Mary Kay and the Pink Fog

Let me preface this journal entry with what works for some may or may not work for others.

Last spring I was talking with a fellow nurse and she said, “I have been afraid to ask you but here it goes, I am a Mary Kay consultant and I have 30 facials I need to do this month. Would you be able to help me out?”  I thought at that time that I was almost out of my moisturizer and I remember using Mary Kay in the past and liked it.  My reply was “Sure, why not!”

The time and place was set for my facial. I arrived and was pampered for 1 hour. Soft hands, soft lips, clean and moisturized face with some color. The fun friendly girl time completed my hour. In all fairness, I absolutely fell in love with the Time Wise skin care set, I would have purchased the set in a department store.

A couple days later I received a text from my consultant “checking in on my skin.” She then told me she had to practice “Career Chats” and was wondering if she could practice with me and she would give me a gift of my choice for my time. Thinking I am almost out of my brow pencil I agreed to meet her.

I sat through the career coffee with her and was surprised that everything she went over looked so easy on paper. Minimal hours and big bucks. I ordered my Starter Kit and within 2 hours I received a phone call from the director. Another appointment was made …so she could get to know me…

So my Mary Kay journey continued with learning to squirt individualized trays, read a script and how to close for a sale. I attended Mary Kay Girls Night Out weekly 2 hour “training’s”, which honestly was mostly full of cheers and WooHoots for the top sales and team builder’s while welcoming new consultants in a cultish manner with rote responses to the directors motivational deliveries.  I also attended, with a guest in tow, weekly “career chats“, another 2 hours a week. Then there was the barrage of  daily Voxers, texts and phone calls. I was even asked by my Director “to consider opening up my Facebook profile because she wanted me to benefit from announcements and be motivated.”

It was all a bit overbearing and weird. Being in management and having a lot of autonomy for years I was not used to the constant barrage of  communication, “support” and overall omnipresence.

So remember the promise of minimal time spent for maximum money? I was told if I put on a dress, wore 3 pieces of jewelry as well as 2 shades of eye shadows and follow the script provided the average amount I would profit would be $50 per hour. Well I must have been doing it all wrong. With all the “support and coaching” I received, I did not making anything close to that. That average did not include all the time and money spent I had to put into cold calls, appointments not kept, driving, weekly Girl’s Night Out and Career Chat Coffees, thank you cards, regardless of sale or no sale, for customers who you did facials with, assembly of “goodie bags” gift wrapping, shopping for the perfect cotton pads for eye makeup removal, cute ribbon, tulle and gift bags considered only if up-to-par.

I went into this with the idea that my initial pampering session was fun and actually useful for good skin care. The money promise was a deal maker. It was a fun time with those who love me and helped me get through the initial training of facials, but when I came to working outside of my “circle of influences” the appointments were not what I had imagined with hesitations and sales less than $50.

When I decided that it is all too much and too invasive I deleted Voxer, my Facebook account and told my director that my schedule had changed and I was not able to dedicate as much time to Mary Kay as I previously had.

I am thankful that I did not recruit anyone else into this, with the exception of my daughter. She can decide if she wants to continue or not. I will even help her pack up her merchandise to send back to the factory for Mary Kay’s money back guarantee. I am thankful we did not spend the money to go to seminar or any of the other training weekends.

I will continue to keep my consultant’s status because I absolutely love Mary Kay’s skin care and and lipstick. My son’s acne is much improved. I get to make gift baskets for donation raffles and Mary Kay makes for great gift giving.

I have no bad feelings at all. I just had no idea what direct sales was before entering this pink world. I do not fault or look down on these nice ladies who make Mary Kay their lives. They are doing what is good for them. It is just not for me. It is not a lifestyle I find fulfilling or even 100% honest.

I know that there are many pink Mary Kay cliche’s about wanting to make my life, and the lives of my family, better by “never giving up on your dreams” or “being committed”.  I am happy for all who are able to enhance their lives with extra money, trips, cars and jewelry. My biggest aspiration is that people are happy.  In 51 years on this Earth one of the BIGGEST lessons I have learned is that “Desire causes suffering on some level.”  Just think of something you really desired and what happened if or if you did not get “it”. If you did not get it that causes sadness, regret and not good enough. If you get the object of the desire you are “happy” before it is gone and you find something else to fuel your desire and suffer over the next thing. I believe it is very important to work for a fulfilling life for yourself and those you love but I just wonder about the suffering that comes from the constant motivational reminders, through Voxer, Facebook, text messages and even phone calls, that you need to be better by being busy with selling thus creating desire for more and need for recognition’s.

Coming out of the pink fog I am reassured to still have great happiness and joy in my spiritual practices, reading books, watching the newest Asian Soap Opera, walks in mediation, having a somewhat clean home, enjoying my evenings at home with my family or even just doing nothing. (Gasp)

So it is time to pack away the Mary Kay and put my Buddhist practice texts back on my shelves. It is time to reclaim my mind space and sacred dwellings.

Deep Breath…

IMG_20171020_0901558

Advertisements

Nursing my Sweet Canary

So this week has been full of nursing loved ones back to health.  Being a caretaker is not a job or even a roll ones takes, but a position you carry in your movements and breath.

To start this week a loved one has been struggling with what I suspect as Bipolar. This illness cycles.  As a result of continued involvement in news of current events and disasters my friend’s stress level had risen to an unbearable level. My friend had increasingly isolated himself from family and friends, while blaming others for how he felt.  One of the greatest suffering  I witnessed was my friend’s inability to understand and release his own perseverations. The more you tried to talk to him the worse it got. Until one day he cracked with emotional outbursts of anger. The next day he was a different person. He presented like someone who had just come out of a longtime illness. He was exhausted and only wanted to be with loved ones.  His whole being was purged of what I would call a buildup of boxed in emotion and stress. Life did return back to normal for this friend of mine.  Unfortunately his family appears a bit shell shocked. As I learn more about the cycle of Bipolar illness and care of people who suffer from it, it may not be important to feel as if you have to change the person but to be of a support and not put anymore stress on the person as they are walking in moments of heaviness. With the knowledge that there is an end to acute episodes it may be best to be present and breath with them and love them while making sure that they will not hurt themselves. Of course there are different degrees of this illness but I feel that you need to ask questions such as, “What can I do to help you?”. After the acute episode has passed may be the time to talk about gentle self care while remembering that the illness feeds on obsession. I carry with me a saying that Pema Chodron speaks of, “Meet the situation where it is.”

Another being I found myself connected to this week is my beloved Canary. He came to me about 2 years ago as a baby, less than 3 months. The previous owner had told me that he had been picked on by his siblings in the hatch and had sustained what she thought of as an injury.  I brought him into my home and found that he had, what some websites call, “Stargazers”, a phenomenon that in all appearances present neurological.  I do not understand it fully but last week I witnessed some odd behavior such as his inability to maneuver in his flight cage without hurting himself and increased falling. My bright son suggested that it would be a good idea to put him in the smaller cage so he could not hurt himself as much. I agreed with my bright son and put my Canary (Cheetoe) into the “hospital cage”. He was not hurting himself from fast flying but I then noticed that he was loosing use of his legs, he was not able to control his wings and he trembled in a seizure like manner. His feathers increasingly did not lay down straight. So I started him on bird Sulfa and have given him extra fresh foods such as apples and hard boiled eggs while supplementing his usual diet with high potency vitamins. I have worked to keep him in direct sun by moving his little hospital cage as the sun moves. As late afternoon approaches I cover part of his cage, to help relax him, and turn on an electric heating pad next to his nest. All this being done he does show some improvement but I will know more by next week.

IMG_20171005_1813564

 

A LITTLE OLDER BUT UNSURE ABOUT WISER.

It has been several years since any post. I look back at some of the posts from past and wonder. Since then not much has changed.

I took a management position for several years. I have recently opted out and went back out into field nursing. Health wise I am not young and full of energy. A desk job made me soft. A week’s worth of work will put me on the sidelines for at least a day but I guess it is worth the freedom from ownership a company feels they have over you when you are in management.  I have talked with other nurses that are close to retirement age or even retired and that seems to be the consensus amounst us independent caregivers. I was faced with a 20% increase in my caseload with ADDED on-call for 1 week out of a month. So either my production went down 20%+ or the hours I put in would be 10+ per week, not to mention any on-call responses I would need to make. Currently I work 3-10 hour shifts and have time for self, home and family.

This last summer I listened to and read some books by “The Minimalists” and some of what they wrote about stuck a cord in me. I ridded myself of about 150#  of my own clothing, many knick knacks and stuff around the house no one uses. I even sold my Spinning Wheel and unprocessed wool I had not touched in several years.  I cleaned up my contact list in my phone and deactivated my Facebook account. I do love to document my photos so I did open a Instagram account, only keeping my followers list to a minimum.

I do not have a goal about this blog but I plan to share some stuff I find to be growth oriented for a Daughter, Mother, Wife, Nurse, Friend and Devout Buddhist of 50 years of age.  As I fumble through life I recall that my mom made it look so easy. Please feel free to fumble with me. No pretensions. I am too old for that and just do not have the energy.

My most current profile photo. I think I look pretty good for 50 years old. Do not be fooled because I have my parent’s to thank and some good skin care. (wink)

IMG_20170810_1018001 (1)

Random Thoughts

images

Dogs from the Humane Society.  Hunting is a very sad way to entertain oneself.  I loved knitting with my great aunt as a teen.  Om Mani Padme Hum.  Favorite book is Brave New World.  Favorite Autobiography is Janet Frame’s.  I like a home with lots of plants.  My favorite movies are ones I watch with my dad.  A cedar chest full of grandma’s quilts.  Sunrise is a very special time.  I always feel at home where there is a Buddha statue.  The Dharmmapada saved my life.  Breaking Bad.  “Put a Bird on it.”  Punk rock of years past.  Painful memories fade and love fills the spaces.  Fresh farm eggs.  Snakes scare me.  Guacamole.  New Mexico.  Sand Dunes Hot Springs.  Khenpos.  Rinpoches.  Dharma brothers and sisters.  Art museums.  Libraries.  Turquoise and Silver.  Western art.  Jack White.  Johnny Cash.  Buddy Holly.  1965 Mercury Comet.  Tesla Model S.  Spinning wool is relaxing but I no longer have time for it so I will sell my spinning wheel.  Mount Princeton Hot Springs in the snow.  Manitou Springs after a big snow.  Williams Canyon hikes.  Facebook is a wast of time.  Jazz.  Live music is wonderful.  I like to listen to my mom talk.  The feel of crisp air and smell of apples bring back wonderful childhood memories of family picnics.  I miss my cousin Bruce, he lives so far away.  I used to be a brat and now I am not.  Frida Kalho.  Chogyam Trungpa.  Karmapa Chenno.  I sleep better with my husband in bed with me.  My children were so darn cute when they were little.  Star gazing is best done in a remote high desert.  I love the sound of crickets.  Charles Dickens.  The sound of children playing in a pool is comforting.  Women make the best comedians.  I have my grandma’s jewelry.  Antique clocks.  House Margaritas on the rocks with salt.  Homemade mead wine. Pictures of loved ones.  Home is here.

A most awake present moment

images

About 22 years ago I had my first present and complete moment.  A very spacious moment.  A moment that time just paused. A moment I wished all beings in the world could have shared and enjoyed.

Life can tend to become very dramatic and discursive.  As a young adult I was very caught up in this mind play of unsteadiness .I had been very busy and wrapped up into my thoughts of the good, bad and ugliness of life.  As a young adult my mind was so busy with who am I, what am I doing and what are others doing that I had not had a moment of clarity.

I remember this moment so clearly for so many reasons.  This was the first time that all became complete spaciousness.  It was the first time I intentionally took time for myself, on my own dime, thus making my own decision to go and do what I needed for my body and mind.  It was a time of a of close friendship; a friend who is so relaxed, open, honest and kind with herself and everyone with who she was with.

So many ingredients came together to make a perfect recipe of complete Absoluteness.

So what is that moment of spaciousness you may wonder.  It really does not matter what the moment actually was because it was a close personal experience that you or I would not be able to duplicate.  I was on a weekend get away with a friend.  I was taking a night swim on a dark, snowy, star filled night in a mountain hot spring pool.  I floated on my back and inhaled the sight of the star filled sky  when smack…  a flash of Nirvana.

I will always carry that moment in my heart because it was the first time I was able to really be a peace.  So now my intention is to bring all these ingredients into my everyday life to care for myself and others.  To be the catalyst for the openness that people need in their lives.

Blessings and Devotion

ngondropainting

Today I sat in on a teaching on the practice near and dear to Tibetian Buddhists, Ngondro.  The practice is defined as a preliminary practice upon entering into the Vajrasattva Path.  My understanding is that even though it is considered a preliminary practice one may accomplish enlightenment by the practice(s) of the Puja.   The practice of Ngondro, as explained, is the bridge between the practitioner and the Karmapa’s heart and mind, explaining the meaning of the Lineage of Blessings.  Much to my suprise the Lama’s I consider to be my primary teachers were so open and generous with information.

Dear Khenpos went over breathing techniques that are important to clear the head and to begin to open channels in the body.  Direction of how to do a proper prostration.  One good prostration is more important than many prostrations done with a discursive mind.  Refuge is key.  In the Mahayana tradition one will take refuge to the 3 Jewels but in the Vajrayana tradition one takes refuge in The Guru, a Deities, Protectors, Buddhas, Dharma and Sanga.   To begin with one holds their hands in an Anjali mudra, the hands are held together and cupped closed as if your are holding a precious Jewel, a Wish Fulfilling Jewel.  The position of the hands when starting a prostration is at the heart, this is in respect to the Buddhas.  The second position is at the forehead, this is in respect to the Buddha Body.  The third position that one holds his hands is at the throat, in respect to Buddha Speech.  The fourth position one holds their hands is at the heart, respecting the Buddha Mind.  When prostrating one will begin in standing position then kneel while placing both hands and forehead to the ground either by half prostration or full body prostration.  By touching  knees, hands and forehead to the ground one thinks to purify their 5 negative actions in order to increasing 5 positive actions.  When prostrating one is to visualize that he/she is leading all sentient beings, of the 6 realms, into refuge.  It is very bad if one think only of oneself while doing prostrations.

Devotion as Khenpo reviewed it is as follows: the first level of devotion is devotion from inspiration of a teacher or guru.  The second kind is devotion as a result of wanting to be like your inspiration.  The third and most powerful kind of devotion is unswayed trust in your teacher / guru.

While this is only the beginning of the this practice so much was taken away from this 2 hour instruction.  I look forward to practicing as instructed by my teachers.  I look forward to learning and hearing more of the practice in the following months.   As much as one reads and reads and even practices a Puja it is so important to have the support from a Master Practitioner.  So many blanks and questions are filled in and answered.  The completeness of the practice is realized.  I can blog about this but it is no more than my own words to describe what I found value in.  It is not the practice.  It is only hints.