As I sat in a temple in the heart of the Ozarks these past two weeks, watching the falling autumn leaves dance in the light that was streaming through the large windows of an old converted barn, and listening to the exquisite teachings of the Buddha, I thought there was nowhere else I would rather be at that moment.
In my tradition, there is a word—Bodhisattva. It describes a powerful spiritual warrior – someone with tools of compassion and wisdom in their tool bag, strapped to their hip, one foot poised, ever ready to leap up and respond to those in need. I just love that. I have been a Bodhisattva/Mother Teresa wannabe kind of gal most of my life. So, when I get to carve out time from my worldly responsibilities, I go to retreats where I can receive Buddhist teachings that show me the way to try and be like that. I confess. I would choose to do this instead of going on a Caribbean cruise. Seriously.
I realize that in most circles this qualifies me as a certified lunatic. However, this is what stokes the fire in my belly. Ignites my passions. Satisfies my deepest yearnings. Nourishes me.
Other people tend different fires. My daughter started practicing her consonants before she could walk, and as a toddler, magnetic letters on the refrigerator put her over the moon. Not surprising, she grew up to be a linguist and now teaches Russian on-line to a high school back east. Her coveted retreat time takes place in bits and pieces at coffee shops when she can get away from family activities. When she gets these precious moments and can hone in on her work – pouring over her computer, making lesson plans, figuring out new software, getting more creative – she blazes. Pours wood on her special fire. Keeps it burning.
Another friend just quit a cushy job working as the personal assistant to an ambassador in London to order to move with her husband to the English countryside to write full time. She, too, has her own fire in the belly. She trusted that and went with it. I think she was very brave, but she is flourishing and writing brilliantly.
Seems a good and beneficial thing to do when we can – taking time to pause and feed the flames of our passions, whatever they might be. I believe we become more fully alive, and this spark of light becomes our unique contribution to the world.
Anyway – woke early and decided to write. These are my ramblings this fine morning. Next… coffee, to warm my belly.