress, and suffering of all beings, complete victory of truth over all negativity, duality, all accomplishments, Hail mother Tara

Om tare tuttare ture svaha
Om tare tuttare ture svaha
Om tare tuttare ture svaha
Om tare tuttare ture svaha
Om tare tuttare ture svaha
Om tare tuttare ture svaha
Om tare tuttare ture svaha

Hear Green Tara's mantra here:

Consider listening and perhaps chanting along.