Tag Archives: Buddhism

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.


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.

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 Apart from the woman taking the man’s name being kind of an outdated tradition, I would be sad to lose what I feel is a connection to my mom, my dad, and my sister.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.

Friday Wedding Meditation: Waiting

29 Jun

We’ve heard the cliches from people planning weddings: “I’m just ready for the wedding to be over.” and “We should just elope!” Most of our engagement, even thought parts have been extremely frustrating, I have managed to avoid saying these things. The past couple weeks, though, I have at least been telling a few people, “I am just ready to be on the beach in Hawaii.” Part of this is because, even though we still have a lot of things to do before the wedding, the list is now at the point where we COULD rush and do it pretty quickly if we had to.  It’s also nice to remember that after the stress of planning, I will be laying on a beautiful beach– and soon! I don’t want it to just be OVER though– I want to be present for the rest of our engagement AND the wedding! And I AM excited for that part too! I’m excited for lots of friends and family to be here and for the wedding itself. I should start telling people that instead of the more negative-sounding, “I just want to be on the beach.”  I don’t want to just be ready for the wedding to be here either, though. I want to enjoy the next couple months of being engaged. Sometimes married couples say things like, “Before we were married…” or “When we were engaged…” and it’s cool to think about that time they’re talking about is NOW! So here’s a little meditation on all of this:

Sit quietly and pay attention to your breathing.
As your thoughts start to quiet, pay attention to your body. Are you hot or cold? Are you tired or energetic? Don’t try to change these things, just notice them.

As you sit, noticing your breath and your body, slowly start to think about your emotions in this moment.
If you are excited, you can say to yourself, “I am getting married soon and I am excited.”
If you are nervous, you can say to yourself, “I am getting married soon and I am nervous.”
If you are stressed out, you can say to yourself, “I am getting married soon and I am stressed out.”
If you have a number of feelings rush to the surface, try to name each one.

Don’t try to change your feelings. Just notice them.
Try not to get caught up in why you feel the way you feel. If you find your mind starting to wander, take a breath and come back to your breathing.

Breathe in and smile. You are here right now.
Breathe out and remember this is a wonderful moment. You have already arrived.

Friday Wedding Meditation: Concentration

22 Jun

It is still more than two months until our wedding, but I am already having trouble concentrating on other things. Why do work when (besides it being a bit slow because of the summer) I can look at potential snorkeling trips for the honeymoon or chat with everyone I know who is online about wedding plans? Because if I don’t, I will 1) Not get any work done in the next couple months and 2) Lose my mind. So here is my attempt at a meditation to help with concentration on things OTHER than weddings.

Sit for a moment with your breath. Notice it going in and out of your nose. As thoughts arise, notice them, and try to come back to your breath. At first your mind may seem very noisy and it may be hard to notice your breath at all. Let your to-do list, your doubts, your nervousness, your excitement come to the surface and then pass away. Take each thought as it arises and speak to it. You may say, “Hello, excitement,” or “Hello, worry.” Your thoughts and feelings will still be there to come back to if you choose to let them go for now. Slowly, your mind will quiet.  As it does, you can shift your focus to a task you would like to complete. If more distracting thoughts arise, say hello to them and gently let them go.



Friday Wedding Meditation: Breathing through a to-do list

15 Jun

So I think, partially in an effort to write here more frequently, and partially to encourage my own meditation practice, I am going to try to write a little Zen meditation related to wedding planning each week. Here we go.

Put away your to-do list and sit in a comfortable position. Take a few seconds and notice your breath. Is it deep or shallow or somewhere in between? Don’t try to change it; just notice it. You may feel very busy and like there is a lot for you to do. Realize, with an in breath, that there is nothing  you need to do in this moment except to pay attention to your breathing.

Breathing in, I am happy
Breathing out, I release my tension surrounding my to-do list

Breathing in, I feel the support and love of those around me
Breathing out, I let go of my judgment of myself

Breathing in, I smile to my partner
Breathing out, I surrender to the process

Take a few more moments to watch your breath. When you are ready, take out your to-do list again. Look at the first task you will take on. Remember as you set out to accomplish it, you need to think only about that one task. If you feel yourself getting tense, come back to your breath.

Here I am

12 Feb

I’m Becca and this is my new wedding/marriage/family/home blog. I am, and hope this blog will be, kind of offbeat/practical/indie, etc. This is not a statement about any of those sites. I’m not fixing something they didn’t get right and I’m not trying to compete with them. So why don’t I just contribute there? Meg says, on A Practical Wedding, “Start a blog if you feel like you have a perspective that’s not being heard. If you’re doing exactly what someone else is already doing, what’s the point?” And that almost stopped me from making this. But there are a number of reasons why, even though I feel myself to be a kindred spirit addressing similar issues as some of the amazing women blogging about these kinds of things, I want my own space.

I just saw Meg speak at the Pasadena stop of the APW book tour and the main thing I came away with was the thought, “I need to be writing right now!” I’ve always been a writer. I journaled almost every day from when I was 9 to when I was 12 or so, and words have always made sense to me. When something is written well it sounds right to me, and I edit sentences in my head before I even get them out. Words feel important, and I often feel caught in a situation or feeling until I have figured out the words to describe it. Jared and I got engaged in October, but our 3 months of engagement so far have felt like a lifetime. I find myself having important thoughts about relationships, family, death, commitment, and home every day. It has been wonderful to read other’s thoughts on this at some of the sites mentioned above, and I am so thankful to be engaged at a time when these communities are thriving. But just as reading another 12-year-old’s diary might make 12-year-old Becca feel less alone and confused, it isn’t a substitute for writing myself. Yes, I can comment and contribute to other communities, and I’d like to, but this also feels important.

My future sister in law has a blog about her home, life, and family. It’s not what many would consider offbeat, but it’s adorable, and I like seeing photos of her daily life and the lives of my nieces. She’s become part of a community of women who blog about their homes, lives, and families too. They comment on each other’s stories and photos and even send each other gifts. I want something like that for people who visit the kinds of sites I like to read. People who question shaving their legs, for example. So let’s do that! Let’s all write about our wedding planning, marriages, jobs, and everything else. Let’s all start blogs and share bits of our experience and thoughts with each other. We can all gather at a few central spots, but let’s also decentralize a bit. What are you thinking about today?

I’m thinking about this blog title. It’s from a meditation we learned at a zen retreat we attended at Deer Park Monastery in May 2010. As you walk, you are supposed to say to yourself, “I have arrived. I am home.” Soon after Jer and I got engaged, I had a mini-freakout. “It’s like you’re going somewhere in life but you never get there! You just keep GOING!” I said through tears. Then I remembered the meditation and realized a much better way to think about is that we are all already here. We have arrived. Whether we’re waiting for or planning a proposal, planning a wedding, already married, or anything else, we have arrived! There’s nowhere to go. Just be here.