I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. help?

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I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. help?

Postby CMP » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:47 pm

First off, please forgive me if this is in the wrong forum, but I'm very new here.

The reason I ask a buddhist to help me is because I've found the philosophy to be so helpful in my life thus far, and meditation has really helped. But this seems to be one situation which I feel I may not be able to handle without great sadness and grief. I think it stems from attachment, but I'm a bit unsure how to let go.

I'm in my freshman year of college, enjoying it very much, but 2 years ago I met a girl online from New York. I live in Alabama, so though I found this girl attractive and enjoyed talking to her, I obviously never pursued a relationship because I thought it wouldn't work being long distance.

Well we ended up becoming really close last summer. I had some health issues and had to have surgery, and it was kind of a lonely time for me, but she was there to talk every day. It made me feel so much better. We began talking on skype and other webcam shows very frequently, sometimes for like 4-5 hours. We've been doing that ever since June. We talk every day.

She's made me really happy, been there for me when no one else was, and we do tell each other that we love one another. We can't meet right now because of financial situations. We aren't "officially" in a relationship, but you might as well call it that.

The problem is that she's a really great singer, and that's what she loves doing. She's amazing. In fact, she won a talent show in her town recently. Being in New York, there's lots of opportunities. She sometimes goes to "open mic" night or whatnot to sing for people, and they love her. She auditioned for America's Got Talent back in February, and she's waiting for them to call back.

My concern is that if she really gets going with this music career that she'll have no more time for me, or that she'll just move on. I know buddhism says that things are constantly changing and not to have attachments. But it's difficult because I feel as if she's what's filling up some void in my life. It would be difficult to go a day without hearing her laugh, seeing her smile, or telling her how much I love her. It would be even more painful that everyone else in the world gets to watch her on television, but her and I can't have the closeness we once had. If she's famous, there's almost no chance that we stay in touch.

Ultimately, I want her to be happy, because I really do love her. So if she becomes too busy or something, I have to accept that. But as a buddhist, what advice would you give me for now? Because this is something that worries me every day. I can physically feel it. The worry sometimes causes me to break down in tears in the middle of the day. :(

Thank you so much to anyone who can help.
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby etinin » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:12 pm

The best advice would be based on impermanence and on non-attachment.

Can't say I'm sure it is the truth, of course, but it seems to me that you're letting your feelings for her interfere with your judgement. You can surely enjoy the relationship while it lasts, but the worst thing you could do, according to buddhism, would be to get too attached. If she likes you and it is meant to be, your karmic bonds will hold you together. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche, when talking about his first wife, said that when the karmic bonds between two people are exhausted, no amount of feeling is able to bring them back together again.

The other advice would really depend on what tradition you are into. It is always helpful to contemplate impermanence and, in Vajrayana, we can also do specific practices to remove obstacles and help clear our mind.
--Karma Rigpe Wangchuk

"Meditation brings wisdom. Lack of meditation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back."
Shakyamuni
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Nosta » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:56 pm

Attachment to people is something very strong and I suspect that the any user here suffers from the same problem, altought with different situations (attachment to parents, to spouse, etc; wishing that the people we love dont die; getting really sad if someone on family has a very bad disease, etc).

We all suffer, and even for my personal life, I think that my suffering would be greatly reduced if: 1) I was a great meditator, able to aply the "staying in the moment" idea on every second (like, for example, the highly trained Vipassana masters do...they live literally every moment, not thinking on past neither the future); 2) if I could follow the path of a monastic life, under the guidance of a really good buddhist master, and thus getting behind me many mundane afflictions.

Since that doesnt happens, I try to apply to my best the small teachings I learn, but they are like small remedys to daily life problems.
I could tell you that you can try to have more focus on your daily work, so you could stop thinking on her (at least while working), but this is just a "sick" guy giving a solution to another "sick patient". I think you should ask directly to a "doctor", I mean, someone who really dominates buddhism, perhaps a master or higly respectable teacher near you. Sometimes, reading the scriptures (the sutras I mean) can give some strenght too. In fact, sutras are the voice of "The Doctor" itself, the Buddha.

When I feel tired of things in my life, I remember the following words of Buddha, from the Pratyutpanna Sutra (the underlined is mine):
With a single thought, believe in this Dharma.
Following the teachings heard, think only of one object.
Keep only one thought, ceasing all other thoughts.
Stand firm in your faith, without any doubts.
Progress energetically, never negligent or indolent.

Think of neither existence nor nonexistence, neither progress nor regress.
Think of neither front nor back, neither left nor right.
Think of neither nonexistence nor existence, neither far nor near.
Think of neither pain nor itch, neither hunger nor thirst.
Think of neither cold nor hot, neither pain nor pleasure.
[...after some verses similar to this, one will read:]
Cease all thoughts and be vigilant for a given period of time, never distracted.
Progress energetically, never negligent or indolent.
Do not count the years, nor feel tired in a single day.
Hold one thought, never losing it.
Avoid sleep and keep the mind alert.

We could also speak here on other kind of advices, but they would be out of the buddhism context. For example, I remember when I had a girlfriend that was always far away from me. She was more interested on work work work, her profissional life, etc, never getting time to be with me. I really enjoyed that girl, and I was very sad, even during the day. It was like your situation. At first I didnt realised that perhaps I wasnt the guy for her and vice versa, so I went to a gymn. It was great, because the physical efforts I did would help me a lot! Being physically affected by the hard training would make my spirit much better. At night I was hanging around with friends (like guys only, sometimes a couple would come too), enjoying the music, the good company of a friend, etc and I wouldnt think so much on my girlfriend.

Then, one day, she left me. I got really mad and sad! I found a few weaks later that she probably cheat on me while we were on the relationship. Instead of getting mad and even more sad, I tought "What? Am I suffering because of that %"%#%&#$?" [censored lol]. It was like magic: one day I was sad, on the other I was thinking that I should not be so wimpy (I dont know if thats the correct word) and needy about girls. It was almost immediatly. My perspective changed and I tought "What the hell! I cant be dependent of women love! I cant be always waiting for them to love me, waiting for a "break" in their busy shedules so I can get some attention!". Suddenly I found myself enjoying the presence of women on a different level, getting out at night, enjoying even more the music, my friends etc, and dating women in a more "free" way, without getting attached until be sure that I found the right person. Now, years later, I am married to someone that could, like me, concilliate job and family.

Sorry for telling my story, but I tought that reading it could help in some way. But be ware: I am not advising you to leave your girlfriend! I just told a story where similar things ended on a different way, so you can get different perspectives.
In fact, my actual life was far away from me while we were dating. We used skype a lot, and stuff like that. Even during the day we called each other many times. But we were already made plans to live together, we were not thinking that our life would be like that all the time. If was the opposite I think i wouldnt let things go even further.
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:20 pm

She wasn't making you happy. The happiness was always inherent in yourself. You felt happiness when talking to her, and falsely believed the source of happiness to be her. It wasn't.

When she leaves you, she won't take your happiness away, unless you cause yourself to lose it.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Son of Buddha » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:05 pm

you need to spend some time with her face to face in person.
have you both talked about a future together?if so do you have plans set out that allows you to both have a commited relationship and be able to pursue your careers?
there is always the fear of the unknown and the impermenance that it brings,if you find out where the both of you stand in the relationship,and what your future plans are as a couple,I think you will be able to get rid of alot of the anxiety and uncertainty.

also if you ever need to talk in person I live down the road from you :cheers:
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:05 pm

CMP wrote:Thank you so much to anyone who can help.
I once had a long distance relationship (it started as a intimate relationship and then developed into a long distance one). I can tell you that it just does not work. There are two options: either you sacrifice, time money, effort, etc... and make an attempt to actually be together (which may also fail dismally, this is a very real option) or you just admit to yourself that it is not really going anywhere and break it off. Of course either of the two options may bring you hardship/suffering initially, but hey, life goes on! Learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them again.

There is no reason, of course, that you cannot remain friends. But I can guarantee you that once you land yourself a meatspace relationship...
:namaste:
PS Her being a really great singer is actually not a problem. Quite the contrary. Wish her well and move on.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:16 pm

PS A little poem from the 6th Dalai Lama:

The azure [coloured] bee does not despair
When the season of blossoms comes to an end.
Now that the the time of our love comes to its end
Why should we despair?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby CMP » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:PS Her being a really great singer is actually not a problem. Quite the contrary. Wish her well and move on.


It's not that I don't wish her well, because I do. She deserves all the happiness in the world because she's a great person. It's just the fear of missing her. I don't think she would just "drop" me or something for no reason, I just fear that she might become too busy for things to work out and she would move on to something different. Which would be easy in her position, because she would be living her dream. However, I would be stuck seeing her constantly if she were on TV or radio or something. It would really bother me that the whole world can see her, yet I can't experience the closeness we once had.

The emotions are really disturbing and painful. And it's in anticipation of these emotions...because it's not like these events have even transpired yet. I wish I could feel complete and fulfilled. I'm starting to think this is what it would boil down to. I feel like I need her to fill up some void. But if I could only feel complete, I wouldn't worry about her moving on and doing something else if she decided to. I would be able to welcome it, instead of fearing it so badly and feeling helpless.

:cry: it's the fear of losing my best friend to the world, basically. is this also attachment? If so, how do I let it go? It seems much easier said than done.
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby randomseb » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:49 pm

In my experience, the lesson learned was that one doesn't need to possess a person in order to love that person, gain enjoyment from their existence, gain happiness from their flourishing in their own way, without controlling, owning and hiding away that person. Enjoy her, and let the rest of the world enjoy her too. If a physical romantic relationship is "meant to be", one will happen and that will be that.

:stirthepot:
Disclaimer: If I have posted about something, then I obviously have no idea what I am talking about!
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:51 pm

CMP wrote: is this also attachment? If so, how do I let it go? It seems much easier said than done.
Meditate and be mindful of the inevitability and unpredictability of death. For both you and her. And how your relationship, feelings, and so forth won't continue into your next life.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Nosta » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:34 pm

Speak to her about your future together. If she is really wishing to be with you, if she says that to you, well, you dont need to fear. She wont drop you or choose another guy I think. Girls like confidence on a guy and hate things like jealousy.

But speak with her and be sure if her dream is you or her job. Sometimes you can have both things, sometimes just one and you need to pick. Ask her: what do you choose? If she picks "job", so let her go. You dont need a girl always too busy for you. If she chooses you, try to see with her how much time will you get together and when, etc.

One thing that I learnt when younger and in love with women is that when you really like someone, there is no more any other girl in the world like her...but then she leaves or you leave for some reason and then you find that afterall there are 10000000 girls like her...and then you get caught on love again and you forgot that. Believe, altought there are stupid girls (and boys, lets be real), many others are really nice and good.

Maybe you need more confidence and learn more about dealing with girls. This is just a tought! Dont be offended! And there are some interesting books about that theme ouththere.
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby CMP » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:44 pm

randomseb wrote:In my experience, the lesson learned was that one doesn't need to possess a person in order to love that person, gain enjoyment from their existence, gain happiness from their flourishing in their own way, without controlling, owning and hiding away that person. Enjoy her, and let the rest of the world enjoy her too. If a physical romantic relationship is "meant to be", one will happen and that will be that.

:stirthepot:


This was really powerful for some reason. It makes total sense. I've been reading a lot about what Osho said about love. That it's giving, not getting. Possession kills love. You're completely right, I can still enjoy this person even if they have nothing to do with me. And I can always cherish the time we had together. What a good feeling. Liberating :smile:
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby BuddhaSoup » Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:57 pm

The emotions are really disturbing and painful. And it's in anticipation of these emotions...because it's not like these events have even transpired yet. I wish I could feel complete and fulfilled. I'm starting to think this is what it would boil down to. I feel like I need her to fill up some void. But if I could only feel complete, I wouldn't worry about her moving on and doing something else if she decided to. I would be able to welcome it, instead of fearing it so badly and feeling helpless.


CMP, it seems to me that you are having an age appropriate emotional struggle over this relationship. What we sometimes experience when we are young is this very keen attachment and feeling of love, especially when the person we are connected to is a compelling person. Of course, as time goes on, you both will learn what steps the relationship will take. Especially when we are young academics, careers, opportunities come into play, and these very keen feelings then give way to the realities of life. Someone older than you might tell you that part of maturing is that you get your heart cracked or even broken a bit a few times along the way. Life has a way of sorting these things out as you go along. Perhaps meditate (such as a Metta practice) on the idea of wishing yourself well, that you be well, happy and peaceful and then meditate on her that she be well, happy and peaceful. Meditate on the idea that you are lucky to have this connection, and that with any attachment, there comes some suffering, and possibly disappointment. Sometimes we are surprised with an unexpected outcome, too. Meditating on your wellbeing, and hers, each day, might free you from the worry.

Your deep feelings are part of life, part of the wheel of samsara. What you are feeling is perfectly natural and unavoidable. We all worry, and have anxieties about the future. Yet, a wise person begins to learn that worry is just an unhealthy byproduct of attachment. We can revel in the intoxication of romantic love, but these feelings, like being intoxicated by alcohol, lead to suffering sometimes. Use meditation to be mindful that each of you, so long as you treat each other with respect and caring for the other's wellbeing (instead of focusing on one's own samsaric suffering), the outcome will be fine. While today the outcome is uncertain, practice this mindfulness, and rather than worry, let the day to day good intentions that each of you practice toward each other lead to a good result...whatever that result may be. Approach this path without the unnecessary feelings of worry or anxiety. Like all situations,this too will pass.
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Alfredo » Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:35 am

Much good advice above. You're both young, and uncertain about the direction of your lives. That, plus the fact that it's a long-distance relationship, cautions against clinging to it. Try to want her to be happy and successful, even if that means not being together with you.
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Adamantine » Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:38 am

CMP wrote:I can still enjoy this person even if they have nothing to do with me. And I can always cherish the time we had together. What a good feeling. Liberating :smile:


:cheers: Great conclusion.

But also, logically look at the nature of your fear: it is a bit of a fantasy! The odds of her getting famous are on par with winning the lottery. It's not really something you should be laying awake at night worrying about or being provoked to tears over. Cross that bridge if it happens, according to your above conclusion, but until then, really-- don't sweat it. It's very very very very unlikely, even if she's mad talented. That's just a fact. I am constantly surrounded by insanely talented musicians, but only a tiny fraction of them even get humble recognition. Please, don't waste any more emotional energy fretting over this fantasy.

Instead, think about how to bring your living fantasy (love of this person who you never met in the flesh) into incarnate reality. Start working to save money to visit her. That is a practical way you can apply yourself to materializing something concrete in the interest of your so-called love. Make money. Visit her. Then you'll really know if you will have a future.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby monktastic » Wed Apr 03, 2013 4:41 pm

Lots of good advice here. Basically, don't cling. But to some degree, you already know this. The rest of the answer is: it will take time. Buddhism doesn't offer band-aids. To the degree you can allow yourself to relax into this situation, and not cling to any of it -- to her, to your attachment to her, to your worry about being attached to her, etc., you're building habits that will gradually sink in. On the bright side, you're way ahead of most :twothumbsup:
This undistracted state of ordinary mind
Is the meditation.
One will understand it in due course.

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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Nosta » Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:35 pm

I hope you can get fine with your girl and solve things!

If not, come to Portugal, there are lots of sexy women! :D

They are not blonde girls like Hollywood girls lol, but they have the beauty of Mediterranean girls! :tongue:
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:24 am

CMP wrote:First off, please forgive me if this is in the wrong forum, but I'm very new here.

The reason I ask a buddhist to help me is because I've found the philosophy to be so helpful in my life thus far, and meditation has really helped. But this seems to be one situation which I feel I may not be able to handle without great sadness and grief. I think it stems from attachment, but I'm a bit unsure how to let go.

Buddhists are a very heterogeneous bunch. You'll have many different answers. Some really not helpful.

I'm in my freshman year of college, enjoying it very much, but 2 years ago I met a girl online from New York. I live in Alabama, so though I found this girl attractive and enjoyed talking to her, I obviously never pursued a relationship because I thought it wouldn't work being long distance.

Well we ended up becoming really close last summer. I had some health issues and had to have surgery, and it was kind of a lonely time for me, but she was there to talk every day. It made me feel so much better. We began talking on skype and other webcam shows very frequently, sometimes for like 4-5 hours. We've been doing that ever since June. We talk every day.

That's very interesting, but you have no idea how a screen between you two can change everything. You need to know her, not just what she types.

She's made me really happy, been there for me when no one else was, and we do tell each other that we love one another. We can't meet right now because of financial situations. We aren't "officially" in a relationship, but you might as well call it that.

You definitely are in a relationship. But you need to think how much realism is in that relationship as it is. Probably by now you think I'm a party pooper, but bear with me. You don't really know her. Over the internet we can be nearly whomever we want for many reasons, for extended periods. So you are both in a relation that probably has a lot of things that are not exactly like that. You will be in a more realistic relation when you both face each other's dirty underwear over the floor for over an year.

The problem is that she's a really great singer, and that's what she loves doing. She's amazing. In fact, she won a talent show in her town recently. Being in New York, there's lots of opportunities. She sometimes goes to "open mic" night or whatnot to sing for people, and they love her. She auditioned for America's Got Talent back in February, and she's waiting for them to call back.

Oh you think that's the problem? You have a lot to think about before you come to that.

My concern is that if she really gets going with this music career that she'll have no more time for me, or that she'll just move on. I know buddhism says that things are constantly changing and not to have attachments. But it's difficult because I feel as if she's what's filling up some void in my life. It would be difficult to go a day without hearing her laugh, seeing her smile, or telling her how much I love her. It would be even more painful that everyone else in the world gets to watch her on television, but her and I can't have the closeness we once had. If she's famous, there's almost no chance that we stay in touch.

Things change, alright. This doesn't mean you don't pursue a woman or a career. Being a monk is a career after all. It means you shouldn't expect it gives you what it can't give you. It means that having the wife you love won't stop you from getting old and die, even if with her at you side, causing her great pain and experiencing great pain. Get the picture? It's like living inside a dream with ups and downs. Dharma is not about giving you an up in the dream. It's about waking up.

Ultimately, I want her to be happy, because I really do love her. So if she becomes too busy or something, I have to accept that. But as a buddhist, what advice would you give me for now? Because this is something that worries me every day. I can physically feel it. The worry sometimes causes me to break down in tears in the middle of the day. :(

You love her, you say? Sell your stuff and go meet her. Spend some real time with her. Reevaluate then.

Thank you so much to anyone who can help.

Don't mention it.
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:29 am

gregkavarnos wrote:]I once had a long distance relationship (it started as a intimate relationship and then developed into a long distance one). I can tell you that it just does not work.

I happen to think the opposite. I dated a gal for a long time when we had a distance relationship. It soured when we moved together. :P (she got to know the real me I guess :lol: )
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Re: I'm new to buddhism, and I'm facing a tough situation. h

Postby Ayu » Thu Apr 04, 2013 7:27 am

Relationships are so various like faces are! You can never tell what works and what does not for other people outside.

@CMP: I'm a singer too, not such a good one, but i seem to understand the topic. A singer HAS to sing. Becoming famous is not the really important point but to carry the emotions out by music. When i stop singing i feel like shrinking inside.
I think, IF she becomes famous (this is not so easy as everybody seems to think - you need a lot more luck than talent for to become famous) - so if, she may have less time for SOME time, but she will be in essential need of a real friend.
Admirers are no friends.
If she really became famous, a friend from older times would be something especially precious. Please stick to her :smile: and do not begrudge her the time for her fame. Be a friend and see what happens. Don't worry. Learn to be with yourself. If pain is too strong remind the breath. Breathing is the best medicine for all kinds of aches.
Come back to the middle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaqxX3agmp0
(What a great singer India Arie is! But who knows her? I think, her friends didn't loose her because of her good singing.)
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*** om vajra krodha hayagrīva hulu hulu hūm phat**
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