The Second Half

Buddhism is my philosophy of living.100_2731

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.




Filed under single parenthood, spirituality

9 responses to “The Second Half

  1. I love this whole series on religion. I grew up catholic, but it never really felt right to me. As a young adult I struggled with “choosing” a religion and finally decided that I didn’t have to choose. I have a personal relationship with God with gives me more peace and acceptance than any church or temple could give me. Some of the relatives were upset with me when I choose not to baptize my children, but I had to do what was right for me. When my kids are old enough, they can decide what is right for them. Thanks again for blogging about this.

  2. blueskyhi

    Wow, this post is written with such passion.

    I know little about Buddhism except that it is more about spirtuality than religion.

    I think everybody has the pivotal moment in their life where their emotional, and maybe even physical well-being, is dependent on having faith. Faith on a belief system not a person or thing.

  3. Jen ~ thanks so much for sharing. This is so personal.

    Like others have said in the comments on your previous post, it is not about religion, it is about God. Love and more love. I believe that. Why does everything have to have a label?

    I’ve been listening to the song, Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath. I love it. It reminds me daily that God sees so much more than I see; my vision is clouded. Here’s the chorus:

    Give me your eyes for just one second
    Give me your eyes so I can see
    Everything that I keep missing
    Give me your love for humanity
    Give me your arms for the broken hearted
    The ones that are far beyond my reach
    Give me you heart for the ones forgotten
    Give me your eyes so I can see

    I can only imagine what a different place the world would be if we could see through His eyes for just a few minutes. I think we’d all be more compassionate and loving toward others. That’s a happy thought.

  4. Wonderful writing and sharing (both halves). I have a friend whose route was Catholicism, Quakerism, Buddhism, which is where she remains today. Mine has been Lutheranism, Judaism (with conversion!), then a lot of self-sorting outside of traditional religious structures. I am spiritual but not religious, and comfortable with that. I appreciate so much the journey you describe–and your willingness to write about it.

  5. I have told you all ready – thanks for posting these thoughts. I also love the song that Nancy referred too. I try not to just sing those words but really listen and ask the same. It seems in all these thoughts, we keep coming back to the word – love. Even love for ourselves. gotta run. really – run.

  6. …And thru that abundant love my own suffering is
    finally relieved.
    Powerful words.
    Words of hope and comfort.
    I have really enjoyed your latest posts, I can appreciate the time and effort it took to share your experiences and thoughts with us.
    Thank you for putting yourself out there and letting us in.
    You inspire.

  7. Thanks for sharing your journey with honesty. I feel in a very similar place to you, though I haven’t explored Buddhism.

  8. Hi,

    I found my way here via the Kreativ blogger awards.

    Pema Chodron’s teachings on shenpo have had a great impact on my life.

    Your post is beautiful. I just deleted a similar post on my own blog (it had been up for a while, but it was nagging me); now I wish I hadn’t.

  9. Your blog is thoughtful and heart-warming. I have a candle and a cup of tea by my side as I am enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon getting to know you and yours. We seem to have similar paths and challenges. Your children are lovely and your writing vulnerable and soul-filled. Thank you, dear one. Namaste’
    P.S. Have your read Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Living Buddha, Living Christ”?

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