She is Compassion.

Steps for spiritual cleansing:

Wash hands in water basin.

Ring bell.

Bow twice, clap twice, and then bow once more.

et voila!

Cleansed and ready to enter the temple!

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Daienji Temple || Megaru-ku, tokyo, Japan

We begin again.

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My meditation space at our home in Tokyo.

One morning I woke up and peeled oranges, so my hands smelled like oranges. I became a woman who smells more like oranges than cigarettes. It did not happen over night, but sometimes through the small acts of preparing fruit and making tea I see how much I’ve changed. The big picture lives in the smallest moments. I begin to see myself as someone disciplined enough to drink tea and wear all white because I do not have to act like a CLEAN person because I AM a clean person. Once again I get the hint and reflect on the feeling that ” I have arrived”  smelling of citrus and wearing all white, so I ask myself why is this so exciting?

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Daienji Temple

Q: Is it exciting to see progress because it shows that our daily work and routines are in fact working? OR is it exciting to see progress because we are getting away from the bad thing, the bad parts? Is it because we are finally CLEAN? Is it because we are CLEANSING ourselves? 

A: The answer to this question is to continue asking ourselves these questions. INTENTION IS KEY. Checking into what we are really hoping to achieve is key, and in my opinion it is what makes or breaks these moments. 

The lessons we are reminded of as often as we forget them are usually the most important ones, so lots of reminding most likely means that we are moving towards that authentic light.

“Things don’t change. We change.” – H.D. Thoreau 

Apologies 

My eyebrows are too thin for no make-up. I am too old.

IMG_4340-1It frustrates me that I still feel ugly without make-up after all of these years, and it frustrates me even more that I tell myself that while preaching self-love. Ending this cycle means ending shame. Make-up and food are good indicators as to my security level. I mean I know I am already a non-smoker who smells like oranges and does yoga, but I want all of that and the confidence of loving my body and feeling beautiful in my own skin. I am so uncomfortable sometimes with my physical body that it is middle school ridiculous. I am ashamed that I am not someone who is confident and secure with their appearance. This must be a hook from centuries ago because it is in my oldest brain. As in it does not want me to leave.  It isn’t a failure to succumb to the fear, but it is not brave either. It is hard both ways, and today I decide to put on my okay looking cat-eye-liner for the one millionth time in my life. It is what it is, and we do the best we can. There is nothing that anyone can say to me that would hurt as much as what I have said to myself over the years. How cruel we can be to the thing that gives us a reason to be. We are here because of it and we despise it for existing. How did this pattern surface? How did I start hating myself so much?

I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I have to apologize to you over and over again. You are enough always.

I am a victim of self-harm, verbal and physical abuse by my own hand, and I noticed it today when I opened my copy of crystals for beginners that my SISTER gave me for Christmas. There is a healing formation with certain crystals meant for abuse victims and a mantra that says, “I release myself from any harm I have sustained and move forward with self-compassion.”

There is no use in shaming ourselves for not being able to live without shame. This is a process. OVER AND OVER. It is progress, not perfection.

Guan Yin: Buddhist Goddess of Mercy & Compassion 

I have an image of Guan Yin that I got from a copy of Lion’s Roar magazine in Portland. She is compassion, so she became a permanent fixture in my meditation space. She shows up everywhere for me since I read the story of the Golden Bee, and today was no different than any other time. It was no mistake or a surprise that I ended up at Senso-ji today only to find out that the entire temple is devoted to Guan Yin. I seriously went there without knowing anything about that and started tearing up when she was on the ceiling while they were chanting. This is what God feels like, and it feels good. I am home, I think to myself like all the other times she just showed up at the same place as me. It’s finally time that I start showing myself some compassion. It is time for me to show mercy to myself. How are these people in awe of this place like me? How am I so comfortable here? I BELONG to a body that is beautiful. What sort of place opens itself up to a goddess of mercy like this? I wanted to cry in the best way in this very crowded temple. The small places and spaces that have felt so personal to me over the years are welcome right here around thousands of other people. We all came here for compassion because she is life-giving. Mercy. Mercy. Mercy.

Jacqui, please leave me alone. When will you just let me live like a human being? 

Stop ignoring my needs.You are always needy because I am always deprived. 

Why are we so deprived of love? I want to finally show myself compassion. My lovely buddhist goddess. ❤

WALLS & SELF LOVE

Building barriers around ourselves from ourselves is cruelty, plain and simple. The thing about freedom and letting go, is that once we feel even a fraction of what it means to live out in the open, the deal is done. Once we taste it, we will never forget what it was like. Something inside of us wants to be free from all of the damages, and eventually we all face these crossroads. You can either stay here and pretend that you do not know what it is like to be free, or you can start something new where anything can happen. Free means letting go of certainty. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. When I first got sober, Hip Sobriety talked a lot about letting go of one thing at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed. Getting sober AND quitting smoking, food issues, prescriptions and just dealing with everything else is mentally exhausting. The thought of nailing all of our demons in one hoorah is a little outrageous, isn’t it ? So one by one I let alcohol, pot, cigarettes, bingeing and purging, and adderall* leave my body and my life.

The thing about living in a more spacious environment is that when something grabs a hold of your throat, you can feel it and recognize it immediately. What is this horrible constriction, let me go! I let go of one thing at a time to get here, and I learned that hanging on past the due date is never as rewarding as I think it will be. Finally it is time to let go a little bit of SELF HATE.  I am compassion. Thank you again Guan Yin. ❤

P.S. The Buddha and I have come a long way since buying a small replica in candle form at a tjmax in Winnipeg. The one that I burned in our hotel room until it went down to the wick. The one we actually found out was an outdoor citronella candle.

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Daienji Temple || Meguro-ku, Tokyo, Japan

P.P.S. Home cooking is the best way to feel good about food. Feeding my body with rice everyday. White rice is very nice.

For more on the sobriety journey, follow The OAM on Instagram @the_oam, and check out The OAM facebook page.

Note:

*adderall: post coming soon on adderall and weight issues.

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