Sanity and Serenity in a Selfish World

Each day after reading or listening to the news I want to jump on my blog and rant. I’ve restrained myself, but maybe the world situation is why I’ve been remiss blogging this year (– or maybe that just an excuse). To gain some serenity I’ve been studying Buddhism recently and this is what I’ve gleaned.

Buddhism is not a religion, but interfaith and a spiritual lifestyle. You can start anywhere to understand this way of life, but there are principles to guide ones path and open our outlook:

• Your thoughts, conscious conduct (do the right thing) and speech (how often do we speak ill of someone?) are key
Suffering is part of life, but needless suffering comes from dwelling on it (especially when it is over or out of our control)

Karma – moral cause and effect.
Meditation, which is the attraction for many to Buddhism. I was never very good at this, but I do practice Tai Chi especially when stressed – that counts doesn’t it? In the same vein, is mindfulness.

Who remembers the book “Be Here Now” from the 70s? That book made me realize I was often living in the past or worrying about the future. Be Here Now is essentially mindfulness and reminded me to stop and be with my children in the moment.

Everything is connected. John Muir  came by this on his own with the environmental movement: When one tries to tug at a single thing in nature, we find it is attached to everything else in the Universe.”

“…in every deliberation we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations”                         The Iroquois Confederacy

Going back to the interconnectedness of religions, most teach values such as human dignity, equality, freedom, and peace and encourage the faithful to act with empathy to others. There are many prophets who have said similar things, like the “Peace that passeth understanding” which relates to meditation and prayer and is akin to Nirvana…and the Golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is a common theme.  We turn to systems of beliefs that provide a more meaningful world.

Treat others with compassion and generosity. Avoid “toxins” like greed, ignorance and ill will.           Mahatma Gandhi said There is enough in this world for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”

Accept Change: “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap…” from the biblical book Ecclesiastes; turned into song by Pete Seeger who ended with “a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late” (later adapted by The Byrds)

Buddhism doesn’t have many ceremonies, but I read about a Tibetan center in Colorado with a rite-of-passage where parents and children face each other, bow, and vow to be kind to themselves, to each other and all beings. Isn’t that lovely?


Is it possible that I’ve been blogging for almost two years? I’ve met so many amazing people online from all over the world. Please stay in touch – it is so interesting reading about your lives and stories. And a big thank you to those who contributed guests posts to the “Expat Files.” Before I get to the wishes, I want to acknowledge how grateful I am for my life, my family and my friends.


At my desk

dog distraction_pscrp-e0538

A distraction – dog needing attention.

Looking at last year’s wishes I see that not much has changed.  So here are SIX NEW YEARS Wishes – from the Trite to the Serious:

  1. Less commercialism of the holidays. I know, I know everyone says that – I think everyone WANTS that (well maybe not the bargain crazed – but there are other days) so why can’t it happen? The workers should be home with their families and friends at least for Thanksgiving and Christmas. (I read Ohio was considering making employers pay triple wages for this type of overtime.)

Madness (image by

Christmas Chaos (image by


  1. Please let’s limit people talking on their cells phones on planes and public transport. Flying is bad enough these days without having to sit with someone shouting inanities (or even interesting conversation) at length. While we’re at it, how about people being quieter with their cells phone in public places by walking away to a more private place? And please could people drive hands free – or better yet wait to make that call and concentrate on your driving? (I witnessed a nasty accident last month between an aggressive and a distracted driver.)

(Credit Fioravanti,PC)

(image credit Fioravanti,PC)


  1. One Password. I can’t possibly remember them all and it is such a nuisance to search through the many possible combinations I have used. As one journalist wrote, “I long for the days when my memory was sharper and the only combination I had to remember was the one to my locker.”
  1. Could we have more Tolerance and Compassion for people who have different religions, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual preferences or live in poverty? For that matter I wish we give the middle class a break in this country? Enough with the rich getting richer.                                                            Remember when being a millionaire was a big deal? The richest are now worth Hundreds of Billions – it boggles the mind!

Cartoon credit Khalil Bendib

(Cartoon credit Khalil Bendib)


  1. Could the U.S. Congress get some work done and not be so obstructionist? While I’m being political, I’ll wish the Affordable Care Act a healthy future. It takes time to iron out a complicated new system – witness Social Security: how people yelled about that, but who turns it down? Ditto Medicare.
  1. A few of these items are very American, but I wish you all a Happy New Year  where ever you are  –    May your dreams come true.

Feliz Año Nuevo

Bonne Année

Please add a few more wishes from around the world! (Maybe we  can get a few more languages into this multicultural blog?)