Posted by: bullyforme | August 3, 2009

Bully’s Karma Cure

Suffering from bad karma lately? Bad luck? Nagging small health issues? Poor sleep? Allow me to share what works for me.

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I suffered some seriously low points in my late teens and early twenties. What I now know to have been bad karma, I thought of then as bad luck. I was always getting traffic tickets, late fees, flat tires, sleeping poorly, and always felt weighed down with a bad feeling. One day, I got a flat tire on the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Kittery. The very next day I was pulled over for speeding on the very same bridge, and busted for having an unpaid ticket. While being hauled into the Kittery police station on a bench warrant for said unpaid ticket, I started really feeling sorry for myself. What the flim flam was up with my luck lately? Everything was going wrong. As I sat in the KPD mulling over all my bad luck of late (these things were only a few of many), something seemed to hit me upside the head. A revelation of sorts dawned on me like a brand new day. All this bad luck was of my own doing. My head was so far down in my shoulders feeling sorry for myself that I hadn’t realized that I continued to generate my own fortune – neither bad nor good, but results of my own actions. I was the one who spent my money on frivolous things instead of new tires. I was the one who sped over the bridge, and I was the one who had blown off my other ticket. I was solely responsible for *all* the “bad luck” that had pretty much ever come my way.

This moment of enlightenment changed my life, forever. From there, I continued to learn (because you do have to learn it) to take responsibility for all my actions. This led of course to making better choices. As this became a normal way of life for me, I also learned to take responsibility for all my feelings. There is no use in wallowing in self pity. There is no benefit to complaining about things you either can or cannot change (either change it, or let it be! What else is there?). There is no crying over spilt milk, especially if I was the one who set the milk up to be spilled in the first place.

Although there are many things I dream about being different in my life – a better/more fulfilling job, for one – I don’t dwell on it. After all, even this is in my own hands. I’ve accepted that I’m not willing to make the sacrifices and changes at this point in my life in order to achieve such a goal. I may never. So be it.

I certainly don’t claim to have reached the final stage of enlightenment a la the Supreme Buddha or the holy serenity of Jesus Christ. I still make poor choices occasionally; I still have moments of melancholy. But these techniques work for me for the most part. My life has changed, maybe not dramatically, but I find more peace, more happiness, and a little more “good luck” than I used to, that’s for sure.

Bully’s Advice for Calming Your Life, Achieving Serenity and Boosting your Karma:

1. Stop complaining. Really. Even when you don’t think you are complaining, you probably are. I know this from personal experience. The other day, I thought I was merely commenting on traffic and the fact that if we’d left a little earlier, we wouldn’t be stuck in it. After a few minutes of this, my 10 year old sighed heavily, looked up from his Pokemon cards, and said dramatically, “OH, will you just STOP COMPLAINING MOM?” I hadn’t realized I was indeed complaining, because I wasn’t using a whining tone or anything. A simple twist of the words I was using would have turned my negative complaint into a simple and positive fact. Instead of “This traffic is awful! If we’d have left earlier, we wouldn’t be dealing with this,” I could have said, “Tomorrow we’re going to leave a little earlier and beat the traffic!” Small change, big difference, don’t you agree?

2. Be Thankful. Be thankful about anything you can think of. If you’re in a hard place at the moment, it’ll be tough. You may have to reach a bit. (“I’m so thankful I don’t have any painful hangnails?” Well, it’s a start.) Be thankful for the sun on your child’s hair, be thankful your toilet didn’t overflow. Be thankful your car started. Be thankful of the smells of your home cooking. Be thankful you have ingredients to cook with. Cheesy it may sound, but it really will become a way of thinking that automatically brightens even the most dreary of days.

3. Be kind. My mother taught me this. She went through so much shit at her old job. Her old boss actually told her “Well, we all have to die sometime” when my mom told her my brother was dying. Bitch! I swear, if I were in my mother’s place then, I probably would have set that hag’s hair on fire a thousand times. But my mother was always kind, and in the end, her karma won. She retired and is enjoying every minute of it. She even refuses to gloat over this old boss’s bad karma. She lives the Golden Rule, and really, it’s one of the best, wouldn’t you agree? A smile for a stranger, a generous tip, even letting a car in front of you during traffic will improve your karma. What goes around comes around. Believe it!

4. Be responsible. Take the time to get your maintenance done. Get to work on time. Pay cash. Don’t make excuses. These things I learned from my father. If he was EVER late to work, it was when we were all commuting together. The guy was up an hour before he ever had to leave for work – even when he commuted over an hour to work! My dad has a huge store of plain old common sense that I hope I inherited at least some of – even if at a later age than I would have liked.

5. Don’t doubt your instincts. You could spend all day wondering if you should have bought that thing while it was on sale. You could stay awake nights worrying if you’re doing right by your kids. Don’t. Trust yourself as your kids trust you (believe it or not). Personally I tend to have bad first impulses (I need a kitten!). I try to follow the secondary impulse which tells me the first one was a bad idea (I already have two cats!). Look inside yourself, do what works for you, but trust yourself to make the right decisions!

6. Don’t place blame. This is hard advice to follow, I know. It seems human instinct to find a culprit when things go wrong. Unless you’re on a jury, blame placing really has no positive outcome. Do you want to teach your children to place blame? I don’t! Knowing I’m setting the right example makes achieving this goal that much easier.

7. Go with the flow. Don’t struggle so much for control. Respond, don’t react. I realized a long time ago that I can’t control others, and man has it changed my life for the better. I realize that others will be the way they are, and I can’t change them. Sometimes I can’t change a situation, but I surely can control how I deal with it. Learning to control my own actions actually releases the need to control the world. When my brother was diagnosed with brain cancer, his response was to say, “It is what it is.” If he can take that attitude in the face of such an unfair twist of fate, so, surely, can I over much smaller things.

Well that’s what keeps me sane, in a nutshell. Sure there are other things – eat well, exercise, meditate, get chickens… My point is to dig in deep, find yourself, find what works for you; these things work for me.

This weekend kind of drove it home in a gentle sort of way. Nothing big happened, no dramatic life affirming events came my way. I had an unexpected Saturday and Sunday all to myself, and I decided to allow my hours to go wherever they may. I got my toilet clean. I ignored the laundry. I changed some sheets. I baked some bread. I listened to the Sox game on the radio by my fire pit with a glass of wine. I actually rose before 9:30 AM and sat in my garden sipping coffee with my dog at my feet. I picked flowers from my garden. I went to the farmer’s market and bought a vegetable from nearly every vendor, and then cooked some Chinese food from scratch. I gave the Aroma Joe’s girl a big tip; her smile was my reward. I spent some time with my oldest son and his girlfriend. When my youngest son came home we went to a ball game. We bought raffle tickets to support the team’s scholarship fund, and ended up winning two tickets to an amusement & water park. Karma? I’d like to think so. The game was fogged out in the fifth inning, and we were ahead 5 to 3. But so what? We had a good time.

As I headed for bed Sunday evening I can honestly say, nothing about my weekend was planned (except for, ironically, the interrupted ballgame), but I felt like I’d accomplished something big. I guess I did. I followed all my own rules!

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Responses

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE this entry!!

  2. Thankyouverymuch!

  3. 🙂 So true!


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