I just spent 9.30-3pm Sunday in a yurt at a Women’s Buddhist Dharma Day. What does that actually mean G? Well, it meant I got up at 6.30 to cook a spinach pie for the shared lunch, drove there too fast because I left a bit late and didn’t know where I was going, was the second last one to bumble into the serious silent sitting circle of women, and then spent hours listening to a wise elder speak about Ageing as we meditated together.
It was a great day, and such a huge gift to myself.
The day’s facilitator Carol Perry also taught at that Eco Village/Permaculture Week Intensive I did- remember that? I love her. And guess what? Because I’d almost arrived late, I got to sit next to her in the circle- I began soaking up her wisdom vibes like a thirsty sponge, hoping she wouldn’t notice the intense draining.
Last time I heard her give a presentation, she said this, which almost brought half the room to tears:
“My first Invitation to you all is that all the [emotional] parts of you are Welcome, and I have all the room in the world for all your parts.”
And on Sunday, it was the quote with which I titled this post which touched me the most. She is SO awesome; I want to find a way to apprentice myself to her. She simply creates real space for ‘Being’, and has been a Mediator and Conflict Resolution practitioner in both the community and corporate worlds for decades.
I learnt Transcendental Meditation 30 years ago, and have practiced on and off (mostly entirely off) since then. For the last year though, I’ve been trying to create a habit of meditating for 20 minutes when I first wake up, if I can resist the pull of the goddam smartphone and the naughty elf which lives inside it.
Meditating in a group brings powerful depth, and some of the women had been coming to the circle for many years; I felt like a mermaid, swimming with my shoal.
Carol talked about ‘ageing well, with grace’. At 73, she truly embodies a generous, loving, kind, humorous and attentive commitment to being alive, while retaining a visceral connection to the 3 guaranteed changes of Life: suffering, ageing, and death.
My recent trip back to England to see Mum, who is daily sliding further into her dementia, brought those 3 elements right up in my face. Mum’s Mum was diagnosed with dementia at 80, and so was Mum. My darling son ’18’ stands at the kitchen counter, fixing me with his
brutal clear gaze, and says:
‘So Mum, another 30 years for you too till you start checking out?’
Carol’s teachings and reflections were a comfort I didn’t know I needed; I will elaborate them in Part Two, so take a deep breath, and I’ll meet you here…
In gratitude for fresh air in my lungs, G xO