Friday, May 28, 2010

Gun Ownership… the why’s and why nots

I was perusing one of my favorite sites this morning, Vibrant Nation, and I came across a post entitled “Me, own a gun”. It peaked my interest and I read on, then I went on to read the replies…

Of course I have an opinion. It was written as a reply, but it stands on it’s own. My take on gun ownership, the whys and why nots…


I am having my coffee. Finished a lovely breakfast of yogurt and buttered blueberry toast. Now I’m sitting here, listening to the meadowlarks call… thinking about guns. Thinking about the attitudes about guns. To have one or not to have one, that is the question. Actually it’s not the question at all. Here is the question. Why do you want one?

This is not a “should you or shouldn’t you” question. It’s why do you want one? Note; I haven’t said whether I have one or not. Is it a big secret? No, it’s not, but it’s also not the point. Not just yet.

Here is another question. If it came down to it. Could you, would you kill to defend yourself. I don’t need to know your answer; you do. Just know this; If you pull a gun on someone and are not prepared to use it, you are gambling in a high stakes game that you are going to lose. The stakes in this case, is your life.

If you are going to have/use a gun. Get to know your gun. Not … Oh here’s the barrel here’s the handle and let’s see the bullets go in here. How many shots does it hold? Learn how to use it. Yes, get to the target range and practice, practice, practice. Learn how to clean it, take it apart, put it back together. Feel the balance, what kind of kick does it have. Are the sites on target? How do I hold it? How do I stand so I’m stable if rushed?

Here is another question. Where to keep it so it’s out of sight, yet I have quick simple access? If your home protection gun is locked in a safe, hidden in a shoe box unloaded in the back of the closet, or some other obscure difficult to get to place. Do yourself a favor. Contact a reputable gun dealer and sell it. You are not prepared to use it.

I am not saying to be careless or cavalier with it; that would be disgustingly irresponsible. A gun is a tool, a piece of equipment. It doesn’t make you bigger. It doesn’t make you stronger. It doesn’t make you safer. It is only as useful as your skill set is.

If you have children in the house, teach them. It’s not a toy, it’s a tool. If you have a gun, you have the responsibility. There is no getting around that. Deny it if you will, you still have the responsibility. Don’t be the idiot; that set up a target against a couple of straw bales and killed his small child that was playing behind the bales. You’re right; I have no sympathy for people like that. It wasn’t an accident; it was careless and irresponsible.

Owning a gun is not going to stop you from living in fear. Living in fear is not a good reason to own a gun. If you are living in a dangerous situation, or a potentially dangerous situation; develop your skill set. Your most valuable tool is your mind, your attitude. Everything else is secondary. A gun is a minor tool in comparison.

In answer to some possible curiosities: Do I own a gun? Yes I do. Why? Because I live on a ranch and it is a useful tool. Do I own a gun because I am (or was) afraid? No, I own a gun to defend myself, my home and livestock from predators; be they rattle snake, coyote, cougar, rabid animal, or human. Am I mentally/physically capable of killing? Yes I am. Do I like killing? No I do not. I do not like killing any living creature. If I have to I will; but only as a last resort.

Best ask your self the above questions; put some thought into it and answer them honestly. I don’t need to know your answers. Only you need to know them; and you do need to know them…. Especially if you choose to own a gun.

Life is a journey, how you walk it is your choice.
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

VIJAYA SUTTA: VICTORY translated from the Pali byThanissaro Bhikkhu© 1997–2010

translated from the Pali byThanissaro Bhikkhu© 1997–2010

Whether walking, standing,
sitting, or lying down,
it flexes & stretches:
this is the body's movement.
Joined together with tendons & bones,
plastered over with muscle & skin,
hidden by complexion,
the body isn't seen
for what it is:
filled with intestines, filled with stomach,
with the lump of the liver,
bladder, lungs, heart,
kidneys, spleen,
mucus, sweat, saliva, fat,
blood, synovial fluid, bile, & oil.
On top of that,
in nine streams,
filth is always flowing from it:
from the eyes : eye secretions,
from the ears : ear secretions,
from the nose : mucus,
from the mouth : now vomit,
now phlegm,
now bile.
from the body : beads of sweat.
And on top of that,
its hollow head is filled with brains.

The fool, beset by ignorance,
thinks it beautiful.
But when it lies dead,
swollen, livid,
away in a charnel ground,
even relatives don't care for it.
Dogs feed on it,
jackals, wolves, & worms.
Crows & vultures feed on it,
along with any other animals there.

Having heard the Awakened One's words,
the discerning monk
comprehends, for he sees it
for what it is:"
As this is, so is that.
As that, so this.
"Within & without,
he should let desire for the body
fade away.
With desire & passion faded away,
the discerning monk arrives here:
at the deathless,
the calm,
the undying state
of Unbinding.

This two-footed, filthy, evil-smelling,
oozing-out-here-&-there body:
Whoever would think,
on the basis of a body like this,
to exalt himself or disparage another:

What is that if not blindness?


I was looking through my facebook account and I saw this post. Vision 2010 posted it.  I am very tired and it spoke to me.  Some will understand, some won't, and that is ok.
Life is a journey, at present I am a weary traveler.
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5 Things Every Happy Woman Does -

Illustration: R.O. Blechman Sages going back to Socrates have offered advice on how to be happy, but only now are scientists beginning to address this question with systematic, controlled research. Although many of the new studies reaffirm time-honored wisdom ("Do what you love," "To thine own self be true"), they also add a number of fresh twists and insights. We canvassed the leading experts on what happy people have in common—and why it's worth trying to become one of them.

1. They find their most golden self.
Picture happiness. What do you see? A peaceful soul sitting in a field of daisies appreciating the moment? That kind of passive, pleasure-oriented—hedonic—contentment is definitely a component of overall happiness. But researchers now believe that eudaimonic well-being may be more important. Cobbled from the Greek eu ("good") and daimon ("spirit" or "deity"), eudaimonia means striving toward excellence based on one's unique talents and potential—Aristotle considered it to be the noblest goal in life. In his time, the Greeks believed that each child was blessed at birth with a personal daimon embodying the highest possible expression of his or her nature. One way they envisioned the daimon was as a golden figurine that would be revealed by cracking away an outer layer of cheap pottery (the person's baser exterior). The effort to know and realize one's most golden self—"personal growth," in today's lingo—is now the central concept of eudaimonia, which has also come to include continually taking on new challenges and fulfilling one's sense of purpose in life.

"Eudaimonic well-being is much more robust and satisfying than hedonic happiness, and it engages different parts of the brain," says Richard J. Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "The positive emotion accompanying thoughts that are directed toward meaningful goals is one of the most enduring components of well-being." Eudaimonia is also good for the body. Women who scored high on psychological tests for it (they were purposefully engaged in life, pursued self-development) weighed less, slept better, and had fewer stress hormones and markers for heart disease than others—including those reporting hedonic happiness—according to a study led by Carol Ryff, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2. They design their lives to bring in joy.
It may seem obvious, but "people don't devote enough time to thinking seriously about how they spend their life and how much of it they actually enjoy," says David Schkade, PhD, a psychologist and professor of management at the University of California San Diego. In a recent study, Schkade and colleagues asked more than 900 working women to write down everything they'd done the day before. Afterward, they reviewed their diaries and evaluated how they felt at each point. When the women saw how much time they spent on activities they didn't like, "some people had tears in their eyes," Schkade says. "They didn't realize their happiness was something they could design and have control over."

Analyzing one's life isn't necessarily easy and may require questioning long-held assumptions. A high-powered career might, in fact, turn out to be unfulfilling; a committed relationship once longed for could end up being irritating with all the compromising that comes with having a partner. Dreams can be hard to abandon, even when they've turned sour.

Fortunately, changes don't have to be big ones to tip the joy in your favor. Schkade says that if you transfer even an hour of your day from an activity you hate (commuting, scrubbing the bathroom) to one you like (reading, spending time with friends), you should see a significant improvement in your overall happiness. Taking action is key. Another recent study, at the University of Missouri, compared college students who made intentional changes (joining a club, upgrading their study habits) with others who passively experienced positive turns in their circumstances (receiving a scholarship, being relieved of a bad roommate). All the students were happier in the short term, but only the group who made deliberate changes stayed that way.

3.  They avoid "if only" fantasies.
If only I get a better job...find a man...lose the will be perfect. Happy people don't buy into this kind of thinking.

The latest research shows that we're surprisingly bad at predicting what will make us happy. People also tend to misjudge their contentment when zeroing in on a single aspect of their life—it's called the focusing illusion. In one study, single subjects were asked, "How happy are you with your life in general?" and "How many dates did you have last month?" When the dating question was asked first, their romantic life weighed more heavily into how they rated their overall happiness than when the questions were reversed.

The other argument against "if only" fantasies has to do with "hedonic adaptation"—the brain's natural dimming effect, which guarantees that a new house won't generate the same pleasure a year after its purchase and the thrill of having a boyfriend will ebb as you get used to being part of a couple. Happy people are wise to this, which is why they keep their lives full of novelty, even if it's just trying a new activity (diving, yoga) or putting a new spin on an old favorite (kundalini instead of vinyasa).

4.  They put best friends first.
It's no surprise that social engagement is one of the most important contributors to happiness. What's news is that the nature of the relationship counts. Compared with dashing around chatting with acquaintances, you get more joy from spending longer periods of time with a close friend, according to research by Meliksah Demir, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Northern Arizona University. And the best-friend benefit doesn't necessarily come from delving into heavy discussions. One of the most essential pleasures of close friendship, Demir found, is simple companionship, "just hanging out," as he says, hitting the mall or going to the movies together and eating popcorn in the dark.

5. They allow themselves to be happy.

As much as we all think we want it, many of us are convinced, deep down, that it's wrong to be happy (or too happy). Whether the belief comes from religion, culture, or the family you were raised in, it usually leaves you feeling guilty if you're having fun.

"Some people would say you shouldn't strive for personal happiness until you've taken care of everyone in the world who is starving or doesn't have adequate medical care," says Howard Cutler, MD, coauthor with the Dalai Lama of The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World. "The Dalai Lama believes you should pursue both simultaneously. For one thing, there is clear research showing that happy people tend to be more open to helping others. They also make better spouses and parents." And in one famous study, nuns whose autobiographies expressed positive emotions (such as gratitude and optimism) lived seven to 10-and-a-half years longer than other nuns. So, for any die-hard pessimist who still needs persuading, just think of how much more you can help the world if you allow a little happiness into your life.

Gabrielle Leblanc is a writer and neuroscientist in Washington, D.C.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Musings on a Rainy Day...

It’s a rainy foggy morning. When I first got up it was as if we were shrouded in a fuzzy gray wrap. It was not possible to see beyond the posts on the opposite side of the road. That was several hours ago. It is still raining, not flooding, just a slow gentle rain. The kind that makes the grasses in the pastures and the trees celebrate in an explosion of life. The Fog has cleared a bit, I can now see the shadowy outline of our nearest neighbor’s trees. They are about a half mile away.

I watched the storm come in late yesterday afternoon. I saw the rain on the ridges to the south of us. Dark gray clouds hugging the tops of the craggy hills. As I was watching the storm’s progress; the sun was shining here.

A slight wind picked up from the southeast. I knew the clouds were circling back to us when the wind graced us with it’s presence from the southeast. There was a dramatic shaft of rainbow wide and bright shooting up into the heavens over the far hills to the southeast. Brightly dramatic in it’s beauty. I thought of hurrying for my camera; and decided to savor the moment instead of trying to capture it. I’ve noticed over the years you can never really capture the moment; merely a shadow of the real thing no matter the beauty of the photograph.

So often when we try to hold too tight we lose the essence of the moment we have been blessed with. So this time I savored the essence so sweet it was in its fleeting existence.

The clouds continued their march and overtook the hills the rainbow had been shinning over. This has been a gentle storm. No threatening lightening, with it’s booming echoing thunder rolling through the shattered air as an angry dragon gone to war. No tornadoes twisting their angry way through the atmosphere capriciously touching down here and there as if it were a naughty child bent on having a tantrum on an epic scale.

No flash floods rushing down the hills; cutting through the soil leaving an open gash; and debris littered in their wake. This has been a gentle rain, a calm storm, wet to be sure, chilled over the baby animals-yes, but life renewing for the pastures exploding in growth. Grasses and wildflowers exploding in a dance of growth.

Life is a journey, each moment a precious gift to be savored.
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream In Wild Wonderful Wyoming

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Dragging my Butt

I am seriously dragging my butt today. On a bright note the wind is not howling. Actually there are quite a few bright notes... just have to focus on them instead of grubbing about.

I was up rather late last night, didn't get into bed until after 3:00 a.m. Woke up at 6:00 a.m. and went back to sleep. Three hours is a bit short on the the sleep for me. Unfortunately I slept until 9:30, which put me behind for the day. I had a 10.30 appointment for a manicure/pedicure, my mother's day treat for me, which there was simply no way I could make. I called them and canceled; no point in rescheduling unless I know for sure I can make it into town for the appointment.

I think I will just give myself a manicure, and see if I can talk my hubs into giving my peds a warm oil massage. I have some wonderful massage oil, that I think would be a treat for my feet.

I moved a refrigerator yesterday; I thought my muscles would be sore. Tee hee, they are not. This means my body is getting stronger and stronger. This puts a serious smile on my face. A couple of years ago, even one year ago I could not have done this without seriously hurting myself.

Its amazing how well our bodies can repair themselves when given the necessary exercise and nutrition. Can't forget mindset either. Our states of mind play a major factor in how well our bodies work. Amazing pieces of equipment these bodies we have; to be sure. Remarkably durable; self maintaining for the most part. Again when given adequate nutrition and exercise.

If we treated our cars or computers the way we treat our bodies we would have neither operating for any length of time.

Something to think about...

Oh yes I nearly forgot to mention it. If you can believe that. Kind of surprises me I used to be so ... hmmmm what's the word... compulsive ... about it. I lost another pound. That makes 5 down for the month of May. 296 - 5 = 291 The my calorie counter in  My Everyday Health:  is really helping me to get a handle on my nutrition. Putting a positive constructive spin on it; rather than the self destructive compulsive binging that had been going on.

Obviously it takes more than "My Calorie Counter" to get to the issues triggering the compulsive behavior. You have to do the work; dig through the mental and emotional muck and sort it out. Feels a bit like stomping through a city sewer drain barefoot at times. (Or in reference to the area I live in: a 100,000 cattle feedlot's drain pond)  It stinks, but it's gotta be dealt with. There is no getting around it. Want to be healthy; the "crap" has to be dealt with. I'm just saying.

Life is a journey, sometimes you step in it.
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch

I missed my before breakfast workout, fixed my hubs something to eat when he came in from working all night; and shared a bite with him. Gotta grab those moments when you can. Anyway I am getting on my elliptical and getting my 7 kilometers of hills in for today. :)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The "window" of relationship - Vibrant Nation

It is a window through which you can pass (to become ever closer, to get married, to create a stronger friendship), or a window that you can pass by.
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Posted on Tuesday, May 04, 2010 by LucyBHoffman

I have a friend who was once close. I think I could say that we still have a certain aspect of closeness, mostly based on past history, but the situation between has dramatically altered. There was a time in our lives when we were at similar posts on the road. Mile marker "selfish." That is a judgmental way of stating it, nevertheless true. It may have been because of the choices we made in our lives previously. But those are our choices. We spent a few years sharing our own selfish desires. Participating together. Providing cover. Somehow, I thought I was a very different friend for her. I thought I was someone whom she would never hurt nor betray. Those were parameters which I set up for myself. As long as I was willing to be part of the relationship on her terms, then we were close. Once I challenged that and refused to continue to offer support for things that I felt unsupportable, the relationship shifted. She was able to turn her back on me for a period of months. Since that time, although we have made momentary attempts to try to get back to where we once were, it has never worked. We have not regained the trust and the dependency we once had.

I believe it is because we both grew past the window. The "window" is my theory of relationships. It is a window through which you can pass (to become ever closer, to get married, to create a stronger friendship), or a window that you can pass by. Sometimes life makes the choice of which one you do. Sometimes you make the choice.

In this example, I'm not sure which one happened. But for whatever reason, passing by that window became the choice for me. I stopped wanting to try again with her. After the pain of being put aside, and ignored, I realized an important thing. In many ways, this friendship was a recreation of my relationship with my mother. An "I'm there in the bad times for you to talk to but not depend on" kind of relationship. A "you do all the work and all the planning and I may show up or I may cancel" type of friendship that does not represent friendship at all in my eyes. Others I'm sure would not find this necessarily an un-salvageable friendship, but we all carry different emotional baggage. If I didn't have this as a mother/daughter relationship, there is a good likelihood that it would not create the emotions of abandonment and loneliness which it has in the past.

I don't want to continue or work on relationships in which I feel abandoned. That is not where I will allow my efforts or feelings to go or to grow. I want to work on friendships in which something/much is returned. I have those in my life, and I have more and more happening. I think that is part of my own growth, that I have begun to choose better in regards to my own needs. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Last night I received an email from this friend stating she would like to send me a letter. I know that it has become difficult for her to deal with my lack of interest. Her desire is that life remain the same, and three former friends find a way back to where they once were. That time is gone. Perhaps as old ladies we can once rock and chat and re-establish a connection that is now forced. That will remain to be determined. For now, I will accept the reaching out that rarely happens, and keep on letting it go. It makes me feel healthier.

I was having my morning coffee and perusing my facebook account  when I came across the above post to Vibrant Nation.  It struck a chord with me as it is an issue that I have been dealing with in my own life.

Life is a journey, sometimes the faces of those we travel with change...
Mary E. Robbins
Robbins Run Ranch

The "window" of relationship - Vibrant Nation

The "window" of relationship - Vibrant Nation

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'Daily Affirmation' Video