Thursday, July 30, 2015

right now


The thing about blogging is that when you get sick and take a break you don’t know how to come back.

It feels like so much has happened in July. Big things like our anniversary. And my birthday. But where do I begin?

So instead I’ll begin with right now.



Today I was listening to a story about Jarvis Jay Masters, a practicing Tibetan Buddhist who lives on death row at San Quentin Prison.

This is the story. One winter day he was in the prison yard when a seagull landed nearby.  Almost immediately a big, young, prisoner grabbed a rock to throw at the seagull but Jarvis raised his arm to stop him, creating tension on the prison yard. Other prisoners gathered around the two but all Jarvis said was, “That bird got my wings.”

That bird got my wings.

And the rock thrower stopped. Everyone relaxed. And for days afterwards other inmates came up and asked him to explain what he meant.

They wanted to hear more about that spirit of freedom. The idea that we all have these wings of awareness and love that can bring us to a certain kind of freedom. 

The freedom symbolized by those wings.

Listening to Tara Brach’s discussion of this story was thought-provoking. 
Even though Jarvis lives in prison, she points out that we all have our own external and internal prisons to deal with; we all are guilty of trying to squeeze ourselves into smaller versions of who we can be (internal prison).

We hitch our identities on to “labels” and brands and material possessions that limit who we are. How we see ourselves. Instead we become…

The stressed one.

The one who can’t do it right.

The one who wants to control.

The one who has too many demands.

The victim.

This is the opposite of freedom. When we’re caught up in comparing ourselves to other people and always worrying about what’s around the corner and trying to control what’s around us.

The Buddhists tell us these behaviors are all a form of suffering.

When we are suffering like this we are living out a smaller version of who we can be.

But at any moment we can stop. Put the rock down. We can wake up from our limited view of ourselves and challenge our own narrative…question what we believe about ourselves.

We can choose to be awakened.

One breath at a time.



the present





today I wish you wings.





I’m sharing this post with friends: 

Heather and Jennifer’s Lifestyle Linkup



Simply LKJ said...

Thanks for sharing this Leslie. Isn't that the truth. I am trying more and more as I get older not to listen to that ugly inner voice that says differently.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

This is so lovely and thought-provoking, Leslie. I've often thought during times of stress and worry, that it is like suffering, and I've always felt over-dramatic when I think that way. But you are is a form of suffering, and one that we often participate in. I'm going to try to choose another way.
Hope you are feeling better now! I've been off my blog a lot this summer, too...and it really IS hard to get going again...there's too much summer to experience yet. xoxo

Karen said...

Such a wonderful, thought-provoking topic. I've been attempting mindfulness to assist with obtaining an inner calm. Living for the exact moment we're in. Like any other discipline, it takes practice. Your post is a positive layer of helping me to stay true to that goal.
Happy belated birthday and anniversary! We've sure raced through summer, haven't we?

Van@Luxuria said...

Wow!! LOVE this post Leslie and how true. I am also dipping my toe into Buddhist philosophies and practises (currently reading The Diamond Cutter) so this post really resonated with me. Off to find out more about Jarvis ;-)

Susan said...

It's nice to have you back! Your post was one that was a great read for me, today. We all tend to be really hard on ourselves and very self-critical. I strive to be more positive each day - wish me luck!

Thehouseofhampton said...

Thank you. I feel my wings held in closely to myself. They are getting restless, and ready to expand. Feeling the wind of promise and ready to explore, stretch, and grow. Change is in the wind and this was the perfect story for me to read. There are no coincidences. This has been confirmed. Your timing, and mine, was perfect.

Unknown said...

Good morning Leslie,
This is the perfect food for thought for a Saturday morning. As you suggest I have been taking a big, deep breath over the entire month of July. It feels so good to let all the rest go and I do feel so fortunate to have the month off.
I'm glad to hear you are feeling better! Happy belated birthday to a fellow July bday girl (I'm the 15th;). I've always loved a summer birthday, don't you?
Enjoy your day and thanks for the inspiration!
xx, Heather
PS-Our lifestyle linkup goes live again Monday morning-please join us and add a couple of your links :)

Art and Sand said...

Oh, what a lovely read on a lazy Saturday morning.

I have felt free the last 2 weeks. All the prep for the wedding, which was wonderful, left me exhausted. Since then, I have been recharging and questioning what I need. And, I have decided that I don't NEED much. I am content now to walk on the beach, laze in the garden (although I really do need to weed), fluff the house a little and mainly just enjoy each day.

When I taught 6th grade, we did an overview of world cultures and one of the few things that really stuck with me from that curriculum was one of Buddha's beliefs. In my words, "most of man's problems come from wanting things he really doesn't need". That belief has helped me be happy with myself and my lot in life.

michele said...

i love so much eastern thought like this. i took some time to get centered this week, and God did some great work. i became more aware of how harsh my inner critic is and how i must be extra intentional about quieting her. i tend to dream big for others but keep visions for myself rather small, probably out of a spirit of fear. i became more aware of how my identity has been changing and how that is a very good thing. and i became more aware of the areas i wish to focus on in the coming year--thinking about them calmed me. i hope i will be ready to move into the new house next month with all its unfinished projects and disarray. i'm a little concerned that i'll be able to live in the midst of it since i have the luxury of staying away right now. that's why it is important for me to get my head on straight now. thanks for stirring me to reflect and share, for the wings, and for offering me a safe place to land. peace.

Veronica Roth said...

Nicely put Leslie. Robert is much better at it that I am, but the Zen Buddhist mentality is strong here with us. I try always to throw away limiting labels, who needs them. That's probably why my blog, (and I), am all over the place. R's had training from childhood, but I've only just been trying to live with a Zen mentality for the past dozen or so years. So much to learn! x

Stonecropsister said...

Hi Leslie,
Love this thinking. I'm trying to redirect to the things in life that are positive, like reading in bed at night, walks to the beach on a hot day, sitting out back under the table umbrella, caring for my flowers. The gentle things. I still get twisted in my thinking way too often, but I think it's getting better as I age. For me, it's about appreciating the present as much or equal to the looking forward to what's around the bend. xx Nancy

kim at northerncalstyle. said...

Leslie this is a lovely story and some good things to think about here! We could all use some Zen Buddhism in our lives!Found you on Heather's link-up. Have a good weekend! Kim

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