Archive | June, 2014

Purging Yet Another Bully from my Life

27 Jun

I’ve blocked many bullies on Facebook, but only one has been obnoxious enough to send me an aggressive email through Meetup.com. My response was simple and to the point, and in response, this extreme malignant narcissist lashed out at me in an insane, victim-blaming message. The delusions of entitlement of these parasites continue to amaze me. On the bright side, I have officially purged this lunatic from my life. I blocked her on Facebook and Meetup.com. If I run into her in public, it could get ugly, through no fault of mine.

Bereavement puts things in perspective: life is too short to tip-toe around psychotic monsters. Wonderful people pass away, while horrible people prevail. Just because the majority are bad people doesn’t mean I have to be their punching bag.

I shall most definitely base a villain on this bully. She would be perfect as a wicked and insane sorceress.

My Soon-to-be-Published Memoir

21 Jun

My memoir Every Day is Magical: a Buddhist Pilgrimage in India and Nepal will be available via Amazon.com within a few weeks.

Hook

EVERY DAY IS MAGICAL: A BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE IN INDIA AND NEPAL is my memoir of traveling in northern India and Lumbini, Nepal, visiting places significant to the historic Buddha’s life. The book combines vivid descriptions of the locales and Indian culture, the Buddha’s life and times, and my spiritual progress, in addition to my reactions to my surroundings and Indian society with all its complexities and contradictions.

 

Pitch

East meets west, modern feminism meets ancient tradition, and a twenty-first century meditator meets the historic Buddha, in EVERY DAY IS MAGICAL. I arrived in India knowing very little about the culture, not even the phenomena of squatting toilets or bucket baths; climbed onto a boat on the Ganges and placed an offering—a banana leaf plate holding a candle and marigolds—into the river; and rode an elephant despite my intense fear of heights. I circumambulated the Bodhi Tree while listening to eight thousand Tibetan monks and nuns chanting; I also sat under the Bodhi Tree and had a rapturous meditation experience not far from where the Buddha gained Enlightenment. During my three weeks on the other side on the world, I gained much insight, compassion, wisdom, and fearlessness while learning about a fascinating culture and about the historic Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. I returned to the United States significantly more equanimous, fearless, mature, and hopeful.

 

EVERY DAY IS MAGICAL includes a brief explanation of how I took up Buddhism, why I was motivated to take the In the Footsteps of the Buddha pilgrimage, and how I got to India. Not merely my own personal account, the book is relevant to anyone’s spiritual journey and is sprinkled with a feminist and pacifist perspective on, and comparisons between, American and Indian culture.

 

EVERY DAY IS MAGICAL describes visits to:

  • Delhi, where I met up with Shantum Seth, meditation instructor and travel guide, and with the other members of the pilgrimage. We visited Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram, where he lived at the end of his life and where he was assassinated.
  • Patna, where the museum contains a relic of the historic Buddha.
  • Rajgir, where the Buddha meditated and taught on Vulture Peak and started his first sangha.
  • Nalanda, ancient ruins of the first Buddhist university
  • Bodh Gaya, the village where the Buddha reached Enlightenment
  • the holy Hindu city of Varanasi and the Buddhist site of Deer Park in Sarnath
  • the ruins and temple of Kushinagar, where the Buddha died.
  • Lumbini Grove in Nepal, where Mayadevi gave birth to the Buddha.
  • Kapilavastu, the ancient ruins of the kingdom where the historic Buddha grew up as a prince.
  • Shravasti and the Jetta Grove, the final site of the Buddha’s sangha, where the monks and nuns stayed put through the rainy season.
  • Agra, the optional part of the journey, where we visited and explored the Taj Mahal and Akbar’s Tomb, beautiful relics of the Mughal empire.
  • Delhi again, for a final dinner and farewell.

I experienced rapturous meditation experiences in the presence of the Buddha relic, in a cave on Vulture Peak where the Buddha meditated and taught, and in front of the Bodhi Tree. We pilgrims met Buddhists from around the world, including Tibetans, Thais, a Thai abbot, the founder of a school for poor Indian children, and the “pope” of the Buddhist world. We practiced a walking meditation across the sandy river bed that the Buddha crossed twenty-five hundred years ago. We witnessed the World Peace Ceremony, in which eight thousand Tibetan monks and nuns chanted around the Mahabodhi Temple. Meanwhile, we encountered Indians from all walks of life, from beggars and polio victims, to merchants and owners of chai stands, to museum curators, to a maharaja and maharani. We visited the Sujata Stupa, marking where the girl Sujata met the starving Buddha and fed him rice pudding, inspiring him to think up the Middle Way. We walked across fields accompanied by village children, visited a very old and beautiful Hindu temple in the middle of nowhere, and continued walking to a humble farm, where we sat on the roof drinking chai and interviewing the family. In Varanasi, we rode a boat on the Ganges at dawn and explored an alley full of Hindu shrines and shops. At a maharaja’s lodge, I faced my fear of heights by riding an elephant.

EVERY DAY IS MAGICAL will inspire Buddhists and other spiritual seekers in their spiritual journey, whether or not they intend to literally travel to India or Nepal. Not just relevant to Buddhists, EVERY DAY IS MAGICAL is a great read for anyone interested in India, Indian culture, and the religions of India, and to anyone who wishes to travel to India or the Himalayas. It will also inspire and educate anyone interested in the life of the historic Buddha and in their own potential of having a spiritually fulfilling and meaningful life.

 

Death and Self-Publishing

19 Jun

A friend has occasionally told me that life happens when you have other plans. Another thing that happens when you have other plans…is death.

I had just ordered a new computer and the proof for my travel memoir, Every Day is Magical: a Buddhist Pilgrimage in India and Nepal. My mother called and said that my dad was being transferred to a hospice center. I dropped everything and bought a plane ticket to Chicago.

I am still crippled with grief, but I returned to Portland, Oregon a week ago and know I need to resume working on my writing career. Tonight I finally returned to the CreateSpace website and have finalized the interior and cover of my travel memoir. (CreateSpace is the self-publishing platform of Amazon.com.) Currently I have to wait about twenty-four hours for the website to go over the soon-to-be-published book. Then I’ll be able to launch the ebook on Kindle (at least, that’s the way I understand the process—it might be more complicated).

I’m looking forward to publishing and promoting Every Day is Magical, which I’ve dedicated to my father. I assumed I would give him a copy of the published book, but I waited too long to publish it.

One of those Portlandia moments….

17 Jun

It’s amazing what you might see while driving at one a. m. in Portland. I saw, in the middle of the street, a skateboarder in a Winnie-the-Pooh costume.

Today’s Asshole Award

15 Jun

Just because you’re a wealthy, old, and arrogant, privileged white male does not mean the world revolves you. And I don’t share your delusions of entitlement, so you may as well keep them to yourself.

The self-entitled perpetual five-year-old bully in question was honking nonstop at me for no reason.  I had been waiting in the left turn lane and was slowly edging forward at the green light and allowing the oncoming vehicles to pass before I began turning. At about the same time that I began turning left (totally legally, at a green light), this arrogant asshole was repeatedly honking his horn. Talk about delusions of entitlement. The friend sitting in my passenger seat said that this self-entitled prick was glaring at us and mouthing at us angrily (in other words yelling).

It’s amazing how perpetual five-year-old bullies, over and over again, flaunt the fact that they’re pathetic wastes of flesh. They think they’re entitled to treat decent people like garbage just because they themselves are the real garbage. That makes absolutely no sense. I wish I had a remote control that I could point at every bully and make them disappear in thin air. Poof!