What a Year It Has Been!

A year ago today, I had a near fatal heart attack. I survived what’s called a fluke heart attack. It wasn’t supposed to happen. It stumped the doctors. 3 stents, lots of medications, cardiac physical therapy and lots of chanting and praying Nam Myoho Renge. Today is my second birthday. My actual birthday is in a few weeks.

This year I’ve learned a lot about myself and love who I’m still growing into. I’ve gained courage and wisdom. I have learned how to unselfishly put myself first. I’ve struggled with my health for over 20 years, living with chronic pain everyday. I have a handful of health conditions. I don’t look like what I’ve been through.

However, when you feel your life slipping away from your body, you can not live as you always did. Big changes are necessary. I’m making them and living my best life and helping others to do the same.

I walk the treadmill (slowly and never letting go) with poor balance, but I do it. I ride the stationary bike and am developing leg muscles that I lost long ago. I’ve continued what I started in cardiac rehab.

I’ve been going to Zumba class. I may not look as graceful as some other participants but I try my best. I stay on the side of the room with the people who are slower, older and not as sexy in their movements. It’s Okay. We still have fun!

I’ve re-evaluated relationships, including my relationship with myself. I’ve been a people pleaser most of my life and it hasn’t benefited me. I’ve taken a hard look at my relationships and my responsibilities and realized where changes needed to be made for my own good. You cannot force what no longer fits. You can’t help others, if you don’t help yourself first.

Due to family and friends who care about and love me I’ve had some good times. They decided to share their good fortune with me. I’ve been fortunate.

To my doctors, cardiologists, nurses, cardiac physical therapists and nurse practitioner, my debt can never be repaid. I will just do all I can to help others.

The physical therapists recommended I get a rollator walker to help me walk longer distances and always have a place to sit. My vanity said no way, but I relented and I’m glad I did. I have some freedom and can now take a walk (or roll) to attend my tutoring sessions.

Tutoring adults is so rewarding. You see how much they want the knowledge and understanding most of us take for granted. One of my students had to leave the program recently. He left a card for me. He thanked me for helping him believe in himself and becoming a better man. He said he was honored to have me as his tutor. I had to hold in some tears when I read it .

This is why I fought so hard to get stronger. I have a mission to accomplish. The payoff isn’t financial. It’s changing lives, building self esteem, providing knowledge. When they understand something, I get excited. This wasn’t the path I chose for myself. It’s the road I had to ease on down.

Challenges will happen because that’s just how life works. Life is not perfect but you can be happy and appreciative despite the challenges. Chanting and studying Buddhism and attending and hosting Buddhist activities gives me the tools to be courageous, be more confident and be unafraid no matter what’s happening.

As I look forward to turning 52 in a couple of weeks, I appreciate my life so much more.  I’m mindful to take better care of myself. I pray for myself and for others.  My prayer is to win over my health and my finances and to be happy everyday.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda said, “The faith and practice of Nichiren Buddhism enables us to absolutely triumph. The Mystic Law enables us to “change poison into medicine. Advance with the great conviction that no prayer will go unanswered.”

The Universe is hearing my prayers. I have no doubt.

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Houston and Hurricane Harvey

I hope people are seeing some very important things in the horrific Houston rain and flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  8 people are dead, thousands displaced and so many rescues.
So many American people have now become refugees. I hope that those who have been opposed to helping others, now understand how refugees feel. They want to be safe and out of harm’s way with their families.
I hope we see how people are coming together to help each other in this crisis.
Why does it take crises of this proportion for us to live together unselfishly?
9/11/, Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and now Harvey prove it.
The take-away should be, we must live up to the values we say America has, every day. Be human to everyone. Every life is important. Time and again we see that it can happen.
I saw ordinary, everyday people taking their boats to rescue people they don’t know. They risked their lives to save others that don’t look like them. Collections of food, blankets, diapers and other supplies are being shipped to Houston. The Red Cross and other charities are collecting money and providing shelter. Even a furniture store, provided shelter. 
The storm has brought people together.
It’s like family who see each other only at funerals and say we need to get together for happy occasions, but you never get together until another funeral. You feel bad, then don’t change your behavior.
Let’s get it together as a country before another massive disaster forces it.
I’m thankful that my family in Houston has wonderful friends who took them in and they are safe.
I’m praying for the rain to stop and everyone can find something to salvage from their homes and their homes will be habitable. I can’t imagine how Katrina survivors who were refugees, settled in Houston, and having the same experience again, are feeling.  
Life in Houston will never be the same. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo is being chanted for their safety and comfort. For months we’ve had hateful rhetoric, a lot of it coming from the White House’s occupant and his minions. We’ve seen the heartlessness and worst of America, in Charlottesville.
The best part of America is starting to show. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said many things 54 years ago yesterday, in his  For many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
“So we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Today, let’s be inclusive, adding women, immigrants, and every ethnic group that makes up the United States to those coming to cash our check as Dr. King stated.
Can we finally and truly live up to our Constitution? It takes courage, but we are capable. Let’s clean our country  up from the top and keep on going.  I try hard to remain hopeful.
It doesn’t have to be a dream.

Success Requires a Jump!

Recently, I did a writing assignment along with the adult students I tutor. We were talking about the goals they have set for themselves.  I gave them a quote with a photo of someone skydiving and ten minutes to write about it. The quote was, ” Success requires a jump! No jump! No reward! “ I’ve added a bit more to the original piece. Here is my take on what that quote means to me.

In life we all have to jump. Jumping is taking a leap when we don’t know where the landing is. In life we must take chances, even if we are afraid. Courage builds as we fight self doubt and self defeating thoughts.

I’ve taken many jumps in life. I’ve taken exams, taken classes and pursued work that scared me. I was especially fearful, yet driven when people told me I couldn’t do it. Never tell me I can’t do something,  I will then do everything I can to prove you wrong. I’m a hard headed Capricorn. I am ambition driven.

I jumped after a heart attack and gathered the strength to go to cardiac therapy on days I couldn’t gather much energy. Even, the therapists said I was in bad shape and looked exhausted for months. I’m getting stronger and getting my energy back. My goal was healing and returning as a tutor. I knew the students needed me and I knew I could help them.

I jump towards my goals. I jump to find balance in my life. I jump everyday when I get out of bed. I jump to get where I want to go, every moment of the day.  No one succeeds standing still.

You must jump to get all the things in life that you desire. You can’t listen to others voices. You must hear your own. Winning is my goal.

I have to pursue goals with the heart of a lion, who defeats all other animals in the jungle.  I have to fight to be successful.  I have to try and take risks.  I can not be successful. without jumping every chance I get.

I may win or I may get disappointed.  Disappointments happen but they prepare me for something better.  I won’t limit myself, even when I’m afraid.

 

I will get back to writing and musing in this blog more often. It’s really been a long time.

Jump

Doing My Work

I have been MIA on the blogosphere, but as Iyanla says, “I’ve been doing my work.”

I have been working hard to get physically stronger. I’ve been attending cardiac physical therapy sessions for a few months now, in an effort to build strength and endurance. When you have already have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, it becomes more difficult to maintain stamina.

Now, add to that mix, a heart attack. The exhaustion is almost unbearable some days. My therapy sessions are still going on because some days I couldn’t get it together to attend. My therapists tell me I am making progress. Slow and steady wins the race. I will win!

I’m learning how to pace myself, so the fatigue doesn’t knock me out for days at a time.  It’s not an easy task.

I am improving on the plant based diet I had already begun. Let me tell you, reducing cheese is HARD  for me to do. I’ve been told the serving size should be the length of a fingertip. Ugggh! Really??

My recommended diet is eating more fruits and vegetables, beans, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and lean meats. I drink tons of water. Eliminating or having less salt, sugar and processed food was something I had already started doing. Over time, it’s getting easier.  I’ve lost a few pounds and really hoping to shed more.

I’ve cut my locs which I’m still getting used to.

I loved my locs but were not as healthy as they should have been.  I’m giving my hair plenty of TLC to get it in great shape. My  5 year old locs and I went through alot together.

I suffered severe pain and stress and lost my job. I went on disability and faced financial difficulties. I coped with anger about all the aforementioned. I sought out a therapist to deal with depression (I’m great now, no more depression or medication but I still see the therapist, Everyone could use a neutral party to talk to.)

Then I had a heart attack and had to ingest lots of medications with side effects. The energy around me needed to be different. I will re grow them healthier and stronger than before.

I’m working on getting out more. My cousin and I have had lunch a few times and it’s been good. It’s nice to have conversations and laughter with people in my age group. I have family that call me all the time to check on me , give support and update me on their lives. It means so much.  I hope to see friends who have stood by me, checked on me regularly ,very soon. They think about me as a person, not a “sick person”.

I am working on not letting the radical changes in our country send me into a tail spin. The disregard for others is hard to comprehend as is the stupidity. I’m a news junkie but I now limit myself to just a few hours a week of television news.  I get ticked off and that’s no good.

I read The NY Times and Washington Post online. It’s real news. I can discern fake news. and alternative facts. I am a Librarian, Fact Detective.

I’m still cant comprehend Prince is gone and it’s been a year.  We still have the music to soothe our broken hearts. purpleprince

I’m catching up on television watching Timeless, a historical time travel show on NBC. I’m  hoping it’s renewed for season 2. Please watch it OnDemand, it’s so good! William Shatner and the Smithsonian Museum love it too.

I’ve also been watching Underground, Greenleaf and Feud. I like old Hollywood movies so watching Feud, a story about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as they  filmed, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. It was a guilty pleasure.  On Netflix, I binge watched The Get Down and missed it when it was over. Season 2 please?

I’ve been working on my life.

I’ve been on a quest for happiness and positive change for quite a while.

13 years ago today, with just some of my family members and a family friend present, I began my Buddhist practice by receiving my Gohonzon. A true renewal began in my life. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo has been a lifesaver.

I cannot begin to explain all the benefits I have received and the personal growth I have achieved since then. I am truly not the person I used to be. I fight for myself. It’s been my tool to be more courageous. I am more confident and outspoken. I don’t accept blame for everything. I do take personal responsibility for what I do.

It’s helped me lessen my own suffering and allows me to work towards building my individual happiness. I pray for the happiness of others as well as myself. I pray for the betterment of our world. I am able to look within and not outside of myself to become my best self. I see things, situations and people more clearly. 

When people are happy within, we are all on the road towards world peace.

I live with the never give up spirit of an SGI Nichiren Buddhist. My mentor is SGI’s third President Daisaku Ikeda who has spread this practice, with faith and courage to 12 million members in 192 countries and territories worldwide. He took faith at 19 and was told he would only live to the age of 30 due to tuberculosis. In 2018 he will be 90 years old. He encouraged the Japanese members here in the United States to widely spread our movement for peace and they surely did.

I continue to fight for victorious days, every day. No matter what assails me, I will win. My mentor is actual proof of the benefits of the practice. When I read his writings, I become encouraged, every time, no matter what he’s written.

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Nichiren writes ” When once we chant Myoho-Renge-Kyo, with just that single sound we summon forth and manifest the Buddha nature of all… living beings. This blessing is immeasurable and boundless” (Those Initially Aspiring to the Way, WND-1, 887)

 

I will keep doing my work, receive immeasurable blessings and happiness. I will encourage others to the best of my abilities. My work is not done. In fact it’s just beginning.

Grateful for Life

2016 has been out here like a beast taking the gifted, talented, courageous, unsuspecting and everyone in between. It almost got me too. 

I’m even more appreciative of this birthday, than I thought I would be. 

Earlier this month, after going to the hospital (I was not feeling well with a rapid heartbeat and some light chest pain, for a few days) I ignored it. (having chronic pain can make you ignore pain) My heart rate became so rapid, I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore due to my family heart history. 

I had a test done in the hospital on the second day after my admittance. It seemed to go very well. I was rolled into the recovery room. 
 Moments later, I had a heart attack (a pain that can only be described as elephants sitting on my chest), requiring stents to be placed in an artery to keep it open. 

I felt myself dying, unable to breathe or swallow. Without the immediate interventions, my doctor said, had this occurred in the elevator going up to my room, The results would have been very different. 

We so often take our lives for granted thinking there is always the one chance for tomorrow. Sometimes we don’t get a tomorrow. I was protected by all the benelovent forces in the universe (shoten zenjin). I was in the right place at the exact, right moment. It was detected by my screams of pain and my vital signs. It was remedied immediately by the medical team. 

 The nurses took such good care of me assuring me that the 6 IV drips of medications (after surgery, I wasn’t allowed to move my leg or raise my head for 48 hrs) were giving me the chance to live) A big high five to nurses everywhere for their dedication to patients.

 If I been at home, I wouldn’t have been able to call 911 quickly enough to save myself.  
For the past year, I have prayed and chanted, so I could create value with and for my life. I started doing more service for others, including tutoring adults to read and write better. I’ve worked hard to the best of my ability within my local Buddhist district supporting and encouraging my fellow members.

 I see now, that through those efforts and chanting I’ve changed my karma. 

My mother died at 51 from a heart attack. I turn 51 today and survived a near fatal heart attack. I have a second chance at life. What will I do with this opportunity? I’m not sure right now what the future holds for me First, I’ll be healing my exhausted body and taking life saving medications daily. I will regain strength, endurance and stamina. 

I know my life’s mission has shifted. There’s something I’m here to do, that only I can do. I’m elated to still be here to find out what that something else is. I’m so very grateful for another year, another day, another moment. Later today I’ll be with a friend who has been here with me through thick and thin and has been the definition of a good friend through good and bad times. I will enjoy this very special day and raise the roof softly and gently. 🎈💃🏼 🎂🍾🎉❤️️🎁

America,What Have You Done?

I am drained. I didn’t sleep Tuesday night and I cried. I am concerned for all of us that are not the hue of he, who was elected into the highest office in The United States of America . White supremacy, hate, violence, bigotry, misogyny, were the winners this week. He will never be my President because he doesn’t represent me or people like me.

I voted at 7 am that morning. I’m never outside that early unless I have an appointment. I knew I had one job for that day; to defeat the orange one and his cronies.

Living in NYC all my life I knew so much about him, from his infamous marriages and divorces, to his call for the Central Park Five to be put to death (when they were exonerated he didn’t apologize),to his failed business and huge ego.

He politically came to fame by attempting to delegitimize the first black president, Barack Obama saying he wasn’t an American citizen and a Muslim. He even questioned  President Obama ‘s education and intelligence expressing doubt on his ability to have been President of the Harvard Law Review. All total blatant,racist lies.

He kept demanding for the President to present his birth certificate, the way fugitive slave catchers asked for the papers of freed black people, in the 19th century. No other President had ever been asked that question. According to history books, this country was formed by people seeking religious freedom. There is no requirement that a person has to be a Christian to be the President, no matter what the Tea Party evangelicals say.

The election is over. How do we deal with the aftermath?

I’ve already read reports of Muslim women having their hijab pulled from their heads, Hispanic children being told by other children in kindergarten that they will be going back to Mexico. A black woman was told that now, she needed to sit at the back of the bus, it was now trump time.  Another  black woman was confronted by young men and they threatened to grab her by the genitalia. I saw a video in a high school where a few paraded around inside their school yelling white power holding Trump signs. All of this and more,in the first 48 hours and the inauguration does not happen until January 20th.

This man has emboldened racist people who lay dormant, nursing the wounds to their fractured souls, because a black man was President. Times have changed. American demographics has changed. They are scared to lose their white privilege.  That’s why the slogan of the campaign meant going back to the times when they had all the power and could treat “the other” any way they wanted to. Non college educated white men and women came out to vote in droves, to get their power back. Let’s never forget, he was endorsed by the KKK and the Neo-Nazi movement.

Everything we didn’t like during the campaign rallies may become our everyday reality. That thought puts knots in my stomach, pain in my chest, body and soul. He has no sense of the average person’s life. He has no human feelings,so Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Muslims, Mexicans, LGBTQ,  the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised, the ill are all in danger with his policy  proposals. I fall into a few of these categories. It makes me uncomfortable when I know Medicare and other social programs may be in jeopardy. What will I do?

I know I’m not alone not liking this choice. Our entire government is now majority GOP thanks to this election. Since the days of their patron saint Ronald Reagan, they have never cared about the life of others.

Life goes on, but this is wakeup call. All the groups I just mentioned must find a way to come together and start building something new from the grassroots level. I’m not even sure what that is…  I’m willing to be involved, however I can. The socially conscious millennial may have to take the ball and run with it. The rest of us can help.

I always have to rely on my faith to help me during times when nothing else can. We press forward courageously. I am a Bodhisattva of the Earth, my mission is to help each person to become happy. We must have unshakeable faith no matter what happens in our immediate and wider environment.

In our November publication, Living Buddhism, our spiritual mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says. ” The defining characteristic of bodhisattvas is their vow. The vow of the Bodhisattvas of the Earth is to propagate the Lotus Suta. That’s why it is important for us to chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo with this vow for kosen-rufu (world peace), resolving with all our hearts to help those around us to become genuinely happy”.

The book Introduction to Buddhism says, “Absolute happiness means that living itself is happiness; being alive is a joy, no matter where we are or what our circumstances. It describes a life condition in which happiness wells forth from within. It is called absolute because it is not influenced by external conditions. Attaining Buddhahood means developing absolute happiness. Beyond the troubles of just getting by in life, we often face unexpected problems. Happiness does not depend on whether or not we have problems, but how we perceive and deal with them. To cite an analogy, a person of little strength and experience who encounters a steep mountain path will view it as a daunting obstacle. But a strong, experienced hiker can confidently ascend a steep trail even while carrying a heavy backpack, enjoying the view along the way. In a similar way, one who has firmly established a life condition of absolute happiness can confidently face any difficulty. Problems can even become an impetus to bring forth a powerful life force, enabling one to calmly and confidently overcome any challenge.”

This is a daunting challenge, however, we may bend, but we won’t break. I have to believe we will get through this as hearts and minds change, as truths are exposed. They will be revealed on an international stage. A world wide audience is watching.  We have some difficult times ahead.

2016 will surely go down in history. So many talented and creative people have left this earth. I have to wonder if they somehow knew what was coming.  Brexit happened abroad and now the United States has elected a demagogue.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines that as a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power. The next four years will tell us how this plays out.

In the meantime I encourage you all, no matter your religious beliefs to go to this webpage http://www.worldtribune.org/ and read the SGI-USA’s  online publications and gain hope, if you feel hopeless right now. You may be surprised that many of our humanistic beliefs are some you already have. There’s so much encouragement for everyone. My faith is for everyone who wants to feel confident and are fighters, filled with hope for peace.

I thank the President and First Lady Michelle Obama for the dignity, class and example they have shown. They gave us all so much to aspire to. They faced incredible obstruction and pure hate from day one, but always stood tall, never flinching.

They have been the most personable and fun First couple in my lifetime. Watch them interact with kids. Along with Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, they have been an awesome quartet. The Obamas have raised two beautiful well adjusted young women, one is headed for Harvard next year.

They allowed the White House to be the people’s house. Many who thought they would never live to see a black president had a dream come true. They were invited to come inside. They met and some even danced and sang  with a President and First Lady. I wish them an incredible life after January 20th.

I think once the keys are turned over, the locks will be changed and things will never be quite the same.

 

What About Your Friends? (Social Media vs. Real Life)

I’ve been healing most of the summer.  I had a torn meniscus that had to be surgically remedied. I was walking down a flight of stairs and POP!  Pre-surgery, walking was painful so I couldn’t do much. Post surgery walking is painful, and I’m moving around slowly on a different cane.

I’m going to physical therapy, attending some Buddhist activities and that’s about all of my activity level. This is the first summer I can remember when I didn’t get a tan line or even need to use my summer makeup colors because I’m still my natural color. (If you know me, that’s a shade of semi-pale.) As a fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sufferer, I’m sadly used to pain and discomfort. I really thought I would have been moving around faster and farther than I am but, I know that the pre-existing health conditions are slowing it down. Migraines were also kicking my ass, so I’ve been down, but got my Botox injections so I’m better. I few of my plans have been put on hold.

I haven’t really had any fun. Hell, I think I had this year’s fun, last year!  I’ve been reading books and talking to some friends on the phone. I’ve rested or slept. I’ve spent a lot of time on both Facebook and Instagram to pass some of the time.

I came in from physical therapy today and was watching “America’s Doctor” on The  Dr Oz Show. I had a chance to visit the set and be part of a taping late last year. He had a quiz that I’d suggest others take, it’s called the  Adult Loneliness Quiz. Even the panelists admitted that they answered 4 or 5 out of 5 questions as true. Social media has truly become an important part in many people’s lives.

This blog wouldn’t exist if social media wasn’t my first outlet of expression. Looking back at some of my past FB posts, about 4 years ago, I became more reflective based upon the things that were going on in my life at the time.

I had kept a lot of my frustrations and confusion about my illness to myself, since I didn’t know how people would react and treat me. I wasn’t happy with the way people at my workplace made me feel about it, so, I kept it to myself, most of the time.  My reflections blossomed into this blog where I’m more open but sometimes I question my openness.  I have this blog, yet I find I’m not keeping up with it, the way I had planned to. When I feel the urge to write or express something weighing on my mind and heart, I use this platform that I paid WordPress a year in advance for (I’m not one for wasting dollars). Some days, I just can’t put words and sentences together to make coherent observations. Yet, everyday without fail I’m on Facebook and Instagram. Right now, I’m using my computer and have a tablet and phone next to my bed. I’m plugged into the world.

There is something about reading about the lives, loves and adventures of my connections. I feel engaged, even though I’m far from friends and family. I have friends beginning with elementary school all the way to workplaces. I’ve met some great people in Facebook groups, who have become friends that I would have never met without social media. I get to see places and people, when I’m too sick or too exhausted to move from my bed.

Over the past year I’ve deliberately disengaged myself from some “friends”. They never comment, like or even say Hi to me. Why are we friends? There’s been no engagement in maybe a year or more. They haven’t said Happy Birthday in 2 or more birthdays. These are not my friends, but acquaintances that know too much about me.

I have core groups of Facebook friends that are engaged, make me laugh and vice versa, love music and food. They are interested in current events, celebrity gossip, fashion and this upcoming election. They watch tv shows with me, with full commentary and just remain a part of my life. Not long ago, I had a problem and these connections help me make a decision. Some of these people I have never met or haven’t seen for years. They are my rays of sunshine every day.

I have “friends” that have basically forgotten I exist since we no longer work together. We enjoyed each other’s company at one time, hanging out outside of work, even had some of them in my home, but now,they celebrate their life events and I learn about it on social media. One of the Dr. Oz Quiz questions about this particular subject led me to write today.

Man, Facebook can hurt your feelings. I’ve tried to stay engaged, invited them to celebrate their promotions, reached out in death, without much response. I really meant -Let’s plan brunch, lunch, dinner, a drink. They know their schedule more than I do. Most people who have chronic illnesses know, we have to do things when the body is able. I guess I cancelled too many times, I don’t know.  I’ve said,  Come to my house and catch up, come to a small birthday celebration another friend was having for me and it’s like I never said a word. I turned 50 and no one who I had spent most of my days with for years said, Let’s do something for your special milestone. But, I see them celebrating or having their milestones in gatherings with other people I know.  Was my invite lost in the black hole of cyberspace? Nope, I was not a blip on the radar.

It’s been three years of suggesting, and I’m not trying anymore. I’m okay with that. I’m making room for what and who is to come. I’ve decided that these relationships are not true friendships and I will stay disengaged. I will stay connected through social media platforms only. I can’t continue to maintain what I see as one-sided friendships. The one constant in life is change. I needed to admit to myself that this was no longer working for me.

True friends are there for you in good and especially needed during the not so good. Life has truly been challenging for me and they really haven’t been there. No one is so busy that they can’t quick text -Hello, How are you? I have limited mobility and no family nearby. They’ve never asked if I needed a ride or have groceries. I do self blame for a lot of things, but everything cannot always be my fault. Other friends have asked and when I need them, I can truly say they will be there in whatever capacity is needed. I appreciate them. One real friend took off of work to bring me home after my recent surgery and made sure someone was with me the next morning. That’s a true friend.

I am extremely disappointed though I will not allow people to change me. I’m not angry or crying about it. Illness and hard times affect all parts of life. I’m a giving person to a fault and will remain that way. I have some true friends who pray and worship  with me and they have been real lifesavers. They’ve never given up on me and I contribute that to the humanism of SGI’s Buddhism. We pray for the happiness of ourselves and others. We do not want to see others suffer. Helping people become their best self is what makes a more peaceful society.

Social media can be both friend and foe. As in real life, it is the people who make it fun, exciting and meaningful. I’m a huge social media user, but real engagement is definitely necessary, even for a self proclaimed loner like myself, sometimes.