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November 14, 2021
I am writing you this note from a friend's sunroom in the west coast of Ireland. The winds are howling and whistling through the trees, while the rain pounds upon the windows and blurs the sight of the limestone hills. The elements are amazingly raw and alive. This is my first opportunity to return to the Emerald Isle since pre-pandemic days to organize boxes of supplies that were readied for the retreat of 2020 that would have been. It’s definitely inspiring all the channels for the next possible time to invite you to join me on retreat here. Think early May and I’ll keep you posted.
While we are living at the monastery in Italy and drinking the tranquillity of the sisters in their beautiful and inviting place of practice, I’ve found myself enjoying them as a witness. Their devotion is inspiring. Although this is not my vocation or conviction, with a mom who was a nun before leaving to marry, all her children would be on their knees every night after dinner for the rosary, it is deep in my roots. Then my curiosities and thirst drew me to explore Buddhism and mindfulness practices of the east and shamanism with healing and teachings of the earth mother.
It’s our human nature to try and understand what and who we encounter, and too often we try to peg someone into a box. It’s easy to forget we are looking through our own lens of experience. Whenever people are asking if I am Buddhist or Christian or a yogi, my answer will always be the same, “There is a golden thread that weaves though all religion, that is where I wish to live.” It’s where spirit and heart are clear and unbiased.
Also, through my life I have felt the calling of an inner whisper to be a light worker. In recent inner dialogue I’ve been asking “what does that mean, really?” How do I step up to the plate more? What does that look like?
In the moment of the question, I felt the weight of it as a daunting task until the directive really presented itself. We live in a world where the seriousness about everything in our lives, including a goal-oriented practice is a big killjoy of our lightness.
If you want to be a light worker, lighten up. When we can start adding a little sense of humour to our medicine pouch, we can begin to sense a lightness within us. This is a worthy aspiration. When we dive deep within, lighten up. When our explorations stretch us broadly, let’s remember to take a sense of lightness with us. This will be our gift to others.
To be light is to be curious. Let’s take interest in the extraordinary and vulnerable world around us. Curiosity encourages cheering up. When we find ourselves slipping into judgment, let’s change the pattern. Do things differently. Let’s take note of the unexpected, eat something new, go jogging, revert to a beginners mind.
At the moment I want to learn Italian and embrace its culture. I will try to do it with lightness, and not make myself crazy. I want to sit and start a day’s practice with an awareness of lightness in my being.. no matter what. Like a tree I aspire to reach my branches out in all directions to share any shelter of lightness available to me. In a world where the weight of darkness and prevailing obsessions with accomplishments and acquisitions challenges any sense of lightness, change the channel.
Living amidst the sisters whose faces are light and joyful is a gift, and would be to anyone. The conviction of their prayer and devotion is a powerful service and it is delivered in pure lightness. Their days are long and full with responsibilities, but they are light.
I find the people of Ireland incredibly active and responsible for creating a carbon-less world, greener, healthier. Most people have some involvement in social for good, bettering living conditions and mental health. Yet I don’t sense this as a burden to anyone, because they have also a commitment to (craic) having fun. Therefore, take things very seriously, but lighten up.
From a light heart in Ballyvaughan to yours this day, savour everything you have available to you.
Love to you with a bow and a smile,
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