16th Karmapa on the left and 17th Karmapa on the right.
My morning ritual includes one of my favorite things. The Aeropress coffee maker. I especially enjoy French Press coffee but this method is better; Brewing time is less, there are no grounds in my coffee and the mess in very minimal.
Do you know where Coffee came from and who invented it? The legend is that an Ethiopian goatherder noticed that his goats where more “spirited” and had a “spring” in their step, after eating berries from a certain tree. “Jumping Goats”. Legend continues that the goathearder reported his observations to a local monastery after which the monks would gather the berries and make a drink out of it. From there the potent berry’s news spread. In the 15th century Arabs were the first to plant coffee crops. During the 17th century coffee became popular (over 300 coffee houses in London) yet very controversial ( referred to as the ‘biter invention of Satan’). During this time the Arab’s monopoly changed when the Dutch was able to obtain coffee seedlings. Coffee then spread worldwide by such companies as the Dutch West India Company, armed merchant ships with a strong presence in the Atlantic, where a coffee seedling was planted and took root in Martinique. Coffee plantations quickly spread in the Caribbean to Africa and the South and Central Americas. So now when we drink our morning coffee we can take a visual historical journey of these favorite little berries.
If you enjoy historical fiction I recommend reading The Coffee Trader by David Liss
http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1 for referenced history.
The kids go back to school in a week. There is both relief as well regret in my heart. Relief that there is going to be a regular schedule for the kids. Regret because I feel like I did not provide them a summer to look back on and have fond memories.
I decided to try to work during weekdays this summer. Now that the kids are a bit older I thought that they would enjoy mom being gone during the first part of the day. I worked out a shift, 5am to 1pm, with modifications to accommodate my son’s swim team schedule. In the past I either took summers off, worked nights or worked weekends. This left the kids with either one or both parents at home with them.
So what did the kids do this summer? Not much but sat at home on the computer, playing video games on the game console and watch TV. Their father and I decided that they should not go out and play with their friends when a parent was not home. A side note here my son received a knee full of stitches after “jumping” his electric scooter. With a teenage son it is always best to be available for such mishaps. My son, Robin did get to the pool 2-3 times a week, depending on if mom and dad was able to juggle our own work schedules. Sadly, my son, would sometimes have to wait, up to an hour, for me to get off work to come get him. When I did come home I would take a nap to catch up on sleep lost. In my own mind, by the time I got up from my nap the day was literally shot.
Looking back I really feel that this summer was a wast. A big wast of my efforts. Gone opportunities to have fun with the kids. I will not get back the time lost to build my relationships with my teens . Squandered opportunities for the kids to have the time to explore with friends and family. Lost time to build their own self-esteem, that I feel middle and high school so efficiently dismantles.
If I had to do it all over again I know I would have something different? What would I do different, I do not know. All I know is that it is difficult to parent and I continually second guess my efforts.
Waking by the sound of alarm. Falling out of my warm bed and slipping into my suit and sweats. Grabbing an banana and my backpack. Driving in the cold dark. Going through the heavy maroon double doors, down the vinyl stairs and through the dark quiet hall. As I walk through the last set of double doors the scent of chlorine welcomes me as I stand in the humid embrace of my High School Pool.
The scent of any pool transports me to an earlier time
Originally posted on Shambhala Blog:
Last month, multiple bombs exploded in Bodh Gaya, India, in and around the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage site, the Mahabodhi temple that marks the spot where the Buddha attained enlightenment. In response, Shambhala Publications offers Beyond Anger: How to Hold On to Your Heart and Your Humanity in the Midst of Injustice, a free eBook consisting of excerpts from some of our books from a variety of Buddhist traditions that encapsulate values of love and nonviolence, which we can all practice ourselves.
A chapter from the Karmapa points out the toxicity and uselessness of anger, from a basic, interpersonal level to the wider society at large. In “I Take Up the Way of Letting Go of Anger,” Zen teacher Diane Eshin Rizzetto helps us look at how we relate to an emotion like anger and, rather than suppress it, she marks a clear pathway we can follow to awaken in its presence and not let it incite us to negative thoughts and actions. Jack Kornfield talks about how to succeed in bringing mindfulness and loving-kindness into arenas like politics and war zones. And a short selection from the chapter on patience in the Mahayana classic The Way of the Bodhisattva highlights that the real enemy is anger itself, not something or someone external.
Why would I start a blog? I used to think that blogging was for the self centered dreamers. I could never figure out the the reason for a childhood diary. I could never figured out the reason to have a gratitude journal, or any journal for that matter. I think about writing letters, but for some reason that seems so antiquated by today’s standards. I do not keep an organized recipe box. I don’t even make To-Do lists. So why would I type words on the computer for recording purposes? Well I am just not sure. All I know is now, in my middle age, I think I have some interesting things to say and stories to tell. In my own mixed up mind I am not certain what those are, but I do know that if I sit and start to type I will create something. Maybe I am needing a creative outlet. Maybe I feel like no one listens to me anymore. Maybe it is a type of therapy. Maybe I am a self-centered dreamer…..