Changing Karma & Challenging Obstacles

I chanted for an hour this morning, and read an encouraging article in the World Tribune, my Buddhist newspaper that I subscribe to. Often, I chant to be able to change my karma, or to turn my karma into my mission. I was reading about the experience of a man in Baltimore who found a passage that reads: It is not possible to change our karma unless we deeply examine the true nature of our mind and character – which has shaped our destiny – and then work to polish our life and achieve our human revolution. Toward this end, we need to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to carrying out our mission for kosen-rufu – an endeavor that requires chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with resolute faith, challenging obstacles and striving to do away with injustice. This passage makes me think about my character, how I’ve always thought of myself, and occasionally what my voices say about me. My husband has also given me another perspective on my own personality and character, a perspective that I had not thought of before.

I heard a voice say earlier, We must have told you a thousand times not to write that book,  and It’s ok if you write the book, as long as you don’t make any money from it. They are still trying to get me to make an agreement with them. I’m still trying to ignore what they say. Every once and awhile, something that they say sticks in my mind, and I dwell on it. Fortunately, most of the time I don’t. I think I’m doing better at not responding to them, and ignoring them. That’s good!

A New Website

I spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to set up a website to promote myself as a freelance writer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get very far. I tried a couple of website builder programs, but both of them were too complicated, and I couldn’t get the web pages to look how I wanted them to look. I’m going to spend some more time working on it today, and continue writing in my book.

John and I went to the gym last night. I heard some of the things they were saying to me. Usually, if I don’t write down what I hear, I will forget what the voices say. Both my therapist and John have said not to focus on what they say anymore. Focusing on what the voices say, and trying to make sense of it is another way of giving them power. I don’t want to do that, because it makes things worse. I end up worrying, and getting distracted from other activities that I should be focusing on instead, like writing. I’ve also noticed that what the voices say doesn’t change that much. They tend to say the same things, and focus on the same issues: chanting, my book, the lawsuits they’ve filed, and who they are going to kill if I don’t make an agreement with them. I’ve come to the conclusion that thinking about what they say, responding to them in my head, and listening to them isn’t worth my time and energy. I constantly focus on what I’m doing, and my own thoughts, rather than what I hear the voices say. My days go much better this way.

John and I may drive to Irvine to visit his brother for Thanksgiving. We haven’t decided yet, but if we do, it will be late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. John’s parents and his other brother are going also, so it should be a fun trip!

A Nice Weekend

We moved the last of our furniture out of the apartment on Saturday and into storage. We turned in our keys, so we no longer have our apartment! We took one last picture of us in our empty apartment before we left. Fortunately for us, it waited until Sunday to rain. We went over to John’s sister’s house yesterday for a delicious brunch. We brought mimosas, and ate too much. For the most part, the voices that I have heard, I’ve been able to ignore. I don’t think about them that much, and I’ve stopped trying to make sense of what they say. This is still a constant challenge for me, and it’s something I will always be working on. It is much better than being worried all the time, and always trying to figure out something that has never made sense, and never will.

I didn’t chant on the weekend, but I woke up early this morning, put the laundry in, and chanted for half an hour. Since I posted my profile on Linked In, I’ve joined a Women’s Memoir group, and some other freelance writing groups. I’ve received a few comments from other women who have read my blog, and found it helpful. I’m glad I’m able to encourage other people!

Sharing My Diagnosis With Friends

Yesterday I met a friend for breakfast in Mountain View, and then went to my therapy appointment afterward. While we were eating breakfast, I was debating whether to tell my friend about my diagnosis, my blog and my book. I wasn’t sure what she would think, so as we were leaving, I wrote down my website on a piece of scrap paper, and told her she could read my blog if she was interested. I didn’t tell her specifically what it was about. That evening, she wrote me a very nice email saying she had read my blog, and that she thought I was a very strong person. She was very supportive, and I was glad I decided to share my diagnosis with her, even though I didn’t tell her directly. Telling someone you have a mental illness can be risky. You never know how the other person will react. I have been very fortunate. I have a very loving and supportive family, as well as a strong network of friends. I always have someone to talk to!

My therapy went well. I told my therapist that John and I had a good time in Washington. I told her that I had really made an effort to ignore the voices, and not respond to what they said. I found that I do much better this way, rather than trying to make sense of what they say, or trying to come to an agreement. She said she thinks that I am making good progress by ignoring the voices, and not letting them affect me. She still wants me to keep my Thought Record, so I’m going to continue with it.

Earlier this morning, the voices told me that they promised they would be quiet if I would do something that they wanted me to do. I never heard what it was they wanted me to do, but I couldn’t imagine that they ever would be quiet, regardless of what I did or didn’t do. I’m going to do some more writing today, and tomorrow is the weekend!

Mimosas on Sunday

I wrote another page and a half in my book yesterday. It’s coming along, but sometimes I find it difficult to think back and remember what happened. It’s like reliving the experience all over again, and mostly I just want to forget. I think the best thing I did was to start keeping a journal, and start writing a blog. Thanks to my husband’s encouragement, I never would have done either! I chanted for half an hour this morning. John’s parents and his brother went to San Jose for a doctor’s appointment, so the house is quiet now. I’ve been staying busy writing. I even found a woman who wants to start an online critique group. I responded to her post, and told her that I was writing a memoir and would be interested in joining her group.

The more I focus on not paying attention to what the voices say, and not trying to make sense of what they say, the better I do. If I listen to them, and try to understand them, then I usually end up getting worried, depressed, or angry. I thought about this when John and I were in DC last week. I made an effort to not respond when I heard them say something. Often, when I hear a voice say something, I will respond in my head. Kind of like having a conversation, only it’s just in my head. Last week, I really tried not to respond to anything I heard, and I also made an effort not to think about the past. This worked pretty well. If I ignore my voices, and don’t respond, then I can continue with what I am doing, and I am not affected by what they say. My days are much better this way.

I’m going to a Buddhist meeting in Morgan Hill next week, and we’re having a pre-Thanksgiving brunch on Sunday. John and I are bringing the mimosas!