2015 December 9

Lotus Petals in the Snow – Now Available for Purchase!

Lotus Petals poster copy

This is not a drill!

The book that I’ve been working on is officially out!

It’s been a complete labor of love, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that being a first time editor of roughly 30 pieces was easy – especially when working with the words of so many people who I admire. The who’s who of Canadian Buddhist women is right here folks. All in this one book! I’m still left shaking my head.

My teacher Ponlop Rinpoche often speaks to the power of repeating the teachings in order to make sure that the messages really stick. This is no different when editing a book given that you’ve reviewed the same submission several times and then one more time. What’s interesting is that each time I went through the articles, I was left with deeper messages emerging or a new layer of feelings towards them. Each one provided a glimpse of the Dharma as expressed by a fellow female Timbit muncher (Canadian-speak for delicious mini doughnuts).

It was a true joy to have worked on this book, but what makes it even more meaningful is that it is a gift economy book, which means that 100% of net proceeds from online sales will be donated to the Buddhist Compassion Tzu Chi Foundation for charitable work. Proceeds from direct sales will support local Buddhist initiatives across Canada. Everyone involved in the project had donated their energy, work and and time.

You can purchase the anthology at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Indigo.ca

If you do purchase the anthology, please be sure to leave a review. Also please do help to spread the word in your network.

If you do pick up a copy, please let me know what you think of it. I’d love to hear your feedback.

 

2015 November 28

Full Contact Enlightenment – Random Linkage: November

Here dear friends is a handful of items that have crossed my eyeballs on the internet lately. I like to call it Random Linkage.

May you all be titillated, entertained and perhaps illuminated.

A healthy ego is necessary to achieving our goals, to building healthy relationships, and to leading a satisfying and meaningful life. But an ego that gets too big—that becomes egotism—can actually inhibit all those wonderful possibilities. In this luminous guide, David Richo offers wisdom from psychology, myth, and spiritual traditions to show us how to let go of the kind of ego that causes suffering for ourselves and others. As a wonderful result, we gain self-confidence and find new ways to love too. It’s not a matter of getting rid of ego but of seeing through it. When we learn to do that, Dave says, we’ll discover the core of indestructible goodness in our enlightened nature. Then, when we see “big ego” expressed in ourselves or others, we begin to regard it with compassion rather than disdain. We are truly, Dave shows, not what we think but much, much more.

I’m feeling the energy… Are you?

16P00

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2015 November 22

More Extraordinary Circumstances

In cased you missed my recent blog post about my recent big night out – well here’s a bit of serendipity after seeing this article a few days ago.

“Something that meant so much to me was now part of the problem. Music is one of the most important parts of my life but I just came to terms with the fact that I probably wasn’t going to be enjoying live loud music again anytime soon, maybe ever.”

Seems that many more of us are starting to have big nights out. And for those who struggle with anxiety, that’s saying a lot!
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2015 November 16

An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance

This is likely one of the more bizarre show reviews you are about to read.

It’s written by someone who grew terrified of going to see bands. A panic attack during the opening act before the band OFF and boom, I was OFF. OFF to the bathroom to have a meltdown and then OFF in a taxi headed home, and feeling like a chump.

For a period of time, I dreaded leaving the house. I was gripped by the fear of even thinking about being in a room filled with loud music and other people. I was buying tickets to shows only to stay home. At very least I was supporting the scene I guess! I beat myself up over not going to see the last Tony Sly show before he passed.

Festivals. Outdoor shows. Indoor shows. Acoustic shows. Stadium shows. Any show. I was a no-show.

I collected unused ticket stubs like those people who save the bouncer-torn tickets from the shows they actually made it out of the house to enjoy.

Finally, after moving out from depression and anxiety into being able to baby step my way back into the mosh pit, I made the pact with myself that I was not missing PEARS at Foufs the end of September. Given my experience with OFF, it could have been entirely possible that I would have had a panic attack and found myself at the market down the street bathing myself in a bin of PEARS.

I decided to give myself over to working with whatever came up. I sat around in that old familiar bar and it was OK. My husband and I went to many shows there before and this night was like a return to the good old days. We made our way to the space where I had my meltdown of fear and it was OK. I stayed near the door for a bit and then moved my way further through the area and towards the merch table. Ahhhhhh! My old friend merch table. A great source of pleasure for a girl with a serious black band t-shirt addiction. I was sad to see the PEARS hoodie was only in big people sizing and recognized the merch fella for the band and asked him if they’d have any in stock on their online store. Because I really am a die-hard fan of the band, I knew his name and completely freaked him out. I dunno. I just kind of pick up these kinds of things. Maybe it’s the finishing school element that I have from being in the ‘business world’ but I always remember names.

So the opening band came on (The Isotopes) and they were pretty fun. How can anyone have a panic attack while a guy in a cup is hitting himself in the nuts with a baseball bat on stage? Old anxious me would have found a way

“Maybe the bat will slip and he’ll brain me in the bean with his sweaty, ball-beating Louisville Slugger? The lights will go up and there I’ll be. Dead. In the most embarrassing possible way. My husband will have to tell everyone I died at a punk rock show after being struck in the temple by a baseball bat mid-stroke while it slipped out of the hands of a young man who was using it to beat frantically upon his exposed jockstrap.”

I did not want to be the brat that was beat upon.

That didn’t happen. I made it through the show unscathed and without incident.

I was dying. Dying to see PEARS. It had been months- maybe a year that I’ve waited to see this band. And I was in the belly of the beast – waiting for them to take the stage.

Known for their dynamic stage antics, well mainly that of their front man who can best be described as what you’d get if you mixed:

  • An insane circus clown
  • A young Henry Rollins
  • A demon in the body of a fit, shirtless young man
  • A person undergoing an exorcism
  • Jim Carrey (someone said this and it’s kinda true)
  • A Korean water ghost
  • Someone off their meds
  • Someone on their meds

The entire band is just the tightest, best-sounding thing to hit punk rock in some time. I had no fear given I was just so stoked to see them. No panic. In the moment. Present moment right here folks. No fear of the past panic attack. No fear of the future potential of my heart giving out due to the absolute joy of seeing them live.

Just now. In the moment.

To not mention that Teenage Bottlerocket was also playing that night would be a great omission on my part. I was able to finally meet the power pop punk rock Bodhisattva himself – Miguel and was thrilled to chat with him for a short bit. They played many new and old favorites and had such a great stage presence. The crowd loved them and rocked out fully. Not a panic attack in the house as everyone was all smiles!

It’s with great sadness that I write that their drummer Brandon Carlisle (Bran-Bran) passed away on November 7th. I’ve been following all of the great stories that many in the Teenage Bottlerocket family have shared about him and my heart goes out to everyone. He will be missed greatly.

If you are so inclined, please donate to help with the hospital and funeral costs or spread the word in your community.

 

2015 October 8

Random Linkage – October

Hey friends.

Here are a few links that caught my attention recently:

  • I’m currently trying to Fall in Love With My Work by taking this self-study course in order to figure out my professional shizz. So far so good! I’m seeing things a bit differently so that’s a promising sign.
  • Letting Go of the Need for Control – Oh yes! Currently doing this work.
  • As a wild dreamer, I appreciated this post. (Last night I dreamed that a half man/ half ram was visiting my mom. Feel free to leave your interpretation in the comments!)
  • Welcome back old friend! The Buddhablogging space missed you.
  • Chris Grosso’s new book ‘Everything Mind’ was just released. You should check it out!
  • Pretty much how I feel when meditating right here in this one gif…

shake it

Ian_Willms___Boreal_Collective___ianwillms__•_Instagram_photos_and_videos

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2015 October 3

Unlearning

The process of unlearning has been front and center in my life these days. My mother is dying and had packaged up a box of some various mementos for me – photos, notes, baby shoes, children’s books and every single one of my report cards. I haven’t been able to look at the box until the past week after it has sat on my desk for several months.

I read through the report cards last night and it was like stepping into a time machine. In reading the perfect penmanship of many a teacher, a pattern emerged of their reports of a kid who was obsessed with reading and writing, needed to work on her math (year after year), who once failed to turn in a book report and who had on and off good, then horrible attendance during grade 4. This may have been the year I developed a nervous stomach and used to barf in class. I will never forget leaving a huge milky hotdoggy spurt pile on the linoleum after lunch and the shame I felt – even to this day. I think for some who remember me, that is likely all that remains in their mind of me. Milky hotdoggy barfy girl.

So we have the book smarts all documented in bright, cheery looking card stock format and gradings of percentages or letters listed row upon row. We have some cursory notes from the teachers wishing me happy holidays or telling me to pull up my socks and hunker down with my math lessons. Some offered to give me extra help – others praised my creativity knowing that I wouldn’t be likely to be a brain surgeon but more apt to write Buzzfeed articles about “The Top 10 Kitten Memes of Calico Kitties Dressed as Brain Surgeons.” My lot in life. I accept that.

We also have the personality insights they left in the comments boxes.

  • Polite
  • Considerate
  • Quiet
  • Very focused on her work
  • Results-oriented
  • Works well with the other students

OK. So that was good right? Anyone would be delighted if their kid came home with a report card listing that praise.

This is where the unlearning is now taking place. As a kid, I was raised to be a perfectionist. To do NO wrong. To hold it all inside. Hold it together. Don’t do anything to upset anyone. Don’t do anything to get noticed. Stay calm. Stay chill. Even if you felt like crying, running away, laughing, speaking even… you were a child and children were meant to be “seen and not heard.”

Books were my BFF. A way for me to easily be seen and not heard. I read stories about mischievous kids who had all kinds of renegade adventures and were definitely seen and heard. Smash the state little Madeline. Fuck yeah Nancy Drew.

TV was my BFF. There were kids on the screen who were solving crimes, reporting the news, hanging out with cool dogs. They weren’t barfing up their lunch onto the floor.

Music was my BFF. It was like the poetry and stories I was finding escape in- but just with the added melodies hanging around in the background. It was like a mix of books and TV except the visuals weren’t on a TV set, but being created in my mind based on the lyrics.

Fast forward to “today’s modern Tanya.” You are reading a blog post by a writer/journalist/editor/creative with a Netflix addiction who seriously nerds out over music. That kid is still there. That part of me hasn’t changed. All my teachers likely saw that this was where I’d end up – except for that guidance counselor who told me I should go to beauty school, which was less of a helpful bit of guidance and more of a snide remark to the 16 year old who sat in front of her with a blue-tinted hair cut which could best be described as a “reverse mohawk.”

What has changed is the “be seen and not heard” inheritance that was genetically passed along my way. I’ve been trying hard these days to spot when I hold myself back from sharing – for fear of being seen and heard. I’ve kept myself out of the spotlight for fear of failure, for fear of being called out as lame. I’ve cut myself off of many awesome experiences out of fear. I am now active in unlearning. Active in schooling myself in a new way. Chasing away the messages of Do Better, You’re Fucking This All Up, Try Harder, Well Maybe Don’t Try Because You Will Fuck This All Up, Ah Why Bother It Will Only Suck Anyways.

Self compassion is a big part of the unlearning.

Times have been quite difficult lately. What has emerged from all of this pain, confusion and heartache is a new approach to how I view my life. I’m engaging in the grueling work of letting go. I’m rubbed raw from holding on to the rope, having clung to my hope that some things in life could have worked out differently. I’m massaging salve into my hands and looking to heal. I’m resting my voice from shouting obscenity after obscenity at myself. I’m drinking some of that woo-woo herbal tea with honey that many of you are fond of after I had labelled it as the ‘weaksauce’ of a lesser vehicle vs. the powerful Gatorade of the Mahayana. I really thought I was in the weightlifting rounds of the Mahayana and ready to save the world with my Boddhisattva superhero costume, not realizing that saying you love yourself first is more than saying it and convincing yourself that’s the case, but actually doing the work day after day after day.

Lifting oneself up is the greatest gift to oneself and others. Tapping into what we’ve been taught and questioning that is a great place to start. Seeing that we’re not fixed, our circumstances aren’t fixed – there is nothing that we can cling to. Resting with that – as terrifying as that can be. Learning that there’s always a different way of seeing. Despair – Hope. Pain – Healing. Attachment – Letting go. Not all that’s bad is good and not all that’s good is bad.

And my process of unlearning continues…

2015 September 17

Can you feel the music?

I can feel it.

I have discovered in the past little while that I respond to ASMR triggers of the auditory kind. As a kid I had this kind of reaction but never really knew what it was and it seems like it now has a name and has become a recognized thing.

touch

I get shivers in my arms, head and sometimes chest when I’d hear certain sounds. Whispering. The sound of typing (Yes.. I’m currently typing. No I’m not feeling it) and… music.

Music has always been a highly charged medium for me. I was thinking about how punk rock saved my life as a teenager. It was like yelling, screamey-sounding poetry to me. My feelings were out there another person’s lyrics. With every fast-paced beat. Every hooky change of tempo. I felt it. It resonated. Maybe it evoked some kind of primal, cave-woman sensation. Me like loud yelly, burly tuneage.

*Beats on bosom*

My love affair with music went a bit weird when I had a panic attack at a show. The very thing that I loved so much was still the same. It was my state of mind that had changed. Under different circumstances, I’d be carefree and enjoying the loud, blaring sounds, the energy of the space and really just feeling it.

Instead. I went to the washroom, paced around a bit and splashed cold water on my face. Breathing. Trying to breathe after feeling like I wasn’t breathing. Feeling terrified. Moments later, I was in a cab and feeling sideswiped by a WTF feeling that for the first time something that gave me joy was really effing scary to me.

It’s funny how we can get off track and sometimes the very things we love, morph into irritants or cause for great anxiety. The music didn’t change, the venue hadn’t changed. My relationship to live music did for a short period of time. Spotify. No problem. Live show. Nope. No thank you.

I’m thankful that my passion for music is back. I’m moving more into wanting to play and start a band. Hey. Why not dive right in? Viewing music with an entirely new framework and seeing it in it’s full expanse is exciting. When we have the ability to see our fears for what they are and acknowledge how much they hold us back, it can inspire us to reassess the way we relate to them.

I feel music differently now. Back to the way I felt it before.

2015 September 13

Help Name a New Buddhist Book!

Cover Art by Carole Leslie / ZenDotStudioCover Art by Carole Leslie | ZenDotStudio

I haven’t been speaking about it very often given that I’ve been pretty heads-down working away on it, but Sumeru Press and I are ever so close to releasing the anthology of Canadian Buddhist women’s writing.

We’re now in need of a title. Please either email info@sumeru-books.com with your pick, leave us a comment on Facebook or feel free to pick from the poll questions below.

What’s your favourite title?

 
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