Buddhist Musicians to Include in Your Wedding Playlist

15 Oct

The first person I think of when I think of Buddhist musicians is Leonard Cohen. This is a great song!

Please the jazz lovers on your guest list with some Herbie Hancock. Sam writes for Tricycle that Hancock said Buddhism’s “lessons were made manifest ‘through the music.'”

Tina Turner would be a fun sing along for later in the party.

Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys sometimes identified as Buddhist. In this interview with Tricycle, he said, “I study life and people and I think the Buddhist path is a really strong one, really intelligent.”

Other musicians rumored to be interested in Buddhism  include Alanis Morissette, Jennifer Lopez, and Courtney Love.

Hey, we’re married!

22 Sep

Our wedding was on 9/2/2012 and it was wonderful. I did my best to be present, but even with the intention and planning, I’m not sure how I did. I was mindful and present in a different way than I usually experience. I was completely absorbed in what was happening, but not always because I was consciously trying to be (though I did that some too). More because I was so ENGULFED in all of it.

Letting Go of Guilt About Wedding Decisions

27 Jul

Zen talks a lot about letting go– of attachments, of our sense of ourselves as independent, of negative thoughts. When I think about these ideas, I think they are good goals, but I don’t always really feel them. Occasionally, though, I tell myself I am letting go of something and I will touch that place for a moment. I think that’s something people don’t talk about much– that a lot of the time the habits we try to cultivate– forgiveness, surrender, acceptance, aren’t results. We can feel them for a bit and then our negative mind patterns take over again. We can touch forgiveness and come back to anger. We can accept something for a moment and then not accept it in the next. Today, I had a few moments where I let go of guilt about spending too much money on a clutch for the wedding. It is not something I need, it is silk, which I have moral hesitations about, and it was expensive. My sister told me I have saved a lot of money in other ways on the wedding and it is worth it if it makes me happy, and I agree with her, but I also didn’t want to use that as an excuse to spend frivolously. Then while walking, I realized I am going to keep the purse, it will make me happy, and feeling guilty would not help anything. It wasn’t a justification for the things I felt badly about. We make decisions all the time that find a balance between good and harm. It was a realization that once I have made one of those decisions, I have to let it go. This does not mean ignoring compassion in your decisions– it means that sometimes when you make a decision that values your happiness, even if you feel bad about other aspects of it, you should also be compassionate with yourself.

Breathing in, I accept this moment as it is
Breathing out, I release my guilt and doubt

Appreciating the People Who Help Make a Wedding Happen

13 Jul

In the tradition practiced at Deer Park, there are five contemplations read before each meal. Two of them deal explictly with gratitude:

“This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings and much hard work.”
“May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.”

If even the simplest meal is the gift of so many, imagine the gifts– emotional, physical, and financial– that allow us to enjoy even the simplest wedding. We can use the same contemplations for our wedding:

This wedding is a gift of numerous living beings and much hard work– family and friends, coworkers, and vendors.
May we be present in every moment with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.

Even the smallest detail, one that may seem insignificant, combines with the others to let each moment occur– approved vacation time, a photographer returning a phone call, a stranger’s smile and congratulations. Consider, in awe, all that had to come together for every moment.

Resolve to show your gratitude, through words and actions, to all around you.

Mindful Consumption and Wedding Registries: What are some good things to ask for?

12 Jul

Others have written about wedding registries for those who feel hesitant about creating one. Faith Durand encourages asking questions like ” Is there anything that would make it easier to help others or to be more hospitable?” and ” How can I make my kitchen greener or more sustainable?” and I think those are wonderful guiding inquiries.

Meg Keene writes, “The registry has nothing to do with the wedding. Our great-aunts and grandmothers are on to something when they insist that you register so they know what pots you want. The registry is not about the wedding, the registry is about the marriage. For us, we hope that means a long life with a passel of kids, a ton of family gatherings, and lots of cooking. So for us, that’s what a registry is about – letting our friends and loved ones build that home for us. The registry is like a barn raising.”

Not only can your loved ones’ generosity help you provide hospitality or live more sustainably, but their gifts can make more visible a very Zen idea– When we are using gifts from our community every day, we can see how everything we do is connected to those around us.

That being said, not everything on our registry was picked with these things in mind. Part of my practice though, is trying to be more mindful without being too hard on myself. Here are a few of the better picks:

Heart Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

I hope this book will be a good resource for creating healthy and compassionate meals that we, and maybe even meat eating friends will enjoy.

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner

We put several natural cleaning products on our registry, as they are safer and healthier for ourselves, our pets, guests, and the environment. Maybe they will even encourage us to clean more!

Simplee Cleen Microfiber Refills

We bought a Swiffer sweeper a while ago, and felt bad when we realized we hadn’t even thought about how wasteful the refills are. With these, we could sweep away and not worry about waste.

Tofu XPress Gourmet Food Press

We eat a lot of tofu, and the way we press it– with paper towels, is a habit I’d like to change. This baby could save some trees!

Fiesta Dinnerware

Fiesta ware comes from my home state of West Virginia, and many people there, including my mom, collect it. This is one of those items that will remind me every day of my connection to my family and home.

Did you or do you plan to make a registry? What was or is on it?

A Not-Very-In-The-Moment Thought

11 Jul

That almost unbearable achy feeling I get when my mom or grandma is upset or thinks I am upset or disappointed? That’s only going to get worse with parenthood, isn’t it?

Friday Wedding Meditation: Joining Families

7 Jul

Today Jared and I got our marriage license, and got to write down our new names. We are both going to use both of our last names and will be Firstname Middlename Mylast Hislast. I am happy we’re doing this. Apart from the woman taking the man’s name being kind of an outdated tradition, I would be sad to lose what I feel is a connection to my mom, my dad, and my sister. We already live across the country from my family, and in some physical ways it feels like I have joined Jared’s family. We go to their houses for most holidays, we hang out and watch tv on their couches when our dryer isn’t working. I love this, and am so glad we have them nearby. At the same time, I need the symbolic connection to my family through my name. I want us to have the same name, though, since we are forming our own family with this marriage, too, and feel really lucky that Jared has been open to changing his name too from the day we got engaged. Even with this egalitarian approach, changing names is a little scary. That’s why I’m choosing to think of it as adding to my name rather than changing it, since that is actually what we are doing, and because it is more representative of what we are actually doing. Neither of us is leaving our family of origin for another– we are adding each other’s families to our own. This is what is on my mind as I write today’s wedding meditation, which combines some of my experience at a Quaker college with the regular Zen exercises.

Begin, as always, by paying attention to your breathing. Wait until your mind calms before you continue. When your mind wanders, bring it gently back to your breath.
Think about your family. Begin by considering those closest to you– perhaps your mother and father, your siblings and grandparents. Notice how your body and breath respond to these thoughts. If you feel any tension, bring your breath to that part of your body.

Sit for a moment, and hold each of these people in the light, one by one.  Start with those you have the best relationship with. Try to envision their face, their voice, how you feel when you are around them. Smile to them and send them happy thoughts. Next, move to anyone you may have a more difficult relationship with. Again, bring your breath to any points of tension in your body. Breathing in, remember that just as we can accept all parts of ourselves, we can learn to accept others. Don’t try to change yourself or the person you are thinking of; just hold them in the light in your mind. Breathing out, release your pain surrounding this relationship.

After holding each of the people in your immediate family, living and dead, in the light for a few moments, you can begin to expand the circle, bringing in cousins, aunts and uncles, and going further back to ancestors you may never have met. Breathe in their love and connection and breathe out anything painful or difficult.

Next, move on to your partner’s family. Begin by sending light and love to your partner and move outward to his or her family and ancestors. You can begin to see the lines that led to his or her manifestation and how he or she is still connected to all of his or her ancestors. Breathe in appreciation for all of the people and conditions that led to each of your existences in this current form. Breathe out any fear or anger.

Now, hold yourself and your partner in the light. This time, when you expand the circle, include both of your families and ancestors. You are connecting all of these people through your new family, at the same time that you are all already connected.

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