A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the tag “Short story”

Daily Prompt: In a Crisis

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I can’t say why but I have generally handled crisis, with ease. It’s like someone is running the projector showing the movie of my life, not sure what you call a fifty three part and still growing movie, but it’s well beyond trilogy. Whenever a sudden crisis hits, it is like a slow motion part of the film, think back to the matrix, where Neo(corrected from Nero thanks to a sharp eyed follower) is in the gun battle with agent Smith, and you see the whorls in the air as the bullets sail past where, Nero was just a microsecond before. While it seems that way when a crisis hits, I seem to have enough time to see what is happening, and make a decision.

When Edmonton was hit by the tornado, on July 31, 1987, a day that is known there as Black Friday. I had just pulled into the McDonald’s across from Kingsway Mall, and saw the new temporary bus terminal at the mall, which was a few feet lower than the road. While I was in McDonald’s the rain hit the area, and when I came out I saw the buses sitting in a lake with the water lapping at the floors. These were the standard GM city buses of the time, with the three steps up, not the lower floor models no common in most places. Hearing that the city had been hit by a tornado, I went home, grabbed my safety shoes, and with a few other friends, went to volunteer our services. I have also seen vehicle accidents, reached for the cell phone, and dialed 911, and grabbed the first aid kit from the trunk, then walked to see what I could do to help.

However during these times, I tend to be focused on the acts to get through the situation, and may not be as compassionate as I could be. So while I am happy I don’t freeze up, I would like to be able to be less clinical about the situation while it is in progress. A friend of mine who ran an emergency department, said I have the personality, that would have made me effective in a triage centre, as I can asses, initiate action, then move to the next crisis.



Daily Prompt: Ripped from the Headlines!

Head to your favorite online news source. Pick an article with a headline that grabs you. Now, write a short story based on the article.

Here is a link to the article: http://o.canada.com/2013/01/11/canada-at-150-suzuki-sees-a-nation-facing-an-apocalyptic-period/

Life seems to take many swings in different directions as we travel through it. To me it’s like a clock pendulum swinging from side to side, only briefly in the middle, as it inexorably swings to the left or right. As a Buddhist I try to walk the middle path, through life, and being an environmentalist I try to leave as light a foot print as I can as I walk along the earth. There are some who denounce the environmental movement by claiming that we would all have to live like cavemen, while others who attack every corporation as pillagers of the planet. Anyone who has experienced a Canadian winter with temperatures of -30 or lower knows we need to use energy to live through these periods. That said, we can design buildings to be energy efficient, and our communities to be net zero, where the community produces the same amount of energy as it consumes. Edmonton Alberta is redeveloping its old downtown airport, and after an international competition which attracted firms from around the world, chose this concept, with the city retaining the developers role, to make sure the standards are met. Take a look at the concept, as it shows what we can carry out with existing technology, and planning. Corporations are accountable to shareholders for profits, they are also accountable to the communities they are is to make sure that the environment does not suffer, from their activities.

What can we as people do, a lot more than most of us think we have the power to do. Speak up, during any debate about development, hearing about new business licenses, speak up demanding the government make sure the community does not suffer an environmental disaster, while the profits flow out of the community.  Some of the North American First Nations, had a seven generation outlook when making a decision, in that will this be good for those who follow in seven generations? Look at your children, and think what type of world do you want to leave for them? In 961 Jane Jacobs wrote her first book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, where she showed that everything needs to be balanced and connected for people to have healthy places to live and work in safety. It’s time we head the lessons of the past as David Suzuki, pointed out in his look at Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday, and decide where we want to be heading by that milestone, for Canada has the opportunity, and the obligation as a developed nation to be a leader in responsible economic development.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margret Mead


Our stories

What are you writing today?

A unique never to be duplicated story, and you are the main character.

One thing that we all share, that unites us into one family, is that we all have our own unique story. Yet none of us has a story that does not weave through the pages of many others. Think of your family, friends and neighbors, who is the cookbook, who’s the math text, and who’s the love story you just can’t put down? Our book shelves have stories from people we will never meet again, they were briefly in our lives and then gone, however those pages that remind us of them are still there. Think back to your first year in school, who was your first new friend that year, does their story still share pages of your life, or is it a book you have put away, to be reread later. Yet other people are that book we will find next week, perhaps at the library, corner store, or from a friend.

Your story is unique, for even if you have a twin, your stories will not be the same, as in some cases you will be the object of a story, and they are the observer. The events that color your story may be full of dark shadows or full of light. A book may be full of the sorrow of losing a family member or friend. Then only a day later the addition of a new book, about a new family addition is added to the shelf. Most of our stories will contain things such as meetings, first dates, first loves, career tales, and tales from our hearts about joy and pain. Perhaps a new friend will forever be known by the first meal you had together, the flavors, the atmosphere, and mood were just right, that a quick read became a romance you still haven’t put down, waiting breathlessly for the next page. Also as interesting as your story is, we can’t forget those in our story have their own story, about the same events, hence pages in their books about us. Are you curious as to what these pages might say?

As A Buddhist we try to be mindful of what is being written in the story of our lives, right in this very instance. I’m writing some of my story sharing this with you, and by your reading it; I become part of your story. If you give me feedback, as in a like, comment, or re-blog the interaction returns to me or possibly adds another to the story we now share. The more we know of another’s story, the more pages we have read, the more we feel we know this person. Some day we may see them as the protagonist and on others the helpless victim. Regardless they are writing their story under the influences of complex conditions. Some of these were set in place before the cover for the book was produced, and well before the first line written in chapter one. You might consider part of this the preface. The preface consists of our past lives, of the resulting karma we carried with us into this life. It determined whether we were born in a good family that might be poor, but filled with happiness. Perhaps we were born into a rich family, where quality time is not considered important; rather the accumulation of wealth is the motivating factor. However quite often we find these stories take a dramatic turn near the last chapter, to lament over what was missed. Seldom is t about missed business opportunities, rather they seem to be about missed school plays, music recitals not heard, and other family events that were passed over to chase more wealth. The acknowledgments page could be considered as our deja vu or things that seem as if we know them all ready. Somewhere in the book that binds our story together is an about the author. Think how you would write this page about yourself, would it be something you want the world to read, or is it time to work on a rewrite. Consider the book about your life so far, what does it say about you? Take time to reflect on what it says, and then consider how you want your story to end.

After all it’s your autobiography, and you are it’s author.

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