Category Archives: kharma

Gratitude Wisdom

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is

like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

(William Arthur Ward, American writer, 1921-1994)

There is something called a ‘Gratitude Challenge’ going on around

the world. There is an organization called “Kindspring,” which

brought together 11,000 people from 118 countries. This site is

at:

http://kindspring.org

This is great since it includes a ‘start up kit’ which is designed to

help community organizations sponsor their own challenges.

Apparently, each location has their own philosophy and ways to

promote gratitude. Whenever this happens to find its way to my

own reading material, I like to spread the happiness around to

others like you.

Gratitude has helped unlikely businesses like banks.  In Canada,

there have been four of the bank called TD, where they turned

their ATM’s into “Automatic Thank You” machines by providing

high value personalized gifts to the longest lasting customers.

This is to thank them for their loyalty to the bank. Any business

can be creative in showing appreciation in meaningful ways to

their customers.

I liked this quotation from the ‘grateful kickstarts’ in November,

2014 “Natural Awakenings” magazine:

“As with any new skill or habit, gratitude needs to be exercised

until it becomes second nature. Simply writing a page a day in a

gratitude journal or saying a morning ‘thank you’ prayer can help

maintain the momentum.”

 

Showing appreciation to strangers always makes my heart feel

warmer. Those unexpected ‘gifts’ or smiles are so welcome in

this busy life. Our family members also deserve some of this

shared gratefulness for their special ways that make us feel

loved. Sometimes, (I am guilty of this) we are kinder to those

we don’t know than those who are close in our daily lives. We

often take them for granted.

 

I get motivated by other’s thoughts and words so hope you will

find something meaningful in one of these three participants’

in the “Gratitude Challenge:”

 

>Lisa Henderson Middlesworth shared,

“I have started a gratitude journal that I write in every day. When

you run out of the ‘obvious’ blessings, it makes you dig deep and

see all the small things. I commit to do my very best to never take

anything or anybody, good or bad, for granted.”

 

>Colleen Epple Pine shared,

“A town can be such a blessing. Neighbors always pull together when

there’s a tragedy or natural disaster. The boundaries diminish and

yards become one. . . we eat in each other’s kitchens, supervise each

other’s children, share a vehicle and generally watch out for each

other. I believe it is God’s way of reminding us that we’re one family

and each of us provides the strength and foundation for the other.”

 

>Joanie Weber Badyna shared,

“My losses have given me an inner compass by with I live my life.

While I would not wish the tragedies I have experienced on anyone,

I am eternally grateful for the blessings. I do not waste time, and I

know how to love without fear.”

 

I like how each shows their own way of handling this challenge.

No one is ‘right’ or ‘better’ but all are powerful parts of a movement

for change.

I feel this is personal and hard to open up to share my inner gratitude

and what changes I will make. I related to the first woman, Lisa.

 

Robin’s challenge:

I need to be better at finding the ‘good’ in every one I meet.

I would like to be more open to showing my appreciation to

those who may not always be nice.

I am sure it will improve their outlook, as well as my own.

This is due to recently my youngest daughter pointed out,

I tend to be overall positive, but sometimes will say things

like, “I wish that server would bring me another cup of

coffee” or “I would have liked more tissue paper in the gift

bag from that specialty shop.” In both cases, I did not say

anything or let the person serving me know my complaint

or wishes. I didn’t even notice this within my own character,

which is odd. I know this sounds ‘self-serving’ to ask for

these things, but really you are showing more gratitude to

the one helping you, which makes them feel ‘valuable’ my

daughter said.

 

Then, it all made sense. I think being grateful is also letting

others join in, making them feel part of this good feeling. By

being able to let others know when you are uncomfortable you

can potentially prevent having to rant later about not having

things turn out like you expected. Putting your expectations

out there prevents passive aggression. Also, being nice and

friendly is a part of the whole kismet or karma/kharma circle.

This is also known as ‘paying forward.’ I want to tie this whole

gratitude challenge in with the happiness project, which I have

already written a post about.

 

Do you feel this is difficult to tell your own personal gratitude

challenges?  Are you willing to ‘put it all out there?’

Time is of the Essence!

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“Perfect Timing”

by Robin Cochran

Plane arrivals and departures,

cannot always be counted on.

The precious view from a distance

of a loved one’s approach, forgives

the inaccuracy in timing.

Dance recitals, a couple who share

their dance moves in a seamless

and singular motion.

Comedy sketches, where the comic

can deliver the powerful ‘punch

line’ with impeccable timing.

“Care packages”, sent with love,

just when you are about to get

homesick. (Away at camp or school.)

Mail arrival, when the letter and

written correspondence cheers you

up and out of a blue mood.

Money enclosures, arriving just in

time, to keep your checking account

out of the ‘red!’

Meeting someone new, either at work or

out in public, almost an ‘other worldly’

connection.

Theatre stage actors, delivering their

lines with power and strength, grasping

the audience in their timing.

New loves, when everything falls into

place, from the very first moment.

(“Across a crowded room…”)

Florist deliveries, full of pleasure and

wonderful scented arrangements that bring

apologies, in their arrival.

Musical partners or groups, who match the

beats and harmonize, while performing.

Unexpected phone calls, from distant and

long lost friends, filling in the gaps.

While moving out of or into a house,

people showing up, just when you needed

them.

Every time a hug is received…

Chores, completed within a certain rhythm

and gleefully unexpected moments.

Two cars, meeting at the same destination

arriving at the same time.

Send in the troops, the necessary back up

force while energy and strength is flagging.

Arrival of a new baby, whenever, however

unexpected it may be.

Jobs, where being there at the right place

and the right time.

The two acrobats, one ready to release from

the bar, the other ready to catch.

Home run ‘hits,’ football ‘goals,’ and other

sporting great moves!

Meals, while juggling varied dishes,

completion results in all at the same time.

Encouraging signs given, when least expected.

Some may call them, the Hand of God, Karma,

Kismet, Zen or Serendipity.

When has something in your own life, seemed

to be perfectly timed?

Chasing Shadows of the Past

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While studying the photographs on the Veteran’s Day board at my

Mom’s senior apartment building, I pointed to a tall, gangly looking

young man wearing an Air Force uniform from the WWII era. I asked

Mom if she recognized the name of the man. She looked at his face,

then the name and said, “I think I knew him!”

I turned to her and saw a rapt emotion covered face. I told her that I

had asked about the name of the man not if she knew the man. She

asked what did I mean by that? I told her that one of her favorite

Westlake High School 1971 graduates shared the first and last name

of the man, but the picture resembled him. I exclaimed with some

verve in my voice,

“That resident of Westlake Village Senior Living Apts. may be the

father of the young man from your World Lit and Spanish classes!”

She looked at me, kind of a funny expression, “Well, that would still

mean I may have met his father, too!”

We headed off from the main part of the building towards the “C”

building part. This is the area where the residents may have some

form of disability and more challenges in their daily living skills.

As we headed off on our “wild goose chase,” Mom, her dog, Nicki

on her leash, (patient saint of a little dog,) and I down the quiet

corridors towards the door I reflected back on the numerous times

over the years where Mom would cross paths with her students. Some

had ended up living in Vermilion (where Dad and she had retired),

some were living in Westlake, and we would see them in shopping malls

and stores around the western suburbs of Cleveland.

This particular student, who may or may not be one of her students,

had been one of MY favorites, too. He had gone on to Cornell University.

Jim had come home over holidays and during my four high school years,

I had written to him, along with my Mom’s enclosed letters. When I went

off to BGSU, I heard he had moved on, gone to medical college somewhere,

but we had lost touch. Mom had more new favorites to write to. I have only

his high school graduation picture, had his old address at Cornell, and did

not carry his torch once I met my first husband on my first day of college.

I thought of how paths twist and turn, criss and cross, I had some bubbles

of hope float up to greet me.

A silly song, kind of old but a “goody” starts out,

“Slow down,

You move too fast.

You’ve got to make the morning last,

Just kickin’ down the cobble-stones,

Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy…”

Song, “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” otherwise known as “Feelin’ Groovy.”

Written and performed by the legendary folk music duo of Simon and

Garfunkel, 1966.

I had the true feeling of “Anticipation,” another great song, by the special

songstress, Carly Simon. She sang this song the year the young man, my

Mom’s past student graduated, 1971.

We went to a door of a man who had a flag and another copy of the young,

handsome uniformed Air Forceman’s photo on his shelf outside his door.

This shelf is one I like to decorate for Mom, using some of my seasonal

decorations. I am glad to remember the servicemen around the world

who dedicated their lives to their countries.

I hesitated for a moment, then decided to knock. I heard a waverly and

faint, frail sounding man’s voice ask,

“Who is it?”

I said, “My name is Robin and my Mom lives in B building. We were

wishing to talk to you.”

The male voice gave a little louder reply,

“Wait a minute… I am coming!”

When the door opened, a tall, handsome but much older, slumped version;

a “shadow of the man in the photograph” answered the door.

I launched into my introductions, telling him enthusiastically that we were

hoping he was the father of a man my Mom had taught. I identified which

high school, the one that is only two streets over, in the same town as her

senior apartments was. He repeated the words,

“Westlake High School… my son attended one in another suburb of

Cleveland. He named it.”

I said that his name, James, with his last name was the same as one of my

Mom’s “favorite students.”

He leaned against the wall by the door, having forgotten, I imagined a cane

or a walker in his rush to open the door. He was very pleasant and regretful

of being the “wrong” James or Jim.

I looked at him, decided to give him a big hug for those thoughtful words,

and he imparted some information that may or may not be helpful on

the further investigation to where in the world is Jim or James…

When my son moved to Medina or Mentor, I forget which city, he would

get his mail mixed up with another man with the same first and last name,

who was a doctor.

This new “lead” on the man in my memories and my Mom’s held some

possibilities. We both thanked him very much, he seemed reluctant to

have us go. We mentioned we hoped to see him sometime in the future.

I took his whole name with the middle initial added to it, thinking that it

may be able to be traced or followed with a little internet help.

I have not done this yet.

I am a little afraid, maybe might seem like a “stalker” but I have a little

glimmer of hope. You know why, don’t you?

Maybe, it will be kharma or kismet…

I can always hope this may lead me to my happy ending.

Summer is a Time for Healthy Retreats

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I have been on a lot of spiritual retreats as well as many

work related team-building retreats. My youngest daughter

is at the Deer Creek State Park Lodge, where she is getting

pumped up in her part-time career of being a Health and

Wellness Coach!

There are benefits to living with a daughter who every

time you go to the store you say, “What would ______

buy?” It definitely keeps you on your toes, out of the pop,

junk, snack and bakery aisles!

Her frequent complaints include,

“Mom! Do you know anything about how much

hydrogenated fats that cookie or muffin has in it?”

“Mom! Do you know you can get just as much protein from

kale, broccoli, quinoa, black beans or (insert any other healthy

food choice here)?

“Mom! Do you know that creamer has a ton of corn syrup and

fats in it?”

This could fill several posts how my daily diet needs to be much

healthier and I need to make healthy choices!

I make sure I purchase some dark chocolate to indulge in;

its good for the heart (and still a treat!)

I am going to add a nice quote at this point to this post to

refrain from going on any longer on a “kind” and “loving”

rant!

This is what she says when she is looking after me!

She is just being “kind” and “loving” so she can have her

“Mama” here with her forever.” I know, “Awww!”

I like to say or read these encouraging words when I feel

I have gotten off track of my goals, fallen “off the healthy

diet wagon” or just ‘having a bad day!’ I like to say I am

retreating from the battle and regaining my composure.

This quote was kept in  Paul “Bear” Bryant’s wallet from

when he became an adult and carried throughout his life:

“This is the beginning of a new day,

God has given me this day to use as I will.

I can waste it or use it for good.

What I do today is very important

because I am exchanging

a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes,

this day will be gone forever

leaving something in its place

I have traded for it.

I want it to be a gain, not a loss – –

good, not evil.

Success, not failure.

In order that I shall not

foresee the price I paid for it.”

Healthy retreats in our daily lives can include communing with

nature on a walk, bicycling down a path or sitting on a park bench.

We can meditate or seek a peace that “passeth all understanding”

by talking or praying with God/Allah/Mother Nature/Higher Being.

We can also share, help, listen and go a few steps extra in our daily

walks through Life. This will build good karma (kharma) and what

goes around, comes around.

Don’t retreat completely from the work ahead.

Just stop. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out with a “whoosh!”

Take a respite and drink some water to quench your thirst.

Now, get up fully rejuvenated to continue your Journey!

Summer has just begun with the Summer Solstice (June 21)

and the Full Strawberry Moon tomorrow night (June 23).

Random caller uncovered

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I won’t write a long one about this but I did find out

who was calling me on their personal phone about

their boyfriend. She had said, “If you are starting a

relationship with someone new in the past three

weeks, he is already in a 9 month relationship!”

I got quite a few comments condemning her behavior.

I kind of defended my answering her questions because

I felt she was reaching out, needing a little reassurance

and maybe this would make a difference by talking nicely

to her.

I do know the man, he is one who lives not too far away, and

I did guess that he was the one who I would drive him if his

older car would not start in the morning. I told him the following

story about myself. Trying to let him know, since I am pretty sure

he thinks I am “normal.”

Well, I am going to tell you of my own crazy thirty year old behavior!

I was married to a very handsome man, I always will believe

he outshines Pierce Brosnan. Has the cool look, dark hair, and

a great physique. Anyway, I was always miffed wherever we went

that women flirted, flocked or even half stalked him. We went to

a two story bar at the Continent in Columbus when it was a great

place to hang out and dance.. I went into the bathroom probably

3 times that evening. It was hard work, I had to get the babysitter,

get my hair blown dry, curled, makeup and hose on. And here he

was, walked out of the shower gorgeous.

While we were slow dancing and enjoying a romantic moment, I

felt a bumpy pocket on his shirt. I could not help myself, I pulled

my body away from him, and pulled out not 1 but 3 professional

business “cards!” Not only did I ruin that moment, I proceeded to

ruin the night.

I was not a “babe in the woods” I had already been married and

divorced when I met my second husband, a social worker, Ohio

University Lancaster branch professor, and a journalist. Yes, he

could walk into many venues with his journalist’s card and we got

in. So, why be insecure? Good question!

The last time I made a total fool out of myself I was still thirty and

holding. I had our six month old in the baby seat and my two school

aged children dropped off at school. I had found a nude picture of a

woman in my husband’s music cassette case and I knew who she was!

I had found out through a coworker that she was off sick when I called

at noon to talk to my husband.

I drove our baby over to her house, unhooked her and walked up to the

door. When the door opened, Susan hesitated, but could not exactly shut

the door in my face! After all, she and my husband worked with juvenile

delinquents and had to ride together to pick them up in different counties

to take them to the youth court or to youth detention centers.

I pushed myself in and held the picture up to a wall with the same ivy

covered wallpaper as in the picture.

I practically screamed (but knowing I held our baby) I did come just short

of it, “What does he tell you? Does he tell you he sleeps on the sofa? Poor man,

I have to get up and breastfeed and it interferes with his beauty sleep! But, (I am

going to embarrass myself by the next admission) we have sex six to seven times

a week! Don’t you believe him if he acts deprived, he is just depraved!”

This is a “prequel” to Karma/Kismet story. Susan is now a “friend” and we

greeted each other with a hug in the Fall, 2012.

Karma (or Kismet)

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When Adele’s song, “We could have had it all” comes

over the radio, it still gives me chills, near tears, or at

the very least, gets me thinking back…

Everyone has that song that takes you back to somewhere.

I have the happy songs, too. This one is almost like a

revenge song. I can also have a deep longing wash over me

all over again when I hear her chilling words.

The story I am telling today is not so much of regret but of

forgiveness. I had an unfaithful husband who worked with

his lover, both were social workers. It is strange how twice

after the affair and marriage were over, the lives of my husband’s

lover, Susan, and mine intertwined.

(I have to tell you a PG side note: this husband had the misfortune

to have my Dad’s complete and utter disgust. I proudly tell you

that my Dad went up to him after divorce court was over, with his

wrath showing in his voice, “If you would have kept your dick in

your zipper, my daughter would have walked through fire for you!” )

After the divorce and a few years went by, Susan and my paths

crossed.

The first time was while I was struggling with three children living

in a two bedroom apartment. One of the families I babysat for

decided to buy a house so I could rent it for the same amount that I

paid for the apartment. They would have an investment, with a ‘loss’

every month and I would have a nice place for my children and

theirs. This was also special for the other children who I cared for.

Like most house showings, the owner was gone. I loved the ivy in the

kitchen, the cream painted paneling in the living room and the kids’

rooms were perfect. But as I passed down the hallway, I saw her face

in a framed picture, Susan, with her own two sweet children.

This was HER house. When I froze, the realtor and parents/buyers

who accompanied me asked me, “Is there anything wrong?” I decided

right then and there, that my pain was all ‘water under the bridge.’

I answered, “No problem!”

I saw Susan at the closing and she was hesitant, “Are you okay with

this?” Again, I said, “Don’t worry, this is how it should be.”

The next time I saw Susan was 5 years later, in a job interview at

the Arbors nursing home. She was a social worker, no longer with

the juvenile delinquents but for the elderly. She would be working

closely with me when I was hired to be the Activities Director. We

would write 100’s of Care Plans for the residents together.

We would have meetings at least once a week alone.

When I had my first full day on the job, I knocked on Susan’s office

door and asked if I could talk privately to her. She said to close the

door and then, once closed, “Okay lay it on me!” She fully expected

a bitch session (excuse the language). I said, “There has to be a reason

why our paths have crossed, first in pain, second in joy (a house to live

in that was so darling!) and now, a new career (economical move.)

We both thought for awhile.  I broke the silence first, “This is about

forgiveness. I believe it was karma that led us here where we are in a

much better place than before.”

Susan thought some more, “It could be kismet. But mainly I would like

to think; ‘his loss, our gain!'”

The last time I saw her was not of a noteworthy “big step” sort of thing.

She was waiting outside an elementary school for her granddaughter,

I was waiting for my two grandchildren. We walked towards each other

and hugged. We had not seen each other for ten years this time. Our paths

did not cross, they merged at last.

I like to think about the song by Rascal Flatts that goes, “God bless the

broken road that led me back to you.” We all assume that it has to be

about love, most of the lyrics point that way. But I would like to say that

I learned how to forgive. I learned how to care about someone who broke

up my marriage. If that doesn’t give me a little extra bit of good karma, (or

kismet!) I don’t know what will! And what a beautiful experience it turned

out to be!

kismet (Turkish) means fate or destiny

karma/kharma (Buddhism, Hinduism) the sum of the paths taken in this life

and other existences. Fate or destiny.

The Untamed Man

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This is going to be hard to say but you know that writers do

not always write things in sequence, right? Well, that is why

it will surprise you that I am going to reveal there is another

man in my life. He has been there on the edges of this whole

adventure all along, listening to the dates and the crazy trip

to Florida. He has listened to my evaluations and some of my

hesitations.

I have another confession to make, I have been hiding a big

part of what kind of man I was looking for, because it is an

external decision. I have discarded probably 1200-1450 men

that have winked at me because of their way above average looks!

You will probably think I am crazy but I have to tell you a short

side story.

My second husband would make Pierce Brosnan envious because

he has not aged nor grayed yet. He also has those rugged looks that

make women swoon and some used to give him their phone numbers as

soon as I would leave the room, go to the ladies’ room, or dance with a

friend. He made me realize how unsafe it is to be with a handsome man!

He broke my heart and that is all there needs to be said at this time.

It made me swear off good looking men, so I would delete and not wink

back at any men who looked like they were heartbreaker material!

Anyway, along the way in the spring, I met a nice man who was very

average, so sorry to be blunt. He made me feel comfortable, he made

me laugh, and he didn’t seem to have any agendas or wild past stories

to share about threesomes or such stuff men were actually sharing on

first dates with me!

Here are some quick quotes to remind you of why this is so true and

right to do: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “You need to look

inside a person to really know them.” “Beauty is only skin deep.”

My grandma used to say, “Beauty is, as beauty does.”  I am sure there

are a bunch you can rattle off the top of your head, too.

I told a friend who was thinking I had a screw loose because she was

looking over my shoulder as I discarded men after men one night.

I told her, “I want a plain, kind, deep, and good man.”  I know you

should not judge a book by its cover but I just didn’t want to have my

heart broken again by someone who thought he was ‘all that.’

I went on a hunch with this man, a dare, and took a chance that this

man was going to be the “one.” He was (hopefully, in my opinion,)

going to be a faithful and true companion. He would not be a “rambling

man, why don’t you settle down?” kind of man!

I cannot bring myself to tell you his name and cannot think of what I

want to name him now. But I will tell you, unfortunately for me, he did turn

out to be a past philanderer, he also had just come out of (in April) from

a four and a half year relationship with a married woman who had divorced

because of him! Kharma will bite him in the butt, I worried. It might rub off

on me for staying with him off and on again, hoping against hope that he

could be different this time.

As my sister in law just recently told me when I said my second husband

was back in touch (also married and not intending to divorce), “Why would

you want to recycle that mess?” Exactly, this current six month dating situation

was with a divorced man who had just exited a relationship that he had created

havoc in, (oh, I love that commercial with Mayhem in it! makes me think of

him!)

I overheard him talking to a friend, another person who dates him. He calls me a

friend, also. He said when he got off the phone, “She thinks I am gorgeous! She

always uses that word for me! Can you believe it?” I told him I would never describe

him as such.

“Sorry,” I said, “but I think you are like me, attractive as you get to know

you, but not at the movie star level. I would reserve the word gorgeous for those 10

most beautiful people they show in magazines at the close of the year.”

Maybe I wanted to finally sabotage the agonizing months of liking him more that I

could say, listening to him tell me about the big boobs on one woman, the tight butt

on another, and becoming the man who may have been plain on the outside but he

THOUGHT he was hot on the outside! I was saddened to think of all the time I was

hoping that we would give up all the others and date exclusively, he was thinking

how can I get the hottest babe in town to notice me?

Last word on the subject: he will remain the only unnamed man on my post. I was

hoping that the plain man might be grateful and show consideration for a nice woman:

ME!