Buddhism is my philosophy of living.
Buddhism has allowed me to become who I am today, to feel comfortable in my own skin, to let me love ME and a whole lot of other people in the process. It is very difficult for me to explain my relationship with Buddhism because it is a very personal one.
The four noble truths and the eight-fold path, the wise words of teachers such as Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama and Pema Chodron awakened me to life.
Buddhism picked me up out of suffering and gave me hope. When I was going through the worst of the end of my marriage, when I felt defeated, when every ounce of my self-confidence had been manipulated out of me, and when the man I loved stood before me and said, “You are nothing and you will never make it on your own”, it was not the words of Jesus that pulled me to my feet, it was the words of a wonderful woman, a Buddhist nun, named Pema Chodron. She wrote for me two wonderful books, The Places That Scare You and When Things Fall Apart.
Through her words and the words of the Buddha, I learned a few lessons, the most important being the words, impermanence and loving-kindness. I had to learn that my view of what was happening around me could and would change, and I had to learn to love myself again. It taught me how to use my love, my greatest strength, as a warrior would.
I have learned to accept my anger, my frustration and my feelings of being overwhelmed and accept them. No more running away or hiding out from negative feelings. I can breathe through these times and remind myself, this is now, this will pass. I wrote a bit about it here.
Buddhism is what has carried me through, every single day. It is in every single THING I do. Buddhism has taught me to slow down, to find the mindfulness in my every action. The past is past, done. The future has not happened yet, cannot be formed in my mind. There is the present and it demands my attention. This mindfulness, this one moment at a time, is how I ultimately survive being a single mother.
How has Buddhism impacted my life? A year and a half ago when I was curled into a ball in the corner of my own dark bathroom in despair and could not find the light I found the beginnings of a new way of viewing my life. And here and now I stand on my own two feet, battleworn but with my love intact, a bodhisattva-warrior—using my found wisdom and compassion to extend my love to others—and through that abundant love my own suffering is finally relieved.