Monday, January 31, 2011

The Cranky Princess: An Enchanted Tale of Depression and Woe

Once upon a time, in a land far away, far beyond this dimension, living a princess named Cora. One morning, Princess Cora woke up and didn't want to do anything. She did not want to go for a ride on her pet Dragon, Grimmel. She did not want to eat in the pancakes in bed. In fact, Princess Cora didn't even want to get out of bed. Some might say that Princess Cora was a bit more than cranky, that maybe, just maybe, Princess Cora was a tad bit depressed.

But the King would her none of it. "My Cora is not depressed," he would say, "She is just having one very bad day."

But a week went by, and Princess Cora still didn't want to get out of bed. "It's too much bother!" she would say, "And why would I get up, when there's nothing to do? It's so boring being a princess!"

Although the King and Queen did not believe that there was anything seriously wrong with Cora, they were starting to get worried about her, so they sent for the Fairy Godmother.

The Fairy Godmother sat on the side of Princess Cora's canopy bed. Princess Cora looked up, and then rolled over. She pulled the green and yellow blankets over her head and groaned.

"What is it, child?" the Fairy Godmother said. "What's wrong? Why won't you get out of bed?"

"Oh, Fairy Godmother," Princess Cora said, sighing. "I just don't want to be a princess anymore. It's just no fun at all."

"Well, my dear, I can grant you one wish," the Fairy Godmother said. "What is it that you wish for?"

"I wish that I was a caterpillar in a cocoon, so that I could stay in bed as long as I want," Princess Cora said.

"If that's what you wish for, so be it," the Fairy Godmother said, smiling.

The Fairy Godmother waved her magic wand and Poof!  – Princess Cora turned into a caterpillar. The green and yellow blankets turned into her cocoon and she hung high above in the canopy of her bed.

"Ahhh, this is perfect!" Princess Cora as she rolled over in her new caterpillar body. "It's like being in a hammock in here! Thanks, Fairy Godmother - I am finally happy!"

Well, the King and Queen were not too happy that the Fairy Godmother turned their only daughter into a caterpillar.

"What are we going to do with her now? How can she be a princess when she's all bound up in silken blankets?" the Queen asked, frowning.

"Just wait, Your Majesty, just wait," the Fairy Godmother said, nodding her head. "Soon Princess Cora will be the best princess she could ever be."

So the entire Kingdom waited and waited. Then one day, the Princess' cocoon started to crack. Princess Cora started to fall, but somehow she did not fall far. She was saved by beautiful yellow and green wings. A caterpillar no more, Princess Cora was now a butterfly.

"Weeeee!" she said, as she fluttered about. "This is fun!"

Princess Cora was not only out of bed, but she was flitting this way and that, flying here, there and everywhere.

The King and Queen were so happy to see Princess Cora out of bed, that it didn't matter to them that she was a butterfly. But most of all, the King and Queen were happy to see Princess Cora smiling and laughing again. The cranky princess wasn't so cranky anymore.

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Angela Dawn MacKay 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If a Cat Sat: A Kitty Meditation Contemplation

So, this poem was inspired by my cat, Shadow, who is a frequent meditator. One day last week, Shadow jumped up on my meditation cushion, just as I was about to sit down. Her form was so perfect, it looked like she was meditating herself – I just had to go get my camera. So often, she comes in the shrine room when I am practicing, to sit on my lap, and absorb buddhadharma.
So here it is:

If a cat sat in meditation,
what would be her contemplation?
Would she wonder about the birds in the trees,
wondering when they would eat or sneeze?

Would she wondering what's for lunch,
what lovely treats she'll get to munch?
Or would she think about nothing at all,
no thoughts or wonders, big or small?

Would she sit still, like a proud little bear,
sitting and breathing without a care,
allowing any thoughts to flow right through,
drifting away like the crowd in a zoo?

I wonder what goes on in there,
when she sits with her little kitty stare.
What can I learn from my darling kitty, dear,
who seems to easily stay in the now and here?

Sitting, breathing, letting thoughts fade away,
letting her mind simply rest and stay,
not bothering with thoughts, no problem at all,
just letting them be, both big and small.

So this is what I learned as my cat sat,
sat on my cushion, being where she's at,
being right here as her thoughts drift away,
carried with the breeze on a summer's day.

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Angela Dawn MacKay 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Hippo's Hula Hoop Hullabaloo: A Tale of Healthy Boundaries

Happy Hippo hopped round and round,
hip-ity, hop-ity, and upside down.
She hopped around with her hula hoop,
hopping, hopping in a loop-de-loop.

Her hula hoop was like a deep, thick line,
drawn in the sand between yours and mine,
holding all of her important notions -
her needs, her wants, and her emotions.

You, too, have your very own hula hoop -
for if you didn't, you would start to droop.
It lets you know when it's time to sleep,
when it's time to sing, or not make a peep.
It lets you know when you feel sad,
or happy, scared, surprised, or mad.

What made Happy happiest of all,
was when everyone else was on the ball,
with hula hoops close, but not too tight,
not overlapping and causing a fight.

But not everyone felt that way,
her family often had their say,
hopping into Happy's hula hoop,
trying to meddle, search, and snoop.

“You look tired!” Sister said.
“Go upstairs and get to bed!”

“Don't tell me what to do!
You only know what's best for you!
It makes me mad when you cross the line,
not knowing the difference between yours and mine,"
Happy said, stomping her feet,
her hippo hips booming a steady beat.

“Stay out of my hoop and I'll stay out yours!
I won't bug you to do your chores!
If you forget to do the dishes,
I won't do them or feed the fishes,
when that's your job, and not mine,
this is where I draw my line!”

“What are you talking about?
You are supposed to help us out!”
Brother said with a snort and a shout!

“Mom said that we're a family,
we help each other, don't you see?
Happy, what is wrong with you?
You're being selfish, and nasty, too!”

Happy stomped her feet harder on the floor,
her hula hoop much stronger than before.

“This hula hoop gives me room to grow.
There are times I just need to say “No!”,
when saying “Yes!” would hurt me so.
We all need space to grow up strong,
to respect each other and get along.”

Well, Brother and Sister had had enough,
of all of this crazy hula-hoop stuff.
They grabbed Happy and threw her down,
their hula hoops flying all around,
tangled like a ball of twine,
mixing up yours and mine.

“What's going on?What's this all about?”
Mother scrambled in to find out.
Her hula hoop was tossed and tumbled,
as the Hippo family fought and fumbled.

Arms and legs all over the place,
everyone in each other's space.

Father came in, as calm as can be,
looking around, so that he could see,
standing back, with a wide-screen view,
of the Hippo Hula Hoop Hullabaloo!

Happy began to hop about,
hopping, hopping to get out
of the Hippo Hula Hoop Hullabaloo.
Happy hopped 'til she finally broke through!

She spun around with her hula-hoop,
hopping, hopping in a loop-de-loop.
She spun around, like a ballerina,
the most graceful hippo you've ever-seen-a.

Happy spun, picking up speed,
her hula-hoop, finally freed.
It lit up like a UFO,
giving off a bright, green glow.

Happy's hoop spun on its' own,
clearly defining Happy's zone.
It spun and spun, 'til it was on fire,
spinning, spinning like a burning tire.

Brother and Sister stood far away,
from the blazing hoop that day.
Mother scrambled and leaned back,
her hula hoop barely intact.
They understood, without a word,
that Happy's “No!” was finally heard.

Happy smiled as the hoop fell down,
burning a hole in the ground,
leaving a mark, a line in the sand,
letting all know this was her land.

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Angela Dawn MacKay 

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Grounded Trees - How to be Calm in Chaos

Up, up high in the Tree of Life,
my mind, it sways with fear and strife.
As the winds and rains do blow,
my emotions wobble to and fro.
To the branches, I hold on tight,
the wind blowing with all of its' might.

Sadness here, jealousy there,
my feelings blow me everywhere.
No matter how hard I do cling,
I am blown 'round with everything.

Looking down far, far below
the roots are still as the wind does blow.
I wonder why it's quiet down there,
when I'm blown 'round everywhere.

I called down to the roots, wondering why
they are not affected by the stormy skies.
“How do you stay still while the winds do blow,
as all of this change is troubling me so?”

“We know the secret of the Grounded Trees,
staying rooted when there's stormy seas,
standing tall in the middle of a squall,
then if the winds and rains do blow,
we will not be troubled so.”

“How do I stand strong and tall
when I feel so little and small?
How do I stay rooted when the winds do blow,
Please, Mr. Tree, please tell me so.”

“Find the Ground that is always there,
the Groundless Ground, if you dare,
for it's not what you might think,
not the earth itself, or a cosmic wink -
It is the present moment that you must find
in order to have peace of mind.”

“Hold on to the Branches of the Past,
and you will find that you won't last;
the Branches of the Future will only go,
to angst, worry, and lots of woe.”

“Let go of the Branches of the Times,
and you will find some peace of mind.
Thought, it's not what you might think,
not calming music or the colour pink... ”

“Peace of mind looks different every minute,
but you will know when you are in it.
Even though the winds do blow,
you won't wobble to and fro;
in the middle of stormy seas,
you can be a Grounded Tree.”

“But what do I do to be a Tree?”

“Do nothing at all, just sit and be -
silent and still as the wind arises,
creating thoughts and feelings of many sizes,
notice the body, breath, and mind,
as it changes all the time.
Sitting still will settle you down,
finding your roots in the ground.
Then you can finally be
one of us, the Grounded Trees.”

So I thought I would give it a try
as the wind blew in the stormy skies,
letting go of the Branches of the Times,
sinking into natural peace of mind.

My! - it looks so different down here,
even though strong feelings are near,
there seems to be much more space,
as the winds blow everyplace.
I now see that I'm not so small,
that I can stand tall in the middle of a squall.

Even though the winds do blow,
I don't wobble to and fro,
and they don't trouble me so.
The present moment I have found,
no longer being blown around,
rooted in the Groundless Ground.
Now, I can finally see
how to be a Grounded Tree.