I have written before about how I am a very medium sort of person. I can find many ways to describe most of my features and qualities as medium, but I will try not to bore you with those here. A decade ago I spent a few years studying Buddhism, in a manner which some Buddhists would say is quite wrong because I did not have a teacher. But tell me I am doing something wrong and I am all the more likely to keep on doing it that way. My stubborn streak is a little more than medium sized. I read a wide array of books written about Buddhism by Buddhists, subscribed to a couple of magazines, attended one group event and disliked it, engaged an online teacher and made him angry with me and refuse to teach me (I asked questions and did not just follow instructions) which lead me to decide he was not a very good Buddhist. Eventually my conclusion was that the philosophy of Buddhism aligns quite well with my own personal philosophy and I had many aha moments. I am living a lay-Buddhist practice without bothering to call it that and being a very non-religious person I step widely around any religious trappings. In this way, I believe I am actually doing exactly what The Buddha advised, which is to walk the middle path.
In western culture we often talk about seeking balance, which is really a synonym for the middle way. My path and your path will not be exactly the same, just as what is balance for me and what is balance for you will not be exactly the same but the paths lead to the same place, happiness. And if we find our balance we find our happiness. I use the term happiness here as a very large umbrella and am not intending to assign any construct to it. I alone decided what happiness is for myself, how to find it and keep it and you do the same. Buddhism does teach a way to get onto the right path, and these teachings make sense to me. It is not my purpose here to outline or attempt to teach those but I will recommend some books at the end. Today I am thinking about the right-for-me balance between confidence and humility. I have grappled with this most of my life, both in sorting out my own instincts and what I have been taught and how those fit within my culture.
I have noticed two different, and practically opposite types of women who both feel they do not fit the mould.
I know women who are exuberant, loud, colourful, bold and although they have the confidence to be so, they say oh I am this way despite always being told it is not feminine, it is not right, I must be quiet and demure. I do not doubt their experience but mine is opposite. I am naturally quiet and demure. I was raised to be ladylike, though I must add, not subservient or docile. I did not feel a need to rebel against that since it suited my nature well enough, but when not amongst my family I often felt like quite a misfit. It seemed to me that I was dull, boring, a disappointment to my peers and not well equipped to get ahead in life in a world where I would need to stand out and self promote in order to do so. I think that both of these experiences are valid even though they are quite opposite and that as odd as it seems, they can actually both exist in the same culture. We must feel free to be whichever way is true to who we are. We must celebrate and support all kinds of women and all ways of being women. No one way is better or worse than another.
Mixed GreensAnd here are the much anticipated bloomer-ish pants. Not being elasticated at the ankles I don't know if they are technically bloomers or just really big pants. They have a nice flat yoke across the tummy and a drawstring waist and are definitely voluminous around the hips and bottom. I am not a fan of the gold metallic threads at the bottom but will live with them. Here, it looks more like a skirt.
man-repeller outfit which delights me to no end but the tunic dress needs its green brightened up a little. On its own it looks a soft sage but next to other colours it turns drab.
Suggested Books To Start With: These are meant for a non-religious approach to Buddhism, incorporating its philosophy into your own religious or secular views.
The Art of Happiness, by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler.
Buddhism Without Beliefs, Stephen Batchelor